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.

Sep 26, 2015

Books reviewed 18.06.15

If only words had wings. In fact they do; words put together to make stories can take readers anywhere, anytime, in a soaring of the imagination that can land in the most unexpected of places.
That’s what wings are for

Patrick Guest, illustrated Daniella Germain
Little Hare Books [Hardie Grant Egmont]
ISBN: 9781742978291
RRP: $24.95

Bluey the Dragon is the mascot of the Duchenne Foundation in Australia. Bluey is not like any respectable dragon; instead he is soft, wheezy and has floppy wings. He is teased and left on his own. Bravely he sets out on the long journey to find answers from the wise dragon that couldn’t fly, the Bearded Dragon, who tells him: You were made for something wonderful. You’ll find it soon enough. He does so in this heart-warming, gentle tale with delicate watercolours of silken quality and Chinese motifs as befit a dragon’s origins. Part of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the foundation to support Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy families.
The cloudspotter

Tom McLaughlin
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
ISBN: 9781408854969
RRP: $22.99

Franklin spots clouds. Though it’s lonely Franklin brightens up his day by imagining shapes in the clouds and making up adventures. Young readers will identify effortlessly with Franklin’s vivid imagination. Enter an observer that seems fascinated by Franklin’s behaviour and ultimately by Franklin himself. Not used to such attention, Franklin loads the intruder into a balloon basket, to float him away; but balloons have a habit of returning to ground. Franklin realises that things done together are often more enjoyable. The softly coloured, spare illustrations have a dramatic impact on readers through the shapes defining Franklin’s adventures.

Sep 19, 2015

Books reviewed 11.06.15

Unusual books add spice to children’s reading – and sometimes in bringing up baby.
Art for baby

Yana Peel (ed.), various illustrators

Templar Books
ISBN: 9780763644246
RRP: $29.95

The subtitle - Twelve works by famous contemporary artists to explore with your baby – describes the purpose of this book. A gallery of high-contrast images, selected from modern artworks and simple in design, provide high contrast stimulation for baby’s focus. All are in black and white but for one of sepia-hued dots. This is a book to use with babies who are beginning to gaze on objects in their world; not actually reading but preparing for it. A nursery frieze is included in a back pocket. This unusually mesmerising book is in an
over-sized board format.
Hop up! Wriggle over!

Elizabeth Honey

Allen & Unwin
ISBN: 9781743319987
RRP: $19.99

Reading this lively picture book is like watching a playgroup engaged in distinctively child’s play - though the children in the drawings are native Australian animals. The scenes in the images carry the story; the only words used record the noises and play-comments as the action moves along. The watercolour illustrations are lively and spontaneous, with the bush freshness of May Gibbs, entertaining toddlers who will be delighted to join in on the noise making.
Spots [Spots in a box]

Helen Ward

Five Mile Press
ISBN: 9780763675974
RRP: $16.99

As the sub-title explains, this delightfully whimsical book is about One bird’s search for the perfect plumage. A young guinea-fowl notices his fellow fowl have spots on their feathers, but his are missing. When he asks for spots he is deluged. Thus begins an exploration of spots in all sizes, colours, textures and sometimes no spots at all, in this charming and eccentric story about accepting differences. The watercolour technique is superb, the slightly off-beat composition perfectly placed to amuse, with visual spot jokes along the way to entertain. The spots the young guinea fowl finally decides on maintain his eccentricity to the end.

Sep 6, 2015

Books reviewed 4.06.15

It’s almost Queensland Day – 6 June!

A curry for Murray

Kate Hunter, illustrated by Lucia Masciullo

University of Qld Press
ISBN: 978 0 7022 5354 6
RRP: $24.95

Brisbane Author, Gold Coast illustrator and Queensland publisher – what a coincidence for a special day! Molly decides to make a curry for Murray when his wife Maureen is admitted to hospital. He spreads the word on how well she cooks and soon Molly is cooking for all sorts. The text has a culinary rhyme: boiled eggs for Mrs Gregg; macaroni for Sam Maloney; steak and kidney for a builder in Sydney; and finally savoury mince for the faraway prince. Light and breezy watercolour illustrations have an upbeat domesticity and show each meal’s ingredients. The story is sweetly rounded off with Murray and Maureen repaying Molly’s kindness with something that rhymes with her name. Can you guess?

I can swim a rainbow

Kim Michelle Toft, (Arthur Hamilton)

Silkim Books
ISBN: 9780994238801
RRP: $24.95

Another Queensland connection, this author , grew up locally and began her publishing career with UQP. The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland’s iconic biogeographical feature, inspires her work. This book is based on the popular song, I can sing a rainbow by Arthur Hamilton, and includes detailed scenes from reef environments in which children have to find certain endangered species. Concepts in counting and colour help to frame the work. Her signature silk painting illustrations are brilliantly coloured and sumptuously detailed, sparkling like clear reef waters.