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

Monday, 6 April 2020

Review: Bluey: Easter Fun and Bob Bilby

Bluey: Easter Fun is a craft book full Easter activities which include an Easter basket to cut-out and assemble for your Easter eggs. It opens with an invitation to colour Bluey in.  

How to Use the Book gives instructions on all the fun activities there are to do, make and include others in.

There is a holiday craft kit list with all the essential tools, beginning with an adult to help. 

An Easter Treasure Hunt is involved. A page of brilliant ideas to make and take part in, masks to cut out and glue together, eggs to colour, a maze to find the missing Chattermax and eggy friends’ faces to fill in, is only the half of it!

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Review: The Republic of Birds


Olga's life turns upside down when her father is exiled to the furthest reaches of human-governed lands, but it's not as bad as it seems. For Olga.

While her sister dances as if she floats on the air, and her mother is the ultimate actress, nothing Olga does is special.

Being stranded in the Imperial Centre for Aviation with nothing but mushrooms to eat has its benefits. Especially when the furthest reaches of the land are visible from its observation deck.

Olga, whose only passion is maps, itches to touch the precious ones in her new home. They chart every slope and valley of the outer lands, except the Unmappable Blank. But when Olga succumbs to temptation, her world unravels because magic has been banished for decades.

Review: The Big History Timeline Wallbook

Jump from time period to time period with The Big History Timeline Wallbook.

This is a special book which comes in two parts.

Part one is a pull-out timeline and it's incredibly detailed. It's also two metres long when fully extended.

Starting with the 'big bang', it moves onto dinosaurs and the stone age, then through ancient history and the middle ages, to more modern times.

The years can be tracked along the bottom of the timeline, while hundreds of events from various civilisations can be followed across the full length and breadth of the 12 pull-out pages, with tiny pictures and labels.

A magnifier is provided in a special pocket on the inside cover, and is useful for exploring what's depicted.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Review: The Mummy Animal Book

For those interested in words, and especially those with children who have an enquiring mind and a thirst for knowledge, any book by Tasmanian author and artist Jennifer Cossins is ideal. She increases her collection of valuable publications with a title that introduces the noun name of the mother animal and that of the baby.

The Mummy Animal Book is composed of fourteen double spreads of mother and baby animals. It is presented in a compact size which will comfortably fit into any child’s hands and book bag.

Giveaway: Crack Up!

In Crack Up, our favourite dynamic duo Max Crack and Frankie return with more epic quests, bigger and better than ever before. Full of crazy adventures, funny fonts, fart jokes, gross stuff, weird creatures and embarrassing moments, there is absolutely nothing too weird for this book!

Get ready for more EPIC QUESTS as Max Crack and his best friend Frankie return with the funniest and most exciting adventures yet!

Crack Up is written and illustrated by award-winning cartoonist and illustrator, Jules Faber , illustrator of WEIRDO and thanks the amusing-loving people of Pan Macmillan, we have THREE copies of this hilarious middle grade graphic novel to giveaway!

To enter, tell us, in 25 words or less who you would take on a quest and why.


Friday, 3 April 2020

Review: Mum's Elephant

I love a powerful picture book, and I love a quiet picture book. But I really love a quiet and powerful picture book, and Mum’s Elephant is a brilliant example.

This is a book that isn’t easy to forget, even though the story is simple and it’s not trying to convey a big message. 

It's about family, memories, the small things in life and the things that make us who we are.

Mum's Elephant follows a girl and the things she remembers about her childhood.

Guest Post: Bernadette Green on Who's Your Real Mum?

Bernadette Green’s debut picture book Who’s Your Real Mum? is a response to a question many children ask about same-sex parents. The source is love and this is the shining light in this warm and beautifully illustrated picture book on non-traditional families.

 Bernadette, is Who’s Your Real Mum? your debut picture book?
Yes, it is.

Who’s Your Real Mum?  is a delicate and emotive view of a non-traditional family, and the curiosity of a friend wanting to know. How did the idea for it come about?

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Public Libraries Take Story Time Online

For parents looking for storytelling opportunities for young children, there's nothing better than the library. Although libraries are closed due to the public health emergency, thanks to a special agreement with the Australian Publisher's Association and the Australian Society of Authors, right now public libraries across the country are sharing online story times featuring Australian picture books.

To find any of the growing number of online story times, visit your local library's website or social media accounts, or search for online story time on YouTube and Vimeo.



Review: We Can Deal With Bullying: Empowerment For Young People

Every parent will worry about their child, it’s only natural especially when they start school. Will they make friends, who are they talking to online and are they happy?

Produced to coincide with National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence, author, teacher and school counsellor Gina Rawson helps us to identify and tackle this rising issue of bullying.

Her aim and that of the book is to empower and encourage young people to ask for help, be able to maintain self-esteem and develop resilience. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Review: Jane Eyre - A Retelling

Charlotte Bronte’s immortal classic, Jane Eyre, is resurrected by Carnegie Medal winner, Tanya Landman. Her powerful retelling has remained true to the original, while presenting the story in a simple, accessible style that beckons new readers of a younger age.

Barrington Stoke Teen books assure us that their publications are tested for children and young people by children and young people. I found the prose and storyline in this title clear and succinct, making it more readable for its audience than the language of the classic edition.

Jane Eyre’s feelings of not being loved or wanted, and not belonging anywhere, are perfectly encapsulated in the simple prose. Her torturous life, the reminded charity of her Aunt and the demonic cruelty of Cousin John at Gatehead, are recalled.

Review: What a Lot of Nonsense

From the author of the bestselling Edward the Emu, What a Lot of Nonsense is a fabulously fun, rhyming story about animals doing silly things, with questions to ponder and anagrams to find on every page.

This is a story constructed from a series of quirky questions brought together by their consistent theme of a bear with nothing to wear and other animals being outrageously funny.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Review: The Wall In The Middle Of The Book

At a glance, there is not much to this book. A brick wall is wedged in the gutter (middle) of the book with blank pages on either side.

On closer examination, you'll notice a brick is missing on the left-hand-side of the wall. 

Supposedly, this is the better side of the book, so it's fortunate the wall is in the middle of the book, protecting it - so says the little knight, who armed with a suitably sized ladder, aims to replace the missing brick.

While all this is happening, we catch a tantalising glimpse of the other side of the book.