Friday, May 17, 2019

Review - The Big Five

The Big Five
by Bella Makatini
illustrated by Judi Abbot
Date: 2019
Publisher: Clavis
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

From Bella Makatini, Winner of the International Competition for the Best Inclusive Story - organised by Inclusive Works and Clavis Publishing

Danny is spending the week with his grandpa. Grandpa has a painting of five animals. “Those are the big five,” says Grandpa, “the most famous animals from my homeland.” Grandpa tells Danny about one animal each day.

A playful and informative story about wild animals and about the love between a child and a grandparent. For animal lovers ages 3 and up.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a cute little book about a boy, his grandfather, and famous African animals.

Danny is spending five days with his grandfather. The older man has a painting on his wall of "the big five", famous animals from his homeland. Grandpa proceeds to tell Danny about one animal each day until he's covered all five.

The way the book is written requires Danny (and kids) to guess at which animal Grandpa is describing. So this book is going to be much more entertaining on the first read-through. The clues for most of the animals are pretty straightforward, except for the buffalo. (I have a bit of an issue with this. Technically, yes, what is shown is a buffalo, but for North American readers, that word usually refers to bison. I would've rather seen the animal in question referred to as the African buffalo or Cape buffalo to avoid confusion.) The leopard's description also gave me pause; the text says the animal "looks like a big cat". To me, that implies it isn't a cat at all, but merely looks like one. The word choice there could be a little confusing.

The pictures are certainly bright and colourful, and some are pretty fun. (The illustration of Danny and Grandpa "grazing" on cucumbers is quite amusing.) Throughout the book, the boy and his grandfather are shown doing various activities together, which is kind of nice.

Overall, this is a fun little picture book. It's intended for kids age 3 and up, although I do think appeal will probably be limited to just a few years beyond that; I can't see older kids getting much out of this one, especially once they've gone through it once and know which animals are going to be discussed.

Thank you to NetGalley and Clavis for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.67 out of 5

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