Provides a fantastic insight into the pioneers of the Australian outback.
While many of the Outback Pioneers are well known - Wentworth, Blaxland and L...moreProvides a fantastic insight into the pioneers of the Australian outback.
While many of the Outback Pioneers are well known - Wentworth, Blaxland and Lawson's crossing of the Blue Mountains, Burke and Wills' attempted North-South crossing of Australia, and even Sturt's voyage down the Murray River. Still others are remembered through highways - Hume's Sydney to what is now Melbourne, Stuart's sucessful North - South crossing of Australia and Eyre's East-West crossing along the southern coast. This book generally focusses on the lesser known pioneers - such as Alfred Traeger who invented the pedal-powered radio that reduced the loneliness of the bush, Adelaide Miethke who developed the School of the Air and Dervish Bejah one of the best "Afghan" cameleers who were critical in the exploration and settlement of the outback by 'Europeans'.
While the book treats Aboriginal people with sympathy, I was sad that there wasn't a chapter featuring an Aboriginal person. My suggestion would be Albert Namatjira whos paintings introduced the world to the beauty of the Outback in the 1930s and 40s.
The best of the best photos. I loved National Geographic growing up - and the photos were always a highlight. So you take that hundreds of thousands o...moreThe best of the best photos. I loved National Geographic growing up - and the photos were always a highlight. So you take that hundreds of thousands of photos taken by National Geographic photographers, cull it to the tens of thousands of photos included in the magazine, then cull it again down to the ~400ish that appear in this book - that makes for some fantastic photos.
Both X-man and myself love a good rhyme. Mem Fox creates a gentle rhythm to the story, which matches the storyline.
The moral of the story is lovely - something I hope X-man will learn - that everyone around the world, despite their differences, share fundamental similarities. I've been reading many classic children's stories lately, and it is nice to have a book that reflects modern sensibilities.
On of the very few childrens books that has managed to send a shiver up my spine.(less)
**spoiler alert** X-man loves this series of books. The board pages are really solid they take all the chewing, slobber and attempted tearing he throw...more**spoiler alert** X-man loves this series of books. The board pages are really solid they take all the chewing, slobber and attempted tearing he throws at them. UPDATE: 600mL (1 pint) of water poured over it and left for two hours in the back of the car during playgroup will successfully destroy even the toughest book!
The different textures on each page keep him engaged with the books - his favourite is the the slimy page (although nothing can beat the "its tank is too shiny" mirror finish in That's Not My Truck for a vain little boy!).
The plot is that a hen sits on a eggs, then has a discussion with some other hens (in which we can only understan...more**spoiler alert** In a word - boring.
The plot is that a hen sits on a eggs, then has a discussion with some other hens (in which we can only understand the other hens for some reason), and at the end we discover that the hen was saying the eggs had hatched. (less)
Meg and Mog inexplicably decide to visit Egypt, Mog falls off a pyramid and thus gets wrap...moreI loved Meg and Mog so I thought I'd give Meg's Mummy a go.
Meg and Mog inexplicably decide to visit Egypt, Mog falls off a pyramid and thus gets wrapped in bandages, Mog gets mistaken for a mummy cat and everything ends well.
I suppose the bit that I like is the cultural references - the mummy is named Ptolemy - proably
The mummy is named Ptolemy - the famous Egyptian astronomer and geographer. Ptolemy in the book is claimed to be 3000 years old - about 1000 years older than the real Ptolemy. Also the real Ptolemy lived in an Egypt ruled by Romans - so there were no pharaohs and no mummies created while the real Ptolemy lived. Also Ptolemy is a Greek name(less)
X-man loves the marching rhythm of this book. Later this book will be good to teach him about opposites. And even later it looks like a nice simple bo...moreX-man loves the marching rhythm of this book. Later this book will be good to teach him about opposites. And even later it looks like a nice simple book to read for himself.(less)
The book begins with a map - every book I've read that begins with a map is worth a read!
The book fol...more**spoiler alert** A child's journey of discovery.
The book begins with a map - every book I've read that begins with a map is worth a read!
The book follows Chip, a young crocodile, and his best friend Max, a young monkey. Chip is concerned he doesn't know what his dad "does all day long" after Max's dad swings past. Chip and Max visit a variety of young African animals, each of whom wanted to grow up and be just like their dad - each with a special skill. Chip grows increasingly despondent as they meet each animal. But the feeling is turned around when Chip learns that his dad is a teacher - teaching all the young animals how to grow up like their dad.
A warm-hearted story of the positive influence dads have on their kids.
With a bit of discussion it could also be spun as a fantastic story of unlikely friends - the crocodile and the monkey.
I love the cartoon-esque illustrations - particularly the classroom scene.
My one niggle - there are never any stay-at-home dads in stories. Even this warm-hearted lovely story suggests and underlying lack of communication between dad and Chip.(less)
Certainly one of the most polarising children's books I've read. My wife hates it - with plenty of tears for good measure. However it was recommended...moreCertainly one of the most polarising children's books I've read. My wife hates it - with plenty of tears for good measure. However it was recommended by two parents (of Mum and Dad's generation) as the best children's book ever!
I find it depressing and creepy.
I understand the idea of creeping into a baby's room to have a peek, especially after a horror arsenic hour (or 2 or 3). They certainly look cute and loveable while asleep. But: 1. there is no reason to crawl to the bed is there? It just adds to the illicit feeling of the idea. 2. If while they are asleep is the only time you love them then you have serious problems.
I understand the peek - but picking them up and rocking them back and forth is just asking for them to wake up and start screaming again (particularly when they are a fully grown man!).
Everyone understands on some level that they are mortal and will one day not be around - but not many people would thank you for reminding them of that fact. If you read this book a few times in a row your kids will be a constant reminder of your own mortality.
While it is depressing enough for an adult to be reminded of their own mortality, I can imagine it is a horrendous thought for you child. He they are enjoying their story and suddenly they are hit with the new idea that one day Mum won't be there anymore. I do recall as a kid that these sorts of ideas really disturbed me.
The other depressing aspect is that the only thing the mum appears to have in her life is her son (well I suppose there are the weasel-esque cats in the illustrations...).
I really dislike construction of "I'll like you for always" - it just doesn't roll off the tongue.
I agree with a previous review that the front cover illustration makes the book look like it is about toilet training. I think the illustration that goes with the 2-year-old page more closely matches the freaky stalker woman plot better.
All I can say is give it a go - you'll either like it or hate it.
This book is essentially a rather eclectic popular science book centred around "hot air". Each chapter has a theme which loosely links with hot air -...moreThis book is essentially a rather eclectic popular science book centred around "hot air". Each chapter has a theme which loosely links with hot air - from hot air balloons to political waffling, World War I aerial combat to climate change. More than most popular science books the author features strongly - there are many references to his life in Brisbane, Edinburgh, Melbourne and Memphis throughout the book.
If you want to get a general taste of Peter Doherty's writing then have a read of the autobiography he wrote when he won the Noble Prize.
A few things irritated me about this book.
Firstly I think he targetted it at a weird audience. It is unlikely that someone not at least vaguely interested in science would even pick up a semi-autobiographical popular science book by a Nobel Prize winner. Even so he felt the need to bemoan the lack of scientific education and proceed to give a very basic chemistry lesson early on in the book.
Secondly like many brilliant people I know he seems to be unable to maintain a consistant train of thought, an example: Hot Air (the general background topic of the book) The history of the hot air balloon The fact hot air balloons go over his house and land in Royal Park The fact that in Royal Park is a memorial to the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition Burke and Wills were not as successfull as Lewis & Clarke in the US Australia is drier than the US Climate change is impacting the Australian landscape More needs to be done to promote green energy Burke and Wills should have carried a hot air balloon to help navigate.
From one paragraph to the next you never know where you are going - which makes my head hurt!
It could really have done with a powerful edit - or even a shadow writer to bring all the ideas into line.
The disjointed nature together with its semi-autobiographical nature emphases another irritating aspect - the "look at who well read and travelled I am". Lots of the book seems to be "when I was in [not very exotic location]..." or "as [author] examined in [book]...". When well written this type of name-dropping can be interesting, in fact lead you to other books or travel locations. But with such a disjointed narrative it just seems the author had a list of cool references and wanted to link them together to produce a book!
Peter doesn't hold back in letting us know his strongly-left-leaning political views. While Peter and I probably agree, in general, on most issues his presentation of these political views in this book were an unwelcome intrusion. My basic problem is that I don't care what his views are on the topics he covers in this book - if he were commenting on political support of medical research or epidemiology then maybe I would.
Like all good scientists he lists his references at the end of the book. For a popular science book I was pretty disappointed. There were basically no primary sources referenced. Most of the references were to popular science or popular history books, with the occasional "I'm well read" classic novel. The book climaxes with a chapter on climate change - after many references to it throughout the rest of the book. He highlights his lack of scientific background in the realm of climate change here - and this is highlighted in his references with the vast majority coming from the easy-to-read-and-understand Science and Nature magazines.
I'm reading the Large Family books all out of order - having previously read A Quiet Night In. I'm sensing a theme in Jill Murphy's books - that of h...moreI'm reading the Large Family books all out of order - having previously read A Quiet Night In. I'm sensing a theme in Jill Murphy's books - that of harried parents wanting some time out!
This is the second book in the Meg and Mog series by Helen Nicoll and illustrated by Jan Pienkowski. As a follow-up book it closely follows the form...moreThis is the second book in the Meg and Mog series by Helen Nicoll and illustrated by Jan Pienkowski. As a follow-up book it closely follows the formula that was so successful in Meg and Mog. I feel that it followed the formula too closely - The plot of Meg's Eggs is much the same as the original Meg and Mog. ****Warning Meg and Mog Spoiler Alert*** The key thing that made Meg and Mog stand out from the crowd of children's books was the indifference Meg showed towards the plight of her friends. In this book the role of the friends is taken up by some newly hatched dinosaurs - which makes her indifference much less amusing.
While not being as good as the original - this book is still reasonable. The clear illustrations and bright colours are still there. The onomatopoeia is still there.
I'm reading the board book version - which from a purely practical standpoint allows X-man to interact with the book more than the traditional paperback version. (less)
I was scared off this story by Previews of the 2000 movie version - another Jim Carey-in-a-mask movie. (let alone the Previews of the 2003 Cat in the...moreI was scared off this story by Previews of the 2000 movie version - another Jim Carey-in-a-mask movie. (let alone the Previews of the 2003 Cat in the Hat movie!).
So I came to this book with some sceptisim - but it is Christmas time and it was just sitting there on the library shelf!
I was pleasantly suprised. The Dr Seuss rhyme and rhythm is there, although it seems not as pronounced as If I Ran The Zoo. The anti-consumerism sentiment was agreeable (after emptying a letterbox full of junkmail!). The storyline was much more complex than the previous Dr Seuss X-man and I have read, it well and truly went over his head (given he doesn't yet understand the idea of Christmas).
This book provides photos, textured surfaces (eg fur) and plays recordings of kittens purring, etc.
We bought this with the idea of giving it to someon...moreThis book provides photos, textured surfaces (eg fur) and plays recordings of kittens purring, etc.
We bought this with the idea of giving it to someone as a gift - however the noise-making piece broke off in the car on the way home. Apparently it is not to be used by children under 3 because of a choking hazard - which would seem to remove most of their target audience.(less)
**spoiler alert** I thought this was a lovely book.
This is part of a series - beginning with Five Minutes' Peace. I haven't read any of the other boo...more**spoiler alert** I thought this was a lovely book.
This is part of a series - beginning with Five Minutes' Peace. I haven't read any of the other books in the series. I'd say that as a stand-alone book this book requires more character introduction at the start. Ther is Mr and Mrs Large and four kids - which is a relatively large number in such a short book. The first page of my book is a double page spread with pictures of all four kids - all the introductions really need to be is a name below each of these pictures. In this way Luke will be introduced at the start of the book - rather than 1/2 way through!
I dislike the portrayal of Mr Large. Like every picture book I've read Dad goes to work, while Mum stays home with the kids - as a stay-at-home Dad I would one day like to see my life reflected in a story! Also it seems pretty poor to me that Mr Large comes home and flops on the sofa, even after all the effort Mrs Large and the kids have made in making a lovely dinner. I do like that Mr Large read to the kids - but only after some pleading from the kids.
The introduction of dinner in front of the TV is something I could have done without. My son is still young, so I can afford to be idealistic!
Overall I think the plot represents a vain hope by worn out parents - an early night, with the kids putting themselves to sleep!(less)
X-man is absolutely obsessed with any moving pictures - he'll stare at any TV that is around for as long as you will let him. He is well on his way to...moreX-man is absolutely obsessed with any moving pictures - he'll stare at any TV that is around for as long as you will let him. He is well on his way to having the same obsession with this book - he just loves the moving pictures.
He's currently too young to work lift-the-flap books, but he can happily turn the page of a book to make the pictures move. He would currently destroy a pop-up book in seconds - but this is a much more robust design.
I agree with other reviewers - 5 stars for the scanimation pictures, but 1 star for the text.
The technology that sits behind the book is pretty old-school. Basically you get a series of still cameras to take a series images, at set time intervals, of the object moving. This was the innovation of Eadweard Muybridge in the 1870's (as referenced by the author in the inside front cover). Essentially then the challenge is to show these images in sequence fast enough for you brain to conclude the object is moving. There are numerous methods of doing this - ranging in complexity from your flip book to your fancy high definition LCD TV. Rufus Butler Seder is also the inventor of the relatively robust, child friendly, method implemented in this book. A detailed explaination of how it works is contained within his patent (this is, however, written in that special language - "patent-speak").
**spoiler alert** A fun story about the characteristics Dad's bring to the father-child relationship. Each animal's dad brings something positive to t...more**spoiler alert** A fun story about the characteristics Dad's bring to the father-child relationship. Each animal's dad brings something positive to the relationship, which is revealed under the flap. Afterwards you think about which animal's characteristics you would like to emulate in your parenting - in conclusion I think a little of all the characteristics would be good.
There is a nice rhyme and rhythm to the story - with the lift the flap a supprise as to what characteristic each animal has.
I have to say with child-induced sleep deprivation I'm jealous of the lion who can sleep all day!(less)
I don't recall reading Beatrix Potter as a child - but of course you seem to absorb the stories seemingly through societial osmosis.
I certainly look forward to reading the rest of the Peter Rabbit books. I note with interest in the inside cover that this book has been translated into Latin, which I suppose would be useful if we had a time machine!
Leaving behind the book itself you have to tip your cap at whoever does Beatrix Potter's tie-ins. Without even realising it I was reading "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" to X-man while he was wearing a Peter Rabbit T-shirt (really the only thing that relates the T-shirt to the books is a discrete logo on the sleve). We were being overlooked throughout the reading by a "Mrs Rabbit" photo frame.
I was about to get on my high-horse about feeding X-man with a Bunnykins bowl and spoon too - but a quick bit of research reveils that Bunnykins was actually created independently by Sister Mary Barbara Bailey - so that put me in my place! (although you have to admit they both feature rabbits - both "naked" and clothed to entertain children, so you can understand the confusion). (less)
X-man is still a little young to understand the idea of the lift-the-flap concept.
The forest in question is definitely a British (or at least European...moreX-man is still a little young to understand the idea of the lift-the-flap concept.
The forest in question is definitely a British (or at least European) forest. We certainly don't get squirrels, deer, hedgehogs, or bears in the Australian bush - and only get foxes and rabbits because they were introduced! I suppose it will prepare him for "Wind in the Willows"!(less)