Review: Berty Button Gets a Team

Berty Button gets a Team by Marina Bertolino

Berty Button Gets a Team by Marina Bertolino, Illustrated by Ryan Jones, Published by Berty Button Kids, Wodonga 2012 AU$17.95, or $9.95 for the eBook.

Berty Button is the brain child of Marina Bertolino, who is part of the actual bertybutton transport team, and was inspired by the joy trucks – especially their jelly bean covered trucks – bring to children.

This is a colourful little paperback picture book that my three-year-old, Elli, quite enjoyed.  The first in a planned series of eight books, it introduces Berty Button himself, along with his two friends Quartez and Mini. It follows their adventures in and around Perth, while Berty Button makes a long trip to take a load to Cairns, in Northern Queensland.

While engaging young children with the colourful illustrations which fill every page, not the mention the combined appeals of big trucks and jelly beans (what’s not to love?), the books themes include team work, making mistakes and getting past them. It also has a map of Australia at the beginning, tracing out Berty’s route from Perth all the very long way to Cairns, which my six year old found interesting. She was happy to listen to the story along with her little sister, but it will really be of more interest to the preschool aged child.

I read an article about Sara Blakely recently in which her success was at least partly attributed to her father’s daily question when she was a child “What did you fail at today?” The idea behind the question was not to make her feel bad, of course, but to highlight that when you try new things, you’ll fail some of the time. So lots of failures indicate lots of trying, pushing beyond the comfort zone.

I think one of the things Berty Button has going for it is that the new team makes some stuff-ups – well, mostly Mini does – but it’s not the end of the world. They do their best of fix the problems and move on: “I’m proud of you both,” Berty Button says after they tell him everything that happened while he was away. “Now we’re a real team.”

At time of writing, Berty Button is out of stock at Fishpond, but you can buy direct from the publisher, if you can’t find a copy in your local bookshop. Your kids can also join the VIK (Very Important Kids) club on the Berty Button Kids website for free, which supposedly is a savings of $47, though as far as I can tell it just puts you on an email list and they need to include a phone number to subscribe which seems a little odd.

This review is part of the 2013 Australian Women Writers Challenge.