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Review: The Bravest Word

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Have you ever left a book on the shelf for months and months, eager to read it but not quite in the right mood to do so? Other titles assume a kind of procrastinate preference over your erstwhile looked-forward-to folio until suddenly, it beckons, loud and unrelenting. Read me, read me now! I love the synchronicity of reading the right book at the right time. This is how I experienced, Kate Foster’s latest novel, The Bravest Word, at time when life needed a little more explaining and the soul a little extra massaging. Without getting over personal or dwelling on the genesis of this story or Foster’s motivation for writing this book, The Bravest Word , is honest and raw and incredibly uncomplicated in its complexity. Matt is an only child with the world at his eleven-year-old feet. He is on the cusp of football legendary-stardom and the start of secondary school. He has loving parents and buddies who always have his back yet for reasons unknown to him, mystifying and confusing, h

Review: A Mother Is A House

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God love our mums. I know, I know; it’s no longer Mother’s Day. But that’s not quite true is it? Each and every day is a testament, or should be, to the stoic, tireless, selfless, fatigue-hazed, love-filled actions of mothers – everywhere. They walk with their hearts exposed, vulnerable, fierce, at times, uncertain. Always there, which is the crux of this unique picture book on motherhood, A Mother Is a House . Rather like a kangaroo nursing her joey in her pouch, safe, contained and snug, I cherished pregnancy, mourning the day when bub would eventually want out. But how does a baby perceive this perplexing first coming of age? What do they make of their mother? Sustainer of life. Guardian. Advisor. Mountain. House? A Mother Is a House affords readers a baby’s fascinating view point of this relationship from moments before their birth to their first tentative steps some 12 months later. Brief descriptive declarations carry reader and baby through the day to day activities baby’

Time Flies Like An Arrow - Fruit Flies Like Bananas: A Timely Update

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Author in the Wild For those who believe authors working from home maintain a lifestyle of bottomless coffees, frequent contemplative sojourns to the garden to bath in soft sunshine and commune with one’s muse and enjoy uninterrupted hours of serene creative satisfaction, think again. Ridiculously full weekends mean my garden, like many of my manuscripts, is sorely in need of a hard prune-back. My muse is trapped in the untamed growth. There’s a saying Border collie owners like myself live by: silence is golden unless you own a border collie, then silence is stomach ulcer-forming. I have three – dogs – who knows how many ulcers. I have not experienced true serenity for nearly 20 years. My coffee mugs all have bottoms and I have to fill them myself.   That said it’s a short commute to work so I’m not complaining. In fact, I have had zero time to think in a straight line let alone whinge about the kinks. Here’s why. February: lull before the perfect storm, thought I might actually ge

Book Bite: Hippity Hoppity Easter Treats

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To coincide with an effort to dramatically cut down on the amount of chocolate consumed this Easter season, I am sharing just a few Easter picture books this year. All guaranteed to assuage your Easter spirit in terms of humour and hankering for family fun time. For more, consider these past offerings from Dim’s Easter Goodie Basket . Or visit your local bricks and mortar bookshop for a sky-full of meaningful Easter reads. Little Wombat’s Easter Surprise Those familiar with, Charles Fuge’s , Little Wombat picture book series will already adore Little Wombat’s goofy allure and his woodland friends – yes he is globally connected on the animal friend circuit.   In this gorgeous Easter edition he is busy hunting for Easter eggs when a familiar looking stranger bounds past. He assumes it’s his buddy, Rabbit and is amazed to find it is actually, Bilby, an unrelated but similar looking cutie. Surprise number one. Rabbit and Bilby share multiple similarities and delight in their newfoun

Happy Release Day! This Is My Dad

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Now, more than ever, we need reasons to be happy, right! When mayhem reigns supreme and suffering escalates, it is sometimes hard to validate ones own happiness when one is not experiencing hardship firsthand but, as I have learned over the years, one should never, EVER dismiss their own moments of glory nor smother their own exclamations of happiness believing this will make them 'feel better'. True compassion is understanding and supporting, not denying and suppressing your own good feels. Everyone is entitled to feel joy and exultation.  And so, on this most notable of days - Dr Seuss' Day - his birthday - I am elated to pop a few virtual corks and announce the Happy Publication Day of, THIS IS MY DAD ! !! This is My Dad is a timely, important and heart-warming look at modern family dynamics. It highlights that families come in all shapes and sizes, and they are all worthy of celebration. With one in four children in the UK living with a single parent, and 90% of those

Review: Go Home, Cat!

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Several years ago a pernickety cat climbed upon a roof and flatly refused to come down. Nicholas, the cat’s closest ally, employed every measure he could think of to coax his fearless or perhaps fearful feline companion down before rain set in and night fell. I loved , Come Down, Cat! for a myriad of reasons. Its perfect simplicity and the way it presented perception and friendship were beautifully reinforced with Lucia Masciullo’s whimsical, folks-tale-feel illustrations. Especially that roof which spoke of Europe to me and reminded me of the days I spent contemplating the views from atop a terracotta tiled roof in the Old Town of Antibes. Joy of joys, I have returned! Thanks to the latest Cat creation by Sonya Hartnett and Lucia Masciullo. This time Nicholas’ fortunes have turned and he decides to spend a fortuitous find (a shiny marvellous cat coin) on liquorice treats in town. Like me, Nicholas thinks liquorice is better than anything. He directs Cat to stay at home while d

Review: Where The Heart Is

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How far would you go for love? If you’re a Magellanic penguin who has imprinted on a kind old man, the answer could be thousands of miles. Where The Heart Is is a gentle tale of findings and belongings inspired by the real life story of Dindim, the tiny oil-stricken penguin found by Joao Pereira de Souza off the coast of Brazil in 2011. This rendition follows the facts closely beginning with Dindim’s salvation by Joao who cleans, feeds and nurtures him back to good health. As a tremendous show of gratitude, Dindim decides to stay and even after being relocated to an island offshore, promptly heads back to Joao’s beachside dwelling for a touching reunion. It is not until Dindim undergoes his first moult and dons his adult plumage that he suddenly decides to leave. In real life, no one knows for sure where this dapper little seabird goes but in Gold’s version, he makes the arduous sea journey back to coastal Patagonia, the breeding grounds of his fellow penguins. Life in the colony is f

This Is My Dad - Book Party!

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As pedestrian as it may sound, I love picture books. The reasons are sometimes obscure and indefinable but so plentiful that the urge to enjoy them, share them and create them drives my writing goals more feverishly than any other. I know I’m not alone in that regard. The genesis of any story, that almost intangible spark that propels a life and personality and purpose into existence, that compels a fictional character to share their experiences, joys and pain with strangers, is what story telling is really all about for me. It’s like sharing your marriage proposal with strangers: everyone’s is different, unique and oddly alluring even if you don’t know the couple! And I am delighted to have another one to share – a backstory that is, not a wedding proposal (I wish). In just a handful of weeks, my latest picture book, This Is My Dad , will grace bookshop shelves and online stores across the planet. This is the sort of quiet joy that buoys an author’s spirits. Why? Because it is be

Review: The Tale Of The Tiny Man

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This strange moving tale is a poignant ode to fidelity and the simplicity of true friendship. Its appeal relies on powerfully defined characters, the main one being a tiny man in lieu of a child which means adults sharing this story with younger readers will enjoy its relatability as much as children. The tiny man is a petite loner who is unspeakably lonely. His solitude is treated with distain and intolerance by other people. Even mean-hearted dogs growl at him. He has no one and thus feels like no one. Others' inexplicable acts of indifference and cruelty bewilder and sadden him; he is a kind man after all and wants nothing more than a friend. So one day, he advertises for one via a note pinned to a tree. Then he waits. And waits. And waits. Finally a friend arrives but they are not who he expects.  This new companion has a cold nose and a delightful sense of play. His appetite is voracious and he is quick to take advantage of the tiny man's hospitality and warm bedroom yet a

DIM’S DICTIONARY OF DYNAMIC READS: Bush Babies Galore

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This week’s whopper book list features some of the most favoured and favourite Aussie characters of all time: our wildlife. Look them up in your bookshop or library for some full Australiana immersion . Babies At The Billabong by Maura Finn and Cate James Stunning textural illustrations illuminate one little girl’s late afternoon rambles around a billabong where she spies a bush load of Aussie animal babies. Nomenclature and rhyming singalong verse makes this a sweet read for 3 – 5 year-olds. Affirm Press August 2021 9781922419408 By The Billabong by Maura Finn and Cate James This is the precursor to ‘ Babies …’ and sports just as many gumnuts and superb imagery. A fun and frolicsome exploration of collective nouns that makes a gorgeous bedtime read. Affirm Press April 2020 9781925972474 Dry to Dry: The Seasons of Kakadu by Pamela Freeman and Liz Anelli Anelli’s mixed media artwork and Freeman’s elegant yet fact-driven narrative informs and entices readers to look

DIM’S DICTIONARY OF DYNAMIC READS: Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

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Although I’ve explored the northern most reaches of Africa, I’ve never trekked across its savannah or trudged through its verdant forests. Perhaps if I had (maybe one day), I would have encountered some of the magnificent creatures that inspired this week’s book list (except for the tigers of course; I’ll pop over to India for those). Click on the title links to explore these books further and access ways to acquire them. Bear Was There by Sally Anne Garland Mouse is born and raised in a cosy embrace of love. His mother verses him in life and cautions him about its dangers, like Bear. But Mouse is young and carefree and explores his world with open abandon until one day; Mouse encounters a huge scary shadow – Bear! But as the seasons change and both Bear and Mouse mature, their relationship evolves until Mouse experiences an old familiar feeling … love. This gorgeously rendered tale of stranger-danger vs. trust, humility and acceptance is both charming to read aloud or savour quiet