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

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Review: The Pearl-shell Diver

The year is 1898. Thirteen-year-old Sario and his family live on the proceeds of land and sea on a remote island in the Torres Strait. They search nearby reefs for produce hoisting woven leaf-mat sails in their dugout tree canoe to traverse familiar harvesting sites. White traders visit their island to trade cloth, flour, salt and trinkets for pearl shells and dried sea slugs. But trouble also comes with the white man.

Sario’s mother’s lungs are permanently damaged from diving too deep for too long when she was young. Sario’s sister is deaf, also as a result of diving. Worst of all, one white trader decides he will take Sario as his diving boy whether Sario wants to go or not.

12 Curly Questions with Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I’d say it’s that I’ve ridden an ostrich but I’ve used that answer so much I’m afraid everyone knows it by now. Hmm. How about, I majored in chemistry in college, worked more than 4 years as a research chemist, and have my name on two U.S. Patents and one European Patent?

2. What is your nickname?

3. What is your greatest fear?
Heights—I hate bridges.

4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
Nicely bare-boned. That’s three, the essence of bare-boned.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Persistent, truthful, curious, empathetic, storyteller.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
My own books: Susan Smith. Someone else’s books: Hermione Granger.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Review: Meet Don Bradman (Meet... series)

Sporting legend Don Bradman is the latest famous Australian to feature in the fantastic Meet... narrative non-fiction series from Random House.

Author Coral Vass introduces a new generation to one of Australia’s most inspiring sportsmen, mapping Bradman’s cricketing career from his childhood enthusiasm for the game and brief foray into competitive tennis in high school to his early local success and eventual international acclaim.

Shout Out: Urban Outlaws: Counterstrike

The heroes of Urban Outlaws, Urban Outlaws: Blackout and Urban Outlaws: Lockdown are back for another adventure. And this is their toughest one yet!

The ultimate weapon — Medusa — is being targeted by the evil Hector. The Urban Outlaws must break through five levels of maximum security, hidden under an oil refinery, to enter a mystery room and get to Medusa before Hector. Can Jack come up with a plan in time or will Hector succeed in releasing Doomsday?

Find out more about the series and the characters at www.urbanoutlawsbunker.com, and brace yourself for the conclusion of this high-octane series, Urban Outlaws: Shockwave, to be released later this year.

Title: Urban Outlaws: Counterstrike
Author: Peter Jay Black
Publisher: Bloomsbury, $14.99 RRP
Publication Date: June 2016
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781408851494
For ages: 9+
Type: Middle Fiction

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Review: Don't Wake Up Tiger

Britta Teckentrup is a creator of such diversity--it's always a joy to open one of her new books, and dive into yet another enchanting tale.

This vibrantly-illustrated book for little ones features a menagerie of animals, intent on getting past Tiger without waking her from slumber.

As tiger sleeps on, Frog comes up with an idea--to float over Tiger with a balloon. Then it's Fox's turn. But uh-oh, he's a little heavier than Frog and the balloon is dropping down towards Tiger. Quick! Blow, blow as hard as you can! Let's keep Fox in the air!

Can't you just see little poppets blowing like mad on the pages of this book?

Saturday, 28 May 2016

12 Curly Questions with Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
Everybody knows I love to dance but hardly anyone knows I started out as an Irish dancer. It certainly surprised my Irish father in-law.

2. What is your nickname?
I have many! Jacqui, Jack and Jackson are what I am called the most.

3. What is your greatest fear?

4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
A descriptive journey across landscapes and culture filled with adventure!

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Passionate, unearthing, developing, reflective, tenacious

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Mary Poppins, she is practically perfect in every way. I would love to be like Mary, go on lots of adventures and a jolly holiday.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Review: Mad Magpie

Guluu the magpie can’t help but feel mad. The butcher birds pick on him and bully him at every opportunity. The elder birds offer him advice to help him stay calm, but it is hard to ignore the hurtful words and actions of the butcher birds.

Eventually, Guluu discovers a way to find focus and calm even when the butcher birds are being mean. He finds strength in his own song, and inspires others to do the same, helping to create a more positive and supportive community for everyone.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Review: The Ricker Racker Club

Max and Ollie, brothers and founders of the Ricker Racker Club, have their own secret handshake. They even have their own secret password. And a turtle named Albert.

Only boys are allowed in the Ricker Racker Club--an institution that demands either feats of bravery or the doing of something nice. To be fair, the boys do introduce a Girls' Tuesday for the club, something Poppy wholeheartedly takes advantage of.

As the weeks go by, the boys set about performing major feats of stunning bravery, while Poppy tends to focus on kindness. Giving the boys her jelly and ice cream. Cleaning their bedroom for them. Eating all their vegetables for an entire month.

When Albert the turtle finds himself in a compromising situation with the Sleeping Wolf next door, the boys try their fabulous feats of derring-do, but it's Poppy who saves Albert ...

I wonder if you can guess how?

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

National Simultaneous Storytime 2016

It’s National Simultaneous Storytime!

Today is the 16th annual National Simultaneous Storytime, a fantastic countrywide event aiming to promote reading and literacy by encouraging schools, preschools, libraries, families and communities to host events that create fun reading experiences for children.

At 11am this morning (AEST) around the country children will be having a wonderful time enjoying the feature story for National Simultaneous Storytime this year, the hilarious I Got This Hat by Jol and Kate Temple, illustrated by Jon Foye.

It’s not too late to get involved. Check out the events calendar for your local library to see if they are hosting an event, or visit the Australian Library and Information Association website for information about National Simultaneous Storytime 2016 including links to video readings of I Got This Hat.

We can’t wait to sit down at 11am and join a whole nation of parents, carers, librarians and teachers encouraging our youngest generation to develop a love of stories and reading.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Review: Did you take the B from my _ook?

Beck and Matt are _ack! Thank goodness! I was losing my insanity and was desperate to be driven crazy once again. So relieved. And it's all thanks to Did you take the B from my _book?

The (absolutely craaaazeeee) narrator of this _ook has lots of favourite things. They all _egin with the letter B. Bats. Beaches. Bread. Bushes. Bulldozers.

But uh-oh. The narrator seems to be getting a cold. ACHOOO!

Okay, where were we? Oh yes, we were listening to the narrator list their favourite things, starting with the letter B.

Here we go...

Monday, 23 May 2016

Review: Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Yay! Another Leigh Hodgkinson book! I so love it when she decides to produce more. Thank you, Leigh.

In Are You Sitting Comfortably? (love the title), we meet a young lad who just wants to sit and read a book (hallelujah!). But the issue is that he can't find anywhere to sit that's not too fuzzy, dim, buzzy, stinky, grimy or even slimy. Just a quiet, comfortable place to sit is all he needs. Not too hot and not too cold would also be fantastic.

Do you think he can find it? Things are not looking too good. Until he has a tiny revelation with a large impact (as is often the way).

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Review: Baby Pip Eats

Food technologist, food stylist/recipe writer and mum to baby Pip, Amie Harper has combined a warmly-curated selection of book elements in this small-format title, Baby Pip Eats--a book that can appeal to little ones as much as it does to adults.

Inspired to prepare delicious and high-nutrition foods with a simplified palate for her baby girl, Amie has used an alphabet format for a collection of recipes--from Avocado to Zucchini, and a gastronomic tasting plate in between.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

12 Curly Questions with Kate and Jol Temple

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
Jol: My favourite animal is the baboon
Kate: I own Clint Eastwood’s ex-girlfriend’s hat. Really.

2. What is your nickname?
Jol: Jol. It’s short for Jolyon.
Kate: Kate Temple.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Jol: Squirrels
Kate: Gummi Bears – They. Are. Creepy.

4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
Off beat and often rhymey – if we have the timey

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Jol:  Toad of Toad Hall – I’d like to drive vintage cars in a jaunty suit.
Kate: Mike from Mike I Don’t Like  - He has no filter and I’m quite partial to a good rant.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Review: Ned Kelly's Helmet

If you’re looking for a fun way to get children interested in history, Paul Stafford has the answer. His experience as a literary consultant ‘specialising in reluctant male readers’ has given him tools to explore and re-form history lessons in a unique way. 

This title is a standout. Its clever prose sizzles on the page. The highly imaginative storyline, and the combination of historical characters and their stories, kept me turning pages, laughing out loud and impressed with what I was reading.

The story starts with a history lesson and role play, based on The Great Roman Slave Auction. Robbie is sold as a slave for a day to old Mrs Fezzle for $500. The money is to go towards the building of a basketball court for their underfunded school.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Meet the Illustrator: Aura Parker

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Joyful and heartwarming, brimming with details for children to explore.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
My creative space is cosy, cluttered with books and there’s usually loud music.I’m surrounded by an abundance of art supplies, several projects on the go and snippets of fabric for colour inspiration, recently I’ve been making little paper-cut sculptures too.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Coloured pencils would be my number one at the moment. I’m infatuated with them. I love traditional art materials for the feel and texture of hand drawn lines and there’s nothing like the way paint looks on watercolour paper, but I also enjoy the flexibility of working digitally with colour on my computer. My illustrations are a real mixture of traditional and computer techniques.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Review: Clap, Clap!

Vibrant colour, super cool illustrations and onomatopoeia? What more could a toddler possibly need?

Doing! go the cymbals. Mwah! Mwah! go the smoochers. Fomfim goes the accordion. Fzzzzzzz goes the toasted sandwich.

With each double page spread alive with striking imagery, animals, instruments and the sounds of everyday life--at home and in nature--Clap, Clap! is a glorious celebration of sound and energy.

Children from baby to toddler will be mesmerised by the dynamic illustrations, and the opportunity for vibrant, active reading by older siblings or adults, is truly wonderful.

Title: Clap, Clap!
Author/Illustrator: Madalena Matoso
Publisher: Flying Eye, $29.99
Publication Date: 1 May 2016
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781909263826
For ages: 0 - 3
Type: Picture Book

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

12 Curly Questions with Maura Finn

1.Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I have an uncanny ability to communicate with cats.

2. What is your nickname? 
Mofra, Mausie, Mrs Clafouti, - I always wanted a decent nickname but none really stuck.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Well, I’ll save you from the burden of my darkest fears, but I am certainly a scaredy-cat around things that go ‘BANG’- bursting balloons, popping champagne corks. My poor heart’s racing at the very thought.

4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
A wee bit old fashioned, but in a nice way.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer. 
Determined, delighted, nostalgic, grateful, time-poor…

Monday, 16 May 2016

Review: Please, Louise

Books inform a child’s world. They remove fear and sadness, and open children’s eyes to the reality of their imaginings. They teach and entertain, and show both sides of a picture.

This is what the timid Louise learns one wet day, when she ventures into a library. She discovers new worlds in a variety of books and fairytales. Each cover opens to reveal something unknown. She exits taking with her new found views on what is real, and what can be learnt and discovered within the pages of a book.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Review: Harold's Hungry Eyes

There are two things in life that Harold really loves: food and his comfy chair. And while he's not at all fussy about his food — he'll eat pretty much anything — he's very fussy about his chair. It has to be one particular chair. He can lie in it on his right side, his left side, on his back with paws in the air, or with paws down. Perfect.

So imagine Harold's distress when he finds his chair missing one morning. Gone! He searches the house from top to bottom, but it's nowhere to be found. Then, glancing out the window, he spots it being thrown into a garbage truck. Harold doesn't think twice. He leaps out the window and heads off after the truck. But his little legs can't keep up and the truck is soon out of sight … and scent.

Now Harold's chair has gone. And Harold is lost. And hungry. It is a very bad day.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Review: Alphadoodler

Subtitled 'the activity book that brings letters to life', Alphadoodler is an alphabet/art lover's dream.

With thick, matte pages that are perfect for pens, crayons, pencils and paint, readers are encouraged, quite simply, to just Go For It. Doodle. Make a mess. Don't think about it too much. The opening page actually says: 'start doodling'.

I love that.

We're then taken on an alphabet romp from A to Z. 'A' has been formed from a thatch of scattered hay. Kids can draw their own letter As. Letters can be created from random lines. Stars in the night sky can be drawn to form letters, too. Kids can even make animals out of them.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Review: Anna Liza and the Happy Practice

Eoin Colfer of the highly successful Artemis Fowl series of books is currently Ireland’s Children’s Laureate. Anna Liza Madigan, his newest character, is a compassionate and adorable child for whom I immediately felt a great affection.

Anna Liza’s mum is a psychiatrist. She helps to make unhappy people, happy again. That’s what Anna Liza wants to do too. She has many years of practise ahead of her, so she begins in her mum’s waiting room with the patients’ children. She uses songs, and a list of her favourite knock knock jokes to cheer the children up while their parents are being attended to by mum.

Review: Spot, the Cat

Even the very young can appreciate the joy of high-detail imagery. This is why kids love seek-and-find books so much--with pages rich in visual detail, and little morsels of delight to seek out and crunch on as they flip page after page.

In Spot, the Cat, Henry Cole takes littlies on a double entendre journey, as they follow Spot, the cat, and his city meanderings ... while requiring them to simultaneously 'spot the cat' in a series of lush double page spreads.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Review: The Mystery of the Secret Society (Greetings from Somewhere #10)

The Briar’s are a talented family who move from place to place in search of the next adventure. Dad is a history teacher, mum is a travel writer and the twins, Ethan and Ella, are curious and clever. Grandpa was a famous archaeologist.

It is a travel article Mrs Briar is working on that brings them to an archaeological dig in Athens.

While their parents research, the twins replace homework with exploring. They discover two symbols on a wall, identical to the ones on a coin that Grandpa has given Ethan.

Who is the mysterious Dimitrios who keeps turning up everywhere they go? Why isn’t Grandpa answering their emails, and how is a missing notebook linked to the famous archaeologist?

Meet the Illustrator: Gregg Dreise

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Traditional indigenous – adapted to suit my target audiences.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Ochre / Ochre colours and sticks – lots of sticks.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Acrylic and ochre.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Uncle Reg Knox, Albert Namatjira and Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
Australian Paleolithic Period

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
My Uncle Reg Knox – he has an award from the Queen, a painting in the Vatican, and most importantly the tuckshop walls of half of the schools I have been in.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Review: Where Do Clothes Come From?

Another addition to the series by Chris Butterworth and Lucia Gaggiotti, this book takes readers on the fascinating (and often un-thought of) journey of how our clothes are made.

Focusing on a particular item of clothing, the author takes the reader through the process from start to finish. For example, with Jean made from cotton, we see how the plants are grown, harvested and processed, how the fibres are rolled, pulled, stretched, wound, and dyed, how the yarn is woven to make cloth and then how the cloth is then cut and sewn into the jeans we wear.

Review: There is a Tribe of Kids

Oh, Lane. Thank you for releasing another book. What took you so long???

(Sorry, I'm always and ever Lane-Smith-greedy.)

There is a tribe of kids. Goat kids, of course. But within them is another kid. A human kid. Who stumbles across a penguin.

Actually, a colony of penguins. As our human kid plays with said penguins, he falls through the ice and meets a smack of jellyfish. And a pod of whales.

Let's not even mention the unkindness of ravens.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Review: The Lion and the Bird

The Lion and the Bird is a very beautifully produced book. The soft and calm illustrations pair perfectly with the succinct wording to tell the story of an injured bird left behind by his flock as they migrate at the end of autumn. Lion finds bird and takes care of him over the long and cold winter, though they both come to find that “the cold isn’t so bad when you’re together”.

When the flock returns, bird has recovered and rejoins his family, leaving Lion with a loneliness that was not previously part of his solitary existence. The use of large white spaces, and on occasion completely blank pages, throughout the illustrations work well in adding further emotional depth to the story, portraying Lion’s loneliness in a way that seeps right into your heart and settles in to stay.

10 Quirky Questions with Johanna Bell

Photo credit: Sarah Mackie
1. What's your hidden talent?
I have a crazily good sense of smell. I can smell things way before I see them, which can be great for avoiding stinky situations but it can also get pretty annoying. Sometimes I have to leave the room if someone is wearing really strong perfume.

2. Who is your favourite literary villain and why?
My favourite kind of villain is the one you love and hate at the same time, the everyday, likeable person with a twisted, dark side.

3. You're hosting a literary dinner party, which five authors would you invite? (alive or dead)
Ooooh ….so hard to choose. As far as picture book heroes go, I would have to invite Alison Lester, Sally Rippen, Oliver Jeffers, Roald Dahl and Shaun Tan. If I could invite illustrators too, I would sneak in Freya Blackwood and Anna Walker.

4. Which literary invention do you wish was real?
Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing. It’s such a cute combination of huggable and lonely.

5. What are five words that describe your writing process?
Slow. Bumpy. Sometimes-frenzied. Exciting. Energizing.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Review: Gary

Gary is a pigeon. A pigeon amongst pigeons. Racing pigeons, more accurately. And most of the time, he's pretty indistinguishable from the others ... he eats, sleeps and dreams of adventure, just like his racing mates.

Gary likes to keep a scrapbook of adventures and travel mementos, but sadly, these mementos are not his own. They are the stories of his fellow racing pigeons, because, you see ... Gary cannot fly.

Already heartbreaking!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Review: The Pocket Dogs and the Lost Kitten

The Pocket Dogs and the Lost Kitten is a sequel to Margaret Wild’s story The Pocket Dogs.

Biff and Buff are tiny dogs. So tiny they fit in the pockets of Mr Pockets’ coat when he goes out. They’re his “pocket dogs”.

One night a lost kitten appears on the doorstep, wet and bedraggled. Mr Pockets takes the kitten in and cleans it up. Biff and Buff adore the kitten and share their cushion and toys with it, until they become jealous of the time Mr Pockets is spending with the kitten. Doesn’t he want to play with Biff and Buff anymore?

12 Curly Questions with Mark Greenwood

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I play the drums, collect meteorites and gemstones, and I once I tipped a bowl of custard over my little sister’s head. (That was funny …until mum and dad found out)

2. What is your nickname?  
Sometimes Greeny. Sometimes Jimmy.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Heights and sharks

4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
Reflective. Serious. Concise. Rhythmic. Fluent.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer. 
Curious. Obsessive. Determined. Proud. Passionate.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
A book I’m working on features Diamond Jack - a character I wouldn’t mind being for a day… so I could find out where he stashed the treasure.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Review: Cyclone

Many cyclones and other extreme weather events have struck Australia. Cyclone Tracy, which hit Darwin at Christmas in 1974, is just one of them, but it’s a particularly memorable one for many people.

In Cyclone, Jackie French and Bruce Whatley have created a highly evocative picture book. It is a tribute to the people of Darwin who were surprised and stranded by the cyclone, and to their hope for the future.

Read the story aloud, slowly, and you’ll feel the storm approaching and tearing through the city, leaving behind a flattened landscape. There’s an eerie silence in the sparseness and rhythm of the text and the experiences it describes.

Review: I Love Mum with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

With Mother's Day fast approaching, I couldn't think of a more adorable book to perch on Mum's breakfast-in-bed tray. Small format and beautifully illustrated, as only Mr Carle knows how, it would look so special alongside heartfelt tea and toast.

Inside is just as much a delight, with our dear little familiar caterpillar paying visit to a variety of animal mums and babies, from roos to owls and elephants.

Along with each animal, the text enforces something they are pretty much renowned for ... penguins who hold babies close, owls who pass on wisdom.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Review: Little Creatures Collection

New to the much loved Little Creatures Collection, these two beautifully illustrated board books are about discovering lost things in the most unlikely places.

Meet the Illustrator: Terry Denton

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Black ink line drawing, sometimes with watercolour… often funny, sometimes gentle.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Standing desk, sitting desk, chair, watercolours, ink, pens, pencils, erasers, water, light box, scanner, photocopier, A3 printer, music machine, light, iPad pro (my new favourite), storage files for drawings, goldfish, goldfish bowl, water for goldfish bowl, other stuff and even more stuff.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Since I was a kid, and found an old watercolour set around home, I have loved watercolour and black line drawing… I also paint in acrylics and oil paint.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
For Illustration: Bruce Petty, Quentin Blake, E H Shepard (Winnie the Pooh)

For painting: Matisse, Paul Klee and at the moment Elizabeth Cummings.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Review: The Spider and the Fly

This is quite possibly one of my all time favourite picture books. Originally published in 2002, it was a Caldecott Honor Book in 2003, with a tenth anniversary hardback edition published in 2012. This edition was produced with a poster of DiTerlizzi’s stunning artwork on the underside of the dust jacket and is just so beautiful from start to finish.

The cautionary tale penned by Mary Howitt in the 1800’s is flawless, the rhythm and rhyme are utterly delightful to read aloud:

“so he wove a subtle web in a little corner sly, and set his table ready to dine upon the fly”

Review: Tickle My Ears

This adorable story features a little rabbit who is getting ready for bed. Toddlers are invited to interact with rabbit each step of the way, from fluffing up his pillow, to stroking his ears and kissing him goodnight.

Such a simple and gorgeously sweet concept, I had visions of little ones delighting in the actions involved on each double-page spread, being drawn even further into the story in a truly magical way.

Pastel colours and cute-as-pie drawings are beautifully combined to make a really special bedtime story that's likely to become a favourite.

Title: Tickle My Ears
Author/Illustrator: Jorg Muhle
Publisher: Gecko Press, $12.99
Publication Date: 1 May 2016
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781776570768
For ages: 0 - 3
Type: Picture Book, Board Book

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

10 Quirky Questions with Sally Morgan

1. What's your hidden talent?
I think my hidden talent is my ability to communicate with and appreciate the natural world.

I enjoy watching birds or any other creatures going about their day. I’m woken early every morning by the singing of magpies, who love roosting in a nearby tree. Sometimes the young ones warble too early. I think they are still getting their morning song timing right.

2. Who is your favourite literary villain and why?
My favourite literary villain is Aaron Blabey’s Pig the Pug. Pig is a gross character, selfish and conniving, but so very human. Also, I once owned a pug who was so much like Pig they could be brothers.

3. You're hosting a literary dinner party, which five authors would you invite? (alive or dead)
I’d invite my daughter Ambelin, Bruce Pascoe, Bronwyn Bancroft, Andy Griffiths and Alison Lester.

They are all wonderful storytellers with a sense of humour, so it would be a fun evening.

4. Which literary invention do you wish was real?
My first thought was – What’s a literary invention? – so I looked it up.

If I could make anything about literature real it would be to shed more light and understanding through the books that challenge us to deepen our humanity, to redefine our definition of sentient, to raise our consciousness and to love, love, love the world we live in.

Review: Dream Little One, Dream

When the sun rises, when the wind whispers, when the bush blooms around you--soar, little one--climb, little one--bound, little one ...

This beautifully lyrical picture book by the inimitable Sally Morgan is an almost dream-like meandering through the land and sea of our striking country. Featuring animals of the trees, the land, the sky and the ocean, we are taken on a celebratory journey of what it feels like to be alive ... and to be living our lives in the arms of the land.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Review: Our Home is Dirt by Sea

Beginning with an interesting and revealing introduction by Dianne Bates, this outstanding collection of Australian poems is a gem.

When I, too, was a child, our school Readers had lots of poems which we learnt by heart, then recited in class. I remember them all to this day. I consider it a great loss for our children that this teaching no longer applies today.

Poetry is magical and funny. It tells stories about life.  Within it, poets intimate, reveal, share and confess parts of their life experiences in passionate, angry, absurd, moving and hilarious ways.

Review: The Road to Ratenburg

Even at 80 years old, Joy Cowley proves that she still has the ability to create a marvellous story. The Road to Ratenburg is a glorious and clever adventure story with rats as characters.  It is narrated by Spinnaker Rat whose whiskers twitch whenever danger is near, and who is head of a family of four with Greek alphabet names. His wife Retsina has a preference for Mediterranean food.

The rat family’s life as they knew it comes to a sudden end when demolition begins of the apartment block where they live. It is seen as the great migration; a necessary but dangerous venture into the unknown.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Review: Cheeky Monkey Manners series

Whether it be remembering to say please and I’m sorry, or learning to listen and take turns, the Cheeky Monkey Manners Series provides a wonderfully helpful and fun platform to teach young children manners.

In Lisa Kerr’s newest board books, Listening and Taking Turns, Cheeky Monkey is up to mischief again. He doesn’t mean to be cheeky, but he just can’t help himself.

Review: Disastrously Daring

The stupendously clever duo, Adam Wallace and James Hart, are at it again with the newest release, in their best-selling Jackson Payne series, Disastrously Daring!

This time Jackson Payne finds himself teeing off at the green.

“Golf is a nice walk. It’s a great way to be in the fresh air…it’s the most amazing sport ever…” he’s told, as Jackson’s dad has his heart set on Jackson becoming a golfing superstar. But Jackson would rather be at home sinking battleships than sinking a long putt on the golf course. And everyone knows that Jackson + Sports = Disaster!