‘Come on Sage, it’s not that bad,’ my friend Lucy says, one hand on my shoulder. Í know you can do it.’
Tears spring to my eyes. ‘I don’t think I can, Lucy. I think I’d rather fail!’
I look around the room at the rest of our classmates, all busy working on their task, or talking about it, or trying to get away with doing other things without the teacher, Mr Duke, noticing. I wonder if any of them feels as bad as I do about our assignment.
Ten-year-old Sage Cookson spends a lot of time travelling with her TV chef parents. It’s an exciting and varied life but Sage is often absent from the school she attends with best friend, Lucy. While she stays in touch with Lucy when she’s away, she doesn’t know her other classmates that well. When Mr Duke sets them an assignment to deliver a three-minute no-notes presentation to the class, Sage is terrified. Her normal sunny confidence vanishes. She has no idea what to talk about and she is convinced she will never be able to speak in front of the whole class. At home, everyone is excited about the impending launch of Mum’s cook book, so she keeps her worries to herself.
Confident people always seem that they can do anything, and it can be hard to believe that they ever experience nerves. But often, they have worked hard to be able to overcome the same nervousness that first-timers experience. Sage doesn’t want to disturb her parents when they are so busy. Her parents might be busy but they can also ‘read’ Sage and they want to help her. They, Lucy, and new family friend, Tori, offer a number of strategies, but in the end Sage has to make her own decisions, and to make her own presentation. Recommended for newly independent readers.
Sage Cookson’s Literary Launch, Sally Murphy
New Frontier Publishing 2017
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller
In his imaginary book . . .
Cecil could be anyone
in any story.
Since Cecil was drawn, he’s been waiting to be in a book. He’s spent most of his life on a pin up board, where he’s seen other creatures come and go, pained, adorned and surrounded by words in shiny new books. Now, he’s sick of waiting. Determined to be in a book, he rips himself from the pin up board, but soon finds himself getting more adventure than he planned, in the wrong book. Luckily, after he escapes, he realises there is a scrapbook full of ideas waiting for him.
I Want to Be in a Book is a delightful meta-fiction offering from the late Narelle Oliver. With a mix of illustration techniques including Cecil sketched on lined paper, collage, photography and digital techniques and the text ‘typed’ on note paper, the story is visually pleasing with lots to see and find.
Cecil is a delight and a wonderful reminder of Oliver’s talents.
I Want to Be in a Book, by Narelle Oliver
Oh, hello. I am the Great and Wondrous Storyteller!
I have read big books. I have read little books.
I have read short books, tall books,
thick books and thin books …
I have read every
type of book you can imagine!
Everybody knows that the Great and Wondrous Storyteller is, in fact, a great and wodndous storyteller. Everyone knows he has read all kinds of books, to all kinds of people. But everyone also knows that you don’t eat books, or hold them upside down, or start at the end. So why is the Great and Wondrous Storyteller doing all those things?
The Great and Wondrous Storyteller is a gorgeous celebration of books and reading, with a gently educative element – teaching youngeters about the magic of books, and encouraging them to take up reading. The digital illustrations are bright and colourful, with the main character, Norbert, an adorable green monster, and other characters being a range of cute, big-eyed animals.
This debut picture book also explores themes of honesty and learning.
The Great and Wondrous Storyteller, by Michael Scott Parkinson
Five Mile Press, 2015
Available from good bookstores and online.
Echidna loved reading snug in bed,
with platters of ants and buttered bread.
Kangaroo loved reading as she hopped along,
trying not fall in the billabong.
All the animals love reading, and are members of the Bush Book Club. Everyone, that is, except Bilby. Bilby has never found a book that interest him. he is too busy twiddling and fiddling, skipping and hopping. Until one day he finds himself alone with nothing but a room full of books.
The Bush Book Club is a lovely story about books – and the importance of finding the right one. The resolution makes clear the premise held by many teachers, librarians, authors and other book people that there is a right book for every reader, and that a child who doesn’t like books hasn’t been given the right book yet.
Bilby and his friends have been beautifully brought to life in the water colour and pencil illustrations by Ben Wood, and youngsters will also enjoy the settings, especially the tree-home of the Book Club.
The Bush Book Club, by Margaret Wild & Ben Wood
Omnibus Books, 2014
Available from good bookstores and online.
If it’s Sunday and raining
a book is the perfect thing. Even a small book, because
boredom can be very big.
What is a book? This gorgeous little offering attempts to answer this question from the point of view of a child, with answers both straight-forward:
A book is to read.
You can read a book while you walk, but you have to be careful not to bump into things.
and the downright silly:
Books are good for covering up accidents with jam.
This small format hardcover is made to be treasured. The text is sparse – a few sentences per page, with illustrations, by Sarah Wilkins, filled with as much whimsy as the text – a child reading whilst riding a bike, an acrobat sharing a book from his trapeze and more. Book lovers young and old will smile, and want to share out loud, and the book could be used as a conversation starter in the classroom or at book groups.
A lovely gift idea for the bookaholic in your life.
A Book is a Book, by Jenny Bornholdt, illustrated by Sarah Wilkins
Gecko Press, 2014
Available from good bookstores or online.
The day my dad said Mister Mosely was ‘just a dog’, my mum punched him.
Not a punch like the one Dad gave Uncle Gavin that that time when Uncle Gavin’s tooth came out and there was all the blood and everything. But not a girl punch or a mucking-around punch either/ Mum really meant it. You could tell by the way she scrunched her face right up and made her eyes go small.
‘Don’t you say that! Don’t you dare say that!’
Misster Mosely is special. He doesn’t have a pedigree, but he is just the right dog for Corey and his family and, from the time Corey chooses him from a litter of his Uncle Gavin’s dog’s puppies, he becomes part of the family. He is loyal and funny and, from time to time, downright silly. Every member of the family – Mum, Dad, Corey, his little sister Amelia and even new baby Grace – has a special bond with Mister Mosely. And sometimes it seems that it is Mister Mosely who holds the whole family together.
Just a Dog is a delightful tale of one dog and his family. On the surface it is a collection of stories from different phases of his life, but it is also the story of a family going through the highs and lows of family life. As Corey watches his parents’ struggle, and wonders whether life will ever be the same again, he has the constant presence of Mister Mosely as a comforting force.
From award-winning author Michael Gerard Bauer, Just a Dog is suitable for middle and upper primary aged readers.
Just a Dog, by Michael Gerard Bauer
This book can be purchased from any good book store, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.
What are you doing here?
You’re in the WRONG BOOK!
Nicholas Ickle has a problem. He is trying to tell a story – but his book is repeatedly crashed by characters who don’t belong. First, it’s an elephant, then two monsters, a pirate, a queen and her attendants and more. As the intruders get increasingly ridiculous, Nicholas gets increasingly frustrated – only getting the chance to tell the reader what the book is supposed to be about as a giant ‘The End’ drops from above.
This funny picture book is a wonderful read aloud offering. Not only will adults enjoy reading it, but children will quickly join in on the refrain of ‘You’re in the wrong book!’ The illustrations are large and comic, with Nicholas Ickle dressed as a ring master, in dress-ups including a coat with tails, a top hat with sticky tape visible, and shorts. The intruders range from the big, slightly puzzled looking elephant which takes up a whole page, to a pirate in a one-man boat on wheels, and a snooty looking queen.
This is the sort of book which will withstand repeated reading and is sure to become a firm favourite.
The Wrong Book, written and illustrated by Nick Bland
This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.