Fluffy McWhiskers Cuteness Explosion by Stephen W. Martin

Published: 12 October 2021Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Illustrator: Dan Tavis
Pages: 40
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Meet Fluffy—an adorable kitten. So adorable, in fact, that anyone who sees her will spontaneously explode into balls of sparkles and fireworks. KABOOM! Poof.
Poor Fluffy doesn’t want anyone to get hurt, but everything she tries, even a bad haircut, just makes her cuter! So Fluffy runs away someplace no one can find her. Find out if there’s any hope for Fluffy in this funny and subversive story about self-acceptance and finding friendship in unlikely places.

This was instantly in my Top Five picture books of the year because this book is AMAZING. I laughed so much, I loved every page, I loved the words, the illustrations, the premise, the humour. I loved every single thing and I need other people to love this book.

Highlights begin before you even open the book. In lieu of author and illustrator it has ‘Explosions by’ and ‘Cuteness by’ which is FANTASTIC. Loved that. From there the greatness only went up.

It is filled with some dark humour, well as dark as a picture book can really go – animals and people do technically explode a lot in this book, but there are reasons, it is done in an adorable and hilarious way, and honestly it’s that wonderful absurd humour that makes this a brilliant book.

The illustrations are brilliant, Tavis captures the essence of Cuteness for Fluffy McWhiskers and with Martin’s blunt writing, the high logic of the situation and the lengths this poor burdened cat must go to it is the perfect combination to enhance the tone they’re aiming for.

I could reread this story multiple times and love it each time. This poor cat, who is doing the best she can, through no fault of her own, is trying to help people, to save their lives but nothing is working. I love Martin’s solution at the end and I love that there isn’t actually a solution either. It was the best way to end the story.

If you want something funny and clever, something kids will certainly love as there are many, many explosions on the page, this might be the book for you.

You can purchase Fluffy McWhiskers Cuteness Explosion via the following

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Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Published: 1st August 2010 Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Pan Macmillan Australia
Pages: 263
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult
★   ★   ★   ★   ★ – 5 Stars

Lucy is in love with Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist.

Ed thought he was in love with Lucy, until she broke his nose.

Dylan loves Daisy, but throwing eggs at her probably wasn’t the best way to show it.

Jazz and Leo are slowly encircling each other.

An intense and exhilarating 24 hours in the lives of four teenagers on the verge: of adulthood, of HSC, of finding out just who they are, and who they want to be.

Crowley has written a sweet and intriguing story of 24 hours of adventure and discovery and what I love about it is there’s established relationships so instalove isn’t a real issue given no one is professing love quite yet, but there are certainly connections and second chances.

Crowley captures the teenage friendship and interactions well, the story highlights that teens can have deep thoughts and dreams and ambitions. They aren’t just the outward persona they project to the world.

I liked the alternating points of view because it shows how the same experiences are seen through different eyes. I liked being in Ed and Lucy’s head and seeing their perspectives. The recapping on chapters was interesting. Often you’ll see with alternating voices the scene flips instantly but the small recap is repetitive but I didn’t mind because it brings a new perspective to the latest moment or event and then follows through with a new voice.

This story cemented my love for 24 hour stories. Stories and lives evolved and changed by a mere 24 hours can be so profound and powerful and Crowley does something phenomenal with this story in exploring the lives of these kids and their intricacies, passions and their friendships.

I would reread this in a heartbeat because it is short but powerful and getting to explore the city of Melbourne through the eyes of these characters again would be wonderful.

You can purchase Graffiti Moon via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

The Littlest Yak by Lu Fraser

Published: 1st October 2021Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Peachtree Publishing Company
Illustrator: Kate Hindley
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

On the tip of the top of a mountain all snowy, where the ice-swirling, toe-curling blizzards were blowy, in a herd full of huddling yaks, big and small, lived Gertie . . . the littlest yak of them all.

Gertie is the littlest yak in her whole herd, and she’s feeling stuck in her smallness – she wants to grow UP and have bigness and tallness!

But when it turns out that there are some things that only Gertie can do, might she come to see that she’s perfect, just the way she is?

I was immediately won over by the cute cover, it basically sealed the deal and I am so glad the story held up to the same standard.

Being the smallest in the herd and feeling like she needs to be bigger, Gertie is a great character for all those kids who wish to grow up faster. They are tired of being small, and they feel useless and just too small to be of any help. Gertie is told numerous times that she will grow up eventually but of course she doesn’t listen and seeing her montage of activities to get big was fantastic. I love Fraser’s rhymes and accompanied by adorable pictures this book could do no wrong.

I loved the illustrations so much, Hindley’s pictures are beyond adorable and the contrast of Gertie and the bigger yaks is wonderful. I loved the detail and colour scheme of her surroundings and the little knitted hats the yaks wear are delightful. I could easily steal a few of these pages and put them on my wall they are so cute.

The story is told with wonderful rhyme and there is a great flow that keeps you engaged and turning the page. The story itself has a great message about being yourself, not wishing to grow up too soon and that bigness can come in all shapes and sizes. Seeing Gertie try and grow up and be big is endearing but it’s wonderful when she learns that she is just right the size she is now.

You can purchase The Littlest Yak via the following

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Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Mini Rabbit Must Help by John Bond

Published: 25th June 2020Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Harper Collins Children’s Books
Illustrator: John Bond
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Mini Rabbit has a VERY important letter to post.
Mini Rabbit is being VERY helpful.
Mini Rabbit will NOT lose the letter, WILL be very careful, and definitely will NOT be late…

This was an absolutely adorable book. Bond’s writing captures Mini Rabbit’s desire to help, as well as the innocent child logic that tries to problem solve and can end up creating more issues than solutions.

The illustrations are beautifully coloured and detailed, the colours are strong but not distracting from the story and Bond creates an entire world around Mini Rabbit with background detail and people for them to interact with.

It was the perfect length, with multiple problems and solutions for Mini Rabbit to explore and I loved how there is actually suspense on whether the letter will be posted. The humour is fantastic and is subtle in both the illustrations and the text, and I loved going on this journey with Mini Rabbit on the Very Important Job.

You can purchase Mini Rabbit Must Help via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name by Sandhya Parappukkaran

Published: 18th August 2021 Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing
Illustrator: Michelle Pereira
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

When Zimdalamishkermishkada starts a new school, he knows he’s got to do something about his long name. ​

When no amount of shrinking, folding or crumpling works, he simply settles for Zim—but deep down, it doesn’t feel right. It’s not until a new friend sees him for who he truly is that Zimdalamishkermishkada finds the confidence to step boldly into his long name. ​

A warm and uplifting picture book that encourages young readers to celebrate their individuality, and shows how no-one should ever have to shrink themselves down to fit in.​

This is a wonderful book. It is sweet and lovely but at the same time has an important story about being your true self.

The story is filled with metaphors but they don’t distract from the story instead it allows you to see similarities, something helpful for younger readers who might understand the reference better. The comparison of practising skateboard and slowly learning the name is beautiful and while it would be easier for people to have a short name (easier for who I would argue), it is unfair to make people change who they are to make things simpler for other people.

The illustrations are a great mixture of muted colours without making it dull and lifeless. Pereira does a wonderful job illustrating each page so we see a visual of what is happening with the story and see the progression of learning Zim’s real name.

The book is told compassionately and with no judgement which is excellent. There is no criticism of not being able to pronounce Zimdalamishkermishkada instead it becomes a place to learn.

You can purchase The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

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