by Juliette MacIver & Sarah Davis, illustrator
Gecko Press USA 2014
Age 3 to 7 32 pages
“Toucan Can Do Lots of Things! Toucan Dances! Toucan Sings! Toucan Bangs a Frying Pan! Can You Do What Toucan Can? A tongue-twisting, ludicrous rhyme full of escalating hilarity and off-the-wall characters. It will have you tripping and flipping and dancing and singing.”
If Toucan can, YOU can!
“Toucan can do lots of things!”
What can you do? Toucan can do many things and might have toddlers showing off what they can do, too. Toucan and his group of goofy animal friends will have you and your child laughing. The rhyming text works in all but three couplets, where the beat goes bonk. Otherwise, the lines will roll off your tongue until your tongue is twisted. All this tongue-tying will add to the fun. With a couple run-throughs, you can have those lines sounding like Toucan can read, because Toucan Can!
The illustrations have a high-end coloring book look, but with child-like coloring; meaning, as example, the purple of Toucan’s not very big bottom blotches beyond the border. Characters and background images consistently bleed. The illustrator’s technique or a printing problem? Curious and not wanting to criticize something I didn’t understand, I asked the illustrator. Here is what she wrote,
“The bleed is deliberate – for this book I wanted to find a style of working that was really loose and energetic, and the opposite of neat and precise. I hand painted tissue and then laid torn chunks of it down, then did the linework and detail on top. The idea with letting the colour bleed out around the edges is that there’s so much life and movement in the text that it can’t be contained. Toucan is such an irrepressible character that I didn’t want to colour him inside the lines – he needed some chaos.”
Every character, on every spread, is moving. “Happy Chaos” is a good description of the spreads, as the animals swing from trees, twirl, and dance. An exception to the merriment is a joey in mama’s pouch. I fear Toucan might have awakened the joey from its snug pouch. It takes only a minute—one spread—to soften the joey’s slanted eyebrows and rolled up fists. Mama’s energy is still passing to her baby.
The text is fun to read a-loud and young children will enjoy hearing all Toucan can do. When asked if “you” can do what Toucan can, young children will be out of their seat bopping about, jumping, skipping, and singing, but mainly dancing. All the animals love to dance and they all dance with exuberance. Very contagious.
Originally published by Gecko Press in New Zealand, Lerner Publishing Group brings Toucan Can to the US and Canada. Toucan Can has hilarious images, interactive suggestions to keep young kids moving and laughing. The rhyming text and tongue twisters will keep the reader—mom or dad—determined to get it right, making Toucan Can a book young kids will have no trouble getting their parents to read over and over.
TOUCAN CAN! Text copyright © 2013 by Juliette MacIver. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Sarah Davis. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Gecko Press USA, Wellington, NZ.
Learn more about Toucan Can! HERE.
Meet the author, Juliette MacIver, at her facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Juliette-MacIver-Author/509684365718086
an imprint of Gecko Press Ltd.
Also by Juliette MacIver
Also by Sarah Davis