Monday, 21 December 2015

Making mindful - magic

Mindfulness is a notion that has been becoming more and more prominent in recent times. A consequence of our time - but one most worthy of exploration.

People's lives are busy. We forget to stop and smell the roses. This book reminds us to do just that.

Simple activities guide us through a peaceful re-connect to our surroundings, to nature, to life.

Beautifully crafted, this text has great application in the home and in the classroom. The illustrations lend themselves to conversation starters - framing the discussions around nature, reflection and pace. 

Each frame brings with it a simple narrative of how to be mindful - exploring things such as meditation, yoga, nature, creativity and true insight. Further details can be found at the end of the book - a helpful resource for parents and teachers alike.

Lea McKnoulty has cleverly created an illustrated journey to capture a sense of inner peace and calm. The fact that these experiences are 'mostly free, spent in nature and devoid of technology' is a winner any day!

Highly recommended for all ages.
Author/illustrator: Lea McKnoulty
For further information:

With thanks to the author for the provision of a review copy.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Caleb's awesome adventure

The twenty-first century has brought with it increased demands of our time and personal resources. Everyone is busy; everyone is time-poor; everyone is over-committed.

The children of this century are no less busy. Between school, after-school sport, extra-curricular activities, homework, parental commitments - it seems life is simply rushing us by.

Sometimes a call to a simpler time is hard to resist.

Caleb's awesome adventure is just that. It captures a time and place  where children can be mindful and present in the here and now.

Caleb and his sister Zali are about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. They are going to visit their grandparents and great grandparents  - all on their own! Living on a farm in country Australia, a bus-ride away, the children delight in experiencing a life of self-sufficiency. Learning all about farming animals and growing food, all whilst learning new skills of times gone by - restoring old coaches, making patchwork, doing needlework and cooking up a storm!

Woven throughout the text is the engendering of family values and mindfulness exercises. Love, belonging, fun, purpose and freedom are embraced throughout the narrative - values that have clearly endured across the generations.

Caleb's awesome adventure is a deeply personal book for the author, semi-autobiographical in a sense - a potpourri of treasures and nostalgia, highlighting the importance of belonging and family. A book that will inevitably spark family conversations.

Recommended for independent readers from 7 years of age.
Author: Bonnie Mae, 2014
Hilltop Publishing (Aust)

With thanks to the author who provided a review copy.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

River riddle

A bright story based on the famous river riddle - how does Jack get to the market on the other side of the river - with a boat that will only carry so much and a sheep that's keen on the cargo and a fox that's keen on the sheep!

Join Jack and apply your problem solving skills to try and help him with his dilemma. Will he make it to market on time?

Written by Jim Dewar and illustrated by Anil Tortop

Scholastic Australia
RRP $14.99
Recommended for 4 years +

Friday, 25 September 2015

Newspaper hats

A touching story that captures the past and the act of remembering. Beautifully depicting the essence of family as they visit grandad in a nursing home. While photos help grandad remember some stories, Georgie reminds him of other precious memories, like the time they made paper hats together.

This book is wonderfully sculptured through its words and visuals - representing the special bonds between family as they deal with the reality of Alzheimer's.

Highly recommended. Brought to you by the team that created Anzac biscuits.

Author: Phil Cummins
Illustrator: Owen Swan
Publisher: Scholastic
RRP: $24.99

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Snow Day

Every child's dream - a day in the snow! This day has arrived for Sam, if only he could get his grandad ready and out the door. Turning the usual dynamic on its head, Sam gets increasingly impatient waiting for grandad to get ready. Waiting, waiting, waiting... all his friends go by, then all the cats and dogs go by... then something that will surprise even Sam!

Publisher: Koala Books
RRP $24.99
Recommended for 4-6 years
Written and illustrated by Sam Usher

Silly squid

A collection  of simple verse for children all about various sea creatures. Each page is also accompanied by some facts about the animals. Bright and vivacious illustrations capture the essence of the sea.

Written by Janeen Brian and illustrated by Cheryl Johns, this book is sure to be a popular fishy companion to 'Silly Galah!'

Publisher: Omnibus Books
RRP $24.99
Recommended for 3 years +

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Fathers' Day delights

Looking for a last minute treasure for the father in your life?

Tomorrow is Fathers' Day here in Australia - the day when we celebrate all things fatherly. This year once again, the children's book publishers have been busy getting daddy-themed titles on the shelves. Check out some of these at your local book shop today!

'Daddy, you're awesome' by Laine Mitchell and Renee Treml
A simple rhyming text celebrating all those special talents of animal dads everywhere.

Publisher: Scholastic Australia
RRP $16.99
Recommended 3+ years


'Daddies are great' by Meredith Costain and Polona Lovsin

Delightful rhyming text exploring the special relationship between fathers and their children. Told through the eyes of a variety of dogs and their puppies!

Publisher: Koala Books
RRP $14.99
Recommended +3 years


'Dear Dad, I want to be just like you' by Ed Allen and Simon Williams

Full of real letters written to all the animal dads! Open the flaps on the envelopes and read the pull out letters. Join in the fun yourself with your very own notepaper and envelope to write a special note to your dad. Perfect for Fathers' Day sentiments.

Publisher: Scholastic Australia
RRP $16.99
Recommended 3+ years


'My dad is a giraffe' by Stephen Michael King

Delightful story told through the eyes of an imaginative young boy. Childhood creativity is a feature of this picture book brought to you by one of our favourite picture book author/illustrators.

Publisher: Scholastic
RRP $16.99
Recommended 4+ years

Friday, 24 July 2015

Dymock's Children's Charities - One book at a time!

Dymocks Children's Charities are raising funds for literacy programs in Australia. Help them out by getting behind the 2015 City2Surf.

Run City2Surf with Leisel Jones and help Dymocks Children’s Charities change kids’ lives – one book at a time!

Dymocks Children’s Charities (DCC) have entered a team led by ambassador, Leisel Jones in the 2015 City2Surf to raise funds for our literacy programs supporting primary and pre-primary children in priority locations around Australia. For more information about DCC visit You can register for one of the limited GOLD Running Duck positions NOW.  

There are lots of benefits so GOLD Runners are encouraged to register asap!

GOLD Running Ducks participants who raise over $1,000 receive:
1. Priority start positioning at the 2015 City2Surf
2. Opportunity to run with Charity Ambassador Leisel Jones!
3. Complimentary City2Surf registration (value $80)
4. 2 x 45 min Goodlife Health Clubs Kickstart Personal training sessions.
5. A Running Ducks 2015 Team singlet (value $44.95
6. Post event warm down session with Goodlife Health Clubs staff
7. Knowledge that you’re helping Dymocks Children’s Charities change kids’ lives - one book at a time!

To register as a GOLD Running Duck or to find out more visit the website

Sunday, 12 July 2015

The cow tripped over the moon

Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle - remember that cow that jumped over the moon? Well new reports just at hand is that she didn't actually make it the first time!

'The cow tripped over the moon' by Tony Wilson and Laura Wood is a  surprising eye-witness report of the actual events that happened that night. Join the cow, Rover the dog, the cat, the dish and the spoon as they take us through the numerous attempts at bovine calisthenics. A story about never giving up and friends that will see you through the tough times.

This rhyming book is a lot of fun - laugh out loud at the reimagining of a time-old favourite nursery rhyme.

Highly recommended 4+ years

Friday, 10 July 2015

The very noisy bear

Nick Bland brings back one of his favourite characters - Bear. This time he's just too noisy!

Rudely awoken one night by the jungle animals jamming, Bear is invited to play in the band. Bear is a little too enthusiastic though, creating a few musical mishaps along the way. Great rollicking fun!

Recommended for 4 years+

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Pig the Fibber

If you loved Pig the Pug - you are sure to love his next misadventure - Pig the Fibber.

Aaron Blabey returns with his up-to-no-good pug, Pig. Trevor his ever patient off-sider sausage dog takes the brunt of Pig's naughty ways - being set up for the blame at every turn.

Blabey has beautifully captured their facial expressions turning this read aloud into a laugh aloud.

But does Pig get it in the end?

Recommended for 3+ years
Scholastic Press

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

A child's first ABC and A child's first 123

Alison Jay has long been a favourite in our household. Her instantly recognisable crackle-glazed illustrations draw you into a fairy tale world, full of hidden mysteries. These picture books are a re-release in a larger format and in paperback. Companion titles coming this year include Farm Families (Aug), Nursery Rhyme Rainbow (Aug) and Picture This (Sept).

Sure to delight the very young and young at heart - an ideal gift.

Koala Books
Recommended for 0-5 years
$12.99 each

Monday, 6 July 2015

The Possum Magic Cookbook

What every young budding chef has been waiting for! The Possum Magic Cookbook - full of delectable sweet and savoury recipes - many featuring in Mem Fox's Possum Magic picture book.

Updated with new more kid friendly recipes and new illustrations from Julie Vivas - sure to impress any Master Chef!

Recommended 4+ yearsOmnibus Books

Sunday, 5 July 2015

A great big dinosaur adventure

It seems the market for dinosaur books isn't abating anytime soon!

Katherine Kirkland, an American author, now residing in the UK, has penned a dinosaur book sure to appeal to the young palaeontologist.

Oli, an evolutionary ancestor of modern mammals, is in search of the scariest dinosaur ever. His journey brings us to many dinosaurs along the way.

Whilst predominantly a narrative text with dinosaurs taking on human-like behaviours - there are semi-fact boxes that supposedly describe scientific facts about the different dinosaurs. Reading these with children will need to prompt discussion between fact and fiction. The purist may have difficulty digesting this information being portrayed in a familiar non-fiction layout.

Recommended for 4-6 years
Koala Books

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Those pesky rabbits

With her picture book debut, Ciara Flood has written and illustrated a touching story about community, friendship and looking out for each other.

Mr Bear lives on his own in the middle of nowhere. That is just the way he likes it. No one to annoy him.

Or so he thought! A family of overly friendly, overly cheerful rabbits move into the neighbourhood - cramping Mr Bear's style. The rabbits try all manner of ways to make friends but Mr Bear is just not the type...

That was until the rabbits make a connection with Bear, through persistence, kindness and generosity.

You just never know what you're missing until it's right under your nose!

Delightful book for 4-7 years.

Koala Books

Friday, 3 July 2015

I don't like koala

Adam does not like Koala. Koala is the most terrible terrible.

What do you do with that one stuffed toy whose eyes seem to follow you no matter where you go? It doesn't matter where Adam puts him, he always reappears, closer than close!

But when things get a little more terrible - who's there to help Adam through?

Delightfully illustrated by Charles Santoso, Sean Ferrell explores the age old tradition of that one special toy that no matter what, always seems to be there for you!

Author: Sean Ferrell
Illustrator: Charles Santoso
Koala Books
Recommended for 4-7 years

Thursday, 2 July 2015


Stunningly illustrated by Matt Ottley, Teacup is a hauntingly beautiful picture book about displacement and belonging. A book that is sure to remain with you, long after reading. It is perhaps more poignant for the adult reader, but it is definitely a platform from where many discussions can lead with younger children.

As the boy leaves his home, on a journey by sea, searching for a new land, a new beginning, we are taken on a tale of searching and longing. A truly memorable read.

Author: Rebecca Young
Illustrator: Matt Ottley
Scholastic Press
Recommended 6 years +

Monday, 27 April 2015

The ANZAC Puppy

Brought to us by our New Zealand counterparts, The ANZAC Puppy is a touching story inspired by the true story of Freda, a Harlequin Great Dane, and the NZ Rifle Brigade's mascot during World War 1.

The story unfolds tales of war, love, bravery and loyalty. When a young soldier leaves for war, he can't leave behind a little puppy being given away by a young girl. Promising to return after the war, the soldier and the puppy go on their life-changing journey together. The harsh realities of war descend upon them, all the while remembering his promise to return.

End pages detail the facts behind the story giving the tale further depth and power.

Trish Bowles beautifully illustrates this amazing story, one that will remain with you long after reading.

Highly recommended for 4+ years

Author: Peter Millett
Illustrator: Trish Bowles
Scholastic NZ

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Ride, Ricardo, Ride

With the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli this year comes a breadth of children's picture books exploring the themes of war and peace.

'Ride, Ricardo, Ride' is a haunting tale depicting how families and villages were torn apart by air raids throughout Europe. Shane Devries (illustrator) and Phil Cummings (author) beautifully construct subtle war analogies but in a child friendly manner.

Ricardo loved to ride his shiny bike every day... until the shadows came.

Poignant and beautifully crafted - highly recommended for children aged 5 and over.

Omnibus Books

Friday, 24 April 2015

Me and Moo

Sometimes friends can be found in the most unlikely of places. Meet Me and Moo, a delightful, if not unlikely pair of friends. Moo lives under Me's bed. While he was still small that was ok - but now Moo is so big he no longer fits most things. Keeping him under wraps was proving difficult.

This delightful story by P. Crumble and Nathaniel Eckstrom has wonderful humour weaving through a tale of friendship and love.

Perfect to read aloud for ages 4 and older.

Scholastic Australia

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Curly Girly

Coming from someone who spends more time and money attempting to straighten her own hair, this book did strike a nerve with me!

Seven year old Sophie has curly hair. What she would give to have long straight hair like her friend Claire. Join Sophie as she tries all manner of ways to tame her curls. Touching on themes such as body image, resilience, friendship and confidence - this book will be a starter for many conversations around being happy just being yourself.

Author: Amanda Tarlau
Illustrator: Laura Hughes
Recommended for 4-8 years
Koala Books

Friday, 10 April 2015

Magpie learns a lesson

Reminiscent of 'The Boy who cried wolf', 'Magpie learns a lesson' by Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina explores the theme of jealousy. 

Magpie and Brown Falcon live together in the Australian Bush. Magpie can sing beautiful songs, but is unhappy that she can't fly like Brown Falcon. Deciding to play mean tricks on Brown Falcon makes Magpie feel better for a little while, but what will happen when he really needs a friend? 

Authors: Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Illustrator Tania Erzinger
$24.99 Hardcover

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Thelma the unicorn

Thelma dreams of being more than just a pony. Thelma dreams of being a ... unicorn!

Seeing a carrot lying on the ground, Thelma gets an idea. Thelma takes the carrot and ties it to her nose and with that she says she is a unicorn!

But her dream was soon to take a turn. A startled truck driver seeing her, swerves on by, dumping a whole lot of pink paint and glitter all over Thelma! Now she most definitely looks like a unicorn.

Aaron Blabey, author of Pig the Pug, returns with another winner. Follow Thelma's rise in fame as she is adored worldwide. But is fame really all it is cracked up to be?

Author/illustrator: Aaron Blabey
$16.99 hardcover 

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Budinge and the Min Min Lights and Duelgum: the story of the mother eel

These beautifully illustrated retellings of Indigenous dreaming stories are a must for collectors of quality Australian children's literature.

Uncle Joe Kirk returns in his retelling of the Indigenous dreaming story, 'Budinge and the Min Min Lights'.

Budinge lives with his grandmother deep in the Australian Outback. His grandmother often spoke to him about the Min Min Lights and their mystical powers. Would they lead him away if he ever came across them? He was about to find out!

'Duelgum: the story of the mother eel' is a tale about returning to home. Set with the beautiful background of the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay, follow the journey of Mother eel and her hatchlings as they venture home. Beautifully retold by Uncle Joe Kirk with Greer Casey and Sandy Harrold.

Author: Uncle Joe Kirk
Illustrator: Sandi Harrold
$15.99 paperback each

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Rita's Rhino

The infamous British author, Tony Ross is back with a heartwarming story about pet ownership.

Rita wants a pet. Her mum doesn't. Begging her and promising that she will look after any pet she takes under her wing, Rita's mum finally relents. After a few unpopular and somewhat small suggestions, Rita decides to get her own pet. Turning up at the zoo, she starts looking for her ideal companion...only thing is he's a but hard to hide!

Great fun - kids will love this story where the little person outwits the adult!

Author/illustrator: Tony Ross
Koala Books
$14.99 paperback
Recommended for 3-7years