Meet My Book: The Croc and the Platypus, by Jackie Hosking and Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

It’s always a pleasure to have an author drop in to introduce us to their new book – but today we have a special treat because both the author AND the illustrator have agreed to answer my questions. Welcome Jackie Hosking and Marjorie Crosby-Fairall  who are here on the first day of their blog tour. Jackie’s answers are in blue, and Marjorie’s in red.

1. Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.

Title: The Croc and the Platypus                             The-Croc-and-the-Platypus-COV-web

Publisher: Walker Books

Author: JAckie Hosking

Illustrator: Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Release date: 1st July 2014


2. Why did you write the book?

Because I was pretty certain no else had. I knew Julia Donaldson had written the sequel to The Owl and the Pussy-Cat so I thought I’d give an Aussie version a go.

 An illustrator usually chooses a manuscript to illustrate because there is an immediate emotional response. With The Croc and the Platypus my first impressions were ‘bouncy’ and ‘joyful’ and images were quick to form in my mind.

3. How long from idea to publication?

I wrote the first draft early 2011 and the book was released  2014 – so 3 years.

Creating a picture book can be a very lengthy process. I’m not certain how long Jackie waited from submission to acquisition, but I think it was over a year. When the manuscript was handed to me, things moved along fairly quickly. I was given a year to illustrate the book but ended up handing the artwork in early because the process ran so smoothly.

4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?

Sticking strictly to the meter followed by Edward Lear in the original poem. That was the test to see if I could write an Australian version, using Australian animals and icons while following the same rhyme scheme and meter.

Initially I was quite intimidated by the idea of drawing the Ute because I have never had much interest in cars. However, when I researched the old Holden Ute, I started to see it as a character with a personality so it became much easier to draw.

5.  Coolest thing about your book?

It’s got my name on the front! And of course the illustrations. They are they the coolest thing for sure. Marjorie Crosby-Fairall has taken my story and created a work of art.

 One of my favourite things about the book is the final spread with the Croc and the Platypus asleep in their fleece tent. These pages were originally set aside to be part of the Glossary and endpapers. However, the story just didn’t feel ‘finished’ to me so I suggested that we include this wordless spread. Donna Rawlins, the art director at Walker Books works very collaboratively and was happy to proceed with the idea.

6. Something you learnt through writing the book?

Even after I’d thought it was finished it wasn’t. Fresh eyes helped me to improve it. Fresh eyes are critical.

I really enjoy the collaboration process so I think I learned more about working with the editorial team.

7. What did you do celebrate the release?

There were two book launches. A local one at Great Escape Books in Airey’s Inlet and a Sydney one at The Children’s Bookshop in Beecroft. Both events were wonderful with the bookshops going that extra mile by dressing their windows with books and crocodiles. And the children of course were delightful! I was also invited to join a panel at a recent SCBWI conference where I discussed, along with the illustrator and Walker Books’ staff – the journey the book had taken from idea to publication.

 Luckily for us, the recent SCBWI Conference coincided with the release of The Croc and the Platypus so we were able to participate in a panel ‘From Submission to On the Bookshelf’. The panel showed the progress of a picture book from submission and acquisition through editing, illustrating, publishing and marketing and used The Croc and the Platypus as a case study. In addition, we held book launches in our local bookshops.

8. And how will you promote the book?

By visiting blogs, likes yours. By doing school events, bookshop readings and signings, library events, interviews, running competitions and giveaways.

 Jackie and I will be participating in a Blog Tour. In addition, we each have promotional days with Bookshops, CBCA, and schools. We developed a website for the book and have included Teacher’s Notes and free downloads.

9. What are you working on next?

I’m always writing poetry and I have a few of those in the pipeline. I’m also working on more picture book ideas, I have lots of those but mostly I’m enjoying today, with this book. Always best to live in the moment I think.

 I have two different picture books at different stages on my desk at the moment.

10. Where we can find out more about you and your book?

You can go to the Walker website – here 

 You can visit my website:
or the website for the book:

Aug 11 – Aussie Reviews
Aug 12 – DeeScribewriting Blog
Aug 13 – Write and Read with Dale
Aug 14 – Children’s Books Daily
Aug 15 – Stories are light
Aug 16 – Kids’ book Book Review
Aug 17 – Pass it on

Marjorie Crosby Fairall on Facebook | | Jackie Hosking on Facebook

Meet My Book: That Stranger Next Door, by Goldie Alexander

Today’s visitor is Goldie Alexander, here to answer the ten questions which allow us to meet her new book. Over to you, Goldie.

1. Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.  cover image for That Stranger Next Door

“That Stranger Next Door” is published by

ISBN 9780992492434 (eBook) 978-0-9924924-4-1

  This book can be bought from reputable bookstores. RRP  $18.00


2. Why did you write the book?

What triggered me was the plight of our asylum seekers and the ‘Children Overboard’ incident, a situation John Howard used to regain his position as our prime minister. The similarity to the events of 1954 was overpowering.

“That Stranger next Door” is set at the height of the ‘Cold War’. In the United States, Senator McCarthy was using anti-communist laws to force academics, film makers and other intellectuals to a senate hearing to ask if they ever belonged to the Communist Party and to name anyone who had gone to their meetings. Many people lost their jobs and their families. Some even committed suicide.

When an insignificant Russian diplomat called Vladimir Petrov defected to Australia, promising to provide information about a Russian spy-ring, he forgot or avoided mentioning this to his wife. As Evdokia was pulled onto a plane in Darwin, she was rescued at the last minute by ASIO and hidden in a ‘safe house’. At the time PM Menzies was also trying to bring in similar anti-communist legislation to the US, and thankfully, in this he was unsuccessful.

3. How long from idea to publication?

From idea to actual publication took about three years. But between times I had a bad accident and that slowed things down.

4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?

Finding the right publisher. Too many young submissions editors didn’t know anything about the Petrov Affair, or they didn’t see any relevance to the present by exploring the 1950’s, or they didn’t think young readers would be interested in that affair.

5. Coolest thing about your book?

The relationship between Jewish Ruth and Catholic Patrick, a strictly Romeo and Juliet affair. Also, how restrictive it was to be a teen back in the fifties.

6. Something you learnt through writing the book?

Careful research. How important it is to have convincing characters. How stories develop almost on their own from the character’s personalities, and the times they live in. How important it is to write several drafts before submitting a novel to a publisher. I could go on and on as every book I do can feel like starting all over again.

7. What did you do celebrate the release?

Though I rarely launch my latest books in bookshops or festivals, a wonderful opportunity came up to launch ‘That Stranger Next Door’ at a the Melbourne Jewish Writer’s Festival. Many of my writing and other friends turned up to help me celebrate.

8. And how will you promote the book?

Through Twitter and Facebook, my own blog, and other blogs such as this. Also, a blog tour featuring other well known authors such as Kate Forsythe, Hazel Edwards, George Ivanoff,  Jane Yolen, Pauline Luke, Julia Lawrenson, Errol Broome and Felicity Pulman. These blogs will turn up on Clan Destine and my own blog. These very respected authors talk about their own work.

 9. What are you working on next?

I have just had “In Hades” come out and will have to use the time promote it. As ‘In Hades’ is a verse novel, I expect some ‘different’ responses.

10. Where we can find out more about you and your book?

There is lots of material on my website and more on my blog

All my books for young readers have Teacher Notes.

Finally, thank you Sally for allowing me to visit your blog.

4 Woolly Wombat Readers, by Kerry Argent

One Woolly Wombat sunning by the sea
Two cuddly koalas sipping gumnut tea…

One Woolly Wombat - First Reader

Since 1982 Aussie children have been learning to count with One Woolly Wombat. Now they can learn to read with him, too, in this cute new series of readers from Scholastic, suitable for school or home use.

Aimed at beginning readers, these four small format books each feature the woolly wombat, with his friend Bandicoot, and other friends, also recurring. The first in the series is a special edition of the classic One Woolly Wombat, with other titles being At the Beach, Hide and Seek and Best of Friends.

With the beautiful illustrations of Kerry Argent, and high-interest stories, coupled with text which is accessible and a format suitable for little hands to easily hold and turn pages, these are a treat for beginner readers, and will withstand repeated readings.

One Woolly Wombat
At the Beach
Hide and Seek
Best of Friends
All by Kerry Argent
Omnibus Books, 2014Hide and Seek First Reader - a Woolly Wombat Story