Showing posts with label picture book. Show all posts
Showing posts with label picture book. Show all posts

Thursday, 17 January 2019

The Box Cars

The Box Cars by Robert Vescio, illustrated by Cara King (EK Books) PB
ISBN: 9781925335835 RRP: $24.99

Reviewed by Anne Helen Donnelly

Liam and Kai are best friends. They love playing in the park every day, with their cars made from cardboard boxes. Their imaginations run wild. Sometimes they are police officers, sometimes they are drivers for movie stars and sometimes they are taxi drivers.

One day Eve was watching them and enjoying their games. She cheered and waved and ran alongside. Liam and Kai offered Eve their box cars but there were only two cars for three people. How can they solve this problem so that all three of them can enjoy the freedom of box cars?

This is a fun tale with a simple-story line that will have broad appeal with themes of friendship, sharing and solving problems. The illustrations are soft and whimsical and a good compliment to the text. Recommended for boys and girls ages 4 – 8 years old.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

The Ice Monster

The Ice Monster by David Walliams, illustrated by Tony Ross (Harper Collins) PB RRP $22.99
ISBN 9780008297244

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

The Ice Monster is a middle grade fiction novel set in London in 1899. The protagonist, Elsie, is a kind-hearted 10-year-old orphan who has lived at Wormly Hall: Home for Unwanted Children all her life. After being constantly and severely mistreated by the iniquitous old Mrs Curdle, who manages the orphanage, Elsie decides to escape to ‘anywhere but here.’

Elsie then lives on the streets and fends for herself. Her new-found freedom, and sneaky tricks, allows her daily access to the National History Museum to relish in the wonders of the world. Big news soon hits London that an Ice Monster will be arriving from the Arctic to be exhibited at the museum! Elsie sees its photo on the front page of the newspapers and feels an instant connection as it looks ‘lost and alone’’an orphan’’just like me’. She follows the news daily until the perfectly preserved woolly mammoth, found frozen in a huge slab of ice, arrives. Elsie immediately and unequivocally adores it.

Elsie comes up with an idea to bring the prehistoric creature to back to life.  With the assistance of a newly found ally (Dotty the museum cleaner) and an egocentric museum Professor they put their strategy into action. A hilarious adventure and plenty of mishaps ensue, including a list of entertaining characters and some enemies intent on foiling Elsie’s plans for ‘Woolly’.

481 pages including 78 chapters may, at first, seem overwhelming for younger readers, however; with a quick flick through the pages they’ll soon discover lots of monochrome pictures, big spacing between lines and plenty of onomatopoeia in large bold font throughout the book. The Ice Monster is highly recommended for children aged 8+ who enjoy humorous adventures. For those of you familiar with Walliams work and curious… yes, Raj makes an appearance!

Friday, 28 December 2018


Rodney written and illustrated by Kelly Canby (Fremantle Press) PB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9781925815320

Reviewed by Julie Dascoli.

“Come and play,” screeched the monkeys.

“We can see the ocean from our homes, come up and take a look,” sang the birds.

Poor Rodney dreams desperately to be high above the trees but he is a turtle. His efforts to climb the trees result in disappointment and has him feeling very, very small. It’s not until he wanders sadly off and leaves his friends behind that something happens. His surroundings begin to change. As this happens, his friends, his perception of himself and his place in the world changes, too.

This story made me smile. Straight away I fell in love with Rodney and felt empathy for his plight. I was so happy when he realised his happiness in a different environment and comes to understand that size is just a matter of perspective.

Kelly Canby has created a beautiful story in a simple, thoughtful way both with her words and pictures. The message is subtle but powerful, perfect for children aged 3 to 5.

The illustrations seem to be very different to Canby’s other works in that they are hand-painted and then cut out and made into collages. This gives this 32-page, read-aloud picture book a 3D effect. The green and brown of the grass and the trees with the animals entwined in the leaves and splashes of colour everywhere else is visually appealing. The satin finish hard cover also gives Rodney a luxurious feel. 

Kelly Canby, born in England, came to Australia as a small child, (That means we claim her as ours now.) She now has over a dozen published books to her credit including, The Hole Story which was a big hit, selling all over the world.

Canby is very busy in the children’s literature world: when she is not illustrating or writing, she is on the committee of the Children’s Book Council of Australia. WA branch and on the Shaun Tan Award for Young Artists’ judging panel. She is also The Regional Advisor for SCBWI, WA and is an active blogger, and Instagramer with over 3,500 followers.

Canby is available for primary school and book shop visits: you can contact her through her publisher, Freemantle Press.

“Rodney” will be a welcome addition to any kindergarten or community library
and indeed any home collection.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018


Scapegoat written by Ava Keyes illustrated by Aleksandra Szmidt (Little Steps Publishing) RRP $14.95 (PB) ISBN 9780648267461

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

This bright and cheerful looking picture book covers a subject not so happy – family bullying. This is Ava Keyes’s debut picture book, partner-published with Little Steps Publishing. In rhyming prose, the story unfolds of Scapegoat, who is blamed by his family for everything that goes wrong. Illustrations by Alexsandra Szmidt add character and humour to balance the more serious topic of the book.

Scapegoat is a young goat who keeps getting into trouble. His brother Marco is fun to play with, but when he is naughty, it’s Scapegoat who gets told off. In fact, even when the parents do something wrong, Scapegoat is blamed for that as well. It is at school that Scapegoat’s friends realise what’s going on at home and the impact this is having on Scapegoat. They talk to the teacher, who then approaches the parents about it.

It is an interesting topic as most books about bullying deal with what happens at school, so this is a kind of different side of things. The book could be used by teachers for kids when they suspect it might be happening at home. The resolution of the story is more about the child believing in themselves than the parents changing their behavior, which could be empowering for someone in this situation. While the rhythm of the rhyme is not always consistent, using animals to represent children lifts the story and makes it more fun.

Scapegoat could be read aloud by adults, who can then explain the concepts to children or read independently by kids who like the illustrations. Scapegoat is a niche book with a definite purpose for kindergarten and lower primary school children.

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.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Rainforest Feasts

Rainforest Feasts by Carolyn Eldridge-Alfonzetti, illustrated by Heather Charlton (Wild Eyed Press) PB RRP $15.50 ISBN 9780648161127

Reviewed by Nikki M Heath

What do the critters of the rainforest get up to when they wake up at night? Feed their hungry bellies, of course! This colourful book of rhyming verse explores the eating habits of a variety of rainforest creatures.

The book comprises a series of vignettes rather than a narrative plot. The unusual selection of animals and insects Eldridge-Alfonzetti has featured, including crayfish, native rats and glow worms, distinguishes the book from comparable titles.

The watercolour illustrations are bright and colourful while still conveying a sense of the night-time forest setting. Each spread shows the featured rainforest creature and its prey, often in the act of capturing or eating the meal. Some critters are rendered with a greater sense of character and likeness than others, and not all are perfectly consistent throughout. Nevertheless, young children will enjoy the double-page spreads.

The final spreads will particularly enthrall young audiences, with a challenge to find all the featured creatures in both a daytime and night time setting. This book would form an engaging yet relaxing part of any young child’s bedtime routine and is particularly suited to 3 to 8 year olds. With its large, bold illustrations and many springboards for discussion, it would also fit well into a junior primary classroom.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

The Crocodile Who Found His Smile

The Crocodile Who Found His Smile by Hancy Pancy, illustrated by Ann Snell (Austin Macauley Publishers) PB RRP $26.99 ISBN: 9781787107243

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

Crosby the crocodile is ‘not a happy chap’. He longs to find a friend on the river, but nobody wants to play with him. Uncle Gnarly Nose ‘smacks his big, strong tail’ at Crosby, and then a bird ‘flaps her sleek black wings’ as she flies away from the lonely croc. Even Crosby’s mum is too busy to swim with him. Little does Crosby know that his mum and dad have planned a big surprise for him – a new brother and sister with whom he can have fun. Now he ‘has the biggest smile … [and] is a happy crocodile’.

Created by the Australian pair HancyPancy and Ann Snell, The Crocodile Who Found His Smile is a delightful picture book for kids aged three to seven years. As HancyPancy’s rhyming text follows Crosby’s search for a playmate, it gently introduces young readers to real-life details about crocodiles (including what happens during territorial disputes). For older children keen to know more about saltwater crocodiles, HancyPancy has added extra information in verse form at the end of the book, such as they’re ‘three times faster than the fastest man’.

Ann Snell’s vibrant illustrations bring the story to life. She channels the Impressionist artists of the nineteenth century, with her bold strokes of colour adding a unique dynamism to the scenes. Light dapples exquisitely across the river’s cerulean surface, and the subtle change in hues as day turns to evening is entrancing.

Children who adore animals – especially reptiles – will fall in love with Crosby the ‘curious croc’ and enjoy the clever blend of fact and fiction throughout the narrative. And, if they look carefully at the lively images, they might spot an elusive little frog on each page!

Monday, 19 November 2018

Johnny’s Beard

Johnny’s Beard by Michelle Worthington, illustrated by Katrin Dreiling (Little Pink Dog Books) PB RRP: $24.95 ISBN: 9780648256304

Reviewed by Anne Helen Donnelly

Johnny’s beard was his pride and joy. It was glorious and splendiferous. But this didn’t happen by itself: Johnny spent hours washing it, drying it and combing it. He loved the feel of his beard, keeping him warm and feeling the breeze blowing through it.

One winter morning Johnny met a mouse, a twitchy mouse whose house was too cold for the winter. Johnny offered to share his warm home with the mouse, so the mouse climbed into Johnny’s beard for a ride. Then Johnny picked up a rabbit, a raven and a family of hedgehogs. His beard was getting to be a very busy place!

He took them all home where they huddled by the fire. But how was Johnny going to house all these little critters? Where could they sleep and what did he have to keep them all snug and warm all winter?

This is a fun story for children aged 4 – 8 years. The illustrations are colourful, lively and full of character. And who wouldn’t like a word such as “splendiferous!” My children liked this “funny story” so it comes recommended by experts!

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Grey-glasses-it is

Grey-glasses-it is by Lynn Jenkins, illustrated by Kirrili Longergan (EK Books(
ISBN: 9781925335958 RRP: $19.99

Reviewed by Anne Helen Donnelly

In a little garden in a little village on top of a big mountain, Loppy the Lac was painting, surrounded by colour. He admired the different colours and felt different feelings. Blue made him peaceful, red excited him and yellow made him cheerful.

Loppy’s friend Curly came by and gave Loppy a pair of purple lensed glasses to look through. Purple made Loppy feel creative and green lensed glasses made him feel relaxed. Then Loppy tried a pair of grey lensed glasses. These made Loppy feel sad and he didn’t want to paint any longer. He had no energy and felt “blah.”

Luckily, Curly knew just what was wrong and how to fix it; grey-glasses-itis!

One of EK’s ‘Books with heart on issues that matter’ book, and the fourth story in the Lessons of a LAC series; this book aims to give your child a way to think about and manage their moods and feelings. The message is that the way we look at things will affect the way we feel, a good life lesson. The cover and illustrations remind me of Dr Suess. The story and the illustrations are orchestrated well to tell the story. Recommended for children aged 4 to 8 years old.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Bigger than yesterday, smaller than tomorrow

Bigger than yesterday, smaller than tomorrow by Robert Vescio, illustrated by Kathy Creamer (Little Pink Dog Books) PB RRP: $24.95 ISBN: 9780994626950

Reviewed by Anne Helen Donnelly

It is the summer holidays and Hannah and Dad, and their dog Hugo, are going camping for the first time. This is an exciting adventure now that Hannah is getting older. Now that Hannah is bigger there are lots more things she could do; like protecting Hugo, helping Dad pitch the tent and climbing a tall tree.

As night approaches, Hannah doesn’t feel so big, though, and misses her Mum. Luckily, Dad is prepared with hot chocolate, bedtime books and everything that Hannah likes. But what really puts her at ease is her Mum’s scarf, wrapped snuggly around her neck, that feels just like a hug from Mum.

This is a story about a child who is discovering her independence, without straying too far from home and the security she is used to. Beautiful fun illustrations and simply told. This book will appeal to younger children ages 4 – 8 years.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Little Spiral

Little Spiral by Pat Simmons, illustrated by Patrick Shirvington (Little Steps Publishing) PB RRP $16.95 ISBN 9780648267324

Reviewed by Brook Tayla

Little Spiral is a beautiful poetic journey that explores the life cycle of a snail.

The whole book has an air of mystery and intrigue.  Right from the first page you wonder which little pearl coloured circle could be the actual snail forming on the forest floor.

And then the journey begins that leads us through growth, life and a new generation – a circular narrative.

The text is written simply but meaningfully with words that evoke re-reading and pondering. The ink/watercolour illustrations are a perfect visual match and give depth of meaning to the story.  The edge-to-edge pictures pull readers right into the forest scenario, so that you feel you are actually there and feel an empathy with the snail, ‘Little Spiral’ – what a clever, delightful name!

This is a picture book that will be enjoyed by all ages and returned to often, not only to ponder life but also to check back in with this now familiar and cute little snail.

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.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018


It really pays some time to go to a writing workshop. In 2017, author Tristan Bancks ran ‘Go Nuts!” This is what he instructed his students: “Get yourself a notepad. Write the words 'I remember' at the top of the first page. Set a timer for five or ten minutes. Press start and write down everything you remember happening in your life. Big things, little things, sad things. Write for the whole time without stopping:.

Pat Simmons, a Buzz Worder who attended the workshop and did the above exercise, re-worked it, and submitted it as a picture book. Lo and behold, the manuscript has been accepted for publication and will appear in 2021. Well done, Pat!

Monday, 15 October 2018

Ho! Ho! Ho! There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Christmas Cake

Ho! Ho! Ho! There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Christmas Cake by Hazel Edwards, illustrated by Deborah Niland (Puffin Books) HB RRP $19.99 ISBN 978 0143790679
Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Australian author Hazel Edwards had a best-seller, There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake, in 2005 and since then she has produced various incantations of the book which is targeted at pre-schoolers. Now here’s the latest with the oversized pink hippo complete with a Santa hat getting ready for Christmas.

A curly blonde-haired boy is told by his father that there’s a man fixing roof tiles, but the boy knows the truth – there’s a hippopotamus up there getting ready – as is he – for Christmas. The hippo is making a cake and icing it, then he’s making a list for Santa (just like the boy). Before long the hippo is dancing a cake dance. 

At the same time that the boy and his family are decorating their Christmas tree, the hippo on the roof has a disaster – he accidentally sits on his Christmas tree ‘with his big wobbly bottom'! However, hippo is clever, and fixes it so it looks as good as new. Niland’s full-page, colourful illustration on this page shows a tree resplendent with goodies such as carrots, apples, cherries and cakes (donuts and lamingtons, of course!)

The rest of the book has the boy and the hippo on the roof preparing for the big day (gingerbread, card-making, wrapping gifts, stringing fairy lights) until finally the boy’s family all dress in Santa suits (as does the hippo). On Christmas eve there’s Carols by Candlelight, and of course stockings and food for Santa and his reindeer. When Christmas Day arrives, there is happiness and discovery for everyone.

This is a joyous, even scrumptious book with page after page of bright illustrations that reward the reader with multiple readings. It will especially appeal to any child who is super-excited as he or she anticipates all that Christmas Day will bring, and who is involved with family in preparing for the big day. The text is easy to read with large font and simple sentences. Certainly this is a great book for a small child’s Christmas stocking!

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Jacaranda Magic

Jacaranda Magic by Dannika Patterson, illustrated by Megan Forward (Ford Street Publishing) HB ISBN:9781925804003   RRP $24.95 PB ISBN: 9781925804010   RRP $16.95

Reviewed by Brook Tayla

The flowers falling from the jacaranda tree sparks the imagination of five bored friends with nothing to do in this newly released picture book.

 The story, written in rhyming verse, weaves its way through a multitude of scenarios that the children imagine as they play on and around the jacaranda which is in full bloom. Childhood freedom and fun is presented, reminding readers of all ages of the simple joys of life that can be created just by using your imagination.

Award winning illustrator, Megan Forward, has portrayed the story in watercolours that give off a day-dreamy feel - inviting readers into the imaginary worlds that the children make up and explore.

This is a great book to read to children to remind them that we have the best time when life is simple, creative, spontaneous and playful – especially when we share those times interacting with family and friends - and often the best times are in the outdoors. It’s also a great book to have on hand if you hear the ‘bored’ word.

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 – you can do that here: Brook also offers editing services for beginning and emerging writers.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Invisible Jerry

Invisible Jerry by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Giusepe Poli (EK Books) PB RRP: $24.99 ISBN: 9781925335781

Reviewed by Anne Helen Donnelly

People didn’t notice Jerry. Nobody waved to him, said sorry if they bumped into him, laughed at his jokes and he was never picked for sport. It was as if he was invisible. Jerry didn’t want to stand out, but he did want someone to notice him.

One day, Molly came along. Molly was interested in Jerry. She was interested in what he thought, she would share things with him, she said sorry if she bumped into him and she laughed at his jokes. Molly made Jerry smile, for the first time in a long time.

As Jerry’s confidence grows, he becomes strong enough to be someone else’s Molly. To notice and care about others who feel invisible. First it was Paul but then there were others. And so, Molly’s acts of kindness and friendship continued to spread.

This is a quiet and gentle story, championing for the shy introverts who, even if not noticed, have a lot to give. It also shows how kindness can spread like a wonderful contagious disease. The soft illustrations suit the story and there is a good use of colour to portray the tone of the story’s undulations. Recommended for ages 4 – 8 years.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Elbow Grease

Elbow Grease by John Cena, illustrated by Howard McWilliam (Puffin Books) HB RRP $19.99 ISBN 9780143794400

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This picture book is ideal for machine-obsessed boys aged 4 to 8 years as its pages are filled with illustrations of highly modified cars and trucks that take part in a demolition derby. Smallest of these vehicles is Elbow Grease who is undeterred by his size and wants to take on his brothers Tank, Flash, Pinball and Crash who are tougher, faster, smarter and braver. What Elbow has in spades is gumption and pure determination. His aim in life is to have his picture displayed on a garage poster as champion in a monster truck grand prix.

The full-page illustrations seem to be computer-generated, making the vehicles and scenery seem life-like with gleaming duco, city lights, and a racing circuit which is quite spectacular as it shows a race in progress. Elbow Grease is taking part in the Grand Prix, but despite being ‘bashed and smashed and eve caught on fire a little bit’, he keeps on trucking. A storm arrives mid-race and poor Elbow is terrified of lightning; he’s cold and tired, too. At the end of the race (and the book), he says (in speech balloons), ‘What do you mean “The End”? … Never Give up! Never quit!... Never say “The End”.’

Lots of fun and action and bright, captivating illustrations, this book is sure to be carried everywhere by small boys wanting their parents to read it again and again.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Jacaranda Magic

Jacaranda Magic by Dannika Patterson, illustrated by Megan Forward (Ford Street Publishing) PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 9781925804010

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

Jacaranda Magic is a picture book that delightfully captures the beauty of imaginative play and the enchantment that nature so brilliantly provides.

The tale begins with five young friends sitting under a jacaranda tree pondering what to do. They are stuck for ideas until nature beautifully intervenes. The children’s imaginations are soon ignited when a cool breeze causes the purple bell-shaped blooms to rain upon them. The small flowers transform into a variety of props including genies, butterflies and asteroids. The large tree branches become abodes, vehicles and vessels for their lively outdoor adventures.

Jacaranda Magic is beautifully written in verse and accompanied by gorgeous soft pencil and watercolour illustrations, predominately in double-page spreads. This playful picture book is likely to engage children aged 4-6 years old. It would be equally suitable for the early years’ classroom or read as a bedtime story at home. This tale would sing to the heart of any early childhood educator. Let’s hope that the magic of open-ended imaginative play is never lost.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

We Are Together

We Are Together by Britta Teckentrup (Caterpillar Books) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9781848576582

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

The first thing one notices about this picture book for children 4 to 6 years is that it has peek-through pages, including on the hard cover where there are ten children of different colours and nationalities: two of them appear in the cover cut-out. As one opens and reads each page, another child appears and then another until all ten children are together again.

This reinforces the book’s theme that ‘on our own, we’re special… But when we join up… together we’re a team.’ In each of the richly illustrated pages, children can be seen outdoors in changing weather – cloudy skies where they fly kites, golden sunset, autumn winds and so forth. On every double-paged spread is a quatrain in rhyme. For instance, one says, ‘We may travel alone/free as birds in the sky, /But flocking together,/we soar and we fly. When there’s a storm, the verses say, the children can splash through puddles ‘till the sun shines again.’ Another page has the lines, ‘If we all sing together, one voice becomes a choir’.

The whole book shows the power of being sociable and becoming part of ‘one big happy crowd!’ which is one supposes, the whole purpose of bringing children (people) together in our society so it will function happily.

There are dozens of children shown – colourful and happy – in the bright fly pages both ends of the book, and on the final page. This would make a marvellous book for pre-school teachers to present to their students, and for parents trying to make their children function happily in the world.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Waiting for Chicken Smith

Waiting for Chicken Smith by David Mackintosh (Little Hare Books) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN9781760501761

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This story is set on a beach where a child stays in the same cabin every year with his family. Every year, the child’s friend Chicken Smith stays on the beach, too, with his dad and his dog, Jelly. But this year Chicken hasn’t arrived, and this is a worry because there’s lots of usual things to do with him – ride bikes, share milkshakes, walk to the lighthouse with sandwiches and hunt for whales through Chicken’s binoculars.

There’s so much that the narrator and Chicken have shared in the past. But now Chicken’s cabin looks different – the windows are shut; the grass is long, and Chicken’s bike is missing. The boy’s sister urges him to go to the cliff-top with her while he’s waiting, and there, for the first time, the boy sees a whale. Without his holiday friend, the boy and his sister, Mary Ann (named on the last page) get to spend time together, possibly for the first time while on holidays.

The illustrations in this book by Australian author and illustrator, David Mackintosh, are dramatic and wonderful, from pencil drawings to silhouetted shapes (such as a bicycle frame and a lighthouse on a cliff with a red wash and golden moon). Every page rewards the reader with astonishing pictures that immerse one and make one want to be creative, too.

This is a stunning book which evokes so much of the temporary and often intense friendships children make in their lives. It is not usual to have a story about the end of such a holiday friendship, but the author/illustrator celebrates it and shows the reader that sometimes, though friendships end, there are always happy memories. And new experiences to be had. This book is highly recommended for readers 5 to 8 years.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

All the Ways to Be Smart

All the Ways to Be Smart by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys (Scribble) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9781925713435 

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

‘Every hour of every day, we’re smart in our own special way’ reads the penultimate page of this rhyming picture book for readers aged 4 to 7 years. The aim of the book is to show the reader ‘how smart you are the whole day through’ which is certainly good for young egos.

Presented in mostly greens, oranges, blues and browns, the book shows children interacting with a host of beings, some other children and some monsters and some people like pirates, witches and clowns.

Numerous children, such as a red-haired boy, a brown girl, a boy wearing glasses and numerous others are shown being smart in numerous ways. These include being talented in arts and crafts: ‘Smart at drawing things with claws/facts about the dinosaurs’, and in treating other people humanely: ‘Smart is kindness when there’s crying’.

Basically, the book is a list of ways in which children can be smart, presented in rhyming couplets. It would read well aloud and allow small children to feel that they are accomplished as they recognise the skills which they already possess.