A Day with Dad by Bo R. Holmberg

Published: 22nd April 2008Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Illustrator: Eva Eriksson
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Tim lives with his mom. Tim’s dad lives in another town. Tim doesn’t see him often. So a day with Dad is very special – and Tim wants to show just how must he loves him!

This is a great book about divorce/separation that doesn’t mention it outright but implies it and shows that even when parents live separately, time with an absent parent is still possible. More importantly, it demonstrates that just because parents don’t live together, it doesn’t mean that they stop loving their children.

From the text on page one it’s evident the separation is a new event as Tim has just moved to the new town. He waits for his dad to arrive on the train and looks forward to a day with just the two of them. Tim’s dad lets Tim take control of the day, you can tell he wants to make the day special for Tim and make sure he has fun. Tim and his dad pack a lot of activities into the day and it’s evident how much Tim loves his dad and he tells everyone they meet who he is.

The illustrations by Eriksson are realistic and heart warming as they depict the various activities Tim and his dad partake in during his visit. It reminds me very much of what Russell says in the Pixar film Up, that it’s the boring things he remembers most. And while Holmberg doesn’t write Tim’s day to be boring, it does show that simple activities like sitting silently reading side by side in the library can be the most enjoyable activity because he is with his dad.

I found this book to be very sweet and it’s ideal for letting young kids know that their parents love them and things can be a bit different but your dad will always be your dad.

You can purchase A Day With Dad via the following

Amazon | Book Depository

Booktopia | Dymocks

 

 

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The Little Green Goose by Adele Sansone

Published: 1st May 2010Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 NorthSouth
Illustrator: Faust Anke
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Mr Goose longs for a chick of his own. When he finds an abandoned egg, he hatches it and raises a peculiar green-skinned long-tailed chick of his own.

I love this book. This is a great little book about a male goose (technically a gander) who wants to be a father and wishes for an egg of his own. He laments that he has no wife goose provide one for him and so he asks the hens if they have an egg to spare.

When they chastise him and mock him for daring to consider this, Mr Goose gets given one by the friendly farmyard dog who digs one up. The problem is, the egg isn’t a goose, but is a little baby dinosaur.

This whole story is wonderful and it has so many great messages. Mr Goose’s baby loves his dad and vice versa. But of course, others on the farm feel the need to comment and they put ideas in the little dinosaur’s head that Mr Goose isn’t his real dad because they look so different and so the little dinosaur goes on a journey to find out who is his daddy.

It’s such a sweet story and you can’t help read societal issues into it which I think Sansone demonstrates cleverly and creatively.  Coupled with Anke’s colourful illustrations, Sansone’s story is a heart-warming tale about what it means to be a family and sometimes that means not looking exactly the same.

You can purchase The Little Green Goose via the following

Booktopia | Dymocks

Angus & Robinson Bookworld

Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

Grandad’s Medals by Tracy Potter

Published: 2005Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Reed Publishing
Illustrator: Bruce Potter
Pages: 25
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

‘I love my grandad. We have lots of fun together.’ Every year Grandad marches in the ANZAC Day Parade and wears his medals, walking proudly beside his old comrades. but this year Grandad’s best mate is too sick to walk and the number of old soldiers still marching is getting smaller.’

The story is about a young boy and his grandfather. With each page the young narrator tells us about the fun things he does with his grandfather and the good times they have together.

The illustrations by Potter are lovely. They are like paintings, very realistic and show off the scenes the words are describing. Potter does a great job of bringing the grandfather and the boy to life on the page. You can easily imagine these silent figures partaking in the events described.

The story isn’t just about ANZAC Day; it brings the occasion into the real life experiences of the young boy and how it relates to his grandfather. His experience of the ANZAC March is touching, he reflects on the ages of the veterans and in the simple words of a young child he is matter of fact and explains things how they have been explained to him.

Duncan uses real words and phrases like cenotaph and the RSA Hall to put the ceremony and march into context without explaining it or simplifying it. Seeing the day’s events from the eyes of an outsider is interesting. He doesn’t understand why things are happening that much but he knows it is important.

This is set in New Zealand but there are a lot of things relatable to an Australian as well. It is also a great book to show that there are other countries that fought in wars, and the NZ in ANZAC does have meaning.

There is a wonderful little page of explanation at the end that explains more about ANZAC Day and the traditions. This is where the events are explained and terms and icons are given more meaning so it doesn’t take away from the story.

Grandad’s Medals is currently unavailable to buy from my online searches, but try your local library for a copy.

The Shadow Thief (#1) by Alexandra Adornetto

Published: July 1st 2007 (print)/28 January 2011  (audio) Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 HarperCollins Australia/Bolinda Audio
Pages: 288 pages/5 discs
Narrator: Alexandra Adornetto
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Millipop Klompet and Ernest Perriclof live in the uneventful town of Drabville, where the cautious Ernest spends his time enlarging his rock collection and Milli dreams of adventure. When the pair are kidnapped from their homes and brought to live in the gothic mansion known as Hog House, they are adopted by the madcap Mr and Mrs Mayor and a series of bizarre encounters follows. Things do not add up and the children find that sinister plans are beginning to emerge. Why has the notorious Lord Aldor stolen the shadows of all of the town’s residents and where are they being held? Assisted by a band of prisoners, the children must venture into the Taboo Territories, and battle the perils dished out by the Lurid Lagoon, in order to outwit Lord Aldor and prevent him from executing his secret master plan.

From very early on I compared this book to Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. It’s actually a lot better than that in my opinion. Though, not being a huge fan of Snicket’s famed series I’m not sure what that means.

But if you are a fan of Snicket’s work then I suggest you read this series. Adornetto uses the same whimsical tone and storytelling style that addresses the reader, gives us facts about the characters, bemoans when things unfortunate happen to them, and states matter of factly when things aren’t going their way. I listened to this as an audio book and Adornetto was the narrator which worked really well. Adornetto’s storytelling ability is entertaining and while she doesn’t vary voices that noticably, you really don’t need it and her narration is wonderful.

One thing I absolutely ADORED in this book was Adornetto’s language. She uses big, wonderful, words that are so eloquent, and ones that give the story such a wonderful tone. It suits the strange surreal, British nature of this book (despite Adornetto being Australian) that is absurd and outlandish, that of course there will be beautiful and clever words in it as well.

The story is delightful and innocent, but with the cheekiness that kids love. As I said, very much like Lemony Snicket but with a bit less intense unfortunatenesses and more daring adventures with Milly at the helm and Ernest trailing reluctantly behind her.

Milly is a wonderfully brave and rebellious girl who doesn’t let the rules of Drabville hold back her adventures. When she gets caught breaking these town rules she and her best friend Ernest are imprisoned and discover a whole other world they knew nothing about. She is clever, resourceful, filled with gusto and enthusiasm for adventure and doing the right thing. Ernest is less enthusiastic but he does follow Milly into adventure and while he is wary he does embrace what he finds and loves to work with Milly in thinking up solutions to their problems.

The supernatural element of the story is quite creative, the evil Lord Aldor has stolen shadows off the residents of Drabville and is using them for nefarious purposes. The premise is clever and quite interesting, Adornetto keeps it filled with action and suspense, along with daring characters and wily plans of escape and rescue.

This book (as subsequent series) is classed as young adult at times, but I’d put it in the primary school range, maybe the lower teens. With Milly and Ernest being twelve years old it may not appeal that well to older readers. Having said that, I did love it, so there’s that.

You can purchase The Shadow Thief via the following

Booktopia | Angus and Robinson

Kobo | Amazon

QBD | Audible | HarperCollins

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The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Published: 27th June 2013Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Philomel Books
Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers
Pages: 36
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Poor Duncan just wants to colour. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: We quit!

Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown. Blue needs a break from colouring all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green has no complaints, but Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking to each other.

What is Duncan to do?

If you haven’t heard of this book yet you are properly missing out. I love this book. It’s a great story about crayons who quit because they are tired of how their owner Duncan treats them. They write letters of complaints about being overused, colouring outside the lines, and neglect among other things.

I love everything about this book. On one page are these great handwritten notes from the crayons to Duncan, and on the other side are some of the examples of the pictures Duncan has drawn alongside the crayon in question. It’s a fabulous story as well with each crayon complaint unique and often quite funny.

This is a clever story and one that also can teach kids about diversifying their own colour endeavours. Duncan listens to his crayons and it’s a gorgeous story that is sweet and simple for all ages.

You can purchase The Day the Crayons Quit via the following

Book Depository | QBD

Fishpond | Wordery

BookWorld | Booktopia

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