Words and Music, Gerry Paul with Illustrations by Tom Armstrong
Wacky Tales Publications
Gerry Paul is a musician who has played with the likes of Tim O’Brien and Sharon Shannon and in 2010 his novelty/kids song Hank The Wrestling Shark won the Grand Prize at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Teaming up with Melbourne-based Kiwi artist Tom Armstrong, Paul took his song lyrics and made a book – a beautiful, vibrant, fun-filled book for kids.
But the inventive typesetting and use of colours and font-changes to convey certain words gives it an element of surprise that is helpful for adults reading the book over and over – and creates another educational offering. Or several, actually. Repeat reads of this book offer new visual focuses.
I’ve had more experience in the last year when it comes to reading stories aloud, something I’d mostly avoided until having a child of my own, and Hank The Wrestling Shark has been one of Oscar’s favourite books – and easily one of my favourites to read to him. The jaunty seesawing sea-shanty rhythm of the song plays through when the words are spoken – and the book comes with a three-track CD featuring the tune and two other songs from Gerry Paul’s album, Tales From The Sea & An Elephant Tree.