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

Thursday 29 February 2024

Review: Hatch and Match

Oh my goodness. This is such a joy-filled, delightful book! 

And it contains all manner of interactive fun and engagement potential, for small people.

Cluck, cluck, cluck. Scritch and scratch.

Chickens look for eggs that match.

Award-winning author and illustrator Ruth Paul’s opening illustration depicts a gaggle of hens sleeping in a tree. From here, we are encouraged to observe each hen’s individual patterning and markings, and then to seek out her particular, matching eggs.

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Review: Warning! These Joke Will Annoy Everyone You Know

Get ready to laugh and cause chaos at the same time with Warning! These Jokes Will Annoy Everyone You Know.

With fifteen categories of jokes (like musical mayhem, Halloween howls, food jokes and riddles) this is a treasure trove of silly and outrageous jokes that slide along the border of complete ridiculousness. Like…

What do you call two witches who live together?... broom-mates.

What’s invisible and smells like worms?... A bird fart.

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Review: Kimmi: Queen of the Dingoes

Award-winning writer Favel Parrett has produced another powerful and moving story of survival to follow Wandi, which was published in 2021 to great acclaim.

Kimmi: Queen of the Dingoes reveals Parrett’s continued passion and dedication to the preservation of life for these beautiful, intelligent, and frequently underrated animals.

Kimmi is a Tropical dingo destined for greatness.  Queen status. A female in a long line of leaders, she was born small in a litter with three males.

Threatened by a hunter, her mother and brothers are protected by a human mother and son who love these animals and have cared for and protected them.

But there are those who see dingoes as destructive and worthless.

Monday 26 February 2024

Book Lists: Favourite stories about girls

We’ve grouped together some of the many book lists we’ve shared over recent years, in case you missed them the first time around. 

We hope they inspire you to pick up a book you’ve not read before, or find a book to help explore and better understand a particular subject with readers of all ages.

Ahead of International Women's Day which is celebrated each year on 8 March, we wanted to look back at two fabulous book lists with some favourite stories about girls.

Our feisty, fictional girls list is a reminder of some classic and contemporary stories starring girls who live life to the fullest. Think Anne of Green Gables, Pippi Longstocking and Judy Moody! There are thirteen wonderful books to read.


And the anti-princesses list shares ten terrific books which explore all kinds of characters who tend to break the stereotype for princesses. From riding motorbikes or ponies, to learning about life, and just being yourself, this book list has a great selection of titles to choose from.


Friday 23 February 2024

Review: Absolutely Everything!

This chatty, funny, fast-paced and intelligent book is one for all ages - although technically it’s for 10 - 14 year-olds. It’s exactly the kind of book that adults wish they’d had when they were a kid.

With a welcome mix of remarkable true stories and facts, the revised and expanded version of Absolutely Everything contains a wealth of information to leave you spell-bound. 

A feast for the eyes and brain, this book gets in your ear about random and interesting things - like the interconnections between science, history and the nature of planet earth. And all are broached in the most wonderful, accessible ways.

Thursday 22 February 2024

Meet The Illustrator: Brent Wilson

Brent Wilson

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Block colours, loose lines, mid-century inspired.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
I like to be surrounded by books, music and plants.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
I work digitally and use Procreate on the iPad Pro. Having two young daughters, it’s great to break away from the screen every so often and draw with them on scrapbooks with crayons, pencils and markers.

Wednesday 21 February 2024

Review: Silver Linings

Five-year-old Nettie longs for a mother with whom to share cuddles and conversation. She is tortured by the fact that I arrived. My mother died.

The voice of Nettie as narrator is innocent, simple and realistic, while her inner observations successfully draw the intended response from the reader.

The strict and heartless Aunt Edith has been living with the family on the farm, begrudgingly caring for them for some time. Her Hher

Dissatisfying answers from Edith to young Nettie’s questions about life, simply give birth to further queries, especially the explanation that storks deliver babies to families.

This issue is also a pivotal point in this well-crafted storyline.

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Junior Review: Sensational Australian Animals

Fun, surprising and interesting. That’s how I’d describe Sensational Australian Animals by Stephanie Owen Reeder and illustrated by Cher Hart.

This book is filled with weird and wacky facts about Australian animals and has beautiful illustrations. 

The information is broken up by the senses, so there are sections on smell, taste, sound, sight and touch. Each section includes different animals and the interesting ways they use their senses.

Did you know Australian herrings gulp in air from the surface of the water, store it and then release it in high-pitched farts?

Monday 19 February 2024

Video: A Friend for George

If you haven't read A Friend for George, written and illustrated by Gabriel Evans, you should find a copy and share it with your family. It's a particularly good story for children just starting school and making new friends.

George likes living by the sea, but he often feels lonely. He’d like to have a friend – someone to talk to, someone to share stories with and someone to laugh with. As that’s what friends do! When he meets Claude the fish, George finally discovers the joys of having a special friend, as well as learning what it means to be a good friend to someone ... for if you are, the rewards are bountiful!

In this video, Gabriel Evans explains how he was inspired to create this beautiful story about friendship, and gives some advice to aspiring authors and illustrators. 

Title: A Friend for George
Author/Illustrator: Gabriel Evans
Publisher: Puffin, $ 24.99
Publication Date: May 2023
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781761046506
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book

Friday 16 February 2024

Book Lists: Alphabet and Wordless Picture Books

We’ve grouped together some of the many book lists we’ve shared over recent years, in case you missed them the first time around. 

We hope they inspire you to pick up a book you’ve not read before, or find a book to help explore and better understand a particular subject with readers of all ages. 

Today we're revisiting some of our favourite alphabet books, and some books that have no words at all. These are not just for children learning to read. They can be enjoyed by older readers as well. 

There are two lists of books for alphabet fans and beginner readers, and one of some of our favourite books where pictures tell the whole story, which are great for exploring illustrations in detail, and for creating your own special story. 

Explore the books at the links below.

Picture books that celebrate the alphabet:



Wordless picture books:


Thursday 15 February 2024

Review: Countdown to Yesterday

James’ parents are divorcing. This news is dumped on the eleven -year-old while at the dinner table. First it seems they are moving house again. But things soon become clear.

Mum disconnects herself from her family by taking her maiden name back and renting a tiny apartment to live in. James can’t understand why this decision has been made and doesn’t ask.

He struggles to live a life between two parents. He is permanently friendless and finds it hard to connect with other people.

James is drawn to Yan, another lonely soul with a brilliant mind. A friendship grows.

His dad has sixteen computers in his man cave and his main one has an internet Time Machine programmed into it.

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Review: Our Australian HeArt

Our Australian HeArt is a stunning book which gathers creative people from across Australia to answer the question, ‘What’s in Your Australian heart?’ 

Their responses are as different as their illustration and writing styles – distinctive, heartfelt and compelling. In classic picture book format, the sixteen contributing children’s book illustrators, teachers, artists, zoologists, poets and all-round creative souls are each allocated a double-page spread to answer the question. 

Tuesday 13 February 2024

12 Curly Questions with author Megan Daley

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
Oh my glory, my life is a bit of an open book so I’m not sure there is much that people don’t know? Ummm…when I’m really stressed, my comfort food is Agedashi Tofu and Orange BB Balls!

2. What is your nickname?
I’ve never had a nickname really – I’ve always been ‘Megan’, never ‘Meg’. But as a teacher, I am Mrs Daley so my friends, partner and kids often call me Mrs Daley if I’m in trouble with them.

3. What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear came true so I’m going to be silly (kind of) and say that my greatest fear at this point is not having enough time to complete all the projects I want to complete.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Factual, narrative non-fiction, researched, child focused.

Monday 12 February 2024

Video: The Hedgewitch Books

The Hedgewitch Books are perfect for fans of Harry Potter, The Worst Witch, and similar stories. Written by Australian-born author Skye McKenna, they're packed with mystery, magic and adventure.

When Cassie runs away from her dreary boarding school, in search of her missing mother, she ends up in the magical village of Hedgely and discovers she comes from a family of witches - women who protect Britain from the denizens of Faerie, who are all too real and far more frightening than the story books suggest.

Cassie is desperate to find her mother, but will she succeed? Perhaps Montague the talking cat, and a flying broomstick will help!

Title: Hedgewitch / Woodwitch
Author: Skye McKenna
Illustrator: Tomislav Tomic
Publisher: Welbeck Childrens, $ 16.99 / $ 22.99
Publication Date: 2023
Format: Paperback / Hardcover
ISBN: 9781801300681 / 9781801300414
For ages: 9+
Type: Middle Grade Fiction

Friday 9 February 2024

Review: The O.D.D. Squad: Rise of Invisidog

The O.D.D. Squad: Rise of Invisidog is the story of animals fighting crime! 

Enter emerging superhero Invisidog, motorbike-riding Captain Quack, and water-based Detective Octopus.

The trouble with these crime fighters is they've each got a weakness. 

Invisidog discovers that being invisible isn't always helpful for superheroes.

He can't be seen, which can be an advantage but sometimes it's also a disadvantage.

Meanwhile Captain Quack and Detective Octopus have problems of their own, like the fact Octopus is water bound - or is he?

The super villains they're fighting are the Trouble Gang led by Captain Bad, a bearded, tattooed part-robot.

Can three very different crime fighters work together to defeat Captain Bad and the Trouble Gang?