Colossal Creatures, by Nick Hughes

Dinosaurs lived long ago and grew to a massive size
But if they lived with us today, you wouldn’t believe your eyes.

Kids love books with different formats, and Colossal Creatures, with a flap to lift on every page, is sure to delight. The simple rhyming text by Nick Hughes, contrasts the ancient dinosaurs with the animals, people and buildings of today.

The highlight of the book is the brilliant illustrations of Mini Goss, who conistently produces work of this standard. Bold colours and lively detail are Goss’s specialty and in Colossal Creatures she makes excellent use of the lift the flap format.

Colossal Creatures, is equally appropriate for the home and educational context.

Colossal Creatures, by Nick Hughes, Illustrated by Mini Goss
Koala Books, 2002

Sisi and the Cassowary, by Arone Raymond Meeks

When Sisi goes with her mother and sisters to the waterhole, she swims too far away. Chased by a crocodile she surfaces in an unfamiliar place, and can’t find her way home. Soon, she comes across a boy collecting berries and agrees to help him with his task if he will then help her to get home. However, when the time comes for the boy to fulfill his part of the agreement, he disappears, and Sisi is joined by a large bird. The cassowary gets Sisi to climb on his back, and he gives her a ride home, where she is reunited with her mother. Sisi realises then that the cassowary and the boy were in fact one.

This traditional tale is made complete with the rich traditional paintings of Arone Raymond Meeks, who uses browns, ochres, greens and blues to capture the Dreamtime essence of his story.

This is both an excellent sharing book and a useful educational tool for studies of Aboriginal art and dreamtime stories.

Sisi and the Cassowary, by Arone Raymond Meeks
Omnibus Books, an Imprint of Scholastic, 2002

Gordon's Got a Snookie, by Lisa Shanahan

The animals in the zoo are so excited that Gordon is coming. Gordon is the new silverback gorilla being brought in from overseas to take care of the girls. Of course, the girls are more excited than anyone – they hope Gordon will be big and strong and hairy.

When Gordon arrives he looks to be all that they hoped for – until the young gorillas notice something funny. Gordon has a snookie! Now all the animals are scornful and highly amused – how can Gordon live up to his strong image if he needs a comforter? The girls are embarrassed to be seen with him.

Poor Gordon – left alone, the snookie becomes more and more important, until a young gorilla unwittingly offers a chance solution.

Gordon’s Got a Snookie is a hilarious story sure to appeal to children and to their adult readers. Shanahan’s text is a delightful blend of humour and gentle message about the acceptability of snookies, or blankies or other comforters. The illustrations of Wayne Harris perfectly complement the text, capturing the range of emotions from ethusiasm to loneliness with a delightful colour range and skillful portrayal of the characters’ facial expressions.

A delightful book!

Gordon’s Got a Snookie, by Lisa Shanahan, illustrated by Wayne Harris
Allen & Unwin, 2002

Too Loud Lily, by Sofie Laguna

Wherever she goes, everyone tells Lily Hippo she is too loud. At home they say “too loud”. At school they say “too loud!” Even her best friends think she’s too loud. Poor Lily!

But when a new teacher called Miss Loopiola comes to school, Lily decides to be in the school play. With Miss Loopiola’s help, Lily learns that sometimes loud is what’s needed, and her family and friends see that sometimes Lily is not too loud.

Too Loud Lily is a funny new picture book from author Sofie Laguna. With a simple message of acceptance and understanding, the lively text is well complemented by the equally lively illustrations of Kerry Argent, who portrays the telling emotions of Lily and those around her delightfully.

Too Loud Lily will appeal to children from birth to six years of age, and their parents and educators.

Sofie Laguna is an actor and writer, whose other publication credits include My Yellow Blanky and Bill’s Best Day. Kerry Argent’s previous illustration successes include Wombat Divine and One Woolly Wombat.

Too Loud Lily, by Sofie Laguna, illustrated by Kerry Argent
Omnibus Books, an Imprint of Scholastic Australia, 2002

When Mum Was Little, by Mini Goss

It’s pretty hard to belive that Mum hasn’t always been a Mum. She was little once too.

The world was much different when Mum was little. CD players and computer games weren’t even invented, there were no plastic takeaway containers and lollies were much bigger.

When Mum Was Little is a fun picture book from talented author/illustrator Mini Goss. Kids will love seeing how different the world was in the sixties and seventies, while Mum and Dad will love the trip down memory lane. Everyone will love the psychedelic illustrations and laugh at the clothing and hairstyles of Mum and her family ‘back then’.

As well as being great for at home reading, When Mum Was Little would make a great addition to classroom libraries and wonderful learning tool for studies of the past (NOT ancient history!).

A gem.

When Mum Was Little, by Mini Goss
Black Dog Books, 2001

A Moose Called Mouse, by Martine Murray

This is Mouse. Mouse is a moose. He’s not a mouse or a louse or an anything else. He’s a moose I call Mouse.

In A Mouse Called Moose, author/illustrator Martine Murray captures a gentle friendship between a girl and her friend the moose. Together they discover the magic of the night and of its transformation into day, as well as the joys of simple friendship.

This is peaceful story, perfect for a bedtime tale or for any quiet time. It is also suitable for sharing at kindergartens or playgroups. Murray’s simple illustrations are a perfect calming complement to the tale, with their child-like simplicity and muted colours.

Murray is a young author and illustrator who hails from Victoria. She has studied at the Victoria College of the Arts and spent time with the circus. Her first novel for children The Slightly True Story of Cedar B.Hartley has been well received in Australia and has sold to publishers in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and Denmark.

A Moose Called Mouse is a treasure.

A Moose Called Mouse, by Martine Murray
Allen & Unwin, 2002

There's a Sun Fairy in Our Garden, by Jeni Mawter

There’s a sun fairy in our garden. I know it’s there because my brother told me so.

Every youngster, boy or girl, wants to believe in fairies and, with this delightful picture book, they get a glimpse at some gloriously unique examples. The sun fairy is wearing reflector sun glasses, the rock fairy has a crash helmet and the rain fairy is wearing silver gumboots. They may elude the girl telling the story, but young readers get to see them playing and teasing.

There’s a Sun Fairy in My Garden
combines the talents of author Jeni Mawter with those of talented young illustrator Christy Martin, in a tale sure to delight four to eight year old readers and their parents. As the narrator tries to tempt the fairies out with her special gifts, her older brother encourages her efforts by delighting her with his descriptions of the various fairies hiding in their garden. As well as being a gorgeous fairy book, it is also a delightful glimpse of sibling togetherness.

A beautiful offering which will be enjoyed again and again.

There’s a Sunflower in Our Garden, by Jeni Mawter, illustrated by Christy Martin
Axiom, 2001

The Zoo Room, by Louise Schofield

Max and Kelly have a strange Aunt who works at the zoo. When Aunt Zelda is around, wierd and wonderful things happen. So when Aunt Zelda invites the family to the Zoo Room to celebrate Max’s birthday, no one knows what to expect.

At the Zoo Room, there are strange things afoot. The waiter is a bear, the fellow diners are birds and beasts, and there is no sign of Aunt Zelda. Choosing from a menu of fried bugs and beast of the day proves a little challenging. The restaurant is a thrilling combination of excitement and danger. When the meal is over, the children are not sure they really want to go home.

The Zoo Room is a fun story with fantasy and frivolity blended in a way to appeal to five to eight year olds. The illustrations of Malcolm Geste capture both the fun and the mystery of the tale. Kids will love searching for the elusive Aunt Zelda, who can be found peeking at her nephew’s adventure. A fun read.

The Zoo Room, by Louise Schofield, illustrated by Malcolm Geste
Sandcastle Books, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2002

The Bravest Penguin of All, by Rina A. Foti

It is the day of the Great Penguin Swim Race, and all the penguins are very excited, especially Little Blue Penguin. She is determined to win.

When the other penguins hear this,they laugh. No-one so small has ever won the race.But Little Blue Penguin is not deterred, telling herself over and over that she can do it.

When the race begins, the bigger penguins splash and splatter Little Blue Penguin and tell her to get out of the way, but still she keeps going. She can hear the cheering of the crowd, driving her on.

When the cheering stops, Little Blue Penguin senses something is wrong. A Killer Whale is lurking nearby and all the racers are in danger. Is Little Blue Penguin too small to save her friends?

The Bravest Penguin of All is a delightful story which will charm youngsters (and their parents) with its gentle message. Beautifully complemented by the illustrations of Cathy Abadie, in the blues and greens of the Antarctic environment, and supplemented by a page of penguin and Antarctic facts, The Bravest Penguin of All will appeal to 4 to 8 year olds and is also suitable for classroom collections.

The Bravest Penguin of All, by Rina A. Foti, illustrated by Cathy Abadie
Koala Books, 2002

Bones Maloney and the Raspberry Spiders, by Glenda Millard

Bones Maloney might look tough, but his heart is as soft as a cherry brandy chocolate. Bones and his Jazz Doggies are the star attraction at Barker’s cafĂ© every Friday night. But, if there is one thing that Bones loves more than singing it is the raspberry spiders that are served at Barkers. Unfortunately, he isn’t paid enough to be able to buy one. What would happen if his throat was too dry to sing half way through his performance?

This humorous picture book combines children’s fantasy with the blues scene for an effect that will entertain both children and their adult readers. The illustrations of Matt Cosgrove are awesome, with vibrant colours and adorable dog-characters ranging from chihuahuas to dalmations to mutts and hounds.

Most likely to appeal to readers aged 4 to 8, Glenda Millard’s story will have you hankering for a raspberry spider.

Bones Maloney and the Raspberry Spiders
, by Glenda Millard, illustrated by Matt Cosgrove
A Margaret Hamilton Book from Ashton Scholastic, 2002