Once Upon an ABC
Little Hare, 2017
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
“A is for Anansi, both clever and neat,
B is for Brer Rabbit with tar-sticky feet…”
This is a clever romp-in-rhyme through the characters of familiar fairy tales and folktales that will bring back memories of loved stories as well as suggest new ones to explore. Who is Herd Boy? Why was the Nymph protecting her tree? And why is ‘ugly’ just a disguise? Perfect for extending children’s reading into traditional tales from a range of countries as they try to match character with story.
But while the illustrations are quirky, I’m not so sure that the target audience is attracted to these muted, retro colours that seem to be so prominent in children’s books at the moment. My experience of 45 years with littlies is that children will view the cover as quite dull and pass it over in favour of something more eye-catching, so that while the text is brilliant it will take an adult’s encouragement to entice the child to explore it.
Concept is great, presentation not so.