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Gorkle is a gremlin who lives in cyberspace. He doesn’t like where he lives, it’s a miserable place because there are no bright colours anywhere. He likes the look of Earth. He really likes the brightly coloured text messages that humans send to each other, which he tries to keep.
One day, Gorkle is visited by two humans from Earth who are looking for the text messages that Gorkle has been keeping.
What will happen when they all meet?
From debut picture book author, Penny Macoun, comes flying in this extraordinary world where the imagination is free to explore. So imagine, your technological form of communication; that is, the SMS or MMS (aka text messages), literally go missing because some gremlin in cyberspace is messing with the order of things! Introducing ‘Gorkle’ – the culprit, however completely oblivious and unintentionally impulsive in his obsession with the colourful, shiny objects that grace his own miserably dull and lifeless planet of Cybron.
Children in the early primary years will feel the emotions and understand the complexities of the several themes underlying this light-hearted story. For example, the urge that curiosity has over keeping irresistible possessions that don’t belong to you – I know my own daughters have succumbed to that with items found in the school yard! The book also covers feelings of loneliness and longing for friendship and connection, which is nicely tied up at the end, despite all the chaos caused throughout the story. The main premise, being connection and communication, raises scope for discussion around the social benefits of technology, the complications of technology, as well as the importance of being mindful of the consequences of online interactions.
Penny Macoun writes in a humorous, energetic tone, similarly matching the vivacious and brightly coloured illustrations by Anam Akram. The reds, purples and blues pop on the pages with the digital media used suited brilliantly to the nature of the story. Readers will find Gorkle and his new human mates endearing and friendly.
Gorkle is a fun and thoughtful book centring around technological advancements in the digital communications arena, with the theme of friendship at its helm. A colourful book that will get children talking!
Review by Romi Sharp
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