Howard the Average Gecko

Howard the Average Gecko
Wendy Meddour and Carmen Saldaña
Oxford Children’s Books

Howard apparently has a very high opinion of himself and a seeming disregard for his fellow rainforest dwellers. So intent on bragging about his camouflage skills is he,

that he fails to notice that same ability in a number of the other creatures, that is until he encounters a stick insect. Stick insect’s “The rainforest is full of camouflaged creatures”

is let’s say, an ego deflater, even more so is its “You’re average”. and Howard has a crisis of confidence about his lovableness.

Suddenly out of the foliage comes a stunning creature

and despite what the stick insect thinks of her, Howard declares the wobbly-eyed reptile “magnificent”. This other gecko introduces herself as Dolores. The instantly smitten Howard invites her to watch the sunset with him and together these two ‘average geckos’ climb up a tree onto …

With its surprise finale, this is a fun story that introduces animal camouflage (look out for the creatures Carmen Saldaña has hidden away in her leafy scenes) while being a smashing book to show all young children that they’re just right as they are. Endless comparisons with others do nothing to foster self-esteem: it’s having people who love you that counts – to them you are in your own unique way, very special.

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