Archive | May 22, 2014

Jam for Nana

Jam for Nana

Jam for Nana









Jam for Nana

Deborah Reilly

Lisa Stewart

Random House, 2014

hbk, RRP $A19.99


When Nana makes pancakes, Granddaughter spreads the jam.  She smooths it right out to the edges to make the pancake look like a giant orange sun.  But today’s jam is not like the jam that Nana remembers.  That jam tasted like the sun, not just looked like it.  She could count the apricots and feel the warmth of a hundred summers.  Granddaughter really wants to give Nana that sensation again but when it becomes clear that it’s impossible to travel back to Nana’s childhood, she comes up with another idea…

The bond between a grandmother and her granddaughter is really special – I know because I have four of them – and this delightful story with its gentle pastel-toned illustrations is an example of it. It shows the love and connection that is so common but doesn’t stereotype the grandmother as an elderly lady with a bun spending her days knitting. Coupled with other books in the library’s collection, it would add another layer of the diversity of grandmothers, who they are and what they do, providing a great foundation for exploring the early childhood Australian Curriculum history concepts about family members, where they fit in the structure of the family and their history.  Today’s grandmothers might not make their own jam but this story would be a great way to tap into what their lives were like as granddaughters and what they recall their grandmothers doing that is not done now, as well as those family traditions that are continued. Maybe they could speculate on those things they do now and the memories and moments they’ve had with their grandmothers that they might pass on to their own grandchildren.

Jam for Nana is about so much more than having real jam on pancakes – it is the key to a door that will open a myriad of memories and strengthen the bonds between the generations for those lucky enough to have a family history that can still be told.



The Amazing A-Z Thing

The Amazing A-Z Thing

The Amazing A-Z Thing











The Amazing A to Z Thing

Sally Morgan

Bronwyn Bancroft

Little Hare, 2014

hbk., RRP $A24.95


Anteater had something amazing to show her friends, so she invited Bilby to have a look.  “It will make you gasp in astonishment”. She said.  But Bilby was too busy resting.  “Show Chuditch,” he said.  So Anteater did, telling Chuditch that she has something that will make her squeal with happiness.  But Chuditch was too busy smiling at herself in the water.  “Show Dingo,” she said.  And so it goes on with Anteater visiting all the animals of the alphabet, each time appealing to a different emotion but always getting the same response. Everyone was too busy until Anteater decided to look at it herself and began to gasp and giggle and hoot and laugh and shout and dance.

This book is a masterful merging of two extraordinary talents – the storytelling of Sally Morgan who takes the concept of an alphabet book to a whole new level and the artistry of Bronwyn Bancroft whose traditional indigenous illustrations add such colour and character.

The very best picture books are those that have many layers and which, even though they might have an apparent target audience, have the capacity to be used across the ages.  This book is one of those.  As well as reinforcing the letters and order of the alphabet, and exploring the gamut of emotions, not the least of which is perseverance, the reader is also introduced to a host of Australian creatures, familiar and not-so.  Who knew that a chuditch was a quoll from Western Australia or that Velvet Worms existed when Australia was part of Gondwana and they’re not really worms at all? And there are another 24 creatures to investigate.  And that’s just the text.  Bancroft’s use of colour and pattern, shape and line provide a whole new tangent to explore.

Anteater may have an amazing thing – but this is an amazing book.