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Thirsty Work

Munkle Arvur and the Big Dry by Nikki Slade Robinson (Scholastic NZ, $20)
Reviewed by Linda Dawley

Munkle_ArvurThe cover of this book, as much as the title, tells us about the subject matter. A fish, standing on its tail collecting drops of water beside a sign, ‘water is precious!’ alerts us to trouble within. Nikki Slade Robinson, with her innate sense of colour and magical drawings has created a vehicle to deliver a message of conservation. The perils of waste and dirty water are illustrated in a humorous way with comical characters but the underlying message is clear—’no life can survive; without water we die!’

Munkle Arvur comes to the rescue when ‘the Bod’ came creeping in the night to steal the town’s water supply. There is no bathwater, no frogs croak, and vege gardens sprout ‘limpulous leeks’.  Munkle Arvur mounts his bike, tracks down the culprit and restores the water supply. Fish can swim, plants thrive and the dam was turned into a holiday spot so the water and space were not wasted. Everyone can enjoy the water and natural resources.

The disaster caused by the loss of the town’s water is tempered by the actions of Munkle Arvur as he tracks down the greedy selfish bod and literally pulls the plug on him—so his butt is stuck in the hole in the ground.

This delightful romp through Tikaroo town demonstrates the importance of water that is ‘gooder than good’ and loved by all.

I loved the colour, flow and characters in this book. The humour will appeal to children and adults. A lasting message of conservation is delivered in an easy, fun manner.