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

Monday, 22 October 2018

Event: Sharing Stories

Sharing Stories was a wonderful initiative of The National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature (NCACL) to celebrate UNESCO’s International Year of Translations.

It brought together 191 children’s books in over 50 languages from 61 member counties of the International Board on Books for Young people (IBBY), as well as IBBY Australia’s 48 Honour Books.

The opening event was held at Woden Library in Canberra on 8 October, surrounded by a stunning display of children’s books translated from counties all over the world. 

Winners: Beware The Deep Dark

And our lucky winners are...

Lisa Fairlamb, ACT
Sharon Lee, NSW
Sharon Hammad, NSW

Congratulations! You have each won a copy of the gorgeous picture book, Beware The Deep Dark Forest by Sue Whiting and Annie White.


Thank you to ALL who entered. The notion of entering a deep dark forest certainly provoked many creative (and occasionally creepy) answers!

Meet Sue Whiting as we unleash our 12 Curly Questions on her. Read all about her, here.

For our review of Beware The Deep Dark Forest, please visit again on the 27 October.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Review: Zenobia

Zenobia will break your heart, but you must read it.

Everyone, when they are ready, should read this book.

A graphic novel with very few words, the story belongs to a girl called Amina. 

Amina is fleeing war-torn Syria on an overcrowded boat. 

When the boat capsizes, she is alone in the ocean with only her thoughts. 

Thoughts of her life before the war, of when the war came to her village, of how she ended up on that crowded boat in the middle of the night. 

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Looking for Books for... Kids who Love Funny Picture Books

Reading a funny picture book is a wonderful experience. They must be carefully planned and skilfully executed for readers to ‘get’ the jokes, but when they’re done right, they are magical! Humour is, of course, subjective, but if you know kids (or adults) who like funny picture books, here are ten brilliant ones to explore. There’s sure to be one in here that tickles your funny bone!

The Last Peach by Gus Gordon, Penguin, $24.99, 9780670078912, 3+ KBR Review

Review: The Turnkey

Flossie Birdwhistle is the Turnkey at Highgate Cemetery. Her job is to see that all her dead residents are at rest, for in the twilight world, things are different. The ghosts can see the living but not the other way around. In the land of the living, WW11 rages.

Flossie encounters the German officer Victor Brun, known as one of Hitler’s most trusted men. He carries with him a strange object that resembles a crystal ball. 

Something is brewing and it concerns two of the main cemeteries. Flossie must find out what, for not only are the resting places in danger, but so is the whole of England.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Review: The Way Back From Broken

Rakmen is one of a group of broken people trying to deal with loss and grief during monthly therapy sessions at Promise House. There is also Molly, Rakmen’s soft spot, ten year old Jacey, and her mother Leah who is also Rakmen’s teacher.

Rakmen is racked with guilt, believing he could have saved his baby sister who died in his arms. His parents are on the verge of a break-up. 

To distract himself from dark thoughts, Rakmen copies short notes and headlines from the daily papers into a notebook that he carries everywhere.

He is falling apart. Already flunking high school, he believes nothing worse could happen to him. But it does.

Review: Leaf Stone Beetle

This deep and meaningful book is about the transience of life in all things, especially nature. This is represented by a leaf, a stone and a beetle.

The last leaf on a tree is swept away in a storm to be caught in a tree’s roots. Stone is removed from its forever place by a forceful current. It lands in the same place as Leaf. 

Beetle is left behind by the others while preoccupied examining the beauty of its surroundings. It too, ends up with Leaf and Stone in the tangled roots. The three are together now, each reflecting on what was and what tomorrow may bring.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Review: Chomp Goes the Crocodile

Chomp Goes the Crocodile is one of the most engaging, entertaining and interactive board books I have ever read!

It's a super fun rhyming tale about a hungry crocodile that decides to chomp on a variety of animals as he crawls through the swamp.

Fish, otters, cranes and more!

The rhyme is spot on, with lots of repetitive elements, so the kids can pick it up easily and join in on reading the story.

As you move through the book, the number of each creature eaten by the crocodile increases, so the book allows kids to practice and learn their numbers.

Meet the Illustrator: Margaret Dewar

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Cartooning, children’s illustration, drawing and digital, varied.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Pens and pencils, computer or iPad.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Pencil art, digitally coloured.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Escher, May Gibbs, Dr. Seuss.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Review: Shine Mountain

Everyone has gathered waiting for Pop to die. He has requested a party after he’s gone. So the family waits. He tells his granddaughter Ellie about the magical Button Box that has been kept under his bed for years and how it must be buried with him. And it is.

Pop’s lawyer knows the power of the Box from the Gleam country. He digs it up and steals away with it. Ellie sees him, but to avoid giving Oma more pain and suffering on this pain-filled day, she says nothing.

The Button Box carries a history of both good and bad happenings connected to its use. Nothing it could serve up or break apart could compare with the truths that Oma is forced to tell Ellie about her real identity. 

Review: Big Digger Little Digger

Here’s a new picture book for all those digger loving kids out there. Little Digger loves to dig. He lives on a construction site and enjoys working hard and digging holes.

One day he is faced with an especially big hole to dig. He’s worried he won’t be strong enough but he’s ready to try his best. But just as he’s about to start… a new digger appears. A BIG digger.

Big Digger digs down deep. He starts digging the big hole and poor Little Digger is left with nothing to do. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Review: The Perfect Nest

This humorous and colourful picture book had hold of me before I even opened the covers. 

Jack the cat is pictured on the back cover building his perfect nest. On the front, his mischievous face is peeking out from his hiding place behind the completed nest.

But who is the nest for?

Here comes the chicken. iCaramba! she exclaims and lays her egg.  Sacre blue! cries the duck when she sees the perfect nest. She pushes the chicken out and lays her egg beside the chicken’s small one. Then in comes a goose and pushes the two out to make room for her!