The Legend of the Golden Snail, by Graeme Base

Sailing ship, rise and shine,
Hoist your ails and trim them fine,
Taste once more the salty brine,
For with this spell I make you mine!

Wilbur loves to hear the tale of the legendary Golden Snail. Captured by a Grand Enchanter and banished to the ends of the earth, the snail now languishes on a distant shore. Wilbur is determined to find the snail, and sets off on a perilous journey. Along the way, Wilbur feels compelled to help others in need, and when he finally finds the snail he realises that the snail is not quite what he expected.

The Legend of the Golden Snail is the newest offering from favourite picture book creator Graeme Base, whose ability to match quirky but endearing stories with brilliantly complex illustrations has earned him legions of fans young and old. This new book will not disappoint with illustrations which seem almost 3 dimensional, featuring giant creatures, colourful skies and fantastical sea scapes.

A wonderful gift and a true collector’s item, this is also simply a book which kids will love.

The Legend of the Golden Snail

The Legend of the Golden Snail, by Graeme Base
Penguin, 2010
ISBN 9780670073498

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

Molly's Memory Jar, by Norma Spaulding & Jacqui Grantford

Daddy had an idea: ‘Molly, let’s make a memory jar for Lucy.’
Molly had never heard of a memory jar, but she liked the idea of making something for Lucy.

When her beloved golden retriever dog, Lucy, dies, Molly is deeply sad. But her wise, loving father, helps her to remember the happy times with Lucy as a way of coping with her grief. He suggests a memory jar, a jar which Molly fills with coloured glass balls, each representing a precious memory. Now, when she feels sad, she can use the balls to remember the good times.

This is a lovely gentle story, with the feeling of hope and healing the text creates echoes by the gradual infusion of colour into the illustrations which begin in black and white and gradually have more and more colours so that at the end they are in full colour.

Perfect both for a child who might be grieving, and as an introduction to the concept of death and grief, as well as just a lovely story of hope.

Molly's Memory Jar

Molly’s Memory Jar, by Norma Spaulding & Jacqui Grantford
New Frontier, 2010
ISBN 9781921042355

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

Jim Springman & the Realm of Glory, by Joshua Wright

You might say the three Springman children behave the same as families everywhere. certainly all brothers and sisters fight, and while such behaviour is common, it should soon become clear the Springmans are the most uncommon of families. The eldest, Fletcher, would be the first to tell you. That is, if he decided you were even worth talking to, which would be unlikely.

Jim Springman is very special. His older brother is a genius scientist, and his older sister is a famous author. Jim is just a kid who gets lousy presents for his birthday – a bus pass and two new neighbours. But when Jim’s brother Fletcher accidentally unleashes the fifth dimension, Jim’s world becomes crazier and crazier, and he and his two neighbours are caught up in trying to figure ou what has gone wrong and how it can be fixed.

Jim Springman and the Realm of Glory is a funny new fantasy offering in which reality is thrown into chaos and starts to appear more and more like the world in Jim’s sister’s book, the Realm of Glory a book which Jim hates, even though he hasn’t read it. There is action aplenty, with twists and turns and laughs to entertain middle and upper primary aged readers.

Lots of fun.

Jim Springman and the Realm of Glory

Jim Springman and the Realm of Glory, by Joshua Wright
Scholastic Press, 2010
ISBN 9781741695632

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

The Tomorrow Book, by Jackie French & Sue Degennaro

That’s REAL LIFE, your royal highness,’ said the butler kindly.
‘Well…’ said the little prince. “I think real life could be improved.’

The little prince loves reading the books in the palace library, but somehow the real world never seems as good as he imagines. So, when his parents leave him in charge, he and his friends start to change the world using the ideas from the books in the palace library. Together, they believe, the world can be perfect –

The Tomorrow Book is a wonderful tale of one child’s quest to make the world a better place by reducing pollution, recycling and using solar power. The use of a fairy tale structure is cute, giving a gentle message about the difference that could be made to our world by action towards positive transformation. Printed on paper from sustainable plantations, and with the art using recycled materials for collage, this is a gorgeous book with an important message.

The Tomorrow Book

The Tomorrow Book, by Jackie French and Sue Degennaro
Angus & Robertson, 2010
ISBN 9780732289393

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

Motormouth, by Sherryl Clark

holidays suck
when there’s no one
to hang out with

don’t even ask
where my best mate Dave is –
it’s no place I can go.

Chris has lost his best mate, Dave, and it’s hard to feel good about anything. the only thing that cheers him up is his obsession with cars. When Josh Carter comes to town, and tells everyone his dad is a famous racing car driver, Chris finds renewed interest. But Josh is hiding something, and hanging out with Josh is more problematic than it ever was with Dave. Josh is a motormouth – and when he opens that mouth Chris finds it hard to know what to believe.

Motormouth is an easy to absorb verse novel about friendship, about truth and about healing. Chris is trying to cope with losing his bets mate in a car accident, and Josh has his own problems to deal with. Young readers will find the issues interesting but won’t be overwhelmed, with the verse novel format making them both accessible and digestible. there is much to be discussed here, making the novel great for classroom use, but as a story it is also wonderful or private reading.

Sherryl Clark is an outstanding verse novelist, and Motormouth is a perfect verse novel.


Motormouth, by Sherryl Clark
Puffin, 2010

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Noah's Garden, by Mo Johnson & Annabelle Josse

Anything is possible in Noah’s garden.

In Noah’s garden he can fly an aeroplane, fight with pirates, bathe with tigers and ride crazy camels. But there’s one thing he can’t do in his garden, and that is the thing he wants to do most – play with his baby sister Jessica. Noah and his family are living in The Children’s Hospital because his new sister Jessica was born with a serious medical condition. Surrounded by loving adults and fired by his fertile imagination, Noah spends his days playing in the hospital’s garden, and hoping that one day Jess will be able to join him.

Noah’s Garden is a touching tale about the power of the imagination, and the courage of a family living through a trying experience. Based on author Mo Johnson’s observations of friends in the same situation, and brought to life through the beautiful watercolour paintings of debut illustrator Annabelle Josse, this is an inspirational picture book offering.

Johnson is donating all of her royalties for this book to the Royal Chidlren’s Hospital Foundation.

Noah's Garden

Noah’s Garden, by Mo Johnson and Annabelle Josse
Walker Books, 2010
ISBN 9781921150159

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

Can I Cuddle the Moon, by Kerry Brown & Lisa Stewart

Can I cuddle the moon in the sky?
Give it a go, but I think it’s too high.

Little Owl is looking for someone or something to cuddle – could he cuddle the moon? A star? A butterfly? With each suggestions his mother answers gently, until Little Owl surmises that perhaps the answer is under his nose. In gentle rhyming text and with adorably soft illustrations, this is a perfect cuddle-time book.

Young readers will adore the mixed media illustrations, with intricate and intriguing use of collage bringing to life potentially fearful images of things such as snakes and crocodiles in a way which renders them gorgeous and adults will love the tender feel of both text and illustration, which make it wonderful to read aloud.


Can I Cuddle the Moon?

Can I Cuddle the Moon?, by Kerry Brown and Lisa Stewart
Scholastic, 2010

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

The Great Bear, by Libby Gleeson & Armin Greder

Once there was a bear.
A circus bear.
A dancing circus bear.

The seemingly simple text and progression of this classic picture book belie the many layers of meaning presented both in the story and the wonderful illustrations. Telling the tale of a mistreated dancing bear who spends her day in a cage and her nights performing for a crowd who may clap and cheer but also throw stones and poke her, before she seizes an opportunity to break free and reach for the stars, this is also a story about humanity and the importance of individual freedom.

From the award winning pairing of author Libby Gleeson and illustrator Armin Greder, this book was first released in 1999, and was shortlisted for the Children’s book of the Year Awards in 2000, and winner of the Bologna Ragazzi Award in the same year. It has now been given a new life being rereleased with back of book biographies and comment by both creators, as part of the Walker Classics series.

Perfect for classroom study, this is also a gem for individual reading – and reflection.

The Great Bear

The Great Bear, by Libby Gleeson and Armin Greder
This edition Walker Books, 2010

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

Old MacDonald Had a Farm, by Mandy Foot

ld MacDonald had a farm…E-I-E-I-O!

This well known children’s song is brought to life with a fresh perspective, illustrated by Mandy Foot. Foot’s comic, colourful acrylics bring the animals and the farmer himself to life in pages filled with joy. As well as some traditional favourite farm animals including sheep, pigs and cows, there are some good Australian favourites including a kangaroo, cheeky emus and kookaburras giving the book a real Aussie feel.

This is an excellent offering for teaching children the song, making it useful in primary music classrooms, but will also be loved by kids who already know the song. Mandy Foot is a self-proclaimed animal nut, and this shows in her lively animal characters. Great stuff!

Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Old MacDonald Had a Farm, illustrated by Mandy Foot
Hachette, 2010
ISBN 9780734411396

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

Two Peas in a Pod, by Chris McKimmie

Violet calls me Marvellous.
My real name is Marvin.
Mum reckons me and Violet are like two peas in a pod.
It’s true.
We go together like fish and chips, hops and skips, the OO in moo.
We lived next door to each other until, one day, Violet left and went to the moon.

Violet and Marvin have been friends for as long as Marvin can remember – or, as Marvin puts it, since dinosaur time. Mum says they are like two peas in a pod. They have adventures together and, with Violet, Marvin learns to use his imagination. But when Violet moves away, Marvin is sad – and, as time passes he almost puts Violet in with the forgets, until his mother surprises him with a trip to see Violet and he remembers not just Violet but also how to imagine things.

Two Peas in a Pod is a lovely picture book tale told from a child’s-eye perspective of what happens when a friend moves away. The illustrations use a mix of acrylic, ink, watercolour, gouache, pastels, string and pencil, a whimsical mix which reflects the whimsy of the tale and of the scenes they render. There is lots to discover in the illustrations, and the reader will enjoy rereading.

Great for toddlers and junior primary.

Two Peas in a Pod

Two Peas in a Pod, by Chris McKimmie
Allen & Unwin, 2010
ISBN 9781742373041

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