Sunday, May 1, 2016

Two new picture books about Mums for Mother's Day

If you're looking for a fun read aloud picture book for Mother's Day then you why not try Supermum by Leah Russack and illustrated by Anil Tortop or My Mum's Special Secret by Sally Morgan and illustrated by Amberlin Kwaymullina.

SupermumSuperman by Leah Russack and Anil Tortop

My mum has secret superpowers,
she can do amazing things...
A young child is watching an animal superhero show on television, when he realises that his mum has some pretty amazing superpowers too, just like the animals. She has super hearing, she is super strong, she has special healing powers and she can even read minds too! After reading this lovely picture book, it's obvious that all mums have some pretty special powers.

The illustrations by Anil Tortop are fabulous, so vibrant and lots of fun. If you have a thing for fabulous endpapers, like I do, then you will love these ones!

Book Details:
Title: Supermum
Author: Leah Russack
Illustrator: Anil Tortop
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Publication Date: April 2016
ISBN: 9781760158545

My Mum's Special Secret

My Mum's Special Secret by Sally Morgan

My Mum's Special Secret is an adorable picture book about a young Kookaburra and his mother. The young Kookaburra asks his mum to teach him all the things he needs to learn, like laughing at sunrise, how to catch worms and, of course, how to fly. Sally Morgan perfectly depicts the beautiful, nurturing relationship between a mother and child.

The vivid colours used by Amberlin Kwaymullina make her gorgeous illustrations jump off the page. The bright colours will certainly appeal to young readers. I also love how she depicts the stars at night, using colourful circles on a dark blue background.

Book Details:
Title: My Mum's Special Secret
Author: Sally Morgan
Illustrator: Amberlin Kwaymullina
Publisher: Omnibus Books
Publication Date: April 2016
ISBN: 9781742991368

Disclosure: I was provided with a review copies of these books by the publisher. My opinions, as aways, are my own.

Friday, April 8, 2016

5 New Early Readers from Maverick

We were so excited to hear that Maverick have released a new set of titles in their Early Reader series. We certainly loved the first set they released last year and with my 5 year old daughter learning to read, we are always on the look out for quality early readers.

5 new early readers from Maverick Arts Publishing

I certainly know the importance that early readers play in the learning to read process, but sometimes the quality of the readers that my children have brought home are disappointing, to say the least. They are either a good story but way too hard to read or they are easy to read but totally boring. Have you had the same experience?

I am a strong believer that beginner readers need quality books to read. Not only should the books be aimed at their reading level to practise their reading skills and build confidence but they story needs to be engaging as well. I want my children to enjoy reading, not see it as just another part of their homework.

I think Maverick have managed to combine these qualities in their Early Reader series. The early readers have been adapted from their picture book range, so they are high quality stories that are fun and engaging. They have also been carefully edited with the help of an educational specialist to ensure the books are suitable for young children learning to read. 

Here are the new titles:

Early Reader: The Four Little PigsEarly Reader: A Gold Star For George

Early Reader: Grumpy King ColinEarly Reader: Pirates Don't Drive Diggers

Early Reader: I wish I had Been Born A Unicorn

The early readers are divided into three colour bands to suit the child's reading level and the books are accompanied by learning resource packs which are designed to give teachers and parents a guide on how to use the book in a lesson or at home to enhance a child's learning. These resources are available for download for free via Maverick's website.

You might also like to read our review of The Four Little Pigs.

Disclosure: I was provided with a review copies of these books by the publisher. My opinions, as always, are my own.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Picture Book Review: Crabbing with Dad by Paul Seden

This week we have been enjoying reading a lovely new picture book called Crabbing with Dad by Paul Seden.

Review of Crabbing with Dad by Paul Seden

Mahli and Sam are so excited about going mud crabbing with their dad. With life jackets on, they all jump in the boat and zoom off to the creek. Along the way they meet friends and family who are already fishing and hunting along the creek. They reach their secret spot and set the crab pots and wait. When the tide turns, they return to their crab pots to see what they have caught and that's when the fun begins. They discover a big angry crab waiting for them in the pot and thankfully Dad is on hand to show the kids how to handle the crabs without getting nipped!

Crabbing with Dad is a wonderful picture book that celebrates the simple pleasures of going fishing and crabbing, but more importantly, spending quality time with Dad. The illustrations are full of vibrant colour and beautifully portray the excitement of the children's crabbing adventure.

The lovely large font and simple sentence structure also makes this picture book ideal for young children learning to read. My 5 year old was very excited to be able to read some of the book by herself, which goes a long way to boosting her confidence as she learns to read. About the Author/Illustrator:
Paul Seden grew up in Darwin and is descended from the Wuthathi and Muralag people of North Queensland. He loves to draw and tell stories and has a background in working with Indigenous kids in the schools of Darwin and remote communities in the Northern Territory. Crabbing with Dad is the first book Paul has written and illustrated.

Book Details:
Title: Crabbing with Dad
Author/Illustrator: Paul Seden
Publisher: Magabala Books
Publication Date: April 2016
ISBN: 9781925360158

Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of this book the publisher. My opinions, as always, are my own.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Picture Book Review: Happily Ever After: The Ugly Duckling

With gorgeous illustrations from Annie White, Happily Ever After: The Ugly Duckling is a lovely picture book that brings new life to a classic fairy tale.

Happily Ever After: The Ugly Ducking brings new life to the classic fairy tale.

Mother Duck is waiting for her eggs to hatch. When she discovers that one of her ducklings is not as pretty as her other four ducklings, she is very disappointed. After being teased, chased and laughed at, the poor little Ugly Duckling sets out to find his place in the world. It's not long before the Ugly Duckling happens upon four baby swans swimming in the pond and they ask him to play with them and just as the title suggests, he finds his happily ever after when the Mother Swan tells him he is a swan, not a duckling.

The beautiful illustrations by Annie White express so much feeling. This picture book is a lovely way to introduce a new, young audience to the classic story of The Ugly Duckling. It is also a wonderful reminder that there is nothing wrong with being different.

This picture book is ideal for ages 3-6 years.

With gorgeous illustrations by Annie White, Happily Ever After: The Ugly Ducking brings new life to the classic fairy tale.

Book Details:
Title: Happily Ever After: The Ugly Duckling
Retold by: Alex Field
Illustrator: Annie White
Publisher: New Frontier Publishing
Publication Date: March 2016
ISBN: 9781925059526

Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of this book the publisher. My opinions, as always, are my own.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Picture Book Review: Aussie Easter Hat Parade

When I was a kid I had so much fun making my Easter hat and wearing it with pride in the Easter Hat Parade at school. Colin Buchanan and Simon Williams capture the fun and creativity of making an Easter hat in their new picture book Aussie Easter Hat Parade.

Picture Book Review: Aussie Easter Hat Parade by Colin Buchanan and Simon Williams

Little Billy Bullant and Jenny Skink find some lovely colourful flowers in the bush. When they put the flowers on their heads they changed from being pretty flowers to fabulous Easter hats. With their new hats on they began to march through the bush meeting more animals and encouraging them to make their own hats so they can join in the parade too. Using what they found around them in the bush, the animals manage to create some marvellous hats and join in the parade.
Hey! Ho! What a Show!Look at what we've made!As we go marching round and roundIn the Easter Hat Parade
Aussie Easter Hat Parade is a fun picture book with a wonderful bonus CD, so you can sing along with the story too. The illustrations by Simon Williams make this picture book come alive. They are vibrant and full of fun. The hat creations are just wonderful. This is definitely a fun book to read in the lead up to Easter.

Book Details: 
Title: Aussie Easter Hat Parade
Author: Colin Buchanan
Illustrator: Simon Williams
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Publication Date: March 2016
ISBN: 9781760157227

We were so inspired by the fabulous Easter hats in the picture book that we decided to make our own. Just like the animals in the story we used flowers, leaves and twigs from our own garden.

We had so much fun exploring the backyard, selecting the very best flowers and leaves that we could find, thinking about what would look nice on a hat.

Decorate an Easter hat using flowers and leaves from your garden.

Decorate an Easter hat using flowers and leaves from your garden.

We made a simple paper crown and began attaching flowers and leaves using sticky tape.

Decorating an Easter hat using a bottle brush flower

Here is the finished Easter hat. Doesn't it look fabulous? It also smells lovely too with all the flowers we used.

Make an Easter hat using things you find in nature

Unfortunately my children's school do not have an Easter hat parade, so we had our very own parade at home. Will your children be participating in an Easter hat parade this year?

Picture book review and craft activity for Aussie Easter Hat Parade by Colin Buchanan and Simon Williams

Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of this book the publisher. My opinions, as always, are my own.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Picture Book Review: Buy Me a Monkey by Cherelle Flemming

A monkey for a pet sounds tremendously exciting doesn't it? What could possibly go wrong? In Buy Me A Monkey by Cherelle Flemming and illustrated by Graeme Compton we find out what it's really like to have a monkey as a pet.

What is it really like to have a monkey as a pet? Picture book review of Buy Me A Monkey by Cherelle Flemming and Graeme Compton

All little Ellie Eckles wants for her sixth birthday is a pet monkey. She has begged her mum for one at least a hundred times! Of course, mum doesn't think a pet monkey is the best idea and tries to convince Ellie to have a pet bunny instead. But Ellie will not change her mind and decides to take matters into her own hands by ordering her very own pet monkey,  thanks to the wonder of the internet. Her new pet arrives just in time for her birthday. 

Ellie knows that she and her monkey will be best of friends. When Ellie goes to school, she leaves her monkey at home and unfortunately when she returns, she soon finds out that having a pet monkey is not all it's cracked up to be. Perhaps her mum was right!

Written in rhyme, this is a lovely picture book to read aloud. The free audiobook (which you can find here) is definitely worth a listen too. The illustrations are full of colour and lots of fun. We certainly had a good giggle at the monkey's cheeky antics. Buy Me A Monkey is a fun story that preschoolers will enjoy.

This picture book is ideal for ages 3+ years.

Book Details:
Title: Buy Me A Monkey
Author: Cherelle Flemming
Illustrator: Graeme Compton
Publisher: Little Steps Publishing
Publication Date: Jan 2016
ISBN: 9781925117554

If your child could have any pet they wanted, would do you think it would be?

Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of this book the author. My opinions, as always, are my own.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Book Launch: Smile Cry by Tania McCartney

Most of you probably know by now just how much I love attending book launches for local authors. One local Canberran author who certainly knows how to host a fabulous launch is my friend Tania McCartney. On Saturday, Tania launched her newest picture book, Smile Cry at the gorgeous Harry Hartog Bookshop, and it was such a fun event.

Smile Cry is such a clever flip-over picture book about emotions. It's designed to be read from either front (Smile) or back (Cry), depending on how you are feeling of course. We follow along with three friends, Piglet, Bunny and Cat as they share so many reasons for smiling or crying, like "a tickle smile" or "an I didn't mean it cry". This wonderful picture book is perfect for starting a conversation about feelings. 

Jen Storer (author of Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children and Clarrie's Pig Day Out) made a whirlwind trip to Canberra to help launch this gorgeous picture book. 

Then it was time time to read the story!

Some of us took a quiet moment to browse through the book and admire the adorable illustrations by Jess Racklyeft.

Once the reading was over, it was time for some treats and Tania's attention to detail is always impressive. The Goodie Bags were a big hit, with a feather for a "tickle smile" and some awesome bandages just-in-case you have a "need a bandage quick cry".

Then there were the "ice-cream plopping down" cupcakes. They were certainly a highlight with my kids! Everyone loves a good sugar hit

It wouldn't be a book launch without some colouring in!

Tania is a lady of many talents, including crochet! Here are the characters, Piglet, Bunny and Cat and they are utterly adorable.

Tania was kept busy signing copies of her gorgeous book. If you look closely, you will see she is signing them with the most adorable pink flamingo pen!

This book is ideal for ages 3+.

Book Details:
Title: Smile Cry
Author: Tania McCartney
Illustrator: Jess Racklyeft
Publisher: EK Books
Publication Date: April 2016
ISBN: 9781921966989