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The Gecko and the Echo by Rachel Bright and Jim Field

The Book in (another) rhyme…

“Goldy the Gecko is a born performer,

Taking centre stage, he’s no bench warmer.

Life is a musical, life is a play,

But the others would rather he just went away.

He sings and dances his way throughout life,

Regardless of causing such trouble and strife.

He ventures out in the big wide expanse,

Before realising he gave no one else a chance.

As an echo teaches him ‘you get what you give,’

He figures that selfish is no way to live.

He expected all others to just fall in line,

Without giving anyone else their time to shine!

So by giving out kindness and raising others high,

He received so much love, right up to the sky!”

The series of books born from the collaboration between Rachel Bright and Jim Field are some of my all time favourite picture books that I return to again and again in schools. I was so excited to learn of a new title and so rushed out to get one (only for it to be sold out – it was that popular). Therefore I had to wait a little longer to get my hands on a copy. Lesson Learned: Preordering is Key!

Goldy the Gecko is a born star. Singing, dancing, strutting and prancing around the place but his self assurance overshadows his self awareness. Basically, he’s a pain in the neck to all the other geckos that frequent their living space.

After a particularly ill advised burping marathon, he leaves his home to make it big – just what he deserves. While singing around the canyon, he hears someone else singing songs just like him. It’s not until a small butterfly points out that’s it’s his echo, that he finally realises that he actually sounds awful and overpowering.

Returning home, he now realises the error of his ways and the echo has taught him one very important thing: ‘you get out, what you put in.’ So he resolves to send positivity and kindness into the world, encouraging and building others up, finding that it was the true key to stardom, just not in the way he thought.

Well I have to say, Rachel Bright has done it again. Just a wonderful story with so many themes relevant to young people. Her rhyming narrative is the best in the business and is always someone I look up to when writing my review rhymes as the rhythm is so clear and not an awkward line or transition in sight. (The same, however, can not be said about my rhymes sadly.)

I loved the message of showing kindness to others and allowing everyone a chance to shine in their own way instead of stealing the limelight all the time. We all know some extroverted people who love to be the centre of attention (I could be accused of this myself) but this is a great way to begin to build empathy and consideration for others in our smallest of people.

I also loved the message that whatever you put out in the world is exactly what you get back. If you work hard, you reap the rewards. If you are kind to people, people are kind back. Similarly, if you are a negative person, then people may avoid being around you.

Rachel has this brilliant way of rounding off her books with the most wonderful finishing lines that perfectly encapsulate the meaning of the book and here is no exception:

“And so, if we know that we,

Get what we give…

… then giving out love

Is a great way to live.”

Now if that’s not a perfect message to teach children then I don’t know what is!

Jim Field, as ever, creates a wonderfully colourful accompaniment with vibrancy and brilliantly engaging characters. He really captures just how annoying Goldy is!

For the fans of ‘The Lion Inside’, ‘The Koala who Could’, ‘The Squirrels who Squabbled’, ‘The Way Home for Wolf’ and ‘The Whale Who Wanted More’, this is the perfect addition to sit alongside those awesome stories.

The Gecko and the Echo was published on 13/10/22 by Hachette and so is available to buy now. Why not try purchasing from an independent bookshop who would really appreciate your custom.


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