A Duck is Watching Me: Strange and Unusual Phobias, commentary by Bernie Hobbs

Do you suffer from frigophobia, carnophobia or Anglophobia?

Do you fret about peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth?

Do you secretly fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you?

Everyone is afraid of something – heights, the dark, confined spaces – but what if your fear was that ducks are watching you? Or that peanut butter might stick to the roof of your mouth? What would  you call this fear?

A Duck is Watching Me: Strange and Unusual Phobias explores the wild and weird world of phobias. An introduction by science broadcaster Bernie Hobbs explains what a phobia is, and where they come from, with the remainder of the book giving names and definitions for a vast array of phobias, each illustrated with a photograph from the National Library of Australia’s image collection. Images chosen range from the quirky to the hauntingly beautiful and, while they do not show people exhibiting the necessary phobia, they instead relate in some way to the subject of the phobia. For example, the entry for nomophobia, the fear of losing mobile phone contact, is illustrated by a black and white image of old style telephone repairmen.

This is the kind of book which can be browsed cover to cover or left to be dipped into, and will be enjoyed by people of different ages and interests.

A Duck is Watching Me: Strange and Unusual Phobias, Bernie Hobbs
NLA Publishing, 2014
ISBN 9780642278647

Available from good bookstores or online.

Cows Say Moo, by Graeme Base

Cows say moo. But what sounds do other animals make?

Children and adults alike have long been delighted by the amazing detail of Graeme Base’s artwork, along with his stories in books such as Sign of the Seahorse and Animalia. Now, though, the very young are being offered a series of fold-out flap books, the Little Bug Books.

Cows Say Moo , one of the four titles, focuses on the sounds made by animals including cows, ducks, tigers and more. Each spread includes minimal text. For example, the cows spread features the words ‘Cows say’, and when the flap is folded out, a speech bubble shows one of the cows ‘saying’ Moo!. The illustrations use white space, with realistic looking animals against rural backgrounds, simpler than the complex illustrations of Base’s longer works. Hidden in each illustration is a little bug, providing a challenge for slightly older readers.

This sturdy offering, and the remainder of the series, will be loved by young readers.


Cows Say Moo (Little Bug Books)

Cows Say Moo , by Graeme Base
Viking, 2014
ISBN 9780670077618

Available from good bookstores or online. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.