Goldilocks and the Three Koalas, by Kel Richards

Everyone called her ‘Goldilocks’,
although her name was Shirley,
because she had a mass of hair,
fluffy, blond and curly.

The story of Goldilocks has been given an Aussie flavour with koalas replacing bears. It’s also brought into the modern day with Goldilocks carrying her mobile phone. Her walk into the woods brings her to the house of the three koalas. They of course are out walking themselves, while their gumleaf porridge cools. Goldilocks rings the doorbell and calls out ‘G’day’. She’s a curious girl and after a suitable time, goes inside for a good look around. She’s fast asleep when the koalas return. She wakes with a fright and that’s when the mobile phone comes in handy. Illustrations are in loose watercolours and portray a particularly Australian countryside with Hills Hoist, bull nose verandahs, kangaroos and plenty of gum trees. There’s even a koala gnome in the front yard of the koalas’ home!

Goldilocks and the Three Koalas is a new title in the ‘Aussie Gems’ series from Omnibus. The series is recognisable by its square shape, bright colours, sheep and sheep dogs on the cover. The cover illustration is framed by the title. Here, Goldilocks is a modern girl, venturing out with her mobile phone. The koalas are as surprised as any bears to find evidence of their curious visitor. Goldilocks and the Three Koalas is told in four-line verses. Readers will enjoy looking for little extras in the illustrations, like animals and ants and the things that hide down the back of chairs. Recommended for 5-7 year olds.

Goldilocks and the Three Koalas (Aussie Gems), Kel Richards ill Claire Richards
Omnibus Books 2009
ISBN: 9781741692310

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Also in the Series
Redback on the toilet Seat, by Slim Newton
Click Go The Shears
The Three Little Bush Pigs, by Paul Dallimore

A Little Bit, by Christine & Peter Maniaty

I’m a little bit big
and a little bit small.
A little bit short
and a little bit tall.

The simple rhyming text of this picture book shares experiences which most youngsters will be able to relate to – being old enough to hold a new baby, but still small enough to cuddle on Gran’s knee, or being naughty enough to make paper dolls out of Dad’s newspaper, but nice enough to give them to the baby to play with. Not only can toddlers sometimes be a mass of seeming contradictions, but to them life can seem contradictory, too, with all its rules and expectations.

The text here is simple, with just one line per page and a lot of the work being done by the illustrations, which demonstrate the different qualities of the child protagonist. The artist has used watercolour paints and ink lines to bring the child and his family to life.

This hardcover offering is ideal for bedtime reading. Very cute.

A Little Bit, by Christine and Peter Maniaty, ill by Claire Richards
Omnibus, 2008

the eleventh sheep, by Kyle Mewburn & Claire Richards

When Sian can’t sleep, she likes to count sheep.
From one to ten, then start again.
The Eleventh Sheep waits, every night. Waits, unwanted, just out of sight.

Sian, a young girl, counts sheep to help her get to sleep. She counts from one to ten while the poor old eleventh sheep waits patiently just out of sight for her to count just one more. Then one night the eleventh sheep can wait no longer. It leaps, unbidden. As Sian has already fallen asleep, the eleventh sheep falls ‘out of her dream and onto her bed’. Together Sian and the eleventh sheep play and adventure. And every night she sleeps cuddled up to the eleventh sheep. It becomes clear that the eleventh sheep is not completely happy. Between them, Sian and the eleventh sheep to find a way to put things right.

Getting to sleep can be a tricky thing sometimes. There are all sorts of strategies employed to facilitate sleep, but one of the most well-known must be counting sheep. Kyle Mewburn has delivered a simple and fun text that invites children to take a leap of faith, just as the sheep do in Sian’s imaginings. Claire Richard’s colourful illustrations are warm and friendly. Sian recognises that although she can now sleep without counting sheep, her companion is not as content. There is a gentle lesson here about how what we do can affect others, even inadvertently. But mostly, it’s a fun story, with some counting opportunities, and a little twist at the end. The Eleventh Sheep is a square format hardback. Recommended for preschoolers.

The Eleventh Sheep, Kyle Mewburn Claire Richards
Scholastic 2008
ISBN: 9781741691337