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Platypus (Viking Kestrel picture books) Hardcover – 30 Aug 2001
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Meet Platypus, a darling little character created by Chris Riddell for pre-schoolers with an appetite for fun. Platypus stars Platypus, one of the cutest children's books characters you are ever likely to encounter, with his button eyes, big flappy bill and webbed feet that allow him to flip-flop through the pages with an air of innocence and humour.
In this story, Platypus decides to head for the beach to collect something special to put in his box of favourite things. After much searching he finds an almost perfect shell, takes his prize home and tucks it safely under his pillow. But when he wakes, the shell has disappeared, and young Platypus gets himself in a terrible tizzy...
Bold illustrations, large easy-to-follow text and an engaging toddler-times story with a homespun familiarity that will charm small children, Platypus is an appealing little gem. (Ages 2 and over.) --Susan Harrison
About the Author
Chris Riddell was a student of Raymond Briggs at Brighton. He now works in a range of different areas of illustration, including political cartoons. He has illustrated many children's books, texts by other writers as well as his own. SOMETHING ELSE (text by Kathryn Cave) won the 1997 UNESCO prize and was shortlisted for the Smarties Prize and the Greenaway Medal. CASTLE DIARY (text by Richard Platt) was shortlisted for this year's Greenaway Medal. Chris lives in Brighton.
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A young platypus named... um... Platypus (no real creativity there) sets about his day collecting fun things to add to his special box. When he comes across a large curly shell, Platypus is certain he has found exactly the object he's been looking for. After taking it home, however, Platypus finds it missing. He locates it and brings it back only to find the same thing happen the day after that. What is going on?
The story isn't too complex, that's for certain. But I can see the occasional child growing quite fond of the rolly-polly little mammal. Author Chris Riddell draws in a style not too dissimilar from that of early Berkeley Breathed. There's a real Opus quality to his Platypus character. The story seems a tad dated. Aside from two old shoes (one of which is a yellow high top) Platypus seems to have a yen for collecting toys circa 1952. Marbles, bottle caps, and the like.
On the whole, this is not a book that's gonna blow you away. On the other hand, it's not going to offend you either. And kids may enjoy figuring out why the shell moves away on Platypus before he himself does. So while I can find no real reason to dislike "Platypus", the book is lacking that something extra separates the merely good books from the excellent ones. For the kid obsessed with Australian animals, this is a good starter story. For everyone else, you're not going to miss out if you somehow skip this book in your storytime.
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