Peely Wally by Kali Stileman

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Peely Wally by Kali Stileman

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: The egg-hatching plot might be very familiar, but Kali Stileman's bright and bold illustrations bring huge amounts of charm to Peely Wally and make it well worth a look.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: March 2011
Publisher: Red Fox
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1849410823

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When Peely Wally lays an egg, she's so excited that she jumps up and down. Oh no! The egg rolls out of the branch and lands on Jemima Giraffe! Her egg rolls from animal to animal on an amazing adventure, until finally the egg makes it safely home again.

Egg books are ten-a-penny, as are books meeting lots of different animals, but Peely Wally has a particular charm that means it never feels derivative. It's all completely predictable, but that doesn't matter because it's also completely sweet and lovely. The very youngest children will enjoy tracing the line that the egg follows, as well as seeing the delightful cast of exotic animals. There's also an extra treat at the end, with flaps to lift as the egg hatches. Thicker paper stock for the flaps would have been ideal - it's not the sort of thing we usually comment on in reviews, but it's very noticeable here that the size and shape of the flaps on the page will soon lead to tears given the paper thickness.

The undoubted star of Peely Wally are Kali Stileman's illustrations. They're bright, bold, and... well, not peely wally at all (Scottish for pale and sickly, so I'm told). The mixture of splodgy paint and striking collage works to great effect. I particularly love Peely Wally's legs, made up of rectangles and circles, and reminiscent of Big Bird. Eleanor Elephant is also a delightful character, with interesting depths and textures creating a great sense of size.

This is Kali Stileman's book debut, and I'll be fascinated to see what she produces in the future. She's got a real artistic talent (which you can also see at the website of her greeting card company), and it'll be interesting to see what she does when illustrating a story that's perhaps less familiar to its audience. The gentle charm of the plot works well for a very young audience here, but the prospect of this bright illustrative style with a bizarre adventure appeals greatly! Peely Wally is well worth a look.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

Milo's Pet Egg by Rebecca Elliott is another sweet egg book. For other eggy books, take a look at Egg by Alex T Smith, The Cow That Laid An Egg by Andy Cutbill, Baby Blue Egg by Mij Kelly and Mary McQuillan, The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett and Chick by Ed Vere

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