By Author / Illustrator
Wendy Meddour, Carmen Saldana
Oxford University Press
Paperback / softback
Howard thinks he's the most exceptional creature in the rainforest-that's because no other creature is as exceptionally camouflaged as him! But when he learns that the rainforest is full of other camouflaged creatures, he begins to wonder: 'Who will like me if I'm just . . . an average gecko?' Thankfully Howard meets Dolores (another average gecko) and he discovers that you don't have to be exceptional to be loved-and those that love you will never think you'reaverage at all.
Howard the Average Gecko is an engaging story with beautiful illustrations that all young children can relate to as they learn to develop their social and emotional understanding. Howard believes he is the only creature in the rainforest that can camouflage. Because of this unique talent, he feels that he is special and prize-winning, that he is the cleverest and most extraordinary creature in the rainforest. However, when he discovers that there are many other creatures with this environmental survival adaption, he is distraught that he is just 'average'.
Being average, he believes, makes him unlovable. But when an unexpected voice announces that they will love him, Howard is confused by what are where it has come from. Emerging from the leaves comes the most beautiful creature Howard has ever seen… another gecko, Dolores. Immediately, Howard is overwhelmed by how magnificent this average gecko is. Together they watch the sunset and together camouflage into the setting. All whilst sat on a hairy branch..!
An ideal text to use in science to cover the topics of environments and animal survival behaviours and adaptations. In PSHE, this is very suited to introduce the topics of individual strengths, personal qualities, talents and collaboration. It can be used to initiate discussions about how Howard was oblivious to his surroundings and focused on himself. It is a perfect reminder that everyone is perfect just as they are.
Picture book / Reviewed by Maria Faithorn, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 3+
Howard the average gecko is a well illustrated book for children. It centres around Howard, a rather boastful gecko who struts his stuff around the forest boasting how wonderful he is. Howard believes he is the king of camouflage and drives the other animals crazy telling them all. However, they soon get a bit sick of him and make no bones about telling him to give it a rest, as there are many camouflaged creatures in the forest.
When Howard realises this he soon becomes disheartened at the fact that he is in fact just average. He wonders who will like him if he is just average and, while the other animals reassure him that being average is ok, it takes Howard coming across another lizard, Delores, to realise that being average will be ok.
This book would be good to use alongside a science topic on animals or when looking at animals and their habitats. It would also be useful along side PSHE work around accepting who we are. I have to say I didn't enjoy the story as much as I have others by Wendy Meddour. However, as a good bedtime story it work just fine.
Suggested Reading Age 3+