Gusto & Gecko Travel to Kenya
This is a story about two dinosaurs, a travel machine and Kenyan wildlife. The adventure takes Gusto & Gecko to the rolling plains of Kenya where they stumble upon a ferocious lion and must run for their lives. Along the way, readers encounter Africa’s “Big Five” animals in their natural habitats, learn collective nouns and become little explorers.
FROM THE CRITICS
“Great descriptive writing that readers will want to dance along to, my favourite is ‘the rock… stretched and stretched like pizza dough’. I found a pleasant tension building as I tried to guess how the explorers would escape the chasing lion. They race for their lives into other groups of animals and we learn a lot about natural habitats. The text is perfectly matched by Hagg’s beautifully simple and kindly graphic-styled computer generated artwork.”
– The Children’s Book Council of Australia
“The text encourages the book to be read aloud with many examples of onomatopoeia which will delight younger audiences…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. 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.”
– Jaquelyn Muller Books
“Gusto & Gecko is so beautiful to hold and look at. The publishing is very impressive and of such a high quality. The embossing on the front cover creates a lovely feel to run your fingers across. The glossy, bright illustrations make it delightful.”
– Dream Big, Read Often
“Connecting with themes including teamwork and courage, ‘Gusto and Gecko’ primarily aims to broaden the minds and awareness of its young readers to our fascinating world and cultures within it. This book is humorous and suspenseful with a plethora of details to explore, including the two concealed dinosaurs and their little mice companions.”
– Just Write for Kids Blog
“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.”
– Alex Fairhill Blog
“[Gusto & Gecko] uses collective nouns and repetition and introduces young readers to different cultures, landscapes and animals in simple but engaging prose…Readers are invited to pore over the imagery to find the hiding lion, and Gusto and Gecko as they try to escape him. This is a wonderful text for children to learn about Kenya and its animals, and after I’m sure readers will be excited to see where these two little dinosaurs are off to next.”
“Small eyes will search on every page for a small family of cute mice which follow Gusto and Gecko on their adventures. There are many humorous vignettes such as sun-baking rhinos, baby elephants constructing peanut towers and leopards on swings. It’s all quite absurd but this sturdy, colourful book has lots of child-appeal.”
– BuzzWords Magazine
This book was released in October 2015, with its launch party at Dymocks Bookstore in Sydney on 10 October 2015. It sold out nationwide a month after its release! (See photos here). Another special launch party was held in Melbourne at Oakleigh Primary School, a community supporter of the project on 19 October 2015 (see photos here).
In addition, Longy is currently collaborating with RMIT University, School of Global, Urban and Social Sciences, to translate this book into different languages (Mandarin and Spanish). Stay tuned!