Adam does not like Koala.
Koala is the most terrible terrible.
He has terrible eyes that follow Adam everywhere he goes.
Adam takes a very active dislike to Koala from the moment he receives the gift. First Adam tries to tell his parents, but they don’t understand. Every night, they tuck Koala into bed with him before they turn off his light. Adam tries to ‘lose’ Koala, in all sorts of creative ways, but somehow Koala is always found before bedtime. Always. Illustrations are pencil and mostly in very neutral browns and greys, with only a few elements picked out in colour. White space (or almost white) is used to increase tension and night scenes are shown with dark greeny-blacks that keep the focus tight on Adam and Koala.
I Don’t Like Koala is a striking picture book, full of dark humour. It is sophisticated and simple, allowing the reader plenty of room to bring their own ideas and experience. It is beautifully spare in both text and illustration and invites slow page-turning as the details reveal themselves. It’s just a little bit spooky, in the most delicious way. Is Koala really playing an active role, or is it all in Adam’s imagination? Recommended for early schoolers.
I Don’t Like Koala, Sean Ferrell ill Charles Santoso
Koala Books for Scholastic 2015
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller