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

Friday 12 April 2024

Review: The Great Australian Science Book

The Great Australian Science Book, another great title from the CSIRO, is about science big and small.

It's a journey through the human body, planet earth, and the universe, along with the concepts that are an important part of them working.

What makes up the universe? Discover what the big bang and dark matter are, and what makes up a galaxy and a solar system. Delve into earth's geology, evolution, animals, plants and habitats. And climate change.

Explore our bodies by looking at genes and cells, and the different systems that keep us alive. 

Skeletons and muscles, the brain, immune system, and more.

Review: With A Little Sprinkle of Courage

This book is special in many ways, not least of which are the tiny, embossed silver stars that glitter their way across the cover. From here, things just get even more gorgeous.

On the warm, sunny morning Fen hatched, her father gave her a special birthday gift.

Little Fen, a bird, is given a very special gift by her father. This gift will help her to get through any new and difficult times in life – it’s the gift of courage.

But when Fen’s courage blows away on the wind and she’s unable to join her fellow birds in
singing the dawn chorus, her world crumbles.

Thursday 11 April 2024

Meet The Illustrator: Imogen Hartland

Imogen Hartland

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Bold, bright, and playful cobblings of colour!

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Scissors and glue! Also, good quality paper.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
It’d be a tussle between printmaking and collage...

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Review: Captain Thunderbolt’s Recital

I find bushrangers captivating and Captain Thunderbolt is no different. 

Known as the ‘gentleman bushranger’, it is believed that Captain Thunderbolt never shot anyone. In Captain Thunderbolt’s Recital, Jane Jolly has captured a more playful side of Australian bushranging history. 

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Review: Look Me in the Eye

Mish and Connie are cousins. Connie and Bella are close friends, and all are in Year Seven at the same school.

It is just after lockdown. Bella receives a text meant for Connie from Mish, which starts a series of situations that have no happy ending.

Mish is an enigma. She hides too much and says too little. She cares for nothing and nobody except for a horse at the Pony Club where she works infrequently.

Her rule is that she doesn’t talk to adults. Her movements are tracked via her phone, by her overbearing father, a returned war veteran.

She is manipulative and uses her crafty ways to make Connie and Bella cover her wild actions.

She is also a shoplifter.

Monday 8 April 2024

Review: What They Told Me

From award-winning author Hayley Lawrence, this coming-of-age story speaks in a strong, vulnerable voice to teenage readers. It’s a powerful narrative that will evoke compassion and empathy in young minds.

Fifteeen-year-old Elliot has always known that she’s one of the ‘lucky’ Gillespe family who have lived by Crooked River for generations. So when her parents deliver ‘unlucky’ and life-altering news, the world as she knows it slips on its axis. 

Nothing will ever be the same again. And as her life is turned upside down, it seems that Elliot might lose all the important people and places in her world.

It’s always hard when your beliefs are shattered, and especially so when you’re young. 

Friday 5 April 2024

Review: Jeff the Giraffe: The Great Escape

Jeff the Giraffe: The Great Escape is a rhyming adventure picture book, written by Amelia McInerney and illustrated in expressive style by Alexandra Colombo.

When Jeff the giraffe decides to escape the zoo in the middle of the night, a kerfuffle ensues.

Jeff's tried escaping before and it didn't go to plan. 

He really only wants to visit the park, but most of the other animals are happy where they are, especially when it's pitch black outside.

But Jeff is determined. Will Roger the 'navy' seal join him? Perhaps, if he can steer clear of the sharks.

Review: Time to Rest

Time To Rest is a gorgeous and heartfelt Australian lullaby.

‘The sun is sinking low, my darling,
The birds are in their nests.
And you have spent the day exploring
So now it’s time to rest.’

Time To Rest shows our favourite Australian animals being tucked into beds outside, birds being tucked into their nests and marine creatures being tucked into beds under the sea. 

So of course, there is no choice but to sleep!

Thursday 4 April 2024

Review: Julius Squeezer

In the deepest, darkest jungle,
in among the trees
lives a python known as Julius,
who really loves to squeeze.

Julius is a wonderful, generous squeezer who loves nothing more than to hug his friends.

The trouble with that, is that Julius just so happens to be a sizeable python with massively big muscles that hurt his friends! 

So, his squeezes are too much for, well, everybody! Everybody
that is, until he meets a special someone. 

Wednesday 3 April 2024

Video: This Book is a Time Machine

How do you explain what the past, present and future mean? Tracey Dembo and Lucinda Gifford have created a book to do just that using the creative process of making a book. They put themselves as the narrators and, well, it's probably easier for you to read the book (and watch the video below) than for me to try and explain how they twist and travel through time.

Hello there! Guess what???You are holding a real-life time machine!
??You don’t believe me?
??I’ll show you!
??For a start, I wrote this blurb in the PAST.
??Yet, you are reading it in the PRESENT.
??And when you finish reading the blurb, it will be the FUTURE.

Title: This Book is a Time Machine
Author: Tracey Dembo
Illustrator: Lucinda Gifford
Publisher: Affirm Press, $ 24.99
Publication Date: 2023
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781922848413
For ages: 4+
Type:  Picture Book

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Review: Bluey: Trains

Excitement abounds with the arrival of the new Bluey illustrated chapter book series for young readers.

Within the wonderful, imaginative world of games that Bluey and her family play together, this is the first on a train.

Mum, Dad, Bluey, Bingo and Poppy create a cast of intriguing characters and share roles between themselves. This play sees them journey back and forth during a day on a train.  

It begins with Dr Glenda taking Poppy to Mother Duck Day Care on her daily way to work as a vet.

A series of unexpected happenings involve animals and agitated passengers. 

A cat unsupervised, feet up on a seat, and a great cranky bear are at the centre of it all.

12 Curly Questions with author Samantha-Ellen Bound

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
My dream job is to be on Play School.

2. What is your nickname?
Sam, Sammy, Samba, Boundy, Smellen, Sambam, Bambi, Sebsy, SEMB… I am quite liberal with my giving of nicknames so I have to expect a few in return.

Monday 1 April 2024

Guest Post: Chelsea Luker on A Journey Into The Autistic / ADHDer Experience

In a world that often feels like it's not built for everyone, Square Me, Round World: Stories of growing up in a world not built for you offers a refreshing and insightful perspective on the lives of Autistic/ADHDer individuals. 

As an author, psychologist, and advocate, I’d like to share a personal journey that has led to the creation of this book aimed at bridging the understanding gap and fostering inclusivity.

I am deeply passionate about advocating for the rights and well-being of Autistic and ADHDer individuals. 

Friday 29 March 2024

Review: Anzac Ted 10th Anniversay

Written in rhyming verse, Belinda Landsberry’s timeless story is celebrating its 10th Anniversary with this Special Edition.

A luxurious cloth cover embraces the contents, which start with stunning end pages.

Not much to look at, Anzac Ted has lots of external flaws, for time has aged him.

For the children who see him at Show and Tell, he is worthless.

 Worn and patched, with missing parts, his value is hidden within the stories he carries.

Thursday 28 March 2024

Meet The Illustrator: Rachael Robertson

Rachael Robertson

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Bright, bold, textured painted paper collage with mixed media madness.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
I require very little space to create. My first book, My Amazing Animal Alphabet Alliteration Book was created on my kitchen table. 

My wonderful husband has since created a tiny little work desk in our bedroom for me. We have a small character home, so having a little space to create is lovely and my two daughters come in a lot to create alongside me. It’s very special that they are involved and I love it.