Monday, 27 January 2020

Arriving Home

Arriving Home by Marg Gibbs, Mapleton Art (LesterLyons Publishing) HB RRP $14.00 ISBN 9780648273509

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

This new picture book Arriving Home by Marg Gibbs promotes the tourist towns of The Sunshine Hinterland and showcases nine local artists, called Mapleton Art who each contributed to the illustrations of this children’s picture book.

Arriving Home follows Magpie, Goose and Eric Echidna as they return home from Italy to Mappleton and decide to discover happy memories where they live. As the characters create memories the story takes young readers to sites around the Sunshine Hinterland such as old tractors to sweet, syrupy pancakes, waddling ducks. This book celebrates friendships, community, home and belonging. It also gives a snapshot into Australia culture and animals.

What is also appealing about this book is the final page that provides detailed information about the sites and featured Australian animals. This information draws the reader into learning facts without preaching.

Arriving Home captures the wonders of The Sunshine Coast Hinterland and takes the young reader on a journey proving that our own backyard is as special as anywhere else in the world.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

All Bodies are Good Bodies

All Bodies are Good Bodies by Charlotte Barkla, Erica Salcedo (Little Hare Books) HB RRP $24.95 ISBN 9781760503932

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Here is a clever new picture book for young children that helps a child identify and celebrate their own unique body from debut author Charlotte Barkla, colourfully illustrated by Erica Salcedo.

All Bodies are Good Bodies explores nine different body parts with simple and engaging text for young children that is supported by diversity inclusive illustrations of all sorts of different bodies.

Basically, this book celebrates individual differences with a sense of wonder and encourages reader engagement. The illustrations not only support the text but add multiple layers of meaning.

The words ‘I love … are repeated throughout the book at the start of each page turn and body part along with the illustration of the body part. This can help a small child being read the story predict the text so that they may join in the reading of the story. 

The illustrations are bold and beautiful and along with white space create strong visuals with the cartoon like drawings of children. They depict movement and wonder and a sense of fun as each body part is explored.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Peppa the Easter Bunny

Peppa the Easter Bunny (Penguin Random House Australia) HB RRP $9.99 ISBN: 9780241411827

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

Peppa and George decorate Easter eggs and hide them in the garden, ready for an Easter-egg hunt with their friends. But as Danny Dog, Suzy Sheep, Candy Cat and the others hop, skip and run around the garden looking for the eggs, Peppa and George are nowhere to be seen! Where could they be? Peppa and George have saved their best surprise for last, popping out of giant Easter eggs dressed as Peppa the Easter Bunny and George the chick.

Perfect for preschoolers who love the Peppa Pig television show, Peppa the Easter Bunny is a 16-page board book bursting with bright colours and cute characters. Little listeners will have fun trying to guess where Peppa and George are hiding, and will giggle with delight when the final surprise is revealed.

Although there are some longer words in the text, early readers will also enjoy this book. Repetition of terms such as ‘bunny’, ‘egg’, ‘Peppa’ and ‘George’ assists with word recognition, while bite-size chunks of large text help young eyes focus on the story.

Peppa the Easter Bunny is an egg-cellent Easter gift for youngsters. The sweet and simple story is sure to be read again and again throughout the year.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Duck, Apple, Egg

Duck, Apple, Egg by Glenda Millard, Martina Heiduczek (ABC Books) HB RRP 9780733340185

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Here is a new picture book for the very young from multi-award-winning author Glenda Millard who is known for her Tiskin Silk book series beautifully illustrated here by Martina Heiduczek who also illustrated the covers of the Silk books.

Duck, Apple, Egg has a minimum, poetic text which begins “Duck on the green, sun in the sky, egg in the nest,’ and moves on to the next page to ‘apple on the tree, and me.’

Basically, the book is a simple story about the joys of playing in a garden with a small child dressed in red and blue who observes (and embraces) nature about him. Thus, you see the child hugging the duck, finding a nest, eating an apple, splashing with duck in a pond, and, in the final illustration, eating an apple pie and laying with the duck.

The words ‘duck’, egg’ and ‘apple’ are repeated throughout the book so they could be easily memorised by a small child being read the story by a parent or teacher.

The illustrations are lush with lots of grass and wonderful fly pages in pale blue featuring duck, eggs, apples and flowers.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Charlie Morphs into a Mammoth

Charlie Morphs into a Mammoth by Sam Copeland, illustrated by Sarah Horne (Penguin Books) PB RRP $14.99 ISBN 9780241346235

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

The back-cover blurb promises a lot for a potential reader with comments such as ‘laugh-a-minute’, ‘modern masterpiece’ and ‘ideal for fans of David Wallaims and Roald Dahl’. This is the third in the series about super-hero Charlie McGuffin who has gained control over his ability to change himself into animals, and this time it’s a mammoth. In the previous two books, Charlie changes into a T-Rex and a chicken. However, at the start of this book is a series of letters from ‘readers’ (including D Trump), berating Charlie for not delivering what he promised. Then there’s a letter from the publisher promising that he will most certainly deliver in this book.

Charlie Morphs into a Mammoth is delivered in third person, but the narrator is opinionated and snipes at the ‘dear reader’, referring to the ‘dreadful crowd who read the last two books’ but then he turns on the readers of this latest book, saying ‘you’re every bit as dreadful as the readers of the last book.’ There’s also, on the first page of the book, a form for the reader to fill in which asks a series of questions such as ‘Which of your parents farts the most?’ and ‘Would you rather have two noses or three bums?’ Thus, by the time Charlie sets off on a school excursion to the zoo, the reader knows they are in for an amusing time. It seems there is something to be said about the author Copeland being compared to the two superheroes of books for kids.

Things at home are not happy for Charlie and now he has control over his body at least. ‘(He) recognised the feeling of electricity rippling through his body almost immediately. He was changing and changing fast.’ He doesn’t immediately turn into a mammoth but a fly! Of course, he is attracted to a poo…a poo and vomit smoothie. On many of the pages there are footnotes, and one this page it reads, ‘I warned you it was disgusting. But that’s what flies do, I’m afraid.’ (The fly walks in, and feeds on the smoothie).

The action of this book is fast-paced and relentless with non-stop childish humour. It is packed with amusing black and white illustrations and is sure to have big appeal to any child – usually a boy – who dislikes reading. Ideal for readers 9+ years.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Little Unicorn: Ten Minutes to Bed

Little Unicorn: Ten Minutes to Bed by Rhiannon Fielding, illustrated by Chris Chatterton (Ladybird Books) HB RRP $14.99 ISBN 9780241408339

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This is a larger board book for children aged 3 to 6-years, the second in a Ten Minutes to Bed series, the other being Little Mermaid. This book starts with something I loved to see in books as a child – a double-page spread showing the geography in which the story is set. There’s an ancient forest, an emerald green, a deadly creek, even a giants’ town and more. The pages sign with colour which is bright greens, blues and mauves.

Onto the story… With glittery feet and a sparkly horn, Twinkle the naughty unicorn (like so many naughty children), does not want to go to bed; she ‘was not tired at all.’ There’s a countdown from Daddy as Twinkle causes ‘a bit of riot’, dancing and prancing around. She dashes about, chasing pixies and sprites and fairies and then meets a hairy troll and then spots a baby dragon. She’s certainly making every moment before bedtime count. But – oh no! – she’s now forgotten how to get home! Of course, the way home is via a rainbow, and smart little Twinkle works to conjure one.

By bedtime Twinkle is – of course -- fast asleep in the Land of Nod. The last double-page spread is the same as the first, but the vibrant colours of the first have transformed to dark blues and mauves: it’s night-time of course!

This is a clever and charming book for Mums and Dads to read to their young children just before bedtime. It’s sure to be enjoyed by the reader and the read-to!

Monday, 13 January 2020

Derek Dool Super Cool: Bust a Move

Derek Dool Super Cool: Bust a Move by Adrian Beck, illustrated by Scott Edgar (Puffin) PB RRP $14.99

Cashing in on the success of books such as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Timmy Failure comes this visually interesting and humorous novel which is likely to be of interest to readers aged 8 years and over.

“(Red-haired) Derek is the type of kid who is so full of himself he reckons his underpants should be framed as a work of art.” Ever since he was a baby, he’s had something to prove…

Life sure is tough when your name’s Derek. The poor boy is destined to be uncool, but he’s determined to find something that will change the fact that he’s always picked last in PE, he never gets invited to parties and the cool kids don’t treat him as he expects.

The action starts at Ruttsmell Primary School’s final dance lesson where Derek tries to engage his best “friends” Big Denise (the nicest, most polite person in the world) and the ever-hungry Booger. However, onto the scene comes Carmichael Cruz, Derek’s archenemy and the most popular kid in the school. How, Derek thinks, can he surpass Cruz in the popularity stakes?

This new series is ideal for both confident and reluctant readers with its breakout chapters and frequent animated black and white illustrations. The stories are action-packed, the language laid-back and words picked out in the text and highlighted. It will be interesting to see if this new Australian children’s book series will take off.