Trouble and the New Kid, by Cate Whittle, illustrated by Stephen Michael King

Apparently, dragons don’t exist.
Apparently, dragons are all in my imagination.
That’s what Nina Willis said, anyway, on the Monday before the Monday before last.

When a new kid named Nina arrives at school, Georgia soon learns that Nina doesn’t believe in dragons. Which makes Georgia sad, and a little bit cross, because her friend, Trouble is a dragon. Worse, though, when Trouble finds out someone doesn’t believe in him, he starts to change. Georgia needs to find a way to get Nina to believe.

Trouble and the New Kid is the third story featuring trouble and Georgia, but sits well on its own for those new to the series. Georgia is a wonderful heroine, warm hearted, but often in trouble at school. Trouble, too, is fun and the concept behind the series is wonderful.

Illustrated with greay scale illustrations by the whimsical Stephen Michael King, Trouble and the New Kid  will appeal to junior primary aged readers and anyone who loves whimsy.

Trouble and the New Kid, by Cate Whittle
Omnibus, 2017
ISBN 9781742990781

review by Sally Murphy, children’s author, reviewer and poet

A Feast for Wombat, by Sally Morgan & Tania Erzinger

Wombat stared in surprise at the other animals.
Am I special after all?

When Wombat emerges from his tunnel, his friends are really glad to see him, but as Wombat watches them celebrate he feels sad. Each of his friends is good at something: Goanna is the fastest climber, Magpie is the best singer and Dingo is the cleverest dancer. Wombat wants to go back and hide in his tunnel, but his friends run after him to remind him that he, too, is good at things, and best of all, that Wombat is their friend.

A Feast for Wombat is a gentle tale of friendship and self belief. While Wombat wants to be like his friends, he seems unaware that each of them is different, as is he. His friends’ reminder of his own strengths is reassuring, and will reassure young readers, too.

The acrylic illustrations bring the cast of Australian animals to life in gentle bush colours with lovely textured backgrounds, adding to the warm feel of the book.

 

A Feast for Wombat, by Sally Morgan & Tania Erzinger
Omnibus, 2014
ISBN 9781742990187

Available from good bookstores or online.

A House for Donfinkle, by Choechoe Brereton & Wayne Harris

Up high in the grasslands
where Wooble Beasts roam,
Donfinkle Vonkrinkle
is building his home.

Donfinkle Vonkrinkle is happily building his perfect home, with the walls door, windows and porch all just the way he likes them. Everything is fine – until first a Flooble, then a Mooble, a Gooble and finally a Blooble all arrive to tell him what is wrong with his house. Donfinkle quickly gets to work fixing and changing his house – till he realises that his house is no longer perfect. Fortunately, his contrite friends help him to set it to rights.

A House for Donfinkle is a delightful rhyming picture book by début author Choechoe Brereton. The text has a simple message about self-belief, told in a joyful, whimsical way. The rhyming text scans beautifully, making it perfect for reading aloud and for multiple rereadings. The digital illustrations, by seasoned illustrator Wayne Harris are filled with whimsical detail and rendered in a pastel palette which serves as a wonderful complement to the gentle message of the text.

Lovely.

 

A House for Donfinkle, by Choechoe Brereton & Wayne Harris
Walker Books, 2014
ISBN 9781921720536

Available from good bookstores and online.

Banjo Bounces Back, by Lachie Hume

Banjo was a star.
But one day Banjo flew too high…
and took a terrible tumble.

Banjo Bounces Back

Banjo the horse loves hoofball. He practices every day with his friend Bella, and they play together every Saturday wit their team, the Whinnies. But when Banjo has a fall, the doctor orders him not to play for six weeks. Bedridden, Banjo plays on his Haystation and eats molasses. When he is finally allowed to play hoofball again, he is overweight and unfit, and nothing feels right. Discouraged, he gives up the game – until something happens to Bella that makes him realise how much his friends, his team, and hoofball all mean to him. He realises that if he wants to keep playing he needs to get fit again.

Banjo Bounces Back is a humorous new picture book from the creator of Clancy the Courageous Cow, with messages about health and fitness, being part of a team, self belief and friendship. The horse characters, brought to life in a deceptively simple watercolour illustrations, and the equine lingo (Haystation and horspital are just two examples) will appeal to young readers.

Lots of fun.
Banjo Bounces Back, by Lachie Hume
Omnibus, 2012
ISBN 9781862918467

Available from good bookstores or online.