Showing posts with label Sara Acton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sara Acton. Show all posts

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The Tales of Mr Walker


The Tales of Mr Walker by Jess Black, illustrated by Sara Acton (Puffin Books) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9780143793076

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Sub-titled ‘a hotel dog with a nose for adventure’, this is a beautifully designed and presented book which would suit children aged 8 to 11 years who enjoy chapter books. There are four mini books between the covers: Mr Walker at the Park, Mr Walker and the Mystery Guest, Mr Walker and the Garden Surprise and Mr Walker Finds a Home.

At the start of the first story, Mr Walker, a golden Labrador dog, is being driven by Tracy to the Park Hyatt Hotel where he is to take up the position of Guide Dog ambassador of a park. The dog has no idea what an ambassador is, but he is welcomed to the hotel first by Thomas then by Henry Reeves whose family lives in a hotel apartment and who befriend him.

All four books are told from Mr Walker’s point of view as he gets to know guests – all wealthy and privileged, some famous -- and embarks upon adventures within the hotel whose employees include Chef Remy, housekeeper Meraj and Omid on the front desk. Always eager to help, Mr Walker always identifies people by their smells, including a mysterious man who is discriminated against but who turns out to be quite different from what he first appears.

This is a gently-told story with much charm and no real dramas which is likely to appeal to readers who prefer a ‘quiet’ story. Mr Walker is lovable even though he acts in typical dog fashion at times which gets him into scrapes.

The watercolour illustrations fit the mood of the story while the text is in large font which makes for easy reading. Royalties from sales of this book go to Guide Dogs Victoria.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Quick as a Wink Fairy Pink

Quick as a Wink Fairy Pink by Lesley Gibbes and Sara Acton
(Working Title Press) HB RRP $24.99 
ISBN 978 1 921504 86 0

Reviewed by Vicki Thornton

This is a gorgeous bedtime story featuring five little flutter fairies, Fairy Blue, Fairy Green, Fairy Gold, Fairy Red and the mischievous Fairy Pink. As the fairies do their nightly rituals, of taking a bath, cleaning their teeth, getting in pyjamas and reading a story, one little fairy is hiding.

Told in rhyming text, and with the repetitive verse
‘But someone’s playing hide and seek.
Can you see her? Take a peek.
Quick as a wink, find Fairy Pink.
it invites the reader to help find this elusive fairy pink.

With simple soft pastel coloured illustrations this book will be a favourite bedside read for your little one. Not only does it reinstate all that’s involved in getting ready for bed, it also gives the chance for the reader to discover Fairy Pink in her hiding places.

A great read for younger children, five and under, although older children will also enjoy the rhyme and illustrations.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Daddy Cuddle

Daddy Cuddle written by Kate Mayes, illustrated by Sara Acton (Harper Collins)                                  
HBK RRP $19.99                                                                                                                                 ISBN 9780733334054

Reviewed by Sharon McGuinness

This is a gentle story about a bunny who just wants to play – no matter how early her day starts. Daddy is still in bed as the young bunny peers around the bedroom door. 

‘Daddy up?’ she questions, before disappearing to grab a bouncy ball.

Daddy sleeps on as bunny brings in other items one by one, each will surely entice daddy to wake.

Only one thing left to do: ‘Daddy wake up!” she shouts.

The young early riser is common in all households with children. The soft illustrations by Sara Acton are the perfect accompaniment to Mayes’ light text.

Having previously written under her nom de plume Ruthie May, Cuddle Daddy is Mayes’ first title under her real name, the separation of her work as a nonfiction sales manager and children’s author has now disappeared.


This book is suitable for sharing with pre schoolers.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Bridie’s Boots

Bridie’s Boots by Phil Cummings, illustrated by Sara Acton (Working Title Press)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 9781921504723
Reviewed by Vicki Thornton

For her fifth birthday Bridie is given a pair of gumboots wrapped in rainbow paper. She loved these boots; they were the best boots ever.

When it rained they kept her feet dry as she crossed wild rivers.
When the sun came out she twirled on tiptoes and splashed in puddles.

Bridie wore her boots all that winter, but then the weather warmed and she put them away. For days, weeks, months and almost a year.  And when winter returns her boots won’t fit. She’s grown out of them, but now is the time to send them on an adventure of their own.

To someone, somewhere, on the other side of the world.

This is a charming story of a little girl who dreams of adventures, and when her boots no longer fit, she sends them on an adventure too. To a little girl on the other side of the world, who will love them just as much as she did.

Sara Acton’s soft and delightful illustrations add to this story of passing time and passing things on.  The simple addition of a seed being planted, then watered, flowering then dying back to nothing is a great visual of the passing of time.


Recommended for pre-schoolers,  this would be a good book to read before that ‘yearly toy clean out’.  Keeping the notion that someone else, somewhere in the world, will love your boots – or your toys - just as much as you do.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Poppy Cat

Poppy Cat by Sara Acton (Scholastic Press)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-74362-016-8
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Poppy is a playful cat, a copy-cat, and this is just perfect for her young owner. She and her little girl spend the day doing things together but sometimes Poppy can be a little mischievous.
I love Sara Acton's picture books and this one is no exception. The companionship between the girl and cat are brought out wonderfully in the simplicity of the story, the gorgeous illustrations and the way the words roll off the tongue. 'Poppy is a copy cat. She follows me wherever I go.'
This would make a lovely bedtime story with it’s gentle nature and lovely rhythm. Also with the way the story 'holds' the day - beginning with the girl and cat rising to dress and ending with a calm cuddle; the little girl’s pink spotted pyjama's making lovely bookends to the story.
Acton's illustrations are painted and messy, giving a sense of movement and fun, but with gentle colours, not hectic. She doesn't fill the page with colour, but let's her pictures wander to any part of the page. A cheeky feather in the corner of a page teasing Poppy, or the delightful picture of a small cat followed by little blue paw prints after an incident with paint. This is a picture book where words and pictures come together to create the story a child experiences.
I think young children will respond to this book immediately, with affection and the intimacy that comes from relating to, and living in, a story.

A beautiful book for toddlers and up.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Esther’s Rainbow

Esther’s Rainbow written by Kim Kane and illustrated by Sara Acton (Allen and Unwin)
PB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-74331-370-1
Reviewed by Ann Harth (www.annharth.com )

Esther’s Rainbow starts and ends with a rainbow and colours fill every page. Esther spies a rainbow while eating lunch on Sunday. It’s soft, warm and smells like honey.

On Monday Esther looks for her rainbow but instead, sees all things violet, like Daddy’s shirt and Granny’s chocolate creams. On Tuesday she sees indigo in a forgotten feather and the midnight sky but Esther still can’t find her rainbow. The days of the week go by and Esther sees a different colour each day. When she wakes on a Monday to a soft, sweet rain shower, her rainbow returns.

Kim Kane and Sara Acton have introduced colours and the days of the week within the page turning quality of their book, but the unique imagery and memorable language are what attracted me. Children will be able to relate to the violet in hard, shiny nail polish, the blue in the echo of a swimming pool and yellow on baby’s I-like-butter chin. The words flow beautifully and the simple but effective illustrations allow you to fall in love with Esther immediately.

Esther’s Rainbow is suitable for children aged 3-6 but children younger and older will enjoy it as well. It recreates a familiar but colourful week in the life of a child but enhances it with a unique touch. Most children will identify with Esther’s experiences.

Kim Kane was born in London but now resides with her family in Melbourne. 2011 was a big year for her as two of her picture books, Family Forest and Vegetable Ark were recognised by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Family Forest was shortlisted for the CBCA award and Vegetable Ark was a CBCA notable book in two separate categories. But those aren’t her only awards. Her first book, Pip: the Story of Olive, received the Barbara Ramsden Award in 2008.

Sara Acton was also born in England and lived in New Zealand before moving to Australia. She now lives near the ocean in New South Wales. She is an award winner in her own right and her work in Esther’s Rainbow illustrates the reason for this. Her book, Ben and Duck, was the winner of the CBCA Crichton Award for new illustrators.

Ann Harth is a published children's author and writing tutor at Australian College of Journalism. She loves to read and is committed to creating children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind. Her latest middle-grade novel, The Art of Magic, will be released in 2012.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Hold on Tight

Hold on Tight by Sara Acton (Scholastic Press)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-74283-349-1
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

What would happen on a windy day if you let go of Mum’s hand and blew away? This lovely poetic picture book explores the possibilities. Soft ink and watercolour illustrations fill the pages creating breeze and movement rustling though the book. The gentle pictures and pastel palette match the gentle weightlessness of the story. The imagination of these pictures is inspiring. The rhyme is good, but the placement of the text on the page ensures that it is the rhythm that dominates. And this increases the dreamy flow of the experience.

The language, storyline and illustrations all work beautifully together making this is a delightful book to be swept up into. And I love that we are brought gently, but firmly, back to earth at the end of the book. I’m sure any young child would love to be the child in the story, floating high above earth with the wind, autumn leaves, lady birds and raindrops.

Hold on Tight is a dreamy book, just right for all children who would love to fly.