Friday, February 8, 2019

Review - I Don't Like Koala

I Don't Like Koala
by Sean Ferrell
illustrated by Charles Santoso
Date: 2015
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

What’s not to love about a cute, cuddly...creepy toy koala? This is the story of a boy and the stuffed animal he just can’t seem to shake.

Adam does not like Koala. Koala is a little creepy.

Adam tries explaining this to his parents. He tries putting Koala away—far away. He tries taking Koala on a long, long walk. Nothing works. Will Adam ever be rid of Koala?

This darkly funny debut picture book from Sean Ferrell and Charles Santoso celebrates imagination and bravery while addressing a universal childhood dilemma: what to do about that one stuffed animal who just won’t stop staring at you.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Guess what? I don't like Koala, either. But I like the parents even less.

This is basically a book about a boy whose parents give him a super creepy toy. Adam hates the thing, but his parents push it on him every chance they get. I guess they think he'll eventually come around... and he does, but then the parents decide that they don't like Koala. Tough cookies, you pushy jerks. Why did you buy the stupid thing in the first place and inflict it on your poor child if you didn't like it?

The story made me really uncomfortable. If there's a toy or an object that's scaring you, the last thing you want is for it to be continually shoved in your face (or put with you in bed). I felt sorry for Adam, and thought the kid had more sense than his parents. I guess what bothered me is that the kid was essentially saying, "No!" repeatedly, while the parents weren't respecting that answer and were instead saying, "Yes! You'll like it." Consent applies to little kids, too. It's not the same thing as eating your vegetables or wearing your seatbelt; it's not a health or safety issue. If Koala made Adam uncomfortable, his parents should've respected that and stopped pushing the toy on him.

The illustrations are kind of cute and really capture the creepiness of that toy. So while I didn't like the story, I did enjoy the pictures.

Overall, I don't think I'd recommend this one. Maybe if the parents had been a little more respectful of their child's fears, rather than just assuming he'd come around and like the toy. (It almost felt like an ego thing for them, since I'm assuming they're the ones that bought the toy in the first place; that kid was going to sleep with that koala, no matter what!)

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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