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
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
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
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.
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!).
When Mum Was Little, by Mini Goss
Black Dog Books, 2001
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. 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
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
Max and Kelly have a strange Aunt who works at the zoo. When Aunt Zelda is around, wierd and wonderful things happen. So when Aunt Zelda invites the family to the Zoo Room to celebrate Max’s birthday, no one knows what to expect.
At the Zoo Room, there are strange things afoot. The waiter is a bear, the fellow diners are birds and beasts, and there is no sign of Aunt Zelda. Choosing from a menu of fried bugs and beast of the day proves a little challenging. The restaurant is a thrilling combination of excitement and danger. When the meal is over, the children are not sure they really want to go home.
The Zoo Room is a fun story with fantasy and frivolity blended in a way to appeal to five to eight year olds. The illustrations of Malcolm Geste capture both the fun and the mystery of the tale. Kids will love searching for the elusive Aunt Zelda, who can be found peeking at her nephew’s adventure. A fun read.
The Zoo Room, by Louise Schofield, illustrated by Malcolm Geste
Sandcastle Books, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2002
It is the day of the Great Penguin Swim Race, and all the penguins are very excited, especially Little Blue Penguin. She is determined to win.
When the other penguins hear this,they laugh. No-one so small has ever won the race.But Little Blue Penguin is not deterred, telling herself over and over that she can do it.
When the race begins, the bigger penguins splash and splatter Little Blue Penguin and tell her to get out of the way, but still she keeps going. She can hear the cheering of the crowd, driving her on.
When the cheering stops, Little Blue Penguin senses something is wrong. A Killer Whale is lurking nearby and all the racers are in danger. Is Little Blue Penguin too small to save her friends?
The Bravest Penguin of All is a delightful story which will charm youngsters (and their parents) with its gentle message. Beautifully complemented by the illustrations of Cathy Abadie, in the blues and greens of the Antarctic environment, and supplemented by a page of penguin and Antarctic facts, The Bravest Penguin of All will appeal to 4 to 8 year olds and is also suitable for classroom collections.
The Bravest Penguin of All, by Rina A. Foti, illustrated by Cathy Abadie
Koala Books, 2002