Review Blog

Nov 11 2011

Murgatroyd's garden by Judy Zavos

cover image

Ill. by Drahos Zak. Walker Books, 2011. ISBN 9781 921720 52 9.
(Ages: 5 +) Picture book. Recommended. The cautionary tale of what happens if you do not allow your parents to wash your hair, is given full reign in this very funny story of Murgatroyd and his dislike of getting his hair washed. His parents try to do this task, but he so dislikes it, he screams and the screams radiate all over the city, causing mayhem to commoner and rulers alike. Women's skirts fly up, umbrellas are wrenched from people's hands, the mayor cannot give his speech, the quuen's crown falls to the ground and is smashed and the president loses his suitcase, all of its contents spilling onto the ground. So what to do? The queen orders the parents never to try again and so the hair grows and grows, filling up with flowers and trees and vegetables. neighbours pick the flowers and veggies, but Murgatroyd becomes weaker an weaker, trying to hold up his enormous garden of hair, so that he is forced to ask his parents to cut it off. A neat resolution to the problem makes everyone happy.
The story is augmented with delightfully whimsical illustrations. Richly detailed, enticing children to look more closely, the illustrations will also make the parent laugh at the little things hidden in the pictures. Why has the president a high heeled shoe in his luggage for example? The hair is full of interesting little things which younger children will delight in searching out.
First published in 1986, Murgatroyd's garden was named an honour book in the CBCA list that year, along with Animalia (Graeme Base)
Walker Books has republished this along with many other Australian Classics, all listed at the back of this book, along with information from both the author and illustrator and the 1986 publisher.
Fran Knight

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