Rodney Loses It

But then one day disaster struck –
the one thing Rodney feared.
While working at his drawing desk
his pen just …
DISAPPEARED!

Rodney loves nothing more than drawing. He does it night and day. But when his pen – his favourite, perfect pen named Penny – suddenly disappears, Rodney is frantic. he searches in vain, getting more and more upset until he totally loses it – at which time his pen magically reappears. What Rodney doesn’t know, but eagle-eyed viewers will, is that the pen is never lost – it is tucked safely behind his ear, viewable in some illustrations, depending on the angle – until he ‘loses it’ and his vigorous actions dislodge the pen.

Rodney Loses It is a humorous picture book, written in rhyming text which scans well and is a delight to read aloud.  The digital illustrations show Rodney  as a simple, but very expressive rabbit, with his eyes, ears and whiskers all used to show his emotions with delightful effect.

Sure to be loved by kids and adults alike.

Rodney Loses It, by Michael Gerard Bauer & Chrissie Krebs
Omnibus/Scholastic, 2017
ISBN 9781742991900

 

 

Underneath a Cow, by Carol Ann Martin & Ben Wood

We’re under a cow,
We’re under a cow,
We’re under her here
We’re under her now!

When a sudden storm hits, the animals of the farm are taken by surprise. Far from shelter, they are not sure what to do – but Madge the Cow is very calm, and very brave and she offers shelter – first to Lally the rabbit, then to Robinson the dog, Cackalina the chicken and her excited chicks and, finally, to Spike the echidna. As lightning flashes and thunder booms, Madge not only provides a hiding place for the smaller animals, she also encourages them to sing, to dsitract them from the storm.

Underneath a Cow is a quietly humorous story about friendship, safety and bravery. Madge is a gorgeous yellow cow who smiles her way through the terrible storm, seemingly happy to be a point of refuge for her diverse range of guests (though she does request that Spike be careful of her ‘dangly bits’). The other animals appreciate her care, and are grateful and even form unlikely friendships through their experience.

Young readers will love the silliness of the story and its warm demonstration of friendship, and the humour of the illustrations, rendered in mixed media inluding watercolour, pencil and digital collage.

Lots of fun.

Underneath a Cow, by Carol Ann Martin and Ben wood
Omnibus Books, 2015
ISBN 9781742990880&

The Velveteen Rabbit by Marjery Williams Bianco ill Helene Magisson

There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid. He was fat and bunchy, as a rabbit should be; his coat was spotted brown and white, he had real thread whiskers, and his ears were lined with pink sateen. On Christmas morning, when he sat wedged in the top of the Boy’s stocking, with a sprig of holly between his paws, the effect was charming.

There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid. He was fat and bunchy, as a rabbit should be; his coat was spotted brown and white, he had real thread whiskers, and his ears were lined with pink sateen. On Christmas morning, when he sat wedged in the top of the Boy’s stocking, with a sprig of holly between his paws, the effect was charming.

The rabbit in The Velveteen Rabbitis a Christmas gift to a young boy. Although the Boy has many toys, he comes to love the Rabbit and for a long time they are close companions. Another toy in the nursery, the Skin Horse, tells the Rabbit that if a child really loves you, for a long time, then you become Real. The Rabbit longs to become Real, but there are many twists and turns along the path he wants to travel. Illustrations are in gentle blues and greens, lyrical and lovely. Endpapers offer two views of an empty toy room a

The Velveteen Rabbitwas first published in 1922 and has been a favourite of many young and old. This beautiful edition of the story about the magic of love is sure to win a new generation of fans. Readers will enjoy their visit to a different time, and empathise with the longings of a loved companion. Observant readers may also find extra details in the endpapers. Recommended for pre- and early schoolers.

 

The Velveteen Rabbit, Marjery Williams Bianco ill Helene Magisson New Frontier Publishing 2015 ISBN: 9781925059304

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

www.clairesaxby.com

Here in the Garden, by Briony Stewart

The wind is raking through the falling leaves
and I wish that you were here.

The gently lyrical opening lines of this picture book perfectly capture its essence. The narrator – illustrated as a young boy – is missing his pet rabbit. Text and illustrations follow the seasons and show the boy missing his friend with each new season, reflecting on the things they did together at that time of the year – watching clouds, sitting in the shade, listening to crickets and more. The final pages have the narrator conclude that whenever he misses his friend, he can go outside and find him – in his memories, ‘in the garden, in my heart.’

Whilst this a book about grief, it is also a celebration of friendship and of life, with the boy’s memories having a gentle poignancy. Whilst the illustrations show a boy and a rabbit, this is made clear only in the illustrations, meaning readers and adults could equally relate the text to another loss.

The muted watercolour and gouache illustrations are perfect for the mood of the text – not sombre, but gentle, and with a contrast in detail between the illustrations showing the boy alone and those showing him sharing the seasons with his rabbit. In the former, reminders of the rabbit are there in little ways that viewers will enjoy noticing – such as a rabbit shaped shadow under the boy on a swing, and rabbit motifs on a curtain.

This is a treasure of a picture book which touches the heart.

 

Here in the Garden

Here in the Garden, by Briony Stewart
UQP, 2014
ISBN 9780702250101

Available from good bookstores and online.

All Monkeys Love Bananas, by Sean E Avery

Lou McGrew is sick of bananas. He’s had his fill and can’t face the thought of one more banana – so he runs away. When he meets up with his rabbit friend Sue Hoploo she, too, is hiding from dinner – carrots

Monkeys eat bananas –
EVERY meal,
EVERY day.
For BREAKFAST, for DINNER,
for SNACKS and for LUNCH.
They all crave bananas,
MUNCH
MUNCH
MUNCH!
Well, MOST monkeys do…

Lou McGrew is sick of bananas. He’s had his fill and can’t face the thought of one more banana – so he runs away. When he meets up with his rabbit friend Sue Hoploo she, too, is hiding from dinner – carrots. The pair have a brilliant idea – they’ll swap food. But, when they do they both realise that they prefer their own food.

This humorous ‘greener grass’ tale is a visual delight. From front of book felted embellishments (kids and adults alike will love stroking the monkeys) through to a gorgeous blue spotted monkey and splotchy purple rabbit against black ink landscapes and, of course the yellows and oranges of the food, the whole books is gorgeous to view. Added to that is the humorous rhyming text and a simply silly story which will make youngsters giggle.

This is Sean E Avery‘s first picture book , but it is unlikely to be this talented youngster’s last.

All Monkeys Love Bananas

All Monkeys Love Bananas, by Sean E. Avery
Fremantle Press, 2012
ISBN 978192188873

This book is available i good bookstores, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Rabbit's Year, by Melissa Keil

It’s Rabbit’s year on the Chinese Zodiac, but Rabbit is feeling sad. He has no friends. He knows he’d make a great friend, but that’s not much use if no one else seems to know that. His favourite thing is music but he’s too shy to join with the other animals in making music. So he played his music alone. Other animals hear his music and are drawn to follow it. From having no friends, Rabbit discovers there are many animals happy to help him celebrate his special year. Illustrations are in soft watercolours.

Rabbit’s Year is a gentle exploration of the personality of Rabbit, and those born in this Chinese year. It describes Rabbit’s personality but also the personalities of the other animals of the Chinese Calendar. A final spread provides more information about each of the Zodiac animals, their personalities and the birth years they inform. This is a lovely gentle way to introduce the world of the Chinese Zodiac and will sit nicely with companion title ‘The Race for the Chinese Zodiac’ written by Gabrielle Wang and illustrated by Sally Rippin.

Rabbit's Year

Rabbit’s Year, Melissa Keil ill Jedda Robaard
Black Dog Books 2011
ISBN: 9781742031750

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
www.clairesaxby.com

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

The Fidgety Itch, by Lucy Davey & Katz Cowley

Down beneath the fru-fru trees
Timpkin was gleefully
gobbling his cheese,
when something began to bother his knees.

Poor Timpkin! When a mouse finds some cheese, he doesn’t want to put it down, not even to scratch the most fidgety itch. So he calls for help. Feather McDoo flies in to help. Now Timpkin is feeling better, but not poor Feather. She has an itch that ‘jiggles and tickles like porcupine prickles’. Next comes Possum. And…you guessed it…he develops an itch too! But when Fuzzy O’Hare arrives and develops an itch of his own, who will scratch it? Illustrations are in ‘watercolour and mosquito sweat’! The animals have very expressive faces and body language, reflecting the irritation and the relief of terrible itches.

There’s nothing worse than an itch that’s inconvenient to reach to scratch. And there’s nothing like the relief of having that itch scratched. The Fidgety Itch grows a chain of cooperative scratchers all happy to be helping out. Readers will enjoy finding the itch-maker on each opening. The text is in rhyme and cumulative, and full of interesting words, just made for repeating. As well as the rhyme, there’s repetition and alliteration. Recommended for pre-schoolers and early primary readers.

The Fidgety Itch

The Fidgety Itch, Lucy Davey, ill Katz Cowley
Scholastic NZ
2010 ISBN: 9781869439675

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
www.clairesaxby.com

This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.

HOP, Little Hare, by Margaret Wild & Peter Shaw

Little Hare is the sweetest little hare ever. He loves his Grandpa and they go everywhere together. Little Hare hasn’t learnt to hop yet – so he goes bump, bump, bump on his bottom – and Grandpa has a lot of aches and pains in his joints, so he goes hibble-hobble, hibble-hobble. Little Hare’s parents try to teach him to hop, but Grandpa tells them he’ll hop when he’s good and ready. It isn’t until Little Hare sees a sheep about to eat the one bush that can help cure Grandpa’s aches and pains, that he takes an almighty hop to save it. Soon Grandpa can go hibble-hobble-HOP and Little Hare can hop can hop along beside him. But sometimes, just for fun, he still likes to go bump, bump, bump.

HOP, Little Hare is a gorgeous new picture book from Margaret Wild, arguably Australia’s finest picture book author. The delightful watercolour illustrations by Peter Shaw are a perfect complement to the gentle humour and warm fuzzy feelings of the text.

A delight for adult readers and young listeners to share over and over.

First released in hardcover, this book has now been released in paperback.

Hop, Little Hare!

HOP, Little Hare, by Margaret Wild & Peter Shaw
This Edition Little Hare, 2007

HOP, Little Hare, by Margaret Wild & Peter Shaw

Little Hare is the sweetest little hare ever. He loves his Grandpa and they go everywhere together. Little Hare hasn’t learnt to hop yet – so he goes bump, bump, bump on his bottom – and Grandpa has a lot of aches and pains in his joints, so he goes hibble-hobble, hibble-hobble. Little Hare’s parents try to teach him to hop, but Grandpa tells them he’ll hop when he’s good and ready. It isn’t until Little Hare sees a sheep about to eat the one bush that can help cure Grandpa’s aches and pains, that he takes an almighty hop to save it. Soon Grandpa can go hibble-hobble-HOP and Little Hare can hop can hop along beside him. But sometimes, just for fun, he still likes to go bump, bump, bump.

HOP, Little Hare is a gorgeous new picture book from Margaret Wild, arguable Australia’s finest picture book author. The delightful watercolour illustrations by Peter Shaw are a perfect complement to he gentle humour and warm fuzzy feelings of the text.

A delight for adult readers and young listeners to share over and over.

HOP, Little Hare, by Margaret Wild & Peter Shaw
Little Hare, 2005