Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch

Ages : 4-8
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

“My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch” by Graeme Base is my second pick for CROCUS 2009, featuring yet another "hi-energy" grandma and this time, not one but a plethora of exotic Australian animals and birds.

The story revolves around the wild and crazy adventures of Grandma who lives in a little Australian town with the native Australian animals and birds. Everyone knows Grandma's crazy lifestyle - carefree and full of fun.

The crux of the story centers around Grandma going on a seaside holiday with her pet wombat on her back, flying on a pelican over mountains and desert lands. The three, on their way, spend the night in an oasis, filled with strange creatures and of course, that makes wombat very nervous. Next morning, they manage to reach the seaside. Excitedly, Grandma changes into her bathing gear while wombat is fast asleep still and pelican has gone fishing.

What happens next? Grandma abruptly disappears on a blow-up horse because she gets carried by a tide. The narrator ends positively by saying, grandma must have drifted to an island and from there, she must have found her way to England or Spain or may be, even back in Gooligulch. And with that note, the story ends.

We adore children's books with rhyming text. And in My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch, you get a good doze of lilt too. The made-up town Gooligulch itself sounds funny, isn't it? The illustrations are intricate and full of life. The fact that the author is also the illustrator never fails to amaze me when it comes to picture books. Something to said about the way the book talks to you when the illustrations are done by the author himself/herself.

Not to miss, there's a good share of fantasy, made-up, improbable elements – grandma rides kangaroos, talks to coot, listens to wombats playing the lute. And as if that's not enough, Grandma also hosts crazy parties with emus and lizards and kookaburras as guests and goanna playing a game of two-up with rat and a dingo.

A word of caution - some elements of storytelling may be slightly overboard for some of us. For instance, there is one part in which "emus drink eucalyptus wine and spread gossip in less than sober state" that I didn't particularly care for. :-)

Although, on a positive note, I would like to end by saying that the book is full of fun and frolic. So many names of Australian wildlife one can learn about, some of which my kids were hearing for the first time - Australian birds such as galahs, rosellas, coots, magpies. So, next time you see a pelican or a kangaroo in your local zoo, think of Grandma's wild adventures and go wild with your imagination and may be, even take a make-believe trip to Australia with your children on your pretend kangaroo or pelican! :-)


Sheela said...

Grandma in a wild adventure? How fun! Reminds me of a more sedate My Granny Went To Market by Stella Blackstone which sounded very exotic back then, but, how can I not read it especially with wombat in it?!

Thanks, Praba, your enthusiasm is plastered all over this review!

Meera Sriram said...

That's a different kind of grandma we have here, like never seen before in Crocus - the enterprising, daring one:) Sounds like a lot of fun! And as you said, the fauna and flora of the continent is what is delighful! BTW, what happens to our sleeping wombat?

Praba Ram said...

Sheela & Meera- Thank you so much!

Yes, this grandma is certainly a character we'ven't come across so far...although, personally I loved the grandma character - has so many sides to her personality...animal lover, travel lover, doesn't give a hoot to what others think about her when they see her living with all the animals. Really nice in that sense.

Yes - M, only part I got a little confused was where she leaves on a blowhorse..How could she leave like that? What about her wombat and pelican? and all the other animals living in her house when they left for seaside vacation?? lots of kids liked the ending for sure.

Really wonderful writing by a wonderful author. Beautiful rhyming text...But, to be honest, I wasn't sure about the humor involving emus - I liked it as an adult, but for kids, that too little ones??? May be it's just me...also the book is also slightly old.

Sunita Venkatachalam said...

ROTFL - Grandma on an adventure ? :) Cute pick!

Choxbox said...

P, this totally is similar to 'birds, birds and more birds' by matt cosgrove. also set in aussie-land and also includes rosellas, galahs, lorikeets and cockatoos! and also a grandma, who is called nancy cornflower!

had found it in mint condition in an oxfam shop for 50 p! somebody obviously had no idea what a treasure they had!

Praba Ram said...

thnks, Poppy! :-

Chox - the Aussies love having Grandmas and bush in their stories, I guess!

I checked out another grandma Aussie story - thankfully, no animals/birds! It's a sweet tale. Will share it on ST soon. My kids (and I am for sure!) are getting a bit sick of wombats, just in the last one week! :-)

sathish said...

Praba, doesn't the grandma look a bit like the grandma in tweety, sylvester and granny series! :)

Praba Ram said...

sathish - LOL!! hmm, I remember that granny - grey bun, old-fashioned, long dress, good-natured...didnt she have an umbrella too that she would hit people with? :-)

No matter which place they come from, grannies are great, aren't they? :-)

Anusha said...

ooh, exotic animals...and an adventurous Grandma! what fun :) ditto Sheela - this review is energetic, like you!

utbtkids said...

OMG, what a grandma? Reminds me of my next door neighbor when I was a kid :)

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