Archive | November 18, 2013

i Love You Book

i Love You Book

i Love You Book











i Love you Book

Libby Hathorn

Heath McKenzie


IP Kids 2011

hbk., RRP $A26.00



Ebook RRP $A8.00



This inspiration for this book could have been the sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning which begins “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…” because it is an ode to the pleasures and delights of the book – its sights, sounds, smells and the remarkable places it encourages our imagination to visit and the amazing creatures we meet when we get there.

“I love you book,

When they read you through and through



Or by myself I read out loud

If there’re only just we two!

From the “rustle-bustle” of the pages to the “dots and commas, question marks Performing every page” to the “happily-ever-afters, packed-to-the-rafters”, this is an enthusiastic, energetic romp that reaffirms the joy that reading provides and why books are here to stay because they are the perfect format. On each page, illustrator Heath McKenzie has created fantastic artworks (hand-drawn using a digital tablet) which match the energy of the text and help us recall some of the most magic moments in our reading lives. And even if we haven’t yet met the centipede being rude or visited those lands at the top of the tree, it inspires us to find those books so we can.

Ms Hathorn says the inspiration for the book comes from an item she saw at a school assembly when three mothers of the students performed a “book drama” called I Love You Book in honour of their children’s excitement about learning to read and she immediately jotted down some ideas for this book.  I wonder if those mothers know how far their performance has reached, particularly if we ask our students to express why they love books, not just as an exploration of the senses but also as a way of having them recommend books to others.  Which books make you “dreamy and sometimes quiet and slow”, and which books make you want to “go, get up and go!”? Similarly, how do those “short-long words” make the story move, and what role do those dots and commas have?

If you’re planning to start 2014 off with a focus on reading and books and the pleasures the children are going to be in for as the year with you progresses, this is a must-have.


A peek inside

A peek inside


Banjo and Ruby Red


Banjo and Ruby Red

Banjo and Ruby Red










Banjo and Ruby Red

Libby Gleeson

Freya Blackwood

Little Hare 2013

hbk., RRP $A24.95



Is there anything better than chooks in books? I’ve been building units of work around that theme for years and I’ve just discovered the BEST one to add to my collection.

Old Banjo is a chook dog. He sleeps in the sun with one eye on his charges as they peck and scratch and discover goodies that only chooks delight in.  And each evening, when he gets the signal, Banjo barks and the chooks come from everywhere, scampering and scurrying to be safe on their roosts from the night creatures.  All except Ruby Red.  From her perch on top of the woodheap, she defies Banjo with an arrogance and aloofness that just o-o-z-e-s from the illustrations.  Ruffling her feathers and stretching her neck to stare at the sky, she shows Banjo who’s top of the pecking order! 

It’s a game they play every day until one day, there is no Ruby Red on top of the woodheap.  Banjo is baffled and searches and searches until he finds her, lying still, feathers flat, eyes closed…

Enriching the story are the superb illustrations of Freya Blackwood.  Here’s a snippet of how she did them…”Yes, the colour palette is an odd one – I didn’t really choose it, it just developed this way. I think there were a few colours I had in mind and the rest just got there by trial and error. I used oil paint this time, on watercolour paper. It was lots of fun! The brown you see in the photos is just the gum tape used to tape the paper to watercolour boards. ”  She blogs about the creation of her artworks  here and tells a little more of her story here .

This is a remarkable story of a relationship between a dog and a chook that might seem difficult to believe, if I hadn’t seen it with my dog Ebony and our chooks, Steggles and Ingham. 

Because they were here before she was, she’s grown up with them and thinks she is one of them.  Being the same height, they often eyeball each other and see who gives in first, and all three run to the gate when they hear the sound of a familiar motor.  Ebony runs at them full tilt, either dodging at the very last minute or leaping over them.  The chooks just stand there, unfazed, knowing that a quick peck will bring her into line. They are the triumvirate ruling this household daring any other creatures to set foot into their domain. There’s been more than one night when Ebony, who is well named, has been locked in the chookhouse in the dark! So it’s no wonder I love it, and Miss 7 and Miss 2 begged me to give it to them after we barked and squawked our way through it together.

The award-winning combination of Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood would be reason enough to buy this book – neither needs any introduction as the creators of the best of literature for young readers – but its subject has made it a personal favourite. Miss 7 and Miss 2 might just have to love it while they are here…

a peek inside

A peek inside