I hope you are not reading this review on an empty stomach, because if you are, you are in grave danger of salivating as you read. You have been warned! Today I present to you a delightfully summery picture book, featuring a determined seagull who won’t let a few do-gooding signs get in the way of a good feed. I speak of Chip by Kylie Howarth, thoughtfully provided for review by the good folk at Five Mile Press.
Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
Chip, like most other gulls, is wild about chips. He likes fat chips, skinny chips, sandy or crunchy or soggy chips. But, most of all, he loves Joe’s chips from Joe’s Chip Van beside the sea. Chip, like most other gulls, can be a little intrusive on his search for chips. So, one day, Joe erects a sign near his van warning people not to feed the seagulls. Chip is devastated, so he plans a way to get back into Joe’s good books, thus gaining access once more to his favourite food. Will Chip succeed, or has he gone too far this time?
Read it if:
*you’ve ever participated in the crazy, arm-flailing, shouty ritual familiar to anyone who has ever tried to comfortably enjoy their chips in the presence of hungry sea birds
*you’ve ever, in the throes of hunger and overcome by the smell of salty, fatty goodness, contemplated dressing as a seagull and sliding in at the back of the flock as it pesters the unsuspecting, chip-eating public
*you’ve ever been forced to eat something healthy and discovered you like it at least as much as the salty, fatty goodness you have been consuming
From the greasy-looking endpapers to the incredible, fold-out page spread in the middle, Chip is a book that will have you cheering for our gullish hero, before rushing out to feast on some fish and chips. The story follows Chip, a chip-loving seagull, whose chip supply is suddenly cut off when his (and his fellow gulls’) behaviour leads to the posting of signs warning visitors not to feed the gulls.
When multiple stealthy attempts to obtain those little sacks of salty potato delight are thwarted, Chip and his friends must think outside the box if they ever want to taste the goodness of free food again. Now before you leap onto your soapbox, proclaiming the wrongs of feeding human food to wild creatures, the surprise ending of the book gently conveys this message while ensuring that Chip and his friends can still enjoy the odd, free culinary surprise.
The illustrations are bright and breezy, perfectly reflecting the gusty, open-aired fun of a day at the seaside. As we roll into winter down here in the southern hemisphere, Chip is just the sort of book that will have you itching to get out of doors to discover a pesky seagull pack of your own, before Queensland’s blisteringly cold winter keeps you inside for…oh I don’t know…three days at most!
I recommend Chip as a fun, holiday read-aloud and the perfect preface to a family day out. And while you get on with that, I’m going to send Mad Martha off to the local chippy. I’ve got a salty craving all of a sudden.
Until next time,