Two Bad Teddies by Kilmeny Niland

Published: 27th October 2015Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Simon and Schuster
Illustrator: Taeeun Yoo
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Gruffy Ted and Tilly Ted loved Mollie-Sue. And Mollie-Sue loved her teddies. They did everything together. One day, a present arrived from Grandma. It was Bendy Bill. Mollie-Sue showed Gruffy and Tilly. “Isn’t he handsome? Look at his long stretchy arms,” she said. “And listen . . . ” She pressed Bendy Bill in the middle. “Oo-oo,” he squeaked.

“I don’t like his silly smile,” said Gruffy. “I don’t like his silly arms,” said Tilly. 

“Mollie-Sue still loves us best,” said Gruffy.

Niland’s warm, affectionate story explores a theme familiar to all—sometimes we only get what we want when we stop trying so hard.

My favourite pair of teddies are back! After we left them in Two Tough Teddies I was surprised to find them again because I didn’t know there was a sequel.

Niland brings us back to the teddies to see how they are faring after the end of the last book and all is not well. With the arrival of a new toy, Gruffy Ted and Tilly Ted become jealous and start plotting on how they can rid the house of this intruder.

With a plot similar to Toy Story, the teddies try different ways to get Molly to stop loving the new toy, fearful that she will no longer love them.

The illustrations are as cute as before, the personalities of Gruffy and Tilly wonderfully explored through their faces and their behaviour. I liked that the new toy Bendy Bill doesn’t become animated, he remains silent and ever-staring. This makes the two teddies’ actions even funnier because Bill continues to stare out blankly.

This a great story about accepting changes and making new friends. It shows that love is shared and while there may be new things, it doesn’t push the old things aside, or make them any less loved.

If you have read the original book there are valid reasons why Gruffy and Tilly may worry they are no longer loved, but Niland doesn’t recap any of that, instead focuses on their jealousy.

I am glad I got to see the continuing adventures of the two tough teddies and as much as I enjoyed this one, it doesn’t quite tug at the heartstrings like the first book does.

You can purchase Two Bad Teddies via the following

QBDBook Depository

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Piggy by Trevor Lai

Published: 20th December 2016Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Illustrator: Trevor Lai
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

An irresistibly adorable debut about a lonely little piglet who makes his first friend–perfect for anyone who has felt the joy of new friendships.

Piggy loves books so much that he never has time for friends. But his favourite story has always been about two friends and the special times they share together.

One day, Piggy sees a girl reading alone. And he wonders, perhaps, if they could be best friends? Try as Piggy might–in increasingly spectacular ways–the girl just doesn’t notice him. Will Piggy ever be able to tell her how he truly feels?

She was busy reading her book. So Piggy decided to get her attention” Oh no Piggy. She’s busy, don’t interrupt her!

I am a bit confused by the story. Piggy loves to read and wants to save his last book so he goes out and plays instead. There he stumbles across a potential friend. Because he has read so much he has never had a friend and then tries to get the attention of this new person.

Instead of leaving the cat to read peacefully by herself, Piggy tries to get her attention. After failing, he offers to share his book with her which works. Then somehow, unexplainably he realises she can’t see and gives her glasses and they read together.

It is a cute story about sharing and finding friends with common interests but there were too many things unexplained. How this cat could be so into her book if she couldn’t read? Why Piggy pestered her while she was reading in the first place.

Lai’s illustrations are beyond adorable though. I love Piggy’s design and the bright bold colours catch your eye. The formatting was well planned and favours the story. I picked this book up because Piggy looked so sweet on the cover, and while the message is cute, the logistics of it are a bit off.

You can purchase Piggy via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

There’s a Koala in My Kitchen by Sean Farrar

Published: 5th April 2017Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Big Sky Publishing
Illustrator: Pat Kan
Pages: 32
Format: Paperback Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Have you ever found a furry Koala kidding around in your kitchen?

Or been hassled by a great white shark at your park? Giggled at a Kookaburra causing chaos with Dad’s cooking?

There’s a Koala in my Kitchen takes children and parents on a rollicking, rhyming journey with plenty of funny, feisty Aussie animals.

I was expecting the entire book to be about the hassles one has having a koala in their kitchen but I was pleasantly surprised to find it filled with fun limericks about Australian animals and their antics.

Farrar’s book is a clever and poetic as it tells a great Aussie story about a host of great Aussie animals. The rhyming nature promotes great pace as the story can be told slowly but with style.

The animals include the well-known favourites like koala’s and platypuses, but also eagles, flatheads, and a pobblebonk! The humour is light hearted and nothing too sinister, it is a great book to read before going to bed, aided by the narrative, but works anytime.

The illustrations by Kan are quirky; each animal given a personality in their representation. They are cartoonish but not unrecognisable, and Kan’s painted drawings are colourful and whimsical and match Farrar’s limericks well.

I’m glad this was a fun read, especially after my initial disappointment. It’s a good story to learn about some Australian animals but also a great use of limerick too. It’s quirky and light hearted and Farrar’s tone is perfectly placed starting high and working down into a satisfying conclusion.

You can purchase There’s a Koala in My Kitchen via the following

QBD | Booktopia

Angus and Robinson | Dymocks

Fishpond | Amazon Aust | Amazon

How Rocket Learnt To Read by Tad Hills

Published: 27th July 2010Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Schwartz & Wade
Illustrator: Tad Hills
Pages: 40
Format: Paperback Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Star

This sweet picture book starring an irresistible dog named Rocket and his teacher, a little yellow bird, is perfect for back-to-school! Follow along as Rocket masters the alphabet, sounds out words, and finally . . . learns to read all on his own.

This is the CUTEST book. This is the story of how the little dog Rocket learns to read with the help of a little yellow bird. I can see this being a great book for teaching kids how to spell, though it’s not the sole purpose of the story. It is contained within an adorable story and coupled with the CUTEST illustrations. Hills makes Rocket so expressive and it really conveys when he is excited or annoyed or intimidated.

Hill’s narrative is adorable as well, this little bird starts reading a book and at first annoys Rocket but he soon becomes engaged and intrigued by the story and wants to know how it finishes. The little bird helps Rocket to read and teaches him how to spell all the wonderful things around him.

I love this book, it’s simple and easy to understand and a great tool in how to get kids engaged with learning to spell and how to practice in every day situations. Even away from that it’s a sweet story about Rocket and his love of learning to read and the steps he takes to read, all so he can read a story himself.

I loved seeing how proud Rocket was of his progress, the illustrations marry with the narrative incredible well, and the cute factor definitely played into my enjoyment. I found myself being proud of Rocket and his achievement and I was excited for him to read a story for himself.

You can purchase How Rocket Learnt to Read via the following

Booktopia | Book Depository | Dymocks

Angus and Robinson | Wordery

Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Purple Snow by Eric Lobbecke

Published: October 1st 2009Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Penguin Random House Australia
Illustrator: Adam Stower
Pages: 32
Format: Paperback Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Star

Cockatoo has traveled all the way from Australia to Polar Bear’s home to see the white snow. But it’s not what he expects. When he invites his friends to see the purple snow that falls in Australia in summer each year, they laugh and laugh. Only Polar Bear is willing to make the trip. But at the end of an exhausting journey he is too tired to look for the purple snow. He falls asleep—and wakes up to a big surprise!

Under the premise of visiting his friends in the North Pole to see snow, Cockatoo visits and meets all of Polar Bear’s friends the penguins and the walrus. Cockatoo then invites everyone back to see the purple snow of Australia.

This is a simple story, nothing overly complicated and there is no explanation about the environment or Australian nature. Whether I was expecting a full story filled with conversations about Australia’s ‘snow’ and even just extra narration about where they had actually gone instead of picking up clues from the illustrations. Perhaps this is to keep it an ‘anywhere in Australia” feel, but having Grafton on the train station sign is a tad giveaway.

There is an environmental message about climate change but it isn’t a focus of the story. Instead Lobbecke shows the magic of snow and how the animals wish to see it again and the journey Cockatoo takes with his friend all the way to Australia and then through the harbour and on the train to see the purple snow.

It was a charming read but I do wish it was a bit more complicated, it has the potential to have a great Australian environment aspect, though the surprise and mystery has its appeal as well.

You can purchase Purple Snow via the following

QBD

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