I Don't Like Koala - Sean Ferrell (Author) & Charles Santoso (Illustrator)
Just a note that I'm incredibly sorry I haven't been able to stay more current with my reviews as of late. I have become overwhelmed with working on my dissertation and keeping up with selection committee reading. But I assure you that no matter what is going on in life, I will keep trying to bring your attention to adorable, hilarious, creepy, thought-provoking, and sometimes downright disturbing literature. You're welcome!
Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy this review of I Don't Like Koala!
Adam does not like Koala. Koala is a little creepy.
Adam tries explaining this to his parents. He tries putting Koala away—far away. He tries taking Koala on a long, long walk. Nothing works. Will Adam ever be rid of Koala?
I know what everyone's thinking. How could this kid seriously NOT like a koala? I mean really. They're equated with cute and cuddly, sleepy and serene. But have you ever looked at their eyes? Adam has, and what he sees is just a tad creepy... okay, maybe more than a tad... Why don't you take a look for yourself:
His eyes are a little "off" and maybe he's not the most active little guy (not that that's stopped other children in picturebooks... just look at Sparky!) Adam tries to explain to his parents that he just doesn't like Koala. He tries to hide his koala in various places (under a couch, in his mother's purse, on top of the refrigerator, and any other places he can think of.) But "Koala is always there. In [Adam's] bed. On his pillow. Closer than close. His parents try their best to get Adam to like his koala, but Adam just can't figure out what to do, and his parents can't make Adam like the poor little guy. Until one fateful night when the shadows are out, and the darkness has crept in, and maybe, just maybe, the koala can be of some comfort after all.
The story itself is poignant and relevant to many adults and children. The concept of the strong or rebellious child who still need comfort deep down, is paired well with the adorable illustrations from Charles Santoso. Santoso's images are just plain hilarious, and he makes fabulous use of muted colours, white space, and comic book panels from time to time. The book also has adult appeal, and the story bleeds onto the end papers with some inside jokes for parents. And if you don't see that delightfully creepy koala gaze every time you close your eyes, then I feel sorry for you... really. I Don't Like Koala will delight your senses and tickle your funny bone.