Saturday, March 1, 2014

Two Indie Picture Books

Nothing Rhymes With Elephant by Jon Gadsby, ill. Grant MacDonald, Mrs Moo Books

The word “indie” in the book world covers a wide range of books that have been produced by individuals and small publishers, instead of by recognised commercial publishers. We’re going to see more and more of these books as the publishing market goes through a painful period of change.

This attractive picture book is the first effort from Mrs Moo Books ( The writer, Jon Gadsby, is well known for his involvement with the entertainment industry and children’s literature. The illustrator is new to the picture book field, combining it with a successful career in commercial illustration and design. The rhyming text offers a playful discussion of the words that rhyme with other animals’ names - eg. armadillo and pillow, gibbon and ribbon. At the end, all the elephants can do is swing their trunks in frustration as they contemplate their rhyme-less status. The text has occasional hiccups with the rhythm, but young listeners won’t notice if you read aloud with plenty of gusto and play up the laughs. The crazy cartoon illustrations are cheeky and funny, and will certainly keep a child’s attention. I was interested to read the fascinating animal facts in the section at the back. All in all, a admirable effort from this new publisher.

ISBN 978 0 473 24675 4 $19.95 Pb

Morgan, the Moreporks and the Moon by Richard Fairgray, Tara Black and Terry Jones, ill. Richard Fairgray and Tara Black, Square Planet Ltd.

The authors of this picture book are probably better known for their comic book series Blastosaurus. This is their first picture book (for more info see It’s listed with several well-known book chains, both national and international, so should be readily available. In a format reminiscent of comic book layouts, it tells the story of a little boy called Morgan who is compelled to find out the name of everything and everybody. But he’s flummoxed by the moon - what’s its name?? A bunch of friendly moreporks fly him to the moon so he can ask his crucial question. Having learned the answer he floats back home and into bed. The reader does not find out the answer, and this may be a bit of a let-down for younger readers - who generally like questions to be answered. The bold illustrative style is intriguing and should be enjoyed by youngsters of about four to seven, particularly those who are hooked on comics.

Note to indie publishers - when submitting a book for review, please supply an information sheet with details about the book (including price and availability) and the background of the author and illustrator (and if necessary, the publisher). Reviewers don’t like being forced to search all over the internet for this information.

ISBN 978 0 473 24704 1 $15.99 Pb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman


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