Bamboozled, by David Legge

I love my grandad.
I visit him every week.
And every week, things are the same.
But last week when I arrived, something seemed odd.

When the young narrator of this story visits her grandad, she does all the things she usually does – drinking tea, helping with the housework and gardening, feeding the cat and so on – but all the while, she can’t help feeling that something is different than usual. As the text describes what seems a very normal day, the illustrations show things which viewers will find anything but normal – from the giraffe in the front yard when she arrives, to the tea being poured from a watering can, and the cat, which is in fact a tiger in a highchair. Readers will love spotting these details and so very many more, but the biggest surprise will be in realising what it is that the narrator has sensed as different – Grandad’s odd socks.

The fabulousness and eccentricity of Grandad and his house will delight, and the realisation that the girl has not overlooked all of this but has, instead regarded it as normal, is satsifying, leading readers to question and discuss what they are seeing, and versions of normality. The bright, detailed watercolour illustrations reveal more on each rereading.

First published in 1994, it is lovely to see a new edition released to mark the 21st anniversary of Bamboozled.

Bamboozled, by David Legge
Scholastic, 2015
ISBN 9781743620212

Captain Crabclaw's Crew, by Frances Watts and David Legge Reviewed by Sally Murphy

‘Shivering shellfish,’ Captain Crablcalw said proudly, as he admired his brand-new pirate ship, the Speedy Squid.
‘Now all I need is a crew and I can sail the seven seas in search of some treasure to fill these empty chests.’

Captain Crabclaw can’t wait to set sail in his new ship, but when he advertises for a fearsome crew, he gets a crew that might be fearsome, but is also unusual, as first a duck, then an elephant, giraffe, cow and chicken, all come looking for work. When they set off on their adventure, they are laughed at – ‘that’s not a crew – that’s a zoo!’. Captain Crabclaw is upset, but his crew come up with a great idea – the first ever pirate zoo. When every visitor pays a gold coin, the Captain is convinced.

Captain Crabclaw’s Crew is a bright picture book with a whimsical story line and gorgeous digital art, sure to appeal to youngsters, and to adult readers.

From the pairing of author Frances Watts and illustrator David Legge, who also worked together on Kisses for Daddy and Parsley Rabbit’s Book About Books, this third collaboration is delightful.

Captain Crabclaw's Crew

Captain Crabclaw’s Crew, by Frances Watts and David Legge
ABC Books, 2009

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Baby Boomsticks, by Margaret Wild

When a teeny-tiny mum and a teeny-tiny dad have a great big baby, they are very proud. He is a wonder and a joy. But Baby Boomsticks is so big that the other villagers won’t let their babies play with him. They are scared of a baby who is bigger than the houses and bigger than the trees.

So Baby Boomsticks has no friends, which makes him very sad. But one day, something happens. The village is flooded and only Baby Boomsticks can save his mum, his dad and all the other villagers. The other villagers soon see that Baby Boomsticks is a hero.

Baby Boomsticks is the latest picture book offering from award-winning Aussie author, Margaret wild. The illustrations by David Legge are a delight, with gouache and oil paintings of a delightfully cherubic Baby Boomsticks and his dwarfish neighbours.


Baby Boomsticks, written by Margaret Wild, illustrated by David Legge
ABC Books, 2003