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Review: Gusto & Gecko Travel to Kenya

Words: Longy Han

Pictures: Elinor Hägg

Kenya is the first in the series. (Cover image of 'Gusto and Gecko Travel to Kenya')

This picture book is the first in the Curious Travels of Gusto & Gecko series, and self-published by author Longy Han. One of the main drivers of this series – in which the title characters will visit different areas – was to introduce children to various cultures.

As someone who’s travelled fairly extensively (although nowhere near as much as Han), I’m often baffled by the dogged refusal of some tourists to experience the culture, and the highlight of the book for me was actually seeing Gusto and Gecko trying out the local activities.

The visual and textual narratives follow the duo as they jump in their travel machine, the Rombom, and emerge in Kenya. They inadvertently upset a lion, who chases them through the book. Eager young eyes will also follow the adventures of a trio of mice who hitch a ride with the dinosaurs, and look for the glimpses of the lion.

The text introduces collective nouns and uses sounds to push along the action, while the illustrations, with a variety of animals, have enough to interest a child who is reading on his or her own.

Read an interview with author Longy Han here.

This review was written based on an electronic copy of the book supplied for free by the author.

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