Sunday, 20 April 2008


DONKEYS Adelheid Dahimène, ill Heide Stöllinger, translated Catherine Chidgey, Gecko Press, [PO Box 9335, Wellington, New Zealand 6030] 2005, 32 pages,
Paperback, $16.99 ISBN 0-9582598-0-1
Hardback, $29.99 ISBN 0-9582598-6-0

Jenny and Jack are a pair of donkeys who have an argument on their 25th Wedding Anniversary and go looking for other partners. After spending half their lives together “horsing around” they are a perfect fit for each other – their hollows and bumps match. Much of the fun in this delightfully illustrated picture book is watching the raucous pair trying to find another animal that fits. Camels, cows, flamingos and hippos are all rejected, with puns that are as droll as the pictures. The ending is inevitable but enjoyable. Although aimed at children in the 4 to 6 age range, Donkeys has a whacky charm that will also make it an ideal gift for wedding anniversaries.

Originally written in German, Donkeys won the Most Beautiful Book of Austria and Bologna White Raven Awards. It is the first book published by Gecko Press, a Wellington firm aiming to produce English translations of good European children’s books. Donkeys was translated by award-winning New Zealand novelist Catherine Chidgey.

Trevor Agnew

This review was first published in The Press, Christchurch NZ, in 2005.

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