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

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Review: Free

Flynn is in a wheelchair. Since the accident his world has been his room. He reluctantly agrees to join mum on a visit to the park which was his favourite spot, but is now a foreign place. That’s where he sees the bird. Free in flight, light and drifting, he wishes he could be like that bird instead of anchored to his chair.

A strange dream comes to him that night that helps him shake off his sense of helplessness. Inspired by this dream, he finds he can visualize being free, and become like the bird; able to soar and sweep to freedom on wings.

This is an empowering and transforming book. Filled with hope and possibilities, it shows to children and others swallowed by dark thoughts and hopelessness, how to restore an optimistic view of life filled with light through visualization.

Review: Not Yet, Zebra

Lou Kuenzler and Julia Woolf have created a delightful story in Not Yet, Zebra that makes you giggle.

Annie is ready to paint the alphabet and asks the animals to line up.

She begins with Aardvark and by the time Annie is ready to paint the letter D, Zebra has jumped the queue.

Zebra is one of those children who just cannot wait for their turn because they are just too excited to be patient.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Review: The Detective Dog

What a fabulous read! I didn’t stop laughing until the end of the book and even then, my mouth retained a smile of satisfaction.

The text filled with alliteration and assonance, in clever rhyme and galloping rhythm, sends the reader on a page-turning adventure with Detective Dog Nell, ‘with her keen sense of smell’. Nell lives with her untidy owner, six year-old Peter. He definitely needs her gift as he’s always losing things, and Detective Dog Nell never disappoints.

Review: The Extremely Weird Thing That Happened in Huggabie Falls

When a book's dedication makes you tingle with delight, you now you're in for a treat. I mean, it's not often you read: Embrace Uniqueness. Cherish nonsense. Stay wonderful.

Adam Cece doesn't disappoint.

From Huggabie Falls, where every street has the same name, to the class teacher (who is an actual witch) that lets Ug Ugg – a real live eleven-year-old troll – take geometry class, everything is a little bit weird.

There are mysteries and dead ends, vegetarian piranhas who might not be vegetarian after all and a pirate who hates pirates. You get the idea.

Cherish the nonsense as the pages fly through your fingers.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Review: This Mortal Coil - Connie's YA Book of the Month

Eyeing my tower of unread books, This Mortal Coil, with its dramatic book jacket and catchy synopsis/blurb, compelled me to read it. From the first chapter, I was reeled in to this dystopian/sci-fi tale. 

Catarina, 17 is trying to stay alive in a cabin in the woods after a deadly virus has forced much of the population to retreat to underground bunkers. She’s a genius coder, a  powerful skill to have, in a world where everyone is reliant on genetic technology delivered via a gene plate in their forearm.

Her father, Lachlan Agatta, the world’s most brilliant geneticist, has been taken against his will by Cartaxus, the dubious organisation who control the world’s genetic technology. Then Cole shows up with news her father is dead.

Review: How the Finch Got His Colors

Annemarie Riely Guertin's retelling of the Belgian folktale of the story, How the Finch Got His Colors, touched my soul.

Like many creation stories, the world begins as a bleak colourless place but here in Guetin's story we have the bow of light from Rainbow that '...turned everything in the path into bright colours.'

The Great Bird and ruler of the bird kingdom, circles on the winds above the land. He calls out to the Rainbow, asking to be kissed by her colour. Rainbow turns the Great Bird from stone grey to shimmering gold.

The other birds notice the spectacular colour of the King. They call, chirp and chatter about the colours that they want be. 'Green! Make me green!' called a Parrot.  Rainbow coloured the birds: emerald, cardinal red, sea blue and sun yellow until she became weak and her colours became dim.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Review: A Boat of Stars

I love poetry books for kids and this new collection of Australian poems is great for shared reading experiences.

Poetry helps kids to love language. To appreciate rhythm and metre, even though they don’t know what it means. It helps them hear the flow of language and learn how to have fun with it.

The editors, Margaret Connolly and Natalie Jane Prior, decided to create the poetry book that they wanted but couldn’t find. They pulled together some of Australia’s most talented writers and illustrators and created a gorgeous anthology of modern Australian poems for children.

Look What I'm Reading! Tania McCartney

Welcome to Kids Book Review’s exciting new posts segment, Look What I’m Reading! This is a monthly post in the form of a questionnaire, answered by people connected to the children’s book industry. 

The premise of these posts is to introduce interesting information from wide-reaching areas of the children’s book industry; to reveal to readers of children’s books which books are being read by the interviewees, and the reason for their choices and their source, so a picture of current reading trends is revealed.

Our guest posts will include publishers, literary agents, writers of all genres, illustrators of varying styles and media, booksellers and book buyers, librarians, teachers, literacy advocates and a great many others from differing imprints and new and established publishers, beginning from board books to Young Adult novels.

Sharing our guests’ reads offers the opportunity for children’s book lovers to learn about children’s books in general, and access behind-the-scenes information about how books are chosen, and why, and by whom. Interested? Join us at our monthly posts. Booklovers of all kind will find something of interest in KBR’s posts to which all feedback is welcome.

We kick off our inaugural bedside table exposé with the ineffable, Tania McCartney.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Review: Danny Best: Me First

Welcome to four more stories with the antics and habits of Danny Best that kids love to read. Danny Best believes he is the best at everything, and nothing in the world can make him believe otherwise.

In Tongue Tied, Danny has decided to break the world record of speaking with his tongue out for twenty-four hours. This entails viewing masticated food, being spat on as he’s talking, and all sorts of gross actions connected to saliva, for a whole day. 

Fab is employed to be witness and documenter of this great feat. But there are challenges as usual, and choices to be made. 

Can Danny Best, the biggest self-believer, achieve what seems to be the impossible? Will he overcome all the delays and obstacles described point-to-point that he encounters on his road to success?

Announcement: The Shortlist for the Children's Book Council of Australia 2018 Book of the Year Awards

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) today announced the Short List for the 2018 CBCA Book of the Year Awards.

The CBCA Awards are the longest running book awards in Australia. From the small list of books entered in 1946, the judges this year received 444 books for consideration and have described the entries as highly original and diverse with a stellar list of potential winners.

‘Themes this year include journeying, resilience and acceptance,’ said CBCA National Chair, Professor Margot Hillel OAM, ‘with stories that reflect the world around us, and demonstrate an openness to interpretation that should invite discussion and reflection.’

The CBCA supports Australian authors and illustrators of books for young readers. These esteemed awards are extremely influential in children’s publishing and bookselling, providing information about quality children's books for schools, libraries and the community at large.

12 Curly Questions with author Jacqueline Harvey

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
Lots of people know that I love to play golf but my best golfing moment came on the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland where I scored an eagle on the second hole – I couldn’t believe it!

2. What is your nickname? 
Jacq, but my little sister used to call me Duckling when she was small as she couldn’t get her tongue around Jacqueline.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Guest Post: Laura Taylor with Ten Fabulous Reads from Around The World

There’s a whole world of beautiful picture books out there! In May last year, I set out to research, read and review a selection of contemporary titles from every UN member state. It has been a wonderful introduction to the work of authors, illustrators, translators and publishers dotted around the globe. And the discoveries continue . . .

I have – without exception – enjoyed every title I have read on this journey, but here are ten that really wowed me.

Petit, the Monster by Isol, translated from the Spanish by Elisa Amado (Groundwood Books, 2010)

Petit is bad when he tells a lie, but good at telling stories. Simple on the surface, this story explores a topic that is difficult to grasp for us all: What is good and what is bad and how do we learn to distinguish the two when there is so much complexity? The quirky illustrations by Isol, 2013 recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, carry an impressive range of emotion.

Review: Mallee Boys

Mallee Boys is a sweet, poignant novel set in the Mallee and tells the story of two brothers, Red and Sandy, the year after tragically losing their mum.

Told in first person, with alternating chapters from each point of view, the reader gets a real sense of country and farm life from a teenage male perspective. 

Red is 18 and prone to bursts of anger, unresolved issues and guilt festering since his mother’s death. He’s left school and works hard on the farm. Needing to escape constant reminders of his mum, he starts hanging out with Ryan, a shady character, and everything Red knows is insidiously threatened.

Sandy, 15, is shy, accident-prone, introspective and loves reading. He's smart, does well at school and has good friends although his mum’s loss is always on his mind. Sandy’s goal is to get a scholarship to a private school in Adelaide, complete his senior years there and become an engineer.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Review: Libby In The Middle

Bella, Libby and Grace are sisters. Their family moves to live closer to dad’s only sibling, rich Aunt Thecla. He hopes that she will be generous enough to pay for the girl’s’ education as they are struggling to make ends meet. Bella leaves behind her boyfriend Sam and her happy disposition. She becomes secretive; full of untruths and rebellious anger and spite. Grace is six and mommy’s girl, while Libby, the one with the most logic, is caught in the middle of it all.

It turns out that life in a small community isn’t exactly what they all expected. Although Mum is happy at her new dentist practice, dad seems uncomfortable returning to his past, which he left under a cloak of mystery and hasn’t spoken about to his children.

Secrets always have a way of trickling out – particularly in small communities. As the three curious girls try to adjust to their new life, they also lose no time in investigating snippets of conversations, and words dropped accidently on purpose around town, regarding their father’s younger years. With knowledge, questions arise. Answers are needed. The grey areas of dad’s life which were like a permanent mist, slowly clear, to reveal an understanding of the choices he made, and bring the family closer together.

Review: Children's Writer's Notebook

The Children's Writer's Notebook is a fantastic book for new and experienced writers from eight to 108.

It's a 'guided journal' which features twenty authors for young people.

They are all well-known and cover a variety of genres. You'll get to read about their writing styles and inspiration, and learn what made them unique.

With Dr Seuss, for example, you'll learn how he used rhyme and repetition, and how he was challenged to write an un-put-down-able book for children with a limited list of words.

Other authors include: A A Milne with his succinct dialogue; Roald Dahl and his inventive characters and verse; and Eoin Colfer and his 'modern fairy tales' and strong characters.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Guest Post: Kaye Newton on People Who Can Get Your Kids Reading

While reading for pleasure has many documented benefits, adolescents who are busy with school, sports, clubs, and vigilantly maintaining Instagram accounts, may not want to read during their free time.

Also, preteens and teens may not appreciate parental book recommendations and suggestions to put down the smartphone and pick up a good novel.

But a third party can encourage adolescents to crack open a book. The following is a list of people besides you who can get your kids reading:

A reading buddy can be a classmate, a neighbourhood kid, a teammate, or a cousin who is your child’s age or slightly older. Your kid has to like spending time with this person. The more your kid admires this person, the better. Take your adolescent and his or her reading buddy to the bookstore or the library to peruse books and magazines. Let them wander through the shelves on their own. Don’t follow them. Don’t make book suggestions. Do consider buying them coffee, ice cream, or a snack right after visiting the books. Do ask which book looked interesting.

Review: 100 First Animals

100 First Animals is an awesome (and giant) board book for little animal lovers.

Bright and colourful, every page is jam-packed with pictures of animals, categorised into groups such as 'Pets', 'Farm Animals', 'Bright Colours' and 'In the Sea'.

There’s a mix of cute and funky illustrations and photographs, creating a fun and interesting journey through the animal world. 

The kids will love exploring the pages and guessing the animals!

Friday, 23 March 2018

Review: Make and Play: Easter

Decorating, singing, crafts and cooking activities are not just activities for Christmas. Joey Chou's activity book Make and Play: Easter is full of fun that will help bring delight to little ones as Easter approaches.

There are 25 colourful press-out play figures that are very easy to slot together. Chou suggests that readers use the play pieces to decorate their house, creating an Easter scene.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

News: KBR CBCA 2018 Shortlist Predictions!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Forever curious to delve deeper into our book-loving psyches, we asked our intrepid KBR team to predict the 2018 CBCA Shortlist outcome based on the Notable Titles announced on the 27 February.

The Kids Book Review team is a mixed band of accomplished literary professionals, artists, educators, librarians and of course, reviewers so naturally, our responses were never going to be straightforward! Each team member was asked three questions:

·         Which title they thought WILL be shortlisted
·         Which title they thought SHOULD be shortlisted
·         Which title WOULD be shortlisted if they could choose, in other words, their favourite.

Here is what they had to say. Perhaps it will prompt you to make your own pre-announcement predictions. Whatever the outcome, KBR congratulate all those who made the Notables list this year. It is hugely gratifying to see the magnitude of quality, meaningful literature that Australia continues to create for children.

Meet the Illustrator: Alex Pick

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Multi-faceted, directly from the heart, inventive, sometimes Disney-esk.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
My Wacom tablet and stylus are essential to me because they belong to my everyday life and are connected to my hands and brain.  But there always has to be a sketchbook nearby to do some hand-drawn sketches too.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Book List: The World Through Picture Books

In 2011, librarians from around the world set out to celebrate and promote the diversity of our languages and cultures.

The librarians compiled a list of books created and published in different countries -- each selecting some of their favourite books from their country.

The project was coordinated by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) section for Libraries for Children and Young Adults.

They were supported in their endeavour by IFLA's Literacy and Reading section and the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).

The original list of books, suitable for children up to 11 years of age, has been updated and expanded, and now includes 500 books in 37 different languages.

Review: Sandcastle

I love building sandcastles.
Do you?

Philip Bunting co-creator of Koala Eats Gum Leaves and author/illustrator of Mopoke now brings readers a deep story in Sandcastle. It is a story that reflects on the ebb and flow of life.

On the surface this is a delightful and simple story about Rae and Grandad building a sandcastle, its tower, ramparts and a moat.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Interview: Laura Taylor on A Picture Book Adventure

Laura Taylor is a writer and translator, and a mother of two. Born in the UK, she now lives near Newcastle, Australia and facilitates Planet Picture Book. She has set out on a quest to discover picture books from all the 193 member states of the United Nations, and share them with everyone through reviews on her site.

Join us with her today, on her compelling journey of discovery.

12 Curly Questions with author/illustrator Kelly Canby

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I love to make lists! (Which is probably why I loved the book The Liszts by Kyo Maclear so much. Well, that and the gorgeous illustrations by Julia Sarda. Oh my goodness, those illustrations!)

2. What is your nickname? 
Sadly, I’ve never had one. I tried to give myself one in high school but it never stuck. I don’t think you can give yourself a nickname anyway, can you? It doesn’t really work like that. The closest I have to a nickname is Kel.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Review: Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls

This is the ultimate bedtime story book for girls who dream about changing the world. It profiles 100 amazing women who fought to succeed and make a difference by following their passion against the odds.

Each remarkable story is only one page long and written in simple, easy to follow language, in the style of a fairy tale. Many begin with ‘Once upon a time’ and tell a story about a girl, who had dream and refused to give up.

From cyclists to supermodels, artists to marine biologists, this book covers the full spectrum of amazing achievements of women from the 1600s through to present day.

Winners: Little Fish

Here are our winners.

Congratulations to:

Sharon Hammad, NSW

Charlie Hope (on behalf of Paloma), VIC

You have each won a Luxury Little Fish Lunchbox pack.

Thank you to ALL who entered.Your lunch box suggestions including seanut butter and jellyfishsandwiches, kelp rollups and sweet seaweed tea certainly made our tummies rumble! Enjoy your gorgeous prizes!

Review: Play with Art

This one is for the art and craft fans. And they will adore it!

Play with Art is a bright and colourful book filled with amazing art and craft projects for the kids.

Separated into four sections ('Painting and Printing', 'Paper Crafts', 'Drawing and Colouring' and 'Make and Create'), the book has been cleverly designed to make creating as easy as possible. 

At the beginning of each section is a supplies list, and the same supplies can be used for all the activities in the section, so you can lay things out and create lots of different things at the same time.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

International Read To Me Day

Tomorrow is International Read To Me Day, a worldwide campaign aimed at getting each and everyone of us to sit and connect with a child through word and story with the aim to improve literacy and empower children to enter into conversation about what they read.

Reading is a multifaceted process involving word recognition, comprehension, fluency, and motivation. ... to make meaning from print. *

But it is so much more. It is a sharing of pasts and futures, a relaying of cultures and beliefs, and a portal for discovery and realisations that can shape and influence not just a child's literacy but their entire understanding of the world in which they live...and beyond.

Reading is an intensely intimate experience; one which a child can experience for themselves after they've develop the skills to interpret the written word but before that, reading represents an opportunity to connect with a child like nothing else, both emotionally and physically.

It is not just language and comprehension that are enhanced when you read to a child, you are reinforcing their attachment and nurturing their relationship with you every single time you take the time to share a story. For the very young, it's as much about sharing that time with you as it is a cultivation of audio and visual literacy. The importance of this can not be overvalued, ever.

So, take a few moments or more to enrich a child's day, any child, with a book and read to them.

Then do it again and again and again.

Discover more about this annual campaign and the amazing people who drive it at the Read To Me website, here. Get involved - find out how, here.


* What is Reading? blog post by Diane Henry Leipzig - Reading Rockets Blog

Review: I Remember

I Remember is a gorgeous story about memories, as an elderly woman recalls the family camping trips of her childhood.

Set in the Geraldton area of Western Australia, Joanne Crawford’s text is simple and yet profound. It’s written in such a way that makes you feel you’ve been there; that you’ve experienced the memories for yourself.

Visually Kerry Ann Jordinson exquisitely portrays the landscape through illustration. Using soft pastel and a stunning colour pallet, children will appreciate each illustration as the story unfolds.

Review: Bertha and Bear

As a big fan of Christine Sharp's earlier picture books, I was (and you'll have to forgive the pun) absolutely buzzing about this new release.

Bertha and Bear
is positively luminous with Christine's distinctive illustrations and charm. Each page shines with hues of gold, orange and green to reflect her natural subject matter. The aim? To celebrate bees and their vital role in our ecosystem, while highlighting the plight of their declining numbers.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Review: Nexus

Our small band of anti-heroes meet their match and then some in Nexus. 

After breaking Bellweather out of a high security prison and racing to New Orleans where something big is about to go down, the edges of this motley group begin to unravel.

While they are struggling to work out who they trust, all hell breaks loose.

Murder is on the cards – murder on a much bigger scale than anyone imagined – and it all centres around a new Zero with irresistible charisma.

Can the original Zeroes learn to trust each other enough to overcome her plan to decimate civilisation as we know it?

Review: How Many Kisses?

Looking for a counting book that’s special and different? How Many Kisses? delivers.

It has everything you’d expect in a counting book.

There are large, bold numbers that stand out on the page, and a visual representation of each number to get some counting practice in.

The numbers span from one to 10 (with extras at the end for special counting fun), and the text is simple so as not to distract from the purpose of the book.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Review: My Sweet Orange Tree

Translated into English for the first time, this International bestseller is a stunning work of great literary merit. Deeply moving, it tells the story of the highly intelligent but mischievous prankster Zeze, whose tremendous capacity for kindness, is matched only by his naughtiness. He pays for this naughtiness with severe beatings from his family members.

Zeze longs for tenderness. His mother is always absent, working to keep the family alive. His father is angry and distant, the result of being unemployed for ages. Zeze replaces what he doesn’t have with a fierce imagination; a creative ability to hear trees talk, to create imaginary friends, and to spin stories to entertain his beloved younger brother, King Louis.

When Zeze finally meets someone who recognizes his pureness of heart and abounding gifts, life has meaning at last.

Review: Easter Croc

One of the special things about Easter morning is waking up to find that the Easter Bunny has left a range of eggs for you to eat.

But how would you feel if you weren't left any eggs?

In the story Easter Croc, Roger Riddy's new pop-up and lift the flap book, children will discover that the only way one gets eggs from the Easter Bunny is to use good manners.

The Easter Bunny has finished her rounds and she has not left any eggs for Crocodile. Croc really would like an egg so he sets off to search for one.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Review: The Silver Sea

The Silver Sea is a truely magical picture book. 

It's something special, something different and something both children and adults will adore.

The collaboration of esteemed children’s authors Alison Lester and Jane Godwin AND kids from the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, the story follows a boy and girl as they explore the depths of the ocean, meet colourful sea beasts and travel home again.

Review: Ruben

Ruben is the latest book from the talented Bruce Whatley, and it's beautifully artistic.

An unusual story with stunning, black and white pencil illustrations, Ruben seems somewhat otherworldly, and yet not.

It's set in what appears to be the future, a place where a young boy lives and survives alone.

Ruben's life seems bleak. He has surrounded himself with items that mean something to him, and records his life in a journal he constructed from bits and pieces.

Ruben is a maker, an innovator, because he has to be. There's no other way for him to live. He's independent, a loner. In fact, there appear to be few other people in his world.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Review: The Usborne Big Book of the Body

The Usborne Big Book of the Body is a beautifully produced picture book style non-fiction title, with four fold out sections (equal to four pages attached together) that allows kids to start to develop a real sense and understanding of the different parts and functions of the human body.

The fold out sections are very well designed to open in and out smoothly, covering the topics of bones, muscles, the digestive system, and the heart/blood vessel network, all with aesthetically pleasing cartoon style illustrations that are guaranteed to not gross out even the most squeamish of readers.

Review: A Bear is a Bear (Except When He's Not)

In this funny, rhyming picture book by Karl Newson and Anuska Allepuz, poor Bear is having an identity crisis.

He’s actually forgotten he’s a bear, so he tries being other animals to see if he can figure out what he’s meant to be. 

A bird, a moose, a fox, a squirrel — poor Bear is none of these. 

He retreats to a cave for a little (or big) nap, and in doing so discovers exactly what he is.

A Bear is a Bear (Except When He’s Not) is a fun and funny story kids will love. 

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Cover Reveal: Maya and Cat

Announcing something new and more than a tiny bit special. Soft cat paw drumbeats for...

On a roof, as wet as a seal, as grey as a puddle, Cat was rumbling, a rumbly purr. What does Cat want most? Feather boas? Pretty pink shoelaces? A boatful of fish under a tiny tin sail – or perhaps something much more valuable?

Walker Books have a super adorable picture book called Maya and Cat coming out in August. Affectionate and evocative, Maya and Cat follows a child’s kindly impulse to an unexpected conclusion. Maya and Cat is by renowned author/illustrator Caroline Magerl. 

Caroline’s stunning artwork has been exhibited widely overseas and in Australia, in 2001 she won the Children's Book Council of Australia Crichton Award for new talent in children's book illustration for her picture book Grandma's Shoes (written by Libby Hathorn). 

12 Curly Questions with author/illustrator Joanna Young

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I danced in Rio Carnival when I was 15. We had just moved there and my parents thought it would help us integrate. So my brother and I joined the samba school Estacio de Sa. We had to learn the words to the song on the way to the sambadrome, and got hit with long sticks if we stopped singing or dancing. But it is a great memory.

2. What is your nickname? 
Poge. Short for Jogey Pogey. Strictly for family, although friends of family also seem to use it.

3. What is your greatest fear? 
Losing someone I love. Isn’t that everybody’s?

Monday, 12 March 2018

Review: Imagine

The words of John Lennon’s famous song are just as relevant today as when they were first written nearly 50 years ago.

Most of us probably take for granted the words, so embedded in a generation. An anthem for peace, a calling for an end to war and conflict and a focus on tolerance and love.

This beautiful picture book uses the words of the classic song to tell the story of a lone pigeon on a journey around the world to spread his message of peace.

Review: The Red Dread

Shrew and his forest friends are feeling kind of nervous.

The Red Dread is thumping through the trees and no one knows who will be snatched up next.

Thump, thump, thump, thump goes The Red Dread. 

Rabbit disappears. 

Then Chicken disappears. 

Who will be next?

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Review: My Brigadista Year

It's 1961 in Cuba.

Fidel Castro has overthrown Batista and declared war against illiteracy (among other things).

Thirteen-year-old Lora volunteers to be one of Castro's literacy champions, much to her parents' consternation but she is determined to go, despite the fact that there is no guarantee she will be safe.

Lora talks directly to me as I read so it feels like I'm sitting in her pocket as the action unfolds.

From the emotional wrench of saying goodbye to the strangeness of training camp and on to the distant hills where there is no power and little in the way of creature comforts, Lora shares all.

Review: Dress Up with Ted

Here are two more titles by Sophy Henn in her Ted series of educational early learning board books for toddlers and perhaps children a little older. 

In Dress Up with Ted, the focus is on the experience of creative play and imagination. 

Children learn to role play, examine different characters, their clothing, appearance, games and language associated with Ted’s chosen dress up. A basket of clothing and odds and ends will soon be gathered together.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Review: Lucie Goose

Geese in picture books are historically portrayed as very silly creatures, but Lucie? Well, Lucie is different. Lucie Goose is actually very practical, quite frank and unusually self assured... especially for a goose who is continuously being Raaared, Rorioored and Roaaared at by wolves, bears and lions.

Once she understands that they expect her to be scared, and in fact, they expect her to run away so they can chase her, Lucie wastes no time in informing them how silly that would be. And actually, would they like to come and have tea and cake with her instead?

Review: The Hole Story

Charlie finds a hole and picks it up. He puts the hole in his pocket. Very quickly Charlie learns that holes are not a great place for a pocket nor your backpack.

So what do you do with a hole you don't want?

Kelly Canby has written and illustrated a fanciful and whimsical story, The Hole Story, that answers this question.

Charlie decides to take the hole into town to find it a new owner.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Giveaway: Little Fish

Thanks to the fantastic people at Walker Books Australia and to celebrate the release of the adorable board books, Where Is Little Fish? and Count With Little Fish, we have two Little Fish Lunch Box packs to giveaway.


To enter, simply tell us in 25 words or less what you think Little Fish would have in his lunch box.

Each pack includes a luxury limited edition Little Fish lunch box, a Little Fish sticker and copies of Where Is Little Fish? and Count With Little Fish.

From Lucy Cousins, the multi-award-winning creator of Maisy, comes another adorable character to fall in love with. First introduced in Hooray for Fish!, Little Fish is a spotty, playful fish who loves to splish and splash with his friends. This pack will really make your little fish stand out in the 'school'.

Email your answer along with your name and postal address to dimity . The two responses we like the best will each win a pack. Competition is open to anyone, worldwide, so long as they have an Australian postal address for delivery of the book. Please note, we cannot deliver to PO Boxes. Entries without a name and street address will be ineligible. Winners will be announced right here on our website on Monday 19 March 2018.

Competition runs from 5am Saturday 10 March to 9pm Saturday 17 March 2018. Adults can enter for those aged 17 and under. This is a game of skill, not chance. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Review: The Alphabet of Alphabets

This is one of the best alphabet books I have ever read!

It’s like 26 books in one, with a theme for every letter of the alphabet (B for Bugs, I for Inventions, T for Toys). And within each theme you'll find 26 relevant objects/critters/people from A to Z. That’s 676 things to spot!

But that’s not all.

Each themed alphabet is presented differently, creating a range of fun games to play as you read. 

On some pages you have to spot each object/critter/person from A to Z (because they aren’t in order). 

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Review: Bird to Bird

Bird to Bird begins with a seed being dropped by a bird. It's followed by a journey that traces what happens to the tree that grows as a result.

The tree is eventually chopped down and sent to the city where it is turned into bunks on a convict ship.

When the ship arrives at its destination, the wood on board is recycled on land, first as a weaving loom, then a supporting beam in a house.

As time continues to pass, and the wood ages with its surroundings, it is salvaged by a crafter who turns it into a wooden bird.