So begins this delightful, understated picture book featuring (as the title suggests) a mopoke – or bookbook owl. Each spread features just one line of text – or even a single word, as the mopoke becomes a poorpoke, a poshpoke, and a range of rhyming ‘pokes’ – slowpoke, yopoke, crowpoke and so on. By the end of the book, the mopoke begins to look bothered, before squawking (hooting?) in frustration and flying away. Apparently, what the mopoke wants – peace and quite – is not going to be found on this branch.
The illustrations, on black backgrounds representing the night sky, are simple, with the mopoke seated on a single branch, a few stars in the background, and occasional appearances from other animals, including other mopokes and – surprisingly – a wombat, the surprise of which will make youngsters laugh.
Adult readers should find the repetition and simplicity of the text an opportunity to use expression and encourage child participation. Creator Philip Bunting has written about this on his website.
Lots of fun.
Mopoke, by Philip Bunting
Available from good bookstores or online.