Silly, quirky and more than a little brilliant.

Umm… so I’m back! I’d like to apologise for my brief hiatus, but guess what ya’ll! I made a baby!!

Jay and Aaron

To celebrate, I’m posting a wonderful new book I’ve had the pleasure of reading during my ‘break’ (I use the term lightly. Sleep? What is sleep??’).

 

CrocodollyThe Crocodolly, written and illustrated by Martin McKenna, is delicious. The story follows a zany yet charming girl, Adelaide, who disguises her pet crocodile as a dolly in order to keep him. Mischief and mayhem are bound to occur as her ‘dolly’ starts to grow bigger and bigger.

I like this one on several different levels. For starters, I get excited when writers are allowed to push the envelope when it comes to vocabulary. Think the Olivia books by Ian Falconer. McKenna is of those writers.

He’s managed to use the description, ‘disconcertingly vast’ in a seamless way; that is, a way that children can work out the meaning from the context. He dedicates an entire page to an irate town that offers up synonyms for the word ‘annoyed’. I just love this!

Beyond the vocabularic gems (yep, I invented a word…) embedded in this book, the story is silly enough and original enough to keep young readers captivated. My son had me read this to him several times through and right now is staring in fascination at the pages.

To grab a copy for yourself, check out: https://shop.scholastic.com.au/Product/8355754/The-Crocodolly.

The Crocodolly is published by Omnibus Books, ISBN 9781742990712.

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Meet the Dullards is anything but dull!

Meet the DullardsMeet the Dullards, written by Sarah Pennypacker and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, details the plight of Mr. and Mrs. Dullard. When they catch their children reading – GASP! – something must be done immediately! Their children are expected to lead dull, ordinary lives; stimulating past-times such as reading are not acceptable! What is a tedious and dull set of parents to do? Move, that’s what! But children are resourceful. When the Dullards get distracted watching paint dry, their plan goes awry.

This book is awesome. Really, it is. It’s all those words I use to describe a story I’m in love with; creative, quirky, fun, different, clever. The author and illustrator somehow manages to make a story, which is quite literally about dull moments, delightful. What can I say beyond that? Author Sara Pennypacker can now count me among her innumerable fans.

Meet the Dullards is published by HaperCollins and is suitable for children 4 – 7. Pick up your own copy at: http://www.harpercollins.com.au/9780062198563/meet-the-dullards#

Baby, I’m baaaaaaack.

I’ve been on hiatus for about a month or so now, my apologies to all! I had a nearly-month-long trip to visit the US. My husband, son and I visited family in NY and CO and it was lots of fun, albeit not very refreshing travelling with a one-year-old. However, the big news is…drum roll please… I met up with my loverley agent, Alison McDonald from The Rights Factory! Yep, I’m signed and I am super excited about it!! It’s so fun having someone to work with on my manuscripts. If you want to contact her regarding my work, she is available via their website, http://www.therightsfactory.com/.

Mustache babyNow, back to the topic at hand: MUSTACHE BABY (Written by Bridget Heos and Illustrated by Joy Ang). When I came across this book I practically ripped it off the shelf in my enthusiasm. What an absurd and endearing concept. I tend to gravitate to (and write) quirky and absurd stories so this is right up my ally. The story is about a newborn baby who, fresh out of the womb, is already sporting a mustache. But the questions remains: is this a good-guy mustache or a bad-guy mustache?

First thing’s first: you won’t find a concept like this anywhere else. If this story tickles your fancy, then you might as well grab this book ‘cuz baby, there’s no other Mustache Children lurking around the shelves of bookstores. Actually, Mustache Children sounds particularly creepy. There’s not much didactic about this story either, which I appreciate. It’s just some odd fun.

The story explores the stereotypes and clichés surrounding different types of mustaches. It’s a story for the sake of the story, which is often the best kind of story. Did I mention this was a story?! That being said, I am more partial to a stronger narrative arc. This is just a personal preference of course, and this one is definitely worth a look if you are a lover of the quirky and strange.

Ang’s illustrations happily embrace the absurdity of it all, whilst clearly conveying the stereotypes and cliches to children who might not really understand mustache cliches yet (there’s a term I never thought I’d use; ‘mustache cliches’). I’d say this would be suited to children in Kindergarten and Year One.

Check it out at: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15814439-mustache-baby

An unimaginably clever read…

BeekleA little while ago, I lamented the fact that Drew Daywalt had created such a clever story with his The Day the Crayons Quit, and I was most disappointed that I had not come up with the idea myself. This post follows the same vein.

Dan Santat’s The Adventures of Beekle – The Unimaginary Friend is a wonderfully novel concept; on an island far away, imaginary friends wait to be imagined so they can start their adventures. Beekle, however, is always left behind. What’s an unimagined imaginary friend to do?

Santat’s story is so clever. For starters, there is lateral thought put into both the illustrations and the story. A child reading this can enjoy the surface story but, for the more developed little one, there is rewarding subtext to consider and discuss.

The pictures are quirky and, at times, melancholic, but not in an off-putting way — more-so in an emotionally appropriate way. Finally, the concept is novel and makes me grumble, ‘UGH! Why didn’t I think of this?’.

This story is probably most appropriate for children ages 4-7, but I’d still recommend it to kids on either end of that because…well… it’s wonderful.

Go buy this story. It’s worth it. Meanwhile, I’ll sit here shaking my fist at yet another literary genius.

The Adventures of Beekle the Unimaginary Friend is available at: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18295821-the-adventures-of-beekle.

Stop what you are doing. Buy this book immediately.

ImageThis is one of those exceptional stories that, as a writer, you wish you had created. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, is quirky, cute, funny and unusual. It also made #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

The story is about a boy who goes to use his crayons, but finds instead that they have run away. Each colour has left him a note explaining why they have left. Red feels like he is used far too much for some things, white resents not being used enough, and blue is grateful for being the boy’s favourite, but is tired and stumpy.

The illustrations are charming and wonderful. They are drawn to appear as though they were a child’s drawings, and they are astoundingly convincing.

The text is appropriate for children 3-7 years, but the humour may be lost a bit on the younger ones.

I cannot recommend this one enough. It made me smile, laugh a few times, and then curse Drew Daywalt for his brilliance (in a most supportive way, of course!)

Go here. Buy it now. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-day-the-crayons-quit-drew-daywalt/1113054468?ean=9780399255373