Saturday, October 6, 2012

Wendy



Staff Review by Chris Saliba

What is the story about?

Wendy is not your normal sort of chicken. Amongst other unusual talents, Wendy rides bicycles on her head, produces square eggs and rides a pogo stick (“beats walking!” a caption reads). In search of more daring adventures, Wendy takes to walking a tightrope. Ill advisedly, she waves to her farm animal friends from on high a little too energetically. A fall looks imminent.

Turn the page and we find the plucky Wendy in hospital beside Bob the Motorcycle Stunt Bear. He’s sustained some injuries from his rather hazardous line of work. Happily he tells Wendy there’s a job going at Monty McFloos Mostly Spectacular Traveling Circus.

Pretty soon Wendy is the star attraction, jumping multiple buses on her motorbike. Wendy’s jumps get bigger and bigger, as does her audience and fan base. She knows she’s really famous when The Pecking Order Post declares on its front page “Nothing Poultry about Wendy’s Next Jump.”

It can’t go on forever, though. The jumps get too big and eventually Wendy makes a spectacular crash. Back in hospital, Bob the Stunt Bear is recovered and ready to leave. He offers a double billing stunt act to Wendy, but she has had enough of the fast life and yearns to go back to the small farm she calls home.

Who wrote and illustrated the book?

Gus Gordon wrote and illustrated the story. Before taking up writing and illustrating he worked on cattle stations all over Australia. Gus has illustrated over 60 children’s books.

Why I liked this book

This is a laugh out loud story. Gus Gordon sprinkles Wendy’s adventures with lots of fun gags. For example, when Wendy's laid up in hospital after her spectacular crash, we learn on her patient board that she’s suffering such ailments as ‘ruffled feathers’ and a ‘broken wishbone’. 

Gus’s drawings are fantastic too. He mixes his fun, energetic style with the chicken humour in such a way that they complement each other perfectly. (Wendy’s blackboard plan for her Most Spectacular Jump is a hoot.)

If you want a good laugh and some escapist fun, then Wendy is just the ticket.

Wendy, by Gus Gordon. Published by Puffin. ISBN: 9780143504658  RRP: $14.95