Kali Stileman
(Red Fox)

Peely Wally is a small bird who lives at the top of a very high tree. One day she lays an egg and it is so perfect in every way, that jumps up and down with excitement and glee. But, disaster, the egg rolls off the branch and goes off on its own adventure. Will Peely Wally be able  to catch up with it and take it safely home?

This wonderfully bright picture book ticks all the boxes to be a huge success with its intended audience. It is very colourful, full of  mischievous and exotic animals and has a great repetitive text.

Young children will enjoy tracing the dotted trail that the egg follows, and will be delighted by the conclusion of its journey, as it hatches and the reader discovers flaps which when lifted uncover the gorgeous multicolour baby bird hiding inside the egg (and this warrants my only criticism of the book: the pages could have been made more robust for this purpose). They will also enjoy spotting the little butterfly which appears on every spread.

There is something utterly comical and wacky about Peely Wally’s appearance and she certainly does not live up to her name (which apparently means pasty or pale-looking, see here). The artwork looks simple but is actually quite intricate. I love collage when it is done well, and it certainly is the case here, conveying the right atmosphere for the story; there is something reminiscent of some of Eric Carle’s work, but this is very much Kali Stileman’s own style here, and it works really well.
Peely Wally is a very convincing début from newcomer Kali Stileman, and I look forward to its sequel, this time focusing on the baby bird, entitled Time for Tea Polly Wally, which is due to be released in June.

All illustrations © Kali Stileman