It’s great to start off the year with a picture book by my favourite New Zealand author and illustrator, Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley. Their junior fiction series, Dinosaur Rescue was among the best New Zealand books for children last year and I’m sure we’ll see more in the series in 2012. Their first picture book together is called The Story of Bo and the Circus That Wasn’t and was written in collaboration with Telecom customers.
The Story of Bo and the Circus That Wasn’t is about a sheep called Bo who has always dreamed of being an acrobat. He’s not going to let the fact that he’s a sheep or that he’s afraid of heights get in the way of his dream. However, Bo lives in a country where circuses are forbidden, so he works in secret on his sparkly blue uniform and his ‘sheepachute’. His friends are right behind him and want to help him live his dream, but can he overcome his fears?
This story about a brave wee sheep has all the excitement, thrills and colour of the circus. For a story that has been pieced together from different people’s ideas it flows really well and it will enthrall children. As I was reading I could still hear Kyle’s humour shining through. I always love Donovan Bixley’s illustrations and this book is no exception. Donovan’s colourful characters leap off the page and brighten up their dreary world.
The Story of Bo and the Circus That Wasn’t is a wonderful story that children will love. Everyone should go and grab a copy from their local bookshop as all the royalties from the book go towards “helping the Telecom Foundation make real, measurable improvements to the lives of children all around New Zealand.” Available in stores in February.
4 out of 5 stars