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Sunday, September 20, 2015

I don't Like Koala, written by Sean Ferrell and illustrated by Charles Santoso. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster. 2015. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"Every night when it is
time to go to bed,
Adam has the same routine:

He takes a bath.
He puts on his pajamas.
He brushes his teeth ...

and he tries to get rid
of Koala."

It is evident before opening this wonderfully funny book that the young boy is not thrilled with his stuffed koala. Why? we wonder. What has happened?

Oh, it's a gift ... with scary eyes, no personality, and little to make the boy happy. So, he isn't. Adam decides immediately that he doesn't like koala. He tries to protect himself with the gift box top before Koala is even out of the box. It's those 'terrible' eyes always focused on Adam.

Adam does his best to let his parents know why he feels the way he does. They don't understand; so, Adam takes things into his own hands, doing his very best to rid himself of Koala. He spends much of his time hiding Koala in all manner of places. Koala always comes back. Every morning Adam finds him on his pillow, sharp nails digging into his cheek - it's much too close!

He takes Koala on a meandering journey, all in an effort to lose him. Nope, Koala is back by the time Adam returns. Despite his many protestations, his parents refuse to hear Adam. Koala persists, always there, always watching. It's almost too much. In the end, a very loud and scary storm may be just the thing to cement a relationship between the two. Snuggled down and close to sleep, Adam finds comfort in Koala's proximity and professes his love for his stuffed buddy. It's Adam's father who provides the last laugh.

Full of fun and sure to elicit laughter from listeners, Sean Ferrell has written an inventive tale that, when read without illustrations, makes perfect sense. Add Charles Santoso's witty pencil artwork, done in shades of blue, gray and brown, and the enjoyment is upped to an entirely new level. His koala is pretty disturbing with its piercing eyes, lack of mouth and spiky look. The textures and remarkable detail engage and entertain with wit and charm. The surprise ending is just perfect!


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