Stan the Van Man by Emma Vere-Jones, illus. Philip Webb, Scholastic NZ
Yes, it’s written in rhyming text, but it’s very GOOD rhyming text, so good in fact that it won last year’s Storylines Joy Cowley Award. Try this: “The names are perplexing. The addresses are vexing,” said Stan, who was shaking with fright. “It’s all a big mess. I’ll just have to guess, and hope I get some of them right.” The text fairly bounces along without putting an accent wrong.
According to her website Emma Vere-Jones is a journalist, author and copywriter – with this presumably being her first book in print. I hope she’s working on her next book. The story of this one doesn’t need much explanation – Stan takes on the task of delivering parcels, but he hasn’t told anyone that he can’t read. So the parcels all go to the wrong recipients. Fortunately everyone likes Stan so much that they band together to teach him to read. Children will enjoy the rollicking text and the humour of the parcels going to the wrong people.
Philip Webb needs no introduction – his cheerful cartoon illustrations are known everywhere. Done in scanned pencil line and Photoshop, they perfectly match the good-hearted nature of the story. This book is ideal for reading aloud to small groups and individual children of about 3 to 7 years old.
ISBN 978 1 77543 307 1 RRP$19 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine