The Silly Seabed Song
Aura Parker (2021)
Penguin Random House Australia
Have you ever counted sheep to get to sleep? Or perhaps you sang a song to help dreams come along? Poor Turtle Hatchling Fred can’t get to sleep and all of the other sea animals think it’s a great idea to play the Silly Seabed Song! There are rhymes and nonsensical words, boings and bangs and plenty of colour.
Aura Parker is an illustrator, designer and picture story book creator. Her successful book Twig received a notable from the Children’s Book Council of Australia, and her book Meerkat Splash won the Speech Pathology Book of the Year award in 2020. The Silly Seabed Song is Parker’s most recent project. With its playful illustrations and rhythmic text, it is bound to please a young audience.
The Silly Seabed Song is an extravaganza of bright colours and animated sea creatures. Parker has a ‘find it’ key at the beginning and end of the book that will mean multiple reads are a must. Well pitched for pre-school aged children, this book would also be ideal for the Early Years in Primary school where an abundance of punctuation, rhyme and onomatopoeia can be analysed.
Karen Blair (2021)
Penguin Random House Australia
“Here come the trains! Clickety-clack!”
This is a delightfully illustrated story that many pre-schoolers can relate to. The picnic rug and treats are set out and there is excitement bubbling as the mini trains and their drivers collect the families for a scenic drive around Castleview Railway.
Karen Blair is an illustrator and art teacher. She’s worked with a number of well-known authors such as Margaret Wild (Our Baby) and Davina Bell (Lemonade Jones). Train Party, however, is one of the few books that are both written and illustrated by Blair. The book begins with a playful map of Castleview Railway. The story takes readers through the delight of a young child’s birthday party. Colour and illustrations fill the pages with short bursts of rhythmic text and basic rhymes.
This would be a winner for any young child who has experienced the delight of a birthday party, and any eager young train enthusiast.
The Adventures of Mittens
Silvio Bruinsma (2021)
Penguin Random House New Zealand
Mittens is not your ordinary cat! A Turkish Angora cat, he lives with his family in Wellington, New Zealand. Through his own Facebook page ‘The Wondrous Adventures of Mittens’, this cat has captured the hearts of a community and has even been presented with The Key to the City of Wellington by the Mayor.
In this cute rhyming story, the reader enjoys following Mittens through the city to discover the many different people and professions within. Mittens is an explorer and enjoys roaming. He visits a clothing store and a university. He spends some time on a desk in an office block and checks out what is going on at the central police station.
Silvio Bruinsma wrote this story following on from the immense popularity of his pet cat Mittens. Through Mitten’s real life wanderings, Bruinsma saw an opportunity to direct the celebrity attention to a worthy cause: New Zealand’s Mental Health Foundation. The illustrations by Phoebe Morris have a playful cartoon quality about them. It is a book that will delight cat lovers and young children alike!
Moonlight Mums- A cosy bedtime story for busy families
Laura Stitzel (2021)
Penguin Random House Australia
“Mums, with many things to do, all miss their little ones like you.”
Do you know a busy mum who can’t always be home to tuck in their little ones? This modern bedtime story paints a realistic picture of the working mother who can’t always be the one to put their young child to bed. Busy mums miss their children and will always be home to give them a kiss, even if they are already tucked up and asleep.
Laura Stitzel is an illustrator, author and animator from Australia. She has written and illlustrated Moonlight Mums and Mr Mo Starts to Grow. She has also contributed cover art and illustrations to a range of other books such as Elliot Perlman’s Catwinkle series, as well as animations including Disney’s Space Chickens in Space.
Moonlight Mums is a gentle comparison story where animals and their mothers cannot always be together at bed time, just like the little family in the story. Full of colour and rhymes, it is a beautiful story to read to a young child at night. At a higher level, this would be an excellent book to teach Compare and Contrast and Author’s craft: Organisation.
7 ½ A Novel
By Christos Tsiolkas
Allen & Unwin. 2021
I read the entire book believing that it was a true recount and I kept waiting for the fictional story to launch and take over. It wasn’t until the end when I read the acknowledgements that I realised the lover the narrator referred to in the book was not the same lover that Tsiolkas dedicated the book to. As I investigated deeper, I realised that this realistic recount was in fact fictitious.
7 ½ is a unique text. It follows a writer who wishes to work in solitude so that he can write about beauty. He’s not sure that he can, as his usual style is grit and outrage. “You can’t write about beauty,” says his friend, “You’re shit at metaphor.” But he’s tired of being angry and no longer cares for politics. He thinks constantly about his lover and the beauty of their relationship while he writes a fictional tale about a porn star that he once idolised.
Tsiolkas strives to show the beauty in the everyday and yet his descriptions are still raw and gritty. However I think this is his point, to embrace the shocking truth such as the sweet stench of one’s own body odor. And speaking of scent, it is something that Tsiolkas does best; describing the depth of smells that we all know to be true but still make us blush.
After writing 7 breathtaking novels that have been awarded numerous prizes and adapted for screen, 7 ½ A Novel is something out of the box. It’s a story, a musing, an observation and a story within a story. It’s something for a reader to ponder long after finishing.
What's this about?
As a lover of books and a teacher, I read widely. Here you will find book reviews of many genres including picture story, middle grade fiction, graphic novels, women's fiction, short story anthologies, non-fiction and anything else that takes my fancy.