Book Bites: Stories, Stories Everywhere - How Do I Choose?

 They say the cure for anything is salt: be it sweat, tears, or the sea. I say, the same applies with stories, for within a cleverly crafted collection of words great knowledge and opinion may be stockpiled and revisited as you would a favourite secret haunt. What’s more, like salt, salt, everywhere, it’s sometimes difficult to discern the most satisfying, nourishing story – the one that’s just right for you – from the vast ocean of tales out there.

With Christmas gift lists in mind, I’ve put together a wee list of a huge selection of stories, some of which may well end up as one of your life essentials. Be warned, there’ll be more to follow in the weeks leading up to Christmas so make sure your listing-making essentials are in good supply.

If you obsess over lists and book recommendations as much as I do, then check out Megan Daley’s awesome, Children’s Books Daily site for a great collection of Book Lists broken down into age groups. Boomerang Books online have a great assortment of Children’s Book lists as well to help you track down the perfect book gift at discounted prices, (or you could visit your favourite bookshop!). I’ve reviewed many of the titles mentioned and recommend you add them to your little people’s Must Read Lists, soon. Here are some favourites:

Tashi Storybook: A Special Selection
A superlative collection of all your favourite Tashi tales by masters Anna and Barbara Fienberg; this one is hard to surpass. Beautifully presented featuring exquisite pencil line drawings by the late Kim Gamble, in font that is large enough for timid emerging readers to tackle and parents to focus on by the glow of a bedside lamp, these stories conjure great adventure, magic and spirit. There’s even an extra new story penned especially for this collection.

Title: Tashi Storybook: A Special Selection 
Author: Anna Fienberg & Barbara Fienberg
Illustrator: Kim Gamble
Publisher: Allen & Unwin Children’s, $29.99
Publication Date: October 2017
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781760295684
For ages: 5+
Type: Junior Fiction Collection

Buy the Book: Allen & Unwin, Boomerang Books

The Puffin Book of Bedtime Stories: Eight Favourite Australian Picture Books
If your bookshelves are too small for umpteen dozens of picture books, consider this awesome collection from some of your favourite creators, all sporting stunning full colour illustrations; A Bear and a Tree and Come Down, Cat are among my all-time favourites. This hardcover collection makes bedtime snuggle selections a breeze and would make a gorgeous gift to share.

Title: The Puffin Book of Bedtime Stories: Eight Favourite Australian Picture Books
Author: Various
Illustrator: Various
Publisher: Penguin Random House, $29.99
Publication Date: July 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978143796732
For ages: 3 – 6
Type: Picture Book Collection

Buy the Book: Booktopia, Boomerang Books

The Puffin Book of Summer Stories: Eight Favourite Australian Picture Books
This summertime collection of summer-scented picture books rates even more applause for it embodies the essence of seaside adventures and Australian summer sensations like Christmas in the outback. Featuring classics like, Pamela Allen’s, Grandpa and Thomas, Summer by June Factor and Alison Lester and Clare Saxby and Tom Jellett’s, Seadog, this is a treasure trove of sensational story telling for the true collector. Other iconic contributors include, Hazel Edwards, Caroline Magerl, and Margaret Wild. Highly recommended for the very young and very old.

Title: The Puffin Book of Summer Stories: Eight Favourite Australian Picture Books
Author: Various
Illustrator: Various
Publisher: Penguin Random House, $29.99
Publication Date: October 2018
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780143793540
For ages: 3 – 99
Type: Picture Book Collection

Buy the Book: Booktopia, Boomerang Books

Fairytales for Feisty Girls
Aussie author, Susannah McFarlane has penned an array of some hugely popular board books and junior novel series including, EJ12 Girl Hero and D-Bot Squad. She typically knows what makes young hearts race and confidence levels skyrocket so this collection of beautiful and emboldening bedtime tales is perfect for the spirited little females in your life or indeed anyone who believes in creating their own happily ever afters. Four famously known fairytales including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Thumbelina and Little Red Riding Hood, are retold with wily daring and wit, presented in easy to enjoy chapters and all beautifully enhanced with full colour illustrations by some of Australia’s leading children’s artists: Beth Norling, Claire Robertson, Lucinda Gifford and Sher Rill Ng.

Title: Fairytales for Feisty Girls
Author: Susannah McFarlane
Illustrator: Various
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $24.99
Publication Date: August 2018
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781760523541
For ages: 6+
Type: Junior Fiction Collection

Buy the Book: Allen & Unwin, Boomerang Books

The Restless Girls
When the King of Kalia tragically loses his queen and becomes the sole parent to his 12 daughters, life takes a turn for the worse. Suddenly the princesses’ possession and freedoms are severely curtailed by their father’s efforts to preserve their safety at all costs. This fantastical story follows the eldest princess, Frida’s endeavours to regain her right and will to live despite her father’s fear-driven restrictions. Boldly illustrated and beguilingly told, this is a story to energize and inspire.

Title: The Restless Girls
Author: Jessie Burton
Illustrator: Angela Barret
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children, $27.99
Publication Date: October 2018
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781408886915
For ages: 7 – 14       
Type: Middle Grade Fiction Illustrated Fiction

Buy the Book: Bloomsbury, Boomerang Books

Story Time Stars
Veteran children’s book author, illustrator and advocate for Australian history, Stephanie Owen Reed, has produced a light-hearted retrospective commentary about some of our most beloved and well known children’s book characters in this unique illustrated non-fiction playlist. Centring around the premise of what makes a children’s book character memorable, Reed chronologically groups iconic characters beginning in the 1910s with such golden oldies as Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, and Ginger Meggs, winding up in the 21 Century with contemporary new favourites like Pig the Pug. Each character adorns his hers or its own double spread with sections detailing their genesis, book debut, awards status and the special notations that imbued them into Australian literary history and our hearts. A very special must have reference for aficionados of Australian picture books simultaneously providing a delightful prompt to re-read old favourites.

Title: Story Time Stars
Author: Stephanie Owen Reed
Illustrator: Various
Publisher: NLA, $24.99
Publication Date: September 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780642279408
For ages: 12 – 99
Type: Illustrated Non-Fiction

Buy the Book: NLA, Boomerang Books

Two of  the talented contributors to each of these collections, June Perkins and Maria Parenti-Baldey 

The Creative Kids Tales Story Collection 2: Flip Book
I don’t normally plug indie published creations, not because I don’t like to, rather there are simply too many to consider! This cheeky new story collection by 35 Creative Kids Tales authors and illustrators is worthy of mention however because it is a fine example of short stories, poems and illustrations from a collective of dedicated Kid Lit lovers. Embracing the art of sensational short story telling, this unique anthology is a flip book with two volumes in one: Things That Go Bump filled with chilling tales designed to give goosebumps, and Enchanted, sporting tales infused with magic and whimsy, both great for getting your spook on this Halloween and perfect for young readers with short attention spans and a love of the unusual. The book trailer video below reveals more. Watch it if you dare…

Title: The Creative Kids Tales Story Collection 2: Flip Book
Author: Various
Illustrator: Various
Publisher: Creative Kids Tales, $17.00
Publication Date: October 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780648059417
For ages: 7 - 11
Type: Short Story Anthology

Buy the Book: POD Creative Kids Tales


Norah Colvin said…
Thanks for the suggestions, Dimity. Looks like there should be something to please everyone.

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