REVIEW: OH, ALBERT! by Davina Bell and Illustrated by Sara Acton

Published: 18th July 2016

Publisher: Penguin Viking (Penguin Random House Australia)

Pages: 32

Format: Hardcover Children’s Picture Book (ARC provided Courtesy of the publisher)

RRP: $24.99

4/5 Stars

Albert can’t help getting into mischief when no one is around. But one day he goes too far . . .

Oh, Albert!

A perfect story about a family and their not-so-perfect (but loveable!) dog.

 

OH, ALBERT! is the perfect little picture book for dog lovers of all ages. It’s adorably cute and playful, but unsuspectingly honest for the reality of what owning a pet is often like.

Told over the course of a week in a families household, OH, ALBERT! gives a first hand account of what owning a pet, in particularly a Golden Labrador like Albert, is really like. Filled with mischief and loveable antics, we follow Albert and his never ending stomach through the week and feel first hand the families highs and lows as Albert follows his nose and eats his way through a red triangle here, an electrical wire there and a half a bike helmet when the family isn’t watching. But when Albert stumbles across something that makes him feel unwell, the family are shaken and quickly take their much loved family member to the vet and take every yelled criticism and bad thought of him back.

Simply put this book is divine. As a a proud owner of a very much prized Golden Labrador  named Jack, I’ve witnessed many of the highs and lows that this book illustrated perfectly. Much like Albert, Jack had eaten everything in his path once or twice before and I’ve felt the frustration as finding something else in pieces and the desperate pleading at the vets when my puppy has found something he shouldn’t have as well.

What I particularly loved about this book was the instance that pets of any kind are family. We treat them much the same as any other family member – yelling at them and growing frustrated when they interfere with something we’ve done/need or eat something they shouldn’t have – but the minute they are in trouble, we are there for them through thick and thin. Because although they might be tiring, frustrating, mischievous and destructive at times, they are also playful, adorable, and so very much loved and so ingrained in the family unit that we can’t exclude the four legged members from the tight knit bond of the two legged members.

Davina Bell’s text is simple and to the point in this book, allowing Sara Acton’s illustrations to really shine. Acton’s brought to life a very playful and cheeky dog that readers of all ages will instantly recognise. What’s more the use of white space and her simply yet effective illustrations mean that readers can easily put themselves or their loved ones into the book along with Albert, adding an entirely new and more emotional element to the book itself.

Finally, whether you are a dog lover or not, this book will appeal to everyone for it’s simple message of forgiveness, hope and unconditional love. Through Albert we experience what it is like when you are found to be constantly doing the ‘wrong’ thing and being admonished for it (‘Oh Albert, how could you?‘). But we also see how the family who appear fed up and upset, are also so in love with Albert and accept him for who he is, crazy eating habits and all. If there is one thing that is so crystal clear, it’s the power of love and the bond of family that saves and protects us, giving us strength and letting us a laugh of those small moments of frustration.

OH, ALBERT! is the perfect book for kids (and adults) of all ages. It’s adorably cute and playful thanks to Acton’s illustrations and it packs quite the unsuspecting emotional punch just below the surface of Bell’s simple text. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

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My Dog Jack shares a number of characteristics with Albert – especially the love of eating everything!

 

To learn more about Davina Bell, visit the following social media sties:

Penguin Random House Australia Entry | GOODREADS ENTRY

 

To learn more about Sara Acton’s illustrations, visit the following social media sites:

Sara Acton’s website | Sara Acton’s Facebook | PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE ENTRY | GOODREADS ENTRY

To purchase a copy of OH, ALBERT!, visit the following online booksellers:

Penguin Random House Australia | Booktopia | Wheeler’s | Mighty Ape | Book Depository | Fishpond |

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‘Short Back & Science’ by Dr. Karl (SIGNED) Winners!

As promised, I drew the two winners for the signed copies of Dr. Karl’s latest book “Short Back & Science” earlier today. Everyone who commented on the original post was entered into the draw and the winner’s were chosen using random.org’s true random number generator. The winning numbers were number 1 and 4.

Congratulations to ANTHONY* and JULES FABER, you’ve each won a copy of the book.

The two winners have been notified by email and books will be shipped once I get address confirmation.

Please note; there were two Anthony’s who entered this giveaway. The winner was the first Anthony to comment on the post about Jet fuel. An email has been sent to your email address re: the prize.

 

Thank you to everyone who entered. Unfortunately I only had a couple of copies of this book this time to give out. I do however have a month long giveaway going this month, where I will constantly be giving away signed and unsigned books, bookmarks and book swag in honour of this blog’s 3rd birthday anniversary.

 

 

 

Lean back and settle in for cutting-edge scientific snippets from the trend-setting Dr Karl Kruszelnicki.

In Short Back & Science , Dr Karl combs through some of the greatest scientific conundrums of our age, such as what is killing half the bacteria on Earth every two days and why don’t mole rats get cancer? Why would anyone pay $40 million for a cup of tea, and how did a toilet seat help to end the First World War?

Are bananas really slippery, radioactive and loaded with potassium? What do clouds weigh? And why are there scientists running around naked in the Antarctic?

Brushing aside any hype about coconuts and antioxidants, there is no one better to trim down to the facts than Australia’s most trusted scientist, Dr Karl.

GIVEAWAY: ‘Short Back & Science’ by Dr. Karl (SIGNED) & Dr. Karl Book Signing Event

So back in November I was fortunate enough to work another book signing with Australia’s much loved and favourite scientist, Dr. Karl. As usual, it was a fantastic day with a pretty consist and decent line of fun loving, science mad fans getting books for themselves and loved ones.

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Personally I look forward to Dr. Karl’s visit each year, as I never really know what to expect from both him and his dedicated fans; all I really know is that on the day I’m going to learn a couple of new and interesting scientific trivia facts. I also love that his book are sorted into short one or two page sections so that you can read his books no matter the amount of time you have spare, and if you don’t have more than five minutes and don’t get back to it for a couple of months, that’s okay, as it’s easy to pick up where you left off. Not only that I love that Dr. Karl and his dedicated team at Pan Macmillan Australia assemble such a large variety of facts and myths in his books that are sure to appeal to everyone no matter their age, gender of personal tastes. A point reinforced by the diversity in the crowds we saw on the day.

I have TWO (2) copies of Dr. Karl’s latest release Short Back & Science to giveaway to two (2) lucky readers. To go in the draw to win one of these books simply leave a comment on this post telling me your favourite piece of trivia or scientific fact.

Please Note that this competition is only open to Australian Residents due to shipping limits, and the competition will close at midnight December 31, with winner notified by email and then announced on the blog no later than Monday 4th November.

PLEASE NOTE: Both books were signed at the event in November with the intention that I would give them away BEFORE Christmas, so the inscription in both books reads “Merry Christmas 2015, Dr Karl”. If you are okay with that, or forgot to get someone a Christmas present and think this might make a great gift, leave a comment on this post.

 

 

 

Lean back and settle in for cutting-edge scientific snippets from the trend-setting Dr Karl Kruszelnicki.

In Short Back & Science , Dr Karl combs through some of the greatest scientific conundrums of our age, such as what is killing half the bacteria on Earth every two days and why don’t mole rats get cancer? Why would anyone pay $40 million for a cup of tea, and how did a toilet seat help to end the First World War?

Are bananas really slippery, radioactive and loaded with potassium? What do clouds weigh? And why are there scientists running around naked in the Antarctic?

Brushing aside any hype about coconuts and antioxidants, there is no one better to trim down to the facts than Australia’s most trusted scientist, Dr Karl.

Happy Release Day Celebrations to Juliet Madison On The Release Of Sound, Delta Girls Book Two!

Sound: The Delta Girls Book Two
By Juliet Madison
Release Day Celebration October 13
th, 2015

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ABOUT THE BOOK

SOUND
The Delta Girls Book Two
Author: Juliet Madison

Release Date: October 13th, 2015
Publisher: Diversion Books

SYNOPSIS:

Five extraordinary sisters discover that they each have a unique talent, an extra-sensory perception that enables them to see what others can’t. It makes them incredible, it puts them in danger, and it brings them closer to learning the secrets that have haunted them their entire lives. These are the Delta Girls. 

Serena and her sisters read a private letter their father wrote to their mother, revealing a clue about his disappearance that they never knew about before. But as they struggle to gain further insight through their sensory visions, trying to solve the mystery continues to prove elusive. 

The Delta Girls try to move on, balancing their supernatural abilities with the daily trials of being teenagers. Studious Serena teams with the classroom outcast, Lara, and her charming brother, Damon, for a school science project. They end up studying more than they bargained for, though, when strange noises come from rooms in Lara and Damon’s house. There are voices, but only Serena, with her special powers, can hear them. This is until the trio experiment with Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) and are able to record and hear them on the computer. 

Bringing in her extraordinary sisters to help, Serena must figure out who the voices belong to— and what they want—if she is to have a chance at stopping an impending tragedy before it’s too late. 

BOOK LINKS

B&N | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Juliet Madison is a bestselling author of romantic comedy, women’s fiction, and young adult mystery. After a successful career as a naturopath and a background in dance, art, internet marketing, and perfume sales (yes, she was one of those annoying people in department stores who spray you with perfume), she now prefers to indulge her propensity for multiple careers by living vicariously through her characters.

Living near the beach on the beautiful south coast of New South Wales, Australia, Juliet spends as much time as possible writing and as little time as possible doing housework. 

 

GIVEAWAY

5 Winners will each get a print copy of SOUND by Juliet Madison

Must be 13 + To Enter | Ships in US only
See terms and conditions for full contest rules.

To enter the giveaway visit here.

 

 

REVIEW: ‘My Amazing Dad’ by Ezekel Kwaymullina & Tom Jellett (Illustrator)

Published: 1st August 2015

Publisher: Little Hare Books (Hardie Grant Egmont)

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

RRP: $24.95

4/5 Stars

This dad is not like other dads. He is not good at:

Mowing the lawn,
Getting his children to school on time,
Baking cakes,
Fixing a leaky faucet, or
Remembering bed time

But, he is good at:

Making mazes,
Getting his children to school eventually,
Eating cakes,
Making bubble baths, and
Telling bedtime stories.

And this is what makes him so special.

With bright illustrations from award-winning illustrator Tom Jellett and minimal text by award-nominated Ezekiel Kwaymullina, My Amazing Dad celebrates the unconventional father who may not always get it right but certainly knows how to turn every day into something special.

My Amazing Dad is a short and sweet picture book that highlights how not all Dads are stereotypically ‘perfect’ and handyman geniuses. It serves as a message to both kids and Dads all over the world that it’s okay to be just who you are, and that while you might not be the ‘ideal’ representation of Dad, you are still Dad, flaws and all and that’s not just only okay, it’s actually kind of perfect! For every negative attribute the dad in this book can’t do, the narrator picks out something unique and quirky that he does excel at that makes spending time with Dad both enjoyable, but a special and unique experience.

My dad is not like other dads.

He isn’t very good at mowing the lawn

but he’s a genius at making mazes.

He never gets me to school on time,

but he always gets me there in the end.”

My Amazing Dad is the story about a father and his two kids (one daughter, and one son – the son narrates the book) and how  “dad is not like other dads.’ It’s equal parts clever and quirky despite having very simplistic text and full double page illustrations that focus on the primary colours. And I personally think this book can go a longer way to reassure both new and old Dads that they are doing a good job despite not being great at stereotypical ‘dad jobs’.

Interestingly the Father and Child in this book are never named throughout the text, which is a handy little device making the book accessible to children and Father’s from all over the world as the characters in this book could be you and me, or your neighbours without much stretch of the imagination.

 

To purchase a copy of My Amazing Dad, visit the following retailers:

Booktopia | Amazon US |

 

REVIEW: ‘Fly-In, Fly-Out Dad’ by Sally Murphy & Janine Dawson

Published: 1st July 2015

Publisher: Five Mile Press (part of Bonnier Publishing Group)

Pages: 29

Format: Hardback Picture Book

RRP: $16.95

5/5 Stars

My dad works up North, so most of the time it’s just me and Mum and Lexie at our house.
But when Dad comes home things get pretty interesting…

Australia is a vast land and some workers must travel thousands of miles to do their job. These people have become known as the ‘Fly In, Fly Out’ workers, with most staying on-site for weeks at a time, then flying back to their families and loved ones to spend quality time at home.

Written by award-winning author Sally Murphy, this book gives us an insight into one family with a Fly In, Fly Out Dad set against a backdrop of the Western Australian mining region.

A book that celebrates the superhero in every father.

 

When he comes home, Dad smells like dust and diesel and machines.

That’s my FLY-IN Dad.

He smells funny but I still love him.
He gathers us close, me and Mum and Lexie, and says how
much he’s missed us and how he’s glad to be home.
Maybe this time he’ll stay.

Fly-In FLy-Out Dad by Sally Murphy (Author) and Janine Daweson (Illustrator) is perhaps one of my favourite books out this year for Fathers Day 2015. It’s a short and simply book about a young boy whose father works in the mines, “When he comes home, Dad smells like dust and diesel and machines“, and how much this boy both admires, loves and misses his father when he is away for work for long periods of time.

When he comes home, Dad smells like dust and diesel and machines.

That’s my FLY-IN Dad.

He smells funny but I still love him.
He gathers us close, me and Mum and Lexie, and says how
much he’s missed us and how he’s glad to be home.
Maybe this time he’ll stay.

It’s told through the eyes of a young child who absolutely idolises his Dad and misses him terribly when he is away. Through his narration we learn all about the type of jobs and almost superhero like stories that Dad gets up to when he is away working e.g. driving the huge mine trucks and machines, the strange foods, the donga he calls home and what he gets up to with his friends while away. The notion of Dad as a superhero is further enforced by the mine clothing morphing into a Super Dad Suit style in the same fashion of Superman. Given how foreign and otherworldly the world of the mines is to this child, it’s no wonder that he has superimposes his Dad as a superhero in his imagination.

The book itself features stunning full double page illustrations with easily recognisable Australian features and landscapes – Qantas Planes, outback Australia, mine safety gear etc … – that bring the story to life just the little bit more. Janine Dawson has done an amazing job illustrating this book with its bright colours and easily accessibly drawings that feel larger than life in so many ways.

Primarily this children’s picture book is aimed at children whose father who are FIFO workers, particulars those working in mines throughout Australia. It deals with the separation the family undergoes for periods of a time as Dad is away for work and what the family reunion and couple of weeks home is like. As a child in the 90s I went through a lot of what this family did as my Dad worked (and still does) in the mines himself and much of what is experienced and represented here are things I can easily relate too.

Sally Murphy is an Australian author from Western Australia and has written over 30 books for children.

To learn more about the authors and Illustrators or the book, visit the following websites:

Five Mile Press Website | Sally Murphy Website | Janine Dawson Website |

To purchase a copy of Fly-In Fly-Out Dad visit the following retailers

Five Mile Press | Booktopia | Ebay AU | Boffins Bookshop |

 

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Australia Day Blog Hop Giveaway 2015!

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It’s that time time of year again when we Aussies get a little bit crazy and carried away. Yep, that’s right its Australia Day! And to celebrate all things Aussie, I’m joining forces with a bunch of other blogs in Shelleyrae’s Australia Day Blog Hop Giveaway, where a bunch of fantastic Aussie blogs are giving away free Australian Swag and books. So make sure you check out Book’d out for all participating blogs; you never know what you might win from it or who you might meet along the way! So pull up a seat, and grab a ‘snag'(a sausage or if your from the UK a banger) and grab a cold one and simply enjoy 🙂

Keeping with tradition I’m supporting local Aussie authors again this year and have two book packs to give away.

BOOK ONE: An e-copy of ‘In Safe Keeping’ by Lee Christine – Open Internationally

It was only supposed to be a casual affair, a stress-relieving night time romp, a secret just between the two of them. But when divorce lawyer Laila Richards ends up on the opposite side of the bench to high powered lawyer, Evan Barclay, in a very public, very high profile divorce, she knows their fling will jeopardize the case of her career, and breaks off their relationship.

Stunned by Laila’s decision, Evan vows to make the beautiful lawyer deal with him, both in and out of the courtroom. But when suspicious activity begins to emerge, and Laila’s safety is threatened, Evan fears his client — his best friend, the son of the only family Evan has ever known, may be involved.

Bound by client confidentiality and battling a massive conflict of interest, Laila and Evan fight to win, fight for justice, and fight for a chance at a relationship that’s anything but casual.

BOOK TWO: A SIGNED hard back copy of local Paralympian Kurt Fearnley’s Biography – Open To Australian Residents only.

When Kurt Fearnley was a kid, he would leave his wheelechair at the front gate and go exploring with his brothers and sisters. ‘You’re going to have to be stronger than we are,’ they told him, ‘and we know you will be.’

The boy from Carcoar was raised to believe he could do anything. At fifteen, he won his first medal. Then he conquered the world, winning three Paralympic gold medals, seven world championships and more than 35 marathons. A world-beater in and out of his wheelchair, Kurt is a true Australian champion.

Inspiring, exhilarating and highly entertaining, Pushing the Limits takes us inside the mind of a kid with a disability growing up in a tiny town, a teenager finding his place in the world, and an elite sportsman who refuses to give up, no matter how extreme the challenge.

 

To Win either of the above books simply leave a comment below telling me who your favourite Australian Authors are and why you love them so much? Make sure you let me know as well which of the two books you’d prefer (you can enter for both).

Entries Close at Midnight on Tuesday 27th of January with winners announced Thursday 29th January by email and blog post.

Happy Australia Day Everybody and good luck!