Books from the Basement

Welcome to Children's Corner book reviews from 4MBS Classic Radio FM in Brisbane. Here you will find short annotations of the children's books reviewed by Kerry Neary in Children's Corner on 4MBS, together with the details you need to find them at your favourite bookstore. Any prices shown are the publisher's Australian recommended price and may vary depending on where you shop. You are welcome to use these reviews for newsletters and the like with appropriate acknowledgement.

Jan 18, 2017

Books reviewed 7.07.16

There aren’t many Australian picture books about the cold – probably because we don’t have much of it! But it does happen.
The snow wombat

Susannah Chambers, illustrated by Mark Jackson
Allen & Unwin

A young wombat goes walkabout on a snowy day, enjoying the tickling snowflakes. His excitement is in meeting other Australian snow inhabitants, as it is for his young readers; there’s a lot to discover along the way in this unusual landscape. The simple rhyming text is like a ballad at walking pace while the high-country is captured realistically in watercolour with lots of white space and blueish shading to give the appearance of snow. A sharp blizzard sends wombat back to his warm burrow, snug like children in their beds waiting for this charming bed-time read.
Bear make den

Jane Godwin and Michael Wagner,
illustrated by Andrew Joyner
Allen & Unwin

The cold weather is coming; time for Bear to make his den. But there’s more! He needs furniture for the very empty space– so he makes it. He needs a sofa to read on – so he makes it. He’s a handy kind of bear. Electricity? Cooking facilities? No problem! Painting? Consider it covered! The den is done out in his favourite style - but there is still something missing. The text, written in clipped language, has echoes of children at play. The retro-style illustrations bring liveliness to the tale. And the friends who join Bear at the end make it all worthwhile in this cheerful book for under eights.
A bump in the night

Amberin Huq
The Five Mile Press

The night-time knocks and bumps have been annoying Matilda for a week; time to do something about it – if it weren’t so cold out there. It can’t be pirates or giants; and little angry gnomes don’t exist – do they? Carefully she opens her door and there is... Mr Snuffles! The monster living under her bed all this time! Returning with a midnight snack! Suddenly there’s more knocking and bumping. This is a lively night-time story – though not a bedtime one. Under fives will enjoy the twist of the monster under the bed having special night-time duties.

Jan 14, 2017

Books reviewed 23.06.16

Children are thrilled when their names appear in stories, more so if they are in the titles. Today’s books have eponymous tiles; finding a child with the same name could be the problem.

Leila Rudge
Walker Books Aust
ISBN: 9781925081695
RRP: $24.99

Gary is a racing pigeon with a difference – he wears a beanie... and he can’t fly. He keeps a fascinating scrapbook filled with travel stories told by the other pigeons. This is very helpful when he falls into the pigeon basket and the next day and ends up a long way from home. Luckily his travel diary fell with him so he finds the way home. When Gary tells his stories the other pigeons realise that flying is not the only way to have adventures. The wash-and-pencil technique with its soft colours lends itself to warm emotions of friendship and charm.