Pea Pod Lullaby, by Glenda Millard & Stephen Michael King

I am the small green pea
you are the tender pod
hold me.

This gently lilting lullaby weaves its way across the pages of the book, with no more than three lines per spread, encouraging the text to be read and digested slowly. The text speaks of love and togetherness, and how people complete each other, in language that could apply as much to a parent and child as to any pairing of friends or partners.

The accompanying illustrations tell the tale of a mother, her two children and a dog, fleeing danger in a little boat, and drifting across the sea. They rescue a polar bear, also adrift, before finally finding land and a welcome. The illustrations, in watercolour with ink outlines, are tenderly whimsical, and slightly older readers will be able to make links to tales of refugees and displacement, as well as issues of global warming, among others, whilst babies and toddlers, and their parents, will be lulled by the gentle hues coupled with the tender words.

Simply beautiful.

Pea Pod Lullaby, by Glenda Millard, illustrated by Stephen Michael King
Allen & Unwin, 2017
ISBN 9781760290085

Outback Lullaby, by Sally Odgers & Lisa Stewart

As the sunset spreads it gow
Little brolga’s dancing slow.
The outback hums with twilight sounds
Numbat dreams of termite mounds.

As the sun goes down, desert babies get ready to sleep – quolls cuddled up in dens, frilled-neck lixards hidden in mulga trees and emu chicks snuggled with their father in their nest.

In gentle rhyming text, youngsters are taken through the outback as desert critters prepare for sleep before being invited to close their eyes to dream of outback lullabies

Perfect for bedtime, Outback Lullaby is the third lullaby title from the team of Odgers and Stewart and is perfect for babies and toddlers.

Outback Lullaby, by Sally ODgers & Lisa Stewart
Scholastic, 2016
ISBN 9781760276485

This & That, by Mem Fox & Judy Horacek

I’ll tell you a story of this,
and I’ll tell you a story of that.
I’ll tell you a story
of cavernous caves
and a chimp
with a magic hat.

Two mice (adult and child) begin story time with an empty box, which transforms to a boat and launches their journey through imaginary worlds of the stories the adult promises. Down rivers and across oceans, through market places and palaces, with a cast including elephants, monkeys , kings and queens and so much more, the pair travel until it’s bedtime, and the adult leads the child home, finishing the final story with a kiss goodnight.

This & That is a lovely bedtime offering, with gently fantastical illustrations, and soothing rhyming text, making it suitable for the very young. It will withstand repeated readings and could be easily memorised- both by parent and child

Horacek’s illustrations balance lots of details on some pages, with deceptive simplicity on others, and the fact that the mice have no apparent gender is a nice touch.

This & That, by Mem Fox & Judy Horacek
Scholastic, 2015
ISBN 9781743622537

Hush Little Possum: An Australian Lullaby, by P. Crumble and Wendy Binks

Hush, Little PossumHush, little possum, don’t you cry,
Mama will keep you safe and dry.

As the sky rumbles, rain falls and the wind bangs sheds and sways trees, Mama Possum hastens to reassure and protect her baby, singing her a lullaby to let her know she will keep her safe and warm.

To the tune of ‘Hush, Little Baby’ Hush, Little Possum gives an Australian twist to the old favourite, brought to life in adorable illustrations by Wendy Binks. The big-eyed possums traverse stormy farm scenes, with appearances by other animals – both wild and farm animals –  giving lots for youngsters to spot and enjoy.

The hard cover picture book is accompanied by a recording of the song, sung by Deborah Mailman, as well as an instrumental version for singing along.

A cute offering for preschoolers.

Hush, Little Possum, by P. Crumble & Wendy Binks
Scholastic, 2015
ISBN 9781743626436

Available from good bookstores and online.

Rainforest Lullaby, by Sally Odgers & Lisa Stewart

In the drowsing tropic scene
Tree frog’s clinging green-on-green.
Snuggled safe till the sun slips down
Ringtail possum’s sleeping sound.

Across the rainforest animals are settling down to sleep, with the exception of Boobook, who hunts in the dark, and Sugarglider, who glides through the moonlight. The rainforest itself also settles, with creaking boughs and the sounds of rain, making a gentle backdrop for a young listener to be lulled to sleep.

Rainforest Lullaby is a dreamy rhyming picture book perfect for bedtime reading. The gentle, lulling text is complemented by soft pastel illustrations of watercolour and gouache and the whole will withstand repeat readings.

A lovely gift for a new baby or young toddler, Rainforest Lullaby is also a lovely companion to Bushland Lullaby by the same pair.



Rainforest Lullaby

Rainforest Lullaby, by Sally Odgers & Lisa Stewart
Scholastic, 2013
ISBN 9781742838205

Available from good bookstores and online.

Baby Bedtime, by Mem Fox & Emmay Quay

I could eat your little ears.
I could nibble on your nose.
I could munch your tiny fingers.
I could gobble up your toes.

The gentle lulling rhythm of this rhyming bedtime offering is divine. Written for the very young, it could be read to newborn babies but will still be suitable for older toddlers and preschoolers, especially as an end of day read. The text describes all the things the narrator/parent could be doing in adoration of the child, but ends with a reminder that it’s bedtime and so time for sleep. In the meantime, the kissing and cuddling and settling to bed has happened in the illustrations – between a a pair of purple elephants who could be either a male or female parent (or grandparent/carer) and child. These lovely elephants are rendered using pencil and acrylics, and digital collage using a variety of objects including fabrics, knitting and baskets.

The format of the book also makes it suitable for bedtime – the hardcover being cushioned to make it soft touch. It’s easy to imagine a toddler sleeping with the book.

Perfect as a gift for a newborn, Baby Bedtime is a book to be treasured.


Book Cover:  Baby Bedtime

Baby Bedtime, by Mem Fox & Emma Quay
Penguin, 2013
ISBN 9780670075195

Available from good bookstores and online.

Bushland Lullaby, by Sally Odgers and Lisa Stewart

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

Bushland Lullaby

Publishers often say they don’t want rhyming picture books but when they are done well as this one is, they are a delight to read. Sally Odgers has been writing books for a long time and she knows exactly what she is doing and it shows.

The language of Bushland Lullaby is rich and lyrical. Children will be introduced to some words with which they may not be familiar and that’s a good thing. Some of the verse is so picturesque. I loved the description of the creek where eddies dance with winking sun and the hushing waters by the river’s smile, where little crocodile sleeps, not to be woken and down in the bush where gum trees thrive, Where the lazy breeze brings scents alive, you’ll find baby koala. Equally as effective a description is that of the baby wombat, Burrowed into an earthy mound, In the summer day when the sun bakes down. The text takes the reader through the day in the wild red desert where the sun’s alight or the sky flings stars in a winter’s night to the ancient calm where little dingo is safe from harm and into the night of sparkling skies.

The rhyme and rhythm works perfectly. It has a gentle lilting feel while each double spread introduces Australian animals and birds. Some like the koala and wombat are well known while others not so much and that’s good.

The illustrations in their muted colours blend perfectly with the text. I liked all the illustrations but particularly the baby platypus lying on its back, the crocodiles, the penguin page, the koalas curled in the fork of the tree, and the fruit bats .The second last page is simply a gem as is the last page, yet they are both very different.

This is a delightful picture book which will no doubt please children and their adult readers. It deserves a place in many homes and libraries.

Bushland Lullaby, by Sally Odgers and Lisa Stewart
Scholastic, 2012
ISBN 9781742831770

Available from good bookstores and online.