Too Cold for a Tutu, by Mini Goss

‘Wake up, Stella, let’s go out and play!’ said Barry.
He put on his new Nanna-knitted cardigan and Stella put on her new made-by-Nanna tutu.

‘It’s way too cold for a tutu!’ said Barry.
‘It’s never too cold for a tutu!’ said Stella.

When Barry and Stella get dressed for play on a chilly morning, they both put on the new clothes Nanna has made them. Barry has a new cardigan, and Stella a tutu. But Barry says it’s too cold for a tutu. Outside it is indeed cold, and the siblings find it hard to play together – until Stella discovers there’s room in Barry’s cardigan for two, and the dress-up fun begins.

Too Cold for a Tutu is a joyous celebration of imaginative play, siblings and even grandmothers (though Nannna doesn’t appear in the story – it is her creations that inspire the play). Stella and Barry are divinely cute characters and the text and its layout are vibrant and filled with fun.

The illustrations, too, are a delight. Barry and Stella are knitted toys – both dogs with big eyes and droopy ears – and their adventures are captured using photography. Goss’s knitting and handcraft skills are amazing, with the characters coming to life on the page.

Too Cold for a Tutu is charming.

Too Cold for a Tutu

Too Cold for a Tutu, by Mini Goss
Allen & wi, 2012
ISBN 9781743313787

Available from good bookstores or online.

Sheep on a Beach, by P. Crumble & Danielle McDonald

Sheep on a beach.
Umbrella up, towel underneath.

It’s a hot summer’s day and Sheep suddenly finds himself on the beach. Luckily, with a little help from a friendly crab he soon has an umbrella, a towel, even an esky full of cold treats. Is thsi really happening, or is Sheep still the paddock dreaming about the beach?

Sheep on a Beach is a funny, simple celebration of the beach, using cumulative text to tell of Sheep’s adventures on the beach. Because it is cumulative, even very young children will be able to join in, soon recognising the pattern.

The bright digital illustrations are full of fun and details which youngsters will enjoy exploring, The crab is a key character, though he isn’t mentioned in the text and his role seems initially incidental.

Perfect for summertime reading Sheep on a Beach is packed full of giggles.

Sheep on a Beach

Sheep on a Beach, by P. Crumble & Danielle McDonald
Scholastic, 2012
ISBN 9781742833217

Available from good bookstores pr online.

The Magnificent Tree, by Nick Bland & Stephen Michael King

Pop liked Bonny’s ideas because they were simple, clever and properly made.
Bonny liked Pop’s ideas because they were big, brave and brilliant with bits sticking out.

The Magnificent Tree

Bonny and Pop have lots of wonderful ideas, for all kinds of things, but so far they haven’t had an idea for the birds. Every day the birds fly over them and away. When Bonny decides they need a tree to attract the birds, Pop agrees – and each sets out to make one. Pop’s idea is big and brave, but Bonny’s is simple. It takes a whole year for their ideas to come to fruition, but in spring the birds come – and stay.

The Magnificent Tree is a wonderful celebration of whimsy, creativity and simplicity, as well as the bond between grandparent and grandchild. Coming from the combined talents of two of Australia’s leading picture book creators, this is an absolute treasure of a book, with text that sings its way cross the pages and a pair of lovable characters shown revelling in life – and each other.

Youngsters will giggle at the silliness of some of the ideas and images, and will find satisfaction in the resolution.

Truly magnificent.
The Magnificent Tree, by Nick Bland and Stephen Michael King
Scholastic 2012
ISBN 9781742832951

Available from good bookstores or online.

Thirst, by L.A. Larkin

‘It’s Dave.’ His choked words were absorbed by the ice walls. Luke remembered his survival training. If you fall into a narrow crevasse like this one, it’s hard to be heard from the outside. He went to use his radio and then remembered it didn’t work. He tried shouting but his voice was a hoarse whisper, his throat dry, as if he had laryngitis. ‘Found Dave.’
‘Alive? asked Blue.


Luke Searle loves his work in Antarctica. It may be the coldest, most isolated place on earth, but that suits him just fine, and studying the glaciers is fascinating. But his peace is shattered when teammates start dying. Antarctica has resources that are in short supply in the rest of the world, and a ruthless mercenary is determined to tap into them, no matter what the cost. Luke must stay alive long enough to stop him.

Thirst is an action-packed thriller set in the fascinating landscape of Antarctica in a near-future where water has become increasingly scarce along with other natural resources. The gripping sequence of events, along with an absorbing cast of characters, makes for a page-turning read with twists aplenty. The use of the countdown format over the 6 days the events take place highlights their urgency and pace, and the focus on environmental issues is educative but not overtly so, giving the reader food for thought.

A gripping read.

Thirst, by LA Larkin
Pier 9, an imprint of Murdoch Books, 2012
ISBN 9781741967890

Available in good bookstores or online.

The Crystal Code, by Richard Newsome

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

The Crystal Code

No doubt those who have been following the Billionaires series have been eagerly awaiting the newest adventure, The Crystal Code (Billionaire Series). Readers will not be disappointed. It has all the action, humour twists and turns of the other novels.

Gerald Wilkins, the world’s youngest billionaire, is all set for a great snowboarding holiday with his friends. But as we would expect, that is not quite what happens, when evil enters the scene in the guise of Sir Mason Green who has escaped from prison.

In this novel Newsome has introduced some new characters including Felicity, Gerald’s new girlfriend and a situation that does not sit well with Ruby.  And then there is Tycho Brahe, how does he fit into the picture?

It seems wherever Gerald goes danger follows. This is good, escapist fun and adventure with a snowmobile chase, fights, kidnapping, secrecy, an empty grave and a mystery as well as inventive ways Gerald and his friends have of getting out of scrapes. Unbelievable at times, yes, almost like a James Bond for pre teens, but that’s half the fun.

It has humour that is just off centre enough to appeal to children as well as a few pearls of wisdom thrown into the mix. Fans of the series will lap it up and those who haven’t read the earlier books will no doubt want to g back and read the rest. Good fun that could equally be enjoyed by anyone young at heart.


The Crystal Code

Book 4 of the Billionaire Series

By Richard Newsome

Text Publishing, 2012


RRP $16.99

ISBN  9781922079039

Hey Baby! by Corinne Fenton

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

Hey Baby!

Occasionally a picture book comes along that is charming from start to finish. From the cute raccoons on the cover, through to the opening page with a wistful looking kitten and through the rest of the animals with their babies, this book is a delight.  The photos are gorgeous and the faces of the various creatures so expressive. You will find everything from spider monkeys and chameleons to a new born duckling, a smiling dolphin, a grinning monkey and lastly two very special pictures.

As the photographs pass though a wide array of animals, the lyrical text is simple yet conveys a lot of meaning, showing how special  and unique each baby is.  This is definitely a book to share with a precious new baby in the family.

At $18.95 this would make an inexpressive yet treasured gift for any parents of a newborn. Given the theme and text with few words this makes it suitable especially for the 0+ age range.  Highly recommended.


Hey Baby! By Corrine Fenton

Black dog Books

An imprint of Walker Books

Hardcover Picture book

RRP $18.95

ISBN 9781742032498