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.

Nov 23, 2015

Books reviewed 20.08.15

This will stir up the politically correct possums! Here are some great books for boys.

Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock
Walker Books Aust
ISBN: 9781922077301
RRP: $27.95

With three books in this series – Roadworks, Demolition, now this - you can easily guess their drift. The rhythmic text is filled with noisy words mimicking the patterned sounds of building. Brightly coloured illustrations have sharp outlines showing regular patterns in the struts and beams in frames. Female workers are shown in attribution to teamwork and inclusion. In a deft promotion of the joy of reading, the reader finds that the workers have been building a library all along. This busy book begs for lots of action reading with the under 5s.
Why I love footy

Michael Wagner, illustrated by Tom Jellett
Penguin Viking
ISBN: 9780670077878
RRP: $19.99

The book is a catalogue of all things footy that excite our unnamed Everyboy fan, from getting ready at home, through the whole exciting game, to watching the replay at home just before bedtime and dreaming about possibilities. The entire book encapsulates that whole exhilarating atmosphere of spectator sport. Footy tragics will recognise every thrilling emotion; those not so keen may wonder at the fervour that team sport can evoke. Lively colours and detailed scenes of spectators keep the eye moving with the action of the game. The illustrator’s signature humorous cartooning style is the perfect fillip to the exuberance of this tale. And the best fun of all? Sharing it with Dad – the book too.
Fearless with Dad

Cori Brooke, illustrated by Giuseppe Poli
New Frontier Publishing
ISBN: 9781925059403
RRP: $24.99

Boys love to play with their dads. This book reaches out to fathers, asking them to engage with their sons in many and different ways, from the conventional building and fixing things, playing pirates and fun in the park; to the less conventional - star-gazing and cooking. In the boy’s imagination, chasing birds, visiting the zoo and sleep-outs in cubby houses quickly become enthralling adventures. Outlined watercolours show plenty of white space, putting focus on the action; their spontaneity and casual expression show how sharing fun comes naturally. The final page is sure to bring a tear to any loving father’s eye.

Nov 7, 2015

Books reviewed 13.08.15

Fathers Day always brings a crop of books that children can share with their Dads, something for the family to have as a share-read to mark the occasion.
Fly-in fly-out Dad

Sally Murphy, illustrated by Janine Dawson
Five Mile Press
ISBN: 9781743467299
RRP: $16.95

This is the story of how one family deals with the separation and the brief return in this working lifestyle, told from the point of view of the son. More likely it is a model for families in similar situations, to make it work; togetherness and sharing are the keys. At home, Dad talks about his adventures at work, while helping out with house chores and joining it at playtime. When the time comes to separate, each character looks forward to the next time they are together. The lively and congenial illustrations reflect the good humour and honesty of the family's feelings.
My amazing Dad

Ezekiel Kwaymullina, illustrated by Tom Jellett
Little Hare Books [Hardie Grant Egmont]
ISBN: 9781921894862
RRP: $24.95

This Dad doesn’t quite have the finesse to make a perfect job of everything. When he mows the lawn, it looks more like a wobbly maze; he can’t fix a leaky tap, but he sure knows how to make a bubble bath; and he’s always running late – which can be handy on schooldays. But he loves to play games and tell stories at bedtime. He makes the days happy, shown in the bright, expressive illustrations in flat poster colours. Not all dads need to fit the superdad stereotype.

Nov 1, 2015

Books reviewed 30.07.15

There’s a new Brisbane-based publisher, Tiny Owl Workshop. You can find out more about them by googling the name. Here are their first two picture books for children – plus another local contribution.
Will you be my sweetheart?

Sue Wright, illustrated by David Jumble
Tiny Owl Workshop
ISBN: 9780992288716
RRP: $14.99

Half the readership of this book is likely to cringe at the title before it is even opened; but they are won over as soon as they see the run-down castle and the two quirky knights idling on the parapet. The offbeat text shows this story is not going to be the gushing romance the title forebodes. The lonely knight makes some odd solicitations in his quest to find a sweetheart, much to the amusement of readers. Droll illustrations drawn in comical style and melancholy colours add to the appeal. Anyone for strudel?

Andy Geppert
Tiny Owl Workshop
ISBN: 9780992288723
RRP: $24.99

Meep is a young peacock, his tail feathers as yet insubstantial. His many friends would like to enhance their beauty by adding a feather quality– prettiness, colour, distinction; and for orang-utan, to be less orange. Meep is loyally generous, but tail-featherless he doesn’t feel quite right. His friends feel the same. The soft minimal watercolours have just enough brush and line to create character, balancing the wistful words. Young readers will warm to the message of self-esteem that underpins the story.
Time for bed, Daddy

Dave Hackett
ISBN: 9780702253812
RRP: $24.95

The larrikin humour comes through clearly in this story that turns the tables on bedtime routine. Daddy doesn’t want to go to bed and comes up with all the excuses a child would to avoid that final moment of the day in going to bed. Young readers are not fooled; they know where the fun is being poked. The cartooned illustrations in bold pyjama-striped theme extend the fun in this family-familiar read-aloud.