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

Monday, 28 May 2018

Review: Scaredy Book

Devon Sillett’s first book The Leaky Story was a cracker! I loved the imagination and originality with which it was created. 

In Scaredy Book, whose cover and end pages are a story in themselves, attention is drawn to themes of shyness, safety of the familiar, fear of change and being brave. 

These unsettling emotions frequently experienced by young children, are transformed into a challenge with a solution, and a happy ending.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

12 Curly Questions with author/illustrator Ruth Waters

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I used to be quite good at playing the piano. I even entered competitions (although I always played the piece twice as fast as I got so nervous). Sadly, I now can’t play a single note.

Review: Clap Hands: A First Book for Babies

Helen Oxenbury has created a charming book for babies that introduces concepts for awakening minds and early learning. Cognitive development through the use of the senses and motor skills through movement, are concentrated on throughout the book.

Exquisitely illustrated, Clap Hands presents baby’s first venture into learning. There are a lot of firsts to be found in the fun-filled activity and play which adorns every page. 

A group of cute babies are seen enjoying themselves as they practice eating and drinking, clapping, tapping and drumming during their sensorimotor stage. By watching each other and copying what they see, waving and using their arms, they improve their motor skills and discover their sense of touch, taste, smell, sight and sound.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Review: The Bacteria Book

Zombie Ants.
Animals and plants that grow in the dark.
What is a water bear?
Why does food go mouldy?
How is the common cold passed onto other people?

The Bacteria Book, written by author, science presenter and comedian, Steve Mould will give readers information about all of these things and many more.

This book contains facts about a variety of microbes; bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, protozoa, archaea and micro animals, which will inform and entertain children that like science or gross, vile and funky things.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Terrific 10: Gardening

If you have kids, pretty much any time is a good time to be out in the garden. Gardens are fodder for the soul and imagination. They allow kids to explore, create, dream, wonder, and get good and dirty. Here are some all-time favourite picture books about gardening. They're all enchanting and great fun to read, and they're sure to encourage little ones to plant seeds, dig holes, or just watch things grow.

Florette, by Anna Walker, Penguin, $24.99, 9780670079414, 4+, KBR review

Review: The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery

After her success in The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee, India Wimple is invited to London to take part in the international spelling finals. 

The Wimples go everywhere together, so the issue of how to find fares for the rest of the family is a concern. That’s not the only challenge. Boo’s asthma and his safety has to be taken into account. Where there is a will, the Wimples will work out a way. But this time, Boo’s independence is the motivator for getting this problem solved surreptitiously.

London holds many surprises for the Wimple family. The shy India meets up again with Rajish and the rich and confident Summer. Peter and Holly who are drawn into the circle of friends, have powerful reasons for wanting to win, although deep personal issues, more than their abilities, hinder their progress. But what are friends for if not to encourage and lift sunken spirits?

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Junior Review: Nathalia Buttface and the Most Embarrassing Dad in the World

In this book, the main character, Nathalia Buttface, is forced to live with her embarrassing Dad and her sometimes supportive Mum. 

They have just moved to a different town (in their shameful campervan, the Atomic Dustbin) and now she must start a new school and make new friends. 

She thinks this a chance to start again without her Dad embarrassing her, but she still has the same silly last name and the same embarrassing Dad.

This book is full of hysterical stories of how her dad embarrasses her and how she tries to overcome her shame. I found it an easy read and I recommend this hilarious book to girls aged 10 – 12.

Title: Nathalia Buttface
Author: Nigel Smith                         
Publisher: HarperCollins, $14.99                                                                      
Publication Date: 12 January 2014
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780007545216
For Ages: 10 - 12
Type: Middle Fiction

Review: A Stone for Sascha

Aaron Becker is the younger reader's Shaun Tan.

Becker combines a touch of Fantasia with images of lyrical beauty as he depicts raw grief and the pain of having to get on with life.

Without a single word, he narrates several epic journeys, weaving each within and between the others.

He starts with the loss of a beloved pet, Sascha, and moves quickly to a family holiday by the beach.

There, from the sand between a young girl's toes he catapults us to outer space,where we witness the birth of our planet and life in its earliest forms. From here, we explore early civilisation and venture on to adventures on the high seas.

Each each double-page opening, worthy of art gallery space, filled both my heart and my imagination to the brim. Yet, while I dreamed and sighed over vast worlds, my personal grief over losing a beloved pet was gently cradled.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Look What I'm Reading! Rebecka Sharpe Shelberg

Rebecka Sharpe Shelberg is a librarian, children’s author and general book enthusiast, who lives in Sydney, Australia, with her bearded husband, two small mischievous children, two fluffy dogs, and a bearded dragon.

Though she is obsessed with books of all kinds, she is particularly enamoured with picture books and would happily spend an entire day (and a year’s salary) in a good book store. Her first picture book, Reflection, was a CBCA Notable book for 2017.

Which children’s book are you currently reading? 
The fourth and final book in the Forbidden Library series, The Fall of the Readers, by Django Wexler

News: National Simultaneous Storytime 2018

Two nations read together – let’s get 1 million kids reading! 

Wednesday the 23rd of May 2018 marks the 18th National Simultaneous Storytime event, an annual advocacy campaign, hosted by the Australian Library and Information Association.

Each year, one picture book is selected for a simultaneous read-aloud event held in libraries, schools, pre-schools, family homes, childcare centres, bookshops, children’s hospitals and communities across Australia. This year for the first time ever, children in New Zealand will join in and two nations will read together simultaneously. So, let’s get 1 million kids reading!

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

News: New Irish Children's Laureate


Children's Books Ireland (CBI) is delighted to welcome Sarah Crossan as Ireland’s fifth Laureate na nÓg, holding the title from 2018 until 2020. 

Her theme as Laureate will be #WeAreThePoets, a two-year project inspiring young people to express themselves through poetry and verse. Sarah has a particular interest in working with marginalised communities. 

Under the #WeAreThePoets banner she will collaborate with a team of writers to deliver workshops, as well as a national event showcasing the young voices that have participated in her Laureate project.

Sarah, an award winning YA author, follows the admirable footsteps of PJ Lynch who held the title from 2016 - 2018 delivering his theme entitled, The Big Picture.

12 Curly Questions with author/publisher Rachel Bin Salleh

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I don’t like pizza.

2. What is your nickname? 
 Mum or Oi

3. What is your greatest fear? 
Looking down from any height and trying to breathe at the same time.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words. 
I don’t have a style.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer. 
To the point, no frills