The Anzac Biscuit Man by Peter Millett
We all know the story... once upon a time an old couple who loved baking fresh biscuits discover a recipe and bake a gingerbread man. However, they hear a cry coming from the oven, and out pops a walking, talking biscuit.
But this story is different. The author of Classic Rhymes for Kiwi Kids Peter Millett puts a uniquely Kiwi spin on the much-loved tale.
The gingerbread man is out, and instead the Anzac biscuit man is desperate to escape from the 'hotter than a barbecue' oven.
Millett takes the Anzac biscuit man and the old couple on a distinctively local chase, as every man and his horse try their best to dunk the deliciously cheeky biscuit.
The story includes loads of fun Kiwi colloquialisms and icons - from 'rattle your dags' to 'tickety-boo', flax bushes to hokey pokey gumboots. There is no questioning over where exactly this book is set.
Millett has done a wonderful job in keeping with the original, while not being afraid to put his own spin on things. There's no clunky sentences or long stretches to make things fit.
Illustrator Shaun Yeo's cartoons add to the fun of the story. They are expressive, richly detailed, and polished. His characters are full of expression and movement.
The designers of the book have also had fun playing with the text layout and colour. Each character 'speaks' in a different colours, which aids younger readers in understanding dialogue. This simple yet effective design work also makes the book a fun addition for a classroom. Older readers could craft their own plays from the book alone, with most of the hard work of separating parts done for them.
A recipe for Anzac biscuits is also included at the back of the book. This is a nice touch and once again, makes it perfect for a classroom especially. The Anzac Biscuit Man could spark an entire unit based around the book - cooking, technology, visual arts, literacy, numeracy, could all be covered, and of course the more deeper context of Anzac biscuits.
The Anzac Biscuit Man is a cheeky and fun read with a simple Kiwi twist to a much-loved tale.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
Bateman Books, RRP $19.99