I Did See A Mammoth! / The Grizzled Grist Does Not Exist!

I Did See A Mammoth!
Alex Willmore

A research team – three adults and a child – are in the Antarctic exploring. The adults are looking for penguins; not so the child narrator who insists: ‘But I’m going to see a MAMMOTH.’

Setting out alone the little protagonist comes upon a skateboarding mammoth. ‘Mammoths are extinct. And I’m pretty sure they’re not even from around here.’ is the response of one of the researchers. ‘Are you sure it wasn’t a wonderful … penguin?’
More determined than ever to prove it was a mammoth, the child sallies forth again and sees in turn the mammoth skateboarding wearing a frilly pink tutu doing ballet and the mammoth sporting a scuba mask submerged underwater.

Still no one believes the child and a shouting match ensues. Followed soon after by a full on tantrum by the youngster. This results in the ice cracking, an avalanche and a surprise revelation for some of the party. The final twist is huge fun and the book concludes with a brief note about both mammoths and penguins. Adult readers aloud will love sharing this humorous tale and listeners will relish shouting ‘Mammoth’ at every opportunity, as the child’s indignation turns to anger. Alex’s illustrations are superbly expressive, especially the penguins every one of which is a visual treat.

A super wintry book.

The Grizzled Grist Does Not Exist!
Juliette Maclver and Sarah Davis
Gecko Press

Ms Whiskersniff, Ms Whisk for short, having assessed her pupils’ forest skills, takes her class trekking up the Dismal Hills. When shy Liam announces that he’s good at hiding, he’s told, “You can’t call that a skill”. Really? Soon the group pass a sign announcing the Grizzled Grist; Liam attempts to draw Ms Whisk’s attention to it and is immediately given the titular response, “The Grizzled Grist does not exist.”

So what has made the very large footprints that Hider, Liam (now camouflaged) urges his teacher to take notice of? You can guess what he’s told, in no uncertain terms. Lunchtime comes and goes with the occasional near disaster and eventually after trudging for much of the day it’s time to think about wending their way back. Liam meanwhile has gone into hiding up a tree and from this vantage point he spots something alarming. Yet again, the teacher will have none of it and back they continue to trek until …

Catastrophe! Thank goodness Liam is so good at hiding; but can one small boy possibly save all of 2B and Ms Whisk from the clutches of the gruesome Grizzled Grist?

Juliette MacIver’s rhythmic rhyming text tells a witty, playful tale that is humorously illustrated in scenes that show much more than the words say, especially regarding the characters. I love the endpapers.

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