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I’ll Love You Always

I'll Love You Always

I’ll Love You Always

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll Love You Always

Mark Sperring

Alison Brown

Bloomsbury, 2018

32pp., board book, RRP $A13.99

9781681198477

How long will I love you?
A second is too short.
A second is no time
for a love of this sort.

A minute is no better,
for minutes fly by!
They’re gone in a moment
like a sweet butterfly.

Moving through the day, the seasons and then the years, this is a charming tale that would make the perfect gift for new parents who want something special to welcome a new child and use as a lilting lullaby over those early months.  While it features Mother Mouse and her baby in gorgeous full-colour illustrations that change with the time, it is perfect for little ones or even bigger ones who want to declare their love.  

Wilbur, Grace and Joe

Wilbur, Grace and Joe

Wilbur, Grace and Joe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wilbur, Grace and Joe

Phil Cummings

Amanda Graham

Little Book Press, 2017

32pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9780994385284

Wilbur the dog is as much in love with the new twins Grace and Joe as their parents. He becomes their furry, four-legged guardian angel as he shares the exciting days and the sleepless nights as they grow from newborns to toddlers with all that that entails.

This is a charming family story with a soft palette that emphasises its gentleness and which families will relate to as a new baby enters the world of a couple and their dog.  A lovely bedtime story for a young reader with a faithful dog who will want to know if that’s what their life was like too.

 

An Aussie Night Before Christmas

An Aussie Night Before Christmas

An Aussie Night Before Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Aussie Night Before Christmas (10th Anniversary edition)

Yvonne Morrison

Kilmeny Niland

Scholastic Press, 2015

32pp., hbk.,

9781760157487

 

Twas the night before Christmas; there wasn’t a sound.

Not a possum was stirring; no-one was around.

We’d left on the table some tucker and beer,

Hoping that Santa Claus soon would be here…

So begins this iconic salute to Christmas in Australia drawing on the familiar sights and sounds of a night that is usually so hot and it’s hard to sleep because it’s still daylight outside, never mind ‘dreams of pavlova’ dancing around heads.  And when there’s a ruckus outside that needs to be investigated, who would be surprised that it’s Santa in a rusty ute pulled by eight mighty kangaroos? Kangaroos called Kylie, Kirsty, Shazza and Shane, Kipper and Skipper, Bazza and Wayne?  

There are many stories that put the Aussie spin on Christmas, but this is such a rollicking good yarn, funny and engaging that it’s no wonder this is a 10th anniversary edition and it is popping up all over the Internet in full, although the YouTube version loses some of its charm with the American accent and the change from ‘beer’ to ‘root beer’.  Australian Santas drink real beer!

Accompanied by the distinctive illustrations of Kilmeny Niland, this is the perfect story to read to the little ones before they settle down, and the perfect story to end our Christmas Countdown for 2015.

 

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

aussie_night_christmas3

One Christmas Eve

 

 

 

One Christmas Eve

One Christmas Eve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Christmas Eve

Corinne Fenton

Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Black Dog, 2016

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781925381252

“One Christmas Eve, Grandpa puts on his best shirt, Bella passes him his favourite hat, and they wave goodbye to Gran. Together they walk along the tape measure streets and roundabout corners until there, before them, is Luna Park.

When Bella visits Luna Park on Christmas Eve with Grandpa, he hands her a single silver coin to use on a ride. Bella enjoys the excitement of the roller-coaster, the squeals from the ghost train ride and the laughter from the giggle palace, but she is drawn to the sparkling carousel and it’s here she spends her precious coin.

When Bella climbs onto her dashing carousel horse, something magical happens when they launch into the velvety night sky where they encounter a jolly man in a red suit and his prancing reindeer. But the magic doesn’t end there…”  

This is a nostalgic, charming story of Christmas in the less-hectic times of 1968 that will arouse memories with many as they share it with their children and grandchildren in this Christmas Countdown. Reminiscing about Christmas in a time that wasn’t so dominated by big,  bold, bright and brassy -spent my 1968 Christmas coming to terms with the heat of Port Moresby – and just taking the time to enjoy the simple things.  And regardless of the season, who hasn’t dreamed of a magical, mystical ride on one of the beautiful carousel horses and Fenton’s beautiful text and Crosby-Fairall’s stunning illustrations are a perfect match as we soar high above the clouds and discover the magic that is there.  The power of imagination and dreams transcends all timeframes and generations. 

One Christmas Eve was the focus of the Melbourne and Brisbane Myer Christmas windows for 2016 and these are now in Ballarat for 2017.   Lucky are those in a position to go to see them!

What Do You Wish For?

What Do You Wish For?

What Do You Wish For?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do You Wish For?

Jane Godwin

Anna Walker

Viking 2015

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780670078110

Each year the children in Ruby’s street put on a Christmas show with songs and costumes and real curtains during the party in the park at the end of the street.  Before that they decorate the big tree and each writes a Christmas wish to hang in it. Everyone has a wish but Ruby knows that the wish deep inside her is too big to put on a small piece of paper.  What could it be?

This is a charming story that reminds us of the warmth of Christmas traditions, the magic of wishes and a child’s timeless dreams – the patchwork of events and activities that make the memories for when they are older.  It reminds us as adults that no matter how old, tired, jaded, it’s-Christmas-again-already? we get, it is a most magical time for our children and the things we do will be taken on through their lives to their children.  They DESERVE our time to make it special for them, and if that’s the only thing we can give them then that is the biggest gift of all. To know that we are willing to pause our busy lives to bring some magic to theirs is often all they want – just like Ruby.

That Christmas Feeling

 

 

 

That Christmas Feeling

That Christmas Feeling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That Christmas Feeling

Lili Wilkinson

Amanda Francey

Allen & Unwin, 2017

32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781760294960

This Christmas sure isn’t like last Christmas.  This year Jem and Dottie and Shortbread the dog are staying with Grandma and Grandpa and the fizzy, exciting feeling where everything is a bit magical just isn’t there.  No matter how hard Grandma and Grandpa try to replicate the events of last year, the feeling isn’t happening and Jem and Dottie are so worried that their mum and dad won’t get home in time. There is no sparkle.

Come bedtime and with still no parents, and a concern that Santa won’t find them, Dottie is really despondent,  To cheer her up Jem suggests they go outside and find Christmas… and as they marvel in the stars which are their twinkly lights and sing some carols they hear a noise.  Is it Santa?  No it’s a car…

Every year authors’ imaginations come up with a host of new stories for this festive season, and That Christmas Feeling has to be one of the most special for this year.  Sometimes, for lots of reasons, it is hard to get your Christmas on and no matter how hard you or others try, it just doesn’t happen. Lili Wilkinson, who established http://insideadog.com.au, the Inky Awards and the Inkys Creative Reading Prize at the Centre for Youth Literature, State Library of Victoria, has created a gentle, loving story that will resonate with lots of children who are missing their parents at this time and whose absence is all the more poignant because of the dates.  While there is a happy ending for Jem and Dottie, others are not so fortunate so sharing the story could be a catalyst for our children to think of those who can’t get the feeling this year and how they might be able to reach out to them in some way.  

Something very special to add to your Christmas Countdown collection.

Sage Cookson’s Christmas Ghost

 

 

 

Sage Cookson's Christmas Ghost

Sage Cookson’s Christmas Ghost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sage Cookson’s Christmas Ghost

Sally Murphy

New Frontier, 2017

65pp., pbk., RRP $A9.99

9781925594058

Sage Cookson, daughter of globe-trotting celebrity chefs Ginger and Basil, is on the move again.  Sad about leaving her best friend Lucy behind for Christmas, nevertheless she is excited about going to Western Australia where her parents are going to be supervising the creation of the world’s largest pavlova in an attempt to break the record for this dessert, currently held by its country of origin, New Zealand.  

Too large to be baked in conventional ovens, the action takes place in a disused brickworks where the kilns are large enough to accommodate it, and there will be live crosses to its creation and success (or otherwise) during the annual carols by Candlelight program broadcast on television in the eastern states.  Despite a definitive ruling,  this concoction of sugar and egg whites has been the subject of dispute since it was first created and served in 1927 in honour of ballerina Anna Pavlova’s visit to the two countries in the 1920s and this becomes the centre of the conflict.  Are all the little things going wrong or going missing the work of a malevolent Christmas ghost or a saboteur…

This series for newly independent younger readers combines the author’s love of television cooking shows and mysteries, so that in each new addition something goes wrong and Sage has to solve the problem. Will she get to the bottom of this mystery and enable Australia to claim the record or will it stay where it belongs, in New Zealand?  Sage is going to appeal to a range of young readers who will be able to follow her adventures and then visit her website for more fun. Learning to make proper pavlova is something we Kiwi kids learned at our mother’s elbow, but there is a recipe included (very similar to the original, proper one) that more adventurous young cooks might like to try.

All The Way Home

 

 

 

All The Way Home

All The Way Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All The Way Home

Debi Gliori

Bloomsbury, 2017

32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781408872079

Father Penguin has a secret, one that Mother Penguin can never know but which he tells Little One…

When penguin eggs are laid, the mothers go out to sea fishing leaving the fathers to huddle together to keep the eggs warmed balanced on their feet.  But they don’t eat and Father Penguin was very hungry.  He had had nothing to eat at all  – not a thing – and so he gradually makes his way to the outside of the Dad Huddle when suddenly a huge gust of Antarctic wind plucks him and his precious egg off the ice…

And the adventure begins.  Faced with a foreign environment, unfriendly creatures and a desperation to be home before Mother Penguin discovers him gone, he is beginning to get very worried.  Then help arrives from an unexpected source,  the Special Air Navigation Transport Authority …

Debi Gliori always tells a fine tale and illustrates it beautifully in a style that is so appealing to young readers and this one is no different.  Littlies will love being in on Father Penguin’s secret -there is nothing like feeling you are a special confidante – and they will have fun speculating whether Baby can keep the secret.  After all, he does tell his mum that they have had an adventure and brave Daddy flew them home. And everyone knows penguins can’t fly!! Did it really happen or is Father Penguin just a really good storyteller?

Something a little different for the Christmas Countdown but completely charming.

Jump and Shout

Jump and Shout

Jump and Shout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jump and Shout

Mike Dumbleton

Peter Carnavas

Little Book Press, 2017

32pp., pbk., RRP$A14.99

 9780994385376

Is there anything better than a family picnic in the park where you can walk and run, jump and shout and climb and swing and then flop and drop at day’s end?

This is a rollicking adventure perfect for preschoolers who will recognise themselves in the story and will love to join in all the actions as they relive a special day out they have had, right through to the very end!

Written in rhyme with each word cleverly illustrated to show what it says, this is one that a little one will soon read independently as the content is so familiar. Dumbleton and Carnavas   really know how to reach our younger readers and start them on their adventures in reading.

Those of you familiar with The Little Big Book Club and Raising Literacy Australia and their work with early childhood literacy will be glad to know that Little Book Press is its new official publishing house and there is already an extensive catalog of titles perfect for preschoolers, many of which have been reviewed on this blog.  

 

Malala’s Magic Pencil

Malala's Magic Pencil

Malala’s Magic Pencil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malala’s Magic Pencil

Malala Yousafzai

Kerascoët

Puffin, 2017

45pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780241322567

When she was young, Malala Yousafzai watched a television program called Shaka Laka Boom Boom about a boy who had a magic pencil which he used to draw the things he needed to get himself out of trouble or to get the things he needed like a bowl of curry when he was hungry.  As Malala watched she wished she had a magic pencil too so she could draw and get the things she wanted, like a lock on her door to keep her brothers out, some flowers to erase the smell of the nearby rubbish dump, beautiful dresses for her mum, even a real soccer ball so she and her brothers didn’t have to play with an old sock stuffed with rubbish.

Every night she wished for a magic pencil and every morning she looked for it but it was never there.

Then one day whilst throwing potato peelings and eggshells on that nearby rubbish dump she saw something that she had never seen and which, ultimately, changed her life.  A girl was sorting the rubbish into piles and boys were fishing for metal scraps with magnets on a string. As she talked it over that evening with her school principal father, she learned that not all were lucky like her and got to go to school, that many many children had to help support their families with the rubbish they found and that for so many school was a luxury only to be dreamed of. And she also realised that even with her education, she could be just as trapped as those girls on the rubbish dump.

New dreams began and that elusive magic pencil was going to be put to a wider use.

But Malala was smart enough to know that there was not going to be a magic pencil miraculously waiting beside her bed one morning so she had to create her own.  So she did…

One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world…

The youngest person to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala is one of the most inspirational young women this generation has seen and her story is becoming more and more well-known as she hopes to inspire others to lend their voices to the global issue of education for girls.  In this stunning picture book, aimed at children who are the age she was when she began her campaign, the reader not only learns about what inspired her but also becomes inspired to make a whisper become a worldwide shout.  If the current #metoo campaign can become such a voice for opposing sexual aggression against women, then what can be done to create a similar movement for girls’ education.  Study after study has shown that the way to world peace is through the education of girls so this is the perfect vehicle to help our young students understand they do have a voice, it is important and it can be loud.