Go home, cheeky animals! by Johanna Bell

cover image

Ill. by Dion Beasley. Allen & Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760291655
(Ages: 3-7) Recommended. This is a sequel of sorts to Bell and Beasley's previous collaboration, Too many cheeky dogs, which itself stemmed from Dion Beasley's cheeky dog brand of t-shirts. There is a wonderful story behind the cheeky dogs project (see the website ) and the series provides many teaching opportunities beyond the text itself. This sequel uses the same textual techniques, same illustration style and the same setting as Cheeky dogs. It has a story map in the endpapers as well, this time showing where all the cheeky animals did their cheeky business! The rough pencil illustrations that look like they have come straight from a child's drawing book are not highly technical, but they are effective and children will relate to them.
As with its predecessor, this book has been created with an indigenous audience in mind but will appeal to children of all backgrounds. It also has the potential to kick start a discussion about feral animals in Australia (goats, camels, etc.) and the real problems they create. Children will love the humour in the illustrations (the animals drink from milk cartoons, and push their babies in trolleys and prams) and the crazy antics of the cheeky animals (eating grandpa's pants, stealing the lunch). Mum tries shooing, Dad tries yelling at them, Uncle stamps his feet and Aunty waves a big stick. But even the police can't help when the cheeky animals are on the rampage! This is great fun and will be a big hit with fans of Cheeky dogs.
Nicole Smith-Forrest