Rodney by Kelly Canby
Fremantle Press, 2019. ISBN: 9781925815320.
(Age: 3-5) Highly recommended. Themes: Dreams, Turtles, Perception. Rodney the turtle dreams of being high above the ground in the tree canopy, where the monkeys say they will be able to play with him, the giraffe tells hi that the juiciest trees are there for him to eat, while the birds tell him of the fabulous views. Rodney is stuck on the ground, barely able to see over the weeds underfoot.
Still the animals taunt him: the sloth tells him he can relax at the top, the squirrels invite him to chase them, the fruit bats ask him to hang about with them where the air is crisp.
He leaves the forest where the animals all live up high, and as he does he seems to be getting bigger. He can see the juiciest leaves at the top with the caterpillar, and loll about on the high branches with the beetle, get up on high with the ladybirds and have fun with the treehopper and look at the view with the praying mantis. He has found the crisp air amongst the tall branches of his world.
A remarkable story of perception, Rodney dreams of living amongst the tree tops, and the animals tell him how wonderful it will be. But life on the ground is just as wonderful, he can play with other beetles, lie on the top branches, climb to the top of the leaves, commune with the ladybirds and look at the views with the praying mantis. Perception is all as he sees that he has all he needs on the ground.
Readers will laugh out loud as they see Rodney being satisfied with the environment around him, communing with the insects and animals at his level.
Wonderfully bright illustrations by Canby invite readers to look more closely at the forest and its animals, to see the eyes and faces peering out, and marvel at the range of animals that inhabit this book.
I love the subtle humour behind the words used to describe the animals: hanging out with the bats and relaxing with the sloth, inviting discussion amongst the readers about the animals' characteristics.