Where Are You Banana? by Sofie Laguna and Craig Smith (Illustrator)
|Where Are You Banana? by Sofie Laguna and Craig Smith (Illustrator)|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Lorraine McDonald|
|Summary: Roddy’s dog, Banana, is his best friend, so when his pal goes missing he will not rest until he is found. This is a story of family, neighbours, and relationships - human and canine. The author’s candid observations of everyday life make for a warm and life affirming tale.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: March 2014|
|Publisher: Murdoch Books|
Banana. It may not be the most obvious name for a dog but it’s the name of Roddy’s pet. Apparently it was Roddy’s first word, spoken, by coincidence, when the new pup arrived. A tad precocious and serendipitous as first utterances go but I’m going to let that one slip as, dog name aside, Where Are You, Banana? contains some delicious observations of family life captured in both written and painted form.
Banana, a dog of indeterminable breed (Bassett hound? Large Daschund?) is Roddy’s lifelong friend. We see boy and dog sleep together, play together and hang out in the shed. Banana has some bad habits. Chewing things. Chasing things. Disturbing Mr Bray the next door neighbour with his howling. Banned from a trip to Aunt Celia’s, Banana digs a hole and makes a bid for freedom… Roddy can’t rest until he is found. Will he be reunited with his canine pal?
For a picture book, Where Are You, Banana? achieves an unusual and satisfying depth. The relationship between boy and hound is very sweetly portrayed. Children with beloved pets will recognise elements of this. Children without will gain an insight in to the joys and trials of dog ownership. In a limited number of pages, there are some surprisingly accomplished characterisations. I loved Mr Brey, the grumpy neighbour who rises to the challenge of Banana’s rescue, and Celia, the Aunt whose ban on Banana inadvertently leads to his escape.
This is a warm and realistic depiction of family life. Dad has to look after the twins so that Mum can supervise Banana’s bath. Toys litter the house. Mum has to hold a door bouncer with a panda in it to one side to get in to a room. One twin wears a hand me down bunny T-shirt that Roddy was wearing when he first named Banana. In one of the many lovely water colours that illustrate this book, Dad’s buttons are seen straining to cover his gut. There will be something familiar and reassuring for most children in here.
Where Are You, Banana? includes a link to two audio recordings, one for bedtime, narrated by the author, and one for schools. These are great to give Mum or Dad a night off, especially the latter version read by Erick Mitsak whose yowls woke the cat up and had her scanning the room for Banana.
Some mild peril and adventure feature in this story but primarily this is a warm book reflecting the dynamics of family life. It’s a lovely story to share. Be warned though, it may leave your child requesting a Banana of their own!
You can read more book reviews or buy Where Are You Banana? by Sofie Laguna and Craig Smith (Illustrator) at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Where Are You Banana? by Sofie Laguna and Craig Smith (Illustrator) at Amazon.com.
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