Baby Bedtime, by Mem Fox & Emmay Quay

I could eat your little ears.
I could nibble on your nose.
I could munch your tiny fingers.
I could gobble up your toes.

The gentle lulling rhythm of this rhyming bedtime offering is divine. Written for the very young, it could be read to newborn babies but will still be suitable for older toddlers and preschoolers, especially as an end of day read. The text describes all the things the narrator/parent could be doing in adoration of the child, but ends with a reminder that it’s bedtime and so time for sleep. In the meantime, the kissing and cuddling and settling to bed has happened in the illustrations – between a a pair of purple elephants who could be either a male or female parent (or grandparent/carer) and child. These lovely elephants are rendered using pencil and acrylics, and digital collage using a variety of objects including fabrics, knitting and baskets.

The format of the book also makes it suitable for bedtime – the hardcover being cushioned to make it soft touch. It’s easy to imagine a toddler sleeping with the book.

Perfect as a gift for a newborn, Baby Bedtime is a book to be treasured.


Book Cover:  Baby Bedtime

Baby Bedtime, by Mem Fox & Emma Quay
Penguin, 2013
ISBN 9780670075195

Available from good bookstores and online.

Rudie Nudie, by Emma Quay

This is a book that youngsters will giggle at and will want read over and over – but, be warned, they’ll also want to mimic the rudie nudie fun. And why wouldn’t they?

One, two Rudie Nudie,
Rudie Nudie in the bath.
Squeaky clean and splishing, splashing, sploshing –
Rudie Nudie laugh.

So begins this delightful celebration of being naked (nudie!) and delighting in the freedom of childhood in the time between bath and bed. Two young children (the older seems to be a girl and the younger a boy) bath together, then, before being dressed, escape their towels and run and romp over different surfaces including the smooth floorboards, the furry carpet and the slightly prickly doormat. The pair jump and pirouette and run for cuddles before finally allowing their parents to catch and dress them ready for bed.

Rudie Nudie is a celebration of childhood and of freedom. The children’s nudity is natural and presented in a way that leaves nothing for anyone to complain about – there are no genitals on display, for example. This is a book that youngsters will giggle at and will want read over and over – but, be warned, they’ll also want to mimic the rudie nudie fun. And why wouldn’t they? This pair is having fun, and is warmly nurtured by a pair of parents who watch and support the fun.

A book about living.

Rudie Nudie

Rudie Nudie, by Emma Quay
ABC Books, 2011
ISBN 9780733323355&

This book is available from good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.

Shrieking Violet, by Emma Quay

Hello! This is my book
and it’s all about me!

A young girl wants to share her day with her mum and the reader, but is finding it difficult. Her little sister keeps distracting attention from her. Whether it’s falling over and crying loudly, or having to be diverted from mischief, Violet, with her very loud little voice, is everywhere. The girl perseveres, doing her best to ignore Violet and her interruptions, but this toddler is difficult to ignore. Eventually she’s had enough and has a shrieking fit of her own. While Mum comforts the main character, Violet tries to make amends. ‘Shrieking Violet’ ends with the two playing together, although the main character is still centre stage. Illustrations are bright and loose, almost messy in brush and ink, acrylic paint and collage. Backgrounds are spots, the size varying on different pages. And the page where the main character finally loses her cool? The yellow spots are large and almost vibrating with indignation.

It can be tough to lose your place in the family. Babies and toddlers draw the attention of family because their needs are immediate and constant. Sharing Mum can be tough. But this young girl makes a good job of entertaining Mum, refusing to be diverted. Violet is just doing what toddlers do…experimenting, copying, wanting to be part of the action. And that’s what the main character discovers. If she lets her little sister be involved, there’s more chance of Mum staying engaged too. This is a delightful picture book that captures family dynamics and personalities with simple images and few words. The reader will see that this situation is going to change and anticipate her eventual boil over. The resolution is satisfying and realistic. Recommended for preschoolers and early school age children.

Shrieking Violet

Shrieking Violet, Emma Quay
Scholastic Press 2010
ISBN: 9781741695687

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book can be purchased in any good bookstore, or online from Fishpond.

Bear and Chook by the Sea, by Lisa Shanahan & Emma Quay

Bear and Chook were fast asleep when a breeze came sniffing and licking.
‘Chook,’ said Bear, sitting up, ‘that wind is as warm as honey toast.’
‘Go back to sleep,’ said Chook.
‘That’s a holiday breeze,’ said Bear.
‘No, no, no,’ muttered Chook, opening one eye. ‘The stars are still out.’
‘That’s a holiday sky,’ said Bear. ‘It’s time to go.’

Bear and Chook are the best of friends but that doesn’t mean they are completely alike. They have quite different outlooks on life. Bear is a ‘seize the day’ kind of friend, and Chook is a more cautious soul. Bear is off on an adventure, confident that despite not knowing where it is, he will find the sea. Chook is not so sure, but determined to stay close to her friend. And find the sea they do. It’s all the fun Bear predicts and then some, but not without its dangers. Emma’s illustrations in Chinagraph pencil and acrylic paint are warm and colourful, soft and full of joy.

Friendship is very important no matter the stage in life. Bear and Chook are ageless and childlike, all at once. Bear is enthusiastic, confident and outgoing. Chook is home-loving, cautious and a little apprehensive about new things. Their friendship bonds are strong and Chook stays close to brave Bear as he finds his way to the beach. There Chook relaxes and enjoys the beach, with and alongside her friend. Bear’s decision to have a swim provokes anxiety again in Chook who stays on shore. When Bear is tumbled by a wave, it is Chook’s turn to be brave and supportive. A lovely story, demonstrating the strength of the bond between two unlikely friends. Recommended for preschoolers through to junior primary.

Bear and Chook by the Sea

Bear and Chook by the Sea, Lisa Shanahan, ill Emma Quay.
Lothian 2009
ISBN: 9780734411112

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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

Friends for Keeps series, by Emma Quay & Anna Walker

Come and play with Panda, Owl and Sheep!

Friends can come in all shapes and sizes and in this gorgeous trio of books, the three characters, best friends, are a sheep, an owl and a panda, showing how friends play, get along and share.

Each book is a simple story. In Jump Over the Puddle Panda and Owl help Sheep to conquer her (his?) fears about trying something new – jumping over the puddle. In Let’s Play House the three friends build a cubby using a blanket. But when the cubby isn’t big enough they invent a new game. And in Yummy Ice-Cream, Sheep and Panda share their ice-creams with Owl, who doesn’t have one.

All three books are illustrated using gentle watercolours and collage of patterned fabrics. Gentle pastels colours complement the gentleness of the stories. The three characters are nicely non-gendered, both in text clues and in their appearance, so that readers can decide for themselves if they are boys or girls.

These lovely books can be enjoyed individually, but young readers will also enjoying the familiarity of having all three.


Jump Over the Puddle (Friends for Keeps)

Jump Over the Puddle

Let's Play House (Friends for Keeps)

Let’s Play House

Yummy Ice-Cream (Friends for Keeps)

Yummy Ice-Cream

all by Emma Quay and Anna Walker
Scholastic, 2009