Thursday, 19 October 2017

Children's Book Review: Scarface Claw, Hold Tight by Lynley Dodd

I adore the Hairy Maclary range of books, and was delighted to receive the latest book in the series, Scarface Claw, Hold Tight! which is released this October.

Scarface Claw is having a snooze in the morning sun, but what he doesn't realise is that he is actually napping on the roof of the postman's van!
When the vehicle begins to move as the postman makes his deliveries, Scarface Claw is taken on a rather adventurous ride through the town, but can he manage to hold on tight?

This is another great book from Lynley. Her illustrations capture the theatrics of Scarface Claw, and other characters in the book, beautifully.
The rhyming verse makes for a great read-out-loud book. 
This is sure to be another hit amongst fans of the classic Hairy Maclary series.

Scarface Claw, Hold Tight! is released through Penguin Random House Australia, and has an RP of $19.99
For further information on this title, head here 

Does your young reader enjoy Lynley Dodd's books? Which one is their (or your) favourite? Feel free to share below! 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Children's Book Review & Giveaway: What Makes Me A Me? by Ben Faulks & David Tazzyman 

Everybody is different in their own unique way, and this thought-provoking children's book explores the things that make us who we are. 
As the little boy in the story discovers, whilst we have things in common with others, and even inherit traits from our families, no two people are the same. 
We each have our own identity, and What Makes Me A Me highlights this in a very clever and funny way. 
The sketch-like illustrations (by David Tazzyman - illustrator of You Can't Take An Elephant On A Bus), are bright and detailed, adding to the charm of the story.
The book is released this month and has an RRP of $14.99, and I am pleased to let you know that the lovely people at Bloomsbury  have given me a copy of What Makes Me A Me to give away to one lucky follower!

To enter: 

You must be a follower of my blog (either by liking my Facebook page/twitter/Instagram. I don't mind which one you opt for but you must do at least one please), and

Answer in the comments section below:

Who would you give this book to if you won, and why?

The most creative/original answer will win, so get entering, and please include your email with your answer so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner! 

Terms & Conditions:
1. This giveaway is open to residents of Australia only. 

2. Giveaway closes on 30th October 2017, 9 pm. Winner will be contacted via email within 24 hours. Failure to receive a response from the winner will mean the prize is forfeited and a new winner will be chosen.
3. Winner will be selected on a basis of skill, not chance - the most creative and/or interesting answer deemed by the judge/s wins. 
4. The prize is not redeemable for cash.
5. In  The Good Books blog will not be responsible for items that go missing through Australia Post postal services.
6. This promotion is not associated or endorsed by Facebook.
7. Those who 'unlike' or 'unfollow' after the giveaway ends will be disqualified from entering future giveaways.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Children's Book Review: Dinosaur A To Z by Dustin Growick 

Does your young reader love Dinosaurs? If so, then this book is sure to delight!
Dinosaur A to Z offers a fantastic look at the fascinating world of these prehistoric creatures.
The hardback book begins with an explanation of what a dinosaur is, as well as dinosaur groups (Theropods, Sauropods, Ceratopsians and Ornithopods), and the special features relating to each group.
The dinosaurs are featured in alphabetical order, with interesting facts about each one, and they are even colour coded so the reader can see which period the dinosaur came from. 
There are feature pages about certain dinosaurs, and details about their diet, weight, and names.
There is also a large fold-out poster included for you to display. 
The pictures are very detailed, and vibrant too. There are over 100 different dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures featured throughout the book. 

Dinosaur A To Z is available through DK Books this October, and has an RRP of $35.
For further information about this title, head here

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Children's Book Reviews (and a giveaway!)
Spot Goes To The Fire Station by Eric Hill

This newly released board book is ideal for younger readers.
In Spot Goes To The Fire Station, Spot enjoys a day at the fire station with his grandpa.

He thinks that he is ready to be a great fire fighter, but his grandpa isn't so sure!

RRP $12.99, available through Penguin Random House Australia. 
To win a copy of Spot Goes To The Fire Station, head to my Facebook  or Instagram  to enter!

Peppa Pig - Peppa Visits The Outback 

                Peppa Pig: Peppa Visits the Outback

Peppa, along with Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig, and brother George, head to Australia to visit Kylie Kangaroo. 
Mr Kangaroo flies them to the outback to enjoy a picnic together. It's a magical time for all!
This board book is perfect for younger readers, and fans of Peppa Pig.

RRP $9.99, available through Penguin Random House Australia. 

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Recipe Book Review:  Bourke Street Bakery All Things Sweet by Paul Allam and David McGuinness

I was delighted to receive a copy of Bourke Street Bakery All Things Sweet to feature here on the blog, especially as I have a rather sweet tooth!
Authors Paul Allam and David McGuinness are chefs and bakers who co-own the very successful Bourke Street Bakery empire.
They have previously released another recipe book, Bourke St Bakery Cookbook, which is an International bestseller.

Now they are back with this stunning hardcover book, which features many delicious recipes and helpful hints. 
Some of the recipes include: lamingtons, brioche, croissants, nougat, tarts and biscuits, and many more.

The images in All Things Sweet are a visual feast, and guaranteed to make you drool!

I'm glad to share with you some of the recipes that can be found in All Things Sweet:

Chocolate Brioche doughnuts

'These came about after we had a build-up of chocolate ganache from our Chocolate ganache tarts on page 154 and we were looking for a home for
it — which we found, within these beautifully moist, deep-fried brioche balls.
We are lucky that these get into our shops at all, as they only get made on
a Friday to Sunday and the office staff devour them.'

Makes 20

1 quantity Sugar brioche dough 
cottonseed oil, for deep-frying
100 g (31/2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
800 g (1 lb 12 oz) Chocolate ganache 

Shape the brioche dough into 40 g (11/2 oz) balls and leave
to prove for 3 hours at 26–28°C (79–82°F).
Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or large heavy-based saucepan to 170°C (340°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden in 20 seconds.
Meanwhile, spread the sugar and cinnamon on a plate, mixing to combine.
Working in batches, fry the doughnuts for 5 minutes in total, flipping them over halfway through.
Remove the doughnuts using a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towel. Immediately roll in the cinnamon sugar and allow to cool.
Attach a thin nozzle to a piping (icing) bag, and use it to pierce a hole in each doughnut. Pipe about 30 g (1 oz) of chocolate ganache into each doughnut.
These doughnuts will last a day, if you don’t have children.

Sugar brioche

Makes two 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) loaves

375 g (13 oz) bakers’ flour
250 g (9 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
11/2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
70 ml (21/4 floz) milk
125 g (41/2 oz) unsalted butter, diced and softened
mild-flavoured oil, for brushing

125 g (41/2 oz) bakers’ flour
95 ml (31/4 floz) milk
30 g (1 oz) compressed fresh yeast

Put the starter ingredients in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Wrap the bowl with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 3 hours. 
Transfer the yeast mixture to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the flour, sugar, salt, eggs and milk. Mix on medium speed for 8–10 minutes, or until a smooth dough is formed.
Rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Add the butter to the dough and mix on low speed 
for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes, or until the butter has been incorporated. 
Transfer the dough to a clean, greased bowl or container and cover the surface of the dough with plastic wrap. 
Refrigerate overnight; this step needs to be done to set the butter in the dough, and allow the yeast to ferment. 
The next day, remove the dough from the fridge and 
set aside for 30 minutes. 
Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a ball 
and set aside to rest for 10 minutes. 
Brush two 9 x 17 x 10 cm deep (31/2 x 61/2 x 4 inch) loaf (bar) tins with oil. Form each piece of dough into a loaf shape and place into the loaf tins. Set aside for 3–5 hours.
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Bake the loaves for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
The loaves will keep in a tied-up plastic bag in your bread bin for 4 days.

Chocolate Ganache tarts

'Paul’s nephew, Elijah, when he was three years old, used to scoop and lick out every morsel of the chocolate tart filling, leaving the tart shell entirely empty and perfectly clean. His birthday cake for years was a mound of these tarts. 
These tarts are so popular we couldn’t help sharing this recipe from our first book. At Bourke Street Bakery we use Belgian chocolate in these tarts. It is worth spending a little more on the highest-quality chocolate you can lay your hands on — you’ll taste the difference… or the Elijah in your life will, at least.'

Makes 20 tarts, 8 cm (31/4 inches) in size

1 quantity Sweet shortcrust pastry (see page 134)

chocolate ganache filling 
850 g (1 lb 14 oz) good-quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
500 ml (17 floz/2 cups) thin (pouring) cream (35% fat)

Follow the instructions on pages 135-136 to roll out the pastry and use it to line twenty 8 cm (31/4 inch) round, fluted loose-based tart tins. Rest the pastry cases in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
Blind-bake the tart cases in a preheated 200°C (400°F) oven for 20–25 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
To make the filling, put the chocolate in a stainless 
steel bowl. Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring 
to the boil over high heat — this needs to happen quickly 
so the cream doesn’t evaporate and reduce in volume. 
Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon until well combined. Be careful not to create air bubbles, as these will give a pocked look 
to the top of the tarts. 
Pour the chocolate mixture into a jug, then pour it into 
the cooled blind-baked tart shells, filling them to the brim.
Allow the tarts to set at room temperature overnight 
in a plastic airtight container. 
These chocolate tarts are best not refrigerated and should be eaten within 24 hours. If you do need to keep them for longer, they can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, then brought back to room temperature to be eaten, but condensation will form on the top after refrigeration, 
which will affect their appearance. 

Custard tart

'This is a golden oldie. On road trips into the country when I was a kid we 
would always have Devonshire tea at some point, or custard tarts. 
The key to a really good old-fashioned custard tart is to make sure the custard is silky, firm and light, but still a little wobbly. After you lightly sprinkle some nutmeg on top, it’s ready to eat — taste the past and enjoy.'

Makes one 28 cm (111/4 inch) tart

melted butter, for greasing
1 quantity Sweet shortcrust pastry (see page 134)
900 ml (31 floz) thin (pouring) cream (35% fat)
150 ml (5 floz) milk
100 g (31/2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
15 egg yolks
2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped
grated nutmeg, for sprinkling

Roll out the pastry to 4 mm (3/16 inch) thick and cut it into 
a 32 cm (121/2 inch) disc. 
Knead the excess dough back together and roll it out again to get a few smaller discs to keep in the freezer.
Place the pastry round on top of a 28 cm (111/4 inch), 3.5 cm (11/4 inch) deep tart tin, ensuring it is in the centre, and use your fingers to gently push the pastry into the 
tin, moving round the rim until all the pastry has been inserted — you should now have about 1 cm (1/2 inch) of dough hanging over the sides. Use your index finger and thumb to work your way around the edge, forcing the pastry into the tin so that little or no pastry is left protruding. Where the upright edge of the pastry meets the base, there should be a sharp angle where it has been firmly forced into the corner — this method of lining the tin is to counteract 
the pastry shrinking once baked.
Rest the pastry case in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Blind-bake the pastry case for 20–25 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Turn the oven down to 110°C (225°F), without the fan on.
Set the cooled blind-baked tart shell on a baking tray. 
Put the cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla seeds 
in a bowl and whisk to combine, being careful not to aerate the mixture. Strain the mixture and pour into the tart shell. 
Bake for 11/2–2 hours, or until the filling is just set; halfway through baking, turn the tray around and dust the top of 
the tart with grated nutmeg. 
Cool for 1 hour before serving. The tart will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

I love the layout of the book; it is set out into ten chapters, and each chapter has a lot of hints and tips to guide you through, so even if you are not a very experienced baker, you will be able to create a lovely sweet treat following Paul and David's guide. 

Bourke Street Bakery All Things Sweet is available this October though Murdoch Books. For further information on this title, head here

Please note: Images and recipes from Bourke Street Bakery: All Things Sweet by Paul Allam and David McGuinness (Murdoch Books, RPR $55.00) Photography by Alan Benson.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Children's Picture Book Review:Colour Me by Ezekiel Kwaymullina and Moira Court

Colour Me is a lovely picture book that celebrates the beauty of every colour, as well as the power they create when combined.
Using the hues of a rainbow as a metaphor for our individuality and uniqueness, Colour Me is a beautiful, bright book that will help to teach children about diversity and accepting others as they are.
The book is written by Indigenous author Ezekiel Kwaymullina. The colourful screen printed images by Moira Court depict the true beauties of nature - rolling waves, velvet nights, and blooming dawns to name a few.
It was released in August through Fremantle Press, and has an RRP of $24.99. It is aimed at readers 3-5 years old, although I am sure that older readers will enjoy this book too.
For further information, head here

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Book Review: Swimming On The Lawn by Yasmin Hamid (For Middle Readers) 

Swimming On The Lawn offers a lovely glimpse into what life would be like growing up in the 1960's in the town of Khartoun, in Sudan.
The main character is a young girl named Farida, who lives with her parents and siblings, Amir, Sami, and Selma.
During the summertime, Farida enjoys spending time with her family as they experience many different adventures together, including attending a Mawlid festival.
The author describes the culture, foods, and celebrations very well. 
The reader gets to discover that this is a very close-knit family who enjoy each other's company immensely. 
I really enjoyed this story, however, I felt that the ending was too abrupt. I would've liked to find out a bit more about what I'd consider to be a major part of the story that happens right before the end. 
I would recommend this story for readers aged 9+ years.

Swimming On The Lawn is available now through Fremantle Press, and has an RRP of $16.99