Looking for fun new books to share with your child? Look no further!
Cover of a book with a drawing of a penguin wearing a red beanie
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5.6/10
Errol!
Ages 3 to 5 / June 1, 2018

Errol! By Zanni Louise and Philip Bunting, Scholastic Press, 2018. ‘Errol refuses to follow his mum. Even when she counts to three.’ Firstly, what a great name for a penguin! Errol! is a very stubborn little Antarctic penguin, and his disobedience frustrates his mother no end. Errol refuses to follow his mum when she calls him, even when she counts to three! One…Two…Three! And still, Errol does not follow his mother. I think every mother and every child can relate to this story, no matter how old they are. Even as adults we would all remember our own mother counting to three and then either walking away without us, or losing it in some other way that isn’t PC to mention these days! Why is Errol not following his mum? Because he has some adventurous ideas of his own! When Errol’s mother thinks she’s lost him under the snow, she cries, but we soon discover that Errol has embarked on his own adventures beneath the surface. Errol soon pops his head back up out of the snow and calls to his mother, then calls again. When she doesn’t respond he tells her he’s going to count to three. Well, this…

Cover of a book showing a drawing of a bird in a bird house, and a girl crouching and looking at her dog
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6.4/10
Why Do Families Change?
Ages 3 to 5 , Ages 6 to 8 , Educational / March 21, 2017

Why Do Families Change? By Dr Jillian Roberts and Cindy Revell, Orca Book Publishers, 2017. ‘A reassuring and straightforward explanation of separation and divorce.’ Are you and your family experience separation or divorce and don’t know how to talk to your children about it? Why Do Families Change? opens with ‘Many animals in nature choose lifelong mates’. On the opening double page spread, we see three sets of paired birds and three sets of paired couples, including one same-sex couple. The following page continues in this light with more couples from different cultures getting married, as well as another same-sex couple. It stresses that some couples choose to have a common-law relationship where they live together but don’t actually get married. Why Do Families Change? presents a very open-minded view of the different types of relationships that are possible. It gently introduces children to the fact that some people stay married for their whole lives, while others separate or divorce. The story goes on to explain what separation is, and what divorce is, and why these changes can happen. Why Do Families Change? addresses the all-important issue that many children face, ‘Is it my fault?’. No matter how old your children are, there…

Cover of a book with a drawing of an old fashioned camera with random bits and pieces around it
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5/10
One Photo
Ages 6 to 8 / August 29, 2016

One Photo By Ross Watkins and Liz Anelli, Penguin Books Australia, 2016. “A poignant story about love, loss and legacy; one son, one family, one photo.” This is not your usual glossy covered picture book. It has a matte-finish cover and has a retro storybook feel. In the story we see Dad taking photos of the strangest things, using a newly purchased old-fashioned camera with old-fashioned film that he has to take to the old store in the city to be developed. But Dad doesn’t photograph his family, rather he photographs the everyday items that form his world. He photographs the things he didn’t want to forget. The son and the mother are upset that he doesn’t photograph them. They don’t understand. One Photo follows the journey of one family who is struggling to come to terms with the father’s Alzheimer’s disease. This is such a beautiful story. It is helpful for dealing with loss, and shows a loving, hopeful side. The illustrations are textured, colourful, and plentiful, and offer a visual feast for the inquisitive mind. Awards Shortlisted for The Picture Book of the Year 2017 by Children’s Book Council of Australia. One Photo Book Trailer  0

Cover of a book with a furry horned creature stands holding his arm around his invisible brother
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5.2/10
My Brother
Ages 6 to 8 / July 18, 2016

My Brother By Dee Huxley, Oliver Huxley and Tiffany Huxley, Working Title Press, 2016. ‘When a gentle creature sets out to search for a lost brother, we are taken on an ethereal journey across land and sea to strange, beautiful and faraway places.’ The black and white illustrations are reminiscent of the artist, Escher. They are soft and sensitive, and on the last page, we end with a full-colour illustration of the gentle creature and his brother in a boat together. My Brother is a sad story, but the subject is handled with such care and attempts to present a positive side to a devastating reality. Teacher notes are available. Awards Shortlisted for The Picture Book of the Year 2017 by Children’s Book Council of Australia. 0

Cover of a book showing a young girl wearing a party hat carrying her younger sibling through a house littered with cleaning items
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5.5/10
Hattie Helps Out
Ages 3 to 5 , Ages 6 to 8 / February 24, 2016

Hattie Helps Out By Jane Godwin, Davina Bell and Freya Blackwood, Allen and Unwin, 2016. ‘It’s a busy day at Hattie’s house. There’s a lot to do before Dad’s birthday party. Hattie is being very helpful, until it’s time for her afternoon nap. Hattie’s not even sleepy! But Mama looks tired. Very tired…’ Hattie has some very big ideas about helping Mama out with the party preparations. One day Hattie Helps Out at home. She is a great helper around the house until it is time for a nap. Hattie says she is too old to sleep in the daytime, but Mama insists. Who falls asleep, do you think? Mama falls asleep, and Hattie watches her for a while before deciding that she will help out greatly by ticking off the list of things Mama had said she needed to do before the party. Meanwhile, baby Lottie, Hattie’s younger sibling, has been sleeping in the washing basket while Hattie and Mama were having their rest in bed. Hattie slips seamlessly into the roleplay of mother of the house as she tidies and arranges, and even complains of not having ‘time for a crying baby today’. The authors have perfectly captured…

Cover of a book showing a small boy hugging his mother
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5.1/10
Happy Pants
Ages 3 to 5 / May 1, 2014

Happy Pants: Why is Mummy so sad? By Heather Gallagher and Liz McGrath, Wombat Books, 2014. ‘When Mummy wears her happy pants we build sandcastles, go out for babycinos and have lots and lots of cuddles But when she comes home with baby Darcy, her happy pants stay in her wardrobe…’ A heartfelt story about one child’s experience of his mother who is suffering from postnatal depression. This is a highly relatable story for children who have recently experienced the introduction of a new baby to the home, and especially if their mother is suffering from depression. Happy Pants broaches the often taboo topic of postnatal depression with kindness, and it has a positive ending that will offer hope to your child if he or she is in the same situation. Colourful watercolour images adorn the book, and although the style is quite naive, I think they would appeal to children because of the soft vibrancy of the pages. Happy Pants is a great book for fathers to read to their children, but also mothers. There is an informative page at the end of the book explaining what post-natal depression is and how common it is in new mothers and…

Cover of a book showing a painting of a small child with a pet cat and a bird
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5.5/10
Living with Mum and Living with Dad: My Two Homes
Ages 3 to 5 / April 1, 2013

Living with Mum and Living with Dad: My Two Homes By Melanie Walsh, Walker Books, 2012. ‘My mum and dad don’t live together anymore so sometimes I live with my mum and sometimes with my dad.’ Separation and divorce are always difficult subjects to broach with young children. This is the ideal picture book for very small children to help them understand and navigate the changes are or will be occurring during parental divorce. Living with Mum and Living with Dad: My Two Homes is a lift-the-flap book that offers a level of interactivity with things to find under flaps within the pages. The flaps are also used as a device to help show some of the differences between the child’s two homes. Living with Mum and Living with Dad: My Two Homes aims to reassure your child that while there may be changes and differences to life moving forward, everything is going to be ok. Even with the differences, there are still some things that remain familiar, such as the child’s favourite toys that she can take to both houses, the love of both parents, and the extended family. The love of both parents equally is a common theme throughout…

Cover of a book with an illustration of a boy and a girl playing with a dog in their pyjamas
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5.5/10
Today We Have No Plans
Ages 6 to 8 / September 26, 2012

Today We Have No Plans By Jane Godwin and Anna Walker, Penguin Viking, 2012. ‘A busy week, a slower day Brings time to dream and time to play.’ Wow! This book reminded me of a day in the life of my niece, my friends’ kids, my cousins’ kids, basically all kids today! Children these days are so busy with their extracurricular activities, that rest days are gold. Today We Have No Plans is like reading a child’s Google Calendar! As the week progresses, the kids get rattier, the mum gets crankier, and everyone is ready for a rest. ‘On Mondays as the sun comes up My clock gives me a fright…’ But then… …on Sunday morning, a little girl opens her curtains and looks at a solitary tree in her garden. There is a sense of calm when we reach this page. The ‘clocks seem to slow their hands’, and all the family sit around in their pjs, play games and relax. They’re not going out today! While kids love all of their extracurricular activities, they also enjoy their downtime. Sunday offers us the time to slow down and notice the little things, like glue and felt, and plants and…

Cover of a book with an illustration of a large tree and one children playing on and around it
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6.6/10
All Through the Year
Ages 6 to 8 , Educational / September 27, 2010

All Through the Year By Jane Godwin and Anna Walker, Penguin Viking, 2010. ‘Open this book and travel your way all through the year and treasure each day.’ From this well-known author/illustrator duo comes All Through the Year. Reading like a collection of Shakespearean sonnets, All Through the Year invites the reader to share in this rhyming journey through the seasons and activities of a year in the life of an everyday Australian family. The different style Jane Godwin has used in this kids book is also great for teaching children about different styles of writing. I don’t think I’ve seen any other children’s book author us the same format, it’s quite unique to this author (she also applied the same format in Today We Have No Plans). This is a great book to teach children about the months of the year, the seasons that accompany those months, and the different holidays or events that also coincide. All Through the Year is another fine work of art by Anna Walker, beautifully illustrated, and if I am not mistaken, we are seeing the same family that met in Today We Have No Plans! We are certainly seeing the same tree in the…

Cover of a book showing a blonde kid in a store with a glue pot and brush and a cat on a ladder with the same
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5.3/10
Mum and Dad Glue
Ages 3 to 5 , Ages 6 to 8 , Award Winners / October 1, 2009

Mum and Dad Glue By Kes Gray and Lee Wildish, Hodder Children’s Books, 2000. ‘A little boy searches for a pot of parent glue to stick his mum and dad’s marriage back together. But he soon realises that even though his parents may be broken, their love for him is not.’ Mum and Dad Glue is a clever rhyming story of the little boy’s journey to the realisation that, while he can’t put his parents back together, he can still be happy. In the early pages, the illustrations show cracks through everything; the car, the soccer ball, the skateboard, the house, and the brick wall. The words read, ‘Mum and dad are broken…’ The little boy engages on a mission to find a glue that he can use to fix his parents. You can feel the desperation of the child who is frantically trying to think of ways to mend his parent’s marriage. The gentle rhyme helps in softening an often difficult and painful subject for your child. A common thing that we see with children of broken marriages is that the child often blames themselves. This little boy is no different. He battles with wondering if he is the…