The poem, complemented by the exuberant illustrations, celebrates the joys of picnics, road trips and camping in remote places. Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, American by birth but now living in Sydney, manifests her love of Australian images in her pictures. Using acrylic paints and coloured pencils she communicates the vastness of earth and sky, the characters’ vivid facial expressions and body language, and the textures of objects such as the utility truck, hamper, fleece and didgeridoo. This picture book is highly recommended for young children both for its appealing verse and the excellence of the illustration and design.
From the ochre red landscape on the end pages to the grassy plains and shearing sheds inside, this is a wonderfully buoyant book about friendship and adventure in the Australian outback.
Hosking presents her version of The Owl and the Pussycat and does it with flair and an authentic Australian flavour. Young readers will encounter vocabulary like hullabaloo, didgeridoo, and damper. They’ll peek inside a shearing shed, and check out a camping site next to Australia’s most famous rock. Best of all, they’ll enjoy a fun and energetic story, and perhaps be inspired to play with rhyme and rhythm themselves.
Jackie Hosking has reworked the old Edward Lear nonsense poem into an Australian context complete with Holden utes, Cockies, sheep shearers and Uluru. The danger in revisiting the classics is appearing overly derivative, which can detract from an otherwise excellent text. Jackie Hosking has not done that here. The text has a lyrical quality about it which not only resembles the poem by Lear but also creates her own sensibility.
Hosking’s rhyming words, with their lilting musicality, beg to be read aloud, and Marjorie Crosby-Fairall’s illustrations are as vibrant and colourful as one would expect of a road trip across the Nullarbor Plain.
The Croc and the Platypus is a play on the classic poem The Owl and the Pussycat. The wonderful illustrations bring the vivid Australian landscape to life. The natural reds and greens of the outback are beautifully drawn. It is a great bedtime book for young children.
Jackie Hosking is spot on with this ingenious retelling of a childhood classic however somehow makes it feel much more loose and flowing and bizarrely even easier to read than the original. Her narrative sings with a down-to-earth gritty realism but is delivered with Lear’s same congenial nonsensical joie de vive. Hub caps ring and didgeridoos blow as Platypus and Croc ‘play up a hullabaloo…baloo’Extra applause must go to Marjorie Crosby-Fairall for her truly epic acrylic and pencilled illustrations. The outback is vast and engulfing, as are the illustrations of this picture book with gorgeously generous helpings of full colour, movement and sparkle on every single page.
Reminiscent of The Owl and the Pussycat this very Australian story of two friends on an outback trip rings true and is lots of fun. Illustrations in acrylics and coloured pencils are free flowing and expressive.
Author Jackie Hosking is an accomplished poet and her skills with rhythm and rhyme are evident in this, her first picture book. With the classic Edward Lear nonsense poem as her inspiration, instead of going ‘to sea in a pea-green boat’, our trusty duo trundle off ‘in a rusty old Holden ute’.Marjorie Crosby-Fairall’s illustrations perfectly echo the dusty desert hues of so much of inland Australia, while also imbuing Croc and Platypus with suitably laid-back charm. This is an ode to the Australian outback and its icons as well as a rollickingly good read that kids will soon have memorised.
This is a lively, humorous take on the original, though it isn’t necessary for children to know the Lear version in order to enjoy the fun of this new. The mismatched couple, the ochre and aqua landscapes and the fun of the word choices all make for loads of fun. Debut author Jackie Hosking makes rhyme look easy, and illustrator Marjorie Crosby-Fairall’s acrylic and pencil illustrations are a perfect complement.Delightful fun for Aussies of all ages.
Jackie is the author of ‘The Croc and the Platypus‘, published by Walker Books and out NOW. It is my three year olds FAVOURITE book at the moment and fortunately the text is so lyrical and lovely to read aloud that I don’t mind that I am up to about 30 reads of it!
The easy rollicking rhyme will entreat readers and listeners alike, and read aloud in a group or by themselves adds another layer of interest. Some adults may look up The Owl and the Pussycat, to compare with this adding another level of interest to the younger readers. As a vehicle to introduce Australian words to a class, this will offer a starting point that will engender interest and engagement.
The vibrant movement of language and illustrations rollick across the red landscape. It begins from the first image of oranges bouncing in the back of the ute while Croc hangs out of both car windows in one direction and platypus hangs out of only one window in the other direction … and it doesn’t stop. It’s an adventure, a ride across the massive landscape of the outback and there’s sheer joy pumping from every page.The extraordinary illustrations partner with Jackie’s wonderful rhyming words to bring to life the best of Australian identity – love of land, mateship, sense of humour and the ridiculous, adventure – ending with the absolutely beautiful final wordless double page spread where Croc and Platypus, the oddest of bedfellows are asleep in their sheepskin tent under the Southern star with Uluru in the distance in the vast landscape of the Australian outback.
Jackie Hosking’s first picture book is simply brilliant! I can just see this book walking off the shelves in bookshops, tourist areas and in the luggage of overseas travellers. It’s perfect promotional material. Imaginative and clever rhyming verse with rhythm identical to The Owl and the Pussycat poem, The Croc and the Platypus is a salute to the Australian Outback....With fabulous full-page illustrations throughout, and Aussie language followed by a glossary for those unaccustomed to our expressions, this book will be snatched up by children for the stunning illustrations, and by parents who love a good old Aussie yarn and a laugh, just like in the good old days.
The Croc and the Platypus is one of those books where you feel like the writer is sitting next to you telling her story, the author’s voice comes through strongly in a unique and engaging way.But the text is only part of this entertaining story.Marjorie Crosby-Fairall’s illustrations perfectly compliment the words. They take the humour to a whole new level, and the ochre’s, tans and greens of the truly Australian setting are captured so authentically.
Illustrations © Marjorie Crosby-Fairall 2014. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited unless otherwise specified.