White Gum Creek, by Nicole Hurley-Moore

For an instant as he approached the counter, there was a warm, tingly flare erupting somewhere in her core. She told her friends – she even told herself – that all she wanted to do was reach out and help this guy. She didn’t exactly know how she was going to go about it but he needed to be around people again.

When his wife died in a tragic accident, Nick Langtree became a recluse, living alone in a caravan on his farm, punishing himself for Sophie’s death. But it’s been six years and his friends think it’s time he forgave himself and allowed himself some happiness. Tash Duroz, in particular, wants to reach out to him. But deep down she knows she’s kidding herself that she just wants to be friends with Nick. What she feels is something else.

Nick is hardly aware of Tash, though he appreciates her friendliness when she serves him at the bakery. he is, though, willing to start getting his life back on track. If only strange things didn’t keep happening around the farm. It’s almost as if Sophie is haunting him – but maybe there is someone who has a grudge against him.

White Gum Creek is a story about dealing with heartache and grief and forging new beginnings, as well as friendship and self-forgiveness. With an element of mystery to keep the story moving forward, it is a satisfying, engaging read.

White Gum Creek, by Nicole Hurley-Moore
Allen & Unwin, 2018
ISBN 9781760631109

Shearing Time, by Allison Paterson & Shane McGrath

I love sharing time!
It’s the best time of the year.

It’s shearing time, and it’s all hands on deck to get the job done. From mustering sheep, to drafting out the ewes, to the actual shearing, keeping the shed clean, sorting the wool and, of course, keeping everybody fed, there’s a lot to be done.

Shearing Time is both a celebration of this time of year for youngsters who know and loev farming, and an explanation of it for those who may be less familiar. following the events of one day of shearing – with promise of more days to come – from the perspective of a child who helps her parents and the shearers.

With realistic-styled digital and ink illustrations, and back of book notes and glossary, a useful insight into farming life.

Shearing Time, by Allison Paterson & Shane McGrath
Big Sky Publishing, 2017
ISBN 9781925520095

Noisy Nights, by Fleur McDonald & Annie White

The animals on Farmer Hayden’s farm talked a lot at night.
The crickets chirped.
The dogs barked.
The cow moo-ed
and the sheep maa-ed.

With all the animals on the farm making so much noise every night, Farmer Hayden is struggling to get any sleep. He calls out to the animals to be quiet – but it’s no good, because they are making so much noise they can’t hear him. Finally, on the verge of giving up, Farmer Hayden goes outside to sit on his verandah. As he looks out across the farm., he sees his sheep jumping a fence. he starts to count them. Soon, Farmer Hayden and all the animals are fast asleep.

Noisy Nights is a humorous picture book title featuring lots of farm favourites, and noises which youngsters will enjoy echoing. The solution, too, will bring smiles, with its play on the old idea of counting sheep to get to sleep.

The illustrations, using water colour with pencil outlines are also filled with gentle humour.

Lots of fun.

Noisy Nights, by Fleur McDonald & Annie White
New Frontier, 2016
ISBN 9781925059663

Patch and Ruby, by Anouska Jones & Gwynneth Jones

Patch was lonely. It wasn’t that he didn’t have friends. he did. But sometimes he felt like he didn’t quite fit in.

Patch is the only pony on the farm. he has lots of friends – but the chickens never stop gossiping, the ladybirds don’t always like his efforts at gardening, the mice are often busy with their children, and his owner, Sam, has to go to school. Luckily, Sam has a solution and soon Patch is meeting Ruby, another pony. Together they still spend time with their other friends, but now they also have each other.

Patch and Ruby is a cute picture book story about friendship, difference and belonging, filled with blod illustrations of farm life which youngsters, especially those with a passion for horses, will love.


Patch and Ruby , by Anouska Jones & Gwynneth Jones
EK Books, 2016
ISBN 9781925335224

This is the Mud! by Kathryn Apel & Warren Crossett

This is the cow
who was chewing her cud,
as she went for a drink
and got stuck in the mud.

When a cow gets stuck in the mud near a farm dam, chaos ensues. Rescuers come to help – but when they, too, get stuck, who will rescue them?

This is the Mud! is a rollicking, rhyming picture book story, based on the well known House That Jack Built. It is wonderful seeing this rhyme reworked into a brand new cumulative tale which youngsters will adore. It is especially good to see the farm being identifiably Australian, with the landscape being distinctly Australian and no sign of stereotypical farm animals – no cute rabbits or fluffy ducklings in sight.

This is a first picture book for author Kathryn Apel, who has been teamed with illustrator Warren Crossett. Crossett’s warm water colour illustrations are a perfect complement to Apel’s funny text with the larger than life cow and human characters being especially endearing.

This is an outstanding read aloud offering which will be requested regularly by young listeners.

This is the Mud, by Kathryn Apel, illustrated by Warren Crossett
Lothian, 2009