Po-Tolo, Plan Bee From Outer Space – written and illustrated by Olly Oliver
Po-Tolo immediately translates in my head to ‘PotHole’ which is a bit of a strange name for a character I thought. The front cover features shiny, metallic looking, cartoon like creatures that don’t particularly attract me if I’m being truthful. This is personal taste though, I just naturally gravitate towards natural looking illustrations. These are all strange looking creatures with huge bug eyes. Definitely eye catching, if not eye popping. The kids liked the look of it though, especially Sausage.
Right, I’ll attempt to summarise the plot for you. Po-Tolo comes to earth from another planet in a spaceship called Nommo, he is looking for help because his world has lost all its bees and their planet is dying. He meets a bee called Izzy and a purple octopus called Lop and asks if they can encourage any of their bee friends to come back to his planet to help save it. Then it all goes a bit wierd….Po-Tolo gets stung by a wasp which punctures his spacesuit. Izzy flies off to find a puncture repair kit and Lop then re-inflates Po-Tolo’s spacesuit by huffing and puffing.
After this crisis is averted Izzi tells Po-Tolo that the queen bee has given her permission for ‘two legions’ of earth’s bees to go back with him. Lop oversees the bog-eyed bumblebees as they load onto the spaceship, and Po-Tolo has a ‘bumblecuddle’ with Izzy. ‘Plan Bee’ is therefore a sucess, and Po-Tolo goes home and the bees aid the planet’s recovery.
All in all, it’s a rather confusing plot which doesn’t quite make sense to me. But there’s plenty of chances to make silly noises, ie. bees going ‘Bzzzzzz’ and spaceships going ‘Wob, Wob, Wob’ and a huge ‘AATCHOO!’ from Izzy who inexpicably has hayfever. You can beat silly noises in kids books!
‘Po-Tolo’ is not a bad read, but I wouldn’t say it’s a great one. The kids quite liked it, but not much more than that, and if I’m being honest I’m not keen. This surprised me, I love bees and I think it’s an important message to get across to children. The world does need bees! But where purple octopi, bees with hayfever and the importance of puncture repair kits come into the message – I haven’t a clue!
If you think this is more your kind of thing than ours, you can find a copy here for £6.99 on the Top That Publishing website. They very kindly sent me a copy to review, no other financial reward was given.