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Welcome To Country

Joy Murphy & Lisa Kennedy (BlackDogBooks)

Wominjeka Wurundjeri balluk yearmenn koondee bik. Welcome to Country.

This book is a rich and beautiful celebration of the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri People, the Manna Gum People – Melbourne’s traditional owners. Through these pages aspects of the Creation stories flow and an imploring for those of us who journey to this country to only take from the land what can be given back. Respect for elders, respect for the land, and the bond with the land beneath the feet are all woven into Welcome to Country.

“Aboriginal communities across Australia have boundaries that are defined by mountain ranges and waterways. Traditionally, to cross these boundaries or enter community country you needed permission from the neighbouring community. When this permission was granted the ceremony now called Welcome to Country took place. Each community had its own way of welcoming to country, and they still do today.”

Exquisitely detailed illustrations, painted with acrylics, of peoples, the skies, and country, unite with a simple and emotional text on each double page. This is beautiful. This is expansive. This is wonderfully crafted in text and illustration and this book should be in every Australian home and library.

the Stinky Street Stories

Alex Ratt & Jules Faber (Pan)

The first thing I noticed when I woke up on Sunday morning was a mysterious smell… 

There’s Brian (‘call me Brain – everyone does’) his best friend Nerf, Brian’s scientifically minded sister Brenda and the girls who live on Sweet Street.

When Brian wakes to a truly putrid pong, well that is when the trouble begins as Brian investigates and then tries to solve the mystery of this awful pong that has enveloped his house. Together with his friend Nerf they set out to dispose of the awful aroma, even requesting the help of Brenda and her scientific equipment. Woven into the story are cow pats and horse droppings, not-so-sweet smelling home made perfume, and even a tea party! Even a defeat, that was still an epically good trick, cannot deter these boys

Boys are going to love the stinkiness of this book and girls are going to love the victories that the girls create so all in all this will be a really well thumbed book. Good sized text, generous spread of illustrations, appropriate humour and lots of stinky jokes are in the page of this book for younger readers.



Rock Pool Secrets

Rock Pool Secrets
Narelle Oliver
Walker Books

“Down on the rocky shore,
waves crash and smash.
Then the tide goes out and the sea is calm.
It’s a good time to explore the rock pools.”

This is a lusciously created book full of the joys of some of the creatures that dwell in the rock pools – just lift the flaps and discover.

The book follows the flow of the ever moving sea as the tide goes out and then comes in allowing the reader to journey through the changing rock pools. Discover Hermit Crabs making their homes in empty shells, Turban sea snails by the rock pool’s edge, Goby fish and sponges and more. Carefully and very closely look and read each spread to discover the treasures deposited onto each page. The illustrations are thoughtfully created and the words, in both the narrative and those at the conclusion of the text, are full of natural history.

Constructed from solid pages with cutout flaps that often reveal hidden secrets, this book will handle the continual examination that it deserves.

As a child, I loved nothing better than tromping along the rock pool edges and feeling the warm water and then the sand squidgy beneath my toes and watch the creatures that were nestling there. This beautiful book will surely inspire another generation of rock pool hunters to go and reveal the secrets hidden there.

Over the years Narelle has crafted many books filled with the wonder and the joy of the natural environment including The Best Beak in Bonaroo Bay, Baby Bilby, Where Do You Sleep and The Hunt. We have been so privileged to have Narelle craft her wonderful books to share with the children of the world.

And Classroom notes are also available –

Vale Narelle Oliver.

Mulga’s Magical Musical Creatures

Mulga’s Magical Musical Creatures
Mulga (Joel Moore)

So just where does the music that musicians create come from?
What is the inspiration behind the words for those songs or for the music they score?
According to Mulga – it is in the dreams!

In this bold and bright rhyming picture book Mulga tells of the creatures that appear in musician’s dreams that then inspire the newly created songs: fishes in poncho plucking guitars, trumpet playing elephants swaying the moonlight, drum playing gorillas and a host of other exotic fauna. The animals are quirky (the banjo playing owls wear blue runners!) as are the natural environments the animals inhabit (the cymbal banging bison are surrounded by snow-covered mountains with a full creatures moon on the horizon). The illustrations are intricate with lots of line work and textured patterns popping through. Each page is quite a visual feast.

This is a colourful world worthy of exploring, crafted by the creator who runs the Mulga clothing label and who paints murals that can be seen all over the country. There is also a colouring book available too.

Magrit Lee Battersby & Amy Daoud (Walker Books)

I couldn’t put this beautiful hardback book down, the pages kept turning and I kept reading. This gentle story of acceptance and friendships in the strangest of places, is delightful and supremely engaging. A great title for independent readers who want something a little bit scary – but not too much.

In an abandoned cemetery lives Magrit, her only company and advisor, is Master Puppet – a skeleton that is her creation from bones that lie around the cemetery. A passing stork drops a strange bundle into the graveyard which Magrit discovers. Master Puppet tells her it is an awful and ugly thing and that she should get rid of it but Magrit, who is nearly ten throughout the book, decides to keep it. Eventually the growing bundle, which Magrit names Bugrat, stumbles into a mysterious part of the cemetery where Margit never goes. Another skeleton, from long ago lies here and is intertwined with Magrit, Master Puppet and the outside world.


Toad Delight Morris Gleitzman (Penguin)

Toad is back and it is thrilling. This series of books (there are now 5 but each can be read independently) are wonderful reads, totally engaging and filled with laughter.

Too many of Limpy’s relatives are ending up flat as a pancake on the roadways. This time he decides to take action and show the humans, who ignore road rules and try to flatten the toads on the roads, that toads weren’t mean nasty greedy selfish monsters. There’s love (Goliath and a penguin back pack) and drama (Goliath and other toads are trapped in a cage, kidnapped for a TV cooking show) and there’s even a conservation message woven in too. The Toad books are ones that young readers can really enjoy and laugh about with ease. The short chapters are perfect for independent readers.

And words from Morris about Limpy are here:

Blue, The Builder’s Dog Jen Storer & Andrew Joyner (Penguin)

Look around just about any building site in Australia and there will be Blue – a a builder’s dog travelling in the ute, looking after the tools and the workers, greetings subbies and even putting his paw prints in the newly laid slab of concrete.  Blue is mates with the whole team.

The problem for Blue is that at the end of the day, when all the builders go home Blue doesn’t get to sleep in a the builders’s house, or in any house like the rest of the tradies. Blue is confined to the shed. Blue longs for his own home so he quits work, and sets about building his own grand home, and then things don’t quite go according to plan.

This amusing story, of companionship, friendship and determination, has a delightful ending that will appeal to readers of all ages. It will be read over and over again and the illustrations of the builders and Blue are perfectly detailed and humorous to dovetail with the fun text. Any reader will love discovering and knowing Blue.


Steve Goes to Carnival Joshua Button & Robyn Wells (Magabala)

This book popped up earlier this year and I forgot to post a few words. I thoroughly enjoyed Steve. The story and illustrations are wonderfully engaging and popping with the inspired sights and sounds of Rio. It is a story of friendship and amazement, of differences and acceptance, the power of music and with bold coloured illustrations inspired by 1970s Rio de Janeiro.

Steve is a jazz-listening gorilla (really) who lives at a zoo in Rio. His zookeeper Antonio listens along in the evenings as well. But one lonely after Antonio has left, Steve lifts the enclosure latch, exits the zoo and disguised with a hat discovered at the tram stop, he sets off in search of Antonio. He soon discovers the excitement of Carnivale in Rio – the music, the lights, fireworks and sequins, the food and most surprisingly Steve playing in a club in a jazz quartet.


The 12th Dog Charlotte Calder & Tom Jellett (Lothian)

This paperback picture book is timed just perfectly for the summer school holidays where cricket balls are being hit in backyards and on beaches all over the country. A celebration of holidays, of crickets, of dogs and the 12th man – or dog! Limited text and bright comical illustrations are on the pages of this summer holiday read.

It’s the summer holidays and a game of backyard cricket is being played by a group of friends and when Arlo joins in its always made more interesting because he is the fastest fielder. Restricted to the sidelines as 12th man  because he never gives up the ball Arlo forces his way into the team and proves that he is an invaluable member of any cricket team.