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

Monday, 18 October 2021

Review: Tele-porta-loo

Keen for some laughing out loud while you read a super fun book packed with awesome illustrations?

You NEED to check out Tele-porta-loo by The Listies! This is going to be THE book kids are talking about. I guarantee it.

If you’ve not heard of them (but seriously how could that be!), The Listies are Richard Higgins and Matt Kelly. They are a kids comedy duo who make kids giggle and LOL with their in-person and online comedy shows. They’re also the authors of the seriously funny encyclopedias: Icky-pedia and Icky-foodia.

Tele-porta-loo is their first narrative story for kids, and as the first in a series, The Listies have now truly landed in the kid lit community. And honestly, they blow it out of the park (or the toilet!).

Winner: Magic, Mystery and Fantastical Friendships Prize Pack

Our lucky winner is...

Nina Wang, VIC


You have won a our stunning magical middle grade fiction and picture book prize pack!


Thank you to ALL who entered.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Review: Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge is one of my favourite picture books.

It's the story of a young boy and one of his neighbours, Miss Nancy. Miss Nancy lives in the old people's home next door to Wilfrid, and he loves to visit all the residents.

Wilfrid's favourite person there is Miss Nancy, because just like him, she has four names (Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper). They share a special bond.

When Wilfrid hears his parents say that Miss Nancy has lost her memory, Wilfrid asks what a memory is. Everyone tells him something different.

Wilfrid wants to help Miss Nancy find her memories again.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Review: A Different Sort of Normal

A Different Sort of Normal is a different sort of book, in all the best ways. It’s a true story. A memoir. A look into someone’s world and their thoughts and ideas about their life. This is the story of Abigail Balfe.

At the beginning, Abigail shares a story about being four and having a birthday party she did not enjoy. It had all the ingredients for a perfect party, with all the things perfect parties should have. But Abigail didn’t want it, nor did she want to enjoy the entertainment. She was different from the other kids her age.

Abigail explains that as an adult she discovered she has autism — that she is different, and this this is a good thing. The book is a look at her past and present, exploring the ways she is different and giving readers a personal look at who she is.

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').