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

Friday, 24 March 2023

Review: Little Lunch: The Monkey Bars

The Little Lunch books are a wickedly sparkling series for children (and their adults) to fall into with hilarity and glee. Cleverly chaotic words and messy, inky images with line-drawings all intermingle in the most perfect, unexpected and disgusting ways.

Melanie Applebum wants a turn on the monkey bars but Tamara Noodle is hogging them. Again. So the two have a face-off (or hang-off, actually). Both of them know that Tamara will win, but Melanie’s making a point. And that’s the point of this story. Melanie stands up to the mean power of the monkey bar queen and has a little win for herself in The Monkey Bars.  

In The Bench Beside The Bin, Manny’s massive sandwich causes a stir with his classmates, who investigate the contents with great curiosity plus communal disagreement about beetroot. It’s pretty funny and quite ooky at the same time.

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Meet The Illustrator: Dalia Awad

Dalia Awad

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
It’s colourful, whimsical, funny and I like to draw emotional illustrations.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
My Wacom Cintiq is essential at my home studio, and my iPad for mobility as it gives me the ability to work anywhere.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
If you asked me this question 4 years ago I would have said it was gouache and watercolour because they have been my favourite mediums for years but now I prefer to draw digitally-free hand using Wacom tablet and my favourite program is clip studio paint.

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Guest Post: Sarah Wallace on Writing Emma's Freckles

I have always loved mythology, so it is no surprise that I incorporate it into my writing. I feel a particular connection with Irish and Scottish mythology due to my family heritage, and the Gaelic myth about how people got their freckles inspired my picture book, Emma’s Freckles.

It is such a magical myth, telling how the gods were worried people would forget the stars (due to the constant cloud and mist!) so they made maps of the stars on people’s faces. I just love the idea that when all the freckled people come together they make a map of the universe!

Tuesday, 21 March 2023

12 Curly Questions with author Barbie Robinson

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I hate walking into a room full of people.

2. What is your nickname?
I’m just always called Barbie or Barb (or Mum or Grandma).

3. What is your greatest fear?
I have bundles of them but probably loss of loved ones is the greatest.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Accessible but with a deep respect for rich English vocabulary.

Monday, 20 March 2023

Review: It's Time All Possums Went To Bed

It’s taken me almost as long to write this review as it has taken Miss Milly to finally get into bed. 

Like all good picture book odes to the often-unwelcome shenanigans associated with bedtime, this version by Queensland author, Jacqui Halpin and UK illustrator, Gavin Scott takes a familiar ordinary every day struggle and turns it into a sweet game of patience and creativity between mother and child.

It's bedtime and Milly is hosting a late-night tea party with her assortment of Aussie bush mates. As head of entertainment, Mum concedes to a few more moments of play but insists it’s bedtime afterwards. Milly assumes the personality of a possum allowing herself to be fed grapes and juicy pears. But when Mum announces that it’s time all possums went to bed, Milly counters with the proclamation that she is now a bilby.

Saturday, 18 March 2023

Giveaway: Emma's Freckles

This month we are thrilled to be giving away a signed copy of Emma’s Freckles by Sarah Wallace, illustrated by Lesley McGee, Little Pink Dog Books. 

Inspired by mythology and full of freckles, this magical story of self-acceptance will capture children’s hearts with twinkling stars, a shimmering island and wonderful tale of connection to the stories of ancestors.

This gorgeous picture book tells a story of an island with mist that dances off the ocean, glimmering stars that speak to you from faraway places, and freckles that are more special than you could ever imagine. A beautiful story with stunning illustrations that will enchant children with the wonder of nature and the night sky.

To discover more about the genesis behind this endearing tale, read Sarah's Guest Post on writing Emma this Wednesday 22 March. Read KBR's Sarah Steed's inspiring review of Emma's Freckles for more insight on this marvellous tale.

For the chance to win this a signed copy of this beautiful picture book releasing this month, tell us in 25 words or less what your favourite myth is and why.

Friday, 17 March 2023

Review: Little Lunch: The Bubblers

The Little Lunch books are a wickedly sparkling series for children (and their adults) to fall into with hilarity and glee. Cleverly chaotic words and messy, inky images with line-drawings all intermingle in the most perfect, unexpected and disgusting ways.

At Little Lunch we ate a BAD birthday pavlova, Atticus lost his glasses and we had a Disgusting Joke Competition beside the bubblers.

There’s an art to writing and illustrating like it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. Danny Katz and Mitch Vane are super impressive on this front! These books are so instantly engaging and compelling that you don’t even think about what went into creating them. Except when you do.

Mrs Gonsha has made a birthday cake for twins Max and Elsa. It’s a pavlova. 

Thursday, 16 March 2023

Guest Post: Reading Can Be Fun!

For most of us, reading is pure joy. Something to be savoured and relished in huge amounts. But not always. 

Today Tam Tran from Moody Two Shoes, offers some simple tips and hacks to enhance your reading pleasure and release the bookworm within.

Review: Emma's Freckles

Emma's Freckles shares a Gaelic myth I'd never heard of.

When we hear mythology stories, or talk of them, the ones mentioned most often are Greek and Roman. So it was great to read this book, a tale that weaves the modern world with mythology to create a rather ethereal story.

Emma’s grandma tells her about the land of her ancestors. Of its beauty and mist-filled nights. And of the stars and their importance. Although hidden by the mist, they’re not forgotten because the people of the land wear a reminder of the stars in the freckles on their faces.

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Review: The Snow Laundry

In this dystopian world the administration controls absolutely everything and the population know not to challenge the status quo.

Besides it could be a lot worse – many of the country’s homeless are forced to work in the towers with no possibility or hope of escaping. But while their new home is a prison, they are fed and warm.

17-year-old Ally is just of those people enslaved in the towers. Working long hours in the laundry, each day the same, she is resigned to her fate. 

Though there are many people who still exist in the tunnels that are barely surviving, Ally believes she has the better situation; her vote was the price of safety.

Birthday celebrations are in full swing for the Towers Overseer when Ally’s boyfriend Bon goes missing. One minute he was laying beside her in bed, the next he is gone, only leaving behind drawings.

Monday, 13 March 2023

Review: Tales From The Bush Mob: The Cockatoo Wars

This brilliant, humorous story, the fourth in the Tales of the Bush Mob series, opens onto another daring adventure with a group of birds and their animal friends who live in Outback Australia. 

White Boss Cocky and Black Boss Cocky have been at odds with one another for a very long time. Their clans continue to fight about who is responsible for the protection of the ancient forests. There is no end in sight to the raucous they continue to cause.

A monumental fight occurs that causes two baby cockies to fall out of their nests. 

Due to the lack of feathers on the baby birds, their mothers are unable to tell them apart. They decide to move to the edge of the forest and raise them together as brothers. 

Sunday, 12 March 2023

Review: My Marvellous Mum

Jonathan Bentley has a wonderful catalogue of more than fifty books for children, and My Marvellous Mum is another fabulous addition.

My Marvellous Mum sets out to list all the ways Mum is special, and it does so alphabetically, working through the letters of the adjective in the book's title: marvellous. 

Animal characters depict mother and child pairs in various situations.