Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rosie and Mack Head Outback: an Adventure in the Kimberley by Celia Shelmerdine

What a fantastic book for children to learn more about the Kimberley region, its geographical marvels and its fascinating flora and fauna. Rosie and Mack who have visited big cities around the world such as New York, Rome, Paris and London decide to explore their own country more and head off to the far north of Western Australia. They land at a terminal where there are bulls grazing on the airstrip and they are warmly greeted by Jackaroo Jim who has all sorts of activities planned to fill up their days. From the aboriginal rock art to the starts in the skies, as children accompany Rosie and Mack they will emerge from this book with a greater awareness and understanding of this beautiful part of Australia. The end papers show a map of El Questro Satation and Wilderness park and there is a detailed glossary at the back explaining the many aboriginal words in this text.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Clown Said No by Mischa Damjan and Józef Wilkoń

The unexpected defiance of a clown who would prefer to tell stories than alternate between laughing and crying despite the ringmaster's pleas, quickly becomes a rebellion against the constraints of circus life. The donkey, who no longer wants to be stereotypically stubborn, the Dancing Pony who is wearisome of dancing, Louise the Giraffe who is tired of just being known for her neck, Gus the homesick Lion, and Otto the Dog who resents being shackled by a chain, all decide enough is a enough. One night they simple leave...but how will they survive by themselves whilst they raise the necessary finances and recognition to begin their own circus where they can all call the shots and be happy? Read it and find out if they can eventually follow their dreams.

This book was originally published in German as Der Clown sagte Nein. Extra informations about the amazing polish  illustrator/artist, Józef Wilkoń, can be found on
on Pinterest:

No Such Thing as Far Away by Laura Langston and Robert Amos

This  Canadian picture book explores a child's attachment to place and could quite easily be set in any major Australian city with a China Town. It is in fact set in Vancouver's Chinatown which I had the pleasure of exploring some years ago. Michael loves his Chinatown home, its smells, its interesting alley ways, and the dragons from the nearby neon sings which cast their golden and red images through his bedroom window upon his wall during the night. He is very upset when he hears from his mum who runs a second hand shop of their impending move to another suburb. Michael's acceptance of the situation comes largely through the counsel of his Chinese friend, Grandpa Doc. 

In summer Michael would go into the little store where Grandpa Doc straightened his jars of herbs and boxes of powders. Michael would sit on a high stool and sniff the air. The smells of star anise, ginger and sweet licorice mingled with the conversation as Grandpa Doc talked about the old country. Once Michael asked Grandpa Doc how he could be happy when he was so far away from the China that he loved.

"There's no such thing as far away when you carry a place in your heart," Grandpa Doc said, laughing at Michael's frown. "In here." The old man lifted both hands to his heart.
 who tells him, "There is no such thing as far away when you carry a place with you. In here." (Your heart.) 

Robert Amos, a water-colour artist, well-known for his depictions of inner city streets, captures the detail and colour of the scenes in Chinatown beautifully. 

The result is a well-written appreciation of Chinatown and a satisfying, reassuring look at the heartache of leaving a loved places and loved ones.