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

          Thursday, 5 September 2019

          Review: You Might Find Yourself

          You Might Find Yourself is a book that will open up discussion between adults and children, in homes and classrooms, about empathy, tolerance, compassion and a life full of possibility. In this stunning handcrafted book of collage illustrations, we follow a child’s journey of exploration and observance. 

          The covers reflect the content. End pages are thought-provoking metaphors for the mazes we must find our way through in life. The text is presented in a gentle, non-didactic form and through the extraordinary and stunning artwork, reflects the challenges and choices people encounter on their journey.

          Wednesday, 4 September 2019

          Review: Leonard the Lyrebird

          The dramatic scenery of Australia's iconic Blue Mountains provides a stunning backdrop for this beautiful tale of Leonard the lyrebird.

          Leonard is a truly wondrous creature who loves to perform, singing the sounds of all the animals in the bush. He has plenty of friends among the other animals, but longs for a lyrebird friend.

          Hoping to befriend the lyrebird Lilah, Leonard goes searching for the most impressive song of all.

          Review: Rivers: A Visual History from River to Sea

          From the author of Timeline comes this remarkable in every way book.  

          Full of maps and endless sources of information on the pathways of rivers, it showcases the living things that exist below the water of which we are unaware, and those that live above that depend on these rivers for life. 

          The rivers, oceans and seas from Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa Oceania, and Antarctica, compete with one another on the amount of history they offer up.

          It begins with the five oceans – Arctic, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Southern. 

          Tuesday, 3 September 2019

          Review: Story Time Stars

          Reading Story Time Stars was like a trip back to my childhood, and to my early career as a children's librarian.

          If you love children's books (and if you're reading this you almost certainly do), then you're going to love Story Time Stars.

          It's a gorgeous collection of some of the memorable characters who have become part of the Australian children's literary landscape.

          The kind who you will recognise at first glance, or with just a little extra prompting. Characters like the Muddle-Headed Wombat and Mothball the wombat.

          The iconic Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, and Grandma Poss are there, as are Noni the pony, Koala Lou, Grug, and the Hippopotamus who loves eating cake.

          12 Curly Questions with author/illustrator Gabriel Evans

          1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
          Aged 12 I collected antique editions of boys' books of hobbies. Some of these ‘hobbies’ were incredibly dangerous – looking at the sun through a telescope or painting phosphorous on your face to glow in the dark. I was sensible enough to not attempt them!

          2. What is your nickname?
          I don’t have a nickname, although some people struggle saying my name and I hear some weird pronunciations.

          Monday, 2 September 2019

          Review: Otto Goes North

          Otto Goes North is a comforting tale about Otto, an adventurous lemur, who has cycled for a very long time to visit his friends, Lisa (a lynx) and Nils (a little bear), who live in a blueberry-blue house with a grass roof, far up in the north.

          The three friends are thrilled to see each other. Otto cannot wait to share stories with his friends and to paint the Northern Lights as a memento to hang on his walls back in the south.  However, Otto does not realise how freezing it is in the north.

          The friends discover that, even though they all have fur, Otto's fur is meant for warmer weather, and Otto becomes sick. His friends are worried. They take him into the sauna, and bring warm blueberry soup. Then, Lisa and Nils use their intiative, empathy and creativity to find a way to help Otto stay warm.

          Review: Baby's First Jailbreak

          Baby Frank is back in a new entertaining adventure, this time featuring two zoos and baby nemesis named Bruce.

          Following on from Baby’s First Bank Heist, Frank’s zoo is going wonderfully until, suddenly its  daily queues diminish. Frank and his parents soon discover that there’s an idea thief in town. A prestigious and rather entitled baby named Bruce has opened his own zoo, on his parents private polo pitch. Bruce’s zoo is filled with enticing extras like free ice cream and instrument playing animals.

          Sunday, 1 September 2019

          Review: My Dad is a Dragon

          An exploration of dads and all the different things they do and love, My Dad is a Dragon is all about how special and unique every dad is. 

          Some dads have pointy pencils for designing busy bridges. Some dads have tough trolleys for hauling heavy fridges.

          Our young protagonist explores all the different things dads do, say, think and enjoy, but always, and most importantly, her dad is a dragon! 

          He’s special and unique and just the dad she needs him to be.

          Who is Ivy Bird? Interview with Tania McCartney and Jess Racklyeft

          Ivy Bird from Two Points of View

          To celebrate the release of Ivy Bird, we've come up with something a little something different. We thought we’d offer our perspectives on Ivy Bird—from an author POV and an illustrator POV. These responses are imagined by each of us, and there was no collaboration in the creation of this interview!

          Tania McCartney and Jess Racklyeft

          What kind of kid is Ivy?
          T: She’s creative, mercurial (was going to say ‘flighty’!), curious and huge-hearted.
          J: A free spirited, nature-loving whirlwind.

          Saturday, 31 August 2019

          Giveaway: I Love My Dad Because

          Pan Macmillan is excited to be publishing I Love My Dad Because, by Petra James and Alyssa Dinallo, a fun and fantastical interactive picture book that is the perfect gift for any father, uncle, brother or loved one.

          Full of fun activities and delightfully heartwarming, this perennial picture book allows children to develop important learning and cognitive skills as they fill out alongside their loved ones, or present as a special gift after completing.

          Bursting with colour and life with hand drawn pages by award-winning book designer Alissa Dinallo, this the perfect gift for any occasion to celebrate dad, plus the perfect gift accompliment to, I Love My Mum Because, published in April.

          Thanks to the sublime people at Pan Macmillan Australia, we have not one but FIVE copies of this brilliant book to give away!

          To enter, in 25 words or less finish this sentence: I love my Dad because...

          Review: Broken Sky

          Picture World War II style fighter planes, but in the future. Now imagine teenagers flying those planes.

          Then send them into the sky to fight to the death if necessary in order to maintain peace on earth.

          Welcome to Amity's broken world where there have been no wars for decades, but at a terrible price.

          Amity lost her father in a plane accident when she was eleven years old and has learned not to get too close to her fellow fighters, because they could be the next ones to die.

          Even though that seems more than enough to cope with, there's more to this strange world. Secrets are about to rend the tenuous world peace asunder.

          When Amity discovers a network of lies and deception, she is determined to expose the culprits, but this means discovering far more than she ever expected and risking more than her life.

          Friday, 30 August 2019

          Review: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

          When I think of the rhyme Row, Row, Row Your Boat I remember a toddler balanced on my lap, while moving their hands in a rowing motion as we sang. I remember signing it as a round, at school or on a bus.

          But what would an Australiana version sound and look like? Wonder no more, as Matt Shanks has illustrated a delightful Australian version of Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

          In this version we meet a boy in a small row boat, who collects a group of Australian animals as he gently rows down the stream.
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