You Have My Heart, by Corinne Fenton and Robin Cowcher

On good days and bad days
and all those in-between days…
you have my heart.

Whether its a sunshine-inside-of-me day, a tears-tumbling-down day or an en-between day, the voice of this books tells ‘you’, the reader/listener, that you always have ‘my heart’. The simple but whimsical text is an attestation of love between reader and listener, between parent and child, or between giver and receiver, being a book perfect both for quiet-time reading with a young child and for gift giving to another adult.

The illustrations too are deceptively simple, using ink and watercolour with greys and reddy-pinks to depict a child of indeterminate age demonstrating the range of emotions with the help of a single red balloon which, at the end, becomes heart-shaped.

This gorgeous small format hardcover is sheer delight.

You Have My Heart, by Corinne Fenton & Robin Cowcher
Five Mile Press, 2016
ISBN 9781760401917

Bob the Railway Dog, by Corinne Fenton, illustrated by Corinne Fenton

Bob, the Railway DogBob would jump onto the footplate of one train, leap off again at some wayside spot, then clamber onto another train heading in the opposite direction.
There was hardly a town in South Australia he did not visit, from Oodnadatta to Kalangadoo.

In the early days of Australian railways, when shiny new tracks opened up vast areas of rural Australia, a special dog developed a taste for travel. Bob, as he was named by his first owner, Guard Ferry, travelled first with Guard Ferry then later on any train he could hitch a lift on, and became a favourite with drivers, guards and porters. Today, a photo of Bob still sits in memorial to him at Adelaide Station.

Bob, the Railway Dog is a beautiful historical picture book told with the warm simplicity at which author Corinne Fenton is so very adept. WIih key facts and events wven into the story, readers will nontheless feel like it is a story, with Bob painted as a really endearing character. The artwork, in watercolour, charcoal and pencil, are similarly warm and inviting bringing both Bob and the era to life. Buildings, landscapes, people and, of course, Bob himself are rendered beautifully, making for a really attractive whole.

Bob, the Railway Dog is a treasure.

Bob, the Railway Dog, by Corinne Fenton and Andrew McLean
Black Dog Books, 2015
ISBN 9781922179890

Available from good bookstores and online.

Hey Mum, I Love You, by Corinne Fenton

Hey Mum,
I love you…
more than the prickliest tickle…

This delightful offering for the very young, and their mothers, is an absolute delight. The text is simple, only a few sentences in total, with a list of ways the child narrator loves his/her mum, and how affirming that is:
Because I know
with you beside me
I can do anything.

The illustrations are large photographs of various animals, chiefly of an adult with one or more young, showing affection (such as a giraffe kissing another), or in action. The text and illustrations are on white backgrounds, adding to the simplicity and making the overall product a gentle whole perfect for cuddle time or bedtime reading.

Hey Mum, I Love You is a lovely complement to Hey Baby, but each stands alone.



Hey Mum, I Love You

Hey Mum, I Love You, by Corinne Fenton
Black Dog, 2014
ISBN 9781922244581

Available from good bookstores or online.

Chasing Shadows by Corinne Fenton ill Hannah Sommerville

On a yellow morning

when the sun is new

and shadows long

a puppy comes to live at Beth’s house.

For Beth, it is too soon.


On a yellow morning

when the sun is new

and shadows long

a puppy comes to live at Beth’s house.

For Beth, it is too soon.

Beth, a small girl, is shadowed by sadness. The cause of her sadness is not identified in the text, but is made clear in the illustrations. Despite her father’s attempts to reach her, Beth remains separate and sad, unable to participate in or enjoy life. Dad brings home a puppy, hoping to reach Beth, but although she watches his antics, she cannot join Patches in his games. Dad watches too, and cares for them both. Only when it may be too late, is Beth able to break from her shadowed world. The text is poetry, spare and evocative: ‘Afternoon sunshine

Seeping through shutters

Makes Patches warm

Makes Beth weep.’

Illustrations are soft watercolour a mixture of full colour openings and vignettes, reminiscent of Freya Blackwood’s work. Endpapers show Patches at puppy-play.

‘Chasing Shadows’ is a beautiful picture book combining poetic text with warm empathetic illustrations. The main character Beth is present in every illustration but it’s clear she is not present emotionally. She has withdrawn into herself in crippling sadness and depression. Not even the exuberant and comic actions of a new puppy can cut through. This is clearly more than normal sadness. Beth has disconnected from her world. Slowly, time and the puppy’s relentless joyfulness begin to distract although not free her. Only in crisis, does Beth find the courage to help Patches and in doing so, herself. Themes include loss, sadness, depression, love and happiness. ‘Chasing Shadows’ is a gentle book exploring big issues. Recommended for young readers, those experiencing loss and depression, and anyone who understands the power of dogs to help us heal ourselves.

Chasing Shadows

Chasing Shadows, Corinne Fenton ill Hannah Sommerville Ford Street Publishing 2014 ISBN: 9781925000153

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author and bookseller

Hey Baby! by Corinne Fenton

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

Hey Baby!

Occasionally a picture book comes along that is charming from start to finish. From the cute raccoons on the cover, through to the opening page with a wistful looking kitten and through the rest of the animals with their babies, this book is a delight.  The photos are gorgeous and the faces of the various creatures so expressive. You will find everything from spider monkeys and chameleons to a new born duckling, a smiling dolphin, a grinning monkey and lastly two very special pictures.

As the photographs pass though a wide array of animals, the lyrical text is simple yet conveys a lot of meaning, showing how special  and unique each baby is.  This is definitely a book to share with a precious new baby in the family.

At $18.95 this would make an inexpressive yet treasured gift for any parents of a newborn. Given the theme and text with few words this makes it suitable especially for the 0+ age range.  Highly recommended.


Hey Baby! By Corrine Fenton

Black dog Books

An imprint of Walker Books

Hardcover Picture book

RRP $18.95

ISBN 9781742032498

Hey Baby, by Corinne Fenton

Hey Baby!
Never doubt just how special you are.

What a delightful first picture book this is. Speaking directly to a new born baby, this love letter reminds the child that there is nobody quite like him/her in simple text which will withstand multiple re readings and is short enough that even a wriggler will be able to last through its entirety.

The text is supported by beautiful baby animal photographs which will captivate young viewers and also delight adult readers. There are kittens, elephants, zebras, monkeys, even fish and, in the final to photos, a baby.

Whilst the title and the term ‘newborn’ baby in the text suggest the key target audience is newborns, older children will also enjoy the message of uniqueness and unconditional love, and the lively photo illustrations will also delight them.

Hey Baby! would make a perfect gift for a baby shower or newborn.

Hey Baby!

Hey Baby! by Corinne Fenton
Black DOg, 2012
ISBN 9781742032498

Available from good bookstores or online. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

The Dog on the Tuckerbox, by Corinne Fenton

Whilst most Australian adults are familiar with the story of the dog on the tuckerbox, many Australian children are not. So it is wonderful to see the story brought to life in a beautiful picture book offering. The work of award-winning team Corrine Fenton and Peter Gouldthorpe, The Dog on the Tuckerboxis a visual and literary delight.

Fenton tells the story of the loyal dog, Lady, and her master, Bill, using language both vivid and simple to record the tale and bring the time period to life. Gouldthorpe’s exquisite illustrations bring Lady, the bullocks and the rural landscape to life with a vividness that will have children wondering if they are indeed photographs.

Part of Australia’s rich history of folklore, the story has been given a fresh lease of life for a new generation. The book has a timeless feel to it, which will make it a long-treasured addition to any home library. It will also be a valuable classroom resource and should find a home in every school library.


The Dog on the Tuckerbox, by Corinne Fenton and Peter Gouldthorpe
black dog books, 2008