Showing posts with label Karen Erasmus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Karen Erasmus. Show all posts

Friday, 8 February 2019

Grace’s Mystery Seed

Grace’s Mystery Seed by Juliet M Sampson and Karen Erasmus (Ford Street Publishing) PB RRP $24.95 ISBN: 9781925804201

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

A picture book for ages 3+ years, this gardening tale takes us to a place where the simple things can bring the most joy.

Grace’s neighbour, Mrs Marino, has the best backyard in the street. It’s a treasure trove of delights including a veggie patch, fruit trees, chooks, fish pond and birds that visit. Grace is a good helper and loves feeding the birds. She wonders about the seeds that the birds eat.
So together Grace and Mrs Marino plant a seed. Grace learns to care and wait for her plant to grow. She shares her news about her seed and everyone is waiting to see what the seed is. Once the sunflower appears, its specialness shines as it follows the sun. Then, there is one final gift from Grace’s flower: there are enough seeds for everyone next year.

The joy of Australian backyards is delightfully shown with the realistic use of green in its many hues with blue skies in watercolours. The layout is varied and the perspective cleverly shows us the backyards from a variety of angles. I particularly love the bird’s eye views of the backyards.

The language and dialogue delight and this story would be a perfect tool in a classroom. This is a charming book that will appeal to both child and adult readers.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Rose’s Red Boots

Rose’s Red Boots by Maura Finn, illustrated by Karen Erasmus (New Frontier), HB RRP ISBN 9780957988446 

Reviewed by Lisa Hoad

One bright autumn day, Rose and her little dog Banjo decide to go on an adventure. Wearing her beloved red boots and with her trusty companion at her side, Rose goes merrily on her way.
Karen Erasmus’s dazzling illustrations really complement the beautiful imagery conjured up by Maura Finn’s delightful prose.  The vividly inky depth of the water colours, barely contained within Erasmus’s soft, sweeping pencil lines show off the day’s blustery autumnal beauty to perfection.  Some illustrations are glorious double page spreads, showing the stunning countryside backdrop and the whipped up fallen leaves dancing about the two friends, whilst others are delicate vignettes, colourful and bold against the large white pages.
As Rose and Banjo journey on to find the perfect place to fly their kite, they discover so many things to explore and experience along the way.  Mischief and muddy puddles become part of their wonderful adventure and when the weather takes an unexpected turn for the worse, Rose and Banjo must change their plans altogether.                                                                                                                          
They crossed the stream and meadow where the playful rabbits run,                        And buttercups all turn their heads to greet the morning sun.                                        Beneath the trees the autumn leaves lay scattered on the ground.                                       So…                                                                                                                                   
The little red boots went crunching, crunching, crunching.                                         The little red boots went crunching, crunching                                                                 To hear that crunching sound.’
Just as in Alfred Noyes’ narrative poem ‘The Highwayman’ Finn includes a repetitive refrain within her prose. Cleverly using the activity of Rose’s little red boots, Finn adds a wonderful rhythmical quality to the narrative.  As the little red boots are marching, crunching, chasing, splashing, climbing and dancing; young readers will find confidence in each repetitive chorus and be desperate to join in, both verbally and physically.
Recommended for early and preschool readers, children will delight at the sight of this big square picture book with its eye catching cover art and meandering smudgy paw prints. Teachers and parents could easily use this beautifully written and illustrated text to inspire some poetic word play or as a prompt for some adventurous role playing activities whilst also discussing the title’s integral themes of explorative play, danger and friendship.
I just love the way that this title promotes the idea of free and imaginative play, as an independent and confident little Rose takes off on a journey of endless possibilities with only her dog and her fabulous red boots for company.
First published in Reading Time

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Incy Wincy Spider

Incy Wincy Spider illustrated by Karen Erasmus (Lothian/Hachette)
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN: 9780734415493
Reviewed by Hilary Smillie
This in-house picture book has extended the well-known action song and turned it into a lively story. Where else did the Incy Wincy Spider shelter other than the water spout?
Children often scream at spiders, but Karen Erasmus' large-eyed Incy Wincy is very cute and benign sitting in a splash of water on the cover, with legs like liquorice spaghetti. The red of Incy Wincy, the dark turquoise water shooting out of the black spout on a lime-green background is bright and eye-catching.
Young readers will enjoy looking for Incy Wincy in many familiar places: on a beach umbrella, the toilet seat, and a chair are a few examples, and will empathise with him as he survives lots of scary adventures. Grandpa sweeps Incy Wincy off the verandah, the cat threatens him, Aunty Joan nearly flushes him down the toilet, and he gets washed clean in Mum's washing machine, not forgetting a narrow escape when the dog jumps on the bed where he is lying. Perhaps almost being sucked up by the vacuum cleaner is his worst plight.

Although the new text is not as rhythmic or snappy as the original verse, it nevertheless provides a good storyline with plenty of interest and excitement. Incy Wincy demonstrates the determination of real life spiders which are found in so many places around and in the home. Karen Erasmus's illustrations are delightfully executed and it isn't hard to guess where Incy Wincy is found at the end of the tale.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Five Little Platypuses

Five Little Platypuses illustrated by Karen Erasmus (Lothian/Hachette)
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN 9780734414908
Reviewed by Hilary Smillie
The classic children's song, Five Little Ducks Went Out One Day is given an Aussie twist when five little platypuses wander off from their mum. An in-house picture book, Five Little Platypuses has been charmingly illustrated by Karen Erasmus.
The chubby babies are depicted in various watering holes while their anxious mum awaits their return each day. Double page spreads in soft colours enhance the gentle nature of the lyrics, and show the platypus family surrounded by bushland, native flora and smooth river stones. A couple of colourful lorikeets, a frog and a butterfly add extra appeal. I am sure mums will sing, rather than read this picture book to their toddlers as they count how many youngsters return each night.

Observant children will discover all the truant babies on the second last spread and know a happy ending is in store. The great rhythm and repetition of this well-known song is easy to learn and in this new form, will delight another generation of kids.