Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rufus the Numbat by David Miller

Australian marsupials are inherently funny. They just ARE. When I took Nic Bishop's Marsupials on my school visits, all I had to do was list the names and the kids went nuts. They especially loved the betong. I mean, you just have to say that out loud, don't you? BeTONG!
Anyways, my new life's ambition is to find a zoo somewhere which harbors a numbat and see a real, live one. This story was adorable!
Rufus the Numbat trots through an ever-increasing scene of chaos. He likes peace and quiet...but that's not what he leaves behind! The illustrations are fascinating, cut paper and paper sculptures. If you look closely at the cover image you can see that Rufus' "fur" is actually sort of shredded paper. I think the pictures will work best in a group situation, where the kids can sit back and see the whole picture. The text is simple but adds humor just at the right moments. Accompanying the line "Rufus doesn't like cream cakes" is a background of a paint-bedabbled painter and his ladder collapsing on top of a tea table and it's occupants, while paint brushes and cream cakes fly through the air. Rufus, of course, just keeps walking.

Verdict: You might need to explain to the kids what a numbat is - refer to Nic Bishop's excellent Marsupials for further information - but even if they can't identify the animal, this funny and beautifully illustrated story speaks for itself.

ISBN: 9781876462963; Published 2010 in Australia by Ford St.; Review copy provided by publisher for Cybils

Look! Cute trailer!

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