You are My Special Baby, Carol Chataway & Danny Snell

You are My Special Baby is a lovely tribute to the relationship between a parent and a child. The cover art depicts a sugar glider parent and child atop a waratah and each opening reveals another Australian pair in their particular Australian habitat. From the platypuses underwater to the kangaroos in the red sand inland, each pair is accompanied by an affirmation of the relationship between an infant and a caring adult. Illustrations are acrylic paint on board and full double page with text imposed on the paintings. Extraneous detail has been omitted to keep the focus on the relationships portrayed.

This is a lovely book, perfect for a new baby, and/or new parent. (Or grandparent, or any carer or significant person in a child’s life. The words are simple, the images clear. There are little puns reflected in the connection between text and image. It would also be a perfect book for sending overseas, depicting as it does our wonderful fauna, flora and landscape. Highly recommended for babies and young children or as a gift.

You are My Special Baby

You are My Special Baby, Carol Chataway & Danny Snell
Working Title Press 2011
ISBN: 9781921504181

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book is available from good bookstores or online from Fishpond.

Zizzy, by Penny Matthews & Danny Snell

‘It’s the sea,’ said the bird. ‘It’s where the sun rises. It’s the beginning of the rest of the world. Come with me, and I’ll show you.’
‘I can’t do that,’ said Zizzy. ‘I am a sloth. I can only sleep and eat. And dream.’
The bird looked at him with her bright eyes. ‘You don’t know what you can do until you try,’ she said.

Zizzy the sloth lives in the jungle, where he hangs upside down in a tree, eating leaves or sleeping and dreaming. When he catches a glimpse of something blue in the distance, he wonders what it is, but when Bird tells him about the sea, Zizzy thinks it is too far away for a sloth like him to visit. Bird encourages him to try, and, with Bird’s encouragement sloth makes the slow journey to the sea, where he is amazed by the things he sees.

Zizzy is a beautiful tale about following dreams, self-belief and the value of friendship. A bird and a sloth is an unlikely pairing, but it is this pairing which shows just what is possible when an individual receives encouragement from a friend.

Penny Matthew’s wise text is brought to life in acrylic illustrations by Danny Snell showing the magnific contrast between the lush green jungle and the wide blue expanses of the sea, as well as the beautiful orange sunrise. Ziggy, too, is cleverly rendered to show his efforts and emotions.



Zizzy, by Penny Matthews & Danny Snell
Omnibus, 2010
ISBN 9781862917972

This book can be purchased from good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs, by Helen Martin and Judith Simpson

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs is a sturdy board book introducing dinosaurs to small children. The text is sparing and the illustrations gentle. Size comparisons are demonstrated very clearly in illustrations where the text indicates ‘small’ and ‘tall’ etc. Accurate names are used, but so too are descriptors like ‘spiky tail’ for the Kentrosaurus and ‘three sharp horns for Triceratops. The narrative text is rhyming, and different font sizes are used to help differentiate between the narrative text and labels and the like. Illustrations are pastel coloured with plenty of white space to allow close examination of each of these remarkable creatures.

Dinosaurs continue to entrance generation after generation of young children. The ABC Book of Dinosaurs is a new title for the very young in a series that includes the beautiful ‘Animals’. The ABC Book of Dinosaurs offers accurate information in a very simple style without overwhelming the illustrations or ‘dumbing down’. Danny Snell’s illustrations have smiling faces…even the big-toothed Tyrannosaurus Rex appears almost friendly. A beautiful book. Recommended for toddlers and dinosaur fans.

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs [Board book]

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs , Helen Martin and Judith Simpson, ill Danny Snell
ABC Books Harper Collins 2009
ISBN: 9780733324796

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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

Crocodile River, by Diana Lawrenson

Cranky escaped swiftly through the muddy water.
‘This river has too many crocodiles,’ she thought.
‘I need a place where there’s plenty of food for me.’

Even before she hatches from the egg, Cranky the crocodile’s life is a constant battle for survival. Predators steal unhatched eggs from the mother crocodile’s nest and, after the eggs have hatched, snatch baby crocodiles, too. Even as she grows, Cranky must avoid being trapped by human hunters, or eaten by bigger crocodiles. What Cranky really needs is a place of her own.

Crocodile River is a fictional story of one crocodile’s journey from egg to adulthood, but it is also the story of both the life cycle of a crocodile, and of the crocodile’s fight for survival.

With rich acrylic illustrations by Danny Snell, and end papers laden with lots of crocodile facts this beautiful picture book is both entertaining and educational. Delightful.

Crocodile River

Crocodile River, by Diana Lawrenson and Danny Snell
Working Title, 2009

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

Scary Bear, by Tania Cox

When Bear wakes early from his long winter sleep, he decides to find his friends and surpise them. And surprise them he does – but not in the way he had planned. Not expecting to see their friend, the other animals are frightened by the arrival of a huge scary bear. Chaos ensues as Bear scares each new friend and becomes increasingly confused by their reactions, until at last he realises what is happening.

Scary Bear is a cute new offering from South Australian publisher, Working Title Press. The text by Tania Cox, though a little predictable to adult readers, is gently humorous and as the pattern builds up, children will be able to join in with the story. The illustrations of Danny Snell are divine, with Bear cuddly and endearing and the rich green acrylic landscapes fresh and inviting. The illustrations are not fussy, but there is enough detail to keep young readers absorbed.

Very cute.

Scary Bear, by Tania Cox, illustrated by Danny Snell
Working Title Press, 2005