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Flapper, VC

Mark Wilson (Lothian)

Based on the true story of an Australian carrier pigeon during World War II, Flapper VC (a terrific title) is the tale of an Australian born and raised carrier pigeon. It is the story of the training of the pigeon in Australia, the training of this pigeon for military duties and then what happens when the bird is sent to war. His first mission was a failure, the message strapped to his foot was lost in flight, but then came the mission to save his patrol who were surrounded by enemy fighters. Flapper was their last hope for rescue. Facing bullets, explosions, and pounding rain deep in the jungle Flapper flew to his loft.

Flapper (carrier pigeon D D43 Q879) was awarded the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross (the Dickin Medal) for his actions that day, and his medal is proudly displayed at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Mark Wilson creates these moving books of wartime animals and their true stories so wonderfully well. They reach out to readers of so many ages with the intricate art and well crafted narrative. A perfect Anzac Day read. Uncover more about Mark at and especially for the coming Anzac Day, his military themed picture books.

Small Things

Mel Tregonning (Allen&Unwin)

An ordinary boy in an ordinary world is followed around by tiny creatures, worries that eat at his confidence day by day. They grow stronger and have more and more impact. As each day progresses seemingly insignificant everyday moments have a severe and lasting impact:- he is the last one chosen for the team; he sits alone to eat his lunch; he is never part of the in-crowd. As further moments occur his feeling of hopeless, sadness and loneliness grows and easts away at his self confidence and self worth – as if he is loosing control. But this boy does learn that help is close by.

This wordless graphic novel is truly beautiful. The strong images are intricately detailed and allow the reader to peer into the this world silently and maybe tell their own story.


Grover McBane, Rescue Dog

Grover, Benji and Nanna Jean (PiccoloNero)

A new dog, Benji, arrives at the animal shelter and Grover, who looks after all the other rescue dogs at the animal shelter as well as trying to keep a nearby cat in line, is charged with the task of looking after Benji. Unfortunately, Benji is an older Pomeranian who has a number of medical issues and Grover needs some extra special care and attention to help him find a new home. But finding a new home for a dog like Benji is not easy and Mr Tiddles the cat certainly thinks that it will be extremely difficult.

This is the third book in the series about a real dog – the Rescue Dog, Grover McBane. The titles are fun, a light easy read, with appropriate sized print and a black line illustration for each chapter. These easy-to-read books are great titles for children who are independent readers and especially dog lovers. They feature Grover, a dog from the the Sydney Dog and Cat Home, an animal pound that has been taking care of Sydney’s lost and abandoned animals (not just dogs) since 1946.

This book also supports the work of the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home (
You can even see photos of Grover on Instagram here @grovermcbane

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.