Jasper & Abby and the Great Australia Day Kerfuffle by Kevin Rudd and Rhys Muldoon

Published: 1st October 2010Goodreads badge
 Allen and Unwin
Illustrator: Carla Zapel
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

It was a special day at the Lodge. There was going to be a party. A big party. Abby the dog was there. Jasper the cat was there. But so was a scruffy little dog. The Prime Minister receives many letters and emails from children asking about Jasper and Abby, and he often tells his friends, colleagues, and staff stories of the antics of his family pets.

With Australia Day tomorrow I thought I would review a fun picture book all about our national day. This book was written by one of our Prime Minsters many years ago and it is inspired by the PM’s own cat and dog who lived in the Lodge with him. The book is co-authored by Rhys Muldoon and together they have created an enjoyable adventure about an important party and a slight kerfuffle.

With the premise of an Australia Day party at the PM’s house, the story manages to celebrate some wonderful things about our nation without going full Australian in our face either. There is a wonderful celebration of the resources of our nation and in a style that reminded me briefly of Possum Magic, they are listed with alliteration and short sentences that show off our produce, not to mention the wonderful regions around our country. All of this works within the story and the narrative is not pushed aside to just start listing great things about Australia nor is it overly simplified.

Jasper and Abby are the definite heroes of the story, and there are a few liberties taken in their understanding and capabilities. But they are still animals, talking to one another but not talking to the people.

Zapel’s illustrations are realistic and you can even see real pictures of Jasper and Abby at the fron of the book and see the resemblance. There is a lot of great detail in the fine line drawings, and I really loved how active all of the people appear to be. Kids aren’t standing straight, they are hanging off parents, and animals are mid scratch on chairs. It’s the small details like that which made me really focus on the pictures because it brought everything alive.

With short sentences often for each action or person there is a chance at a matching illustration so the mix of full page, double page and multiple small illustrations suit this story incredibly well because not only does it suit the action, but it allows a lot more to be visually explored than simply selecting a single scene.

I quite liked this story, I had forgotten that Rudd had even written it until I came across it at work. I’m glad I have read it now. This is a fun story filled with drama and chaos, and honestly a bit of suspense and tension too as you wonder will the culprit be caught before anything else goes wrong.

You can purchase Jasper & Abby and the Great Australia Day Kerfuffle via the following

Amazon | Amazon Aust

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