Go Home Cheeky Animals by Johanna Bell & Dion Beasley
Published by Allen & Unwin
Date: May 2016
Congratulations to Johanna Bell and Dion Beasley on their win in the category Book of the Year: Early Childhood. I can see why this won in its category, the story is impacting and the illustrations are on a whole other level, their childlike nature is mesmerising. The pictures give me a real sense of Canteen Creek and those cheeky animals.
Some of my favourite parts of the book are the pages that have been painted in different styles, some with blotches, another painted like the sun and another like storm clouds. I like that as you open the book you are greeted with a hand drawn map of Canteen Creek, it gives you a sense of location as you read about the Cheeky Dogs and the Cheeky Animals that are running amok in the town.
The book is about the Cheeky Dogs that live at Canteen Creek, there are too many Cheeky Dogs according to mum but they are the least of their problems. It’s the cheeky animals that turn up when the big rains come that has Dad flapping his arms and Aunty waving a big stick; meanwhile the Cheeky Dogs just lie about.
As you can gather from all the cheeky’s I have been using, this book is altogether cheeky, funny, and a great literacy tool. In fact, this book and the previous book by the same collaborators “Too Many Cheeky Dogs” were initially written to support indigenous literacy.
This book is great for a variety of ages, there aren’t too many words which is great for reading to toddlers or a child that doesn’t like to sit still, but there are enough words for older readers who might want something a little more involved. There is so much to see in each picture that sometimes it would be great being read without words but simply talking about each page.
I highly recommend you taking a look at Cheeky Dogs website. It gives a detailed background about the author and illustrator. The illustrators story is inspiring and his smile must be inspiration for his Cheeky Dog brand because it is simply cheeky.
If you can, take the time to borrow a copy of this book from your local library or buy it. It is not only storytelling at its best but a piece of art too.