Tag Archives: Imagination

The Dream Bird –  Aleesah Darlinson/Emma Middleton



Wombat Books

ISBN: 9781925563337

Release: 1 April 2018

Price: $19.99 Hardback


For a family of insomniacs no explanation is needed about the difficulties sometimes of going to sleep – no matter how busy the day, or the level of tiredness. Young and old in my crew this is something we deal with constantly.

Over the years I’ve dealt with this problem from both a personal and a professional aspect. Many children have a real difficulty with calming down from their busyness of the day and sadly, I have seen some medicated to do so.

George is a child who finds it incredibly hard to switch off from his days and even though his family have strategies to offer, none seems to work for him. But Gran has the solution (as so often we Grans do!). She tells him a beautifully lyrical and soothing story about the Dream Bird who takes children on magical dream journeys to the places that are just right for each.

This is not just a story about getting children to sleep. It is an affirmation of the joy and comfort of bedtime stories, the power of imagination and of course, family love and tenderness.

Aleesah’s text is so beautifully wrapped in an almost ethereal swirl of illustrations which evoke the cross-over between reality and fantasy. Whether it’s leaping with leopards, swimming with mermaids or visiting a land of lollies and other yummy treats, every child deserves a Dream Bird to lullaby them to sleep.

Enjoy some insight into Emma’s illustrative process here.

Highly recommended for your little people whether as an addition to library shelves or as a charming gift to a special child.


Watch Out for Muddy Puddles – Ben Faulks/Ben Cort



Allen & Unwin

ISBN :9781408867204

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Imprint: Bloomsbury Child

Pub Date: October 2016

RRP $14.99

Being Aussie I was not familiar with Ben Faulks’ name but UK readers will recognise it from his very popular television presence. This is his first picture book and is colourfully illustrated by Ben Cort, who also did the illustrations for Aliens Love Underpants and Shark in the Dark.

This is simply a very fun look at the eternal joy of splashing in  puddles but with a twist of imagination that invites young readers to picture what might be hiding in some of those tempting pools.

Watch out for muddy puddles!

Because you never really know…

What there might be lurking

down in the depths below.

Pirates, fossils deep in the earth, kissing frogs or a gigantic rubber duck all just might give you a surprise but really splishing, sploshing, splashing in  puddles is always just great fun.

Lots of onomatoepia and interesting vocabulary, rhythm and vibrancy will engage young readers from Prep-3.

Watch a trailer here and download activities here.


Grandparents are the Bomb!



Random House Australia

Of course I can be a little smug since Small so often tells me  lovingly that I am ‘the best Gran in the whole world’. This little person and I have always had such a close bond and that was made even closer when Mummy became so critically ill and K came to stay with me. Since we lost Mummy the bond just gets deeper and deeper, closer and closer. Not only do I strive to make her as happy, settled and secure as possible but I actively encourage her natural curiosity and imagination, her innate desire to explore and observe and her acute intuition regarding life and people.

Here are two wonderful picture books that both celebrate the special-ness of grandparents. Long may we reign1


Miss Mae’s Saturday – Justine Flynn/J.Yi

ISBN: 9780857988584

Published: 28/03/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $16.99


Every Saturday Mae has the boundless joy of adventures with her Grandma – the ballet, the zoo or the park. Everything is a new exciting experience.


But what to do when Saturday is dreary and rainy? Miss Mae is initially dubious when Grandma produces a huge cardboard box – with NOTHING in it! But is very quickly convinced once the epic adventures start – a safari jeep and being confronted by lions, a plane soaring through the blossoms in Korea or zooming through space  – this is the best Saturday ever!


This is a book which will be very special to both grandmothers and grandchildren and will promote the often overlooked simple imaginative play which children all love.


Check out the teaching notes here.


Wild Pa – Claire Saxby – Connah Brecon

ISBN: 9780857988003

Published: 01/08/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s


RRP $24.99


This lucky child also has a grandparent with pizzazz! No boring balding grandfathers here with their tidy garden obsessions or cups of tea with the newspapers.

The Wild Pa chases through the house, is groovy and groomed, prefers exciting food to beans and sausages and never minds when the house gets messy. Well, eventually he decides it’s time to clean up a bit but even that’s fun and then – the next adventure begins!

Claire Saxby’s delightful rhyming text and Dylan Thomas portrait like descriptors are always a joy to read aloud and Brecon’s illustrations jump off the pages with vibrancy and humour.


Both of these are bound to be great hits in your collection. I’m just a bit disappointed that we have already had our Grandparents Day for this year but will definitely keeping both in mind for next year’s fun.
Highly recommended for readers from Prep upwards.


The Cloudspotter – Tom McLaughlin



Allen & Unwin Australia


March 2016

ISBN 9781408854976

RRP $15.99

Franklin is always alone but never lonely because he always has his clouds. That’s why he’s known as the Cloudspotter. When he is with his clouds he can be anywhere and anyone, do anything and imagine endlessly.

When Scruffy Dog comes along, Franklin is distinctly peeved. He doesn’t want or need anyone else encroaching on his cloudspotting and after attempts to rid himself of this annoying friend; he comes up with a brilliant airborne plan to send Scruffy Dog away.

But with Scruffy Dog gone, Franklin just doesn’t feel the same – with or without his clouds. Instead, he feels lonely and realises that perhaps Scruffy Dog was as well. A touching reconciliation ensures that two friends can both cloudspot – and imagine.

Friendship, imagination, sharing and loneliness – all of these are issues which will resonate in classrooms and libraries making this an extremely important read-aloud which will lead to many discussions with even the youngest children.

Another worthy addition for your shelves – recommended for children around Prep to Year 2.

The Adventures of Miss Petitfour – Anne Michaels



Bloomsbury: Tundra Books

PenguinRandomHouse Australia

December 2015

ISBN 9781770495005

RRP $19.99

This beautifully presented hardback is packed with all things to delight girls from around 7 up as they begin their chapter book journey.

The quirky Miss Petitfour lives with her cats – all sixteen of them – and is always having adventures in between her baking delicious treats, making interesting objects and dancing. Her mode of transport around her little village is an umbrella with a marvellous ‘string of cats’ – as her precious felines all wrap each others’ tails to become a furry kite tail.

The text is very cleverly peppered with some challenging and unusual vocabulary which is not only explained directly to the reader but then utilised in each story to clarify meaning. The very sweet illustrations by Emma Block add some lovely visuals for the readers’ pleasure.

Five stories are presented full of the wonderful adventures, cheese eating cats and edible delicacies sprinkled throughout.

With the kind of eccentricity that so flavours classics such as Pippi Longstocking and Mary Poppins this little volume will be sure to entrance your younger readers.

The Cleo Stories: The Necklace & The Present – Libby Gleeson/Freya Blackwood



ISBN: 9781743315279
Australian Pub.: October 2014
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: A & U Children
Suitable for ages: 5-8

RRP $16.99

You just know when you pick up a book created by this pair of very talented individuals, that you are in for a real treat. Certainly, this is no exception!

Cleo is six and like most little six year old girls loves her family and her friends very much. She also loves necklaces and presents and in these two stories, her imagination and ingenuity come to the fore – amid some tiny mishaps.

When my eldest daughter was this age, she came home from school one day asking for pink court shoes because ‘everyone’ at school wore them. So when I read The Necklace with Cleo asking her parents for a necklace because ‘everyone’ else has one, I laughed with the reminiscence. As Mum and Dad kindly point out, three friends do not make ‘everyone’ and necklaces are special presents, not everyday gifts. Undeterred, Cleo is inspired by her clearly much-loved Uncle Tom and comes up with a highly creative solution!

Cleo’s next dilemma is trying to think of just the right present for her Mum’s birthday. Having only a few coins in her piggy bank doesn’t allow for buying something expensive and flashy, she doesn’t want to ‘share’ in Dad’s present, she doesn’t think helping Dad cook dinner is much of a present so what can she do? She wants to give Mum a proper present, wrapped up and tied with a bow. Then once more, her imaginative little mind results in the most perfect present Mum could ever want!

This is a gorgeous book – with sweet gentle stories which will resonate with little people, especially girls, and the ever-beautiful illustrations of Freya Blackwood (oh those endpapers!!! Just lovely!).

I am put in mind of the simple but charming stories of Milly-Molly-Mandy from so long ago – stories which still engage young readers. I foresee this will be in the 2015 shortlist – and deserves to be.

Imagination, creativity and values which we should be encouraging and nurturing in our small humans imbue the text throughout.

If you have a special little girl in your life – this will make a treasured gift – and for your newly independent readers wanting to move into a lengthier picture book, a perfect addition to your library shelves.

Check out Libby’s website and also Freya’s.