Yak and Gnu by Juliette McIver

cover image

Ill. by Cat Chapman. Walker Books, 2015. ISBN 9781922077684
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Rhyming story. Animals. Friendship. When best friends, Yak and Gnu row their canoes down the river, they wonder about who they will meet and what adventures they may have. They assume that only they can row down the river and sing of their blue and brown canoes as they row. They sing their refrain, Yippe ai Yak, Woo hoo Gnu, There are no other beasts like me and you. But a goat in a boat comes sailing by, upsetting their assumption that only they can row down the river. And now their song must be changed a little. Along comes a snail setting sail, and a calf on a raft, and a flotilla of gorillas, and so on. It is fun to predict the nautical word which may be used to rhyme with the animal, and even funnier to see the illustrations by Cat Chapman which accompany the river journeying group of beasts.
Clever rhymes, startling illustrations make this a wonderful read aloud and a book to ponder as the friends come to see that their friendship is important.
Readers young and old will love the rhymes used in this tale, and laugh at the amazing round up of animals all finding their way down the river, much to Yak's distress. Gnu hastens to assure him that they are still the best of friends and their song still applies.
This is a gentle story of friendship amidst the crowds, of remaining true to a friend despite all the other attractions.
Fran Knight