I don't like koala by Sean Ferrell

cover image

Ill. by Charles Santoso. Koala Books, 2015. ISBN 9781742761497
(Age: 5-8) Adam smiles widely, his arms opened wide, ready to receive a beautifully wrapped box. Blue and white striped box now in his hands, he eagerly sits down and unties the long red ribbon. With bated breath he quickly lifts the lid to reveal . . .
Adam does NOT like what he sees. He thinks Koala is the most 'terrible terrible' with terrible eyes that follow him everywhere he goes. He tries to explain to his parents his aversion - the scary eyes, the big ears, the scratchy claws. But they don't understand. Wherever Adam goes, Koala is there. Adam simply cannot get rid of him. He tries everything but no matter what he does Koala will not leave him alone. It isn't until something worse than Koala comes along that Adam realises Koala isn't so terrible after all.
The dark humour of this title makes it suitable for a slightly older picture-book audience who will understand Adam's attempts to rid himself of Koala, and his eventual love for Koala. While not exactly scary, Koala is a little disconcerting and the dark, dreary and muted colours add to the gloominess of this quirky text. The illustrations themselves are done in pencil and are wonderful in their crispness, leaving lots of white space and adding a fitting shadowiness.
It may take a couple of reads but just as Koala grows on Adam, this picture book will grow on you. Overall, this is a quirky, humourous tale about the comforting friendship of a stuffed toy. While it may be too obscure for some children, it is a wonderful example of the dark comedy genre and contains fantastic illustrations.
Nicole Nelson