Green Gecko moves through its morning on high alert, narrowly escaping a predatory bird.
The initial double-page spread reflects the high quality of artwork and layout throughout the book. The gecko that suns itself among branches laden with pale, unidentified flowers is not anthropomorphized, from its nonhuman eyeballs to its textured, dappled-green skin. Simple text informs readers that Gecko has arisen with the dawn and is now “basking in the treetops, soaking up the sun.” With each page turn, nongendered Gecko sports a different body position and/or mouth detail. The art supports minimal, loosely rhythmic text that uses many different verbal phrases to describe both the lizard’s movements in its environment and its methods of gathering food and drink for its mostly insectivorous diet. Every page includes, in bold print, “Watching out for danger,” followed by how that is done—as in “looking here and there” or “looking up and down.” A clever foldout—inspiration for the book’s title—precedes Gecko’s quick retreat after a bird, represented by a glimpse of a huge blue wing, threatens it. The text here bears similarity to the tried-and-true “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” offering opportunities for participation. Observant children will notice how close Gecko comes to being captured. Disappointingly, the scientific facts at the end do not mention the phenomenon of tail regeneration.
Who knew a gecko’s life could be so thrilling? (Informational picture book. 4-8)