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Our Granny

16 September, 2014

How can you beat the winning combination of author Margaret Wild and illustrator Julie Vivas? Then add a book that talks about “Granny” and it’s a winner in this house (my mother is Granny to her grandchildren).

This book looks at all different sorts of grannies. Some knit, some go to protest rallies, some wear jeans or do exercises for their wobbly bottoms. It’s a great antidote to all those books that depict grey-haired grannies, sitting on rocking chairs, knitting.


Hello Baby

9 September, 2014

If I was to think of any illustrators from my childhood, I can think of… Well three. But one of those would be Julie Vivas.

In Hello Baby, author Jenni Overend and illustrator Vivas take on a story of a home birth. There is a little nudity in this book but it’s dealt with sensitively and appropriately.

It’s one of the longest books I would put in this category but I would make it essential reading if you are planning a home birth or for your child to be present at the birth of a child, or your child is especially inquisitive about the process of giving birth. A beautiful picture book for young children, about the important “stuff” of life.

Can You Cuddle Like A Koala?

2 September, 2014


John Butler writes and illustrates beautiful books about animals for young children. This is a perfect bedtime story and I think we actually have two copies of this book – a board book and a paperback.

The text is simple and rhyming, and the illustrations take up a full double page each. The illustrations themselves are muted and quiet, soothing ready for bed. We also have “While You Were Sleeping” by Butler.

Boo to a Goose

26 August, 2014


Boo to a Goose is one of those classic repetitive, rhyming books for toddlers and preschoolers. I used to read this daily when I worked in childcare, and the kids loved it. The illustrations are collage style, making them seem to jump out of the page. I am a big Mem Fox fan (although less so some of her more recent work) and this book is no exception.

“I’d dance with a pig in a shiny green wig, but I wouldn’t say boo to a goose.”

Baby Boomsticks

19 August, 2014


Margaret Wild is a much loved Australian children’s author. She is lovely too, as I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her, some years ago. In this book, she teams up with illustrator David Legge (author and illustrator of Bamboozled) to create this lovely tale that really deserves to be turned into a movie.

Mr and Mrs Boomsticks have a tiny baby. Except the baby doesn’t stay tiny. They feed him with spoons and then a shovel because he eats so much. He sleeps in a cradle, and a bed and eventually a hay stack. None of the other parents will let their children play with Baby Boomsticks, but he fills his parents hearts with joy.

Eventually the town turns around and learns to love Baby Boomsticks, but you’ll have to read the story to find out how.

Games we Love – Rummy-O

16 August, 2014

I’m hoping to start a new series of posts (so the blog isn’t entirely about children’s picture books, sorry) about games we love (and those we don’t). I am hoping to post regularly but, to be honest, the series will over time as we sort through our far-too-extensive collection of board games and decide which ones to keep and which to pass on.

The first one on our “keepers” list is Rummy-O. It also goes by the name Rummikub, but the gameplay is the same. Or so we think because somehow our box didn’t come with rules.

Rummy-O was a wedding present (thanks Brian and Linda Curran) and we’ve enjoyed playing it over the last twelve and a half years. It’s a strategy game with tiles but there’s a fair amount of chance. As you can tell from the title, it’s similar to the card game Rummy, where you make sets of the same number or runs of cards (or in the case of Rummy-O, tiles) of the same colour.

It’s quick to learn the basics of how to play but takes a bit of problem solving and strategy to play well.

It takes 20-30 mins to play depending on how long you like to agonise over every turn. It’s for 2-4 players although we only have two tile racks left so for us it’s only a two player game now.


For the record, those are my (Liz’s) tiles in the foreground and, yes, I won.

Bamboozled by David Legge

12 August, 2014

My discovery of this book is an interesting one. Way back into last CENTURY I was studying Early Childhood Education and was on practical experience at a local child care centre. At that child care centre happened to be two boys who were brothers, and whose father was David. David happened to mention that he’d written a book… So I tracked it down.

The text of this book is not what makes it clever. It’s the illustrations (David Legge did those too). The story is of a girl who goes to visit her grandfather’s house and notices something is wrong, but can’t place her finger on it. Each illustration contains dozens of things that are “wrong” – a pet tiger in a high chair, mown grass as “carpet” in a sitting room, light bulbs planted in the garden… And yet none of these things is what is wrong.

Eventually, the girl works out that… No, I won’t spoil it for you.

A great book for reading together with 1-5 children. I have used it in a classroom situation but it’s tricker because you REALLY need to see the pictures.



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