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Showing posts from June, 2021

Double Delight: Are You There, Buddha? & Mina and The Whole Wide World

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Experiencing a verse novel for young people is like discovering chocolate crackles are good for you. It’s a marvellous, heart-enveloping revelation, something you instantly want more of and know you’ll never be able to live without again. These two verse novels, one for juniors and the other for middle graders, by accomplished Aussie writers evoke the best chocolate crackle feels and more besides. You must experience them. Are You There, Buddha? Wise, satirical, poignant and alarmingly en pointe, Are You There, Buddha? reads with the ease and speed of a verse novel but involves the reader with so much immersive authenticity, you feel you have experienced something much greater. Bridget, aka, Bee is a tween wobbling on the precipice of teenage-hood, facing all the terrifying manifestations this transformation attracts. Her body is betraying her in increasingly alarming ways, morphing into a lumpy, bumpy, hairy hideous illusion of her former self. She has just started Year 7 and unlik

Review: Twitch and other Bird Books to Twit About

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Anyone who knows me well knows I harbour a deep fondness for feathered things. Chooks, ducks, quails, budgies, galahs, turkeys and even rosellas have all graced my childhood at some point or another. And don’t even get me started about the pigeons! That’s a whole other story, right, Pippa ?! So it’s little wonder these next few books enthralled from the get go. They all incorporate avian expression and characteristics in some way that contributes a sky-full of heart and soul to these stories. Take off with them soon! Twitch Twitch is a young lad residing in the English countryside surrounded by broads teaming with birdlife. Like me as a child, he prefers the company of winged creatures to the two-legged ones who frequently ridicule and bully him. His reticent and reclusive ways belie his quick wit and sharp intelligence. He despises school but takes infinite pleasure in his own company. He homes a family of pigeons on a rooftop loft and communes daily with his cackleberry-laying girl

Book Bites: Fathoming Friendship

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The seas of friendship are challenging to navigate regardless of age or creed. It’s natural for most youngsters to slip effortlessly through the minefields of companionship whilst others struggle with its ambiguities and complex set of social rules. This smattering of picture books highlights the many beautiful highs and lows of friendship. Baz & Benz With a handful of succinct words, Heidi McKinnon creates a lively dialogue between best owlet mates, Baz and Benz. Baz is diminutive yet big on persistence; adopting the tedious interrogative tone a younger sibling might employ when trying to alleviate anxiety. His repetitive quizzing about the strength and longevity of his friendship with Benz eventually wears thin on poor old Benz who becomes increasingly annoyed. Can true friendship endure such taunting or is this the end of Baz and Benz? Simple, funny illustrations accentuate these characters and the endearing storyline. Also available as a board book. Title:   Baz & Benz

Book Bites: Somewhere Beyond the Sea...Picture Books that celebrate World Oceans Day

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Considering that over 75 per cent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, it makes sense to invite a deeper knowledge of our wondrous oceans and seas. This selection of recent picture books are a feast of colourful fun and facts guaranteed to whet the curiosities of many budding oceanographers. My First Book of Sea Creatures Vibrantly illustrated by ZoĆ« Ingram, this illustrated nonfiction picture book is a joy to read and cinch to navigate through. Colourful end pages immediately immerse readers into the world of 20 sea creatures ranging from clownfish, hermit crabs, narwhals and coral polyps. Species specifics are boxed alongside bold and brilliant ‘Did you know?’ fun facts. Particularly alluring are the size scales provided beneath each brief creature description for example, sea snakes are 17 – 128 cm long, equivalent to the length of a bicycle. Everything is reinforced with brilliant visuals. An index at the end of the book provides a colourful reference for kids to tick off

Oswald Messweather Book Launch!

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A book launch! I hear you exclaim. Where? When? What? Um, well, I regret to inform that you have missed that particular book party boat - the official book launching IRL event hoo-ha for Oswald Messweather took place in April. But wait! The good ship YouTube is still floating mine and Ozzie's boat and YOU can enjoy just about every riveting moment of the day right there, right now! Hurrah!  Brian Falkner with Dim and Ozzie Dimity Powell​ … seems to have the ability to touch on subjects that in other hands would seem worthy or didactic, and to make them heartbreakingly real and emotional, in a way that is accessible to both children and adults. It is beautifully illustrated by Siobhan McVey​. Brian Falkner,  children’s author, interview With very little professional help (the hubster filmed it all on his phone, phew!), a lot of excellent support by Yvonne Mes and the crew at The Mad Hatters Bookshop in Manly (thanks Laura and Isabel!) a brilliant creative cast of on-set extras (a

Illustrating Oswald Messweather with Siobhan McVey

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My ability to draw is only slightly less inspiring than my ability to handstand. I can however, picture my stories as I write them with razor sharp clarity, in my head at least. Translating these internal storyboards to a real life illustrator is not always easy so I'm lucky that illustrators like, Siobhan McVey who provided the striking visual narrative for, Oswald Messweather , are adroit enough to create strong ' visual partners ' for my words without my input. I was fascinated to learn that when a storyline and language resonate powerfully enough with a potential illustrator, their creativity leaps into unsolicited action. In other words, sketches and images, characteristics and colours flow authentically and without hesitation. The organic way a visual narrative uncurls in an illustrator's head, eventually spilling onto the page to hug and caress my words is, for me, the most magical part of the picture book making process. To experience more of the magic, read thi