Book Review: Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon

Disguised as an LP record, Herman and Rosie is a story with depth and soul. It is a story about living life, feeling lonely and finding a friend in the big, wide world. (and just secretly, it is one of my favourite books of the year)

Herman and Rosie is about two uber-cool musicians living in New York City. Gus Gordon paints a beautiful and comprehensive picture of both characters, who each lead separate lives for the majority of the story. As readers, you’ll walk away from the book feeling like they are your own friends.

There are certain things that make Herman and Rosie’s hearts sing (for Herman it’s the smell of hotdogs in the winter; for Rosie it’s a toffee that sticks to her teeth). But, like many of us, Herman and Rosie, get caught up in the mundane motions of living in a big city.

Herman and Rosie both stumble upon some speed humps when a series of unfortunate events are thrown their way. They each enter a phase of sadness, loss and confusion. Eventually they both let music creep back into their hearts. And, it is the music that leads them to each other. For Herman and Rosie, the big city is such a wonderful place when they can share it with each other.

It’s not difficult to spend hours ogling over the illustrations in this book. Gus’ mixed-media illustrations feature maps, newspapers, graph paper, musical transcripts, postcards and wage sheets; together with neon lights and jeering interjections plastered in the background of some  pages, they work cleverly to capture the essence of New York. The illustrations transmit the sounds, the scents and the hustle and bustle of this city that never sleeps. (See some of the illustrations here)

Head over to Gus’ Facebook page and take a look at his photo albums. He’s undertaken some pretty intensive research on New York, and it shows in this spectacular book. Whether you’ve been there or not, this book will have you immersed in New York. I’ve certainly fallen in love with a place I’ve personally never even visited. There’s a wonderful double page that features a hand-drawn map of New York. It takes you on a little journey past some famous icons and landmarks.

Gus may be known for his illustrations and artwork, but he certainly has a poetic way with words. (My favourite phrase from the book, ‘it made him feel like he had eaten honey straight from the jar). With Gus’ beautifully written text and endearing story, Herman and Rosie will work its way into your heart, I’m sure.

It has been a hit in our family, and it has definitely left an impression on each of us. I’ve now added New York to my list of places to visit, my husband has been reacquainted with his guitar and Cam loves prancing around the house pretending to be Rosie.

Herman and Rosie is a story for for anyone who has ever felt lonely; for anyone who knows there is more enjoyment to be gained from life; for anyone who is waiting to meet a special friend; and for anyone who has music running through their veins.

Gus Gordon will be launching his latest picture book in three locations. So if you’re lucky enough to live in Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney make sure you book into one of these three upcoming events.


By: Gus Gordon

ISBN: 978-0670076031

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia, August 2012

RRP: $24.99 (aud)

Suitable for ages: 5+

Book Review: Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon


  1. I really hope this book comes stateside!

  2. ah ah ah! Ok, off to the library catalogue RIGHT NOW to see if they have this…

  3. “Book Review: Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon | My
    Little Bookcase” actually got me personally simply hooked on ur page!
    Iwill be back again significantly more regularly.
    Thank you -Marlene

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