Richard Egielski's Caldecott Award winning illustrations were wonderful - the drab one room apartment contrastingI'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......more
Like many of the early 1980s Australian children's books this is over-the-top Australian. I'm putting this book in the same category as Possum Magic,Like many of the early 1980s Australian children's books this is over-the-top Australian. I'm putting this book in the same category as Possum Magic, Wombat Stew, Sail Away The Ballad of Skip and Nell, Edward the Emu, etc. These books celebrated that, except for some notable exceptions, Australians were for the first time able to share Aussie picture books with their kids. But by the same token I don't think this is purely a celebration of Australian stories. I'm sure the export market for cute Australian animals was a huge contributing factor to these stories being produced - particularly after the success of the "throw another shrimp on the barbie" tourist campaign in the US starting in 1984. It is good to see local stories reflected in the what you see and read - a summer Christmas, Australian animals, etc. But lots of times these books feel a little self-conscious and portraying a cliched view (ala Crocodile Dundee, and more recently the Crocodile Hunter), rather than truely reflecting Australian life.
But anyway off that rant.
This is a cute counting book - with beautiful illustrations featuring Australian animals, plants and landscapes.
Something unusual is that this book keeps counting after it reaches ten - hitting the heady heights of 14!
When ever I see the Goanna Recipes book in the '9' illustration - I always think they are recipes for eating goanna, rather than recipes for what a goanna would like to eat!...more
Graeme Base's first book. You can certainly see from this effort the beginnings of the amazing illustrations he would become famous for in Animalia anGraeme Base's first book. You can certainly see from this effort the beginnings of the amazing illustrations he would become famous for in Animalia and Eleventh Hour.
It would be interesting to see if this book would get up in these more puritanical times - emus getting rollickingly drunk on eucalyptus wine; a goanna, dingo and rat gambling in the living room; hitchhiking to the coast.
The lush colour illustrations feature the Base trademark of escaping from the frame.
This book introduces a child to the idea of a new baby. It's written roughly for a pre-school aged child (ie 4-5 years old), but would probably work wThis book introduces a child to the idea of a new baby. It's written roughly for a pre-school aged child (ie 4-5 years old), but would probably work with an older child too. The two main protagonists - siblings Edward and Wendy see their Mum get bigger and bigger, they get to name the new baby (Walter), then are introduced at the hospital, bring the baby home, and a new family equilibrium is established.
Dad's obviously caught a bit of the nesting instinct - ironing baby clothes! But that being said I like Bob Graham approach to portraying fatherhood - with Dad up to the elbows in the 'parenting thing'.
Younger children will probably not take much from this book. The text blocks are too long, and are straight prose (no rhythm or rhyme at all). The concepts and behaviours of the kids are just too advanced to be familiar to the toddler. For the younger child I'd recommend There's a House Inside My Mummy....more
This is an Australian classic. Julie Vivas (of Possum Magic fame) has again created fantastic illustrations, in her typical style.
This book is similarThis is an Australian classic. Julie Vivas (of Possum Magic fame) has again created fantastic illustrations, in her typical style.
This book is similar in style to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. As such it is perfect for storytimes with lots of kids, all chanting along - and trying to guess the next animal. What I like about this book (which doesn't exist in Brown Bear) is that clues are given as to what the next animal is....more
This book introduces the cats of the Hairy Maclary universe - I really should have read this before the others in the series that star cats (eg SlinkyThis book introduces the cats of the Hairy Maclary universe - I really should have read this before the others in the series that star cats (eg Slinky Malinki Catflaps and Slinky Malinki).
Like usual the rhyme, rhythm and illustrations are of high quality. Also like usual Lynley Dodd's dog characters are interesting and realistic, while the cats are one-dimensional and stereotypical.
Probably my favourite Discworld novel. This would be a pretty good book to be an introduction to the Discworld series - watch out or you'll get hookedProbably my favourite Discworld novel. This would be a pretty good book to be an introduction to the Discworld series - watch out or you'll get hooked!...more
I haven't seen the movie - so this is a review solely of the book.
Some children's books are solely aimed at the kids (and drive parents completely madI haven't seen the movie - so this is a review solely of the book.
Some children's books are solely aimed at the kids (and drive parents completely mad), while others are squarely aimed at the parents (and the kids squirm through them). This is definately in the later category.
This book is in the first person - a adult looking back on events of their childhood. For a nostalgic adult remembering back to the simple joys of childhood this book is perfect.
For my excitable toddler it certainly holds no joys. The colours are muted, the text is simple prose and very lengthly for a picture book, the concepts too complex. Maybe he'll like it more in the future... But it seems to me that to truely enjoy it you need to be surrounded by people who no longer believe......more
I generally am not a huge fan of Eric Carle - but he does do the novelty book well. The little-finger-sized holes in The Very Hungry Caterpillar wereI generally am not a huge fan of Eric Carle - but he does do the novelty book well. The little-finger-sized holes in The Very Hungry Caterpillar were true genius - and in this book he takes the fold-out-page to another level.
I also like the text-to-picture sizing - with 95% of the page taken up by illustrations.
It could be a really useful book to start a conversation about the moon and astronomy in general.
What I don't really like is the plot - which is, like most of Eric Carle's books, paper thin. Promoting the ideal that you will get everything you request - no matter how outlandish - risks a very real possibility of finding yourself with a child browsing Forbes magazine's list of the world's most expensive toys - or even worse responsible for a pony!...more
The back of my Board Book version states that this is a "... classic, bestselling bedtime story" - for a bedtime story it is completely backwards. TheThe back of my Board Book version states that this is a "... classic, bestselling bedtime story" - for a bedtime story it is completely backwards. The role of a bedtime story for me is to take a wild and awake child and lull them to sleep - this book begins sleepy and builds in excitment to a wild climax.
So not a bedtime book, but it's still a wonderful book.
A simple repetitive cumulative tale. Muted, yet colourful illustrations through much of the book. Great puzzle element looking at where each animal is in each picture (in particular finding the flea can be tricky!)....more
I was honestly expecting more from this book. Yes health care becomes and increasingly large part of your life as you agDr Seuss examines the old age.
I was honestly expecting more from this book. Yes health care becomes and increasingly large part of your life as you age, but there are certainly other, potentially amusing, aspects of getting old (uppity wipper-snappers, the joys of riding your mobility scooter at top speed (15km/h) in a 80km/h zone, the love of grandkids, how everyone you knew your age (or even younger!) is dead, the fear of how dangerous the world has become, stopping complete strangers with babies in the street for a coo, etc, etc).
Within the limits Seuss imposed on himself this book still only works OK... I felt the rhymes and rhythm don't work as well as his other books. Seuss is famous for making up silly, meaningless words (eg nerd from If I Ran the Zoo), and using silly names for characters. But I felt he was over-reliant on made-up (often silly) doctor's names to get his rhyme/rhythm to work in this book. It seems to me to be a cop out - I need a 1 syllabyl word that ryhmes with Shins - I know Dr Ginns, and a 2 syllabyl word that rhymes with Candle - Dr Von Crandall, etc, etc....more
There must be a competition amoungst those who entertain kids to find the most unlikely animal and make it cute and cuddly. The Lion King did pretty wThere must be a competition amoungst those who entertain kids to find the most unlikely animal and make it cute and cuddly. The Lion King did pretty well with Pumbaa the warthog and Mole and Toad from The Wind in the Willows are a perennial favourite. Now someone has managed to make an emu cute!! ...more
This book is over 20 years old now - so it is it is useful more as a book of suggested walks than a turn-by-turn guide. Also the maps in this book areThis book is over 20 years old now - so it is it is useful more as a book of suggested walks than a turn-by-turn guide. Also the maps in this book are completely shocking - so you will definately need a proper topographic map, even on the shorter walks.
Large numbers of these walks were affected by the 2003 fires, but most if not all are now accessable again....more
Vet waiting rooms appear to be dangerous places! Fortunately our wonderful vet never makes us wait. I usually give Hairy Maclary books 4 stars - this bVet waiting rooms appear to be dangerous places! Fortunately our wonderful vet never makes us wait. I usually give Hairy Maclary books 4 stars - this book was a little off the normal quality. I just felt the story was a little predictable, and rhythm wasn't up to the usual standard. ...more
The small chair Grandpa gives Sam for his birthday allows him to do numerous everyday tasks (getting dA story about the joys of gaining independence.
The small chair Grandpa gives Sam for his birthday allows him to do numerous everyday tasks (getting dressed, turning the lights on, etc) without calling for help. I expect that many parents would distinctly remember a similar feeling after getting their driving licence!
The one thing I don't get is why did Grandpa send the chair via the post when he was going to turn up later that day for the birthday party?...more
This book is certainly beyond X-man at this stage. It is really a puzzle book introducing the concept of "if" and the power of correctly applied logicThis book is certainly beyond X-man at this stage. It is really a puzzle book introducing the concept of "if" and the power of correctly applied logic.
It is a little disingenuous to call this "Anno's Hat Tricks". Really the power of this book is in Akihiro Nozaki text and concept. Anno's name would certainly have got this book more read. His illustrations do provide a point of interest in what could otherwise be a pretty dry book - but I think the majority of illustrators would have been able to achieve this result.
The initial puzzles are relatively easy and even relatively young children will be able to work them out. The puzzles get increasingly difficult, until the last puzzle would be extremely difficult for a young child. ...more
This book is based around the premise that there are plenty of interesting things to be found at Flea Markets.
It reminds me of going to those small coThis book is based around the premise that there are plenty of interesting things to be found at Flea Markets.
It reminds me of going to those small country museums featuring what the pioneer life was like - with Mum saying "we had one of those, and those. Oh - we're still using that, much better than the new-fangled versions. Those just aren't available anymore. Do you remember those? [to Dad who always answers 'no', which Mum replies with:] Well you did grow up in the city with fancy things like cars, TV and shoes on schoolkids".
Given the march of technology over the last 25 years kids will need even more assistance in working out what many of the objects pictured were used for.
Anno's prediction - "who knows, [this book:] may well be found in a flea market one day." is I'm sure true....more
USA is one of Anno's Journey books - charting the journey of a small, nameless character (that's him - the guy on the horse with the blue clothes and hat) from the west coast to the east coast of the USA. The progress isn't via the most direct route (eg he travels from Philadelphia, New York, Washington DC then Boston). Time is also all mixed up. There isn't a simple progression of time through the story - and even within the one picture there are vignettes from throughout history. I thought it would be useful to have a little more of a narrative between each illustration to bring the story together more.
You'll need to know your US history and cultural references to 'get' this book. For example the Philadelphia picture includes references to: *Betsy Ross sewing the first 'stars and stripes' US flag *Benjamin Franklin conducting his famous kite experiment to prove lightning is electricity. *The Liberty Bell *The signing of the Constitution *Uncle Sam *Sesame Street characters and numerous other references which escape me.
Anno typically uses a number of large 'setting' buildings or landscape features - the Golden Gate and the Transamerica Pyramid building depicting San Francisco, the Alamo for Texas, the Capitol for Washington DC, etc. I have to say there are a couple of settings that I just don't get - the large cathedral, the park with the fountain, and numerous of the more rural scenes. Not really understanding the setting makes it difficult to interpret the more obscure vignettes.
When reading the book the comparisons with Where's Wally? (that's Waldo to those in the US, Willy in Norway, Walter in Germany, etc, etc) had to be made... It's been nearly 20 years since I've picked up a Wally book, so my recollections may be warped. This book generally seems to be more intellectual that the Wally books - many of the references require a much greater knowledge of history and culture than I remember from the Wally books. The Wally books focus more on the comedic value of the activities of the people featured than this book. The prime character is much, much, much easier to find in this book compared with the Wally books - the pages just aren't nearly as busy. The other comparision that could be made is that Anno, while critically successful, certainly didn't go on to be the mechandising and spin-off machine that the Wally series did.
Overall I found it interesting - but I think it will be a while before X-man can really get his teeth into this one....more
This is a book made up of multiple sections. Each section begins with page containing a short poem, the next page contains an illustration of kids preThis is a book made up of multiple sections. Each section begins with page containing a short poem, the next page contains an illustration of kids pretending to be in the world described by the poem, then the next double-page-spread is filled with an intricate illustration of the described world. There are are probably 50 different animals to find in each double-page-spread, with the names of the animals to find located around the outside of the page. (This same method was used to great effect for an older audience in Graeme Base's The Water Hole). This forms the heart of the book really. The illustrations are detailed, but all the animals to find are in the open - so it is more like WHERE'S WALLY? than the tricker Water Hole (with the animals hidden in the negative spaces). That being said I would need to consult a reference to determine what animal is what in a number of the illustrations - could you determine which is the saw shark, and which the swordfish?
The version I was reading was in a tiny format (maybe 10cm by 5cm) - get the full sized one (or a magnifying glass!)....more
The rhyme and rhythm are just perfect, with the right amount of repeAnother fantastic book from husband-and-wife team Janet Ahlberg and Allan Ahlberg.
The rhyme and rhythm are just perfect, with the right amount of repetition. X-man is right in the Peek-A-Boo phase now and loves gripping the hole and turning the page (maybe the board book version would have been a better idea!).
As he grows up the details of the illustrations will become more important - so hopefully it can end up being a whole-family-book. With the youngest enjoying the Peek-A-Boo, X-man enjoying the detailed illustrations, and the parents enjoying the World War II British setting and speculating on the fate of the father...
There are two versions of this book the British (Peepo!) and the American (Peek-a-Boo!). Here in Australia the publishers believe we are British - meaning Peepo, pushchairs and cots. I use the terms Peek-a-Boo, stroller and cot - so I suppose that's 1/2 American, 1/2 British - highlighting our linguistic heritage!
I found the illustration on the back of the book bittersweet. The picture is a portrait of the Ahlberg family circa 1981 - with Mum (Janet), Dad (Allan) and a baby Jessica. Janet sadly passed away in 1994, leaving Allan without his long-time collaborator. Now Jessica Ahlberg, the baby, has become a children's book illustrator just like her Mum - and has even collaborated with her dad on a number of book (Half a Pig and The Boy, the Wolf, the Sheep and the Lettuce)....more
The simple illustrations, the repetitive text and above all the Flaps to lift!
Obviously heavily inspired by Eric Hill's Where's Spot? - published two years prior to this work. The clear and simple illustrations on a plain background, the short and to-the-point text and the lift-the-flap novelty are all shared.
This book isn't spectacular, essentially just more of the same after Where's Spot?... The premise of this book is that Spot is looking for baby animalThis book isn't spectacular, essentially just more of the same after Where's Spot?... The premise of this book is that Spot is looking for baby animals. I won't give too much away, but he doesn't find as many as I thought he would.
While not being spectacular the "lift-the-flap" books are a hit at the moment with X-man - he just loves having the control on the flap - open, closed, open, closed, open, closed, ad infinitum......more