Archive | December 1, 2021

The Last Dragon

The Last Dragon

The Last Dragon













The Last Dragon

Charles Massy

Mandy Ford

NLA Publishing, 2021

44pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99



Beneath the western mountains, on the open plains of the high Monaro where the skies are blue and big, there lived a little dragon lizard.

Timpo is the smartest, best-disguised lizard in Narrawallee, the Big Grass Country. Wolfie the spider is his good friend, but there are no other dragon lizards and he is lonely for his own kind. 

Timpo and Wolfie embark on a journey to discover if Timpo is indeed the last dragon left in the valley. Through a landscape of grassland, granite boulders, shiny snow gums, and shady creeks they search, encountering new friends but also facing grave danger. Wolfie must return home with her spiderlings, but Timpo trudges on … will he ever find another dragon lizard? 

Who could resist requesting, reading and reviewing a book that is set pretty much on my doorstep, on a farm just a little south-east of my home?  And I am so glad I did because not only did I learn about a little creature that is highly endangered, I read a touching story of determination and courage, of survival and an amazing conservation effort.  With artwork that is amazing in its detail, this is a story written by a local farmer on whose property the little creature was found, one who is highly qualified and recognised in the field of regenerative landscape management so that you know that what you’re reading is not only authoritative but inspirational – there can be co-existence between humans, domestic animals and creatures of the wild. 

More for independent readers, as well as Timpo’s story there is a double-page spread of simple facts accompanied by a photo and then Massy’s story of the history of the earless dragon lizard and how it is being protected on his farm at Severn Park, about 15km from Berridale. If your curriculum focus is Australia’s at-risk species and you are looking for something different, something with a positive story then this is a must for your collection.

And if you remember my writing about the little Kindy kid who taught me about pangolins, well now I’m going to return the favour and teach him about one that lives about 10 minutes from his front door!!! Xander, this is for you. 

Fire Truck Santa





Fire Truck Santa

Fire Truck Santa











Fire Truck Santa

Nic McPickle

Nathaniel Eckstrom

A&U Children’s, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A17.99


A Christmas tradition, all round this land,
from the city to the country, from the bush to the sand,
in a shiny red truck instead of a sleigh,
Santa sets out on his jolly old way.

Seeing Santa arrive in the community of a fire truck is not only a common site for our children, but is perhaps more familiar than his arrival on a sleigh, and given the events of recent summers, this is a wonderful tribute to all the firies who keep us safe, their families and their supporters.  But hopefully their fire trucks are more reliable than this old one which keeps conking out as Santa makes his way around the town.  But with the familiar Aussie ingenuity, the children get it going again until, on its very last stop, it stops altogether, never to go again.  What are the townsfolk going to do???

But in recognition of the way everyone – neighbours and friends, firies, park rangers, teachers, nurses and the kids themselves – have pulled together to keep the old one going, Santa has one last gift for the town…

Written to the rhythm of the Clement C. Moore poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmasthis is a story that will not only resonate with our children but also be appreciated by the adults who share it with them. For regardless of recent memories of Christmas, it is sure to touch something deep down and inspire a resolve to touch base with those childhood memories and make Christmas extra-special for the children this year, especially as restrictions ease. The illustrations are as lively as the text and should spark conversations about those Christmas customs that are uniquely Australian.

A great start to the 2021 Christmas Countdown.