Little Koala Lost by Blaze Kwaymullina

Published: 1st July 2016Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Scholastic Australia
Illustrator: Jess Racklyeft
Pages: 24
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

Little Koala is lost in the bush and sets out to find a home. Along the way he meets many other creatures, but he can’t live with any of them. Will he ever find some friends?

Not as cute as I first thought it would be, but still pretty cute. Little Koala Lost is about, as you would expect, a lost koala. In a counting style similar I guess to The Very Hungry Caterpillar the little koala visits animals in increasing numbers: two magpies, then three pelicans etc as it searches for someone to take him in.

The illustrations are beautiful, and the baby koala is adorable as it goes from animal group to animal group asking if they will let it join. It’s a simple story but sweet at the same time. The animals are nice enough to the koala, rejecting him not so much in a mean way because he’s “not one of them” but they give logical answers as to why they can’t take him in based on their different bodies and behaviours.

I was expecting a heart-warming story about a little lost koala and while it wasn’t as touching as I thought, it was still very sweet.

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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

 

 

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen

Published: 25th July 2006
Goodreads badgePublisher: Candlewick Press
Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes
Pages: 48
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
Genre: Children
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Miss Merriweather, the head librarian, is very particular about rules in the library. No running allowed. And you must be quiet. But when a lion comes to the library one day, no one is sure what to do. There aren’t any rules about lions in the library. And, as it turns out, this lion seems very well suited to library visiting. His big feet are quiet on the library floor. He makes a comfy backrest for the children at story hour. And he never roars in the library, at least not anymore. But when something terrible happens, the lion quickly comes to the rescue in the only way he knows how.

I am a sucker for anything with a lion and I knew there was a book called Library Lion I just hadn’t come across it before. I found a copy at work and I sat down and read it right away and it did not disappoint.

I loved this book. It’s adorable and charming and so incredibly sweet. It’s not just a fantastic story, it’s also beautifully illustrated. I’m in love with Hawkes’ illustrations on top of being in love with Knudsen’s storytelling. I definitely need my own Library Lion, right now.

The story is about a lion who wanders into the library, originally causing a little chaos as he navigates his way around, but he then decides to stay for story time. After a rocky start and after given a talk about the rules of the library, he is soon beloved by the staff and the public and is an asset to the library in many ways.

I loved everything about this story. I loved the lion, he’s just gorgeous, and I love the staff for their quirkiness and attitudes. It’s a fun story but it is also filled with heart. Hawkes’ illustrations make it that much more divine; they are gorgeous and emotive. He captures the personality of the lion, the staff, and the public who come across him superbly.

You can use it as a lesson about following rules and breaking them, but it really is a great book on its own. There is no clear Message, but it can be drawn from it easily enough. I would, however, like to live in this world where a library can have a lion hang around. I didn’t know I could envy fictitious children in a picture book until now.

You can purchase Library Lion via the following

Book Depository | QBD

Booktopia | Dymocks

Fishpond | A&R Bookworld

Wordery |

 

 

 

A Soldier, A Dog, and a Boy by Libby Hathorn

Published: 22nd March 2016
Goodreads badgePublisher: Lothian
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
Genre: Children
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

A moving story, told completely in dialogue, about a young Australian soldier in the battle of the Somme. Walking through the fields away from the front, he finds what he thinks is a stray dog, and decides to adopt it as a mascot for his company. Then he meets Jacques, the homeless orphan boy who owns the dog. The soldier realises that Jacques needs the dog more – and perhaps needs his help as well.

With stunning illustrations from Phil Lesnie, this is a deeply moving celebration of friendship in times of war.

Look, who doesn’t love a good cry at a picture book. I am usually so worried when there’s a ‘serious’ style picture book with dogs because it’s always going to make me sad and this was no exception, but it was also so beautiful.

I loved this story, and as a note in the back tells you, it’s based off a picture and Hathorn’s own family history. I was so worried when one combines dogs and ANZACs, but Hathorn has told a beautiful story that makes you emotional and feel all the feelings while not being too sad.

Hathorn tells the story about the ANZACs and war without being too detailed for younger audiences. She mentions the ruined towns and orphaned children, but the words are so lyrical and so lovely that it’s almost like a dream reading them. The story follows a soldier who finds a lost dog and who then tells him about coming back to camp, how he’ll make him their mascot and protect his ears from the fireworks at night. Along with the dog he also finds a young boy and their conversations are some of the most beautiful things I’ve read.

I don’t want to ruin the story because it’s so so wonderful and heartwarming, but it is a beautiful tale to read and one that will delight children and adults alike. With so many ANZAC stories out there I think this is one of my favourites. It’s lyrical and honest and beautiful. It brings out the emotional content with respect and with restraint and with joy. A must read.

You can purchase A Soldier, A Dog, and A Boy via the following

Booktopia | Hachette

Kinokuniya | QBD

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson’s Bookworld

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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