Book review: Gusto & Gecko Travel to Kenya

Gusto & Gecko Travel to Kenya
by Longy Han, illustrated by Elinor Hagg
HB RRP $22.95
ISBN 978-0-9943413-0-3
Reviewed by Jaquelyn Muller

The Curious Travels of Gusto & Gecko is a children’s picture books series that follows two dinosaurs, Gusto and Gecko, on their epic journey around the world. 

It is the first collaboration by Australian author Longy Han and Swedish illustrator Elinor Hagg that sees Gusto and Gecko travel to the wilds of Kenya in their Rombom travel machine. 

The dinosaur friends instantly come across an African lion and find themselves caught up in a race to get away from the king of the jungle and in doing so, they run into other members of the ‘Big Five’ in their natural habitats. 

The text encourages the book to be read aloud with many examples of onomatopoeia which will delight younger audiences. These also give insights into how the animals live and their characteristics. The font is easy to read and would be a popular inclusion for pre-school libraries as part of any animal or jungle focused learning. 

The cartoon illustration style by Hagg lightens the story and depicts the animals in humorous settings while still being faithful to their species with interesting facts about the animals delicately interwoven. Oranges, reds, browns and greens bring alive the landscape of Kenya. The high energy pages allow for Gusto and Gecko and the other characters to be hidden which continue to be a popular element of picture books. 

The fully bled glossy pages, end papers and hard back are of high production quality which will set up the series to be sought after and highly anticipated with each release.  

The next book in the Gusto and Gecko series will see the two cute characters travel to New Orleans in the United States, delving into the cultural heritage of Jazz and French influences. It is due for release in the second half of 2016.