The Pocket Chaotic – review

Written by Ziggy Hanaor Illustrated by Daniel Gray-Barnett

Published by Cicada Books ISBN 978-1-908714-80-0

Review by Derek Brazell

A lively book with a pleasing dash of neon orange in the illustrations (always like a spot colour!), The Pocket Chaotic is the story of joey Alexander who hangs out in his kangaroo mother’s pouch, as joeys do. Only trouble is, as she has a tendency to chuck loads of stuff into her pouch along with Alexander, he’s finding it hard to keep this cosy, warm space tidy.

Daniel Gray-Barnett’s brush stroke line is simple but lively and brings enjoyable movement to the page. Tails swish, eyes roll and stuff flies around, bringing the ‘chaotic’ of the title into the images with gusto. The spot orange gives extra punch to the illustrations – an effective touch which adds to the book’s qualities.

Alexander tries to organise the overwhelming number of items in the pouch, but to no avail, and his mum just doesn’t seem to care. Or maybe she is gently encouraging him to vacate the familiar, parental embrace of the pouch? The mess is finally too much, and the little kangaroo ejects himself from the chaotic pouch, finally moving into his own bedroom. But is that going to work – a super tidy bedroom, with an old scarf of mum’s to remind him of the pouch? He may find he wants a more familiar element of his previous environment….

A sweet story about breaking free from a parent, The Pocket Chaotic is an amusing tale (tail?) with sprightly illustrations that is great to read out loud and may encourage little ones to explore their independence in new environments.

14th April 2021

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