'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Guest Post: Catherine Bauer on Boundless and Born To Fly: Len Waters

Award-winning children's author and journalist, Catherine Bauer joins us to celebrate a little-known Aussie legend, Len Waters.

Born on the plains where Dhinawan the Emu roams, Leonard Waters grew up under the wide blue skies ruled by the great eagle, Kaputhin. 

And with Leonardo Da Vinci, Renaissance artist, dreamer and designer of the first 'flying machine' as his namesake, it seemed that from his earliest years Len was meant to fly.

He was born in 1924 behind the gates of Euraba Aboriginal Mission in New South Wales, but Len’s boundless imagination and limitless dreams took him soaring well beyond the reach of the people and policies that tried to control his destiny in pre-Depression era Australia.

Len beat the odds to become Australia’s first known Aboriginal RAAF fighter pilot.

Friday, 15 October 2021

Review: Plume: World Explorer

In Antarctica, you can’t tell one penguin from another. Wait! 

Except for Plume! 

With his yellow feather, he never gets lost in the crowd.

That’s not his only distinguishing factor. An unconventional individual, Plume is a flashy dresser, highly talented, athletic and a dancer. 

He surpasses all other penguins in many ways. What he loves the most is to read, and read.

A constant visitor to the Biblioteca, Plume has travelled the world within the pages, pictures and stories of books.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Review: I am the Subway

As I write this review, I am the Subway wins the Children’s Book Award at the prestigious World Illustration Awards in London.

Translated from Korean by Booker International winner, Deborah Smith, this exquisite, best-selling picture book written and illustrated by Kim Hyo-eun, described as a cinematic journey, looks at the lives of people seen through the eyes and voice of a Seoul subway train.

This unique approach allows us to observe the familiar patterns of humanity; thoughts, dreams, and habits of the subway’s daily commuters and their repetitious journeys.

Meet The Illustrator: Lynn Priestley

Name: Lynn Priestley

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
My illustration style is whimsical, botanical, diverse and ever evolving.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
My essential items include my iMac, iPad, music, paper, pencil, ink, watercolours, a burning candle, incense or essential oil diffusing. And my little dog at my feet.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Definitely watercolour. But I also love sketching in pencil and inking.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Review: The Fabulous Cakes of Zinnia Jakes (book 2 The Super Spy)

Do you like baking? Do you like mysteries? Then you're going to love The Fabulous Cakes of Zinnia Jakes.

The first thing you need to know about Zinnia Jakes is that her real name is Zoe Jones. Zoe lives with her Aunt Jam while her dad works away. She’s a normal kid with a best friend and a cat (who has some special cat skills), but… she’s also the secret baker Zinnia Jakes, who bakes the most amazing and delicious cakes.

The Super Spy is book 2 in this cool series (following The Crumbling Castle), but it’s no drama if you start here in the series. Author extraordinaire Brenda Gurr brings you up to speed on the series background quick smart (and naturally) and you’re off into the story…

Review: The Nerd Herd

Nobody likes to be made fun of or be called mean names. But that is what happens to Barny and his fluffy friends.

Barny always feels like he is on the back hoof and never has a witty comeback. Being a lamb whose real name is Baarnabus certainly doesn’t help. Who ever heard of a lamb being a meanie?

In his head, Barry knows what he should do but gets scared and trots away. Together with his best friends who are equally as fluffy as Barny – he finds solace.

Meet Shaama Llama Ding Dong and Billy the Kid (an angora goat), Barny’s two besties, also known as The Nerd Herd

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

The Bookshop Cat

The bookshop is a place full of stories, adventures and of course, the bookshop cat.

In a small town, a black cat struggles to find his dream job. No matter what jobs his family puts on offer, his only desire is to read. 

After seeing a bookshop in need of help and meeting a boisterous girl called Violet, the black cat seems to know what he wanted to do. 

He wanted to be a bookshop cat. 

Yet, when a disastrous event occurs, the bookshop is deserted, and no one wants to come in. 

12 Curly Questions with author Raymond Huber

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I listen to television theme music from my childhood while I cook the evening meal. I loved 1960s shows like Lost in Space, Green Acres, and Mission Impossible.

2. What is your nickname?
My grandchildren sometimes call me Tintin – I like to think it's because I love the books, but it's more likely because of my (sometimes) quiff. A good nickname for a writer is 'me can ink' (an anagram of 'nickname').

Monday, 11 October 2021

Review: In Australia - A Down Under Baby Animal Counting Book

From the Our World, Our Home series of educational books for younger readers. comes In Australia: A Down Under Baby Animal Counting Book. It focuses on mammals and marsupials, viviparous, oviparous known as monotremes, their breeding habits and protection of their young.

Creative activities for beautiful hand-made crafts are offered as a closing bonus, by talented artist, Jill Dubin, whose cut-paper illustrations adorn the book. She also shares the process of how she creates her collages.

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Review: The Story of Us

The Story of Us is an activity book with a difference.

It's a way to introduce the concept of family history to young children, and to talk about how we all have stories we can share. 

You can turn The Story of Us into a family activity, one that can be contributed to over a period of time, short or long. Use it to generate discussion, to talk, and write.

It's been designed with illustrations accompanied by big blank pages for recording memories. This could be your child's memories, or perhaps they could interview and record those of their parents or grandparents.

There are prompts throughout, including: three things I loved to do when I was a child, my best ever holiday, someone I really admire, and the best or worst meal I've ever eaten.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Giveaway: Magic, Mystery & Fantastical Friendships Prize Pack


Those fond of middle grade fantasy and friendship infused tales will love this month's
 stunning collection of new releases by some of our favourite authors courtesy of the whimsical folk of Walker Books Australia. This exciting prize pack includes:

  • The Magic of Magnolia Moon by Edwina Wyatt and Katherine Quinn - the latest lyrical and imaginative tale highlighting everyday wonders through Magnolia's curious and observant nature.
  • The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate diCamillo and Sophie Blackall - a magical medieval tale and fantastical meditation on fate, love and the power of words to spell the world.
  • The Worst Sleepover in the World - Picture Book - by Sophie Dahl and Luciano Lozano - a playful story exploring the hilarious complications of first friendships, from an exciting new voice in children's literature.

For the chance to win this enticing prize pack, in 25 words or less, tell us what's your favourite sleepover snack? 

Friday, 8 October 2021

Review: The Most Magnificent Thing

What are the most important things that children remember about their parents all their life? 

I believe it is time together and all that transpires during that time.

Memories of sharing and togetherness are the most magnificent things to every child.

That’s what this book is about.

Every page is a notable activity between parent and child in words and images; a gesture that brings joy. A collection to look back on.