Archive | September 18, 2014

Hasel and Rose

Hasel and Rose

Hasel and Rose









Hasel and Rose

Carolyn Magerl

Penguin/Viking 2014

hbk., 32pp., RRP $A24.00


“Rose was a new face in a new street. And there was a new town right outside her window.”  What, for some, might be the start of a new adventure filled with anticipation and excitement, for Rose is a descent into loneliness and apprehension. Rose looked out her windows to the stars and wished. But the wish thing which has no name did not come.  It did not make it’s away across country sweeping along the powerlines on the great poles that stride across the land; it did not come swept by stormy winds on a parachute.  Nothing could bring peace and joy to Rosie’s heart until…

The publisher’s blurb says, “A magical story of hope and new beginnings for anyone who’s ever loved and lost. Hasel and Rose celebrates the power of imagination and resilience, even when things seem too hard,” and it would be difficult to express the theme of this story better. When parents make a decision to move away from all that is familiar, there are many worries and what-ifs that haunt children, often too big for them to articulate and so nothing brings comfort, particularly with the natural impatience of the young.  But this story, written by someone who, herself, has experienced dislocation of the familiar and friendly many times and accompanied by her own evocative hand-coloured etchings which add so much atmosphere and tension, offers confirmation that sometimes all it takes is time, and new journeys can happen around any corner.

The journey of the evolution of Hasel and Rose is told by the author on her website and it, in itself, is a remarkable piece of writing  because it helps to answer that question that children always ask authors …”Where do you get your ideas from?”  Like many stories, it evolved over a long period of time, an idea tickling the edges of the mind until it found a purpose and a pathway to become more.  Its crafting and development is as much of a journey as Hasel’s, and that in itself is a most valuable lesson for students and their teachers to learn.  Great stories cannot be written to order and a timetable, but need to be nurtured and nourished and allowed to flourish in their own time…just as Rosie did.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

The Monster who ate Australia

The Monster who ate Australia

The Monster who ate Australia









The Monster who ate Australia

Michael Salmon

Ford Street, 2014

hbk., 32pp., RRP $A19.95


pbk., RRP $A12.95


“The boggabri is an extremely rare Australian mammal.  Like its cousin the bunyip, it eats a lot and is very shy.  But, unlike the bunyip, it has peculiar teeth that grow longer each day.  To keep them trimmed, the boggabri chews rocks and other hard objects…” 

Burra the boggabri lives peacefully at Uluru with nearby Kata Tjuta providing nice tasty rocks to eat that kept his teeth in shape. But as the tourists come in threatening his peace of mind and food supply, he is driven out looking for new fodder.  And so begins his quirky journey around Australia, beginning with eating the America’s Cup in Perth and continuing on to some of the nation’s most recognisable man-made landmarks, unaware of the havoc he creates.  Finally trapped in the thick gooey mud at the bottom of Sydney Harbour, trapped and placed on display in the elephant house at Taronga Zoo, Burra is viewed by many more tourists than those he ran away from…

This is the 30th anniversary edition of this Michael Salmon classic and it maintains all the appeal of the original as it takes its readers on a journey around Australia, introducing them to places, familiar and new.  Michael Salmon recently visited Miss 8’s school and she was so excited and engaged that she still tells me about it.  You can imagine her thrill when she discovered that I had a collection of his books right here on the shelf and she spent hours reading them and immersing herself in the illustrations that are such an integral part of the stories, a reaction I often see when I suggest his stories to younger readers.  Then I showed her his website which has always been my inspiration, and kerpow!!!  My next surprise is to take her to the statue of Burra’s cousin, Alexander Bunyip, who now stands outside the Gungahlin Library in Canberra after having eaten all the other city landmarks in The Monster that ate Canberra in 1972!

Michael Salmon’s stories and artworks have delighted children for 40 years and I’m thrilled that publishers are re-releasing titles like The Monster who ate Australia  so that yet another generation can enjoy them.