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Reviewed by Amelia Griffiths - HOD English, Hauraki Plains College, Waikato
Opening sentence
Creaky old bed with rumpled sheet, sunburned skin and sandy feet.
'At the Bach' is a relatable, feel-good picture book that captures the feel of a classic Kiwi summer at the… you guessed it, bach. This is a read-aloud dominated by nostalgic images - from the muted watercolour palette to the classic scenes of bunk beds, bucket hats and the family kitchen. For the adult reader, it will be a romp down memory lane, for a child, a relatable journey, mirroring their summer experiences.

There is also a nice rhythm to the writing itself that gently carries you across each page and yet, even for a picture book, the narrative seems a little sparse. Yes each page contains a fun, nostalgia filled snapshot, but there is little to develop a story that feels like it actually ‘goes’ anywhere or does anything. Perhaps this is the point; every aspect of the book giving off that laid back Kiwi vibe.

In the end, with the bias of my story-arc loving thoughts put to one side, I could imagine a beginning reader gaining much satisfaction from conquering each page and the memories immortalised within 'At the Bach' appealing as much to the older reader as their listener.
Author & Illustrator: Joy Cowley, Illustrator: Hilary Jean Tapper
Publisher: Gecko Press
ISBN: 9781776575367
Format: Hardback
Publication: Sep 2023
Ages: 1-3 years
Themes: Family summers