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Who Am I? by Gervase Phinn and Tony Ross

Longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2013

Who Am I? by Gervase Phinn and Tony Ross

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Fun illustrations and an entertaining jungle animal story.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: February 2012
Publisher: Andersen
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1849392884

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When a funny little creature hatches out of an egg deep in the jungle, all alone, he sets off to try and discover who he is. Wandering through the jungle he meets lots of different creatures and he asks each of them Who am I? but they are all mystified, able only to tell them who they are. Will he ever meet another creature just like him?

I know you're wondering already so I'll put you out of your misery - the creature is a chameleon. With each animal he meets he uses his colour changing ability to match their own skin, so when he meets the giraffe he becomes yellow with brown patches, and when he meets the elephant his skin gets grey and wrinkly-looking. We see him meet lots of other creatures, none of whom look like him, until he finally meets a crocodile. The crocodile suggests that the little creature hops up onto his nose and he will tell him what he is...Fortunately, just as he is about to become crocodile dinner, a voice calls out to him from someone who looks just like him only much bigger - his mummy!

The story is really well told. There's a good pace and the language is used cleverly to make it an engaging read as you read it aloud. There's repetition of certain words, and other words are printed in a bigger typeface to encourage you to emphasise them. I like that the little chameleon is so polite, always saying excuse me when he begins to ask someone if they know who he is, and as he meets each creature the pattern is the same with a polite response but the animal not knowing what he is. So, when you get to the crocodile you can instantly feel that something is wrong. My daughter did her usual trick of covering her eyes, almost as soon as I began reading the crocodile page, since she knew what was coming! Poor crocodiles do get a lot of bad press in picture books! Fortunately there's no sad ending here and mummy chameleon arrives just in time.

The only quibble I had with the story really was that there's no explanation as to what a chameleon is or how and why he's changing his colour all the time. It allows, of course, for a parent to sit and explain afterwards but I felt it wouldn't have taken much to add a little bit more information to the end of the story.

The illustrations are, as usual for Tony Ross, really well done. The little chameleon is rather cute and it's fun to see the different jungle animals he meets along the way. My favourite image is at the end of the book with mummy chameleon sitting on a rock watching all her little babies dancing and playing together - the babies are all different colours, and our own little chameleon is rainbow coloured!

A fun story that's lovely to share with little ones.

For more jungle fun try I Really Want To Eat A Child by Sylviane Donnio and Dorothee de Monfreid

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Buy Who Am I? by Gervase Phinn and Tony Ross at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Who Am I? by Gervase Phinn and Tony Ross at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Who Am I? by Gervase Phinn and Tony Ross at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Who Am I? by Gervase Phinn and Tony Ross at


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