Hooray for Birds! by Lucy Cousins
In my opinion Lucy Cousins really can’t go wrong. Her use of colour and simple clear shapes succeed in enticing the reader into the book—whether it’s Maisie the mouse, a naughty woodpecker, colourful fish, or, in her latest book, beautiful vivid birds. Like a lot of her books, this story starts on the end papers, which are covered in a panoply of birds. The birds wake up, they fly through the day, and then they go to bed—the birds on the back endpapers are all sleeping (except for the owl). Each bird is instantly recognisable, whether it’s a hen, or a flamingo, an owl or an eagle. Wonderfully large type sings against the vibrantly coloured backgrounds, making it a pleasure to read this book aloud. Very highly recommended for babies to 5 year olds. Louise
The Littlest Family’s Big Day by Emily Winfield Martin
Emily Winfield Martin gained enormous popularity with her winsome pictures on her blog, The Black Apple. Her pictures of children are big eyed and whimsical, and quite of the moment. But in her most recent book, The Littlest Family’s Big Day ($30, HB), she has created a really sweet, memorable book about animals, and mainly a family of little bears. We know they’re little because there is an inch measure on the edges of the dust jacket, and the Littlest Family is on the endpapers, lining up with a few friends. They all come in at under six inches (apart from a friendly owl). After the family move into a new place in the woods—in the trunk of a tree—the intrepid bears go for a wander in their new neighbourhood, and then they find a river ‘deep and wild’… With wonderfully lush pictures of the forest and its inhabitants, and with a stunning double page pull-out, Emily Martin has created a really magical world that will entrance small children. This is a picture book with heart, and the fact that the illustrations are done by hand contributes greatly to its sense of mystery and enchantment. Very highly recommended for 3-8 year olds. Louise
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
Have you ever wanted to know a fictional character in the real world? Cheng’s debut stars 11-year-old Alex Petroski, who is so naïve, intelligent and sweetly optimistic I just wanted to hug and reassure him. Sole carer of his mother, obsessed with astronomy, Alex records his life as a series of podcasts to send into space when he and his dog Carl Sagan get to an interstate rocket festival. After attending to all imagined contingencies, Alex sets out with Carl to the festival, where Alex meets his online friends and beguiles devoted new ones, who help him investigate his (supposedly dead) father and search for Carl, who disappears. Already compared with Palacio’s Wonder, this refreshing novel has an unforgettable protagonist and lashings of charm. Five stars! Lynndy
Labyrinth: Find Your Way Through 14 Magical Mazes by Theo Guignard
Far more than a simple activity book, Labyrinth contains mazes that are increasingly complex, as well as objects to spot and tasks to complete. In depicting the mazes Guignard plays with perspective and hides additional details, creating individual storylines. It really is fun for all the family. Lynndy
Frogkisser! by Garth Nix
In a return to the playful irreverent humour of his early books, Nix’s latest has the homeliness of Shrek blended into a fantasy that retains the spirit of fairy tales from which it originates. Into a cauldron put marriage suitors, a quest, the transformation of a prince into a frog, magical spells, an heroic princess, assorted talking animals and frogs. Add more frogs. Rile up the princess. Agitate all ingredients gently, and take in one sitting. Guaranteed to draw out all ills and imbue the reader with abundant laughter and lightness of heart. Joyously compelling. Lynndy
Happy International Women's Day
One of the best things about working in an independent book shop is having the autonomy to order one’s favourite books for stock, put them on display and share them with one’s customers. This pleasure turned to slight frustration, however, when I found I was trotting out the same excellent but woefully small selection of feminist-friendly titles year after year. This did seem to coincide, unsurprisingly, with a general disdain for feminism in the wider culture (oh, sorry, the ‘post-feminism’ era. *eye-roll*). I’m happy to say, things have certainly changed! This year, due to a recent resurgence in feminist activity and its concomitant effect on the publishing industry, our display table will be positively overflowing with new and wonderful titles for you to enjoy! It’s never too early (or late) to introduce children to the often overlooked but salient contributions of women and, especially in today’s political landscape, to impress upon them the importance of gender equality.
100 Women Who Made History: Remarkable Women Who Shaped Our World
A big, bright book jam-packed with wonderful women! Handily divided into categories and appealingly strewn with interesting graphics, info boxes and amusing portraits, this is as good for casual reading as it is indispensable for primary school projects.
Amazing Women: Discover Inspiring Life Stories by Caryn Jenner
Aimed at a slightly younger audience, this is a large-print, colourful and clear reader (Level 4, to be precise) that will inspire girls everywhere to aim high. If they can see it, they can be it!
Women In Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
Lovingly illustrated, well-written and beautifully produced, this book is something special! The clever infographics and distinctive illustrations will delight and encourage any little one with an interest in the STEM fields. Has to be seen to be appreciated. Highly recommended!
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women (eds) Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo
This book made crowdfunding history when the authors raised over one million dollars to get their project off the ground! 100 bedtime stories—illustrated by 60 different artists from all over the globe—that read like fairy tales, with lady luminaries from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams and everyone in between.
Laurinda by Alice Pung ($20, PB)
This is a darkly funny, insightful young adult novel narrated by Lucy after a scholarship sends her to Laurinda (an exclusive school for girls). Alice Pung examines Lucy’s developing relationships with new classmates and teachers, and contrasts these with old friendships and family obligations. Its focus on class and race works particularly well. Extremely affecting and highly recommended. 12+ Josh
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson et al ($27, PB)
This is a graphic novel series with fantasy elements, featuring members of an all-girl scout cabin and their cabin leader. They inevitably stumble into fights with monsters, tangles with gods, and encounters with a mysterious bear-woman. The bright, ever-changing art styles complement a highly diverse and adorable cast of characters. 8+ Tilda