Tag Archives: Tania McCartney

Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather – Stephanie Owen Reeder and Tania McCartney

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Publisher:   National Library of Australia
ISBN: 978064229637

RRP: $24.99

What an amazing partnership these two creators make! Together they have made what is already an interesting topic for many children into one that is completely fascinating. The Kid’s home school unit on extreme weather and natural disasters last term was just as enjoyable for her as it is for younger children for whom this particular book is intended.

The combination of information snippets in easily-digested chunks, alongside the (as always) simply splendid illustrations in Tania’s inimitable style and the absorbing bizarre facts presented is outstanding and kids from Prep to Year 6 will thoroughly enjoy perusing it. Stephanie’s ability to search out little-known Australian history has become the stuff of legends and likewise her ability to translate them into wonderfully accessible texts for children.

As well as the strange weather events shared there is a tremendously vital message around climate change and the imperative for young people to take on the challenge of preparing for the world’s future.

Readers of this blog already know how much I admire and adore Tania’s illustrative style with stylised graphics and knock-out colour combinations and this gorgeous volume is completely phenomenal in this respect. To my mind this is a stand-out for award nomination in the coming year and if not, there’s something seriously amiss with judging criteria.

My heartiest congratulations to Stephanie and Tania on the creation of such an engaging and attractive volume! Obviously, I give it my highest recommendation as a necessary addition to your non-fiction collection for younger readers.

Read Stephanie’s account of the book’s creation here.

Aussie Kids series # 7 & # 8

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Penguin Australia

Continuing today’s theme of virtual travel around Australia, here are the next two instalments in one of my favourite series of the past year. These delightful little books have been a huge hit with our newly independent readers who not only enjoy the adventures of the featured kids but are able to learn so much about our big beautiful country and how their counterparts live in so many various places.

Meet Matilda at the Festival – Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern & Tania McCartney

  • September 2020
  • ISBN: 9781760894511
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $12.99

This is my favourite so far not only because it’s illustrated by my beautiful and talented friend Tania McCartney but also because it made me seriously reminiscent about my time living in Canberra – particularly a special visit to the Japanese embassy!

Matilda is sad because her friend Hansuke and his family are returning to Tokyo after their appointment and she knows she will miss him very much. As their last adventure together Matilda and her family are once again invited to the embassy celebrations for the Emperor of Japan’s birthday. It is always such a wonderful occasion with delicious food, drumming, origami, tea ceremony and more. Matilda has made her friend a wonderful scrapbook detailing their many shared experiences from hot air ballooning to spotting kangaroos and they have fun remembering all the good times they’ve had together.

Not long after Hansuke has left Matilda has a special surprise when Irish girl Cara appears. Her family has now been posted to Canberra from Tokyo and Hansuke had been her friend there at school. Matilda is thrilled to have a new friend but still misses Hansuke as the months go by. When her birthday arrives there is an even bigger surprise in store for the little girl.

This is such a great addition to this series as it truly captures the wonderful diversity and personality of Canberra as well as the warmth of friendship.

Meet Dooley at the Farm

  • ISBN: 9781760893682
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $12.99

From Canberra to Tassie and a city mouse/country mouse story when cousin Sienna visits Dooley on his family farm. Sienna is a real city girl who really doesn’t like all the ‘pongs’ or the prickles from raspberry bushes or the noises of the milking shed. In fact, it seems like she’s not going to enjoy the farm visit much at all.

But Dooley remains undaunted – he’s always wanted to sleep in the barn one night and hasn’t been allowed to do alone but now with an older cousin in tow, he will finally be able to do so. Dooley might be the farm kid used to all kinds of different things to Sienna but it’s both children who find that hay is really not that comfortable as a bed, that possums at night can really disturb your sleep as can your dog chasing mice in the haystacks and when a really bad ‘pong’ wakes them up and turns out to be a billy goat, the pair are totally taken aback. Luckily some quick thinking by Dooley sees the stray goat safely put in the calf shed and the children eventually get a little sleep.

Sienna is pretty impressed with Dooley’s skill and brave enough to sleep in the barn again – but Dooley decides that Jess the dog is ‘too tired’ so the next barn sleepover had best wait a night or so.

Lots of fun as these two contrasting cousins learn more about each other and readers learn more about life on a dairy farm.

As with the previous books in the series there are some fun facts at the end of each book and don’t forget the activity pack!

Highly recommended for your young ‘uns from around five years upwards.

Evie and Pog: Party Perfect! [#3] – Tania McCartney

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Harper Collins Australia

April 2020

  • ISBN: 9781460757956
  • ISBN 10: 1460757955
  • Imprint: HarperCollins – AU
  • List Price: 12.99 AUD

The absolutely cute-as-buttons Evie and Pog are back in their third set of adventures ready to delight all those newly independent readers who are already in love with them.

Once again your little readers will love the familiar pattern which starts off each new adventure and in this book there are another three fun stories: Book Parade, Art Show Muddle and Party Time!

As we already know from their previous escapades Evie, Pog, Granny along with Noah, Mr Pooch and Miss Footlights often have extravagant plans which usually go somewhat awry but are always salvaged by the quick resourcefulness of the team, knitting and creative thinking.

First of all there’s the annual Book Parade, always such an exciting event, but Pog is not at all happy. He ALWAYS wins the Best Dressed Dog for his costumes but how can he possibly compete with all the new competitors from the Puppy School? Luckily Evie, Noah & co come up with the perfect costume and though, to Granny’s distress, it involves lots of messy making including GLITTER the competition is a triumph for Pog.

Next up is the Art Show and Evie is creating a huge artwork that represents their daisy-spot grass while Pog busies himself making a plan of the art show. It’s all going to be a huge success – well, that is until seven tiny kittens turn up unexpectedly and mayhem results with a tangle of wool, colour, fluffiness and little beady eyes. When Mr Arty Farty (don’t you just love it?!) arrives to judge the entries, Evie is so upset because her grand design looks completely and utterly ruined after a kitten-attack. You can imagine her surprise then when the snooty judge decides on a winner – and yes! Daisy-Spot Grass is the best of the show!

Finally the Puppy School is one year old and has been such a huge success for all that a party is definitely in order. But it’s not just a celebration for the puppies, it’s also Granny’s birthday so there is much excited preparation to be done. Pink lamingtons, gift baskets, a special trophy for the star doggy pupil and the return visit of Mr Arty Farty accompanied by the seven little kittens all make for a hilarious and rather chaotic village party.

Your little readers will laugh so much at the antics of this quirky crew of characters but there is also much to be gained in other ways such as thinking about solving problems, getting along with others, self-confidence and diverse friendships.

We just love Evie and Pog in our junior library and can’t wait to have the children back at school to see the great display that’s in the making. Tania McCartney’s talents as both writer and illustrator are always such a joy in any of her works and this new series is no exception.

Highly recommended for little humans from around six years upwards.

 

Click to access Evie-and-Pog-Teachers-Notes.pdf

Evie and Pog (series)– Tania McCartney

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Evie and Pog Take Off FINAL COVER

Harper Collins Australia

January 2020

I’ve said before that Tania McCartney is uber-talented (as well as being one of the very nicest humans I know) and I for one am tremendously excited about this new series pitched at newly independent readers. It’s just fabulous to see a few new series to add to these collections!

 High in a tree house live two very best friends. One is a girl and one is a dog. And everyone knows them as Evie and Pog.

So starts each book and just like ‘Once upon a time..’ the pattern will signal to children that the fun and adventures are about to begin. These stories absolutely ooze exuberance with their characters and antics. Evie is six years old and lives with Pog in a slightly eccentric tree house alongside Granny Gladys who lives in a rather large, though no less eccentric, house. Evie loves crashing her cymbals, rolling in the daisy spot lawn, reading, cakes and knitting. Pog loves reading too but he prefers to sit at the table with a large cup of tea and his newspaper. He also loves vegetables – in any shape or form. Granny is a tidier and a rampant cleaner who is almost permanently attached to her dust buster. She also loves knitting and baking cakes (though not the mess that always seems to arise from cooking!).

They have some good friends like Noah and Mr Pooch and Miss Footlights and the adventures often include these characters.

Each book contains three separate stories and the uniform format with the double page spread of the tree house plan as the frontispiece and the cast of characters and the map of the village on the final pages gives readers that sense of continuity and familiarity they love.

Each is chockers with Tania’s humorous and always endearing  illustrations and loaded with onomatopoeia and a wonderful variety of fonts giving each an even more lively feel.

Evie and Pog: Take Off! [Evie and Pog #1]

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ISBN: 9781460757932

ISBN 10: 1460757939

Imprint: HarperCollins – AU

List Price: 12.99 AUD

  •  Puppy School Mess
  •  School Play Drama
  •  Cake Stall Chaos

 

I’m pretty sure you can surmise from the story titles that there is a continuing theme of incidents filled with rambunctiousness and hilarity which generally involve lots of  knitting yarn (usually in tangles), cakes and unexpected happenings.

For example, when Granny decides Pog must go to Puppy School with Mr Pooch it is not the dogs who win the Puppy Challenge  – and certainly not Pog who is completely and utterly against such demeaning activities – but Evie who aces the challenge course and becomes the first ‘girl’ winner.

 

 

Evie and Pog: Puppy Playtime! [Evie and Pog #2]

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ISBN: 9781460757949

ISBN 10: 1460757947

Imprint: HarperCollins – AU

List Price: 12.99 AUD

  • Reno Rumble
  • Classroom Contraption
  • Puppy Park

The tree house is freezing and Evie, Pog and Granny decide it’s time to renovate and what better way to do so than with knitting. They could really use some help though and when Noah comes to visit they know he will be the perfect person to assist – even only they can work out how to get him up into the tree house, Noah being too heavy for the basket which is the general method of entry.

Of course throughout each of these is again the signature knitting, cakes, often surprising accidental events which are always resolved happily (and with the aid of the aforementioned knitting and cakes).

These are truly hilarious and quirky almost to a point of outlandishly silly which little readers will absolutely love. The belly laughs will be plentiful I predict!

 

Highly recommended for younger readers from around six years upwards. What a joy they are!

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Fauna: Australia’s Most Curious Creatures – Tania McCartney

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9780642279545

National Library of Australia

November 2019

ISBN:

9780642279545

RRP: $24.99

Where to begin with this absolutely glorious book? Once again Tania has created a jewel of colour and style with her distinctive stylised illustrations and combined with information both fascinating and amazing this is a treasure for readers of all ages.

The wealth of facts about a wide variety of our unique animals is presented in bite-sized segments perfect for easy digestion by avid little naturalists from as young as seven. Each beautiful double spread is crammed with such detail yet easy to absorb with life-sized art of such things as teeth or eggs , annotated portrayals of the animal, scientific names, habitats, diet, appearance, distribution and much, much more all of which will delight and intrigue the reader.

The important issue of conservation is not neglected. Several pages conclude the book with vital information about endangered or extinct animals encouraging children to take action to prevent the loss of more of our natural wonders.

The lineage of animal life is included as is a beautiful spread describing the astonishment of European arrivals with reproductions of early representations of these curious creatures.

An extensive glossary and index complete the volume making this the complete package for young investigators and researchers.

Tania knows well that her books normally do not leave my own personal shelves. However I am going to make a supreme sacrifice with this particular title. This year I have had the pleasure of a little American girl who has been one of my keenest participants in library activities of all kinds. Sadly for us, her university lecturer dad has completed his exchange and she and her equally delightful family will be returning to the States. I can think of no better gift to give her as a keepsake of our shared year and know that she will truly love it.

My prediction is that this should definitely be a given for any award short-list and in my opinion a winner. I highly recommend it to you as a valuable addition to your shelves or a special gift for a child of your acquaintance. With Christmas fast approaching it would make a truly prized present in someone’s stocking!

Check out this sneak peek on Tania’s FB page!

This is Home: Essential Australian Poems for Children – Selected by Jackie French, Illustrated by Tania McCartney

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Publisher:   National Library of Australia

ISBN:   9780642279385
01 April 2019

RRP: $34.99

Why yes, some readers of this blog will already know that not only am I non-fiction nerd since childhood but also a poetry nerd. I openly admit this to the children at school who are sometimes a little (?!) resistant to poetry. Of course, I follow this up by totally blowing them away with the magic, humour and depth of poetry.

As it happens, this new anthology, selected by the amazing Jackie French (all hail!) and illustrated by the gorgeous and multi-skilled Tania McCartney will be EASY to sell to poetry-resistant kids. The contributors included roll out like a ‘Who’s Who’ of Australian children’s literature, both past and present.

From such historic luminaries as Norman Lindsay, Judith Wright and Dorothea MacKellar to contemporary stars such as Meredith Costain, Suzanne Gervay, Meg McKinlay, Andy Griffiths, Shaun Tan  – *gasp* and pause for breath, this is one of the most comprehensive and quality poetry collections I’ve ever encountered for children.

Page after glorious page of amazing verse accompanied by Tania’s iconic illustrations, it is pure joy to hold, read and savour. There have been many anthologies of Australian poetry published for children but I would have to think hard about one that presents both old and new offerings to children with such a contemporary and fresh format.  I know that poetry is, of course, still embedded in the curriculum but children so often seem to be disengaged with the way it is presented to them. I fully believe that this new collection will give children a point of connection and impart the joy of verse.

Sir Walter Scott said “Teach your children poetry; it opens the mind, lends grace to wisdom and makes the heroic virtues hereditary.”

We owe it to our children to not only show them the beauty of narrative literature but the amazing landscape of poetic creativity.

Highly recommended for children and adults from around eight years upwards. This one’s not going anywhere except my own shelves.

Thank you Jackie and Tania – love your work! x

Mamie – Tania McCartney

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Harper Collins

November 2018

ISBN: 9781460755860

ISBN 10: 1460755863

RRP $24.99

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In this the centenary celebration year of May Gibbs’ iconic Australian children’s book, Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie , how perfectly timely it is to have a new book which brings the creator to life for younger readers.

When May first wrote her stories she probably had little idea how much they would become ingrained in her adopted country’s cultural psyche nor how beloved her characters would become.

The woman who imagined the little bush folk is the subject of Tania McCartney’s new book as it details the early life of May – known as Mamie to her family. As a little girl in England this little girl was typical of her era relishing fairy tales and woodland creatures, drawing and painting and allowing her imagination to run wild with the inhabitants of the local woods and meadows.

When her family immigrated to Australia Mamie could not fathom this very different country. Where would her beloved fairies live in this often harsh climate and untamed bush?

But gradually Mamie realised that fairy folk live everywhere, that perhaps they just look rather different and have different adventures and thus the Gumnut Babies, the flower fairies, the wicked Banksia men and all the population of the wild Australian landscape came to life under her magical touch.

And in similar fashion Tania has breathed life and energy in Mamie’s story and very cleverly illustrated it in a contemporary style to which children will easily relate. Each page contains glorious tiny details for readers to pore over excitedly, the whole retaining the original freshness, quality and magic of May’s own work.

When I decided to celebrate the centenary with little people at school, there were some who were dubious about the children of today even knowing the books or being interested but I am happy to say that the past term sharing the adventures with Year 1 and culminating in making their own little gumnut babies to take home was a resounding success.  It thrills me to know that another generation loves the stories and will take them on into their lives. Postcard_gumnut_babies

We only have a couple of days left with our kids but I am desperate to share Mamie’s story with them so they can also take with them some knowledge about a woman who brought so much joy to so many people.

Thank you Tania for turning the spotlight so successfully on one of our national treasures in this the special year of their long lives! As usual your own work will stand the test of time alongside the originals with its dainty and sweet words and illustrations.

Highly recommended for readers from around four years upwards – and a perfect Christmas present for this year.

I still have my original copy (from around my 5th birthday) – do you have yours?

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The Gum Family Finds a Home – Tania McCartney/Christina Booth

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Publisher:   National Library of Australia
Edition:   1st Edition
ISBN:   9780642279255
Publication Date:   01 August 2018

 

Tania McCartney is not only one of my very favourite author/illustrators but also one of my favourite humans. This impossibly talented woman is clever, stylish, generous, beautiful inside and out and passionate about our unique country. It took a while for this review copy to get to me but oh how worth the wait it was! And as with Tania’s other books this one doesn’t go to our library shelves or some other worthy recipient but remains firmly in my own collection.

 

A sweet family of koalas live, as they would do, in a gum tree but their home is not without its problems. High winds, busy buzzy bees, no shelter from rain and more all make for a sometimes difficult living environment and like many other families this one thinks perhaps they might look for something more congenial and comfortable. With their koala caravan hitched up they follow their black noses around some of Australia’s most glorious geological wonders in search of a dream home. Along the way they see some of the most spectacular scenery in the world but when all is said and done, they realise that their own home is special – and with just a few modifications might suit them best after all.

 

What a perfectly wonderful way to introduce kidlets to our amazing landscapes (some of which Miss No-Longer-Small and I will be privileged to see next holidays! Excitement!). I am just a little sorry I didn’t receive it in time to use it with Year 2 this term – but what the hey there’s always next term to follow up on their classroom unit! Particularly as there is a wealth of information at the end of the book about the various locations this will prove not only entertaining but enlightening.

 

Tania, you and Christina, are a dream team – and this is just beautiful as well as informative. And oh my! The end papers are just truly divine!!!! (my kiddos at school find my obsession with endpapers highly amusing).

 

Watch the beautiful Tania share this gorgeous book here.

See Hear: There’s Magic All Around You. What Can You See? What Can You Hear? – Tania McCartney & Jess Racklyeft

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seehear

EK Books

March 2018

9781925335675

RRP $24.99

From the dream team that brought you Smile Cry (Crystal Kite Award 2017 and 2017 CBC Notable Book) comes another beautiful and whimsical book for little people. A sensory exploration of the world around us using the senses of sight and hearing is a perfect way to have children calm from their busy day and take notice of the wonder that surrounds them. Engaging with this depth of sensory delights is often overlooked in favour of having small people do more phonics or reach another ‘reading level’. It’s well and truly time to teach them about being human as well!

Heavenly horses…..squiggly rain……buzzing blossoms….” all combine to give readers a really magical experience and give rise to many various points of discussion.

One of the greatest gifts we can give to children is to ‘wonder’ at the bounteous offerings of their world and encourage their appreciation of all that it can offer.

Highly recommended for your collection whether in a kindy, child care centre or lower primary school – as well as a splendid gift for special little people in your circle.

Find teaching notes here.

 

Pack your bags – we’re going on a trip!

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Tania McCartney and Tina Snerling

EK Publishing

RRP $19.99

Tania and Tina have once again triumphed as they continue their “A Kid’s Year Series”.  Children are celebrated and cultures, customs and festivities are explored in each book via the group of children featured.  What an absolutely marvellous way for us to spread the joy of inclusivity, promote cross-cultural understandings and foster peaceful relations with others.

Each spread shows the diversity of each country and what makes it special in terms to which every child can relate.

Their unique mastery in capturing the moments that shine in a child’s life, their families and homes is undeniable. While there is reference to history in each, primarily these focus on what is important in the modern life of each of these amazing countries and rejoices in the cultural diversity of each, especially recognising their First People.

The illustrations and the text are as joyful as each other and a visual delight for the reader.

In our school which particularly focuses on cultural understandings these are important additions to our collection. Of course, they are also ideal for supporting the ACARA Intercultural Understanding capabilities.

Each book concludes with an illustrated map and snappy facts of interest about the country and it’s make up.

Released this week – it’s time to go globe trotting!

A Kiwi Year: Twelve Months in the Life of New Zealand’s Kids

9781925335446

kiwiyear

Join Charlie, Ruby, Oliver, Mason and Kaia as they show food, sports, native animals, everyday life, special places and exciting adventures like bunji jumping! Learn some Maori and find out about twirling pois – or discover where pavlova was really invented!

 

A Canadian Year: Twelve Months in the Life of Canada’s Kids

9781925335439

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Liam, Ava, Oki, Chloe and Noah are our guides through the beautiful Canadian country. Special celebrations familiar to our Aussie kids such as Mother’s Day and Christmas as well as some not so well known to them like Thanksgiving are lavishly detailed. Add the excitement of the Calgary Stampede or the amazing wildlife not to mention igloos and ice fishing and this is a fascinating virtual trip for readers.

 

Teaching notes for this amazing series are available here.

Highly recommended for primary libraries – you really must have the whole series. Where are we travelling to next I wonder?