Monday, 28 August 2017

Children's Book Review: Paddy O'Melon by Julia Cooper and Daryl Dickson

Paddy O'Melon is a wonderful children's book with an important message about conserving our natural heritage. 

Paddy O'Melon is an adorable little joey who becomes separated from his mother's care, and is found by the O'Melons, an Irish family who now reside in a tropical rainforest in northern Queensland. The family are wildlife rescuers and they take Paddy into their home, offering him food and shelter. 
But Paddy wants to discover who he really is and where he really comes from, so he sets out on a journey throughout the rainforest to see if he can find out.
He meets some very interesting animals along the way - a ringtail possum, tree-kangaroo, and green tree frogs to name a few!
But it is the cassowary that holds the answer and can take Paddy back to the safety of his home.

This is such a delightful book with a very powerful message, and the illustrations of the animals are detailed and beautiful. 
The author of this book, Julia Cooper, was a conservationist and educator, teaching people about the natural wonders of the world, and the importance of looking after our wildlife. Sadly, Julia passed away in 2011, and her partner Martin Cohen hopes that by publishing Paddy O'Melon, Julia's passion and spirit will live on. 

The book is released this August through EK Books. It is aimed at readers aged between 4-10 years old, and has an RRP of $14.99
For further information on the book, including where to purchase, head here

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Children's Book Review: Grandma Forgets by Paul Russell & Nicky Johnston 

Grandma Forgets is a truly heart-warming book that centres around a grandmother who has dementia, and her family that are there to support and love her.
Through the young daughter in the family, we observe the memories that the family have come to treasure - including  climbing trees in their grandmother's backyard as she baked them sweet apple pie, going for drives to the beach, and having picnics together. 
Unfortunately, their grandmother cannot recall any of those memories, and often doesn't even recognise them when they go to visit her in the nursing home.
But it is so touching to see that the family continue to support one another, and they continue to love their grandmother unconditionally. They create new memories to treasure, even if she can't remember them.

Dementia Awareness month is coming up in September, and this book may help to explain to children the feelings that are associated when someone that we love becomes diagnosed with a memory loss illness. This book is a story of hope, and demonstrates the importance of support and care in these situations. 

Grandma Forgets is released this month through EK Books, and has an RRP of $24.99
For further information, head here 

Monday, 21 August 2017

Book Week 2017 Costume Ideas:

My children have all enjoyed dressing up over the years for Book Week, but I must admit that it can be quite challenging to come up with different ideas each year for them.
Also, costumes can be quite expensive to buy, but I've found that with a little bit of creativity and effort, there are some great costumes you can put together that not only look good, but don't cost a lot either. These are a few of our costumes that we have made over the past couple of years:

Charlotte's Web 'Some Pig' costume: 

I created this costume for one of my daughters to wear for last year's book week. With only a sheet, or other piece of white material, some markers, and a plastic spider needed for this one, it is pretty easy to do.

I Spy Book Cover Costume: 

I'd seen a similar costume to this one on the internet and loved the look of it, so I designed one for my daughter to wear last year. 
You'll need a glue gun for this, as mine got a real work out for this one! 

Tom Gates Book Cover Costume: 

My daughter has chosen to go as a Tom Gates book cover this year. This took me a bit of time to do, but she is very happy with it and is looking forward to wearing it this week!

Where Is The Green Sheep? Costume:

You'll need a packet or two of cotton balls, green food dye, green leggings/pants and top, and again, a glue gun.
To colour the 'wool' green, I filled up a spray bottle with water and a few drops of the green dye, then lightly sprayed the soloution over the cotton wool until I got the desired colour. Once dry, I glued them onto the top. Keep in mind that you'll need a fair amount of glue to avoid them falling off during the day. A head band with green ears completes the look!

Fancy Nancy Costume: 

This year, my youngest daughter will be dressing up as Fancy Nancy. What I love about this costume is that you can be as fancy and fun as you like with it. Feather boas, pearl necklaces, bracelets (or any bling in general!), frilly skirts, and hair accesories are all able to be used to create the look of Fancy Nancy. 

What about you? What is your child wearing to Book Week this year?
Do you make their costumes or prefer to buy them?
I'd love to hear from you!!

Friday, 18 August 2017

Sally Rippin Presents Super Moopers by Fiona Harris and Scott Edgar.


Moopertown is  a new children's series set to entertain young readers.
The first four books that are released in the series are:
Musical Markus, Nervous Nellie, Dramatic Dom, and Giggling Gertie. 
I was sent the first two titles mentioned above, and after reading them, I think that these are great books for readers aged 5-8 years old.
In each book, we are introduced to one resident of Moopertown. 
The characters are all special in their own way, and each one has a trait that is perceived to be a hindrance, but by the end of the story, the trait is what makes them stand out from the others and transforms them to Super Mooper status. 
In the case of Musical Markus, he loves to sing, any time, any place. But his singing isn't popular with everyone in Moopertown, until one day when a baby is comforted by his voice...

The stories send children the important message that we are all different and that we are able to really shine when we believe in ourselves. 

The story line is easy to follow, and the language is suitable for young readers to comprehend. 

The books are released this August through Five Mile, and have an RRP of $12.99 each. 

Monday, 14 August 2017

Children's Book Review:  Disney Elena Of Avalor - The Essential Guide

Elena of Avalor is a 16-year-old Crown Princess of the beautiful Kingdom of Avalor. When she turns 20, she will become the Queen. 
But she still has a way to go if she wants to successfully face the magical journey that is ahead!
In this Essential Guide, you will be introduced to all of Elena's friends, and learn about the magical creatures and legends that exist within Avalor.
There are fun facts, true or false questions, and quizzes included too. 
Elena is the first Latina Disney princess, and unlike some of the other Disney princesses, she does not have a love interest. She is focused on becoming Queen and ruling Avalor.
Any Elena of Avalor fan will be delighted to discover the magical world that Elena resides in!
This beautiful hard-covered book was released in early July through DK Australia, and retails for $16.99
For further information on this title, head here

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Beauty & Lace Book Review: The Good Teacher by R.M. Anderson

The Good Teacher is set in the very small farming town of Stony Creek, and whilst there's only thirty or so homes in the town, the characters that reside within them certainly have a lot drama going on!
It all begins when newly-appointed principal of the one primary school, Brock Kelly, arrives and meets Jennifer Booth.
Jennifer is president of the P&C (even though her only child, Madison has long since left the school), and is married to a man named Andy. 
One day, just before a P& C meeting takes place, Jennifer and Brock have unexpected, steamy sex in Brock's office. 
When committee member, Sarah Howard, uncovers what has taken place, the scandal spirals out of control, and there is a lot to lose for all parties involved.

Told through many alternating perspectives, including Brock's, Jennifer's, Madison's and Mack's (Madison's grandfather, a delightful character that was one of my favourites) we gain a real insight into the ramifications of the affair, and the secrets that others within the community have. 

For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed The Good Teacher. The first half of the book I could not put down. I was drawn into the story and wanted to know how it would all pan out.
The second half felt a little too dramatic and whilst I couldn't predict how the story would end, it did lose a bit of the spark but was still rather riveting. 

Discalimer: I was sent a copy of The Good Teacher thanks to Beauty & Lace and Harlequin. To see the original review on the Beauty & Lace website, head here

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Book Review: Super Con-Nerd by Oliver Phommavanh (For Young Readers)

Super Con-Nerd is the follow-up story to Con-Nerd, which was released back in 2011, and the main character is Connor, a young boy who thinks he knows all there is to know about being a nerd.
Connor has just started secondary school at Kentsworth High School, which is a selective school for bright students.
Whilst Connor is grateful for the opportunity he has been given, he struggles to adjust to the transition from primary to secondary school.
It doesn't help that his old school friends are coping fine, making new friends and moving on.
Connor loves to draw comic books, but the excessive amount of homework he gets doesn't allow much time for anything fun anymore. 
Everything seems so different this year, leaving Connor to feel like a little fish in a very big pond.
He wants to make his mum proud as he knows she has sacrificed a lot to get him into the school, but will he be able to when he is put up against the super hyper nerds from Kentsworth? 

This book is highly entertaining, and offers a great insight into what it may feel like for children who are in their first year of secondary school and attempting to adjust to the many challenges they are often faced with. 
My 10 year-old daughter really enjoyed this book, saying that it is one of the best books she has ever read!

It was released earlier this year through Penguin Random House Australia. For further info, including where to buy, head here