2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards Finalist: Melu by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly

Melu by Kyle Mewburn, Ali Teo and John O’Reilly is a finalist in the Picture Book category of the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.  I’m a huge fan of Kyle Mewburn’s and I love Ali and John’s illustrations.  It’s a wonderful picture book and I’m glad to see it as a finalist.  I reviewed it in April last year,  so if you want to hear all about it and find out what makes it such a worthy finalist, read on.

Have you ever felt like you don’t quite belong?  Have you ever wanted to just stop doing the same old boring thing, day in, day out and go off in search of something better?  If you answered yes to these questions then Melu by Kyle Mewburn, and illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly is the perfect book for you.

Melu is a mule who lives with the rest of his herd, high up in the sun-baked hills, on a rocky island floating in a glittering green sea.  They’ve always clip-clop around the hills in the same direction, but Melu is different.  He doesn’t clip-clop, he clop-clips, and he imagines himself galloping across fields and splashing in the sea.  One day Melu decides to go off in search of the fields and the sea.  Along the way he meets Goat and Bull who are different just like him and they join him in his search.

Melu is an absolute winner!  The story is full of Kyle Mewburn’s witty humour and it’s a real joy to read.  Kids will identify with Melu because he’s different and full of dreams.  Kyle uses lots of descriptive language, like splashing and glittering, which make the story fun to read, and I love the way each of the animals talk (they each have their own voices in my head).  Ali Teo and John O’Reilly’s illustrations are bold and really make Kyle’s character’s shine.  They’re quite simple illustrations but the character’s faces and body language are so expressive.  My favourite illustration is near the end when they’re in the sea because they’re just so happy.  Not only is Melu a fun story with wonderful illustrations, it also shows children (and adults) that it’s OK to be different and stand out from the crowd.

5 out of 5 stars

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2 Comments

Filed under books, children, New Zealand, Picture Book Nook, picture books

2 responses to “2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards Finalist: Melu by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly

  1. Great review (as usual). Like most kiwi writers I always wait with bated breath to see what several key reviewers in NZ think about my latest work. And I must say, for me the PB Nook is right up the top of the list because I know if YOU like it, then kids will surely like it too. Which is the main thing in the end. And I agree whole-heartedly with your comments about the illustrations. I’m astounded by how Ali has managed to imbue the characters with such personality using a couple of well-placed lines. Magic! BUT one small quibble – Melu is actually an anagramatic mule, not a donkey. Sorry for being such a nit-picker but, well, you know …

    • zackids

      Thanks for your kind comments Kyle. Sorry for the mix-up. I’ve fixed that up now so everything should be OK.

      I think someone needs to start up a Kyle Mewburn fan club (if there isn’t one already). I’m sure there would be heaps of members :-)

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