The regular contact between Wilfred and the residents of the old people's home greatly contrasts with my limited experience. We took X-man to my grandmother's nursing home and were quickly overwhelmed my dozens of elderly ladies desperate for some contact with a baby. It seems sad that today there is such paltry contact between these two groups in society.
If you planned on using this book to explain dementia to children I would be wary. While, in my extremely limited experience, I'm amazed at what dementia suffers can remember it would be tragic for your child to collect up a series of items to prompt their memory and for it not to work.
The collaboration that worked so well with Possum Magic has come together again and produced another memorable book....more
I wasn’t too keen on the original but I thought I’d give the spin-off a try.
This book revolves around a variation of the “I Spy” game I played as a child – but instead of “I Spy Something Beginning with W” it takes the form or “I Spy Something Belonging To…”. This book stretches credulity with five correctly guessed “I Spys” in a row – and only one with a clue! I Spy something that belongs to a bird – it could be a beak, wing, tail, a lovely chirp – but no, the first guess is correct with feather.
**spoiler alert** The story of a father passing on his knowledge to his son. Would be a fantastic ‘stop all those questions and go to sleep’ book exce**spoiler alert** The story of a father passing on his knowledge to his son. Would be a fantastic ‘stop all those questions and go to sleep’ book except that the son wakes the father up in the middle of the night to tell him he is the best dad in the world. He has obviously yet to learn the critical nature of time and place in delivering an effective message! ...more
I've read two versions of this book - the board book and the normal picture book.
Firstly the normal picture book (4 Stars) - Fanastic illustrations inI've read two versions of this book - the board book and the normal picture book.
Firstly the normal picture book (4 Stars) - Fanastic illustrations including hidden elements expand the simple counting book into something special.
The board book (3 Stars). This is a much simplified version of the picture book targeted at the very young - with none of the story, but with the full illustrations. The complex illustrations, which sets this book apart for an older audience, just confuse the issue for the young ones. Also without the information about the hidden illustrative elements you may be at a loss to explain the cute clothed frogs. ...more
X-man loves construction equipment of all types - we can sit for ages watching excavators, tip-trucks, bulldozers, rollers, etc, etc. This book bringsX-man loves construction equipment of all types - we can sit for ages watching excavators, tip-trucks, bulldozers, rollers, etc, etc. This book brings that experience home.
I love rhyming books for kids, and this rhyme really works....more
A lovely introduction not only to the alpMy first alphabet book (as a parent) - based on Kelly Jo's recommendation within the Children's Books Group.
A lovely introduction not only to the alphabet but also to some fantastic artwork. Parenting sometimes highlights those areas of life you have left by the wayside - for me that is art and music - hopefully I'll learn about these through teaching X-man! ...more
I was inspired to read this after reading Mrs. Armitage Queen of the Road, which I liked because of the humour of a proper older lady becoming a bikieI was inspired to read this after reading Mrs. Armitage Queen of the Road, which I liked because of the humour of a proper older lady becoming a bikie. This book lacks that humour, she's never portrayed as a 'proper' lady in this book (the book opens with her in her 'surfing kit').
It also struck me that Mrs Armitage really needs to find a better surf break - it takes forever for the Big Wave to come.
I'm very familiar with Quentin Blake's illustrations of Roald Dahl, but I'm embarrased to say I wasn't aware of his other works.
A quick check of his wI'm very familiar with Quentin Blake's illustrations of Roald Dahl, but I'm embarrased to say I wasn't aware of his other works.
A quick check of his website reveals that he has been involved in more than 300 books - only 27 of which were written by Roald Dahl and a full 35 which were written and illustrated by Quentin.
My most endearing memory of Quentin's illustrations were his illustrations in The Witches. Quentin's signature style of illustrations in this book made me expect Mrs Armitage to at some point remove her wig and (non-existant) gloves.
Passing on what you enjoyed as a child is one of the best aspects of parenting...
But your adult eye now picks up on how flimsy much of what you lovedPassing on what you enjoyed as a child is one of the best aspects of parenting...
But your adult eye now picks up on how flimsy much of what you loved is...
The original Grug is really an introduction to the character, as a building block for the many books to follow. None of the Grug books are particularly deep - but this one is particularly superficial....more
Overall a pretty middle-of-the-road picture book. Both the story and the illustrations are so-so.
I found it a little difficult to repeat Pamela and peOverall a pretty middle-of-the-road picture book. Both the story and the illustrations are so-so.
I found it a little difficult to repeat Pamela and pear so many times through this book – my poor articulation I suspect.
I found the outlines around each object in the illustrations incredibly distracting. That being said I loved the detail of the heart, pear and apple markings on Pamela, the unimpressed look of the wombat and the pear lightglobe. ...more
This is truely an Australian classic picture book. A B Paterson realised the ability for his poems to entertain children, writing an early picture booThis is truely an Australian classic picture book. A B Paterson realised the ability for his poems to entertain children, writing an early picture book The Animals Noah Forgot - but I think this adaption introduced modern children to the joys of Banjo Paterson.
Kilmeny Niland and Deborah Niland captures the comedic elements of the story perfectly. In the process they swapped the safety bicycle from the story with the funnier Penny-farthing.
Who hasn’t thought about the possibility of digging a hole through the centre of the earth, then all the way to the other side? It’s a pretty cool ideWho hasn’t thought about the possibility of digging a hole through the centre of the earth, then all the way to the other side? It’s a pretty cool idea – but one which was successfully explored nearly 150 years ago by Jules Verne in Journey to the Centre of the Earth (or more correctly Voyage au centre de la Terre). It seems like this book is a picture book adaption of the Verne classic – but without any acknowledgement.
The main attraction of this book is the novelty of the large holes in the pages getting smaller and smaller as you get deeper and deeper into the hole. It’s a gimmick, but it worked for The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
The story itself is pretty short and simple – a quick introductory page, then basically one line per double page spread, and a conclusion page. Each double page spread represents a level as you fall down the hole, first rubbish, then later dinosaurs and the red hot core of the earth. Surrounding the double page spread are interesting ‘facts’ about the level you are on – my favourite is “Fossils are even older than your parents!”.
I disliked the inane text “’Flaming volcanoes! It’s the red hot molten middle of the earth. Cor!’”. I also disliked the ‘facts’, many of which were simplified to the point of being wrong. But the main issue I have with the ‘facts’ is their inclusion suggests that the sequence of ‘layers’ which Charlie and Doggo (and later his Dad) fall through are factual rather than fantastic.
But I suppose I’m not the target market (too old), and X-man isn’t either (too young). Also I support anything which gets kids interested in science (especially geology). These are the only reasons that this didn’t get 1 star. ...more
Well beyond X-man’s current capabilities – but definitely on the list to read to him when he’s older.
After slightly disappointing me with the straightWell beyond X-man’s current capabilities – but definitely on the list to read to him when he’s older.
After slightly disappointing me with the straightforwardness of Jungle Drums Graeme has outdone himself in this book. Truly tremendous fun in playing hide-and-seek with all of the plants and animals (he conveniently provides a list of what to find, and how many!).
At the simplest level this is a relatively simple counting game – the animals count down from 10 to 1. But the back of the book explains a the maths behind the numbers of plants, buildings and humans – with increasing level of complexity of maths. This should keep the kids going well into primary school.
The underlying story is also agreeable – the first children’s story I’ve read with a blatant environmental message.
I borrowed the board book format from the library. While the pages may be more solid than the normal book, the flaAnother in the series of Spot books.
I borrowed the board book format from the library. While the pages may be more solid than the normal book, the flaps are the same flimsy construction. This meant that 3 out of the 10 flaps were missing – which does somewhat affect the plot (such that it is). X-man is now of an age that the flaps hold much interest – he spends his time lifting and closing the flap. The flimsy construction means that reading this book goes from being fun for all involved to a stressful experience for the parent as you desperately hope you don’t need to return another library book with a ripped flap!
Like the original Where’s Spot the plot is paper thin. Spot wants to surprise his Dad, Sam, with a birthday cake with some assistance from his Mum, Sally. The original was fantastic because each flap contained something unexpected – this book only maintained mediocrity because what is under the flap can generally be predicted with considerable accuracy. ...more
This book is definitely written from the parents perspective – all about trying to get away for a night out by thThe third in the Large Family series.
This book is definitely written from the parents perspective – all about trying to get away for a night out by themselves. Maybe I’m just a naive first-time parent but I feel that I’d like my son to know that I missed him when I was away – rather than this book which puts it this way: ‘”We’ve escaped,” said Mr Large with a smile, closing the front door behind them.’ – now while I certainly may think this from time-to-time is that the message I want to send to my son? Maybe when he is significantly older than he is now…
Granny is pretty brave bringing the painting equipment out after the kids have been bathed and put into their PJs!
It initially struck me that the paint marks on Mrs Large’s dress where incredibly neat, before seconds later it occurred to me that she had sat on the paint palette. A quick check of continuity shows that the colour pattern on the palette and on the dress do not match – surely it wouldn’t have taken much to match these? ...more
**spoiler alert** This story follows the rather lonely life of Hunwick, a eldery bilby. After a large storm Hunwick finds an egg outside his burrow, a**spoiler alert** This story follows the rather lonely life of Hunwick, a eldery bilby. After a large storm Hunwick finds an egg outside his burrow, and he adopts it. After a while he realises that the egg is never going to hatch and that it is in fact a rock that is shaped and coloured like an egg. Despite coming to this realisation he continues to treat the rock as an egg.
I find the story incredibly depressing - which is the main reason for the low two star rating.
The illustrations of Australian wildlife in this book is truely amazing.
Hunwick is named after John Hunwick, a bilby researcher and long-time advocate. Mem was trying to write an Easter book - and was inspired by the campaign in Australia to replace the Easter Bunny with the Easter Bilby, due to the extensive environmental damage done by rabbits. See this interview for more information. For see here for more information on the Easter Bilby. And for the original book that linked Easter with the Bilby see Billy the Aussie Easter Bilby by Rose-Marie Dusting published in 1979.
The story of an duckling, named Alexander, who straggled behind the group and fell down hole in the street. A variety of methods are used to attempt tThe story of an duckling, named Alexander, who straggled behind the group and fell down hole in the street. A variety of methods are used to attempt to save poor Alexander, before an impetuous small boy pours his drink down the hole which highlights the perfect method of saving the young duck.
One of the relatively few children's books with a real-life setting - which means if you go to Sydney you could actually go to the Botanic Gardens where Alexander lives, walk along Art Gallery Road and across College Street - you could even have a play in the Archibald Fountain if it is hot enough!
The moral is an important one for parents - stay with the group. But it is somewhat undermined by the illustrations, post-rescue, of Alexander still straggling behind the group!...more
I initially wasn't keen on this book - there seemed to be too much repetition.
With additional readings it has grown on me. I particularly like the whiI initially wasn't keen on this book - there seemed to be too much repetition.
With additional readings it has grown on me. I particularly like the whispering of the pirates contrasted with the screeching of the parrot when they come across the 'big and black and very hairy' blockage of the tunnel.
The joy of the sight of the sun will be understood by anyone who has spent anytime underground. ...more
The thing I remember loving about Animalia and Eleventh Hour from my childhood was the really detailed intricate illustrations that cleverly added toThe thing I remember loving about Animalia and Eleventh Hour from my childhood was the really detailed intricate illustrations that cleverly added to the written plot. I remember staring for hours finding all of the details in the illustrations, linking the illustrations to the written plot – and finding all the unexpected elements.
This book didn’t live up to those (perhaps inflated) memories. The illustrations are spectacular by any standards – Graeme is a true illustrative genius. But the book would work as a story, even without the illustrations. The illustrations are much simpler than the Graeme Base I remember – with the main character animals taking the vast majority of the pages (with only the occasional relatively unexpected dragon-fly or lizard to spot).
The library book version I had was missing the critical puzzle explanation page, which will have impacted my enjoyment of this book.
The story is interesting and provides insight into an important moral.
I love the use of authentic African names for all the animals (they are Bantu language group names, my African language knowledge doesn’t allow me to be more specific – maybe they are Swahili?). It such a refreshing difference compared with Jill Murphy’s elephants – Mr and Mrs Large, Laura, Lester, Luke and baby. It continues the moral of acceptance of difference beyond the written story of acceptance of different appearances to expanding the horizons of possible names – and through this with some parental encouragement into the languages of these names and the cultures of the people who speak them. ...more
A story of how the wombat's friends managed to outwit a rather dim dingo to stop him being slow-cooked in a stew. Each animal recommends their favouriA story of how the wombat's friends managed to outwit a rather dim dingo to stop him being slow-cooked in a stew. Each animal recommends their favourite ingredient (ideally one that would taste gross!) for the stew. (incidentally many of the recommendations are not actually eaten by the recommending animal (eg platypi don't actually eat mud, blue tongue lizards are rarely quick enough to catch flies, I doubt emus eat emu feathers, and koalas don't eat gumnuts...)
The little ditty is a recurring element through the book - and I'm sure as X-man gets a bit older he'll be singing along. I really like that tune for the ditty is provided on the last page as sheet music. (Although it does highlight that the last time I read sheet music was more than 15 years ago - so I required some assistance to interpret it!)