Tag Archives: Adrian Beck

Hopping towards Easter (already!)

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It’s true that the start of this year has been fraught – not to put too fine a point on it. In my house: switch jobs on the last day of holidays, school is delayed by a week for The Kid, a week or so later The Kid is not well and after a couple of days tests positive for Covid, so we’re both in quarantine for a week, get over that (negative test on the Thursday) so she still can’t go to school on the Friday as its pupil-free at her school, freak extreme rain/storm event in Qld causing flooding all weekend, schools closed for two days but she still can’t get to school as the trains are not yet running after the floods, then we all get sent home on Thursday and schools are closed again on Friday. So she’s not been to school for three of the six weeks of term, and I’ve missed a week and a half. Seriously, can we just have 2021 back? I promise not to complain again! Meanwhile, now it’s a mere few weeks until Easter bounces around again but I want to give the heads up on these two beauties so that you have time to get them!!

The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter

[120th Anniversary picture book edition]

Penguin Australia

March 2022

  • ISBN: 9780241545379
  • Imprint: Warne
  • RRP: $16.99

I truly wish you could see just how glorious this is with its stunning gold foil cover! If ever a fictional character deserved such a beautiful anniversary edition, it must surely be Peter, whose adventures and near-escapes have been enthralling little readers for over a century with completely undiminished love and enthusiasm.

When Beatrix wrote her first little story, naming the central character after her own childhood pet, purely for the amusement of a sick child, I feel sure she had no accurate idea of his enduring appeal, though she was certainly astute. Indeed, when friends urged her to publish the story, it was soundly rejected by numerous publishers and so, boldly, she published it herself. The rest, as they say, is history. The initial success prompted Frederick Warne & Co to issue it commercially and now, 120 years later, it has sold in excess of 45 millions copies, been translated into 36 languages, and spawned so much merchandising, film versions and spin-off books. Potter, herself, saw the possibilities for marketing with her own creations of a soft toy, a board game and nursery wallpaper in the first few years following publication.

In the intervening years, it is difficult to think of an ‘incarnation’ of Peter in merchandise that has been left untouched and yet, despite, what is almost saturation this rather naughty little rabbit, his friends and family – and even his nemesis – continue to delight children around the world.

This beautiful edition is absolutely worthy of honouring the longevity of the first little white book with its adherence to Potter’s original illustrations but now fully in colour and such gorgeous endpapers!

If you have a special little person in your circle, expecting a new arrival or simply to add to your collection to celebrate this significant literary milestone, you should order your copy immediately.

The Unfunny Bunny – Adrian Beck and James Hart

Penguin Australia

  • March 2022
  • ISBN: 9781761043093
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $17.99

Ok, I admit, this is not Peter Rabbit or even close to it – but it is really very funny, and it will have your kiddos rolling around like Easter eggs on a slippery slope. For reading aloud adults like myself, it’s completely the joy of so many rabbit-related puns that brings the joy (particularly given my penchant for all things rabbit). For the munchkins this is just part of the fun with the rhymes and the hare-larious antics of the family adding to the mix (NOT MIX-omatosis!!).

I have to say after the deluge of a week we’ve had in the Sunshine State the premise of a washed-out Easter doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility, but fingers crossed our wild weather will have settled by then!

’Twas the night before EASTER
When I spotted the BUNNY!
So I offered to help
Make the EGG HUNT more FUNNY!

James’ illustrations which make the bunny-impersonating kid look as much like a rabbit as the actual rabbit looks like a rabbit make me laugh just by seeing them, and the riotous colours, facial expressions plus the weird and wonderful situations, all add up to one laugh-out-loud reading experience.

My prediction is that when offered up as a read-aloud – the reading will inevitably finish up with ‘AGAIN!’ from your audience.

I highly recommend you rush out and buy both of these – different but so very appropriate, particularly as Easter gifts (my girls always got books PLUS chocolate!) – and enjoy them both!

Derek Dool Supercool #1: Bust a Move– Adrian Beck. Illustrated by Scott Edgar

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9781760892951

Penguin Australia

March 2020

ISBN: 9781760892951

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $14.99

Yep, we’ve all known a Derek – and indeed, some of us have taught one! Derek Dool thinks he is the ant’s pants really and doesn’t miss a chance to let everyone know. It’s just a shame that no one else seems to appreciate his supercool-ness. Mind you, given his very uncool father it’s to be expected.

Of course, Derek does have his stalwart friends, Big Denise and Booger – I probably don’t have to go into too much detail about them given their names – but despite their whole-hearted support Derek still struggles to achieve the acclaim which he feels is rightly his.

So Derek’s immediate problem is how to demonstrate that he really is the ‘coolest, funniest, most handsome kid in school’ in the dance-off happening at the school disco, especially as he’s up against his nemesis, Carmichael Cruz.

Really, with his vast quantities of talent, nothing can go wrong – well, except for wet pants (due to melting ice but looking like suspect toilet troubles), an incident with a giant cake, an escaped pet rabbit and a rogue giant mirror ball. Oh and that little matter of Cruz actually being a great dancer and Derek getting the blame for a disastrous social event.

Kids from around 8 years upwards will absolutely love this. It is exactly the kind of slapstick funny, gross-out humour, ridiculous situations and outrageous characters that they love. And with Edgar’s  comical illustrations and the interspersed Bad Dad Jokes they will get even more laughs out of it.

Really, some light-hearted comedy that also includes some themes of real friendship and family is a good antidote for the current doom and gloom.

If you haven’t already, get hold of this for your middle/upper primaries and wait for them to add to their favourite funny series lists!

Total Quack Up Again! – Edited by Sally Rippin and Adrian Beck. Illustrated by Jules Faber.

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9781760893583

Penguin Australia

October 2019

ISBN: 9781760893583

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $14.99

Get quacking if you haven’t already and grab this second edition of hilarious stories from some of our most celebrated authors as well as one young newcomer!

The first TQU was a great success not only providing children with some super funny stories but raising funds for Dymocks Children’s Charities. At this critical moment Dymocks are well and truly focused on providing valuable support for children affected by the catastrophic bushfires which are still burning.

Featuring stories from Nat Amoore, Felice Arena, Adam Cece, Jules Faber, Tim Harris, Kim Kane, Belinda Murrell, A.L. Tait, Shelley Ware, Michael Wagner and Nova Weetman as well as young Coby Sanchez whose story The Duck Pond was determined the winner of the story-writing competition, this collection will have kids everywhere chuckling with gusto.

With all the aspects young readers are looking for including ridiculous situations, ‘smelly’ stories and weird characters this will be a welcome addition to any primary library.

Be sure to tell children how this book (and its predecessor) represents a special and generous initiative by not only the Dymocks group but the talented authors/artists who so generously give of their time and talent.

Highly recommended for readers from around 7 years upwards.