I thought the text was mediocre at best. The plot was pretty unoriginal, but was workable.
The savour of this book was the clever paper engineering / i...moreI thought the text was mediocre at best. The plot was pretty unoriginal, but was workable.
The savour of this book was the clever paper engineering / illustrations - where the holes align perfectly with the illustrations both before and after the page is turned. While sometimes brilliantly done, there are too many occasions where the illustrations just look strange - only to be found it is because it makes the hole look good once the page is turned.
Richard Egielski's Caldecott Award winning illustrations were wonderful - the drab one room apartment contrasting...moreI've mixed feelings about this book.
Richard Egielski's Caldecott Award winning illustrations were wonderful - the drab one room apartment contrasting with the bright floating island - the picture elements escaping the confines of the border, the morphing - the Icarus-like illustration.
The story on the other hand I didn't really like. The bird filled paradise was a little weird... Utilising a janitor as the downtrodden character a little stereotypical... The emotional rollercoaster of an end all a little too neat...(less)
In this alphabet book there is an illustration on one animal for each letter.
Given the simple design and idea - the success of this book really hinge...moreIn this alphabet book there is an illustration on one animal for each letter.
Given the simple design and idea - the success of this book really hinges on Bronwyn Bancroft's detailed artwork. I'm not a fan. I just found the incredibly intricate illustrations of the animals in too stark a contrast with the solid single colour background. That being said I'm sure many will enjoy the art - and thus enjoy this simple alphabet book.(less)
Yes, endangered species are an important issue, and raising the issue with young kids is important. But. You can't help but think that this was merely a money-grab. If this were truely about endangered species where is the note stating that "100% of the profits from this book will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund". And if they were really serious "this book was printed on unbleached 100% recycled paper" and "the lifecycle of this book is carbon-neutral"
So while I'm being cynical about the motivations of the authors - is this a good book. While I wasn't a fan of the Brown Bear book - I could see the attraction with the rhyme. This book takes exactly the same plot (thus making this book boring) and destroys the rhyme (thus removing the major attraction of the original). The illustrations are typical Eric Carle - whom I'm not a huge fan of, but many are.(less)
Each letter of the alphabet has photos and labels of a bunch of different objects that start with the let...moreWell it's an alphabet book - and it was free.
Each letter of the alphabet has photos and labels of a bunch of different objects that start with the letter. But there is an odd one out that you have to identify which starts with a different letter. It's fun for the first half of the alphabet, but 26 is a lot of letters to keep this same game going for.
This is a fun book about the discovery of dragons (bet you didn't guess that from the title!). While well t...moreSo Graeme Base finally got his dragon book!
This is a fun book about the discovery of dragons (bet you didn't guess that from the title!). While well thought out, with great graphic design - it does not have the puzzle elements that make many of Base's books such on-going fun.
There is nothing like people who think they are famous just because they've hosted a subscription TV show (in a country where only 22% of households a...moreThere is nothing like people who think they are famous just because they've hosted a subscription TV show (in a country where only 22% of households are connected to subscription TV, and only 13% of TV viewing is on subscription channels). But given the Aussie nature of this book I'm sure the real target market is in the US...
I love the idea of using indigenous Australian ingredients in cooking. Look at the success of macadamia nuts and lemon myrtle as two fantastic examples of Australian natives that taste great, and have become 'normal' ingredients. This book looks at the Outback Pride company, which is working with indigenous communities to source fantastic plant-based ingredients. It profiles each of these communities, and the different plants they are producing. Through this you are exposed in a fairly limited way to the outback communities of Australia - and some amazing ingredients. Most of these community and ingredient profiles are available on the Outback Pride website.
The key problem is sourcing these ingredients. The Outback Pride group have moved well away from simply supplying unprocessed ingredients to creating sauces, relishes, dried spice mixes, pickles and cordials. This really is smart business sense - because 1. they don't need to educate the public significantly about how to use the products and 2. they can mark up the price significantly, 3. they don't need to deal with perishable foods. They do produce a range of dried herbs and spices (Lemon Myrtle, Mountain Pepper, ground wattleseed, etc) - which would be useful in some of these recipes (and in cooking generally). But finding fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs such as Illawarra plums, warrigal greens, desert limes, marsdenias, muntries really is a difficult undertaking. If you want these ingredients you are left searching for places to source seeds to grow them in you backyard (and cursing the fact that frosty winters and clay soils don't agree with many of these predominantly desert-dwelling plants!)
So what you are left with is a feel-good book that is pretty much practically useless. (less)
This is the sequel to "The Bilbies' First Easter" which I have not read.
I wasn't a fan of this book - too preachy for my liking.
I found the illustrati...moreThis is the sequel to "The Bilbies' First Easter" which I have not read.
I wasn't a fan of this book - too preachy for my liking.
I found the illustrations inexplicably dark and brooding - yes portions of it are set underground - but large sections of the book are supposed to be joyful celebration of Easter. And I prefer Michael Salmon's bilbies any day!
This book is about the guilt mothers feel about their parenting decisions. If they work, then they are abandoning their children, if they care for the...moreThis book is about the guilt mothers feel about their parenting decisions. If they work, then they are abandoning their children, if they care for the kids then they are abandoning their careers. If they bottle feed they should have been breastfeeding, if they breastfeed they should have weaned earlier or later. You get the idea.
This is a real problem - you just need to walk through any baby products store, read a parenting magazine, or speak to any mother! I hope this book was an honest attempt to start the conversation to try to reduce this burden of guilt associated with motherhood. However I worry that it is, like so many other products out there, is simply cashing in on parent's vunerability.
The methods the authors used are valid. Share real mother's experiences with a wider audience and discuss the author's own experiences. Show there is a wide range of what 'normal' is in parenting - and that a wide range of parental decisions are valid, and not worth feeling guilty about.
However I have some significant issues with this book.
Firstly it is claimed that fathers are immune from motherguilt. Really motherguilt is parent guilt. You just need to listen to the emotive lyrics of Cat's in the Cradle about a father's guilt and remorse about the lack of time he spent with his son growing up to learn that these issues transend gender. Father's are spared some of the key early guilt-generating decisions, we play a supporting role in ceasar/vaginal birth, drugs at the birth, breast/bottle. However they certainly are not immune from parental guilt!
The one exception to the blanket claim of no-guilt-for-fathers is when the father is the primary carer - in which case they are really the mother aren't they!!! Ahhh... No. They'd be fathers who are caring for their kids.
The next section that raised my ire was the section that blamed the media, in particular women's magazines, in promoting an unrealistic expectation of their post-baby bodies. Ita Buttrose a key role in developing, and profiting from, this celebrity-driven culture in women's and tabloid journalism since the 1970s as editor of Australian Women's Weekly, Cleo, and the Daily Telegraph and more recently on the board News Limited, as editor-at-large of OK! Magazine. The hypocrisy is astounding!
The lack of support the women interviewed in this book had is worrying - particularly from their partners.
The selection of women seems biased towards the social set of Ita and Penny (a GP in the most exclusive suburb in Australia). The way the Raising Children Network simply introduces "Russell, father of two" (ie Russell Crowe), "Jana, mother of Cornelius" (Jana Pittman) really highlights that these are just normal parents trying their best. This book on the other hand explains in great detail Wendy Harmer's waterfront mansion - and how they bought the surrounding houses so they had control of the neighbours - and dealing with their live-in nannies. It also explains how Kerry Packer paid for Ita's childcare expenses (at a time when women were being kicked out of jobs for getting married!). These details simply highlight the differences in issues between the average reader of this book, and the average person interviewed by the authors.
The medical advice provided by this book is shocking. Penny Adams is a GP, true, but she really has been concentrating on her media commitments for the last decade. She's sold her name (and medical degree) to basically anyone who'll give her money - Probiotics Yakult, Erectile Dysfunction, Dr Penny Adams’ Brain Trainer, a series of infomercials on TV, etc. The community nurse they interviewed constantly worried me with her comments - boasting that due to her knowledge and experience none of her patients had ever experienced post-natal depression was particularly worrying.
The section dealing with the influence of the media, particularly celebrity magazines on mother's body image post-birth really is disingenuous. Ita Buttrose was the editor of key Australian womens magazines (Cleo, Australian Women's Weekly) (1972-81), followed by tabloid newspapers (Daily Telegraph) and then on to the board of News Limited. Ita has thus been in a key position to influence/profit from the portrayal of celebrities in some of the key sources of tabloid gossip in Australia. (less)
This is very obviously an academic thesis turned into a book. It thus suffers the problems academic works so often suffer - a lack of a coherent narra...moreThis is very obviously an academic thesis turned into a book. It thus suffers the problems academic works so often suffer - a lack of a coherent narrative, excessive repetition and plenty of assumed knowledge. If however you go to the effort to wade through this book it rewards you.
Fasinating insights into the role of Scouts in British colonial (and briefly post-colonial) Africa. It concentrates on South Africa and Kenya, representing South and East Africa. Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia are also covered in lesser detail.
There are interesting parallels between the Boy Scouts of America and the African Scout associations in their struggles with controversial political issues. The ongoing Girls, Gays and God issues within the BSA have distinct parallels with the issues of segregation in the African assocations. Should the Scouts be a progressive organisation that lead public opinions, or should they be a conservative organisation that only moves once public opinion has? Should individual Scouts work within the organisation to bring about change, or should they create independent Scout Troops outside the official bureaucracy, or should they give up on Scouts entirely?
the struggles between the African Scout Association's
Scout associations accepting what is right and what is politically acceptable (less)
An interesting take on the typical alphabet book - why do most people only learn the first 26 letters? What about the rest of them?
Like all Seuss rhym...moreAn interesting take on the typical alphabet book - why do most people only learn the first 26 letters? What about the rest of them?
Like all Seuss rhyme and rythmn are really important - and these are destroyed by non-US pronunciation of Z (ie zed, not zee) and zebra. Pronounciation difference have caused issues for me with Seuss before - but never in such a prominent and repeated way.(less)
We are yet to get to the preschool clothes arguments...
It may be just my laissez-faire parenting style but why can't Ella Sarah wear the ensemble she...moreWe are yet to get to the preschool clothes arguments...
It may be just my laissez-faire parenting style but why can't Ella Sarah wear the ensemble she wants (as long as there is no safety risk, and it is not a dress-code event like a wedding or funeral)? Seems to me that the family needs to pick the things that really matter to have tantrums about! We'll see in a couple of years if I'm eating my words!
Having cats - the throwing the cat across the room in tantrum worries me.
A fantastically interactive story for young children. You'll love almost as much as your child playing along with Moonpie, Tiny and Andre.
The sturdine...moreA fantastically interactive story for young children. You'll love almost as much as your child playing along with Moonpie, Tiny and Andre.
The sturdiness of the construction, like so many other books, leaves a little to be desired - the warning on the back of the book that it is not suitable for those under 3 if followed would significantly reduce the audience for this book.
If it were up to me I'd be rating this maybe a 3. The original Railway Series are pretty good, but I'm wary of anything that has been made for TV then...moreIf it were up to me I'd be rating this maybe a 3. The original Railway Series are pretty good, but I'm wary of anything that has been made for TV then turned into a book... However I've been overruled by my son who is constantly demanding "Trains" - and this book certainly filled that requirement.(less)
It examines the grand tradition of the bloke's shed (in this case a room downstairs) and the influence of this...moreI'm not sure what to make of this book.
It examines the grand tradition of the bloke's shed (in this case a room downstairs) and the influence of this on the kids.
Too Good dispairs that her dad is always too busy to read to her - he is always tinkering with his latest project down in his room. He always seems to be moving onto the next project before the previous one is finished.
Then Too Good discovers Dad's latest project is writing a book for her tenth birthday. Will he finish it? Will he read a book to her?
So the moral seems to be that you can be an absent father as long as you love your kids? Or maybe it is a cautionary tale for absent fathers that they should spend time with their kids... Or maybe a reminder for kids that secretly their absent father really does love them...(less)