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Perfect Presents

Authored by Anke Kuhl, translated by Melody Shaw
Illustrated by Anke Kuhl
Published by Gecko Press 2022

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Anke Kuhl is a German children’s book illustrator, and in Perfect Presents’ she has created an almost wordless book which is characterised by wit and charm and would be a perfect stocking filler (or is suitable for any gift-giving occasion) for children from Reception to Year 6.

In Perfect Presents, a diminutive lizard-like character arrives to deliver a series of presents to a much larger (and hairier) friend who then proceeds to eat each of the presents in turn. The question is where will his appetite lead him, and at what point will he stop devouring whatever comes into his home… In this single-event story, Kuhl successfully builds tension with each turn of the page, the naive illustrative style minimising distractions from the central thread of the story and leading the reader to the (surely) inevitable outcome of the larger-than-life friend’s appetite.

With younger children, this simple text will provide the thrill of emerging danger and building tension without any distressing outcomes that might cause upset. With older children, it provides an exemplar of how tension can be built, and then released, in a simple story. Or, of course, they could simply read it for the delight of the tale.