The Plastic Throne: Children’s Picture Book Review

The Plastic Throne by Amani Uduman & Kera Bruton
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Publication: 1st March 2021
Publisher: MidnightSun Publishing
Source: Review copy from the publisher – Thank You
Rating: ✵✵✵✵✵

Denver flushes all kinds of things down the toilet but never stops to think about what happens to them once they are gone. One night, while he sleeps, the ocean begins to stir, no longer able to suppress its fury over how it is being treated. Can Denver and his sister Maisy make things right before it is too late?

This engaging story touches on the concepts of sustainability and the protection of our natural environment all while keeping a tongue placed firmly in its cheek.

LINKS: GoodreadsBooktopiaAngus & RobertsonDymocksBoomerang Books.

When a four-year-old asks you to read a book three times in a row you know you are onto a winner, especially if it is one aiming for environmental education, and this was the case when I read The Plastic Throne from children’s author and primary school teacher Amani Udman and debut illustrator Kera Bruton with my boys.

The story follows a little boy named Denver as he flushes the veggies, he does not want to eat down the toilet. When this works well for him, he starts flushing broken toys, the cat, his sisters’ bike – anything he does not like or wants to hide. Obviously, this back-fires, comedically so, and the ocean swells with rubbish engulfing his town in rubbish, water, and ocean creatures. Denver realises the error of his ways with the help of his sister Maisy, and they try to rectify his mistakes.

The Plastic Throne is a bright and colorful picture book with an engaging story and artwork. The ending of the story opens the opportunity for deeper conversations with children about the responsible conservation of the earth’s environment and how to dispose of rubbish responsibly. And it is a read I highly recommend.

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

Dogography: Children’s Review

Dogography by Maree Coote
Genre: Children’s, Art, Non-Fiction
Publication: June 1, 2020
Publisher: (Imprint) Melbournestyle Books
Distributor: Walker Australia-HEDS
Source: Review copy from publisher – Thank You
Rating: ✵✵✵✵✵

Every part of me’s a letter Does that help you see me better? Look very closely, Can you see the hidden letters that spell me?

How do you spell DOG? In this brand new collection of typographic doggy delights this award winning illustrator show you a whole new way to spell your best friend. Each picture is created using only the letters that spell each dog’s name, and is partnered with a brief, amusing verse. The exact fonts used are provided in a key on each page to help readers find all the letter shapes and that spell each dog. Includes Teachers’ Notes.


There isn’t much I can say about this book, being that it is more of an activity book than a storybook. But it’s pages are filled with rhyming text and adorable and cleaver artwork. My boys and I found this book to be a cute and fun treat.

Ethan (3), Riley (6, almost 7) and I had great fun ‘reading’ Dogography together. I read the small text on each page to the boys, then had then find all the different letters that make up the names of the different breeds within the art.

Once we had finished ‘reading’ the book and I asked them if they liked it, they were both all big smiles and nodding heads and of course, Ethan let out his excited AGAIN cry.

This book is well worth the purchase for your kids or grandkids and makes for a fantastic activity to do together. It would even make a cute coffee table book for kid-free dog lovers. All in all, Dogography is a five-star book, that I highly recommend.

Dogography by Maree Coote – A fantastic book for parents and grandparents looking for an interactive read, or dog lovers after a cute coffee table book.

 

View on: Walker’s Website | Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository
Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

Old Enough to Save the Planet: Review

Old Enough to Save the Planet by Loll Kirby (author) & Adelina Lirius (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Climate Change
Publication: April 1, 2020
Publisher: Imprint – Magic Cat Publishing, Distributor – Walker Australia
Source: Review copy from the publisher – Thank You
View @ Walker Books & Goodreads
Rating: ✵✵✵✵✵

An inspiring look at young climate change activists who are changing the world.

The world is facing a climate crisis like we’ve never seen before. And kids around the world are stepping up to raise awareness and try to save the planet. As people saw in the youth climate strike in September 2019, kids will not stay silent about this subject—they’re going to make a change. Meet 12 young activists from around the world who are speaking out and taking action against climate change. Learn about the work they do and the challenges they face, and discover how the future of our planet starts with each and every one of us.


A conversation with my 6-year-old son, upon finishing reading Old Enough to Save the Planet:

Riley: Is this real
Me: Yes buddy, these are all real stories, the kids really did these things. Did you enjoy the stories?
Riley: Yes.
Me: Did you learn anything?
Riley: Yes.
Me: What did you learn?
Riley: That we need bees.
Me: Okay. Did this book make you want to do anything differently?
Riley: Yes.
Me: What do you want to do?
Riley: Save the planet, just like the people in the book.
Me: What do you want to do first to save the world.
Riley: *staring at me as he realised I was typing what he was saying* Why are you typing it down.
Me: Don’t worry about that. Is there anything in the book you want to try to do?
Riley: Save the bees, save the plants.
Me: Yeah buddy, but is there anything specific they did in the book that you want to do?
Riley: Save the bees.
Me: Yeah buddy, but how.
Riley: Flowers.
Me: You want to plant a bunch of flowers for the bees.
Riley: Yeah.
Me: Well that’s a start.

Both my 6-yr-old Riley and 3-yr-old Ethan sat through the entire book. Yes, my 3yr-old was mainly interested in the beautiful pictures, but my 6-yr-old appeared to be paying attention to the words. As we read each child’s story I tried to expand on the topics e.g. discussing with Riley why bees were so important, why plastic in the ocean was so bad and how his school also has a compost plan in place just like the school in the book.

Old Enough to Save the Planet is physically beautiful, a real feast for the eyes. Each child’s story takes up a full colour extremely detailed double page spread. After we read the story and discussed it for a bit, to keep younger Ethan entrained we counted how many rhinos, or bees, or butterflies, or watering cans etc. were on the page and just admired the artwork a little longer before turning to the next story.

I think this book is a fantastic way to open up important discussions with children about simple things we can all do to look after our planet. At the end of the book are suggestions for things we can all do at home and a list of websites with resources for doing so and continuing on the discussion of ideas covered in this book. I’ll definitely be reading it with My boys again.

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

Ten Little Figs: Mummy & Me Review

Ten Little Figs
Written by Rhian Williams
Illustrated by Nathaniel Eckstrom
Age Range: from 3 years
Picture book from Walker Books Australia
Review copy thanks to Walker books
Release Date: April 1, 2020
Click to view at Walker Books

A child counts down the figs on the backyard fig tree, as each one is snatched away by a different Australian animal, in this ode to Australia’s natural landscape.

Ten little figs are on my tree. I love figs and they’re all for me. Ten Little Figs is a joyful rhyming picture book about a child keeping careful watch of the figs on the fig tree in his backyard. With his dog by his side, he counts down the number of figs as they are taken by various hungry Australian animals (flying fox, finches, green ants and others) until only one fig is left. Who will get that very last fig? Luckily Dad comes to the rescue and surprises his little one with the very last fig.


I sat down with my three and six-year-old to read Ten Little Figs. The story kept Mr 3 and Mr 6 in one place long enough to read the story from start to finish – Always a sign of a quality children’s book. When I asked them if they enjoyed the story, they both replied yes with smiles on their faces. Mr 3 then started bouncing up and down singing out AGAIN, AGAIN.

Ten Little Figs tells the tale of the native Australian sandpaper fig tree and its delicious bounty. It entertains by telling and showing all the native animals that feast from it.

The artwork is beautiful, the images appear bright and open, but they are also packed with detail and it was fun to watch my boys discovering all the details, pointing out what the puppy was doing and the different creatures hiding in the images.

The words have a lovely sing-song rhyme to them and flow easily off the tongue, making this book a delight to read out loud.

Things children might sneakily learn while enjoying the tale; Australian animal identification, Australian sandpaper fig tree identification, and a better understanding of some of the benefits to wildlife of green spaces.

Ten Little Figs celebrates native Australian plants and wildlife and all the things one can discover in one’s own backyard.

 

About the author
Ten Little Figs is by newcomer Rhiân Williams. She is an ardent explorer of the natural world and is passionate about stories and children’s books. She lives in country NSW.

About the illustrator
Nathaniel Eckstrom is an illustrator based in Sydney, Australia. He has worked on a number of children’s picture books including Stubborn Stanley, The Hole Idea, Roadtrip and The Dress-Box. DUCK!, written by Meg McKinlay, was his first book with Walker Books. His second is Ten Little Figs, written by Rhian Williams.

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

Clackety Track, Poems about Trains: Review

41110368Clackety Track: Poems about Trains by Skila Brown (Author) & Jamey Christoph (Illustrator)

Genre: Children’s picture book, Poetry

Publication: March 12th 2019
Publisher: Walker Books (Candlewick imprint)

Add to Goodreads
Rating: ✵✵✵✵✵

Source: Review copy from publisher, THANK YOU.

Queue up for a whistle-stop tour of trains of all kinds, narrated in lively verse and featuring dynamic retro artwork.

Rows of grooves, cables, and bars.
Graffiti rockin’ out the cars.
A badge of rust. A proud oil stain.
There’s nothin’ plain about a train.

Trains of all shapes and sizes are coming down the track — bullet train, sleeper train, underground train, zoo train, and more. All aboard! Skila Brown’s first-class poems, as varied as the trains themselves, reflect the excitement of train travel, while Jamey Christoph’s vintage-style illustrations provide a wealth of authentic detail to pore over.


The five-year-old: Riley sat through a read through with me, and was even asking questions while I was reading the train facts at the end of the book.

Once we’d finished the first read though I asked him if he liked the book. He replied Yes, then immediately ran off and dragged out some train toys and started playing with them.

The two-year-old: Upon seeing the book for first the first time Ethan stated that it was “my Thomas, my train” and his grabby little hands snatched the book up. Ethan was wowed by the images on the pages and sat rather mesmerised in my lap through the first read thought with his brother, then a second on his own. After the second read through Ethan ran off to joined his brother playing with their trains.

I’ve had the book sitting on my desk for about a week, the time between reading it the boys for the first time and sitting down to write this review. Multiple times I’ve found Ethan sitting at my desk thumbing through the book, just looking at the pictures of the trains, waiting for someone to come along and read it to him.

My thoughts:

The artwork is beautifully drawn and the images are eye-catching, yet soft and romantic in a way.

The words are rhythmic and flowing and a pleasure to read.

Clackety Track: Poems about Trains is a must read for any train loving littlies and train/poetry enthusiasts of all ages – so yeah, the perfect book for my boys and me. And one I can see us reading many more times, for many years to come.

LINKS: Skila’s Website | Jamey’s Website | Walker Books
Goodreads | Booktopia | Bookdepository

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

The Dog Who Lost His Bark: Review

The Dog Who Lost His Bark

The Dog Who Lost His Bark by Eoin Colfer
Genre: Childrens /MG Fiction
Publication: November 1st 2018
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review copy from Walker – Thank You
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ✵ ✵ ✵ ✵

A warm, uplifting story about a boy, his dog, and the healing power of music marks a first-time collaboration between two former Irish Children’s Laureates, Eoin Colfer and P.J. Lynch.

Patrick has been desperate for a dog of his own for as long as he can remember, and this summer, with his father away, he longs for a canine friend more than ever. Meanwhile, in his short doggy life, Oz has suffered at the hands of bad people. Somewhere out there, he believes, is an awesome boy — his boy. And maybe, when they find each other, Oz will learn to bark again. Illustrated in light charcoal by two-time Kate Greenaway Medalist P.J. Lynch, this heartwarming story by Eoin Colfer, internationally best-selling author of the Artemis Fowl series, is certain to enchant.

Eoin Colfer’s links: Website | Twitter  | Bookdepository | Booktopia


The Dog Who Lost His Bark is a heart wrenching yet heartwarming tale that touches on animal abuse, the wonderful work rescue shelters do, marriage separation and the power of music. Yeah that does sound like a lot to be crammed in 149 pages, but Colfer’s story flows beautifully and accompanied by Lynch’s illustrations this really is a masterpiece.

Firstly we meet Oz as a little no name pup, see him go onto to his first home, be abused, then dumped.

Secondly we meet the boy, Patrick, going of to spend his summer holidays with his mum at his granddads. As an adult reading the story you pick up up on what’s going down between Patrick parents quite early on, but depending on the age of the child either reading the book or having it read to them, they might only learn this as the character does.

Ultimately Boy and Dog end up up saving each other. Through love and care and patience Patrick gets through to Oz and they build a loving friendship. Patrick shuts down after learning the truth of his father abandoning him and his mother for a new woman. Patrick’s instincts is to push Oz away, to push love away. But Oz persists with his doggy awesomeness and finally breaks through to Patrick.

Yeah you’ll cry while reading this one. But I think it’s worth it. Colfer gives the reader some really important life lessons through a beautiful story of love, friendship and recovery.

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Nick White: Author Q&A

Kat: The Legend of Gnawbonia by Nick White
THE WORLD’S FIRST FULLY ILLUSTRATED NOVEL
168 pages & 14 chapters of action packed illustrated mastery

In the great city of Catifornia, the Meofia are by far the most feared of all the felines. At home, their baby sister Kat is enslaved under lock and key. Done with the constant abuse, she escapes, embarking on a perilous journey far beyond the land of cats.

Lost at sea, Kat is captured by a ruthless gang of notorious pirate dogs and forced to the depths of the ocean in search of treasure; where she discovers an ancient city, lost in time.

Here, Kat comes to terms with who she truly is – gaining the courage to fight for her life and freedom, to fulfil an ancient prophecy that she inevitably finds herself entwined with.

A new style of book, a fusion of various parts.
Adventure novel, graphic novel & picture book.


T h e    I n t e r v i e w

KAT: THE LEGEND OF GNAWBONIA IS AVAILABLE AS A VISUALLY STUNNING HIGH-QUALITY HARD COVER (seriously it’s beautiful, congratulations on that) AND AS AN ANIMATED EBOOK. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR AND KAT’S PUBLISHING JOURNEY?

Thanks Sarah. I did actually get accepted into a few publishing houses, but turned them down as they wanted full creative control of the book and in the end they pay fractions to authors. Although there’s a few risky pages in there I like everything I’ve put into the book and didn’t want it butchered by any company scared of offending few individuals to protect their reputation. So I funded the first print run through Kickstarter, it’s a great way to do it – if you can convince people it’s a worthy investment that likely won’t be fulfilled for a long time due to shipping problems and international banking issues. Hahaha.

CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT, OR HOW THE STORY CAME TO BE?

I’ve wanted to do an illustrated novel for about 17 years, and what sparked that was that there just aren’t many around (there were none back then). I guess I then had to work up the courage to spend 5 years of my life on one single project. I was never really sure what the story was going to be but in the end when I put pen to paper I wanted the end of it to have an epic fight between a seemingly helpless and small-for-her-age cat, and a bunch of hungry beastly dogs. And I wanted the cat to come out on top. From there it was a case of reverse engineering the story; Why are they fighting? The dogs could be pirates. Why is the cat there? She could be their prisoner? How did she get there? She was lost at sea etc etc. Every answer would inspire a further question until the story was plump enough.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING AND GIVE YOURSELF ANY ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I’d tell myself to invest heavily on Netflix… then I could have spent the last few years working on my book fulltime and not through the nights in between my full time job.

ARE YOU WORKING ON ANYTHING AT THE MOMENT, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT?

I am loosely working on the next volume of the book. It’s very exciting; it’s a straight continuation of the story.

WHAT ARE YOU READING AT THE MOMENT OR WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?

The last book I read was the Gruffalo. I have a 3 year old daughter. The last book I read for myself was James and the giant peach. I always wanted to read it when I was younger but never got around to it. Roald Dahl’s still got it!


THANK YOU SO MUCH TO NICK FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS!

Nick has chosen to give 10% of all profits from the book to three international animal charities, Mercy for Animals, The Humane League and Animal Equality, who are doing essential work around the globe to eradicate factory farming – a theme the book lightly touches on.
Nick is originally from Sydney, Australia, has spent the last 18 years as a commercial artist, lending a hand to some of the biggest ad and design agencies in the UK, NZ and Australia.

NICK CAN BE FOUND @ www.nickwhiteworks.com

KAT: THE LEGEND OF GNAWBONIA CAN BE FOUND @
Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Animated eBook

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Snobbity Snowman: Children’s Book Review

35722778

Snobbity Snowman by Maria Bardyukova & Quiet Riley Jr.
Genre: Children’s (intended for ages 3-8)
Publication: October 1st 2017
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Review Copy
Thank You.

Snobbity Snowman has everything a snowman could possibly want: a shiny hat, freshly-picked noses and enough pride to last a lifetime. In fact, he is so selfish and shortsighted that he fails to see the instance his life starts falling apart.

What disasters must take place to open his charcoal eyes? To help him see that pride and possessions cannot bring true happiness? Will he defrost his ego and embrace the warmth of companionship?

Only Snobbity can tell.

Depicting winter in rich and whimsical tones, Snobbity Snowman’s quirky characters and unexpected twists promise to leave a lasting impression on all its snobbulous readers.

Snobbity Links: Amazon | Goodreads | Smashwords

Riley sat on my lap as I read him this winter-themed children’s eBook on my computer, which has a reasonably large monitor. The second and third read throughs we did took place on my on iPhone 7 plus. Even with the smaller screen the text and images were still easily readable. I was impressed by this, as Sometimes the clarity of picture books can suffer when being read in an e-version. This book read clearly and pleasantly on both screens. And I think that shows that Bardyukova and Quiet Riley Jr. have worked hard to make it suit the e-format.

The art work is bright, bold and fun. The story is one of Snobbity the Snowman learning the about the joys of giving to those less fortunate and second chances. There is also the added bonus of activity pages at the end, which is a lovely way to round off the book.

After the first read through Riley (4-yrs-old) requested we read it again and after the second read through he asked ‘’how did he get his stuff back”. This opened up the conversation to talk about the importance and feel-good-ness of giving to others.

All in all this was a delightful little book that I can see myself reading to Riley again, and again.

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Hugo Makes A Change: Children’s Picture Book Review

34146459Hugo Makes A Change
by Mauro Gatti & Scott Emmons

Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Publication: November 1st 2017
Publisher: Flying Eye Books (Walker Australia)
Source: Review Copy
Thank You Walker Books

Add to Goodreads

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Hugo the vampire craves red, juicy meat for every meal! But when his eating habits leave him feeling sluggish and bored, he goes on the prowl for something new… Maybe those strange-looking things growing in the garden aren’t as bad as they look?

After trying fruits and vegetables for the first time, he discovers the joys of a more balanced diet. The story is told in rhymed verse accompanied by simple, charming, graphic illustrations.


Hugo Makes A Change is a delightful story about a vampire that goes on a journey learning about healthy eating.

Plot Summary: We see Hugo eat lots of meat and little else. Hugo then gets sick. He starts to realise there is a connection between his meat heavy diet and feeling bad. Hugo goes off searching for alternatives. At first, he fears trying new things. Finally, Hugo gets the courage to try something new and he enjoys it. Hugo then goes on a journey trying as many different fruits and vegetables as he can find. After eating all the fruits and veggies, Hugo starts to feel well again, to feel better than he’s ever felt before. Hugo goes on to realise he can still have meat in his diet if he pairs it with fruits and veggies. In the end Hugo finds that if he eats a balanced diet he will be healthy and happy.

My four-year-old loved the story asking all sorts of questions about what Hugo was eating and repeatedly requesting we read it again. I think this book is a real winner. Through Hugo’s adventure in healthy eating children can start to learn the connection between what we eat and how we feel. It is a delight to read out loud with rhythmic sing song sentences and the artwork is easily understood and enticing to a young audience.

I think this book would make a fantastic Christmas gift for any fussy little eaters you know.

Hugo Links: Walker Books | Booktopia | Bookdepository

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse: Children’s Picture Book Review

34002075

The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse
Written by Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Jon Klassen

Publication: November 1, 2017
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review copy from publisher
Thank You Walker

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

They may have been swallowed, but they have no intention of being eaten… A new comedy from the unparalleled team of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen.

Early one morning a mouse met a wolf and was quickly gobbled up…When a woeful mouse is swallowed up by a wolf, he quickly learns he is not alone: a duck has already set up digs and, boy, has that duck got it figured out! Turns out it’s pretty nice inside the belly of the beast – there’s delicious food, elegant table settings and, best of all, dancing. And there’s something more: no more fear of being eaten by a wolf! Life’s not so bad, considering the alternatives. That is, until a hunter shows up… With a nod to traditional fables and a wink to the reader, the award-winning Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, Extra Yarn and Triangle offer a tale of cooperation and creative cuisine that is sure to go down easy.


Early one morning, a mouse met a wolf, and he was quickly gobbled up.

The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse is a fantastical story of a Duck and a Mouse who refused to be eaten and a humorous lesson in why wolves howl.

“I may have been swallowed,” said the duck, “but I have no intention of being eaten.”

Quick plot rundown: A Mouse meets a Wolf. The Wolf eats the mouse. The Mouse meets a Duck inside the Wolf, they then proceeded to live happily partying it up. The Wolf gets sick from all the hubbub inside him. Now weak and sick the Wolf becomes the target of a hunter. The Duck and the Mouse knowing their new way of life is in danger jump out of the Wolf and scare off the Hunter. Then they all live happily ever after, sort of – The duck and the Mouse do, the Wolf, not so much – but you’ll have to read it to understand what I mean by that.

When I opened the box from walker I actually gasped out loud. The hardcover’s illustrated sleeve is a real treat for the eyes. The book is full of delightful and easily “readable” earthly toned illustrations – simply glorious!

The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse is an easy and well-paced read (text to picture ratio) and flows well off the tongue. I would recommend this book for ages four and up. I think children any younger wouldn’t be able to grasp the impossible and bizarreness of Duck and Mouse’s activities and the humour that makes this book a joy to read.

If you have any kiddlets in your life, The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse would make a captivating Christmas present.

Goodreads | Walker Books | Booktopia | Bookdepository 

Mac Barnett: Website | Twitter – Jon Klassen: Website | Twitter