Clarrie’s Pig Day Out by Jen Storer ill Sue de Gennaro

The sun is up and I have a lot to shoe.

No. I have a lot to poo.

No, no, no. I have a lot to do.

I’m going out and my dag is coming with me.

‘Bert!’ I say. ‘Bert, are you ready?’

But Bert doesn’t come.

The sun is up and I have a lot to shoe.

No. I have a lot to poo.

No, no, no. I have a lot to do.

I’m going out and my dag is coming with me.

‘Bert!’ I say. ‘Bert, are you ready?’

But Bert doesn’t come.

Clarrie is a farmer, who has things to do in town. He also has a bit of trouble with words – getting the right ones, that is. He wants to take his dog but Bert can’t be found. So Clarrie sets off without him. His day in town is full of tasks, from having morning tea, through getting new footwear to acquiring some new farm animals. But disaster strikes on the way home and perhaps Clarrie and his purchases may not make it. Clarrie and his chickens will need help if they are going to make it home. Illustrations use many mediums (acrylic, watercolour, ballpoint pen, grey lead and collage) and are set in white space. The font is handwriting-like and the mixed up words are presented letter by letter as if they have been torn from a newspaper or other source.

Clarrie’s Pig Day Out bumbles gently along though a day in the life of farmer Clarrie. The language is poetic and funny, the illustrations an ongoing chuckle. The word substitutions will set the reader giggling. Readers can spot Bert when Clarrie cannot, and find the other animals who populate the farm. Clarrie’s Pig Day Outoffers the opportunity to play with words, while subtly introducing meaning and variety to vocabularies. A hoot to read out loud, sure to be enjoyed by pre- and early-schoolers.

Clarrie’s Pig Day Out Jen Storer ill Sue de Gennaro

ABC Books 2016 ISBN: 9780733334443

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

Danny Best: Full On, by Jen Storer & Mitch Vane (ill.) creep across the grass like a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE Secret Agent. I am silent. I leave no trail.
I pick up a stone and hurl it at the chook shed. The stone hits the tin rook with a CLANG and the chooks SQUAWK.
That’ll trick Fab.

Danny Best and his best mate Fab are playing cops and robbers. Danny is the robber, and his job is to get away from Fab for long enough to steal the treasure. But hiding under the house is a bit tricky, and policeman Fab has got back-up in the form of their other friends.

“Cops and Robbers” is one of five short stories featuring Danny and his friends in Danny Best: Full on, the first book in a new series. Danny doesn’t just think he’s the best – he knows it. And most of his adventures feature races or competitions of some sort, including obstacle courses and child-built race circuits.

Danny is a little bit full of himself (aren’t most 8 and three quarter year olds?) but is able to laugh at himself when things go wrong, and his friends have his measure. The stories are fast paced and humorous and feature cartoon-style illustrations, maps and more, including humorous quizzes after each story.

Lots to like here for primary aged readers.

Danny Best: Full on, by Jen Storer, illustrated by Mitch Vane
ABC Books, 2015
ISBN 9780733333330

Truly Tan, by Jen Storer

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

There seems to be a trend these days for spunky female characters with a slightly acerbic wit. Tan is such a character. She and her three sisters, all named after colours, her parents and an assortment of animals move to the country. A house with an attic, it sounds like a great place for keeping an eye on the neighbourhood and for Tan setting up her world headquarters with her telescope. That is if she can find anything more interesting to watch than cows.

Then Tan, Amber, Emerald and Rose meet up with Ted, hear of the dead fox curse and are welcomed into the Purple Haunt. Suddenly Tan thinks life here might get better after all, especially when Rose develops photos which Amber claims show a ghost.

Tan’s attitude and humour comes through, in the way she speaks about her sisters and toward Amber’s dog, Doodad, who wear a bow with sequins. ‘Things with sequins belong on people not dogs. You cannot respect a dog wearing sequins.’ Anyone who ever owned a Box Brownie will smile at the comments about this now antiquated item.
Truly Tan

The occasional black and white illustrations add to the humorous text. This book is sure to be a winner with girls around the 9 year old age group. A lot of fun to read.

Truly Tan, by Jen Storer, illustrated by Claire Robertson
ABC Books, 2012
ISBN 9780733331213

Available from good bookstores or online.

Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid children, by Jen Storer

‘Students!’ exclaimed Matron Pluckrose, shaking her head and searching the pockets of her jacket. ‘There have been no st-ew-dents here since the war.’
She fumbled with her cigarette pack. Tensy felt her face flush and her tummy tumble. She stopped laughing.
‘But excuse me, Madam Matron,’ she persisted. ‘Only, how can you have a boarding school without any students?’
Matron blew a cloud of smoke into the little girl’s face.
‘Child,’ she said, and her face was stony, ‘this is no school.’

Tensy Farlow is in danger. Abandoned as a baby on the front steps of a hospital, then almost drowned in the River Charon before being rescued by the kindly Albie Gribble, Tensy has now been dumped in the Home for Mislaid Children by her adopted parents. There the wicked Matron Plucknose seems to have it in for her. But Matron Plucknose is not the worst of her problems. Rather, it is the fact that she was born without a Guardian Angel which places her in mortal danger.

In the Home for Mislaid Children, Tensy does manage to make some friends – but she also has a growing number of enemies. And in a cave in the cliffs below the home lurks an evil being who wants Tensy’s life force. But perhaps, just perhaps, Tensy is the only one who can make a difference to this dark, dark world.

Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children is a wonderful gothic novel for children, with a blend of humour, action and warmth amidst the darkness of a home where children are neglected and enslaved, and dark forces dwell. Red headed Tensy is innocent but feisty, and has a special quality which attracts the good hearted, whilst repelling the bad. Otehr characters are also appealing, including the various angels who pepper the book, and even the baddies are endearing for their humorous portrayal.

With hardcover format, vine leaf embellishments on every page, and a gorgeous story, this is a book to treasure.

Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children

Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children, by Jen Storer
Penguin, 2009

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