They All Saw A Cat by Brendan Wenzel

Published: 30th August 2016Goodreads badge
Chronicle Books
Illustrator: Brendan Wenzel
Pages: 44
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws . . .

In this celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel shows us the many views of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see. When you see a cat, what do you see?

I was pleasantly surprised by this story. The narrative is simple as it describes the cat walking through the world and telling readers who saw the cat, not much more than that. The cleverness is in the illustrations because they show not only that the creatures saw the cat, but what the cat looked like to them when they saw it.

Wenzel’s drawings show how the cat changes depending on the perspective of whoever is looking be it worm, bee, or child. It is incredibly clever and while the story is simple and basic, the illustrations add another level. In an unspoken way it teaches kids that animals see differently to us, and perspective changes depending on the eyes, the vantage point, and the intent.

This is a different type of story as there isn’t so much a story than an exploration of perspective. It’s a good teaching tool about how animals see the world and the journeys of a cat.

You can purchase They All Saw A Cat via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

There’s an Alien in Your Book by Tom Fletcher

Published: 16th May 2019Goodreads badge
Illustrator: Greg Abbott
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Tom Fletcher and Greg Abbott have created a new interactive adventure, this time featuring an adorable alien who has crash-landed in YOUR book!

You’ll have to help Alien back up into space, because aliens don’t belong on Earth . . . do they?

What I love about Fletcher’s books is how interactive they are. They require you to blow on pages, turn the book upside down, or pretend to draw on the pages. This time an alien has crashed into our book and we have to help him get home.

I love how the narration openly speaks to the reader and asks them to participate. It makes the alien into a real creature who is tampering and having consequences in and on the book itself. The text moves and changes as the narrative instructs so if you don’t follow along you may find it hard to read if you haven’t turned the book upside down, and it certainly is a lot more fun if it feels like your actions have an effect on the alien.

Abbott’s illustrations are a stand out once again. The adorableness of his creations are one reason why I love these books. While Fletcher’s words and instructions are entertaining, there is an extra level added by seeing the character react to these actions.

The story teaches kids about being helpful and also that everyone deserves to belong no matter what they look like. Being unique and different is not a bad thing and I love that Fletcher doesn’t leave it vague, he makes a point and then changes his mind to make the message clear.

If you loved having fun with Fletcher’s dragon and his monster then you will certainly love this story as well, especially since there is a nice surprise cross over.

You can purchase There’s An Alien in Your Book via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

The Book of Mistakes by Corrina Luyken

Published: 18th April 2017Goodreads badge
Dial Books
Illustrator: Corrina Luyken
Pages: 56
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

One eye was bigger than the other. That was a mistake.
The weird frog-cat-cow thing? It made an excellent bush.
And the inky smudges… they look as if they were always meant to be leaves floating gently across the sky.

As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas — and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.

For a story with very few words, there is a wonderful profound nature and beauty to it. Luyken shows how small mistakes can become different yet beautiful things and can help create new intentional things.

The illustrations are very bare, the ink pictures the obvious focus of the story, but they are stunning and seeing the creativity and the imagination stem from those small mistakes are divine.

As each little mistake progresses you see the illustrator’s mind work and see the changes that happen because of unintentional things, one eye too big, one leg too long. It doesn’t dismiss the mistakes, it offers a chance to make something unique because of it.

The illustrations aren’t all black and white ink drawings, there are speckles of colour which stand out against the vast white pages. I love this story because it is a wonderful concept, but it is also a celebration of imperfection which I adore and shows that one mistake doesn’t have to ruin anything magical or beautiful.

You can purchase The Book of Mistakes via the following

Book DepositoryDymocks

Amazon | Amazon Aust


Isaac and His Amazing Asperger Superpowers by Melanie Walsh

Published: 22nd March 2016Goodreads badge
Candlewick Press
Illustrator: Melanie Walsh
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Isaac may look like everyone else, but he actually has superpowers that make him different from his brother and his classmates. Even though he’s not really a superhero — he has Asperger syndrome, which means his brain works a little differently.

Straightforward and engaging, Isaac’s first-person narrative will help kids see the world through the eyes of a child with the high-cognitive type of autism spectrum disorder commonly known as Asperger syndrome.

This is a book that celebrates the great talents and explains the challenges that a child with Asperger’s might face. It turns Isaac’s differences into his own superpowers. His boundless energy lets him play for hours on the trampoline, and he is always thinking of things therefore he might forget to say hello to someone.

The narrative explains some of the downsides too like being sensitive to noises and not wanting to look people in the eye, but Isaac remains positive and includes some handy tips he knows to help. Isaac is very positive about his superpowers, he sees them as an advantage to his day to day life and I think this is a great way to approach it. While there may be difficulties having a child with Asperger’s, or interacting with one, it is good to know that it doesn’t have to be a constantly negative thing or become a huge issue if you understand where the child is coming from.

The illustrations are simple but big and there is a lot of focus on what the text is saying. The colours are bright and bold but they are a good representation of what is being described and add a clear visual of the story.

Walsh has created a great book for helping kids understand someone they may know who has Asperger’s or even help a child understand themselves a bit better. The first person narrative lets reader’s see things through Isaac’s eyes and enables them to relate on a better level. It’s a good beginner’s guide to understanding Asperger’s in an enjoyable story format.

You can purchase Isaac and His Amazing Asperger Superpowers via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

A Day at the Show by Gwyn Perkins


Published: 31st July 2018Goodreads badge
Affirm Press
Illustrator: Gwyn Perkins
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Doreen the hen has laid another perfect egg! Little Iggy and Grandad think she deserves to win a prize.

What follows is a family trip to the colourful chaos of the Show, filled with spinning tea cups, merry-g-rounds, lots of animals and some healthy competition.

Here is a story about family adventures, the magic of the show, and the joy of running one tiny car into another.

From Perkins’ first book A Walk in the Bush I’ve slowly grown quite attached to these stories. I love Grandad and Iggy and I love the little conversations he has with the cat and how he helps him have adventures and appreciate the world around him.

This time round Iggy and Grandad go to the show because of how proud Grandad is of Doreen and her egg laying ability. He wants to show off her skills and while they’re there have a great day at the show.

The simple conversations are quite profound and somehow Perkin’s makes a regular thing like going to the show seem even more fabulous and adventurous. The illustrations are bright and colourful and a little more cartoony considering many livestock are riding the merry-go-round and buying show bags. But the enthusiasm from grandad and Iggy’s silence is adorable and endearing and I love their little adventures.

I love how the animals are not only being judged but also are the ones enjoying the show. Grandad and Iggy explore everything that makes these shows fun – the woodchop, the show bags, the animal judging. It reminds me of the many times I’ve been to the Royal Easter Show and it’s something many people can relate to even if it is only a local fete or carnival.

I look forward to the many other adventures I hope this pair will have. It is a great exploration of Australian culture and yet is timeless and could be anywhere at all. It’s a simple story but it is filled with heart too.

You can purchase A Day at the Show via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 FishpondAmazon Aust

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