Archive | August 11, 2014

The Princess and the Presents

The Princess and the Presents

The Princess and the Presents










The Princess and the Presents

Caryl Hart

Sarah Warburton

Nosy Crow, 2014

hbk, RRP $A19.99



It’s Princess Ruby’s birthday soon and according to her father the King, nothing is too much for his spoilt, pampered daughter who is an entitled, obnoxious brat.  “My special day must be the BEST. Or else!” she said.  She demands a giant tree house, and a parrot that talks; a pair of fancy shoes that light up when she walks; a new tiara for each day at school, and a pony, some roller skates, and loads and loads of jewels.  Apparently besotted by his daughter, unable to say no to her whining, or perhaps fearful of her ability to throw tantrums where she screams so loudly you can see her tonsils, her father dashes out with a great big case of cash.  But even his best efforts are not enough for this “greedy little tyke” who is looking for a mobile phone, three puppies and a bike.   The more she demands, the more he gives her until there are presents piled high in every room in the palace.

And then disaster strikes.  And a lesson is learned.

In this cautionary tale about being careful about what you wish for, Princess Ruby’s character is so unlikeable that not even the most precious of princesses in the class could empathise with her and wish to take her place.  But then there is some salvation after the disaster which makes the whole story work in a way that’s not apparent from the start.  It provides lots of opportunities for discussion, not only about the characters but also values.

Written in rhyming text and accompanied by  boldly coloured illustrations that are full of humour and detail that they lift the text so it doesn’t become too moralistic, it remains entertaining to the end. Even the boys will enjoy it!

There’s a lion in my cornflakes

There's a lion in my cornflakes

There’s a lion in my cornflakes









There’s a Lion in My Cornflakes

Michelle Robinson

Jim Field

Bloomsbury, 2014

pbk., RRP $A14.99


This book starts in a most unusual way – a warning to ignore any messages the reader might see about collecting cereal packet coupons!  And the warning is based on experience because after making umpteen trips to the supermarket and spending a whole year’s pocket money, and even though it meant they had to eat cornflakes for breakfast lunch and tea until there were no cornflakes left, Eric and his brother Dan finally had enough coupons to qualify for the lion on the packet.  Oh, the things they could do with a free lion … if it ever arrived! They waited and waited and waited and even though it seemed everyone else had received theirs, by Sunday they were still waiting. 

Come Monday, it looks like their waiting is over – but it is just the start of the problem!

Told from Eric’s point of view, this is a very funny story that really amplifies the meaning of “Be careful what you wish for.”  Who knew that something as innocent as collecting coupons and cards could have such an outcome! Accompanied by illustrations that are as wacky as the text, this went from a first-read to a favourite with Miss 8 and Miss 3 (who are avid collectors of supermarket cards) literally overnight!  They loved the punchline at the end, and then went into hoots of laughter when we turned the page and saw what was happening!!  Miss 8, who is now such an avid reader that she will even read the cornflakes packet, asked me if I had any other stories by the same author so we checked out the website  and now have some on order!

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Snow Dog, Sand Dog

Snow Dog, Sand Dog

Snow Dog, Sand Dog








Snow Dog, Sand Dog

Linda Joy Singleton

Jess Golden

Albert Whitman & Co., 2014

hbk., 32pp.


What do you do when you desperately want a dog of your own, but real ones make you sneeze?  Well, you can do what Ally does initially and draw pictures of them or you can go a step further and make one, using your imagination and a bit of magic.  When it snowed and the other kids were making snowmen, Ally made a snow dog. She gave him pebble eyes, a pinecone collar and a crooked icicle tail.  And even though her friends laughed at her, that snow dog followed Ally home and they had such fun together.  But when spring came, the snow melted and so did Snow Dog so Ally made a flower dog.  Then in summer she made a Sand Dog and in Autumn, a Leaf Dog, each giving her great fun and companionship. 

This is a lovely story about a girl and her imagination with the edges of reality being blurred by the charming artworks which add something special to this delightful story.  As an added bonus, for those children who can’t have their own dogs because of their own allergies, there are instructions on how to make one – without snow, sand, leaves or flowers!