Archive | August 21, 2014

Good Dog Hank

Good Dog Hank

Good Dog Hank









Good Dog Hank

Jackie French

Nina Rycroft

HarperCollins, 2014

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


ebk., RRP $A13.99


Hank is a very good dog – or so it seems. He obeys all the house rules like not eating from the table or climbing on the beds or chasing cars although he does have his own way of interpreting them! But it’s always with the best of intentions or the taking of opportunities that present themselves.

This is a really funny story from master author Jackie French brought to life by the charming pictures of Nina Rycroft, the team who created Dinosaurs Love Cheese.  Apart from the humour of Jackie’s words, their interpretation using what has to be the B-I-G-G-E-S-T dog ever, who is all legs, tongue and tail, makes this the perfect picture book in which there is such a marriage between text and illustration that one would be diminished without the presence of the other.  Written at a fast clip with nothing extraneous, we follow Hank as he gallops through the day in his own way, being really good in a wink-wink, nudge-nudge sort of way, depending on whether you are viewing his actions through the perspective of an adult, a child or Hank.  It would be a great introduction to teaching children that how we see something depends on our role within it.  It might be OK to wear a sock washed by Hank’s slobber if you’re a child, but maybe not so flash if you’re in charge of family laundry.

This is a feel-good story that can be a read-aloud, read-along or read-alone because it will touch the heart of anyone who has ever had a dog with a mind and a mischief of its own.  You don’t have to be a younger reader to relate to this story and enjoy it. One of these days I’m going to do one of those magical garden tours of Jackie’s garden and I fully expect to see Hank there somewhere.

A Secret Safe to Tell

A Secret Safe to Tell

A Secret Safe to Tell











A Secret Safe to Tell

Naomi Hunter

Karen Erasmus

JoJo Publishing, 2014

pbk, 32pp., RRP $A16.95



“He said I would get into BIG TROUBLE if I told anyone… I never wanted to be bad.”

“He said I would UPSET a lot of people if they knew what I had done…I didn’t want to make anyone cry”

“He made hurts in places where Band-Aids could not reach…”

“I tried to heal the pain but I wasn’t strong enough.”

“I thought about TELLING…but he said I’d be a LIAR… and no one would ever believe me.”

One in five children will be sexually assaulted in some way before their 18th birthday.

I remember being told that stark fact at a staff meeting in 1990 and, like many of my colleagues, didn’t really understand it let alone grasp its reality.  That sort of thing didn’t happen to kids at our school, to kids we knew.  But as we undertook courses in protective behaviours and mandatory reporting the reality started to hit.  Sadly, it would seem that nearly 25 years later the statistics haven’t changed according to Bravehearts  but the awareness has.  Sadly, given the Royal Commission and the prosecution of some high profile personalities, it is clear that this does happen to kids in our school and kids we know.  But, because of that Royal Commission and those prosecutions, there is a greater awareness of the problem and children are finding the courage to tell and adults are taking the time to listen.

A Safe Secret to Tell, written by someone whose dedication makes it plain that she was a victim, is a step in helping empower young children to tell, and if the first person doesn’t listen then keep on telling until someone does.  Tenderly capturing the thoughts and emotions of someone who has been abused – “My heart felt BROKEN… I think it started to CHANGE COLOUR”- this story will speak to the child and perhaps give them the courage to speak too, so they too can break his power and swing HIGH into the sky where his hands cannot reach. AT the end of the book there is a list of numbers a child can call and know there is someone who will listen and act on what they have to say.

On September 12, Bravehearts will host its annual White Balloon Day and is asking the question, “Who are you protecting?’ (#whoRUprotecting) and encouraging each of us to snap a #whoRUprotecting selfie: Answer the question ‘who are you protecting’ by writing a name on your palm and display the answer in a photograph.

When Tom from Int Books  sent me this book to review, I read it and put it aside knowing there would be a perfect time to share it.  This is that time.  Difficult though this subject may be and difficult though this review has been, the children in your school deserve to have access to this book – you just never know whose life it might change.