Waiting On Wednesday: The Place on Dalhousie by Melina Marchetta

Weekly Meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are excited for.

Published by:  Penguin Viking

Expected Publication: 2nd April 2019

‘You look the type to break your father’s heart.’
‘Yeah, but he broke mine first.’

When Rosie Gennaro first meets Jimmy Hailler, she has walked away from life in Sydney, leaving behind the place on Dalhousie that her father, Seb, painstakingly rebuilt for his family but never saw completed. Two years later, Rosie returns to the house and living there is Martha, whom Seb Gennaro married less than a year after the death of Rosie’s mother. Martha is struggling to fulfil Seb’s dream, while Rosie is coming to terms with new responsibilities. And so begins a stand-off between two women who refuse to move out of the home they both lay claim to.

As the battle lines are drawn, Jimmy Hailler re-enters Rosie’s life. Having always watched other families from the perimeters, he’s now grappling, heartbreakingly, with forming one of his own . . .

An unforgettable story about losing love and finding love; about the interconnectedness of lives and the true nature of belonging, from one of our most acclaimed writers.

 

REVIEW: The Last Peach by Gus Gordon

Published: 2nd April 2018

Publisher:  Penguin Viking (Penguin Random House Australia)

Pages: 32

Format: Hardback Picture Book Courtesy of the Publisher

RRP: $24.99

4/5 Stars 

One fine summer’s day two bugs discover the most beautiful peach of the season and are faced with a dilemma…
Who should eat it?

 

 

The Last Peach by Gus Gordon is an adorable and humorous picture book about friendship, food, and objects that are not as they may first appear.

The Last Peach is the story of two friends (mosquitoes?) who have found the most wonderful peach and can not wait to bite into it. After a couple of arguments and warnings from friends, the pair must decide what their feelings on the Peach are and if they are brave, and quick enough to snag a bite of it. … but is everything as it seems? And do they get the peach at the end? Only time will tell.

The first things I noticed about this book was the beautiful end papers featuring 18 different types of peaches – don’t read this book if you are hungry! -, all of which that are so realistically and scientifically drawn that it took me longer than I am willing to admit to realise they weren’t pictures.

The next striking feature of The Last Peach is the form in which Gus Gordon has used to tell his story. The narrative is told through colour coded dialogue between two friends once they stumble upon the most beautiful and ripe looking peach – possibly even the last one of the season. The tone is easy and conversational, and sure to leave young readers smiling and laughing at their rather unusual predicament.

Showcasing themes of friendship, sharing, the importance of listening and taking on advice, and how seemingly small issues can turn into massive fights when care is not taken. Lastly The Last Peach is a story that takes the reader by surprise, especially when they are so sure they know what is going on. It asks the reader to think twice and for themselves, so that they dont believe everything they see, for things are not always what they may first appear to be.

Each double page spread features one full page colour illustration on the left hand side, accompanied by one page of colour coded dialogue narrative on the right hand side. The form is unusual, but it works so well with the story and it makes the narrative feel so much more immediate and as though the reader is there spying on the mosquitoes.

All in all, The Last Peach is a cute and unique picture book that is sure to delight readers of all ages – just make sure you have peaches on hand in case you too find yourself with a desire to bite into a juicy ripe peach!

 

To purchase a copy of The Last Peach, visit the following online retailers:

Penguin Random House Australia | Booktopia | Angus & Robertson’s Bookworld | Dymocks | QBD |

 

To learn more about Gus Gordon, visit the following social media sites:

Penguin Books Australia | Gus Gordon’s Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

REVIEW: No One Likes A Fart by Zoe Foster Blake, Illustrated by Adam Nickle

Published:13th November 2017

Publisher: Penguin Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House Australia

Pages: 32

Format: Hard Cover Picture Book courtesy of the publisher

RRP: $19.99

4/5 Stars

A sweet, funny story about accepting yourself and finding a friend who loves you just the way you are. Mostly, though, it’s about a fart. And fart jokes. Loooots of fart jokes.

Fart is excited! He’s desperate to make friends and have fun. But no one likes a fart. Not even a fart with a heart. Too smelly. Too embarrassing. Too gross.

Zoë has written lots of grown-up books, none of which mention a single fart. She is the mother of two little people and a cat with a permanently cranky face. She wants it known that despite writing this book, she still doesn’t like farts, even if her husband Tooty McFluffson refuses to acknowledge this.

In full disclosure, I adore Zoe Foster Blake’s adult rom-coms. I’ve gobbled each and every one of them up and my eyes were glued to the Australian Tv-Series adaption of The Wrong Girl. So needless to say when this picture book turned up as a review copy from the publisher, I was both intrigued and confused as I wasn’t aware Foster Blake had moved into picture books.

Move over Aaron Blabey’s Pig The Pug, there is a new Australian picture book making waves this Christmas. In just over two weeks since Zoe Foster Blake’s first foray into picture books was launched, Australian shoppers have gobbled up No One Likes A Fart and made it possibly one of the most popular and biggest picture books to have this Christmas. Having been sent a copy from the Publisher, Penguin Random House Australia, I can totally understand why.

Everywhere you look these days, there are picture books filling the shelves of bookstores trying to engage children, particularly young boys to read. Books with titles featuring the words ‘fart’, ‘bum’ and ‘spew’ are taking over the shelves at an alarming rate, and yet it’s this latest edition from Zoe Foster Blake that is taking the booksellers and shoppers by storm this Christmas and rightly so.

No One Likes A Fart is a comprehensive story about a Fart whose life has just begun (yes, he gets farted on to the pages) and who is looking to find some friends and find his place in the world. Through a bunch of trials and misunderstandings, Fart is wafted through houses, buses, cafes and even back alley’s unable to find anyone to like him for him – bad smell and all. Rejected on all accounts, Fart is forced to come face to face with some hard truths about himself and the world at large, until he meets Burp, a girl much like himself and his new best friend.

What I loved about this book was not only how Zoe Foster Blake’s text and Adam Nickel’s illustrations complement each other so effortlessly, but also how poignant this story is and how they conveyed it with just the right amount of humour and seriousness. Here is a story about fitting in, learning to love and accept yourself for who you are and the often painful realisation that the world isn’t the nicest of places sometimes. It’s a book perfect for young and old and filled with some typically gross toilet humour (it is a book about farts after all), it is sure to leave readers of all ages laughing.

Zoe Foster Blake’s text is rather simple and effective. With sentences tending to consist of easy to understand language and shorter and snappier sentences. It’s printed in black bold text that is both clear and well placed around the pages. Adam Nickel’s illustrations are full double page illustrations with bold black outlines and typically consist of a more drab, but appropriate, sepia style colour palette of brown, orange, poo-green and blacks. The little farts themselves are presented as clouds with stick arms and legs and the most expressive little faces that make you want to hug them if they weren’t just drawings in a book.

No One Likes A Fart is a poignant book that relies on the right balance of toilet humour to entice young readers into its pages where a more serious, but perfectly balanced message of self-worth, respect and acceptance await their little ears and eyes. It’s the type of book, children will keep reaching for and will form an integral part of bedtime stories with a soundtrack of laughter thrown in for good measure.

 

 

To purchase a copy of No One Likes A Fart, visit the following online retailers:

Penguin Random House Australia | Amazon AUS | Amazon US | Angus & Robertson’s Bookworld | Booktopia | Book DepositoryDymocks | QBD |

To learn more about Zoe Foster Blake, visit the following social media pages:

Author Website  | Penguin Random House Australia | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

To learn more about Adam Nickel, visit the following social media pages:

Illustrator WebsiteInstagram |

 

 

REVIEW: Brothers From A Different Mother by Phillip Gwynne and Illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Published: 3rd April 2017

Publisher: Penguin Viking/ Penguin Random House Australia

Pages: 32

Format: Hardcover Picture book (courtesy of the Publisher)

RRP: $19.99

4/5 Stars

Tapir lives in the jungle.
Pig lives in the village.
But when they meet at the waterhole,
they discover they are the same in so many ways.
They might even be brothers from a different mother.

From a master storyteller comes this heartfelt story of friendship…and seeing past our differences.

Brothers From A Different Mother by Phillip Gwynne and illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall is a stunning and poignant book that I wish everybody knew about. In a world full of fear and hate, it’s a shining light daring children not to dismiss someone based on their differences, but rather to celebrate and explore those differences.

Brothers From A Different Mother is the age old story of how two individuals from very different treks of life meet and become life long friends. When Tapir and Pig first meet they are confronted by each other’s differences, but drawn in by their similar physical attributes and common interests. Before long the pair are the best of friends, but their parents and the community around them fears their differences and seeks to split apart the pair. What follows is a story about the strength of a friendship that defies stereotypes and bulling. In a world full of Cow and Monkey’s (the book’s detractors), Brothers From A Different Mother asks the reader to choose to be like Tapir and Pig; to see beyond what everyone else sees, while illustrating the role that perception and acceptance can play in your life and your friendships.

Phillip Gwynne has crafted a very poignant and engaging narrative that seeks to inform and explain to young children about accepting one’s differences and celebrating diversity. The text is simple and easy to understand, making it an ideal story to start open discussions at both school and in the home.

When a author and his story are combined with the right illustrator, magic happens, and that is exactly what Marjorie Crosby-Fairall’s illustrations have brought to this book. As powerful and poignant as Gwynne’s narrative is, it’s the illustrations that bring this story to life. Each double page spread is a whirl of colour, excitement (and at times sorrow), and there is so much detail in each and every picture. It’s Crosby-Fairall’s illustrations that highlight the fine line between the two leads similarities and differences, and just how special their friendship is. The images are highly emotive and simply stunning; I personally couldn’t believe how life like the animals looked.

Brothers From A Different Mother is a fantastic contemporary text to explain to kids about diversity, differences and acceptance. Given the current political climate with race/colour/religious divide, Brothers From A Different Mother is not only a beautiful text to behold, but it’s a powerful and educational piece that seeks to inform and breed understanding. All in all, there needs to be more books like Brothers From A Different Mother out there.

 

To purchase a copy of Brothers From A Different Mother, visit the following online retailers:

Angus & Robertson’s Bookworld | Booktopia | Dymocks | Penguin Books Australia | OBD

To learn more about Phillip Gwynne, visit the following social media sites:

Goodreads | penguin Books Australia |

To learn more about Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, visit the following social media sites:

Marjorie’s WebsiteFacebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Penguin Books Australia |

 

 

REVIEW: The CATawampus Cat by Jason Carter Eaton & Illustrated by Gus Gordon

Published: 21st March 2017

Publisher: Penguin Viking

Pages: 32

Format: Hard cover Picture book courtesy of the publisher

RRP: $33.49/$24.99

5/5 Stars

A tilted tale about a cat who sees the world from an unusual point of view, written by the hilarious Jason Carter Eaton (How to Train a Train) and illustrated by the equally humorous Gus Gordon (Herman and Rosie).


catawampus (cat-a-wam-pus) n. 1. Diagonal or at an angle. 2. Askew, awry.
The catawampus cat walks with a slant. And his skewed point of view has everyone in town looking at everything with fresh eyes. Even Bushy Brows Billiam who never notices anything, including what time class is over, spots the catawampus cat, and now he s a star student! And when the town librarian sees the catawampus cat, she pulls the wrong book from the shelf, sending her into a life of adventure. The catawampus cat is in town and everything is about to change.”

The CATawampus Cat is a super cute and powerful read that is sure to appeal to readers of all ages.

When the CATawampus Cat arrives in town walking on a angle, he sets of a chain reaction. Before too long the townsfolk are all tilting their heads and viewing the world from a completely different angle and perception and loving what they discover.

The CATawampus Cat is perhaps one of the most powerful picture books I’ve read in 2017. It speaks to our desire to be like everyone else, and yet points out through a quirky cat that sometimes we aren’t better off that way. This book highlights differences and individual quirks that people have. It speaks of the power that being different and your own person can have – some people find love, others see things they haven’t seen for while, while other’s minds are simply opened to vast possibilities and opportunities that they had never considered before. It’s a timely reminder that while the world might like to demand that we all ‘be” the same, sometimes our strengths come from being ‘different’.

Jason Carter Eaton’s text is simple, direct, but funny as well, while Gus Gordon’s illustrations are cartoon-ish, quirky and really bring the book to life. Together the pair have created a one of the kind book that kids will reach for time and time again; it’s funny, easy to relate too and just that tiny bit different to everything else on the market that it’s going to be noticed quickly. What’s more it’s featuring a cat, which while it pains me to admit (I’m a massive dog person),  pretty make ensures the book is going to be a hit all round!

The CATawampus Cat is a book the celebrates and encourages diversity and thinking outside the box. It’s a book that speaks to our basic primarily urge to be liked, while confirming that inner voice that it’s okay to be who we are. It’s pretty much the most perfect book that 2017 needs right now and one I highly recommend everyone gives a go.

 

To purchase a copy of The CATawampus Cat, visit the following online retailers:

Penguin Books Australia | Booktopia | Book Depository | Angus & Robertson’s Bookworld | Dymocks

 

To learn more about Jason Carter Eaton, visit the following social media sites:

Penguin Books Australia | Facebook |

 

To learn more about Gus Gordon, visit the following social media sites:

Penguin Books Australia | Gus Gordon’s Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

 

REVIEW: Florette by Anna Walker

Published: 27th February 2017

Publisher: Penguin Viking (imprint of Penguin Random House)

Pages: 32

Format: Hard cover, courtesy of the publisher

RRP: $24.99

5/5 Stars

When a little girl moves from the country to the city, she is sad to leave behind her beloved backyard garden. But then she makes a magical discovery near her new home and soon friendships as well as flowers are blooming.

Florette: meaning a small flower, and the Latin name for a Roman goddess of flowers.

Anna Walker never ceases to amaze me. Not only has she written the sweetest little picture book, but she has also illustrated some of the most stunning images that I’ve ever seen; Florette is a true piece of art.  What’s more the combination of Walker’s simply but elegant text and her beautiful illustrations ensure that the story’s heart and gentle nature is capture perfectly on every single page.

Florette is a book about change, patience, persistence and adaptability. Here is a small child whose whole life has been surrounded by luscious gardens and space now confined into a small apartment in a sprawling urban city. With the loss of her beloved garden, Mae tries to reconnect and recreate her oasis to no avail. Until she finds a new one, all of her own making.

It’s a book that speaks from the heart; a sweet book about a young girl’s desire for her beloved garden and the road she takes to establish one of her own. It’s a perfect learning tool for young kids, and one that will hopefully inspire others.

Walker’s illustrations are second to none, and some I find myself often seeking out time and time again. No matter how many times I’ve read this book now, there is always something new and exciting to discover within the folds of the pages. It’s a sensory overload of the best kind.

With subtle environmental notes, Florette is an extraordinary tale for young children and adults alike. Here is a book that speaks of childhood innocence and longing, about our place in the world and the love and care we have for it. It seeks to illustrate how limited our relationship with nature has become and all it takes is that one spark for hope to grow.

Florette is a beautiful and one of a kind picture book that will leave you with a smile on your face and a desire to harvest your own picturesque garden in no time.*

*As a girl with no green thumb, post reading this book I’ve found myself gazing at the smallest of pot plants and watching it slowly but lovingly grow.

 

To purchase a copy of Florette, visit the following online retailers:

Penguin Random House Australia | Booktopia | Angus & Robertson’s Bookworld | Dymocks | QBD

 

To learn more about Anna Walker, visit the following social media sites:

Penguin Random House Australia | Anna Walker’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

 

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REVIEW: Me And You by Deborah Kelly & Illustrated by Karen Blair

Published: 27th February 2017

Publisher: Penguin Viking Australia

Pages: 32

Format: Hard cover Picture book courtesy of the Publisher

RRP: $24.99

5/5 Stars

A delightful rhyming picture book that celebrates all the special relationships and fun-filled activities in a child’s life, their special bonds with parents, grandparents, cousins, neighbours and pets, as well as all the wonderful fun-filled days they enjoy together: from beach and baking days, to cycling and footy-kicking or simply lazy days. This is a joyous, accessible picture book perfect for sharing with children.

Me And You is a superb new picture book from Deborah Kelly and Karen Blair that seeks to celebrate children and those special people in their lives.

What I love most about this book is just how inclusive the story it is. As the title suggests, the book is about the reader and the child in many ways; to the point that it’s the way Me And You celebrate each day. Deborah Kelly has gone about and beyond to make sure there are NO references to name, gender or any other title that might limit the books appeal or approach, and while Karen Blair’s illustration do provide hints (i.e. a picture of Dad on a bike), it still remains fully approachable and friendly to children of all walks of life.

Karen Balir’s illustrations are super adorable and life like that reading the book and looking at the illustrations is akin to seeing some of your favourite family snaps from your very own personal photo album.  In fact the beauty of the book, is that the entire story is like that – an all inclusive photo album of little moments and people that make us who we are.

Me And You is the kind of book made to be read aloud by a parent or loved one. It’s a picture book that ensures that cuddles, kisses and laughs will reign supreme and that countless memories will be relieved by both parties. When the final page has been turned, and the cover closed post reading, the reader and the child will feel like they have been engulfed by a big warm and cheery, one of a kind hug.  With themes of love, friendship and acceptance, this book is sure to be a winner.

 

To purchase a copy of Me And You, visit the following online retailers:

Penguin Random House Australia | Booktopia | Angus & Robertson’s Bookworld | Dymocks |

TO learn more about the author, Deborah Kelly, visit the following social media sites:

Penguin Random House Australia | Author website | Facebook

 

TO learn more about the illustrator, Karen Blair, visit the following social media sites:

Penguin Random House Australia | Website | Facebook

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