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Book Reviews

March, 1998

Space Bananas
Space Bananas, Richard Tullock with illustrations by Leonie Worthington ISBN 0 7733 0598 9 ABC Books RRP 16.95 (HBK) 28 pages

This is a joint review involving my five year old daughter, almost nine year old son and their grandmother who used to work in a preschool. The unanimous judgment was - it's a great book, mind you almost anything with the famous B1 and B2 on them is guaranteed to catch the eye of young children.

This book is no exception as the minute Natalie saw the cover she wanted to look at the book - the Bananas being in space suits was an added bonus. Natalie eagerly awaited having it read to her but was fascinated by the colourful illustrations (drawn with pen and ink and painted with watercolour) that clearly reflected the story. By the time grandma read it to her, she could predict enough of the story that she could 'read' some of it. Natalie really liked "the beeping parts that the Space Bananas said and when they talked to the furniture and used cups for phones".

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It's a great book for children as she was able to remember quite a lot of the details thus enabling her to 'read' more of it later. Even Michael, while saying it was for younger children, read it eagerly before Natalie could get her hands on it.

Grandma also gave the book her approval. She commented that the writing was of a good size for children learning to read. An added bonus was that it can be read on two levels; the actual words and also situations that could be expanded if the adult wanted to. The language level was generally simple enough for the learner reader, with more demanding words being repeated to help them learn. The story also teaches, though without being preachy, to care about others as the Bananas do ensure Amy isn't disappointed by the trick they play on the Teddies.

We all enjoyed reading Space Bananas and don't hesitate to recommend this book for your own young children or for friends' children. Any child old enough to recognise B1 and B2, and that's a pretty big group, would get something from this lovely book. It's also great that it's Australian so by buying it you would be supporting the local industry.

Cath Ortlieb

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Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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