Children’s Book Tuesdays

children's book Tuesdays

This week, England left the EU. Last week, they announced that the Guardian Children’s Books would no longer run. What is the world coming to? Sad face.

I often come across blog posts and social media posts about children’s books, and thought I’d start a little monthly link up here – first Tuesday of every month Children’s Book Tuesdays. A celebration for all that is glorious in the world of children’s books!

If you have a post about children’s books you are reading, or children’s books you are writing, or maybe about how a children’s book inspires you, come and link it here. {Link will open 6.30am EST.} If you aren’t a blogger, you might like to tag on social media: #ChildrensBookTuesday

We’ll miss the Guardian Children’s Books, as it was so good. But maybe we can use this little space to nurture our passion for children’s books?

Look forward to seeing you next week!

Zanni xx


Children’s Books We Love :: October

On the last day of October, we did something I’ve never done before – trick or treat! It was actually really fun dressing up with the kids, and roaming the child-friendly suburbs in the late afternoon. There was a sense of nervous anticipation, knocking on strangers’ doors. I half expected to have our heads bitten off {not in the zombie like way – more the cranky neighbour type way}, but fortunately there was none of that. If people weren’t into it, they shut their blinds. And if they were, there were plenty of indications, like the hollowed out pumpkin on the doorstep, or the cobwebbed hedge.

One thing I liked about it, was that it was a night of drawing random people together. You bumped into and talked to people you wouldn’t otherwise interact with, and because it was all in the name of childish fun, people were open and playful. I liked that a lot.

The point of all that is that it is the end of October! And the beginning of the new month. And when not roaming the streets of Lennox Heads with my kids, dressed as a zombie bride, I was snuggled on the couch, reading a lot of good books. Here are some we liked. Click on the images to purchase.

the 5 misfits The 5 Misfits by Beatrice Alemagna

We loved this slightly weird and kooky story of five misfits, who are on the fringes of society. One day, their oddness is challenged by The Perfect One, who came from who knows where, and has the most sublime head of hair. The Perfect One finds fault in the misfits, but it helps them see what makes them special. Alemagna’s illustrations are so striking, and gorgeous, and distinctive. I love the smattering of fluro pink, and the almost 70s Golden Book quality. Watch this very cute animation.

the wonder garden

The Wonder Garden by Kristjana S Williams and Jenny Broom

I have been thinking lately I’d like to have a good encyclopaedia, so we can look up animals and information when my daughter asks questions, rather than looking at the iPad. Then this exquisite book fell into my hands. It’s hard to capture its beauty in a simple digital scan, but if you see this book in the flesh, you will understand its attraction. It is large, and gold shimmers on its cover. The pages are full of luscious colourful depictions of five of the most beautiful, amazing places on earth, with all their wonderful secrets. The book is knowledge, but it is also so much more.

Perfect by danny parker and freya blackwood

Perfect by Danny Parker and Freya Blackwood

I ‘met’ this lovely book months ago, when it was still in its conception. The finished book arrived this month, and is so so lovely. Freya’s illustrations and Danny’s story take me on a trip through a childhood day, not dissimilar to my own. It’s the sort of ‘perfect’ day we hope for our children – a day without technology, a day for drawing, and for playing and for picnics. I already had a copy of this book. Then my mum bought another one for my daughter for her birthday. So now we have two perfect books. Some come with a print!

Cleo Stories a friend and a pet

The Cleo Stories: A Friend and A Pet by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood

Speaking of Freya Blackwood, there are more Cleo Stories available! In ‘A Friend’ and ‘A Pet’, Cleo needs to use her ingenuity, and her lovely creative mind to overcome typical little people problems – namely, a boring rainy day in, and an unfulfilled desire for a pet. This is a lovely follow up to the first book of stories, which won CBCA Book of the Year for Young Readers 2015.

the river and the book

The River and the Book by Alison Croggon

To be honest, I read this book for me, rather than for the kids. It’s quite a small novel, and I wanted to ease myself back into reading longer things, having not read for a long time. This is a fable, almost, of Simbala, who is Keeper of the Book. She lives a simple village life. But the prophecy of the book is that change is coming. River life starts to change, as developers greedily suck from its resources further upstream. And a western visitor soon turns Simbala’s world upside down. It was a change she couldn’t have predicted.

Imaginary Fred

Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers

It’s somehow comforting that everything with an Oliver Jeffers’ touch is excellent. This Irish collaboration between one of my favourite illustrators, and the Irish Children’s Laureate Eoin Colfer, is such a beautiful, tender and funny story about Imaginary Fred, and a lonely boy called Sam. Fred and Sam form a friendship. Imaginary Fred is waiting for the flick – he knows his time is up. It always is. But maybe Imaginary Fred can have a different place in Sam’s life and heart.

Have you come across any great  children’s books this month?

Children’s books we love :: September

Ah September. One of the slightly more crazy months of my life. Can’t believe you are over!

One of the best things about Le Grand Tour De Book was hanging out in good bookshops and libraries all month. I may have *ahem* accumulated more books than what I started with!

Here’s our luscious pick of the month. {Click on the book to purchase. I don’t get any commission on this. Sharing for the love of it.}

marvellous fluffy itty bitty

The Marvellous Fluffy Itty Bitty by Beatrice Alemagna

This gorgeous book caught my eye at The Little Bookroom in Carlton. Maybe it was the fluoro pink jacket Eddie wears on the front cover! What a gorgeous book. This is the story of Eddie, who searches the town for the perfect present for her mum. It’s kooky and quirky and sweet, in equal parts. Did I mention gorgeous? I have seen a few of Beatrice’s books now, and think I am officially hooked.

fuzz mcflops

Fuzz McFlops by Eva Furnari

I am pretty sure this is my new favourite book. For early readers {maybe?} or to read aloud, Fuzz McFlops is the tale of an introverted rabbit, whose life has been marked by an ear impediment. Fuzz finds solace in poetry, but when his talent is challenged by a reader, Fuzz experiences all kinds of negative emotions. Some of them might actually be good for Fuzz! Such a sweet and funny story of love and all the good things. My daughter and I were practically rolling around laughing reading this one.

the pointless leopard

The Pointless Leopard: What Good Are Kids Anyway? by Colas Gutman and Delphine Perret

This is another hilarious title from Pushkin Children’s Books – as good for adults as it is for kids. Leonard is a city kid, who reluctantly finds himself in the bush, thanks to his bush-loving parents. Leonard goes on a journey of self-discovery – or possibly dissolution – when he meets a cow. Am loving these pocket-sized books for travelling too!

being agatha

Being Agatha by Anna Pignataro

As most of you already know, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time with Anna this month, as we launched Too Busy Sleeping all over the place, and did fun workshops together. Anna not only launched Too Busy Sleeping this month – she also launched Beauty and The Beast  and Being AgathaI was lucky enough to be at the official launch at Writers In The Park Festival on Sunday, and hear Anna read this lovely story. Agatha is half pig, half bear, and struggles to fit in. When Agatha’s teacher asks the children what makes them special, Agatha runs and hides. But her friend Mae helps her realise what does make her special. This story is very dear to Anna. And when you see it, you will know why. The pictures and Agatha herself are divine – in charcoal and watercolour. Rosie, my littlest, adores this story.

beauty and the beast anna pignataro

Beauty and the Beast (Once Upon A Timeless Tale) retold by Margrete Lamond and Anna Pignataro

Yes, it’s an Anna Pignataro fest. But I do love her pictures. And no, I am not at all biased. We truly ruly love this book. I have always preferred Beauty and the Beast over most fairy tales. Something about Beauty’s kindness, and the Beast’s vulnerability, and the father’s love. My youngest, Rosie and I have read this book about twenty times this month, and each time I well up at the end. Anna’s Beast is so cute, and her Beauty is gorgeous. Apparently Beauty is based on Anna’s own daughter. Again, I love the pocket-sized nature of these books. Perfect for plane trips, handbags and car travels.


In The Evening  by Edwina Wyatt

In The Evening is a subtle and gentle ode to friendship, and stretching beyond our capabilities. Oscar and Charlie are neighbours. But when Charlie extends a hand of friendship, Oscar is not so sure what to do with himself. Gaye Chapman has created a magical and whimsical world with Edwina’s words. Edwina is another lovely book person I was fortunate to connect with on Sunday at Writers In The Park Festival. This is Edwina’s second book, and she has more beautiful books to come!

the cat with the coloured tail

The Cat With The Coloured Tail by Gillian Mears and Dinalie Dabarera

When I visited the Grafton Library a couple of weeks ago, a really interesting, intelligent eleven-year-old girl came and chatted with me about some things. She told me about hearing Gillian Mears talk at an art gallery about her new book, and told me how much she loved this story of a cat whose tail would change colour to make people feel happy. The cat and his owner Mr Hooper travel around bringing happiness to people who are sad by selling moon-creams. This little hardback book is so original, and poetic, and filled with the most gorgeous imagery. It’s an early reader, but a perfect read-aloud or even coffee table book. There’s something deeply philosophical in the story too. My eleven-year-old friend loved it, I love it, and my five-year-old has given it a golden sticker. I hope one day I can write a special book of this length and quality one day, which will also be beautifully illustrated. It’s a gem.

Have you come across any great kid’s books this month?

Children’s books we love :: July

children's books we love july

The months are speedy, aren’t they?

As usual, we read lots of lovely new children’s books, I would love to share with you. Click on the image to purchase the book.

the cleo stories the necklace and the present


The Cleo Stories: The Necklace + The Present by Libby Gleeson + Freya Blackwood

My daughters are 2.5 and 5.5, and both love being read to. It’s fairly fortunate they both enjoy the same books too. But never so much as with The Cleo Stories. It’s perfect for both girls. Elka {5.5} gets the satisfaction of hearing a longer story about a girl a similar age to her. Rosie meanwhile enjoys Freya’s gorgeous pictures. These are tender, wholesome and realistic stories, kind of similar in tone to Violet Mackeral, which we also love. The book comes in hardcover too, so feels like a special gift, unlike many other early readers.

the very noisy bear by nick bland

The Very Noisy Bear by Nick Bland

You may well already know The Very Cranky Bear, and other related titles. The latest from Nick Bland in the bear series is also very funny and sweet. This time, the bear wants to be part of a band, but is not quite sure how to fit in.

newspaper hats phil cummings

Newspaper Hats by Phil Cummings + Owen Swan

This is a gentle story about a girl called Georgia, and her grandpa. Georgia visits her grandad and patiently waits as he recalls details from his past, but does not necessarily know who she is. Ageing, and particularly memory loss must be hard for children to grapple with, but I think this takes a very sweet approach.

suris wall

Suri’s Wall by Lucy Estela + Matt Ottley

This is the story of imagination, freedom and hope. Suri and Eva live behind a large wall {we aren’t sure where}. Eva asks Suri to tell her what’s on the other side, and the children all listen in wonder as Suri describes what she sees. Just writing this, I have goosebumps. Matt Ottley’s illustrations are divine. This book is out next month.

the hush treasure book

The Hush Treasure Book

This beautiful book is a collaboration between many of Australia’s most talented storytellers and illustrators – Anna Walker, Shaun Tan, Jackie French, Bob Graham, Glenda Millard, Alison Lester, Danny Katz, Nick Bland, Jane Godwin, Margaret Wild, Julie Vivas…so many more.

To be honest, I think I enjoyed this more than my kids did. But mainly because they aren’t a huge fan of poetry. It’s a very lovely book to have, if for no other reason than to have a showcase of Australian children’s book talent. The kids loved the CD though.

Happy Reading!

Have you come across any great children’s literature this month?

Children’s books we love :: June

children's books we love june

As usual, we spent a lot of sunshine house time reading children’s books. It makes me happy to share what’s captured our hearts this month. Click on the images to go to the store.

the man with messy hair

The Man With Messy Hair by Pamela Allen

We grew up on Pamela Allen. Reading I Wish I Had a Pirate Suit and Guess Who Sunk The Boat? are among my strongest childhood memories. And still, Pamela Allen has appeal. Endless appeal it seems. The Man With Messy Hair is Pamela Allen’s 50th book! And she hasn’t lost is. My girls literally read this twenty times over in one sitting. As with all Allen’s stories, this book has bounce. It is easily memorised, and the illustrations are so simple, yet captivating. It’s not in book stores yet, I believe, but keep your eye out for it.

the cow tripped over the moon tony wilson

The Cow Tripped Over The Moon by Tony Wilson & Laura Wood

We also loved this silly little story about the cow attempting to jump the moon. Apparently, the cow didn’t get the jump first time. With the support of his friends, spoon, dish and dog, cow spends the night trying, but faces more than one aversion. It’s a fun twist on a very familiar nursery rhyme. And great illustrations.

hungry caterpillar cookbook and cookie cutter kit

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Cookbook & Cookie Cutter Kit

The Very Hungry Caterpillar has got to be about the only merchandise I don’t get sick of seeing. When this book arrived from Penguin, I put it where I put all my books to review. Quickly, it was swiped from my special spot by my five-year-old, who began trying the recipes. Her first was a vegemite butterfly-shaped sandwich painted in food dye. Then, with some help, she made the green caterpillar. We made the salami pockets and a couple of other fun things inspired by the book. It’s a good way to get kids interested in food, and there are some healthy options, like the fruit butterfly.

once upon an alphabet oliver jeffers

Once Upon An Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

This isn’t exactly a new book {we got this for Christmas} but, Olive Jeffers! I love all his books – who doesn’t? This is a lovely big hardcover book. Oliver gives the alphabet a refreshing new expression. L for instance, stands for ‘the lumberjack’s light’. You don’t know where this little L story might go, do you?

If you love Jeffers, or even if you don’t know him that well, have a listen to him talking on Design Matters about his art, his books and his philosophy. He even tells you how to go about getting published, because he seems like a lovely man who is happy to share this sort of information. It helps that he’s very talented. Thanks Pip for the tip-off!

clive eats alligators

Clive Eats Alligators by Alison Lester

This really isn’t new. But we still love it. And read it continuously. Again, this was a favourite of mine as a kid, and some of my early memories are strongly linked to the images and characters in this book. For whatever reason, it’s seeped into the next generation, and my girls adore this book. It’s the sort of book they will sit on their own and mouth the words to.

What have you been reading this month? Any old books you’ve resurrected?