Bonkers About Beetroot / Pony in the City

Bonkers About Beetroot
Cath Jones and Chris Jevons
Maverick Arts Publishing

Sunset Safari Park is in danger of being closed down due to a distinct lack of visitors. Zebra calls a meeting of its inmates in the hope they might have suggestions as to how to save their home. Despite Penguin’s discouraging “Nobody comes because we’re boring” comment, Zebra remains determined to do something to attract the crowds. Beetroot is his plan: the biggest in the world and the animals are to grow it. “BONKERS!” is pessimistic Penguin’s response to this idea and to pretty much every stage in the growth of the vegetable from manure heap planting ground …

to the large beet that soon attracts the crowds.
So successful is the vegetable that it just goes on growing and growing until there’s no longer room for visitors.

Penguin’s solution is a pretty drastic one but will it have the effect he hopes? Can the safari park be saved after all?

Really, there’s no other way to describe this story that to borrow Penguin’s much used word, ‘BONKERS’.
The contrasting characters: optimistic Zebra and pessimist, Penguin complement one another well, making for a lively and quirky story time read aloud that invites audience participation.
Chris Jevons’ vivid illustrations of zoo residents, the zoo’s human visitors and of course, the beetroot itself, provide plenty to giggle over.

Pony in the City
Wendy Wahman

Otis, a pony at the Pony Paddock gets on well with the children who visit his home; in fact he’s ‘saddled with questions’ about them. Do they gallop and kick? Do they ever walk on all fours? Do they graze on grass and daisies? The older ponies ignore his constant questioning so Otis sets out to find some answers for himself.
He visits the city park where hiding himself away, he observes and discovers their movements and sounds are not very different from his. Next stop is their homes; ‘such big barns’, he decides.
Otis discovers many more similarities …

but then suddenly comes the scary realisation that he’s far from home, alone in the big city and it’s way past time to sleep.

Next morning he hears a familiar clippity cloppity sound; could it be one of his fellow ponies coming to look for him?
No it isn’t; but his finders are equally surprised to see the little pony so far from his home and more than willing to take him back home where, inevitably, he has lots of questions to answer …
This gentle adventure with witty collage style illustrations of a children’s world interpreted through the limited experiences of a pony, offers food for thought about judgements and diversity.

There’s Broccoli in my Ice Cream!


There’s Broccoli in my Ice Cream!
Emily MacKenzie
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Now here’s a mouth-watering treat and a deliciously funny one, to tickle the taste buds of fussy eaters and foodies young and not so young, from author/illustrator, Emily MacKenzie.
Young dalmation, Granville’s loathing of all things green and crunchy, yellow and mushy and red and squashy hugely disappoints his family of greengrocers and gardeners. So much so that they’re determined to find a foolproof ploy to turn his predilection for puddings, pastry and ‘chocky wocky gooey things’ to a passion for parsnips and broccoli. A plan is hatched …


Action stations … and it seems to be working.


Granville however, has a plan of his own and it’s one that – ultimately – yields some surprising, and satisfying, results …
Emily Mackenzie’s characters are always of the delightfully wacky and decidedly distinctive kind. There was book burglar Ralfy Rabbit, Stanley, the amazing knitting cat and now in veggie-hating Granville, we have another who is equally appealing; his Grandpa Reggie is a delight too.


Further servings are certain to be the order of the day after an initial sampling of this delectable offering. My audience certainly relished it.