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

Monday, 20 September 2021

Review: Food or Friend?

Have you ever heard of a cabbage butterfly? It would have to look like a cabbage, right?

What about a crab apple? That’s a type of crab, isn’t it? 

Do dragon fruits have wings? 

Is a kiwi a fruit or a bird? Food or a friend?

In this fun and funny picture book, author/Illustrator Rebel Challenger explores a range of things that sound like they should be something, but are, in fact, definitely not.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Review: The Monster at the End of This Book

The Monster at the End of This Book is a special 50th anniversary edition of the bestselling book starring the much-loved, furry, blue Muppet named Grover.

Grover is, of course, one of the stars of Sesame Street.

It's a book that's highly interactive.

Grover speaks directly to the reader throughout.

The title of the book is what first raises concerns for Grover. 

There's a monster involved, and Grover doesn't want to encounter a monster!

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Giveaway: Australiana Picture Book Prize Pack!

September is the month to spring into a new season and a new appreciation for all things Australiana, from our oceans of infamous creatures to our beguiling outback wonders and thanks to the fantastic people of Walker Books Australia, we have this amazing collection of newly released picture books by some of Australia's most notable authors and illustrators. The pack includes:

  • Great White Shark by Claire Saxby and Cindy Lane - Another stunning addition to the Nature Storybooks series, Great White Shark tells the real story about one of the planet's most fascinating and misunderstood creatures.
  • Drover by Neridah McMullin and Sarah Anthony - the true story of an important pioneering woman in Australian history, the legendary drover Edna Jessop, celebrated through stunning oil illustrations and evocative text.
For the chance to win this exciting informative and entertaining prize pack, tell us in 25 words or less, about your favourite animal encounter.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Review: Always

Always is the seventh and final book in Morris Gleitzman’s outstanding series featuring the hero Felix. It marks the end of two journeys; the one taken by Felix, the other, the writing journey with Felix by the author,which began sixteen years ago with Once.

Followers of this series can expect many surprising revelations.

The dearest thing to ten year-old Wassim living in Poland, is the memory of his dead parents whom he frequently speaks to at the cemetery. 

His short list of treasures includes Uncle Otto who has cared for him since he was orphaned almost a year ago.

His last is a book left to him by his Grandpa Amos with a note in it instructing the boy to find the international hero Felix Salinger, if ever he’s in trouble.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Review: Backyard Birds

Fly free with our native feathered friends in Backyard Birds by Dr Helen Milroy and celebrate their majesty and splendour. 

Milroy is a descendant of the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. She was not only Australia’s first Indigenous doctor and psychiatrist but also AFL’s first Indigenous Commissioner. 

Here we celebrate her work, Backyard Birds, which was shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards. Also by Milroy is Backyard Bugs.

In a riot of colour and sound, Backyard Birds brings birds to life and will have you dancing, prancing and singing along with them. Some of the birds like the kookaburra were already familiar to me, while others like the ‘twenty-eight’ were excitingly new. The twenty-eight is the colloquial Western Australian name for an Australian Ringneck parrot, so named because its cry sounds like ‘twenty-eight’. 

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Review: Zoo Crew #1

If you like weird and wacky with a healthy dose of gross, Zoo Crew is for you! 

Hang with Gus the hamster as he fills you in on all you need to know about Bazooglyville Primary School, or Zoo Primary for short. 

He’ll introduce you to the Zoo Crew — Eddie, Mabel and Princeton — and prepare you for the school athletics carnival.

It won’t be easy, though... 

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Review: Treasure in the Lake

With the surge of graphic novels for all ages, comes the opportunity for creators and designers to offer a different style of book to children who find reading words difficult, but are drawn to visual narratives.

A five-publisher auction led Allen and Unwin to secure the brilliant, Treasure in the Lake, a debut graphic novel for Jason Pamment.

Iris and Sam, both thirteen, are best friends that share adventures in their spare time. That’s all they share. 

Intelligent and mature, Iris has dreams of seeing something more than the limits of Bugden where she lives. The only thing that will draw anyone there is the giant fish soon to be unveiled in the square.

Monday, 13 September 2021

Announcement: The Environment Award for Children's Literature 2021 by Wilderness Society: WINNERS!


The winners for this year’s Environment Award for Children’s Literature have been announced by the Wilderness Society during Nature Book Week, which runs between 6 – 12 September.

Now in its 27th year, the Wilderness Society shortlists the best children’s nature books before a panel of judges crowns a winner for three categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Picture Fiction. The award showcases and celebrates some of the best writers and illustrators working in children’s literature.

Guest Post: Sofie Laguna on The Song of Lewis Carmichael

Sophie Laguna‘s first children’s book in ten years, The Song of Lewis Carmichael, illustrated by her husband Marc McBride, is a magnificent journey deep into The Arctic, but also into the depths of the human psyche.

Sofie tells us about the genesis of the book and what writing  it means to her.

I remember sharing the idea for The Song of Lewis Carmichael with my husband when we were on a holiday together about five years ago. I told Marc all about a boy who travels by hot air balloon to the ice, to find a lost baby.

I described the pictures I saw in my mind: a flock of snow geese carrying a balloon, polar bears thundering across the ice, a cave of dangerous Arctic wolves, the antlers of reindeer resembling the branches of trees.

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Review: One Million Insects

One Million Insects explores the world of insects.

And there are lots of insects to discover because there are more than one million species!

Insects have many unique characteristics and life cycles when compared to other animals.

Did you know that only about ten percent of insects can properly be called bugs (true bugs)?

In One Million Insects you'll be able to learn all about different insect types.

There are stick insects and beetles, wasps and dragonflies, grasshoppers, butterflies, and many more.

Facts and figures about these 'creeping, crawling, fluttering, scuttling and hiding' insects are also prominent.

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Review: The Magnificent Hercules Quick

Hercules Quick lives with his Aunt Alligator and his pet tadpole, Sylvie. They live on the middle floor of a big red house, with the Elk family above them and Professor Calamari below. Queen Claude lives in the cellar and the turtle brothers, Mike and Herbert, live on the roof.

It’s a wild and wonderful place to live, and Hercules loves it. But… he really wishes he had enough money to buy a marvellous box of magic tricks from the shops.

So, Hercules comes up with a plan. He’ll do odd jobs for whoever is in need to save up to buy the magic tricks. But the plan is easier said than done, because Hercules’ neighbours have some strange requests when it comes to jobs they need done for them.

Friday, 10 September 2021

Review: Pax Journey Home

An extraordinary and emotional tale of survival of both animals and humans,
I regret having missed the first book, Pax, as I loved Pax: Journey Home, so much!

Its beautiful and moving poetic prose carries countless underlying themes and messages that will move the reader deeply.

Several parallel stories are in play throughout the book: Peter's story, the journey to repair the environment, several sub-stories, and that of Pax. 

Pax and his family have a voice. This allows us access to the strong feelings and thoughts of the animals, and fully understand the bond between humans and animals.