Pigs Don't Fly and Bears Don't Bounce, by Jackie French

Pigs don’t fly …. But sometimes they do like to wallow in the mud.
Bear’s don’t bounce … But they snooze all winter.

Two new lift-the-flap picture books, combining the talents of author Jackie French and illustrator Matt Cosgrove are sure to delight young prereaders and their parents. Each page combines a little fantasy – flying pigs, bouncing bears, jiggling giraffes – with a little fact, hidden beneath sturdy flaps. Each flap is half a page and the illustration on the main page is continued on to the flap, to show a connection between the fact and the fantasy.

French’s simple text makes these books quick to read and suitable for toddlers’ short attention spans, whilst Cosgrove’s vibrant illustrations are sure to delight.

The format of the two books is similar, with Pigs Don’t Fly concentrating on farm animals and Bears Don’t Bounce on wild animals.

Jackie French is a prolific author with many children’s titles to her name, as well as books about gardening and natural lifestyle. She makes regular appearances on television’s Burke’s Backyard.

This pair of books are sure to prove popular with youngsters and their parents.

Pigs Don’t Fly
and Bears Don’t Bounce, by Jackie French, illustrated by Matt Cosgrove
Koala Books, 2003

Colossal Creatures, by Nick Hughes

Dinosaurs lived long ago and grew to a massive size
But if they lived with us today, you wouldn’t believe your eyes.

Kids love books with different formats, and Colossal Creatures, with a flap to lift on every page, is sure to delight. The simple rhyming text by Nick Hughes, contrasts the ancient dinosaurs with the animals, people and buildings of today.

The highlight of the book is the brilliant illustrations of Mini Goss, who conistently produces work of this standard. Bold colours and lively detail are Goss’s specialty and in Colossal Creatures she makes excellent use of the lift the flap format.

Colossal Creatures, is equally appropriate for the home and educational context.

Colossal Creatures, by Nick Hughes, Illustrated by Mini Goss
Koala Books, 2002

Sisi and the Cassowary, by Arone Raymond Meeks

When Sisi goes with her mother and sisters to the waterhole, she swims too far away. Chased by a crocodile she surfaces in an unfamiliar place, and can’t find her way home. Soon, she comes across a boy collecting berries and agrees to help him with his task if he will then help her to get home. However, when the time comes for the boy to fulfill his part of the agreement, he disappears, and Sisi is joined by a large bird. The cassowary gets Sisi to climb on his back, and he gives her a ride home, where she is reunited with her mother. Sisi realises then that the cassowary and the boy were in fact one.

This traditional tale is made complete with the rich traditional paintings of Arone Raymond Meeks, who uses browns, ochres, greens and blues to capture the Dreamtime essence of his story.

This is both an excellent sharing book and a useful educational tool for studies of Aboriginal art and dreamtime stories.

Sisi and the Cassowary, by Arone Raymond Meeks
Omnibus Books, an Imprint of Scholastic, 2002

Gordon's Got a Snookie, by Lisa Shanahan

The animals in the zoo are so excited that Gordon is coming. Gordon is the new silverback gorilla being brought in from overseas to take care of the girls. Of course, the girls are more excited than anyone – they hope Gordon will be big and strong and hairy.

When Gordon arrives he looks to be all that they hoped for – until the young gorillas notice something funny. Gordon has a snookie! Now all the animals are scornful and highly amused – how can Gordon live up to his strong image if he needs a comforter? The girls are embarrassed to be seen with him.

Poor Gordon – left alone, the snookie becomes more and more important, until a young gorilla unwittingly offers a chance solution.

Gordon’s Got a Snookie is a hilarious story sure to appeal to children and to their adult readers. Shanahan’s text is a delightful blend of humour and gentle message about the acceptability of snookies, or blankies or other comforters. The illustrations of Wayne Harris perfectly complement the text, capturing the range of emotions from ethusiasm to loneliness with a delightful colour range and skillful portrayal of the characters’ facial expressions.

A delightful book!

Gordon’s Got a Snookie, by Lisa Shanahan, illustrated by Wayne Harris
Allen & Unwin, 2002

Too Loud Lily, by Sofie Laguna

Wherever she goes, everyone tells Lily Hippo she is too loud. At home they say “too loud”. At school they say “too loud!” Even her best friends think she’s too loud. Poor Lily!

But when a new teacher called Miss Loopiola comes to school, Lily decides to be in the school play. With Miss Loopiola’s help, Lily learns that sometimes loud is what’s needed, and her family and friends see that sometimes Lily is not too loud.

Too Loud Lily is a funny new picture book from author Sofie Laguna. With a simple message of acceptance and understanding, the lively text is well complemented by the equally lively illustrations of Kerry Argent, who portrays the telling emotions of Lily and those around her delightfully.

Too Loud Lily will appeal to children from birth to six years of age, and their parents and educators.

Sofie Laguna is an actor and writer, whose other publication credits include My Yellow Blanky and Bill’s Best Day. Kerry Argent’s previous illustration successes include Wombat Divine and One Woolly Wombat.

Too Loud Lily, by Sofie Laguna, illustrated by Kerry Argent
Omnibus Books, an Imprint of Scholastic Australia, 2002

Jump Baby by Penny Matthews

Three possums – Mumma, Big Sister and Baby – are eating their breakfast high in a tree in a moonlit garden. Mumma and Big Sister move around confidently, but Baby is scared. The tree is very high and he wants to stay close to his Mumma. When Mumma and Big Sister jump to the peach tree, Baby is left behind. Mumma and Big Sister plead with him to jump, but he can’t. He is left by himself in the walnut tree. How will he get to his Mumma? And how will he learn to jump?

Jump Baby is a sweet new picture book from Ominibus Books. Author Penny Matthews tells a charming tale of learning and taking risks. The illustrations of Dominique Falla, with the deep purples and greens of the night garden contrasting with the browns of the animals, are a perfect complement to the gentle text.

This is a lovely sharing book for preschoolers and their parents, and also suitable for early childhood classrooms.

Penny Matthews has previously written another picture book, A Year on Our Farm and three titles in the Omnibus Solos Series. Dominique Falla is a graphic designer and also illustrated the award-winning picture book Woodlore.

Jump, Baby, by Penny Matthews, Illustrated by Dominique Falla
Omnibus Books, an Imprint of Scholastic, 2002.

When Mum Was Little, by Mini Goss

It’s pretty hard to belive that Mum hasn’t always been a Mum. She was little once too.

The world was much different when Mum was little. CD players and computer games weren’t even invented, there were no plastic takeaway containers and lollies were much bigger.

When Mum Was Little is a fun picture book from talented author/illustrator Mini Goss. Kids will love seeing how different the world was in the sixties and seventies, while Mum and Dad will love the trip down memory lane. Everyone will love the psychedelic illustrations and laugh at the clothing and hairstyles of Mum and her family ‘back then’.

As well as being great for at home reading, When Mum Was Little would make a great addition to classroom libraries and wonderful learning tool for studies of the past (NOT ancient history!).

A gem.

When Mum Was Little, by Mini Goss
Black Dog Books, 2001

A Moose Called Mouse, by Martine Murray

This is Mouse. Mouse is a moose. He’s not a mouse or a louse or an anything else. He’s a moose I call Mouse.

In A Mouse Called Moose, author/illustrator Martine Murray captures a gentle friendship between a girl and her friend the moose. Together they discover the magic of the night and of its transformation into day, as well as the joys of simple friendship.

This is peaceful story, perfect for a bedtime tale or for any quiet time. It is also suitable for sharing at kindergartens or playgroups. Murray’s simple illustrations are a perfect calming complement to the tale, with their child-like simplicity and muted colours.

Murray is a young author and illustrator who hails from Victoria. She has studied at the Victoria College of the Arts and spent time with the circus. Her first novel for children The Slightly True Story of Cedar B.Hartley has been well received in Australia and has sold to publishers in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and Denmark.

A Moose Called Mouse is a treasure.

A Moose Called Mouse, by Martine Murray
Allen & Unwin, 2002

There's a Sun Fairy in Our Garden, by Jeni Mawter

There’s a sun fairy in our garden. I know it’s there because my brother told me so.

Every youngster, boy or girl, wants to believe in fairies and, with this delightful picture book, they get a glimpse at some gloriously unique examples. The sun fairy is wearing reflector sun glasses, the rock fairy has a crash helmet and the rain fairy is wearing silver gumboots. They may elude the girl telling the story, but young readers get to see them playing and teasing.

There’s a Sun Fairy in My Garden
combines the talents of author Jeni Mawter with those of talented young illustrator Christy Martin, in a tale sure to delight four to eight year old readers and their parents. As the narrator tries to tempt the fairies out with her special gifts, her older brother encourages her efforts by delighting her with his descriptions of the various fairies hiding in their garden. As well as being a gorgeous fairy book, it is also a delightful glimpse of sibling togetherness.

A beautiful offering which will be enjoyed again and again.

There’s a Sunflower in Our Garden, by Jeni Mawter, illustrated by Christy Martin
Axiom, 2001

I'm Big Enough, by Sally Odgers

Joey Hopalong swears he is big enough to hop alone Wallaby Grove. His mother believes he is big enough. She kisses him goodbye and says she will see him when he gets there. But none of the animals Joey meets along the way believe that he is big enough to do it by himself.

First he is joined by Platypus, then by Wombat and Possum. All are sure he needs their help. It is only when they meet Kookaburra that Kookaburra proves to the other animals, and to Joey, that Joey is indeed big enough to hop alone.

I’m Big Enough, by Sally Odgers, is a gently humorous tale with a subtle message about differences and growing up. The delightful illustrations by Llyod Foye capture the colours of Australia’s landscape, with golden browns and greens prevalent.

Sally Odgers is a talented Tasmanian author who produces quality books for all ages. I’m Big Enough reaches her always high standards. A treasure.

I’m Big Enough, by Sally Odgers, illustrated by Lloyd Foye
Koala Books, 2002