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

Thursday, 18 October 2018

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!

12 Curly Questions with author/editor Sue Whiting

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
For most of my 30s my passion was tap dancing. The hardest thing I have ever tried to master. Not that I ever did. But I did eventually learn to do the time step and twice danced on stage at the end-of-year concert – flinging my feather boa and twirling my top hat and cane!

2. What is your nickname? 
I don’t have one now. But when I was young my dad always called me Beanie. Not really sure why – but it could have something to do with liking to wear a particular fetching brightly striped beanie all year round. (He should probably have called me Tea Cosy!)

Monday, 15 October 2018

Review: Bonnie and Ben Rhyme Again

Bonnie and Ben Rhyme Again is a companion to the popular Good Night, Sleep Tight! By the marvellous team of Mem Fox and Judy Horacek. In it we join Bonnie and Ben on an outing with their friend Skinny Doug as they climb a hill, see some sheep, a spider, a plum tree and more. The story features six well-known nursery rhymes and brings them together with fun, repetitive and memorable rhyming.

Review: All the Ways to be Smart

I can't tell you how enamoured I am with this joyful and vibrant book from dream team Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys.

I want to give it full marks, but in a world dominated by ticks and crosses, this book is about so much more than marks.

It's a glorious celebration of all the different and fabulous qualities that make our children special and, yes, smart.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

App Review: Flip Flap Dinosaurs

Fans of the flip flap series by Axel Scheffler will love the app version of Flip Flap Dinosaurs

Just like in the hard copy version, kids can flip and flap the top and bottom halves of dinosaurs to create some super funky dinosaur creations, this time by swiping the screen left or right. 

Fun and also factual poems accompany each dinosaur half, so once you’ve decided on what your creation will be, there’s fun rhyming text to describe your new dinosaur (or traditional dinosaur if that’s what you want to swipe to!). 

Review: Alphabet Street

Alphabet Street is a fabulously fun and unique publication. A sturdy, house shaped lift-the-flap concertina book with rhyming text and super cute animal characters. It folds out into a large free standing street of shops with an outdoor park scene on the reverse.

Each page features a shop such as ‘Elegant Fashions’ and ‘Uptown Vacuums’ with two flaps to open, in most cases, the downstairs shopfront contains a business scene and the upstairs window shows a scene which is a little more domestic and relatable to family life.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Review: Dinosaur Day Out

Kids love dinosaurs and here’s a great new picture book that’s fun and informative. Sally and Max visit the museum with their Dad. They enjoy pressing buttons, reading facts and interacting with all that the museum has to offer.

They have been most looking forward to seeing the dinosaur exhibition, but when they get there, it is closed.

Dad buys a book about dinosaurs instead, and they head to the city. Dad reads them the book as they walk. He tells then about the diplodocus, the pterodactyl, the tyrannosaurus rex and the stegosaurus. He’s so interested in his book, he doesn’t see what Sally and Max can see.

Looking for Books for... Alphabet Fans

There’s something really special about alphabet books. Perhaps it’s because there are so many unique ways to deliver an alphabet book — different ways of expressing and exploring letters, different ways to engage and wow an audience. Whatever the reason, alphabet books can be pure magic, and if you’re on the hunt for a good one, here are six you might like to explore.

The Alphabet of Alphabets by Allan Sanders, Wide Eyed Editions, $27.99, 9781786030016, 2 – 6 KBR Review

Friday, 12 October 2018

Giveaway: Beware The Deep Dark Forest

Thanks to the amazing people at Walker Books Australia and to celebrate the latest picture book release by Sue Whiting and Annie White, we have five copies of, Beware The Deep Dark Forest to giveaway!

Beware of the Deep Dark Forest! You should never, ever go in there!

Rosie has always followed this rule until the day her pup, Tinky, goes missing in the woods. So Rosie decides to trek into this dangerous, muddy place. 

But there are many obstacles along the way - including a huge grey wolf, a scary ravine and a ferocious troll! Can one small girl overcome the dangers of the Deep Dark Forest with just her courage?