Bear make Den. Den good. Den great. Den just right… Den not done!
Den need… Chairs! Wait. Den need… Table! Den still not right!
Den need… oh!
Bear has made himself a Den, band he loves it, until he realises it is missing something – or, in fact, some things. First it’s chairs, then a table, a bed, and more. Finally, with the Den fitted out and decorated, Bear realises what the Den really needs – more bears.
Bear Make Den is a gently humorous story told in very few words. Kids (and adults, too) will love the playfulness and even the very young will see the clues as to what is really missing, in the second, empty chair, the double bunk bed, the couch and so on. The underlying message about the importance companionship is a good one.
The text , by Jane Godwin and Michael Wagner, is ably supported by the artwork of Andrew Joyner, with Bear’s expressions , mostly happy but also puzzled, determined and more, an absolute delight.
Sure to please all ages.
Bear Make Den, by Jane Godwin & Michael Wagner, and Andrew Joyner (ill.)
Allen & Unwin, 2016
The farmer’s hat has gone walkabout, lifted by the wind. The animals help by telling him where it’s been but they can not tell him where it is now, because it keeps blowing further. The farmer tells the life of the hat and why it’s important that he find it. But it’s not the same hat that returns to him…
What happened to my hat?’ asked the farmer.
‘I had a fine hat, a well-worn hat,
that smelled of hay and grass and sweat.
The farmer’s hat has gone walkabout, lifted by the wind. The animals help by telling him where it’s been but they can not tell him where it is now, because it keeps blowing further. The farmer tells the life of the hat and why it’s important that he find it. But it’s not the same hat that returns to him…it’s subtly altered and brings with it a special surprise. Illustrations in country colours show an Australian farm, in the hot summer and in the memories of the farmer.
There is plenty to look for as the story of the farmer’s lost hat unfolds. Not only can the track of the floating, flying hat be seen, but there are lambs being born, paddocks lush and green, sheep catching a ride on the tractor, a dog ‘skiing’ behind the tractor and more. ‘The Farmer’s Hat’ is told in gentle rhyme with a refrain repeated throughout, ‘The wind took it whooshing and whirling.’ Only at the end does the reader discover that the wind was bringing the rain. This ending encourages the reader to go back and look for the signs of drought that are certainly there, although the narrative mentions only the affection and memories the farmer attaches to the hat. Recommended for preschool and early primary-aged children.
The Farmer’s Hat, Kim L. Barnes & Andrew Joyner
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author www.clairesaxby.com
One night in the Outback, when it was so dark that the stars looked like pinholes in a black velvet curtain, two bushmen were sitting by their campfire. One was a young bloke, a jackaroo. The other was a drover from out on the red-soil plains. He was pouring tea from the billy. The jackaroo was telling him a tall tale about a fish he had nearly caught. ‘That sounds like something that might happen on Speewah Station,’ the drover said when the story was finished.
Two men, a drover and a jackaroo are yarning over their fire, somewhere deep in the Australian inland, when they are unexpectedly joined by an old swaggie. The old swaggie joins their conversation and the three talk about a big property beyond the black stump and the legendary Crooked Mick. The property, Speewah Station, is enormous, and ‘so far out in the bush the crows fly backwards to keep the dust out of their eyes’. Crooked Mick was so powerful ‘he could split a hardwood log just by looking at it’. As the night progresses, the three men escalate the tales about Crooked Mick until at last the swaggie vanishes into the night, as silently as he arrived. Could he be the ghost of Crooked Mick?
There’s nothing so ‘Australian’ as a yarn from the bush and this one is as tall a tale as they get. Like children trying to outdo one another in the school yard, the men around the fire take turns at expanding on the rumours and stories they’ve heard. The legendary Speewah Station and the even more legendary Crooked Mick grow taller and broader by the second. The tale-telling ceases to be about the subjects and is more an imaginative game as the time progresses. Children will relate to the absurdity of the tall tales and the humour. Many will be inspired to create their own stories about Crooked Mick, or perhaps about their own lives. Great fun. Recommended for readers transitioning from picture books to chapter books.
Crooked MickDave Luckett ill Andrew Joyner
Omnibus Books 2010
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
This book can be purchased online from Fishpond .