I remember owning Space Demons by Gillian Rubinstein, which was her first book. It was one of those 1980's trapped-in-a-video-game stories - but the mI remember owning Space Demons by Gillian Rubinstein, which was her first book. It was one of those 1980's trapped-in-a-video-game stories - but the main thing I remember was the cover with the stereotypical 1980's "computer" font... Based on this I thought I'd try out some of her picture book work on my son.
The story explains how Jase expands his bachelor pad shed to include a wife, one kid, two kids, and then various parts of the extended family. Sharon has the constant refrain "'Jase, we need more space / We'll have to move to a bigger place.'" - Jase replies by building another extension on the house.
Gillian Rubinstein's text not only tells this interesting tale - it has perfect rhyming and timing. I love the stereotypical Aussie names - Shazza and Jase, and the (relatively) subtle hints that this book is set in South-East Queensland.
David Mackintosh has done a great job at illustrating cramped living. There is plenty of detail to pick out in multiple readings = I love Grandpa's safari suits! ...more
This book is a modern take on the fairy-at-the-bottom-of-the-garden story - with the garden being concrete with weeds overlooking the local service stThis book is a modern take on the fairy-at-the-bottom-of-the-garden story - with the garden being concrete with weeds overlooking the local service station, while the fairies are in the hamburger and ice-cream business. The plot beyond this initial premise is a little thin, and the text isn't exactly rip-roaringly exciting. The cartoon-esque illustrations are clear and fun.
When reading this aloud I couldn't help thinking of Jethro Gibbs from the TV show NCIS (even though this book was published before the character had made it to TV).
This is one of the relatively rare cases that a book is eligible for multiple 'national' awards - it was eligible for the Children's Book Council of Australia Awards because Bob Graham is Australian, and it was eligible for the Kate Greenaway Medal because the book was first published in the UK, while Bob was working there. I'd always somehow considered the Kate Greenaway Medal more prestigious. I suppose I felt this because 1) the UK must produce more children's books than Australia (given the population), 2) it has a greater cash prize 3) receiving the award would almost certainly lead to a greater number of book purchases by schools and libraries and I suppose 4) a bit of cultural cringe. Thus it is interesting to note that this book only managed to make the Short List of the CBCA Picture Book of the Year, but managed to win the Kate Greenaway Medal. ...more
**spoiler alert** A lovely story about the night escapades of Baby Brenda.
Ann James has done a lovely job in creating the illustrations - chalk pastel**spoiler alert** A lovely story about the night escapades of Baby Brenda.
Ann James has done a lovely job in creating the illustrations - chalk pastels on coloured paper do a wonderful job at providing the feeling of night, without hiding the action. (I also love her dedication with the last minute addition of the her baby's name!). The illustrations alone provide I think the most amusing aspect of the book - that Baby Brenda looses her nappy squeezing through the cat-flap, then replaces it on return!
The moral of the story is that babys/kids are capable of so much more than their parents think they are....more
"I died last night. Seventy years too young." Certainly the most powerful two sentences I've read in a very long time. Thus begins a haunting, disturb"I died last night. Seventy years too young." Certainly the most powerful two sentences I've read in a very long time. Thus begins a haunting, disturbing and incredibly sad story of the death of a fictional child, inspired by the 2005/06 food crisis that occured in Niger.
Each double-page-spread was illustrated by a different illustrator. The talent collected in this book is amazing, with some of Australia's best known picture book illustrators among the contributors (e.g. Bruce Whatley, Judy Horacek), along with numerous professional artists. I think David Legge's illustration was particularly poignant: It shows a Western kitchen bin, with a newspaper open to an article on a famine (and a rediculously expensive wedding), with the owner of the bin throwing half his dinner away - with the text "The world has shut its ears and moved on."
A 'feature' of having so many illustrators is that there is little linking the illustrations together except the theme of famine and children dying.
While a picture book this is certainly not for young kids - the central theme of young kids dying would be pretty disturbing for them....more
I suppose this is a heart-warming tale of a boy (Irving) who brings light and joy into an otherwise heartless inner-city neighbourhood through his magI suppose this is a heart-warming tale of a boy (Irving) who brings light and joy into an otherwise heartless inner-city neighbourhood through his magic shows.
I just don't feel that the lack of magic is a real problem in most people's lives - and the lack of a problem I could relate to really left me wanting more from this book. By the end of the book I was able to see the use of magic as simply a catalyst to fix a larger problem - the lack of a sense of community in cities, but by then the book had lost my interest.
I liked the illustrations... But I felt that as we gained that sense of community at Irving's magic show the illustrations could have better reflected the joy in that moment in contrast with the grungy, gritty illustrations earlier in the story.
So this wasn't a bad book by any measure, I just didn't get into it....more
This book highlights the dry Australian continent very well - in fact many of the dry scenes look like the viA book that you'll need to be careful of.
This book highlights the dry Australian continent very well - in fact many of the dry scenes look like the view out my window! Highlighting the difficulties many face in finding clean water, the need of potable water conservation and generally the importance of water in maintaining quality of life are important points that kids need to learn about.
On the other hand "water witching" is a con. Check out these sites for a scientific view on the validity of water witching: United States Geological Service (USGS), and the Skeptic's Dictionary. Really there is no need to pass this type of unscientific nonsense on to the next generation. For this reason I would have given this 1 star - but the lessons about water conservation bring it up to 2. ...more
**spoiler alert** To my sober adult sensibilities this book was pretty trippy - which should make it just perfect for preschool kids!
Read it first yo**spoiler alert** To my sober adult sensibilities this book was pretty trippy - which should make it just perfect for preschool kids!
Read it first yourself to work out what is going on - Brian Yellow has a couple of nicknames. Na-na (his grandmother) calls him Banana, while Grumpy (his grandfather) calls him Duck. It never becomes clear where Sunshine comes from...
The story is about the adventures Brian has when he is staying with his grandparents one weekend - he gets lost in the supermarket and is found by a man inexplicably dressed as a giant prawn. His grandmother, sensibly, finds a way to stop him getting lost - a yellow balloon should do the trick. His grandfather gets him out of the house and goes to visit that icon of Australian tourist attractions, the BIG THING - in this case The Big Cow (those looking for it look just north of Nambour, Queensland). Brian bemoans that it isn't a big duck - then the yellow balloon takes over and Brian and flys away, finds the Big Duck (in reality located on Long Island in New York state) and returns and installs it in his grandparents lounge room. ...more
The story, and particularly the illustrations capture the isolation of Australian pioneer families - Australian sandalwood is native to southwest WestThe story, and particularly the illustrations capture the isolation of Australian pioneer families - Australian sandalwood is native to southwest Western Australia. The other element of the story is Lizzie's imagination and sense of fun - I just don't think the illustrations did this portion of the story justice - they simply portray what is really there.
When reading this book aloud I think it is critical that you read 'nonsense' in playful jest, otherwise the moral of the book could be interpreted that imagination and play is just nonsense!
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