That’s Not A Good Idea! by Mo Willems

Published: 23rd April 2013Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Balzer + Bray
Illustrator: Mo Willems
Pages: 42
Format: Paperback Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Star

One day a very hungry fox meets a very plump goose. A dinner invitation is offered. 

Will dinner go as planned? Or do the dinner plans involve a secret ingredient…?

(Don’t forget to listen to the baby geese!)

This is a creative story that works on nursery rhyme tropes but does so in an interesting way. Willems subverts your expectations and plays with conceived notions, and I loved how there is the little voice of reason from the chick about the dangers and why everything that happens is really Not A Good Idea.

The illustrations cleverly resemble the book version of a silent film, complete with the black screen and decorative border. It affects the way you read it, reading the words then seeing the picture, imagining it playing out as a movie. The text is clear and conversational and Willems makes reading easy and the layout brings the words and the illustrations together.

I can see kids loving this, it’s funny and surprising and a fun read.

You can purchase That is NOT a Good Idea! via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository | Dymocks

Angus and Robinson | Wordery

Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

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

Published: 21st March 2016Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 ABC Books – AU
Illustrator: Beck and Matt Stanton
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Ok. Two things you need to know. Firstly, your favourite thing in the whole world is the letter B. And secondly, you’re about to sneeze and all the Bs are going to be blown out of the book. So until you can get your favourite letter back, you’re about to sound really, really silly … 

This is ideal to read aloud as it provides a great chance to make silly noises and say silly things. The book certainly lives up to the claim that it will drive kids crazy because it’s interactive and funny and gets sillier as it goes along.

I liked the simplistic format and the changing colours of the pages. I enjoyed as it became more dire with the missing letter than the previous words came into play which makes reading it aloud more of a challenge and certainly funnier to hear.

The chance to let kids yell things out and have input in a story is rewarding and it teaches them about words that start with B at the same time.

I think the Stanton’s have done an excellent job creating an enjoyable story that both kids and adults can love and it’s clever which is always a bonus with picture books.

You can purchase Did You Take the B from my _ook? via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Jacob’s Toys by Claudia Woods

Published: 1st May 2018Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Harbour Publishing House
Illustrator: Claudia Woods
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Jacob tells his mother that he is too old for soft toys and he wants to give them away. His mother washes them and hangs them on the line to dry. But wild weather sets the toys free and sends them on an exciting adventure across the garden.

What will become of the toys? Will they make it to their new home safely?

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author

Woods has written a great story not only about the adventure of lost toys, but also one about maybe not being quite as ready to grow up as you might think you are. When Jacob decides to get rid of his toys he doesn’t realise it is about to send them on a dangerous journey through the wilds of the backyard.

It is a story about the various perils the toys face and what they must endure to get back home. The story is told with repetition and rhyme, the toys names being repeated over and over with a few variations as their adventure dictates. This creates a wonderful melody and rhythm as you read that flows from start to finish. The toys are often at the mercy of the weather or their circumstance but there is still a great adventure to be had.

It is not only the narrative that tells the story, the text and font is designed to add emphasis and intent to the words. With colours, drawn out words and various formatting styles it makes reading engaging and fun.

I liked that the toys accepted their move, there wasn’t a deep personification of the toys, but they still were self-aware enough to know what was happening. I can certainly see kids having favourites out of the toys, though they are all given the same standing, described in a collective bunch rather than separating them.

One of the most notable things about this story is the illustrations. They are a creative combination of different materials; Woods uses pencils, paint and a wonderful mix of natural and recycled components to show off the toys’ adventures. The colours are also bright and pop off the page and when you take the time to study each page you realise how detailed and clever they are. The combination of materials is a unique change from typical illustrations and the addition of a “look and find” feature also provides a fun element while you read.

Overall it was an enjoyable story enhanced by the fabulous illustrations and the creative formatting. One that will be fun to read time and time again.

You can purchase Jacob’s Toys via the following

QBDDymocksAngus and Robinson | Fishpond

Sorry Day by Coral Vass

Published: 1st May 2018Goodreads badge
Publisher:
National Library of Australia
Illustrator: Dub Leffler
Pages: 34
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Sorry Day acknowledges the past and shows a willingness to make things right. The story commemorates both the momentous speech made by the Prime Minister of Australia to say sorry to the indigenous people for past abuse and to also recognise the decades of abuse suffered by the Stolen Generation. Told through the eyes of a young girl participating in the ceremony today and, in sepia colours, the eyes of the stolen children in the past.

The anniversary of the apology is actually in February but it is recognised in May as part of National Sorry Day, a day first held on 26 May, 1998. In 2008 then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gave the apology that indigenous people had been rightly asking for for years, the one that apologised to the stolen generation for the way they had been treated by the government for decades.

I remember vividly watching this on TV, I cried then and I cried now. This is a remarkable book as it celebrates the momentous speech by Kevin Rudd but it also shows the past and the horrors indigenous people had to endure. Vass uses Rudd’s real words and she weaves it into this young girl’s story, not quite understanding the impact, but we see it through her mum and the adults around her.

As one story unfolds about that wonderful February day, it is shadowed by the realities of the history those words represent. The contrast from page to page is a stark reminder and a beautifully heartbreaking juxtaposition about the two eras, and what the importance of the speech means. In the present a young girl loses the hand of her mother and is lost momentarily in the crowd, in the past, young children lose their parents forever.

I loved that each page threw up into a different time in history. From the lawns of Canberra, to the creeks where children hide in terror, then back to watching the speech. It is such a powerful move to bring the voices of the past into the present.

Leffler uses colour to show the differences between eras, colours for the present, with sepia depicting the past. The images are vivid and emotive and coupled with Vass’ words and my own understanding of history, it is incredibly clever to see these two moments side by side.

What I found interesting was the information included at the back about the history from the stolen generation to Prime Minster Keating in the 90s to Rudd in 2008. As I said, Sorry Day is recognised every single year and it is important that people acknowledge and understand what it means.

More people need to remember this speech, remember the impact it had, but also remember why it needed to be said in the first place and wonder just why it took so long to be said. This is the ideal book to tell the story in an impactful yet gentle way and it is certainly one that can spark great discussions.

You can purchase Sorry Day via the following

BooktopiaDymocks

 WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon Aust

NSS: Alpacas with Maracas by Matt Cosgrove

Today is the National Simultaneous Storytime. This event is held annually across Australia and New Zealand in a bid to promote the value of reading and literacy, the joy of books, and it gives a great chance for parents, carers, grandparents, the media and others to participate and enjoy the occasion. Each year a picture book is chosen which was written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator, and is read simultaneously (hence the name) in libraries, schools, bookshops, households, and many other places around the country and across the ditch.

This year at 11:00am participants across Australia and New Zealand will be reading Matt Cosgrove’s Alpacas with Maracas, an excellent addition to the Macca family. If you were unaware of this event or are unable to participate, never fear, Cosgrove’s books are a delight to read at any time of day alone or with a few million people alongside you. If you like, there is still time to check out your local bookshop or library as there is a strong chance they will have a storytime session running that you can attend.

There are many fun things involved with NSS, there are bookmarks, colouring, masks and a host of other activities that each location may be running. You can find more fun activities via the NSS website. To find out more about Matt Cosgrove visit his website.

Because it is NSS today, of course I am going to have to break my Picture Book Corner rules and post on a Wednesday, but for Macca it is totally worth it. I adore Cosgrove’s book so to be able to celebrate his work for such a momentous day is pretty fantastic.

Published: July 2018Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Koala Books
Illustrator: Matt Cosgrove
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Macca and pal Al are the best of friends and LOVE spending time together.

When there is an opportunity to enter a talent contest, they just can’t resist. 

But what will their act be? Will they shimmy and shake? Dance and prance? Whatever they choose it will surely be a performance to remember!

Once again Cosgrove has delivered with a funny story featuring our favourite alpaca, Macca. This time Macca is joined by his best mate Al as they try and put their talent to the test and win a contest. I love the boundless enthusiasm of Macca and Al, they are fearless and determined and they want to do something in the show they just don’t know what.

The highlight of all Cosgrove books are his brilliant, adorable illustrations. I love the illustrations because they are bright and colourful, and Macca’s eyes are so delightful and cute that you can’t help but fall in love. I also love how much emotion is portrayed through these alpacas. You see their joy and playfulness as Cosgrove shows off their friendship with humour and love.

Bookmarks we’re giving out at work as well as one of the many cute badges.

One thing I adore about Cosgrove’s books is his rhythmic storytelling. Not only are the rhymes wonderful, but they suit the story and characters. The story is brilliantly lyrical as well; the flow as you read aloud or to yourself has a fantastic pace that makes the narrative seamless.

Cosgrove puts so much personality into his characters that even in a relatively short story, with not many words and not much room to explore, he still can create unique and exciting characters. This is another fantastic addition to Macca’s adventures and it one everyone will love.

You can purchase Alpacas with Maracas via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

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