CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEW: TRUE BLUE AMIGOS BY TEENA RAFFA-MULLIGAN

TRUE BLUE AMIGOS

Author: Teena Raffa-Mulligan
Wild Eyed Press RRP $13.60
Review: Monique Mulligan

Softcover Books - True Blue AmigosFriendship, fun and a great Aussie adventure are on offer in Teena Raffa-Mulligan’s latest children’s picture book, True Blue Amigos. Published by Wild Eyed Press, which focuses on Australian wildlife-themed products, this charming book is aimed at children 3 to 7.

Children will learn about Australia as they join Blue, the bouncing red kangaroo, and her tiny friend, Pedro, as they embark on a rollicking adventure that includes snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, singing at the world-famous Sydney Opera House, desert camping at Uluru, and surfing in Perth. Each double-page spread includes simple maps, showing where the amigos are on their journey, a clever tactic to increase educational value.

Told in rhyming verse, True Blue Amigos has a terrific beat and is easy to read aloud. While rhyming verse is popular for young children, not everyone gets the meter right, meaning readers have to work hard. Not so with True Blue Amigos; Raffa-Mulligan has got her rhymes down pat. Here’s a sample:

In Adelaide’s heart, Pedro thought the art

Could do with a touch up in black.

Blue whisked him away from the media fray

And called on her cobber out back.

Just as captivating as the text are the illustrations by Barrie Smith: colourful, funny and eye-catching, they include plenty of other Australian animals, providing great conversation starters. The text rolls over the page, wave-like, mimicking the rolling rhythm of the verse (tracing the text could be a fun fine motor skill activity).

My children would have loved this book, but they are young adults now, so I’m saving my copy for future grandchildren. One day, I will read this to them. In the meantime, I’m sure this book will delight many children, both at home and in early childhood classrooms. Aside from the travel and Australiana focus, there’s room for discussion about friendships, adventures, animals and more. Raffa-Mulligan continues to deliver solid and appealing stories for children and has a real gift for storytelling – you can check out more of her books here.

Disclosure: Teena Raffa-Mulligan is my mother-in-law, but my opinion is my own, based on my past background as a writer of children’s curriculum, a family day care worker, a storyteller and a playgroup facilitator.

Available from Wild Eyed Press, selected shops and other online retailers. My copy was a gift from the author.