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.

Jun 27, 2014

Books reviewed 5.06.14

Want to write a children’s picture book but don’t know where to start? Just observe your family pet’s behaviour. All you need then is creative talent…
Poppy Cat

Sara Acton
Scholastic Australia
ISBN: 9781743620168          RRP: $24.99

Dogs act on impulse; cats contemplate. When curiosity gets the better of them, they pounce. The young owner in this story thinks her cat is a copy cat; but the reader can see that the cat is quite capable of getting into its own mischief, getting tangled in loose shoelaces or splashing milk from its bowl. The irony between words and images is not lost on young children. A minimal text bursts with the affection that the little girl has for her pet. Splash-and-dash watercolour illustrations capture the spontaneity and joy of everyday life and show just how comfortable the cat is with her owner.

Jun 15, 2014

Books reviewed 22.05.14

This week we are off with the birds.

Marc Martin
Penguin Viking
ISBN: 9780670077434           RRP: $24.99

A seagull; a fish and chip shop; and an affable old man; what better combination for this story about friendship and loyalty. Max is a seagull with a taste for hot chips. He stands guard at Bob’s fish and chip shop at the seaside. Development moves in; customers disappear; Bob closes shop. Max waits and waits and finally realises Bob is not coming back. He sets out to find him and once again tracks down a familiar smell. The colourful mixed media illustrations are done in an upbeat retro style, with plenty of detail to develop the character of the setting. Bird’s-eye-view illustrations impress as Max flies over the town in search of his old friend.
Bring on the birds

Susan Stockdale
Working Title Press
ISBN: 9781921504594           RPP: $24.99

A companion book to Fabulous fishes, very short rhyming captions beneath portraits of the birds refer to some aspect of their behaviour or appearance. At the end of the book are more extensive notes on each of the 22 species included. The illustrations are boldly colourful in flat graphic, realistic style, with the birds portrayed in their natural settings. The crisp presentation will immediately appeal to young readers and those fledgling ornithologists who are a little older.

Jun 8, 2014

Books reviewed 15.05.14

Hairy Nose Day in Australia – 11 May – supports the work of the Wombat Foundation in saving the critically endangered Northern hairy-nosed wombat. There are only around 200 of these animals left in the world – in Queensland, Australia – yet who knows about them with pandas, tigers, polar bears, orangutans and elephants having higher profiles though still counted in their thousands. It’s a dire situation.
The Wombats go on camp

Roland Harvey
Allen & Unwin
ISBN: 9781743315040           RRP: $24.99

Readers are introduced to the members of a school group – students and teachers - named the Wombats. They’re going on a school camp, but not just yet. We get to meet them first, each with their quirky fantasies, foibles and phobias. The details in the zany illustrations must be read carefully along with the offbeat text, if readers are to get to know these Wombats before they are let loose on their adventures to come (we’re told this is the first in a new series). Can’t wait for more!

Jun 1, 2014

Books reviewed 8.05.14

Picture books for Mum on Mothers Day? Unlikely; but from time to time, a book comes along which is perfect as a gift for Mum – as long as you are game and she has a great sense of humour.
Everything I need to know I learned from a Little Golden Book

Diane Muldrow
Random House
ISBN: 9780307977618           RRP: $9.99

The Little Golden Books had a major impact on at least one generation of readers. Here is a title which is a perfect novelty gift for mothers of that generation. Not strictly a children’s book, this is a humorous personal development guide drawn from the pages of over 70 years of publishing this iconic series. Each page is taken from one of the many titles available; to that the editor has whimsically added a feel-good affirmation. My favourite? Sweatpants are bad for morale; put on something nice! Ah, nostalgia. Definitely a book for all to share, bring back memories and keep in the family collection - with gold foil spine of course.