One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies

Published: 14th June 2005Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Candlewick Press
Illustrator: Jane Chapman
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Far, far out at sea lives one of the world’s most mysterious creatures, the loggerhead turtle. For thirty years she swims the oceans, wandering thousands of miles as she searches for food. Then, one summer night, she lands on a beach to lay her eggs—the very same beach where she herself was born. Nicola Davies’s lyrical text offers fascinating information about the journey of the tiny, endangered loggerhead, while charming paintings by Jane Chapman vividly illustrate one turtle’s odyssey.

Davies has written a beautiful book about the majestic nature of sea turtles and while she doesn’t mention the human impact on their environment or habits, there is no doubt when you finish reading it makes you think about what that impact has been.

The focus is on one small female turtle as she survives in the sea and we follow her as she grows and explores the ocean. Davies’ words are lyrical and poetic and tell the fascinating and amazing journey from a baby turtle to a full grown Loggerhead.

There is a simple narrative but it covers a lot and in addition there are footnote type facts as well, smaller in print and separated from the main text. These are educational and add real life information based on whatever is currently happening in the narrative.

While the story itself is beautiful, there’s no doubt it’s enhanced by Chapman’s stunning illustrations. Truly the illustrations are beautiful; realistic and beautifully coloured images of the growing turtle and her underwater world. The cool colours and the layout on the page give you a sense of being underwater and you rise to the surface as the turtle does, Chapman placing you on the beach alongside the turtle and back into the sea. It is incredibly clever.

I found myself getting swept up in this wonderful tale even though it only describes the life of a turtle, nothing fanciful or fictional added on. Davies’s words are simple yet remind you how beautiful turtles really are.

You can purchase One Tiny Turtle via the following

Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

It’s Not Scribble to Me by Kate Ritchie

Published: 29th October 2018Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Penguin Random House Australia
Illustrator: Jedda Robaard
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

Have you ever had so many wonderful, wild and beautiful ideas that paper isn’t enough to hold them all?

Bear has. Upstairs and downstairs, outside and in, the whole house is covered in Bear’s colourful art – even Bear’s little sister. Can Bear convince her parents that she’s creating more than just ‘scribbles’?

All families will relate to this funny story of toddler cheekiness and charm, written by Kate Ritchie, author of I Just Couldn’t Wait to Meet You and illustrated by Jedda Robaard.

This is a very sweet book and I quite enjoyed this. I like seeing Ritchie come out with more picture books as they are filled with love and emotional connections. I picked this up because of Jess’ review over at Never Ending Book Shelf and I agree it is a lovely book and certainly filled with heart.

This story is a wonderful reminded that what looks like a blotch or a random scribble on a page is a picture perfect image to a child. They can see exactly what it is and it’s always a little heartbreaking not to understand what they have drawn.

The story is told through the voice and perspective of a child and the innocent voice is strong because it brings out the purity in their actions and the heart behind their intent. You feel their pride when the little bear talks about what they have drawn, and the disappointment when they are chastised for their art. It is a story that explores both sides of the situation but gets deep into your emotions about crushing the soul of this tiny artist.

The narrative is lyrical with rhymes as each page flows seamlessly to the next, accompanied by pictures that suit the words. There are only a sentence or two on each page but they explain the story remarkably well and you get easily caught up in the flow and rhythm of the tsory.

Robaard’s illustrations are adorable and I think her style choice is ideal. The cartoon depictions make the story cute without making it silly, but doesn’t make it too serious either. There is humour in the drawings, something for both the adult and the child to enjoy. Plus having a family of bears separates it from being a child and a fault on a child, but there are common themes and scenarios which can be drawn upon when reading.

I think this is great book for kids and parents because it helps to understand one another in a small way and this is a great stepping stone to help drive creativity but in welcomed places. Ritchie is writing about an area that you don’t often see and I think it is wonderful how she keeps putting these stories out that help to appreciate and understand children.

You can purchase It’s Not Scribble to Me via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Amazing Babes by Eliza Sarlos

Published: 1st November 2013Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Scribble Kids Books
Illustrator: Grace Lee
Pages: 56
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Star

A unique picture book for young and old that celebrates inspirational women from around the world and across generations. You will recognise some and be delighted to meet others.

Amazing Babes was originally written as a gift from a mother to her son. It introduces women such as Gloria Steinem, pioneer of the American women’s movement; Kathleen Hanna, lead singer from 1990s seminal punk-rock act Bikini Kill; Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s pro-democracy leader; Miles Franklin, 20th-century Australian writer and feminist; and Malala Yousafzai, a passionate advocate of worldwide access to education. All the women in this book had the ideas, determination, and creativity to bring about change in the world, and in learning about their stories we honour their achievements. 

This is a beautifully simple but empowering book that is an ideal start for children to discover history’s greatest women as well as start them on a path to strive and be the best people they can be.

The women in this book include Hedy Lamarr, Bertha Lutz, Leymah Gbowee, Edith Cowan and Mum Shirl. The 20 women highlighted are from around the world and from a range of eras. The words are simple and the illustrations from Lee are beautiful painted portraits. Sarlos does not provide a page long biography of these women like other books of this kind, instead the focus is on their attributes like determination, bravery, dedication and curiosity. At the end there is a mini biography of each of these amazing women which highlight their achievements but the inspiration initially comes from the main story.

The cover says “for kids and adults” which is important because there are lessons and goals for everyone to take with them and live their life by. The story starts with a simple prompt “As I grow…” which has much more impact than “As I grow up…”, limiting this to a child’s aspiration. Sarlos reminds us that we are always growing and there is always time to start striving to be better people.

What I loved about this book was it wasn’t just a focus on these women and their achievements, because that doesn’t come until the end. Sarlos wants the reader to aspire to be wonderful just like those in the book. Their commitment and fortitude that made them change their world and the world around them and it’s letting the reader know that they can do the same too.

You can purchase Amazing Babes via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon Aust

Schnitzel Von Krumm’s Basketwork by Lynley Dodd

Published: 3rd December 1996Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Puffin
Illustrator: Lynley Dodd
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Sausage dog, Schnitzel von Krumm, is outraged when his family decides to replace his worn out, beaten up old basket. The new bed doesn’t look right, feel right – or smell right! Something must be done.

This might be my favourite of the Hairy Maclary and Co. books that Dodd has put out. I love Schnitzel von Krumm and not only is he adorable, I love how Dodd describes him. I think why I also love this one story in particular is because I have experienced the exact same situation with my own puppy. She loved her first bed so much it was a whole thing trying to get her to use the new, bigger one.

One particular joy of this story is of course Dodd’s illustrations. She captures Schnitzel von Krumm’s adoration of his bed and his loss when it is taken from him in humorous ways. His expressions are excellent too at expressing his mood and displeasure at his predicaments as he hunts for the ideal cosy spot.

In true Dodd style it’s not just the pictures that shine through because the story and rhymes are fantastic. Dodd’s use of repetition give a wonderful lyrical and melodic read whether aloud or to yourself. I loved how Schnitzel von Krumm’s bed is described and how the same description works for his love of it and the family’s displeasure.

I love this book so much, I have gotten emotional reading it in the past because I read too much into everything and become invested in picture book dogs but it is so sweet it’s hard not to. Plus, having my own experience behind it I am now very conscious that maybe my dog is happy with her too small bed and seeing her squished in there might just be the highlight of her day.

You can purchase Schnitzel Von Krumm’s Basketwork via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

I Want to Be in A Book by Narelle Oliver

Published: 1st July 2017Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Scholastic Australia
Illustrator: Narelle Oliver
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

For most of his life, Cecil waited patiently on a pinboard, dreaming of being in a book, like all the other creatures he saw come and go. Cecil is only a sketch, but he has a name, and he wonders, if just maybe, he might be destined for greater things. 

Cecil is the reader’s eyes as we see books created in front of us. Cecil’s imagination soars as he dreams of what book he might land in. And then one day, he does land in a book. And a new, exciting, and even dangerous, adventure begins. 

There’s a lot to enjoy with this story. It’s clever, very meta about the author process where they might create a character but not have an idea yet where to put them. I liked Cecil’s awareness and the illustrations are great because it mixed the real with the drawn.

It wasn’t as good as I thought it might be story wise but it has appeal. It’s a different type of story, very creative and Cecil is a unique character who has dreams and aspirations which were fun to explore. Cecil makes the adventures sound fun and exciting and you can certainly picture the little sketch exploring Oliver’s desk and understand how there are numerous other drawings and stories to interact with.

I liked the contrast between the illustration styles. Aside from the photos, the “in progress” iguana interacting with finished drawings shows the process of illustration and how beginning sketches become completed illustrations. The pages are filled with notes and drawings and the collage style is creative and enhances the crowded desk notion.

Overall a good story, certainly a different type than I’d seen before and it shows that there are many different and unique ways to tell stories that play with formatting and structure and still be cohesive and entertaining.

You can purchase I Want to be in a Book! via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Fishpond

Angus and Robinson | Amazon Aust

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