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.

Apr 29, 2015

Books reviewed 9.04.15

Children, with their little worries, their obsessions, their curiosity in their ego-centric worlds; it’s a wonder they make it to high school sometimes...
You are (not) small

Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant
Hachette Children’s Books
ISBN: 9781444918311           RRP: $24.95

Two bears meet. One calls the other small. In return he calls the other big. A conversation takes place, each trying to prove a point. Enter two surprise characters, putting a different scale on everything and settling the matter. Life moves on – or does it? This uncomplicated story deals with an important lesson, that we can be different things to different people. The spare text unifies with bold illustrations to create this provocative realisation. Awarded the 2015 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award in the US for the most distinguished American book for beginning readers.
Bridie’s boots

Phil Cummings, illustrated by Sara Acton
Working Title Press
ISBN: 9781921504723             RRP: $24.99

A little girl becomes very attached to her first pair of gumboots. During the wet weather of winter she wears them everywhere, even in dreams of far away adventures, boots firmly on feet where they are most needed. When the warmer dry weather sets in, Bridie puts her boots away. Next year when the boots are taken out again there is a small problem, which all children come to face in their young lives. The light-hearted text is filled with excitement and expectation as the boots move between adventures and locations. The playful illustrations suggests that this pair of boots is in for a great time, both with Bridie and wherever they go when they are just a memory for her.
The wonder

Faye Hanson
Templar Book from Five Mile Press
ISBN: 9781760065256          RRP: $19.99

To others, whose imaginations have withered to the more practical matters of the day, a boy seems to drift in a daydream as he walks on the grass, bumps into fellow bus passengers and misses the order to cross the road. Then he is given a blank piece of paper and invited to use his imagination. His daydreams are set free. While a simple, gently unfolding text provides the framework for the story, the illustrations burst from sepia-toned and stylised fuzzy images to an overflow of colour, shape and space. They are detailed and delicious and invite the eye to wander and discover. This is a celebration of the vitality of children’s minds.

Apr 22, 2015

Books reviewed 12.03.15

Easter is a season of great mysteries – especially how the bunnies and eggs got involved. Here are two board books about rabbits in a non-Easter setting and two other books based on other mysteries of childhood.
Funny Bunny series

David Melling
Hodder Children’s Books [Hachette]
RRP: $14.99 (each)

The creator of the extremely popular Hugless Douglas stories is now releasing a series of board books for the toddler set, featuring a warren of characters, the Funny Bunnies. These are first up. Rain or shine is about the weather, while Up and down is about opposites. Lively rhyming texts don’t mention that the bunnies get around on pogo sticks, wearing their bike helmets, having all sorts
of crazy adventures. The happy rabbits are cute, loveable and comical as they bounce out to meet the world, pink-nose front-on.

 Funny Bunnies: Rain or shine    ISBN: 9781444919127

Funny Bunnies: Up and down   
ISBN: 9781444917840
The wild one

Sonya Hartnett, illustrated by Lucia Masciullo
Penguin Viking
ISBN: 9780670076970           RRP: $24.99

Charlie met his imaginary friend while walking through the town park one day. They played vigorous outdoor games together. Charlie visited often, his playmate always waiting. Intently, they explored the wild woods around them. Then Charlie had to go to school and learn more useful things. Many years later Charlie is walking through the park with a granddaughter. They marvel at the mopoke in the tree branches – while the reader marvels at something else. The lyrical text gathers in the joy of childhood and the warmth of family. Outlined watercolours bring a wistful softness that casts scenes in a quiet mystery. This is a lovely book to share with children.
Vanilla ice cream

Bob Graham
Walker Books
ISBN: 9781406350098           RRP: $27.95

It’s not immediately obvious where this title comes from. A sparrow pecks at the dust near a food servery in India. It audaciously raids the plate of a customer, who brushes it away. Good fortune lands the sparrow in a bag of rice, enough food for a quarrel of sparrows. But fortune has placed this bag in the back of a lorry, heading to the docklands and a huge cargo ship ready to sail across the oceans. Some time later in Australia, grandparents and baby grandchild are sitting in a botanic gardens cafe, when down swoops a sparrow. Grandpa’s ice cream is dislodged, falling straight into baby’s lap. And Edie Irvine has her very first taste of vanilla ice cream. What mystery brings this sparrow to this ice cream? This gentle, family-centred story bears quiet reflection.