Help Me! by Paul Geraghty
|Help Me! by Paul Geraghty|
|Genre: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: A heart-warming look at real animal behaviour around an African waterhole. Fanatical animal lovers will devour it, but others might just want to borrow it from the library instead. Worth a look.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 32||Date: October 2010|
|Publisher: Andersen Press|
|External links: Author's website|
At the waterhole, the elephants wander by, an impala watches and waits, and a tortoise makes his way slowly to the water's edge. One animal after another gets into trouble, and is helped by an unlikely ally. It all makes for an amazing day with the wildlife of Africa.
Help Me! is a heart-lifting book about unexpected aspects of animal behaviour. It's based on real instances that have been observed in the wild. Two of the three examples were moving and inspiring, but the third - whilst just as true - took me out of the story. It involves a crocodile helping a struggling baby turtle down to the water in its jaws. Although the underlying premise is that nature isn't always red in tooth and claw, this just seemed such an outlying example of crocodile behaviour as to be distracting. (Maybe I'm just too cynical!) If I were very young, without a deeper understanding of how animals are, I'd find it more confusing than amazing.
Paul Geraghty's illustrations are charming, leaning heavily towards realism, but with particularly expressive eyes. If you give yourself over fully to the story, they suit the text perfectly. Young animal fans will particularly enjoy poring over every page, drinking in all the different types of animals, and admiring the backgrounds. I particularly enjoy the way Geraghty paints trees - his landscapes add strongly to the mood and make for a beautiful book.
The text is clear and direct, with just enough expression to sell the story, but not so much as to make it terrifying for the little ones. The vocabulary is ideal for sharing with young book fans, or for those who are learning to read for themselves. The plot is the whole point of the book, but if Help Me! were to be a much-loved favourite, read time and time again, it could have done with being developed a little further. Fanatical animal lovers will devour it, but everyone else might prefer to borrow it from the library instead. Worth a look.
My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
There are other beautiful animal pictures in Animal Gallery by Brian Wildsmith. For a more light-hearted look at African animals, check out Marvin's Funny Dance by Sarah McConnell. My Animals by Xavier Deneux takes a less realistic view of animals, but it's an utterly gorgeous book.
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