Reviewed by Kathryn Duncan
Mark Carthew’s first picture book, Five Little Owlswas a delight to read and the rhyme and rhythm flowed in a way rare these days. There is always the expectation that a follow up will be just as good.
The Gobbling Tree does not disappoint as the rhyme and rhythm is again fluid and easy to read. Eating everything that is sent its way, The Gobbling Tree refuses to give up all manner of objects it receives as the local children attempt to retrieve a red cricket ball that finds its way into the branches. The story is entertaining and fun, as the whole community gets involved in finding a way to get back the much needed cricket ball. Sticks, a kite, a ladder, brooms and even Simon find their way into the luscious green foliage. The question is: how will they get all the things back?
No newcomer to illustrations, The Gobbling Tree is Susie Boyer’s second picture book. The smile on the tree’s face portrays a sense of cheeky fun as it captures the objects one by one, with no plans of letting them go. The illustrations are colourful and bright, adding to the sense of fun that the story is about. There is a lot in the illustrations, and they add beautifully to the text, helping us remember each item lost within the branches, and watch in the hope that the next attempt will see everything come tumbling down.
When it seems that all attempts are in vain, it is the simplest thing that sees the tree give up its treasures. But as in life, children don’t always learn and when the urge to play another game of cricket is too much for Zac – you can guess what will happen.
The Gobbling Tree is a delightful book that everyone can relate to and, as with so many of New Frontier’s books, destined to become a favourite.
The Gobbling Tree, by Mark Carthew, illus by Susie Boyer
New Frontier. 2008
HB rrp $24.95