Blue & Bertie by Kristyna Litten

Every day Bertie and the giraffes did the same thing at the same time.

Crunchity-crunch – they nibbled sweet leaves from the top of the trees.

Blue and BertieEvery day Bertie and the giraffes did the same thing at the same time.

Crunchity-crunch – they nibbled sweet leaves from the top of the trees.

Bertie is happy with his life. There’s plenty of giraffes and plenty of food and water and company. Then one day, he sleeps in. When he wakes he discovers a whole different world. Without the others to be with and to copy, he doesn’t know what to do, or where to find them. When he is thoroughly lost, he encounters Blue. Blue leads Bertie on a wonderful day of new things and adventure. But at the end, Bertie is happy to rejoin his herd. Now it is Blue’s turn to feel lost and different. Blue and Bertie are friends and together they enrich the lives of the entire herd. Illustrations are stylised, in gentle and welcoming.

Blue & Bertie encounter each other by accident but are happy to play together despite their self-perceptions of being different. Each accepts the other happily into their differing worlds, and in doing so expands and enriches the world of each. Blue and Bertie is a delightful story of friendship and acceptance. Recommended for pre- and early schoolers.

Blue and Bertie, Kristyna Litten
Koala Books 2016 ISBN: 9781742761800

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

Rainbow Street Pets, by Wendy Orr

What would you do if you lost a pet?
Where would you go if you found one?

When Lachlan has to move from the family farm to a house in the city, the only consolation he can find is that his dog Bear is going to come with him. He loves Bear more than anything else in the world – and Bear loves him, too. But on the way to the city something terrible happens – Bear gets lost. He is devastated, and after searching for days he almost gives up hope. But miracles can happen, and when Lachlan starts at his new school there is someone there who just might have seen Bear.

‘Lost Dog Bear’ is the first of six wonderful animal stories in Rainbow Street Pets. Each is self contained but all are centred about animals lost or adopted from the Rainbow Street Animal Shelter, with the result that characters – animal and human – feature across several stories. There’s the tale of a brave cat that saves its elderly owner’s life, a stolen pony and even an orphaned lion cub.

Highly readable and lots of fun, Rainbow Street Pets is a boon for young animal lovers.

Rainbow Street Pets

Rainbow Street Pets, by Wendy Orr
Allen & Unwin, 2012
ISBN 9781742379081

This book is available from all good bookstores and online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Possum Pictures

Australia’s unique animals are a favourite subject for children’s writers. Two enduring classics have possums as their central characters.

In Possum Magic, by Mem Fox, we meet Grandma Poss, who is no ordinary possum – she makes bush magic. Blue wombats, smiling dings amd shrinking emus are all in her repertoire. But her best piece of magic makes young Hush invisible. This is all very well until one day Hush decides she would like to see what she looks like.

Grandma Poss and Hush embark on an adventure to find the right magic to make Hush visible again. Along the way they sample all the best of Australian foods – but will they find the answer to Hush’s problem?

Possum Magic was Fox’s first published work, making its debut in 1983, but is still delighting both youngsters and their parents. The tale is perfectly accomplished by gorgeous illustrations by the talented Julie Vivas.

In Possum in the House by Kiersten Jensen, no one is happy when a possum gets in – in the pantry he spills the cornflakes, in the laundry he rips the shirts, and in the lounge he scratches the records. Will Mum and Dad ever catch him?

This gorgeous story is sure to be a favourite with both children and parents because of its flowing, up-beat rhythm and cute ending. The detailed illustrations by Tony Oliver make a perfect complement to the text.

Both of these books will make excellent additions to your child’s book collection.

Possum Magic, by Mem Fox
Omnibus Books, 1983.

Possum in the house by Kiersten Jensen
Childerset Books, 1986.