Sometimes simplicity is just divine!

the-very-cranky-bearThe Very Cranky Bear, written and illustrated by Australian Nick Bland, has a simple premise. When a group of animals seek refuge from the cold in his cave, he is (surprise, surprise) cranky! The clueless foursome try their best to cheer the bear up, though not because they care so much as they really want to play in that (very) occupied cave.

They each try to get to the bottom of the bear’s crankiness. However, the solution is more simple than they realise at first, and it takes one very ‘plain’ sheep to figure it out.

Bland’s rhyming scheme adds a layer of complexity to this book that otherwise might be a bit on the bland (no pun intended) side. It also adds a layer of delicious charm. I can’t go past mentioning Bland’s illustrations. I absolutely adore his style here. Colourful, vivid and yet cartoonish. Really, I could gush on and on about them.

This book has a simple premise and a simple solution which results in a wonderful story. It’s all very seamless. You won’t be cranky about the decision to spend a few dollars on The Very Cranky Bear.

The Very Cranky Bear, published by Scholastic.
Author/Illustrator: Nick Bland.
Check it out at:

This one’s for you, Auntie Carol!

ImageThe predilection for creative writing runs in the genes. Really, my Auntie Carol should be a famous author. However, she happily cheers me on in all my writing and academic endeavours, for which I am so grateful. Today, I am reviewing this one for her because I know she’d love it!

The Runaway Hug is sweet and imaginative. It follows the story of a little girl, Lucy, and the adventure of her hug. When she accidentally gives away the hug she’s promised to return to Mummy, she must chase it down. Written by Nick Bland (who also wrote the award winning The Wrong Book — a favourite of mine), and illustrated by the delightful and whimsical Freya Blackwood, this one is satisfying. I don’t know if illustrations can be described as ‘lilting’, but somehow this seems an appropriate description here.

The story pangs at the nostalgic heartstrings for this Mummy.┬áDid I mention this book was short-listed for The Children’s Book Council of Australia? It’s easy to see why. Buy it at: