Ready, Steady, Hatch (Ben Long, illus by David Cornish, Ford Street)
Ready, Steady, Hatch has to be read aloud. That’s where the magic is, in the rhythm and cadence of this amusing tale. The story of a lost newborn chick unfolds into an adventure, and Ben Long’s rhyme has a fast tempo that pulls you through to the end. The illustrations by David Cornish are full of whimsy, too. Cornish, the writer behind the ‘Monster Blood Tattoo’ trilogy, brings some of the humour of his own picture books I Don’t Want to Eat My Dinner and I Don’t Want to Go to Bed. The baby chicks are particularly cute, with a range of expressions that readers will want to follow. The format and layout of the text could have been more exciting, amplifying the rhyme. The few times that the text was incorporated into the imagery added a new dimension, changing the way the text was read. More of that playfulness would have made it a better reading experience, especially for children sounding out the words. Nonetheless, with mum and dad’s help, this book is a fun read for children aged up to five.
Suzanne Garcia is a bookseller at Mary Martin Bookshop Melbourne