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

Friday, 2 December 2022

Review: Dirt By Sea

Have you ever been travelling around Australia, or had the hankering to? This book will not only indulge that craving, it might even have you packing your bags. 

Dirt By Sea is a brilliant large-page comic picture book with 40 glorious pages about a girl and her father adventuring around Australia.

Daisy lives in outback Queensland when whilst listening to the national anthem realises – what on earth does ‘dirt by sea’ mean? 

Her dad explains that it is ‘girt by sea’ meaning they are surrounded by the ocean. Daisy walks outside and says – hold up, we are surrounded by dirt!


Thursday, 1 December 2022

Guest Post: Cassie Veselovsky on Making Reading More Musical

For over 20 years I have been serving as a youth librarian providing storytimes and programs for the children and families in my community. I am loud, goofy and I make mistakes, but I hold dear an unwavering commitment to support the kids and their grown-ups.

I strive to help grown-ups recognize how easy it can be to help their children learn by utilizing the five early literacy practices of reading, writing, talking, playing, and singing.

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Review: Meerkat Christmas

Hip hooray! It’s Christmas Day! Meerkat One, it’s time to play.

Jump into the Christmas spirit with 10 cheeky meerkats who love to spread joy through their mischievous shenanigans.

As they jump, leap and climb to get the Christmas tree ready for its special day, readers can count along with each Meerkat. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

12 Curly Questions with Millie Lewis

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
OK, I’ll let you in on a secret: If I am ever late to a meeting or event, I will usually say that it was because of traffic. This is a lie. More than half of the time, it’s because somewhere on the way to that meeting or event, a random dog has made eye contact with me. I am addicted to giving good-boy-belly-rubs!

2. What is your nickname?
As a child: 'nose in a book' (what a cliché!). As a teen/adult: Millie or Milly (my real name is Amelia).

Monday, 28 November 2022

Review: Pugnacious and Scuttlebutt: Ready... Steady... Itch!

Two dogs, worlds apart, destined for greatness… and each other.

Pugnacious and Scuttlebutt couldn’t be more different. Scuttlebutt is a disgraced greyhound (after an unfortunate itching powder incident), and Pugnacious is a cranky, rude pug who only cares about himself.

But when they both end up in the dog pound, they must find a way to get past their differences (and Scuttlebutt’s itching butt) to break free. Can they do it? Can they not betray one another? Will Scuttlebutt’s butt ever stop itching?

Friday, 25 November 2022

Review: The Ultimate Pet Handbook

Stand back and applaud. Right now. This book is an absolute corker for kids who are looking to bring a pet into their lives, and the parents who will be supporting those kids who are looking to bring a pet into their lives.

Life is better with pets.

Author Ben Dessen is a long-time afficionado of all things furry, feathered, fluffy and funky. He has had more pets than most and began his pet-loving journey at the tender age of six, when he was gifted a small snake.

TV vet Dr Harry thinks that Ben is the bees knees, and this wonderful book allows us all to see why. 

Thursday, 24 November 2022

Meet The Illustrator: Forrest Dickison

Forrest Dickison
Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Bill Peet meets NC Wyeth meets Looney Tunes.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
My library! The more books the better.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
I love the old-school earthiness of pencils and gouache, the versatility of a Wacom, and the buttery flow of oil paint.

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Review: Need a House? Call Ms Mouse!

Need a House? Call Ms Mouse! That’s both the name of this fabulous STEM-themed picture book, and the message of its animal characters.

Ms Mouse is Henrietta, a talented architect whose imagination and creativity are put to excellent use. This book is like a portfolio of Henrietta's work.

There are many animals who want the home of their dreams, so Henrietta listens carefully to their brief, then designs a house to meet them. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

10 Quirky Questions with author Deborah Abela

1. What's your hidden talent?
I am a brown belt in Judo. So watch out everyone... I’m also very short, so that may not be as scary as it sounds.

2. Who is your favourite literary villain and why?
I love Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events. He’s so mean and wicked and has no idea of how unfunny he really is, which of course makes him hilarious.

Monday, 21 November 2022

Guest Post: Kylie Mort on The Inspiration Behind Big Emotions

I was inspired to write Little People Big Emotions as I sat in stillness, meditating on my front veranda.

We live in a world where frenetic movement is the norm, where it is expected that we raise our little people to join the ever-present stream of movement and energy. 

Even as we 'relax' we are watching screens, mindlessly partaking in the programming of a world that dictates who we should be. 

Manipulated and coerced to participate at all times in fear of missing out. More and more often in this modern culture we are losing the ability to just be. To be still, to be present, to be in the moment, to be unique.  

The imagery of this illustrated narrative came to me when I was in stillness. Breathing in the peace and solitude of the natural environment around me and letting my mind truly rest. It is when we are at rest that inspired action can arrive and just as the butterfly lands softly on the shoulder of my daughter Mackenzie in this narrative, the story whispered to me…

Review: The Edge Of Limits

I’ve spent the last 24 hours with a 17-year-old boy inside my head. Which would be quite disconcerting had I not also just finished reading the incredible The Edge Of Limits, from where the voice emanates.

Sam Knox is on an eight day school survival camp, and it is his voice and life that is so clear and strong and present with me right now. Celebrated author S J Gervay has written a searingly important book that addresses issues of connection, courage and consent with a visceral reality that is gripping from start to finish.

A coming of age story in every sense of the word, this intimate and compelling first-person narrative keeps the reader tumbling through the pages. 

Guided by our protagonist Sam who has seen things that he can’t unsee, we do a deep and instant dive into both the action-packed hike and Sam’s psyche.

Saturday, 19 November 2022

Guest Post: Cherie Bell on $5 Book Reviews

One of our favourite guest contributors and mother of four, Cherie Bell gives us the low down on banking  better reading time for your kids. We simply love this idea to bits - read on ...

My kids don’t get pocket money.

I feel that if I give them money for no effort, they will waste it on junk food or junk toys. The Barefoot Investor suggests that kids need to have money to learn how to spend and save money while young, but I just can’t compute handing over cash without work. 

If I start doing that then it’s time to delegate to them responsibility for buying necessities like clothes and I’m not ready for that either.

I encourage them to earn money from me for doing additional household chores on top of the chores they are assigned. 

But I’m also not prepared to pay them for regular, essential contributions to the running of our family home such as taking out the rubbish or unpacking the dishwasher.