Picture Book Review: The Art Garden

The Art Garden: Sowing the Seeds of Creativity, Penny Harrison (author), Penelope Pratley (illus.), EK Books, 2018 Synopsis: Sadie wants to be a painter, just like her best friend, Tom. She loves playing with colour and finding shapes in unlikely places. But whenever Sadie picks up a paintbrush she makes a big mess. So instead, she spends her time working in the garden or playing with Tom. But, one day, Sadie gets a look at things from a different perspective — and makes a big discovery about...
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Picture Book Review: I Am Famous

I Am Famous, Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie (authors), Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (illus.), Albert Whitman & Company, 2018 Synopsis: Kiely knows she is famous! The paparazzi (her parents) follow her every move, documenting with cameras. It’s exhausting being famous, but someone has to do it! She even gets to perform a big song at her grandfather’s birthday. When she messes it up, she’s worried she’s lost her audience forever, but it turns out that no one is as loyal as her fans who love her. ...
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Behind the scenes of The Children’s Bookshop

Paul MacDonald, owner of The Children’s Bookshop, Beecoft, NSW addressed The Northern Sydney Sub branch of the CBCA recently, sharing his knowledge and experience of the Children’s Literature industry from a bookseller’s perspective. The following is a summary of the information I took home from the event. Thanks also to my 'brains trust'  Brydie Wright, Paula Stevenson and Elizabeth Foster and for their contributions to this post. Firstly, about Paul If you read Paul’s biography you’l...
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Aura Parker – Sprouting Wings Part 1

Aura Parker is an author and illustrator who is certainly going places – and I don’t just say this because I ran into her at the airport recently! Her picture book Twig (her first as author and illustrator) has been published internationally as well as recognized nationally as a Notable book in the CBCA Book of the year awards 2017. She has another picture book due out later this year (Cocoon) and a further two contracted. She has recently signed with Pippa Masson at Curtis Brown literary agency...
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The Wildly Intrepid Jan Latta – part 2

In Part 2 of finding out how intrepid pioneer Jan Latta carved out for herself a publishing niche, Jan talks about some stories behind her adventures and her marketing and promotion strategies. To recap part one, click here. Jan, how do you walk the fine line between fact and fiction in bringing the animals stories to life? How much do you attribute human emotions/motivations to them?  The True to Life Books are called creative non-fiction because the animals ‘talk’ to children in the text...
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Picture Book Review: Wolfie, an Unlikely Hero

Wolfie: An Unlikely Hero, Deborah Abela (author), Connah Brecon (illus.), Random House Australia, 2017 Synopsis: I, The Wolf, am sick of being the bad guy. I’m taking over this book. Dear Readers, Fairytales are nonsense. They’re full of wolves pestering pigs and picking on sweet little girls in red hoods. But I would never do those things. I knit! I bake blueberry pie! You know what I really want to do? I WANT TO RESCUE A PRINCESS! And if I can’t? I QUIT! Yours sincerely, Wo...
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The Wildly Intrepid Jan Latta – Part 1

Today’s interview is a break from my usual focus on up-and-coming children’s book creators, to look at someone who has forged her own way into a niche market in children's publishing, and from whom much can be leant. Jan Latta is the only woman in the world who is the author, wildlife photographer and publisher of books on endangered animals. Each of her books is self published and distributed widely in schools and she is a sought after international speaker. On the publication of her 17th b...
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Picture Book Review: Parmesan, the Reluctant Racehorse

Parmesan, the Reluctant Racehorse, Jacqui Halpin (author), John Phillips (illus.), Little Pink Dog Books, 2017 Synopsis: Parmesan, the racehorse, thinks he's a dog. Instead of training with other horses, he's off with his doggy friends, playing doggy games. Will he be ready to run like a racehorse in the Spring Carnival? A humorous light-hearted tale that celebrates the joy of being yourself and running your own race. Review: As an animal lover, and someone who particularly adores both hor...
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Book Review: Max Booth Future Sleuth, a Sci-Fi Adventure Series for Young Readers

Max Booth Future Sleuth: Selfie Search, Cameron Macintosh (author), Dave Atze (illus.), Big Sky Publishing, 2017 Synopsis: Max Booth Future Sleuth is back with more sci-fi adventure and another mystery to solve! Max has been handed an ancient mobile phone. It’s from the year 2017, which makes it more than 400 years old! What’s more, it’s full of photos – all of the same person. Max and his robo-dog sidekick Oscar learn that the photos hold a secret that could lead them to fame and fortune. Bu...
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Picture Book Review: The Catawampus Cat

The Catawampus Cat, Jason Carter Eaton (author), Gus Gordon (illus.), Penguin Random House, 2017 When I first received this delightful picture book I thought the author, Jason Carter Eaton, had made up the word “catawampus” to suit the story’s feline character, and to have some fun. While fun definitely is had in a reading of this book, it turns out that catawampus actually means askew, awry, or positioned diagonally; and the characters in the tale certainly have the angles of their world cha...
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