Boom Bah by Phil Cummings & Nina Rycroft

Shhh! Listen!
What’s that sound?

A mouse tings a teaspoon against a cup. Then a cat tongs a spoon against a tin. And the show is on. Other animals hear and want to join in. First they listen, then they warm up. Then they play. Out into the farmyard they go. Now everyone’s joining in, including mother hen and her chicks, dancing and making music. They are joined by more and more animal musicians and Boom Bah! the music becomes louder and culminates in a final joyous crescendo. Illustrations show smiling, celebrating animals caught in the joy of music and performance.

Boom Bah! is written for the very young. The story is simple. The illustrations are gentle watercolours. Boom Bah! starts with a single sound and ends with the ‘Tah-Dah!’ following the cacophony of the animals. Beautiful watercolour animals dance through each opening, sharing and spreading joy. Their simple music is reinforced and extended by the arrival of a liveried band, complete with band leader on bike, and a wide variety of instruments. Lock up your kitchen drawers and cupboards – little musicians everywhere are going to be being inspired to create their own sounds! Ideal for 3-5 year olds.

Boom Bah!, Phil Cummings ill Nina Rycroft
Working Title Press 2008
ISBN: 9781876288907

Tashi and the Phoenix, by Anna Fienberg, Barbara Fienberg and Kim Gamble

As I watched, the ash beneath the logs began to stir. Flashes of colour glowed through the grey: red, gold, purple, emerald, like jewels…Something was moving in the embers. A bird with a tail like sunrise. I watched it step right out of the embers and preen itself.

When Tashi’s Uncle lands the family in trouble, Tashi is furious. But when he meets a phoenix, he thinks it might be the answer to the family’s problems. But will the phoenix land the family in more trouble when it escapes?

Tashi and the phoenix is the fifteenth title in the Tashi series, aimed at primary school aged readers. As with its predecessors, it contains a story within a story as the happenings in the boy Jack’s family inspire a story form Tashi about life in his village.

Tashi’s adventures this time around include an encounter with a phoenix and a mission to save a hoity princess from an unwelcome marriage. Tashi’s solutions are always clever and entertaining.

Young fans will enjoy this new pair of adventures as much as the previous ones – and they will also appeal to those who are new to the series.

Tashi and the Phoenix

Tashi and the Phoenix, by Anna Fienberg and Barabare Feinberg, illustrated by Kim Gamble
Allen & Unwin, 2008

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

I'm Glad You're My Teacher, by Cathy Phelan

With the end of the school year rapidly approaching, parents will be thinking about end of year gifts for classroom teachers. After all, there are only so many boxes of chocolate or shortbread that one teacher can eat, yet youngsters love to present a gif to their teacher and teachers do love to receive them.

I’m Glad You’re My Teacher would make a perfect gift for any teacher. This small format paperback is designed to be completed by the child, with pages to draw favourite activities, write about the things they enjoy doing at school, and so on.

This is a unique gift idea and one with a very personal element, with no two children likely to complete the book in the same way.

I’m Glad You’re My Teacher, by Cathy Phelan & Danielle McDonald
Black Dog Books, 2008

Dreaming Again, edited by Jack Dann

How best to describe an anthology which features stories by the cream of the Australian speculative fiction community? Perhaps a starting point could be to quote from the call for submissions by editor Jack Dann:

Dreaming Again will showcase the very best contemporary ‘wild-side fiction’ (those stories that have an edge of horror or fantasy, or could be categorised as magical realism) and the very best genre fiction, which includes science fiction, fantasy, and horror. We are looking for brilliant writing, style, and fresh ideas. Our only criterion is quality.

These were Dann’s aims, and the reader of the collection will not be disappointed. This is truly a collection of top quality speculative fiction, as diverse as it is awe-inspiring, with story after story proving irresistible to the reader who wants (or needs0 to put the book down for a while.

From stories set in sparse or shocking futures, such as Purgatory by Rowena Cory Daniells or Kim Westwood’s Nightship to fantasy numbers such as Kim Wilkins The Forest, all stories have a sense of familiarity for Australian readers. Many have very Australian settings, others Australian characters, and even those with neither of these have a very Australian feel.

These thirty five stories will prove a delight to lovers of speculative fiction. A simply superb collection which will be talked about for years to come.

Dreaming Again

Dreaming Again, edited by Jack Dann
Harper Voyager, 2008

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

Santa's Aussie Holiday Activity Book

Each year Santa likes to have some fun
a chance to get some rest and sun;
he spins his globe for inspiration
and finds a perfect destination…

Following on from the release of the picture book Santa’s Aussie Holiday, Christmas 2008 sees the release of a companion activity book. With a range of Christmas activities, some of which are completed in the book, and others for which the book includes instructions, there is plenty to keep kids busy before and after Christmas.

Activities include dot to dots, puzzles and writing activities, as well as things to make including an origami penguin and homemade Christmas biscuits.

Sure to be a favourite are the centre of book stickers – there are eighty plus of them featuring Santa, reindeer, sleighs, utes, kangaroos and more. There is also a colour double spread with which to create a sticker scene.

This would make a lovely Christmas present, or a pre Christmas treat.

Santa’s Aussie Holiday Activity Book, by Maria Farrer and Anna Walker
Scholastic, 2008