Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Black Friday Boot Camp

 Buzz Words reader Lyn Oxley has enrolled in this one-day, online bootcamp. It’s held in the USA, costs US $20, and will be held on 23 November, Pacific Time. Although it starts at 3.30 am Sydney time, there will be a recording available shortly after.

 Black Friday Bootcamp is an online workshop held on Black Friday taught by published authors, illustrators and editors. To see the whole line up visit the link below: https://www.storytelleracademy.com/black-friday-2018

Storyteller Academy is running a giveaway to raise awareness for Black Friday Bootcamp. All the proceeds from Black Friday Bootcamp is going to two great charities: We Need Diverse Books and First Book. Storyteller Academy's goal is to raise $20,000.

For the give-away, there are these great prizes: a mixed picture book, a free course and workshop and best of all a free year of learning at Storyteller Academy (a $2,400 value).

To enter the giveaway, all you must do is click the link below and sign up! https://www.storytelleracademy.com/black-friday_bootcamp-contest/

Monday, 19 November 2018

Johnny’s Beard

Johnny’s Beard by Michelle Worthington, illustrated by Katrin Dreiling (Little Pink Dog Books) PB RRP: $24.95 ISBN: 9780648256304

Reviewed by Anne Helen Donnelly

Johnny’s beard was his pride and joy. It was glorious and splendiferous. But this didn’t happen by itself: Johnny spent hours washing it, drying it and combing it. He loved the feel of his beard, keeping him warm and feeling the breeze blowing through it.

One winter morning Johnny met a mouse, a twitchy mouse whose house was too cold for the winter. Johnny offered to share his warm home with the mouse, so the mouse climbed into Johnny’s beard for a ride. Then Johnny picked up a rabbit, a raven and a family of hedgehogs. His beard was getting to be a very busy place!

He took them all home where they huddled by the fire. But how was Johnny going to house all these little critters? Where could they sleep and what did he have to keep them all snug and warm all winter?

This is a fun story for children aged 4 – 8 years. The illustrations are colourful, lively and full of character. And who wouldn’t like a word such as “splendiferous!” My children liked this “funny story” so it comes recommended by experts!

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Grey-glasses-it is

Grey-glasses-it is by Lynn Jenkins, illustrated by Kirrili Longergan (EK Books(
ISBN: 9781925335958 RRP: $19.99

Reviewed by Anne Helen Donnelly

In a little garden in a little village on top of a big mountain, Loppy the Lac was painting, surrounded by colour. He admired the different colours and felt different feelings. Blue made him peaceful, red excited him and yellow made him cheerful.

Loppy’s friend Curly came by and gave Loppy a pair of purple lensed glasses to look through. Purple made Loppy feel creative and green lensed glasses made him feel relaxed. Then Loppy tried a pair of grey lensed glasses. These made Loppy feel sad and he didn’t want to paint any longer. He had no energy and felt “blah.”

Luckily, Curly knew just what was wrong and how to fix it; grey-glasses-itis!

One of EK’s ‘Books with heart on issues that matter’ book, and the fourth story in the Lessons of a LAC series; this book aims to give your child a way to think about and manage their moods and feelings. The message is that the way we look at things will affect the way we feel, a good life lesson. The cover and illustrations remind me of Dr Suess. The story and the illustrations are orchestrated well to tell the story. Recommended for children aged 4 to 8 years old.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Bigger than yesterday, smaller than tomorrow

Bigger than yesterday, smaller than tomorrow by Robert Vescio, illustrated by Kathy Creamer (Little Pink Dog Books) PB RRP: $24.95 ISBN: 9780994626950

Reviewed by Anne Helen Donnelly

It is the summer holidays and Hannah and Dad, and their dog Hugo, are going camping for the first time. This is an exciting adventure now that Hannah is getting older. Now that Hannah is bigger there are lots more things she could do; like protecting Hugo, helping Dad pitch the tent and climbing a tall tree.

As night approaches, Hannah doesn’t feel so big, though, and misses her Mum. Luckily, Dad is prepared with hot chocolate, bedtime books and everything that Hannah likes. But what really puts her at ease is her Mum’s scarf, wrapped snuggly around her neck, that feels just like a hug from Mum.

This is a story about a child who is discovering her independence, without straying too far from home and the security she is used to. Beautiful fun illustrations and simply told. This book will appeal to younger children ages 4 – 8 years.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Little Spiral

Little Spiral by Pat Simmons, illustrated by Patrick Shirvington (Little Steps Publishing) PB RRP $16.95 ISBN 9780648267324

Reviewed by Brook Tayla

Little Spiral is a beautiful poetic journey that explores the life cycle of a snail.

The whole book has an air of mystery and intrigue.  Right from the first page you wonder which little pearl coloured circle could be the actual snail forming on the forest floor.

And then the journey begins that leads us through growth, life and a new generation – a circular narrative.

The text is written simply but meaningfully with words that evoke re-reading and pondering. The ink/watercolour illustrations are a perfect visual match and give depth of meaning to the story.  The edge-to-edge pictures pull readers right into the forest scenario, so that you feel you are actually there and feel an empathy with the snail, ‘Little Spiral’ – what a clever, delightful name!

This is a picture book that will be enjoyed by all ages and returned to often, not only to ponder life but also to check back in with this now familiar and cute little snail.

Brook Tayla writes a picture book review blog at telltalestome@wordpress.com and would love you to drop by, read
some reviews, leave a comment, and subscribe.  Brook also offers editing services for beginning and emerging writers.

Thursday, 15 November 2018


CBCA NSW Branch Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program 2018

The Charlotte Waring Barton Award is presented annually by the CBCA NSW Inc to an unpublished author residing in Australia. The award involves a mentorship sponsored by HarperCollins Children's Books Australia.

Congratulations to the winner this year Peta Miller for her story Sing Us Home.

Well done also to the short-listed finalists, Dhana FoxPierre and Wendy Adams - Graegrim.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

The Puffin Book of Summer Stories

The Puffin Book of Summer Stories (Puffin Books) HB RRP $29.99 ISBN 9780143793540

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Featuring eight favourite picture book stories by well-loved Australian authors, this beautifully presented, heavy (and thick) collection makes an ideal gift, especially with Christmas coming up.

The classic books included are: Summer by June Factor and Alison Lester; Max by Marc Martin; Grandpa and Thomas by Pamela Allen; Castles by Allan Baillie and Caroline Magerl; My Hippopotamus is on our Caravan Roof Getting Sunburnt by Hazel Edwards and Deborah Niland; Seadog by Claire Saxby and Tom Jellett; There’s a Sea in My Bedroom by Margaret Wild and Jane Tanner, and Eve and Elly by Mike Dumbleton and Laura Wood.

All the stories feature the outdoors, mostly by the sea, and all are set out so that the reader can appreciate the wide variety of story-telling and illustrations. What a wonderful diversity of artwork there is, from Alison Lester’s detailed wash and pen pictures of an Australian family indoors and out on Christmas Day to Pamela Allen’s watercolour pictures with lots of white space with a grandfather and boy enjoying the seaside. After Allen’s pages come full-page very colourful pictures of a huge hippopotamus, so familiar to young readers, eating cake, this time while on family holiday. This contrasts with the more delicate colours with wash and line of Caroline Magerl’s rendering of a fanciful and imaginative story of a girl and boy creating a magical story on the beach and in the sea. Then there’s the realistic, beautifully realised beach illustrations by the equally talented Jane Tanner in Margaret Wild’s story where a boy imagines a sea in his bedroom.

There are so many excellent illustrations in this multi-story book which is sure to become a family favourite to be read and re-read by children aged 6 to 11 years, who will, no doubt, hand the book onto their children in the future.