All Together Now, by Phil Cummings & Cassandra Allen

There’s a poor desperate dad, sighing, almost crying.
He puts his hands on his hips, turns to his kids,
Who are getting ready for a holiday and says,

Throw your bags on the truck, kids
Throw your bags on the truck.
Stop your running amuck, kids
And throw your bags on the truck.

Poor Dad. All he’s trying to do is get going on the camping holidays. But his kids, and there are a lot of them, seem determined to stop it happening. Not wilfully, just because they’re busy doing other things like teasing little sisters, and making kid towers and playing with the dog. But eventually they are on their way. The trip is longer and windier than some passengers enjoy and all are happy to arrive at the campsite. When the car is unpacked there’s time to watch the stars before dinner and a campfire singalong. Illustrations in warm tones show the magic of the bush and the wonders that are there to be found. They also beautifully capture the energy of the children.

All Together Now takes the rhythm of Rolf Harris’ ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down’ and creates a story of family and camping. There’s a suggestion initially that the amount of work required might not be worth it, but it seems the memories of past outings keep Dad going through the packing stage. Any family who has been camping will recall all the parts of this story: the packing, the driving, the arriving, the experience, the joy of being in the bush. Those who have not been camping might just be tempted. And like ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down’, these words just beg to be sung. Recommended for preschool and early primary children.

All Together Now

All Together Now, Phil Cummings ill Cassandra Allen
Omnibus Books
ISBN: 9781862918696

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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