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Book Bites: Worlds of Pure Imagination

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Dreams and imagination go hand in hand, promoting and sustaining creativity, hope, and expectations; all crucial to developing young mind sets. The curious world of dreams was explored in picture book, Snoozettelast week. If you want to view paradise…visit this collection of picture books that applaud unfettered imagination.


My Real Friend
What I adore about this recently released picture book by David Hunt and Lucia Masciullo is the way both artists give imagination are real persona. His name is, Rupert and he plays the fartlephone. He also has many shared pursuits with his real life friend, William. Together they share sporting and artistic activities. They share the same dwelling and venture on the same quests. It’s an exciting and varied existence however sometimes, Rupert wishes he could do what he wants to do and not be at the mercy of William’s imagination. As the school holidays draw to a close, William announces he’d rather a real friend. It’s a devastating blow for Rupert – o…

Review: Snoozette

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Andy Griffiths once defined imagination as ‘image + nation’, meaning our creative ideas are essentially the result of images we’ve harvested from a variety of places, experiences, and times…nations. I like to think of these collections as memory troves. Either way the imagination is treasure. And no one it seems understands this better than, Snoozette, the latest beguiling character to emerge from the Red Paper Kite publishing house.

Snoozette is a picture book as big as a small scrape book. The size suits it well for the artwork that unfolds as you peel back each page is magnificent and worthy of the generous visual impact this slightly larger format allows.

Secreted within each page is, Snoozette, a contentedly cloistered, cat-loving, tea-drinking individual with a penchant for nodding off. Her days follow an ordered melancholic regularity that matches the dreary weather and given her susceptibility to snoozing, we begin to suspect she may be afflicted with the kind of malaise that i…

Review: Ruben

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Bruce Whatley is one of Australia's more exemplary Kids' Lit creators. He writes, he draws, he explores techniques across a spectrum of media. And he masters them all exceptionally well. Yet after decades of producing highly marketable, best selling children's books, Whatley had a tale of his own he wanted to tell, in his own unique, unapologetic way. Ruben was that tale and through it, Whatley manifests his true skill as an accomplished storyteller. Here is a reprisal of my review of Ruben originally published on the Boomerang Books Blog.


It took Bruce Whatley almost the same amount of time I have been plying my trade as an author to conceive and create this 96-page picture book (around 10 years that is). To call Ruben a masterpiece is a discredit to the complexity and intense beauty that harbours within each page. One might spend hours alone exploring the end pages, searching for clues and analysing the significances secreted within. This is not a picture book for the …

Pippa: Publication Month

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There's a fair bit of chest-puffing and feather ruffling going on around here. Why? Because a certain little birdie is about to spread her wings and take flight for the first time.

HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY - PIPPA!
Pippa and I can't wait to share her story. She'll be winging her way through all great bookshops from the 1 July 2019 or you can visit Ford Street Publications to order your copy. I also have a few copies tucked away here in the home loft, so feel free to get in touch any time, (messenger pigeon or email works best)
If you'd like to meet Pippa in real life, come along to her Brisbane Book Launch at Riverbend Books in August. Your invite is below! Just click on the image to register your attendance.

We can't wait to see you out there!  #comeflywithme 

July School Holidays Young Writers Workshop: Keep it Short!

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Short stories. I've been writing them since I first dunked a toe in this business of writing for children. In fact, one of my first ever publications was a short story, An Eggspensive Venture, that appeared in the Blast Off NSW School Magazine back in 2009. I was pretty chuffed to say the least. And the thing that kept me writing them? The enticement of competitions and the myriad of themes to write about.

The experience of entering my short stories in so many comps and awards (and even winning a few) and being commissioned to write them for magazines and anthologies not only kept my creative juices bubbling away, it also taught me volumes about submission guidelines and working to deadlines; not to mention what it takes to make a story compelling enough and succinct enough to  fill up the time it takes to suck a mugful of hot chocolate through a Tim Tam.

If you are or know a young person who loves making words sing (or Tim Tams) and needs help composing them into pithy short sto…

Book Bites: Environmental Empathy

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The subject of environmental awareness prevails more frequently now within school classrooms than ever before. Children’s stories allow discussions to rotate gently around this global concern. These next few picture books and novels encourage understanding and promote empathy in ways that young children are capable of embracing and actioning themselves.


Emily Green’s Garden

This winning play on words picture book is suffused with every hue of verdant. Lush greens, sandy browns and lilac blues tendril casually across the pages as author, Penny Harrison cultivates a story of change and mindfulness. In many ways, it reflects the engrossing tale, One Tree by Christopher Cheng; where a young child’s world is transformed by a simple discovery and subsequent drive to nurture life until a significant change takes place. In this case, it’s the greening of Emily’s entire suburban neighbourhood. Life was lovely before but radiates a better kind of lovely following Emily’s gardening exploits. An e…

Review: One Tree

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To pre-empt a roundup of nature-friendly children’s books, I thought I’d shine the spot light on One Tree, the latest creation by duo, Christopher Cheng and Bruce Whatley.

The first thing you notice about One Tree is its understated simplicity. There’s a certain duplicity afoot too, for this larger-sized hard cover edition sports a burnished red spine and textured illustration that entices the caress of fingers. However, the spine is not cloth bound as appears and the undulating fields depicted on the front cover are not course to the touch.

This enigmatic ruse continues once you slip inside this story. Text appears mostly on the left-hand side pages, framed pictures on the right, all set against a weathered hazelnut cream background giving the reader as sense of reading something ancient and revered, like a treasured fable. This effective set-up sagely escorts readers through a young boy’s story that begins long before he is born in a mountain village where his grandfather resided in…