Friday, 21 March 2008

Barnaby Bennett

Barnaby Bennett Hannah Rainforth, ill. Ali Teo, Huia, Wellington NZ, 2006, 30 pages, paperback, NZ$16.99
1 86969 232 2

“I’m Barnaby Bennett. I only wear red.” Young Barnaby’s enthusiasm for red clothes (including his grandfather’s red underpants) is not shared by his family, since he won’t let them be washed. He even wears his red clothes to bed. His whanau offer alternative colours in vain, “‘Boy,’ said his Dad, ‘Quit this to-do. Why don’t you put on some nice navy blue?’” Each double-page spread becomes funnier as Barnaby becomes scruffier, until his Nanny arrives with a solution that Barnaby can’t resist. Young readers will enjoy spotting the flaw in Nanny’s brilliant idea. Hannah Rainforth’s comic verse narration evokes Dr Seuss with its marvellous rhymes, while Ali Teo’s collage illustrations are a comic delight in their own right.

Trevor Agnew

This review appeared in The Press, Christchurch, on 27 January 2007.

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