Showing posts with label John Phillips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Phillips. Show all posts

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Bruno The Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush

Bruno The Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush by Robyn Osborne, illustrated by John Phillips (Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP 24.99 ISBN 9781925675504

Reviewed by Claire Stuckey

Bruno is a boisterous blue dog from the bush who shares a very distinct outback lifestyle with Bob. This is a very alliterative tale which celebrates mateship and relies on colloquial language of the Australian bush.

Reminiscent of Footrot Flats books and comics, the illustrations may entice adults to share the title and children to pick up the book. Once introduced in their bush setting, the story continues in the city after Bob wins " a few bucks " on the races and travels around Australia only to realise that "the bush no longer seemed bonzer." After some high living in the city complete with butler, Bruno begins demolishing the apartment so "Bob blew his block " but the pair reconcile after Bob's accidental fall from the balcony. The buddies return to the bush once more somewhere near Bandywallop.   

With so much alliteration I wonder how children will cope with the text, although parents may find the text dated, with teams like ‘bully beef’ and ‘Bonox’. The story requires some intonation to achieve the intended humour so that teachers and librarians may find the book useful to encourage reluctant readers.   

This book is difficult to recommend for a specific age range as it is a picture book with text and concepts suitable for an older reader perhaps 7-10 years.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

The Duke of Hinklewinkle

The Duke of Hinklewinkle by John Phillips (Big Sky Publishing)
 PB RRP $14.99
ISBN 978-1-925675-15-3

Reviewed by Stacey Gladman

There is nothing chicken about The Duke of Hinklewinkle. The story is set in a small seaside town called Hinklewinkle where the main character - Bridget - lives. Bridget spends a lot of time with her Grandpa who breeds show chickens as a hobby, and it's something that the pair enjoy doing together. One day her Grandpa lets Bridget, who has been feeling a lonely, pick out a chicken of her own.

Bridget could have her choice of all the breeds, but in the end it's a bit of a strange looking rooster which she quickly names the Duke of Hinklewinkle. She loves her rooster, and he in turn loves her; it's a real friendship.

Grandpa's cranky old neighbour Mr Borewater also breeds chickens and he makes fun of the Duke of Hinklewinkle. But it's not long before the Duke comes to Mr Borewater's aid, helping to chase off a fox from his prized chickens.

The story is heartwarming and has a number of key themes including acceptance and learning to look beyond superficial appearances. I can see children learning a lot from this story about friendship and not judging a book by its cover.

The illustrations, also by Phillip, completed with a comic book feel, provide another  element to the story and stand out as something different than the norm.

An interesting book with a completely different subject matter which I think will appeal to children and parents alike.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Parmesan the Reluctant Racehorse

Parmesan the Reluctant Racehorse by Jacqui Halpin, illustrated by John Phillips (Little Pink Dog Books) HB RRP $24.95 ISBN 9780994626929

Reviewed by Stacey Gladman

In life there are adversities and challenges around every corner, the real challenge is how we deal with them. Parmesan, the Reluctant Racehorse introduces the reader to a racehorse, with a rather unique problem. 

Parmesan is a racehorse, or is he? As far as Parmesan is concerned he very well could be a dog, and since birth he has done everything like a dog, from stretching like a dog to even fetching like a dog.

Unfortunately for Parmesan, he is not a dog and with champion heritage parents, his owner expects big things for him on the race track. One day Parmesan's owner came to visit him at the stables expecting to see a champion racehorse in training, but what he finds is a horse who thinks he is a dog. 
His owner threatens to sell Parmesan if he is not race-ready, which is upsetting for his trainer, Joe. Joe tries and tried to remind Parmesan he is a horse, but nothing is working. From tying a carrot to a stick in front of him, Joe tries everything until inspiration strikes: what if he makes the race like a game of fetch, which Parmesan adores? 
It seems that dogs can be champion racehorse; well at least for Parmesan they can. For the first time in his life, Parmesan feels like a racehorse. "He ran like a horse. He won like a horse. He even fetched like" While racehorses might not be well known for their fetching skills, Parmesan shows that you can be more than what's expected of you and to test boundaries. 

Parmesan, the Reluctant Racehorse is a charming story of testing boundaries and embracing your differences, no matter what your quirkiness may be. I loved the use of humour in the story, and it was a subject matter slightly different that I think will appeal to younger children.

The picture book is beautifully illustrated with colourful imagery that grabs the attention of readers both young and old alike.