Stories for 5 Year Olds, edited by Linsay Knight

Some of the best-known names in Australian children’s literature, with offerings new and old, combine in this wonderful new anthology targeted at, as the name suggests, five year old readers. Contributors include Ursula Dubosarsky, Janeen Brian , Mark Macleod and more, and Tom Jellett  provides grey scale illustrations

A couple of the stories (The Two Gorillas, by Dubosarsky and The Gorilla Suit by Victor Kelleher) were previously published as part of  Penguin’s Aussie Nibble’s series, and others have been published in School Magazine or by other publishers. Two stories (Charlotte the Explorer, by Dianne Bates and Look! by Lizzie Horne) appear here for the first time.

Good stuff.

Stories for Five Year Olds

Stories for Five Year Olds, edited by Linsay Knight
Random House, 2012
ISBN 9781742756660

Available from good bookstores or online from Fishpond.

All are well targeted for five year old readers, each suitable for reading aloud in a single sitting. Early independent readers would also find the stories accessible.

The ABC Book of Christmas

And there in the stable the stable this special baby was born, just as the angel Gabriel had said.

Here is a Christmas picture book with a difference. The story is the real Christmas story of the nativity, retold by Mark Macleod in straightforward, yet lyrical text, at a level accessible for young readers. What makes this version a little different is not the text but the illustrations. Each spread is brought to life by the work of a different illustrator, meaning that each turn of the page brings a fresh perspective and a different illustrative technique. Lovers of Australian picture books will recognise the work of favourite illustrators, including Ann James, Stephen Michael King and Wayne Harris. Back of the book biographies of each illustrator are provided.

A collector’s item which will delight adult lovers of the picture book form, this will equally be enjoyed by children, who will like seeing the different styles of the illustrators’ work. An excellent Christmas gift.

The ABC Book of Christmas

The ABC Book of Christmas, by Mark Macleod
ABC Books, 2009

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

God Is, by Mark Macleod

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

Mark’s name is well known is the book and publishing industry, as an editor and publisher, through his involvement the CBCA and more recently picture book workshops, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that’s he’s finally decided to turn his hand to writing a picture book.

God is with its colours of traditional pink and blue cover is the type of picture book many parents and grandparents may be prompted to buy. It is cute and is very firmly centred around family and enjoying the simple pleasures of friends and creation.

The gentle text has a soft lyrical quality. Each word in the text has been chosen with care. Two of those I particularly liked were

God is
in the light of the moon and
stars that chart a shining course
above the dark that never seems to end.
And more.

God is
in the changing colour of sunrise
and the shadows
that creep across your pillow
and stroke your cheek.
And more

The repetition of God Is at the beginning of each page and And More at the end is effective and gives a pleasing sense of rhythm and unity to the text.

Mark has very carefully avoided being closely aligned to any particular spiritual belief, so it is a general look at where God is in a young child’s life – in all the things that surround them and what they see and what they do. This well crafted book highlights friendship, love, family and creation- all the things that make up the details of a young child’s life. It could be a useful introduction to a young child of who God is.

I am sure a lot of people will find it very cute. I have no doubt it will sell well. It is the type of book I can see many grandparents and other relatives reaching for to give new parents and their little ones. It would be a good book for bedtime reading.

The subdued and gentle colours of the illustrations are effective and fit the mood of the text. The simplistic illustrations of the babies didn’t particularly appeal to me, although the dog was very cute. But I’m prepared to admit that many other people may well disagree and enjoy the illustrations.

God is

God is, by Mark Macleod, ill by Kirrily Schell
ABC Books, 2009
HB RRP $24.95

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe
Out now The Goanna Island Mystery
Write and read with Dale blog at

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