Clancy the Quokka by Lili Wilkinson

Published: 1st October 2019Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Allen & Unwin
Illustrator: Alison Mutton
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Here’s Clancy the quokka. So friendly and charming.
His innocent face is truly disarming.

Clancy the Quokka is super cute, but also has a super cheeky habit of raiding picnic food, so when he spots a magnificent birthday cake, how can he resist? After the mayhem he creates, will Clancy learn his lesson?

Clancy is a tiny adorable quokka and his thieving proclivities are the main focus on this book but Wilkinson also manages to highlight his charming and adorable nature. I liked the direction this story took, we’re introduced to Clancy and his world initially but as the story goes on we see the wider world and the bigger picture and his role within it. There’s humour and laughs from both story and illustrations, not to mention a recognition about many traditional Australian party pastimes that Clancy inadvertently takes part in.

I enjoyed this story because it makes Clancy a little villain which is hilarious and so enjoyable to read about. The rhymes are lovely and flow really well as you read them, plus the devilishly adorable illustrations show exactly what is going on alongside the words.

Mutton’s illustrations take up the entire page and are realistic but have a fun cartoonish quality as well. The colours are natural and depict the real world, the Australian bush as well as people and other surroundings. They are beautiful addition and they help bring our Clancy’s personality and his expressions show us how he’s feeling.

This is an absolutely adorable story that is filled with fun and cheekiness, with a few lessons learnt along the way. It is simple but fun and it’s a great celebration of one of amazing native animals.

You can purchase Clancy the Quokka via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon Aust

 

Meerkat Choir by Nicki Greenberg

Published: 27th September 2017Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Allen and Unwin
Illustrator: Nicki Greenberg
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

The meerkats are excited. They’re ready for their very first rehearsal with their meerkat choirmaster. But just as they’re about to sing their very first note, they’re interrupted by a steady stream of other animals who want to join in.

The meerkat choirmaster insists his choir is only for meerkats. And he gets grumpier and grumpier at each interruption.

There is a lot of humour throughout this story which is a marvellous feat considering how few words there are. There is a lot of enjoyment to be gotten from the illustrations and the reactions of those involved too.

The story starts as the meerkat conductor is about to begin rehearsals only to be interrupted by others who wish to join. After rejecting a few animals who ask, the conductor starts sending away animals that come and start singing unprompted. I thought this was incredibly clever because it breaks up the monotony of “Can I join” “No” through the whole book, and demonstrates how different animals make sound.

Seeing the conductor get crankier with each interruption is delightful. Greenburg’s illustrations add a lot of emotion and frustration when there are few words to the story. The traumatised faces of the meerkats as each animal joins in is funny, especially when they are of the more dangerous kind.

There is a wonderful message to be learnt too that excluding others is not only mean and discriminatory but may also be detrimental to your ambitions.

You can purchase Meerkat Choir via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon

AWW 2020 Challenge

Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog

A new year brings another chance to participate in the Australian Women Writers Challenge. Riding my high from my win last year I am starting my goal strong; to read 40 books and review 35. I think this is a huge challenge because I think I got lucky last year but I am also hopeful I could use this opportunity to read more Aussie women in a bid to hit this mark.

If you have always wanted to try this challenge or are looking for a new reading challenge to partake in, then head to the Australian Women Writers website and sign up. You do not have to dive in to reading 40 books if that’s daunting, the set levels start as low as reading four books by Aussie women, or if you like you can set your own goal. The AWW community is wonderful and filled with support and if you are ever in need of ideas or new titles to find then it is a wonderful place to start.

The challenge runs from 1st January to 31st December so there is plenty of time to complete your goal whatever number you pick, and you can sign up at any time during the year until the end of November.

Celeste The Giraffe Loves to Laugh by Celeste Barber

Published: 25th October 2019Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Scholastic Australia
Illustrator: Matt Cosgrove
Pages: 24
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Celeste was a friendly, happy little giraffe. She had a kind heart and she made others laugh. But Celeste sometimes worried that she wasn’t enough. It seemed like other animals did much cooler stuff. Join Celeste the Giraffe on her hilarious journey as she finds out what it is that makes her unique.

Barber’s story is about Celeste the giraffe who is happy and friendly but worries she isn’t enough. Thus starts her journey trying new things to become cooler. It reminded me a lot of Macca’s Makeover, which I am going with it’s ok since Matt Cosgrove actually illustrates this book so he must not mind.

Celeste tries all the things her friends do in order to try and become cooler including roaring like a lion, running fast like a cheetah, or making a splash like a hippo. Barber’s story flows with a steady rhythm and the rhymes are creative, but the story is completely enhanced by Cosgrove’s accompanying illustrations.

The illustrations are typical Cosgrove – adorable, brightly coloured, and whimsical, but there is still a unique feel that doesn’t look like his typical Macca design. This gives Barber a look of her own and a style unique to her book while still being utterly adorable.

I love Cosgrove’s work so the illustrations are the real winner here. I enjoyed the story too, it’s fun and clever, not to mention great to read aloud. The formatting helps with tone and emphasis as well; the varying font styles and different sized words help get the right tone and humour across to gain the full effect.

This is a great story about using your own unique skills and talents to help other people and not to want what others have because you think they’re better. A good message for kids and told in a fun and colourful way.

You can purchase Celeste the Giraffe Love to Laugh via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

AWW 2019 Wrap Up

2019 was a great year for me and this challenge. I hit and exceeded my 40 book goal, even my reviewing one. I was super on form with my reviews and I got a lot of AWW books read while also getting to read a lot of other authors I enjoy this year. I think if I devoted my entire reading to AWW I would excel, but there’s too many other books I love reading so I am pretty sure my challenge numbers will always be around this number. Which is not to say it’s a small feat, I am impressed with myself for making it and I can’t wait to hit this same number next year. I started the year aiming for 30 so to hit 45 is incredible. I’ve read 180 books this year and AWW made up 25% of my reading.

My final official numbers are 45 book read, 35 reviewed. Looking at past attempts this is a vast improvement so while I know it is low looking at some other people’s numbers, it’s a fantastic personal achievement that I’m really proud of. In terms of the types of books I read it varied a lot. I read a mixture of picture books, young adult, adult fiction, and even a few non fiction and anthologies. There are so many other AWW books I had on my list to read that I’m eager to dive into in 2020 and get this challenge off to a cracking start once more. For now though, I will be content with my win and grateful I was able to read so many amazing and diverse books by some amazing Aussie women.

Did you participate this year? How did you do? If not, keep an eye on the website for the 2020 sign up form if you’d like to jump on board and celebrate the talents of Australia’s Women Writers!

AWW 2019 Books Read and Reviewed

And All the Stars by Andrea K Host – Review

The Book That Made Me ed. by Judith Ridge – Review

Blossom Possum by Gina Newton – Review

The Tales of Mr Walker by Jess Black – Review

The Accusation by Wendy James – Review

The Pirate Treasure by Zander Bingham – Review

The Haunted Lighthouse by Zander Bingham – Review

The Lost Temple by Zander Bingham – Review

Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories ed. by Michael Earp – Review

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

Upside Down by N. R Walker – Review

Introducing Teddy by Jess Walton – Review

Wild Heart by Belinda Williams – Review

Jacob’s Toys by Claudia Woods – Review

The One by Kaneana May – Review

Once by Kate Forsyth – Review

Heartbreaker by Belinda Williams – Review

Lightening Tracks by A. A. Kinsela – Review

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty – Review

The Lost Man by Jane Harper – Review

The Good Girl Stripped Bare by Tracey Spicer – Review

It’s Not Scribble to Me by Kate Ritchie – Review

December’s Wish by Karly Lane – Review

The Greatest Gift by Rachel Johns – Review

Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina

It’s A Long Way to the Shop by Heidi McKinnon – Review

Did You Take the B from my _ook? by Beck and Matt Stanton – Review

Millie Loves Ants by Jackie French

Sorry Day by Coral Vass – Review

An Aussie Year by Tania McCartney

The Easter Bunny’s Helpers by Ann Mangan – Review

We Love School by Lucie Billingsley

Amazing Babes by Eliza Sarlos – Review

Beginnings: An Australian Speculative Fiction Anthology edited by Austin Sheehan – Review

You Must Be Layla by Yassmin Abdel-Magied – Review

Emmie and the Tudor King by Natalie Murray – Review

Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas by Lucinda Gifford

Meerkat Splash by Aura Parker

Little Puggle’s Song by Vikki Conley – Review

Every Time He Dies by Tara East – Review

Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park – Review

Illuminae by Aimie Kaufman

A Lifetime of Impossible Days by Tabitha Bird – Review

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