My Aussie Dad, by Yvonne Morrison & Gus Gordon

Dads come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. In My Aussie Dada range of children present their dads and the wonderful things they do. Each dad is presented as being wonderful, even when their skills are shown as being less than perfect. For example the barbecuing dad sometimes grills the snags just a fraction more than he should. The language is rhythmical and rhyming and includes a range of Aussie slang. Illustrations on the left of each opening show Dad and the skill that makes him wonderful, while the other side reflects the somewhat less shiny reality. Illustrations are a mix of loose watercolour, collage and pencil. Images on the left are set in lots of white space, while those on the left spread colour over the page. The closing image is of a smiling father and child.

My Aussie Dad pays homage to a range of fathers, the majority of them iconic ‘Aussies’. The text is simple and humorous and the illustrations extend on the humour by depicting the Dads in a variety of activities. Throughout disasters large and small and behaviours appropriate and not, the dads are unfailingly presented as relaxed and caring. They all depict warm relationships with the child who is speaking about them, even if it’s to share an unidentifiable invention/creation, or to share a burnt snag. There’s even a place on the endpapers for the inclusion of a photo of Dad. Endpapers include many essentials for the everyday (summer) dad: big hat, footy, fly swat, hot sun and more! Recommended for preschool and early primary readers.

My Aussie Dad

My Aussie Dad, Yvonne Morrison, Gus Gordon
Scholastic 2010
ISBN: 9781741692280

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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The Joke Trap, by Richard Glover

Ben didn’t really get it, so I told him about the church, not far from my house, that has an old cemetery next to it. ‘Every time we drive past, Dad says to me, “Look, Jesse, there’s the dead centre of town”. Or, “Look at that place, Jesse, people are just dying to get in there”.’
Ben shot me an amazed look. ‘My uncle does exactly the same joke. Exactly the same words…’

Jesse has a problem. His dad is just so embarrassing. His constant stream of bad jokes are so silly that Jesse is too scared to invite his new friends home. His mate Ben has a similar problem. He is into music and wants to start a band – but his dad is always singing – badly.

When Jesse and Ben compare notes they decide it is time to do something about their dads. With help from their little sisters and Jesse’s Granddad, they give the dads a taste of their medicine.

The Joke Trap is the second title in the new ABC Kids Fiction series, aimed at beginning and reluctant readers aged 7 to 10. With 72 pages, plenty of support from the illustrations of Gus Gordon, and a humorous plot, it is sure to be enjoyed by young readers.

Good stuff.

The Joke Trap, by Richard Glover, illustrated by Gus Gordon
ABC Books, 2007

So Stinky! by J.A. Mawter

Something warm is trickling down my back. I can feel the hotness of it against my wind-cooled skin, almost burning. It starts at my neck and slowly, slowly meanders down. I want to deck him! Him is Felix, my kid brother. The liquid cools as it trickles down. My face burns.

Having your baby brother wee down your back is not nice. At all. But when he wees down your back when you’re talking to the coolest chick in your class it is simply unbearable. It seems that things can’t get any worse – but Jake soon discovers that they can, when he is stuck babysitting his incontinent brother during the school holidays.

One Flakey Fountain is one of the four silly stories which make up So Stinky, the sixth book in the So seris from the comic team of author J.A. Mawter and illustrator Gus Gordon. Other stories involve dinosaur dung, goat poo and a collection of human teeth.

Primary school children love gross stories, and So Stinky is sure to appeal to kids aged 8 to 12. There are plenty of smells, stinks, pongs and whiffs, along with some action and loads of laughs.

The cartoon-style illustrations on every page provide an extra facet, as do the three poems which come in between the stories.

So Stinky is a fun package.

So Stinky!, by J.A. Mawter, illustrated by Gus Gordon
Angus & Robertson, an imprint of Harper Collins, 2005

Captain Purrfect, by Jackie French

Harlie is in bed when the shadow man appears from nowhere. He is very frightened – the shadow man is going to get him – until, in a flash of fur and claws, Captain Purrfect appears and sends the shadow on his way. Harlie is pretty surprised to learn that his grandfather’s cat, Moggs is really Captain Purrfect, superhero.

Harlie learns that all Captain Purrfect would like in return for keeping the house free of shadow men, rust fingers and other monsters, is to be fed decent food. He does not like cat food at all.

Captain Purrfect helps Harley keep the monsters and bullies at bay. Can Harlie help Captain Purrfect defeat the nasty gurgle who lives in the house’s drains, and get a decent feed?

Captain Purrfect is a delightful offering from well known Australian author, Jackie French. The text is well-complemented by cartoon-style drawings from illustrator Gus Gordon. Kids will love this humorous tale and may not realise they are also learning a subtle message about dealing with bullies.

Captain Purrfect is an orange level Tadpole from Koala Books. Tadpoles are graded reading for emergent readers, matching readers with books using a colour coded reading barometer. Children emerge from reading picture books and progress across the Tadpole range of bridging book to reading independently. Orange level books are in the middle of the Tadpole spectrum, aimed at confident readers.

Captain Purrfect, by Jackie French, illustrated by Gus Gordon
Koala Books, 2002