10 green geckoes by Phillip Gwynne
Ill. by Lloyd Foye. Scholastic, 2013. ISBN 9781742833454.
(Age: 4+) Warmly recommended. Australian animals. Poetry.
With 10 green geckoes living in the house, accidents are sure to happen. The first gecko is taken by a mouse, then one falls from the wall, another goes down the plughole, while another mistakenly eats a piece of pie. Nine of the little green geckoes come to a sticky end as they try to survive in their rather alien environment. Small children will love following the antics of the beautifully illustrated animals as they meet their fate during the telling of the ballad. Living in a house means that they come across some things they would not meet in their natural environment, and the illustrations show them trying to cope. Counting the frogs as the story proceeds will enthrall younger readers, and those having it read to them will love spotting the frogs and the things in the background.
For older readers, the refrain of 'ten green bottles' will spring easily to mind, and the listeners could be taught the music to enable everyone to sing along. In a class, it seems an ideal thing to do, along with teaching the children about the real environment this little frog lives in. The possibilities of using this book are wide as the stanzas lend themselves to a different rhyming sequence than most poems children would have come across, leading a group to try out the style for themselves. The gentle humour is enticing and the ending of the story will draw the readers back to the first page over and over again.