FOR THE VERY YOUNG
Never Touch a Platypus! By Make Believe Ideas
As with other books in this series of novelty board books, there are bold colours, various textures to touch and feel, lively language, and in this case – lesser-known animals! In addition to being fun for ages 1+, these books offer great tactile stimulation for many special needs children. ($15, BD) Lynndy
Rhymoceros by Janik Coat ($18, BD)
Janik Coat’s follow-up to Hippopposites sees a blue rhinoceros unabashedly demonstrating 16 pairs of rhyming words. Fortunately he isn’t phased by the fact that stinky, inky, caring, daring and so forth land him in compromising situations. Bumpy, furry, quilted & gold (you guess the rhymes) are suitably tactile. Good fun to say aloud.
Animals by Chihiro Takeuchi ($20, BD)
Inside each of these animal silhouette cut-outs are a heap of other animals from the same continent to find—2 Giraffes, 1 lion, 3 camels, 5 ostriches and 4 zebras reside inside the elephant. Takeuchi gets readers to count their way through the animals of Africa, Europe, North and South America, Asia, Oceania and the Arctics in this colourful boardbook.
Goodnight, Rainbow Cats by Barbara Castro Urio
Help 12 colourful cats wind down by turning each page and guiding them inside the big white house. Then, watch as each die-cut window is infused with colour, and the sleepy cats curl up and catch their much-needed zzzz. A real fetish of a book—makes you want to make a version of your own. ($20, BD)
I Go Quiet by David Ouimet ($25, HB)
‘I Go Quiet is the exquisite story of an introverted girl, struggling to find her place in a noisy world. Through the power of books, creativity and imagination, she begins to see possibilities for herself beyond the present, to a future where her voice will finally be heard.’ Meditative, unusual, and offering comfort in isolation, ‘It’s the kind of book you wish you could send to your childhood self, and the kind that warms the heart as an adult.’ Lynndy
I See, I See by Robert Henderson ($20, HB)
I love this Australian exploration of perspective! A dynamic interactive book designed to be read right side up and upside down at the same time. Do you see sea, or is it sky? With wider implications for individual points of view, this rhyming picture book can be read by one or more simultaneously. Lynndy
Sam & Julia: 1 Mouse Mansion by Karina Schaapman ($30, HB)
Originally an oversized picture book, this is a past favourite of mine now reissued in a more standard format. Over a period of years Dutch politician Schaapman created the entire mansion from vintage and found objects—designing, sewing and building every element herself before writing the story of endearing little mouse characters Sam and Julia and their friends and adventures. There are aspects of I Spy, and abundant tiny details on every page to enthrall anyone from 3 onwards. Schaapman’s original Mouse Mansion, over 3 metres high with more than 100 rooms, is on display at the public library in Amsterdam. Check it out online, and hold on for further Mansion exploits. Lynndy
The Piano Recital by Akiko Miyakoshi ($25, HB)
It’s the day of Momo’s first piano recital. As she nervously waits for her turn to play, she tells herself, ‘I’ll be okay … I’ll be okay …’ Then she hears a voice nearby, also saying, ‘I’ll be okay … I’ll be okay …’ It’s a mouseling! And the little mouse is nervous about her first performance, too. The mouseling invites Momo through a small door backstage, where Momo finds a miniature theatre filled with an audience of finely dressed mice there to watch singers, dancers and circus performers! When it’s the mouseling’s turn, Momo agrees to accompany her on piano. The mouse audience is so appreciative! But then, as she rises to take her bow, Momo is surprised to discover—it isn’t a mouse audience at all! A marvellous way to face down performance anxiety, or any new challenge.
The Nativity by Geraldine Elschner (ill) Giotto di Bondone ($36, HB)
In keeping with the season it seems apt to choose a Christmas book, and Elschner’s skilfully retold story is adorned by Giotto’s sumptuous fresco cycle, gold-foiled and gorgeous. A family keepsake. Lynndy
Eee-Moo! by Annika Dunklee ($25, HB)
When the stork drops an egg before delivery and on hatching the little creatures first words are EEE-MOO. So the animals nearby decide he must be an emu and offer to help him find his way home. So EEE-MOO’s journey begins, assisted along the way by a cast of other animal friends who guide him to the open arms of his family. Or are they?
Osbert by Noel Streatfeild (ill) Susanne Suba ($25, HB)
Most of us know Streatfeild’s beloved books such as Ballet Shoes and Theatre Shoes, so it’s exciting to learn of her newly republished book Osbert. When their father vetoes unruly forbids family mutt Osbert’s presence at a wedding, the children subject their cherished pet to a makeover. The humour of Osbert’s situation will appeal to anyone aged 3-adult, and I hope Osbert takes his rightful place along with Harry the Dirty Dog, never to be out of print again. Lynndy
Amy Wild and the Quarrelling Cats by Diana Kimpton
Amy Wild has a secret—she can talk to animals! Dogs tell their secrets, cats perform rescue missions, her entire island is squeaking and squawking with animal magic. Amy and her best friends—a dog, a parrot and four squabbling cats—love to help out creatures in need. So when the cats complain that their food is going missing, Amy’s determined to solve the mystery to stop poor Bun the baker’s cat getting the blame. Can she find out who the greedy thief is? ($13, PB)
Can You See Me? by Libby Scott & Rebecca Westcott ($17, PB)
Tally is ten years old and she’s trying really hard to be just like her friends. But Tally is autistic, and her autism means there are things that annoy her even though she wishes they wouldn’t. It means that people misunderstand her and feel frustrated by her. And they think she doesn’t realise what they’re thinking—but Tally notices all of it. And, honestly? That’s not the easiest thing to live with.
How to Make a Movie in 12 Days by Fiona Hardy
Twelve days. Five kids. Many special effects. One giant mystery. Hayley Whelan has spent her whole life dreaming of making a horror movie—and not just the type of movie that kids make on their dodgy second-hand iPhones. When her grandma passes away, she inherits the money for a proper, grown-up camera. But before Hayley even calls ‘Action!’, strange things start happening… Someone is sabotaging Hayley’s movie—but who? Why? And can Hayley finish her movie in time for the premiere? From Australia’s brightest new middle-grade talent comes this love song to movies, friendship and the summer holidays. ($17, PB)
Ask Hercules Quick by Ursula Dubosarsky (ill) Andrew Joyner ($20, HB))
Desperately wanting the box of magic tricks he saw in a shop, Hercules is faced with a problem: no money. Solution? Get a job. Thankfully his idiosyncratic neighbours respond to Hercules’ ad, bringing a different sort of magic to Hercules’ life. It’s difficult to convey how much I adore this story. As ever, Dubosarsky’s novel and characters are captivatingly likeable, and a whimsical humour dominates, while in perfect interplay Joyner’s quirky illustrations both complement and add to the text, with unexpected amusing detail. I fervently hope we’ll see more books featuring Hercules, Aunt Alligator, dapper octopus Professor Calamari, the multitudinous Elk family, Queen Claude, Sylvie, and Mike and Herbert! Lynndy
The Deathless Girls by Kiran M. Hargrave On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, 17 year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community. Forced to work in the castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts. ($20, PB)
Dev1at3: Lifel1k3 2 by Jay Kristoff
The explosive sequel to Lifel1k3 that ‘reads like a crazed mash up of Blade Runner, Paradise Lost, X-Men, Mad Max and everything in between’ from the author of the Nevernight Chronicles and co-author of the New York Times bestselling Illuminae Files. Join Lemon Fresh, Ezekiel and Cricket as they battle deadly corporate operatives from BioMaas Incorporated and Daedelus Technologies. ($20, PB)
A Winter’s Promise: The Mirror Visitor 1 by Christelle Dabos ($23, PB)
Long ago, following a cataclysm called ‘The Rupture’, the world was shattered into floating celestial islands, known now as Arks. Ophelia lives on Anima, an Ark where objects have souls. Beneath her worn scarf and thick glasses, Ophelia hides two powers—the ability to read the past of objects and their human owners, and the ability to travel through mirrors. When she is promised in marriage to Thorn, she is forced to leave her family and follow her fiancé to Citaceleste, the floating capital of a distant Ark. This multi-award winning series is the perfect gift for the fantasy lover in your family.
Monuments by Will Kostakis ($20, PB)
Trying to avoid his ex-best friend 16-year-old Connor stumbles upon a trapdoor to a secret chamber under his school. But when Sally Rodgers breaks into the same secret chamber looking for an ancient being—Connor’s life will never be the same. Along with the mysterious Sally & his new friend Locky, Connor discovers the Monuments—gods who have been buried for generations—who created the world and hid themselves away from humanity to keep everyone safe. But now they’re exposed and vulnerable. This is the first book in an exciting new duology from YA star, Will Kostakis.
Fauna: Australia’s Most Curious Creatures by Tania McCartney ($25, HB)
Covering physical characteristics of our extraordinary animals; their habitats and lifestyles; vulnerability status and evolution, this National Library of Australia book is an ideal introduction to our native creatures. Highly illustrated and leavened with humour, it is a splendid resource for all ages 6 and upwards.
WildLives: 50 Extraordinary Animals That Made History by Ben Lerwill (ill) Sarah Walsh ($35, HB)
From Balto, the legendary husky who led his team without their driver through blizzards to deliver diphtheria medicine in Alaska to Keiko—the whale that featured in the film Free Willy and was released back into the wild because of the response; from Hoover the seal that ‘spoke’ phrases in a New England accent to Lonesome George the oldest known tortoise in the world, WildLives offers a mere glimpse into significant human-animal interactions through history. Readers of 7–adult will see animals in a new light after this. Lynndy
Ready, Set, Draw! A Game of Creativity & Imagination by Hervé Tullet ($28, BX)
Wow! Whether ‘artistic’ or not, adults and children alike can spend hours playing with the various combinations of this imaginative pack. Showcasing Hervé’s signature bold colours and minimalist shapes and lines, this wildly graphic and highly intuitive card game will unlock every young (and old) artist’s creative potential. Select WHAT to draw from one deck and HOW to draw it from the other; then flick the colourful spinner wheel to randomise the options eg ‘draw a tree with your eyes closed’ to ‘draw a friend… upside down! Lynndy
True Stories of Heroes ($10, HB)
From a housewife’s brave defiance of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany, to a doctor’s risking her life to treat patients in a battle zone, this book contains inspiring tales of extraordinary courage from everyday people—with full colour illustrations throughout.
Prisoners of Geography: Our World Explained in 12 Simple Maps by Tim Marshall ($35, HB)
How did the USA become a superpower? Why do people go to war? And why are some countries rich while others are so poor? The answers to these questions and many more in this eye-opening book, which uses maps to explain how geography has shaped the history of our world. Discover how the choices of world leaders are swayed by mountains, rivers and seas – and why geography means that history is always repeating itself. This remarkable, unique introduction to world affairs will inspire curious young minds everywhere.
Home by Charles Hope ($28, PB)
From highly organised beehives and ant colonies to creatures that carry their homes with them, the animal kingdom is host to a spectacular array of homes. Charles Hope’s glorious full colour photos capture some of these ingenious dwellings.
GAMES & NOVELTIES
Greek Myths and Mazes by Jan Bajtlik ($30, HB)
Find your way out of a maze on each page in this intricate book from the creators of Maps. From an Ancient Greek theatre, to the Trojan horse and the Minotaur, discover the legendary labyrinths of Ancient Greece, as well as its myths and legends large and beautifully illustrated collection of puzzles and facts.
The Endless Odyssey: A Mythic Storytelling Game ($25, BX)
Enter a strange land of winged horses & vengeful gods, where one-eyed monsters feast on human flesh. This game revives the 19th century craze of myrioramas or ‘many pictures’—20 illustrated cards can placed in any order to create a seamless scene stretching up to 5 ½ feet long. Almost infinite combinations of cards provide endless (2,432,902,008,176,640,000) storyscaping possibilities.
Bauhaus Ballet: A Pop-up Performance ($40, HB)
Dancers leap, spin and kick their way through this pop-up book inspired by the eccentric and innovative Bauhaus Triadic Ballet—with striking artwork by Lesley Barnes accompanied by Gabby Dawnay’s playful text.
Seek and Find Cities ($15, PB)
Join travellers Lonely Planet Cat and Bird as they explore the world in this fun search-and-find book. Our intrepid duo have spent all year planning a city-hopping tour around the globe and in each city there are all kinds of things to spot, from traditional hats to a famous landmark to a local animal or two. You’ll need to hunt high and low, peep inside buildings and search among the crowds. And don’t forget to look for Cat and Bird in every city too.