Showing posts with label Demelsa Haughton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Demelsa Haughton. Show all posts

Sunday, 14 October 2018


Billie by Nicole Godwin, illustrated by Demelsa Haughton (Tusk Books)
HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9780994531414

Reviewed by Brook Tayla

The author’s intent is very clear in this book – to show the beauty of the natural world in which all animals should live happily and peacefully, compared to the hardships that they actually face every day because of humans.

‘Billie’ presents readers with many scenarios that underwater sea creatures face.  The protagonist is Billie, a bottlenose dolphin, who just wants to spend her days playing joyfully in the surf, but instead, sets about helping animals affected by human intervention.  She does things like free animals from nets and releasing them from fishing lines. 

There is something new to discuss on each page, even after multiple readings – Demelsa Haughton’s illustrations are part of the reason for this.  Although the illustrations are bold and clear, they are layered with extra visual information.  The colour palette used is beautifully calming and maintains a sense of peace that everything is under control. (Even if as adults we know the truth is problematic)

Nicole Godwin is both an author and an animal activist. She is on a mission to save the animals suffering that we currently have on the planet and she is doing this by writing books that start the conversation with children.  Her books introduce children to facts and encourages them, as not only readers, but as people, to think differently about all creatures in the hope of a better more conscious future. Her mission statement reads:

                     ‘We create children’s books that give a voice to those who
                     yelp, roar, moo, oink and trumpet.’

There is a double-page spread at the back of the book that gives readers facts about dolphins and the hardships faced by creatures living in the ocean – a lot of food for thought.

Brook Tayla writes a picture book review blog at [email protected] and would love you to drop by, read some reviews, leave a comment and subscribe.  Brook also offers editing services for beginning and emerging writers.

Thursday, 2 February 2017


Ella written by Nicole Godwin and illustrated by Demelsa Haughton (Tusk Books) HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 9780994531407

Reviewed by Brook Tayla

Nicole Godwin’s story is based on her real life experiences with elephants in Thailand, where she experienced both sides of the elephant industry, from cruel and harsh training for the purpose of tourism, through to volunteering at an elephant sanctuary, where the best is done to give mistreated rescue elephants a dignified place to live out the rest of their days.  ‘Ella’ takes us on a quintessential representation of this experience.

It is a brave journey that presents the truth.  Children want to know the truth and as adults we have a responsibility of care to teach facts in an open and accurate way, ensuring that we are contributing to empathetic and compassionate future generations.  Of course, we don’t want to frighten children, and that is a tender balance that Nicole Godwin masters with her words and Demelsa Haughton supports with her beautiful illustrations. Ella, the baby elephant in this story, has a sad, heart-rending story to tell - but she has strength, courage, persistence and determination that lead her towards an ending with a happy outcome.

Picture books need to engage adult storytellers and this book will definitely do that and will initiate conversations with children on different levels depending upon their age.

I feel saddened at the amount and extent of animal cruelty in the world – which is why more books like this are needed.  I recommend that every household, pre-school, kindergarten and primary school keep a copy of this serious but beautifully told story on their shelves.

Congratulations Nicole and Demelsa  - you handled the difficult with tender tenacity xx

Brook Tayla writes a blog called [email protected] and would love you to drop by, read some reviews, leave a comment and subscribe.