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NEW from Mem Fox and Judy Horacek, Australia’s best-selling picture book team!

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Editor's letter We’re sure we’re not the only ones excited about a new book from Mem Fox and Judy Horacek. As the winning duo behind Where is the Green Sheep?, they have plenty of fans. Their new book is Good Night Sleep Tight and in this issue we get a special look behind the scenes at their collaboration (page 10). Speaking of picture books, if an animal character in a picture book doesn’t have a specified gender do you find yourself calling it a ‘him’ or a ‘her’? Or don’t you even notice? In her article on gender stereotyping in CBCA award-winning picture books, Kate McKenzie notes that more often than not, readers will make the assumption these animals are male. Interesting stuff (page 8). Also this issue we’ve got a behind the scenes look at what the teenage judges of the Inky Award really think of the YA books pitched at them, interviews with Catherine Jinks and Nick Falk, publisher Julie Marshall shares her career experiences and, of course, we bring you the latest news, reviews and information on forthcoming children’s and YA books. Happy reading






5 Dino adventures

Nick Falk talks to Meredith Lewin about his new series ‘Saurus Street’ and the first title Tyrannosaurus in the Veggie Patch

6 Unusual pursuits

Catherine Jinks speaks to Hannah Francis about the first in her new ‘City of Orphans’ series A Very Unusual Pursuit

7 What teenagers want

Jordi Kerr shares some behind the scenes insights from the teen judges of this year’s Inky Awards

8 A picture of gender stereotyping

Kate McKenzie shares the results of her detailed analysis of gender representation in CBCA award-winning picture books

—Matthia Dempsey, editor-in-chief

10 Show and tell

On the cover

Lucy Stewart talks to Mem Fox and Judy Horacek about their latest collaboration

Much-loved author and illustrator team Mem Fox and Judy Horacek have collaborated again with a new version of Mem’s classic NEW from Mem Fox and Judy Horacek, book team! Australia’s best-selling picture tale Good Night Sleep Tight. Vibrant, warm and humorous images beautifully illustrate the bedtime story that many parents will remember from their own childhood. It’s Friday night and children Bonnie and Ben are loving the bedtime nursery rhymes told to them by their favourite quirky babysitter, Skinny Doug. The story of this whimsical bedtime journey is sure to be a bestseller just like Where Is the Green Sheep? See our feature on page 10. GNST_COVER.indd


B+P_JUNIOR_2012 Issue3.indd


12 How did I get here?

Julia Marshall, founder of children’s publisher Gecko Press, shares her ‘hotch potch’ career path

5/09/12 1:44 PM 11/09/12 8:56 PM


4 News 13 Get smart 14 Reviews 17 Book bites

Parents and grandparents will LOVE this book. Stock up now so you don’t miss a single sale! GNST_JUNIOR_INTERNAL.indd 1

5/09/12 1:45 PM


Junior is a supplement of Bookseller+Publisher established 1921 Published by Thorpe-Bowker PO Box 6509, St Kilda Road Central Vic 8008 (Level 1, 607 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 3004) Tel: (03) 8517-8333 Fax: (03) 8517-8399 ©2012 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors ISSN 1833-5799 ABN 77 097 830 745 Editor-in-chief: Matthia Dempsey Tel: (03) 8517-8351 Editor: Andrea Hanke Tel: (03) 8517-8347 Publishing assistant: Andrew Wrathall Tel: (03) 8517-8356 Journalist: Eloise Keating Tel: (03) 8517-8363 Features writer: Lucy Stewart Tel: (03) 8517-8351

Contributors: Hannah Francis, Jordi Kerr, Meredith Lewin, Julia Marshall, Kate McKenzie

Design/production manager: Silvana Paolini Advertising: Marc Wilson Tel: (03) 8517-8357


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Printed using FSC mixed source certified fibre by Printgraphics Pty Ltd under ISO 14001 Enviromental Certification.

Subscriptions: Tel: (03) 8517-8390

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Thorpe-Bowker is a division of R R Bowker LLC. The inclusion of advertisements in Bookseller+Publisher, including the front cover, does not imply endorsement of the advertised goods or services by Thorpe-Bowker. Issue 3 2012


Search, Discover, Connect

A round-up of news and events in

the children’s and YA book industry

Macmillan, Jacaranda named Publishers of the Year

Macmillan Education was named Primary Publisher of the Year at the 2012 Australian Publishers Association (APA) Educational Publishing Awards, which were held in Melbourne in September. The Secondary Publisher of the Year Award was presented to Jacaranda, the schools imprint of John Wiley & Sons. The overall APA Award for

Cyber-safety program to be rolled out in public libraries

A new cyber-safety program will be rolled out in Australia’s public library system next year, thanks to a partnership between the Telstra Foundation and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation (AMF). The six-year eSmart Libraries program will be piloted in 20 groups of libraries in early 2013, before being rolled out to Australia’s 1500 public libraries. The Telstra Foundation is providing $8 million for the program, which will be implemented by the AMF, a charity set up to protect children from violence. The eSmart Libraries program is an extension of the eSmart Schools program, which the AMF made available to public schools in 2011. Approximately 1400 schools now use the program, which provides online and offline resources to encourage ‘smart, safe, [and] responsible’ use of the internet, and reduce bullying and other risks involved with using the internet. An AMF spokesperson told Bookseller+Publisher that the program hopes to pilot eSmart Libraries in every Australian state and territory and the foundation expects at least 80 libraries will participate in the pilot program. ‘The pilot will be completed by April next year,’ said the spokesperson. ‘We will roll out the program to 260 libraries in 2013/14 and then move on to the remaining libraries in the following three years.’

Excellence in Education Publishing was presented to Oxford University Press’ ‘Big Ideas History, 7-10 Australian Curriculum’ series (Saldais, Smith, Carrodus, et al), which also won the junior secondary student resource category. Go online to www. for more APA Educational Publishing Awards winners.

Changes for structure of CBCA

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) will appoint a new board of management and adopt a new constitution in November as part of a restructure of the organisation. At its annual general meeting in November, the organisation will establish a board made up of eight branch representatives and one representative each from the Awards Foundation, Reading Time and the Lu Rees Archives. The new board of management will replace the present system in which the national executive rotates between states every two years. The council said it will establish subcommittees and working parties which will be responsible for various aspects of the council’s work, including the CBCA website and merchandise, and these subcommittees will report to the board. The CBCA Book Awards and national conference will continue to be run by branch management committees on a rotational system. ‘A working paper will be drawn up to reflect these structural changes, and it will form the basis for developing our new constitution,’ said the council, which added that the ‘key messages and established aims and responsibilities of the organisation will remain the same’.

Education Works to be liquidated School bookseller Education Works and its eight related businesses were placed into voluntary administration in August. The companies will be wound up this year, except for the Elizabeth Richards direct-mail business and the Fotoworks school photography business which have been sold, and some of the assets of the Wooldridges retail business,

which have been acquired by fellow education supplier Campion Education. Campion managing director James Cathro told Bookseller+Publisher that Campion plans to increase its retail network and is currently talking to schools about how it might do this. Approximately 50 Education Works creditors attended a creditors meeting in August. They were

Illustrators visit Pinerolo

Thanks to funding from the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, four children’s books illustrators will undertake residencies at Pinerolo, the children’s book cottage in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, this year. Illustrators Shannon Melville (WA) and Rosemary Mastnak (Tas) completed their residencies in July, while Stephen Axelsen (NSW) and Jedda Robaard (Vic) will

informed that ordinary creditors will not receive any financial return from the liquidation process ‘unless litigation is successful’ and employees will receive help to access the Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme. Creditors were also advised that the administrators will ‘consider whether to pursue the issue of insolvent trading’.

complete theirs in October and November respectively. The illustrators were selected from 21 applicants. Pinerolo owner Margaret Hamilton said the residencies grant the illustrators ‘uninterrupted peaceful surroundings’ to work on their projects, and ‘daily mentorship on all the processes involved in publishing and development of picture books’.


Dino adventures Nick Falk spoke to Meredith Lewin about his new series, the role of humour, and being frightened of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video. In a story in which two boys make a fully functional time machine out of time machines (clocks) and some magic chalk, I was surprised by how much I learned about dinosaurs without even knowing it. How important do you think humour is in teaching young readers, particularly boys?   I think humour is essential in teaching things to kids. My nephew is an avid reader of the incredibly funny ‘Horrible Histories’ books, and he is a veritable fount of historical knowledge! Without humour, kids simply don’t hold onto stuff. With the amount of new information whizzing around in their heads every day, something needs to be memorable if it’s going to stick. And what’s more memorable than something that makes you laugh? I actually work as a psychologist with children, and if I want them to remember any of the skills I teach them then humour is an absolute must!  Jack and Toby go on quite an adventure in the book—right back to the Cretaceous period. Where else will the residents of Saurus Street be heading and what other dinosaurs will be coming to town?     So far there are four Saurus Street books set to be published in the series. In each book the kids end up going somewhere crazy and unexpected and bumping into all manner of terrifying dinosaurs. Pterodactyls, triceratops, velociraptors and oviraptors all make an appearance, and the kids end up going up mysterious mountains, through terrifying time portals and even getting into a spot of bother with the Romans!   I love the mix of genres in this first story—action, adventure, humour and thrills. When writing do you map each tale out in advance or are you happy to let the characters take you on a trip?  I think it’s a mixture of both. First-off I generally just let the story take me where it wants to go. But after that I tend to let the tale percolate for a few weeks, and then go back to it, keep the bits that work, jig them around a little bit, and then build a story structure that combines excitement, character development and lots and lots of unexpected twists and turns...   Along with the ‘Saurus Street’ books, I see you’re working on a story about ‘were-dragons’. Why do you think kids love monsters so much?

I think kids love to be scared, because being scared is a bit of a thrill. I always remember watching the ‘Thriller’ music video when I was a kid, hiding behind the sofa and peeking through my fingers at the screen (I was a bit of a scaredy-cat!). Although part of me didn’t want to look, part of me just had to. Why? Because of the thrill of it! It’s the same thing with monsters. Also, monsters are just plain cool. Especially when they chase the neighbours. Were there any favourite prehistoric books or movies which helped inspire the series?      Actually the books were inspired more by my son’s love of dinosaurs than by any specific books. My son, at age four, was fixated on the ‘Land Before Time’ films (which I am less of a fan of ), so I thought I’d better provide a decent alternative. So I started making up my own dinosaur stories, we ended up drawing them together and, hey presto, the ‘Saurus Street’ series was born! 

What was the last book you read and loved? I’m an avid reader, and can get hooked on anything from political biographies to fantasy books and children’s books. Recently I’ve been hooked on the ‘Game of Thrones’ books, been riveted by Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, raced through the action-packed ‘Hunger Games’ books and had a thoroughly good giggle reading ‘Nanny Piggins’. I’m also a big fan of the children’s fantasy books written by Emily Rodda. Rowan of Rin, the first in the series, is a terrific read.




Unusual pursuits


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Catherine Jinks found that upper-class English accents came very easily after a lifetime of reading. She spoke to Hannah Francis about her new series and how best to scare readers. You’ve paid great attention to detail in recreating the period of Victorian London, in particular the way you portray social structures, settings, character accents and slang. How did you go about your research, and what was the most interesting thing you discovered? The most interesting thing I discovered was that I didn’t have to go to the library at all. This has never happened to me before. But thanks to Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes and English trainspotters, absolutely everything you need to know about Victorian London is now on the internet. And I mean everything. I happen to have a ‘Cassells Household Guide’ from the 1870s sitting on my desk at home, and I even found that on the internet! It’s extraordinary what you can find, if you look hard enough. (Don’t try researching medieval Languedoc or Bologna on the internet though—for that you do need a library! It all depends on the subject.)   The main character, 10-year-old Birdie, sings with her beautiful voice to lure horrible, child-eating monsters (bogles) to their deaths. The songs are quite dark and sad. Were they real songs from the period, or did you invent them? No, I didn’t invent them—they’re mostly folk songs, believe it or not. I just hand-picked the goriest!

Did you draw influence from any literature of the period, for example gothic fiction? To be honest, I’ve always been influenced by 19th-century fiction. One of my favourite books  is New Grub Street by George Gissing, which is set in the 1880s; I’ve been re-reading it since I was a teenager. So you could say that every one of my books has been influenced by the literature of the period. As a consequence, one thing I didn’t have to struggle with was the language of the upper-class characters. Writing that felt very natural to me.   There are some pretty hair-raising moments in the book. What’s the key to writing a truly scary scene? Short sentences. Seriously. Chop up your sentences and you really start to speed things

up. Also, a slow build helps enormously. I had people standing around in dark cellars, waiting, waiting, waiting for the monster to pounce ... Will Birdie feature in the rest of the trilogy, or will we meet a new cast of characters? Birdie will appear in all three books, but not always as the main character. Two of her young friends—Jem Barbary and Ned Roach— will take centre stage in the second and third books, respectively. But since both feature quite prominently in A Very Unusual Pursuit, I’m hoping my readers will feel pretty comfortable with the shift in perspective.

What was the last book you read and loved? Holier Than Thou by Laura Buzo (A&U). Great book.

Jordi Kerr takes us behind the scenes during this year’s Inky shortlisting process.


titles was emotional resonance. It also became clear that teens didn’t want plots that were too slow, too predictable, or too contrived. They seemed to enjoy frequent action scenes in their fantasy novels (and if it lacked this, a book was deemed “too slow”). Night Beach (Kirsty Eagar, Penguin) and Shift (Em Bailey, Hardie Grant Egmont) were praised for being spooky and original. Elizabeth ‘really enjoyed’ Night Beach, saying ‘I thought the whole idea of paranormal aspects in that sort of urban surf culture was really good’, while Nicole noted that she had Shift-induced nightmares for a week after finishing the book. Nightmares were also a feature of another favourite, A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness, illus by Jim Kay, Walker Books). Fergus ‘liked the idea of dreaming incorporated into this’, and Joe was reminded of nightmares he used to have. Act of Faith (Kelly Gardiner, HarperCollins) was, according to Elizabeth, ‘one of the most real historical fictions I’ve read in a long time’. Similarly, the real-world nanotechnology in BZRK (Michael Grant, Hardie Grant Egmont) caused a lot of excitement and googling. Fergus said ‘that’s the kind of stuff I want to take away from a book, to realise that [it] is actually true in some ways’. The teens also picked up on the quality of the writing. Queen of the Night (Leanne Hall, Text Publishing) and Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Liani Taylor, Hachette) were both lauded by the judges for their writing style, as well as their original world-building. Elizabeth

said she was ‘in awe of Leanne Hall’s writing’. The Reluctant Hallelujah (Gabrielle Williams, Penguin) also elicited strong reactions, both for its writing, which Elizabeth called ‘just gorgeous’, and its potentially controversial religiously themed content. The Fault in Our Stars (John Green, Penguin) and Why We Broke Up (Daniel Handler, Hardie Grant Egmont) were praised for their ability to incite tears. Nicole called the former ‘flawless’, while Elizabeth described the latter as having strong writing and characters. What do teenagers want? Perhaps it is better to ask, what does any reader want? As Elizabeth says, ‘we want books that challenge us. That make us think, and feel, and explore … We don’t want things “dumbed down”’. Interestingly, there was generally more division among the judges over books perceived as ‘older’ or ‘younger’ rather than aligned to a specific gender. For example, Fergus and Nicole championed Brotherband: The Outcasts, while Elizabeth and Joe really liked Why We Broke Up. Out of all 20 books, gender really only seemed to split the opinion when it came to Shift, which the girls loved and the boys didn’t. Jordi Kerr is the learning programs officer for the Centre for Youth Literature. See the Inky shortlist on Readers aged between 12 and 20 can vote for their favourite titles until 14 October. Winners announced 23 October

CBCA Book of the Year winners The winners of this year’s Children Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards are: • Older Readers: The Dead I Know (Scot Gardner, A&U) • Younger Readers: Crow Country (Kate Constable, A&U) • Early Childhood: The Runaway Hug (Nick Bland, illus by Freya Blackwood, Scholastic) • Picture Book of the Year: A Bus Called Heaven (Bob Graham, Walker Books) • Eve Pownall Award for Information Books: One Small Island: The Story of Macquarie Island (Alison Lester & Coral Tulloch, Penguin) • Crichton Award for Illustration: Ben & Duck (Sara Acton, Scholastic). To see a list of the honour books in each category, visit

2012 Australian Family Therapists’ Awards Pan’s Whisper by Sue Lawson (Black Dog Books) has won this year’s overall Australian Family Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature. The young readers/picture book prize was awarded to Billie B Brown: The Big Sister by Sally Rippin and Aki Fukuoka (Hardie Grant Egmont). The Little Refugee by Anh and Suzanne Do and Bruce Whatley (A&U) has highly commended in the same category. The judges of this year’s awards recommended a further seven books as being ‘useful for therapists’. To see a list of the recommended books, visit


am not a teenager. No matter how many books I read or teenagers I talk to, my own accumulation of life and experience will be there, filtering and influencing my interpretation of every book. This is why the Centre for Youth Literature’s Inky Awards are so important—they are voted on by teenagers and therefore reflect what teenagers want to read rather than what adults think teenagers want to read, or should read. The longlisted titles (10 Gold/Australian, 10 Silver/International) are nominated by a panel of four teenagers and two adults, before being selected by the Centre for Youth Literature. Longlisted titles are selected, first and foremost, for being the best YA reads. And because different readers prefer different types of books, it is important that a variety of genres and voices are represented on the longlist. The judges have the job of cutting the longlist in half. In 2012 our judges were Elizabeth (14, Qld), Joe (15, VIC), Nicole (14, Vic) and Fergus (13, NSW), assisted by author James Moloney (winner of the 2011 Gold Inky) and blogger Danielle Binks (alphareader.blogspot. com). This year I was lucky enough to sit in during the judging process. As the judges are different types of readers, they want different things from their books. At times the shortlist discussion got quite heated and divisive. For example, Brotherband: The Outcasts (John Flanagan, Random House) did not make the shortlist but two teen judges were very passionate about it. Fergus called it ‘just perfect’, and Nicole admired the ‘perspective of reality’ in the fantasy story, as well as the ‘indepth’ relationships. Very different reactions to those of Elizabeth, who dismissed it as ‘a “let’s get non-reader fifth-grade boys interested in reading” book. Very unsophisticated characters and themes’. So what did the teens agree that they want in a book? Originality is a must. In Elizabeth’s words, ‘we get the angst and teenage drama. Every. Single. Day. … Reading is an escape, into another world, or another life.’ The book must also be relatable, whether this is achieved through a strong, realistic protagonist, an engaging style of writing, or a well-researched, vivid setting. Elizabeth says: ‘Whether it’s a high school setting or a futuristic space colony, we want characters that seem alive to us, that we can connect with, and that we can relate with (even if they are nothing like us).’ The other aspect common to the shortlisted


What teenagers want

Issue 3 2012



A picture of gender Publishing student Kate McKenzie has conducted a detailed analysis of gender representation in CBCA award-winning picture books of the past 18 years. The findings reveal a worrying amount of gender stereotyping.


he Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Children’s Book of the Year Awards are arguably the country’s most prestigious awards for children’s literature, and as such, many schools and libraries have a standing order for the shortlisted titles. This is not the first time the gender representation of the CBCA awardwinners has come under scrutiny. Two notable studies, from which much of the methodology of this study has been drawn, are Sally Godinho’s 1996 book The Portrayal of Gender in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Honour and Award Books (MUP) and Jodi Kok and Bruce Findlay’s article ‘An exploration of sex-role stereotyping in Australian award-winning children’s picture books’ in the Australian Library Journal in 2006. I decided to focus my study on the winning titles in the picture book category from the past 18 years—from 1994 to 2011—to build on the data gathered in Godhino’s study, which ended in 1993. The literary merit of the books was not under question, merely the depiction of characters. The study was concerned with both the text and images.


Male characters featured most often in the children’s books surveyed, representing nearly half of all characters. Neuter characters accounted for 30% and female characters for 22%. Protagonists were also far more likely to be male (68%), compared to 14% female and 18% neuter. Central character roles were most commonly played by neuter characters.

Data gathering

A substantial part of the study required quantitative data. For each book I recorded the gender of the protagonist, the gender of other central characters, the gender of characters on the cover, the occupations assigned to males and females, and the behaviour roles of the protagonist and central characters. As well as recording the representation of male and female characters, I also looked at gender-neutral characters, including animals, which were categorised as neuter. Unless a character was explicitly referred to as a particular gender, it was listed as neuter. It’s worth noting that studies have shown that gender-neutral characters are more likely to be interpreted as male by parents as they are reading to their children. Indeed, a 1987 study by Judy DeLoache, Deborah Cassidy, and C Jan Carpenter found that mothers interpreted gender-neutral characters as male 95% of the time.


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Some definitions on behaviour In my analysis of the characters’ behaviour roles I’ve drawn on definitions from Sally Godinho’s 1996 study in order to accumulate comparable data. Active behaviour has been split into ‘constructive active’ and ‘destructive active’, while passive behaviour has been broken down into ‘plain passive’ and ‘acquiescent passive’. Plain passive describes a character who simply does not initiate any action. Acquiescent passive is a term for a character who is influenced by another character to perform an action. Self-directed behaviour is shown when a character’s actions are in their own interest. Actions such as playing by themselves, or looking for one of their possessions are self-directed. Inner-directed behaviour is a character’s decision to do something for their immediate friends and family such as making dinner, or looking after a younger sibling. Outer-directed behaviour can be seen when a character acts for the greater good. An example of this behaviour is rescuing an injured bird. Finally, ‘initiators’ are the characters who drive the story-line and come up with new ideas, while ‘followers’ will accompany them.

The graph below shows that of all the male characters, 27% were protagonists and 73% were central characters and that while females were more likely than males to be central characters, they were far less likely than males to be protagonists. Male characters were depicted on the cover nearly four times as often as female characters, and were named in the title twice as often. The neuter characters were depicted on the cover almost as often as males, but were less frequently named in the title. Females were much more likely than males to demonstrate passive behaviour (both plain and acquiescent), while males exhibited the greatest amount of active behaviour in both constructive and destructive forms. In Fox, for example, the only female character is coerced into abandoning her friend by another male character in an example of acquiescent passive behaviour.

Females are also depicted in inner-directed roles in just over 60% of cases. This means they are often shown in family-oriented activities that are in line with stereotypical female behaviour, such as talking, cooking and

caring for other family members. The two parent characters in Not a Nibble! show the disparity in gender roles. The mother in the book is only seen in the kitchen, while the father appears in a self-directed role in which he takes the children fishing every day.

When it comes to representations of parenting, 59% of depictions involved female characters, compared to 21% for male characters and 20% for neuter. This category strongly reinforced the gender stereotype that parenting is a female business.


stereotyping This study also considered the following qualitative questions: do the books portray males and females in equally positive ways? Do they present an accurate representation of contemporary gender roles? Do they provide diverse gender roles for young readers’ gender construction? From the quantitative data, we can see how the characters are portrayed, and build a profile of each of the genders. Female characters are shown as central characters—as opposed to central protagonist—who are parenting and plain passive with an inner direction to their actions. Male characters are shown as protagonists and depicted as self-directed and initiators of action, whether constructive or destructive. When it comes to diverse gender roles, it’s interesting to note that ‘masculine traits’ are applauded in women. For example, the little girl in Not a Nibble! is shown to be persistent and successful when she finally catches a fish like the other boys. Men, however, are not depicted positively when they display ‘feminine’ behaviour. When boys are shown as caring, they are seen as weak. Characters like this appear in The Watertower, where a young boy helps his friend, but as a result is overwhelmed by a mysterious force. There are four mothers in the books, and they are all depicted in the kitchen at some point. Mirror, First Light, Jenny Angel and Not a Nibble all have mothers cooking or in the kitchen. Requiem for a Beast, The Arrival and The Two Bullies also have mothers and grandmothers in the family home for the duration of the book. In contrast, there is quite a wide range of possible masculine roles in this study. The diversity of masculine roles can be seen in the many professional positions they are depicted in throughout the books. There are 36 characters shown at work. Twenty-six of them are male, while only six are female and three are neuter. The Hero of Little Street shows many of these characters at work in the city, where you can see the imbalance of gender representation.


The Bechdel Test

Kate McKenzie is a graduate student of publishing and editing at the University of Melbourne


The Bechdel Test is a test of female characterisation traditionally used on films. To pass the test, a film must satisfy three seemingly simple criteria: it must have two females with names, it must show them talking, and the topic of discussion must be something other than men. The test has been used to demonstrate the widespread trivialisation of women’s roles in cinema. I decided to apply this test on my sample of picture books. Only one book fulfilled all three criteria—Shaun Tan’s Tales from Outer Suburbia. However, if the genders were reversed, 10 books fulfilled the criteria.

Although gender stereotyping was present in this study, a larger sample size would be beneficial in a study such as this. It is a legitimate concern that a parent’s reading of neutral characters will be more biased towards male characters than was the author’s intention. If any proportion of the gender-neutral characters in this study were presented as male by a parent, the gender-bias would be heavily skewed towards male characters. The data in this study and other research reveals potentially powerful gender biases could be hidden within animal characters. The solution on the part of the author to gender-neutralise characters and allow readers to come to their own conclusions, as the DeLoach, Cassidy, and Carpenter study demonstrates, is unlikely to result in children being exposed to more female characters.

Issue 3 2012



Show and tell

One of Australia’s most popular

children’s authors Mem Fox has teamed up with much-loved illustrator Judy Horacek for a second time. Lucy Stewart investigates their collaborative process.


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ollaborations between children’s authors and illustrators have produced some of Australia’s finest children’s books. One such ‘success story’ was the team of Mem Fox, author of over 40 books including the iconic Possum Magic, and Judy Horacek, illustrator and cartoonist, whose works are instantly recognisable. Their book Where Is the Green Sheep? continues to sell consistently in hardback and has remained in the top 10 bestselling picture book lists for the past eight years. More recently, Fox and Horacek teamed up again to work on a new version of an old book, Good Night Sleep Tight (Scholastic, October). The book features a babysitter telling nursery rhymes at bedtime to the two children he is babysitting. Fox says she decided to revisit Good Night Sleep Tight (which was originally published in 1988) in late 2010 after Michael Williams, director of the Wheeler Centre, told her that he loved it and knew all the words as a child. ‘I’d give anything to have a copy for my son,’ he told her. Fox replied ‘sorry, there isn’t a single copy left in the world’, explaining with some regret how the last 10,000 copies were pulped. Williams responded ‘could you send me the text at least?’ So Fox set about typing the words up from scratch, since she didn’t even have an electronic copy. ‘As I was typing,’ Fox reveals, ‘I thought this is great, this is a great text, how come it’s just been lying dead for twenty years? ‘One of the reasons I was so excited, and excited about how much I liked it, is that as a literacy specialist, I know that if children know six nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four, they are normally in the top reading group by the time they’re eight. And there were seven nursery rhymes in Good Night Sleep Tight. So any child is going to sail into literacy, learning to read [using this book]...’ The next step was to find someone to illustrate the new version. Horacek said the offer came about because she and Fox have the same agent in Jenny Darling. ‘We’ve been acquainted for a long time. I’d said [to Darling] that I’d quite like to do a book of nursery rhymes some time,’ Horacek explains, adding that such opportunities are rare

in Australia. Fox says Horacek was an obvious choice ‘because of the style of her illustrations, because she’d done such a great job on Green Sheep, and because this book was for readers of the same age group’. ‘I just thought that there could be no one else actually, because the pictures she does, the style of art she does is perfect for this book, it’s clear for little kids it’s humorous—there’s enough humour for them to be tickled pink.’ The process of creating Green Sheep, says Horacek, had been ‘incredibly collaborative’, involving both illustrator and author tossing ideas back and forth. Horacek says this was ‘not the way Mem normally works with illustrators’. She adds, ‘I normally work on my own too so it was a bit of a rarity’. Fox agrees: ‘It’s so unusual for me to collaborate, I never collaborate.’ ‘A really good kid’s book is only good if the idea arises deeply out of the compost of the writer’s life … and that story must be complete and perfected before any artist gets a look at it. In an ideal world,’ says Fox. But ‘it was a delight working with Judy on the Green Sheep’, she adds. ‘It was a hilarious collaboration, I really loved that to-ing and fro-ing.’ Horacek says the Good Night process was different because ‘the text was already written— the way Mem normally works’. Horacek continues, ‘I liked it because it was so different to the Green Sheep. I didn’t just want to do more wacky sheep!’

Telling a visual story

Horacek started by creating ‘a mockup of what I wanted to do, quite an extensive mockup’ which involved working out ‘the two strands of the story—the kids, and the episodes of the nursery rhymes’. ‘Each of the nursery rhymes had a certain era attached to it [in my head]; a different colour scheme; little indicators that you might be in a different time or space. ‘It was more complicated than I’d realised. Each one had to have a mood and have their own characters almost. It was bigger than I’d anticipated. ‘Then it would go back to the same coloured “going to bed” narrative, with the same pyjamas. I wanted to create a narrative in that relationship,

‘A really good kid’s book is only good if the idea arises deeply out of the compost of the writer’s life… and that story must be complete and perfected before any artist gets a look at it. In an ideal world.’ -Mem Fox

with the children getting closer and closer and closer to Doug as kids do ... Green Sheep didn’t have that—there wasn’t any story told in the pictures that way.’ Horacek says this is the part of the process she loves most, working out ‘how the narrative flow happens, which pages go where, what pages had only text on them, what pages had only pictures on them’. Darling planned to show the 32-page mockup to Fox over dinner one night. Horacek admits she was a bit nervous. ‘I was really pleased with what I’d done and really wanted her to like it.’ Happily, when she arrived home one day ‘there was a message from Jenny saying “Mem wants to say something”, then she handed the phone to Mem who said “marvellous, wonderful, I love it, I love it, I love it”.’ Darling then took it to publishers.


Other collaborators to look out for Author Libbi Gorr and illustrator Bradley Trevor Greive collaborated on The Bedtime Poem for Edible Children (August, HarperCollins) which celebrates the parent-child bond and precious moments shared together with a book. It’s the first children’s book by Gorr, who previously wrote The A-Z of Mummy Manners and is a television personality, radio broadcaster and satirist. Bradley Trevor Greive is one of Australia’s most successful authors, having sold more than 22 million books in 115 countries.

Whenever Horacek works on a book, after the mockup is complete ‘I feel like I’m finished, but I’m not. Then the work really begins!’ Mem didn’t have much interaction with Horacek during the illustration process. ‘Because I’ve been published for twenty-nine years, and I know that I know nothing about art, (except that I do know the difference between good art in a children’s book and terrible art) I would never presume to instruct [an illustrator] in any way. I never tell them what to do,’ she says.


‘To follow up such a successful book was quite frightening,’ says Horacek. ‘This is the team that brought you Where Is the Green Sheep?—no pressure!’ ‘It took me a bit of time to get into the rhythm of it, the swing of it,’ she adds. ‘The pictures in your head are like these perfect jewels. You try and grab them but they’re like clouds.’ The biggest challenge was just the sheer amount of work: ‘The fact that when you came down to do it, thirty pages was a lot.’ Fox said that because it was an old book redone they had to make a few tiny changes to make the book look different enough from the original book. Horacek suggested it might be easier if there were two kids in the story, rather than one child, as was in the original book—so Fox created two new characters (Bonnie and Ben) to replace Vivienne Ven. Comparing this process to the four books

she’s created on her own, Horacek says, ‘it’s completely different. When I work on my own I get pictures and words on my own. Some come easily and other ones I have to think a bit more about … think a bit further and make something up.’ Horacek’s only other picture book collaboration was with comedy writer Doug MacLeod to produce The Night Before Mother’s Day (A&U, April 2012), a poem about a mother dreading Mother’s Day, illustrated by ink drawings with cross-hatching. She says when she collaborates, sometimes it’s a challenge to draw the particular idea captured in that text. She’ll look at the text and think ‘I don’t know if I would have drawn that’. However, often this can also be a good challenge. ‘[It’s] something about having that structure there— you just bounce up against that. You almost push the envelope more than you might’ve on your own text.’

The final product

After the illustrations were completed came the design process and then the book was sent to print. Both Horacek and Fox are very pleased with the end result. Horacek is happy that Fox likes her illustrations. ‘I know that Mem was really pleased,’ she says, particularly with her interpretation of Skinny Doug, because ‘her text is based on a real person. That’s apparently just how he looked.’

Well-known author/illustrator collaborations: • Dog In, Cat Out by Gillian Rubinstein illustrated by Ann James (1991) • Fox by Margaret Wild illustrated by Ron Brooks (2000) • Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French illustrated by Bruce Whatley (2007) • The Bad Books by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton.

‘The pictures in your head are like these perfect jewels. You try and grab them but they’re like clouds.’ -Judy Horacek

Fox adds, ‘what I am crazy about in this is that Judy’s very cleverly alerted parents to the fact that this book was created by the same two people. It was clever to make the two books a companion’. Fox and Horacek will launch Good Night Sleep Tight with a national tour in partnership with the National Year of Reading and Get Reading, starting in Melbourne with a launch at the Wheeler Centre on Sunday 21 October.




How did


I get here

Julia Marshall is the founder of the small but ‘globally focussed’ children’s publisher Gecko Press, based in Wellington, New Zealand. She tells us about her ‘hotch potch’ career path.



Issue 3


count the real beginning of Gecko Press from a moment in Italy when I said no to going shoe-shopping with a friend. Instead I walked one more time around the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, trying to make sense of it all, but clearly looking confused. A kind publisher from Belgium told me to come back the next day when he would answer all my questions about publishing, because someone had done the same thing for him 25 years before. Some people have straight path careers. Mine has been a hotch potch and it is only when I look back that I see that for a distracted person—I’m a member of the board of the Global Association for Seriously Distracted People—there has been a reasonable amount of focus. I started as a journalist, then moved to Sweden where I trained as a kindergarten teacher. The training was part of a wonderful program for teaching Swedish to immigrants. To improve my Swedish, I read Swedish translations of Margaret Mahy, Roald Dahl and The Secret Garden, as well as great Swedish writers such as Ulf Stark and Maria Gripe. I haven’t seriously returned to reading adult writing since. But instead of teaching kindergarten, which rather finished after I spent a week in a kindergarten on work experience (I greatly admire kindergarten teachers), I went back to journalism, working for 12 years for a Swedish company that made international corporate magazines. We made quite good magazines on behalf of companies working with gas and submersible pumps and heat exchangers and

What I am reading now

logistics, in up to 22 languages, which were sent all around the world. But I knew I wanted to publish children’s books. It took me three attempts to come back to New Zealand. First I got a job for two years as a trainee at independent New Zealand publisher BWB, where Bridget Williams taught me how to make well-made books. On another trip to New Zealand I did a children’s writing course with Kate De Goldi, because I figured that was a good place to find budding writers. Back in Sweden again, I started to go to the Frankfurt and Bologna book fairs in my holidays to see how they worked. By the time I met the Belgian publisher in Bologna I was finally ready to settle in New Zealand, and thanks to him, I knew where to start. He told me how to buy rights and that’s what I started doing. All the years working with translation suddenly paid off. When I told the Swedish publisher of Margaret Mahy that I was planning on starting a publishing company specialising in awardwinning children’s books translated into English, he said that either I was an idiot, or I had found a smart niche. ‘Let’s hope it’s a niche,’ he said. Gecko Press is now seven years old. We sell what we call ‘curiously good books’ in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the US. We choose to publish a small number of books each year and try to do everything we can to give our books a long life. Of the 15 books we publish every year, 85% are in translation, chosen from some of the best writers and illustrators in the world.

I’ve just read A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper (Random House), recommended to me by Ruth at the Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie, Wellington. I’m now waiting to read number two and three in the ‘The Montmaray Journals’. In the meantime I’m reading an ‘Alex Rider’ book by Anthony Horowitz that I bought at PaperPlus in Wanaka on a road trip, because it is pacy and fun. And because I am on holiday on the farm, I am reading Nigel Slater, deciding about dinner.

He said that either I was an idiot or I had found a smart niche. ‘Let’s hope it’s a smart niche,’ he said— Julia Marshall, Gecko Press I still travel a lot, going to Frankfurt and to Bologna every year to buy rights, and to the Taipei Book Fair for the past two years, mostly for selling. This year I look forward to attending Frankfurt as part of the New Zealand Guest of Honour program—it is a huge opportunity for New Zealand publishers and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Educational bites

get Smart

*Kindergarten (K) and Foundation Year (F) refer to the two years prior to year 1.

e of the Australian Andrew Wrathall rounds up som ools in 2013. Curriculum textbooks coming to sch



Two books available in print and digital formats for years 7-10 include ‘Essential English Skills for the Australian Curriculum: A Multilevel Approach’ (AnneMarie Brownhill, Alison Rucco, Sonya Stoneman, CUP, September-October 2012) and ‘Oxford English Australian Curriculum: Knowledge and Skills’ (Paul Grover, OUP, January 2013), which have both been revised to cover the language and literacy strands of Australian Curriculum English. Oxford Year 10 English Australian Curriculum (Michael Horne, Ryan Johnstone, OUP) is tailored to year 10 for a smooth transition to the Australian Curriculum in preparation for senior English by five fully integrated digital modules, accessed via the accompanying ‘obook’.

For years F-6, ‘Australian Signpost Maths for New South Wales’ (Alan McSeveny, Rachel McSeveny, Dian McSeveny Foster et al, Pearson, March 2013) offers a simple system for linking New South Wales students to the Australian Curriculum content and ‘enVisionMATHS’ (various, Pearson, September 2011-February 2012) develops maths understanding and engages students on a national level. ‘Essential Mathematics Gold for the Australian Curriculum’ (David Greenwood, Jenny Goodman, Bryn Humberstone, et al, CUP, August-September 2012) is for years 7-10 to help students meet the minimum requirements of the achievement standards with a friendly and easy-to-follow layout. ‘Oxford Big Ideas Mathematics’ (various, OUP, January 2013) is a wholeschool program for years F-8 which includes student and teachers’ books, activity kits, ‘obook’ and eTutor. ‘Active Maths for the Australian Curriculum’ (Monique Miotto & Tracey MacBeth-Dunn, Macmillan Education) is a topic-based class and homework series to supplement a main mathematics program, while ‘MathsWorld for the Australian Curriculum’ (various, Macmillan Education) develops deep understandings and knowledge of mathematics with print books plus digital support (both for years 7-10).


For years 7-10, ‘History for the Australian Curriculum’ (Angela Woollacott et al, CUP, August-September 2012) encourages students to pose questions, analyse sources and use evidence to illuminate and enrich their understanding of the past and ‘Oxford Big Ideas History Australian Curriculum’ (Richard Smith et al, OUP) provides complete coverage across print and digital with a wealth of stunning images, illustrations and engaging source materials. The younger students from years F-6 can enjoy ‘Discovering History’ (Kate Cameron & Jennifer Lawless, Pearson, March 2012), which is separated into three levels and includes a teacher resource book with teaching methodology, curriculum links, learning activities, historical overviews and blackline master.


Issue 3 2012

Pearson Reader 2.0. Collaborate. Assess. Learn. (various, Pearson, 2013) is for years 7-10 students in mathematics, english, science and history, and provides online content with an enhanced interface with embedded, tracked assessment. For 7-12 students in the same subjects, Pearson eBook 3.0. Any device, every school (various, Pearson, 2013) allows a student book to be online or offline on any device, while retaining the integrity of the printed page. Maths and science teachers in years 7-12 can assign tests to students, who can create tests for their own revision, on any device with Pearson Assess. Better results in every class. (various, Pearson, 2013).


For years 7-10, ‘Oxford Big Ideas Science Australian Curriculum’ (various, OUP) focusses on scientific and inquiry skills with a ‘virtual laboratory’ that brings science experiments to life, along with a range of print, digital and blended resources. ScienceWorld (Peter Standard & Ken Williamson, Macmillan Education) is a tried and tested, unit-based approach to science and Science Essentials (Ken Williamson & Anne Garton, Macmillan Education) links science to reallife applications with hands on investigations for years 7-10.



Reviews: Picture books (December to February)


December to February Children's

Junior BOOKSELLER+PUBLISHER’s star rating system gives readers an indication of the quality of the publication being reviewed in its context. Our reviewers have been asked to use the following guidelines to rate the book:



an exceptional book of the very highest quality, regardless of genre an excellent book good book, within its genre a passable example of the genre caution advised

Each issue, Junior asks booksellers, teachers, librarians and others in the publishing industry to review books in advance of their publication. All books reviewed are Australian or New Zealand.

Top Picks

ebooks (simultaneous release unless otherwise specified) audio

Among our reviewers’ top picks this issue are:



Page 14


The Dog on the Tuckerbox


Page 14

Bad Grammar

Tyrannosaurus in the Veggie Patch: Saurus Street 1



Page 15

Page 16

‘For all those readers who loved Wanted: The Perfect Pet and The Perfect Present, Fiona Roberton has triumphed again’ —Hilary Adams on Cuckoo!

Picture books  Cuckoo! (Fiona Roberton, Viking, $24.99 hb, ISBN 9780670076123, December)


Issue 3


Cuckoo is a little bird who doesn’t quite fit in or, more particularly, no matter how many ways he tries saying ‘cuckoo’, he cannot find anyone to understand him. So he sets out to look for someone who does. After several brave attempts at conversing with an array of animals (and you will find these in the brilliant endpapers), Cuckoo is no closer to finding someone to talk to, so he decides to enroll in Madame Sheep’s School of Excellence and learn the language of sheep instead. Despite his very best efforts, however, Cuckoo cannot make himself understood, nor has he heard anyone who sounds remotely like him. Exhausted, he flies up to the rooftops to find a quiet spot to sleep when, through the darkness, he hears a faint yet



familiar sound. For all those readers who loved Wanted: The Perfect Pet and The Perfect Present, Fiona Roberton has triumphed again in writing a story about finding that special someone who understands us perfectly (although the ending may not be quite what you were expecting!). A joy to read for pre-school to early primary-age children who will also love the simple, cartoon-style illustrations and may even spot someone they recognise! Hilary Adams works in an independent bookshop in Sydney and has studied the art of picture books

The Dog on the Tuckerbox (Corinne Fenton, illus by Peter Gouldthorpe, Walker Books, $16.95 pb, ISBN 9781922077462, January) H H H H The Dog on the Tuckerbox brings to life one of Australia’s most iconic stories about the mateship and hardship experienced by early Europeans in Australia. We follow the story of Bill the bullock driver and his faithful dog Lady in the Australian bush, culminating in the depiction of Lady’s loyalty and devotion to her master and friend. While many of us may have come across this story at some point in our childhood, Corinne Fenton and Peter Gouldthorpe reinvest this well-known tale with a spirit of admiration and sensitivity that draws the reader to it. The illustrations have a sense of the melancholy about them, which reinforces the extreme situation in which Bill and Lady find themselves and the unwavering friendship

they enjoyed. Corrine Fenton’s narrative has a simple and restrained quality and her words are imbred with a deep respect for this much-loved tale. Both children and adults will love this book and although it necessarily concludes with a sense of sadness, there is much to be celebrated in this wonderful tale. The Dog on the Tuckerbox will be received well in both retail and school/ library environments and should be a must-have on every Australian child’s bookshelf. Natalie Crawford is a freelance reviewer and works at Dymocks Claremont, WA


When you think of the word ‘grommet’ (a young and/or inexperienced surfer), a sprightly grandma doesn’t exactly come to mind, and yet on the cover of this picture book, there’s a sweet old lady resplendent in a red and white stripey swimsuit, holding onto a surfboard. A young child, possibly her grandchild, is at her side, with a dog following at their heels. Granny hangs out on the beach with her similarly aged friends and together they fearlessly crest the waves and snorkel underneath them. (‘Jann twists and turns, Doris ducks and dives, Zelda zooms through a dumper.’) However, the child (the ambiguity of Karen Blair’s illustrations means that it could be of either sex) holds back, sitting on the shore with a faithful canine friend, scared to enter the water. Bit by bit, and

with lots of gentle coaxing, the little one is made to realise that the sea is like a great, big rock pool, with lots of wonderful creatures living there. Dianne Wolfer’s words are simple and beautifully matched by Blair’s expansive pastel seascapes. An encouraging book not only for reluctant swimmers, but for any child afraid of trying new experiences. Granny Grommet and Me is suitable for younger primary school readers. Thuy On is a Melbourne-based critic, editor and manuscript assessor

A Very Unusual Pursuit: City of Orphans book one (Catherine Jinks, A&U, $14.99 pb, ISBN 9871743313060, January) H H H Prolific author Catherine Jinks is back with a brand new series, ‘City of Orphans’. The first book, A Very Unusual Pursuit, is set in Victorian London and stars 10-year-old Birdie, ‘a bogler’s girl’. A bogle is a horrible creature that lurks in dark places (like chimneys) and eats children for breakfast. But life is tough and to earn her keep it’s Birdie’s job to lure these creatures from their lairs with her angelic singing voice. Then her master Alfred Bunce kills them with his trusty spear. When some of the young neighbourhood pickpockets go missing, Birdie and Alfred know it’s the work of a bogle. But their pursuit leads them to an unexpected place: the house of a doctor, who’s planned some traps of his own. Jinks’ attention to detail in conjuring the period shows a master at work.

Nonfiction   Young readers

Illustrations of class structures are woven seamlessly into the plot, settings are vivid and characters speak in accents and slang (there’s even a glossary). It’s also a riveting read with some truly terrifying moments. A promising new series for the 8-12 age group. Hannah Francis is a bookseller at the Younger Sun Bookshop in Yarraville

Nonfiction  The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty (Peter Singer, Text, $34.95 tpb, ISBN 9781921520013, Bad Grammar (Nathan Luff, Walker Books, $16.95 pb, ISBN 9781921977862, January) H H H H HHH H February)


Marcus isHouse, Asbestos a greata warrior—a monumental dragonslayer! history of James At least, Hardie he is Industries online. Gaming and itsis107-year the one place relationship he feelswith at home a most since useful his and deadly only friend substance, Bashir moved treads to aIndia, fine line a fact between his parents exposing just problems don’t understand. and attaching After blame. Marcus’Although attempt reports to buy from himself as aearly friend as 1930 backfires suggested disastrously, a link between his mumasbestos and dad anddecide lung diseases, some more a succession drastic action of Hardie is needed: staff persisted they enrol in the himbelief in a that the problem boarding school. Bourkely could be overcome, Boy’s Grammar or ignored is a ‘unique until a later time. school’ for Despite ‘boys who thehave evidence, troublewhich fittingis in’, voluminous, in the depths the difficulties of the Outback. of assigning Marcus liability soon discovers have beenthe great. truth So about many individualsmost Bourkely: wereofinvolved, the students and often are bullies it seems andthe thugs, faultthe of ignorance school itselfasismuch ramshackle as negligence. and decaying, James the Hardie’s teachers asbestos wear products koala suitscould to class, oncethe beprincipal found almost is a bearded everywhere, brute from with athevicious brake linings pet dingo, of cars thetolibrary insulation, is haunted building by materials a sabreand the ubiquitous toothed nun, and worst fibro houses. of all, there That are the no dangers computers! posed

Armed by asbestos with his dustwits, were his ignored new friends for Fred so long and Trent, is almost and inconceivable, his knowledge from but this The Warrior’s remarkable Guide taletoshows Everything how.byFor R Jthe Bergin, thousands Marcus who has have to survive suffered at the as school a result, theyit call willBad be small comfort, Grammar. A funny but there fast-paced are lessons book,here full for of companies outlandish today. The and characters asbestos incidents, that for and90frequent years was asides Hardie’s from core The business Guide Warrior’s eventually to Everything, became this a liability, is a recommended and the story read of how for youngthe adventurers. company tried—and continues to try—to distance itself from its past makes for fascinating reading. Heath Grahamtoisreaders an educator currently at the Recommended of corporate andworking social history. Stateis Library of reviewer Victoria Lachlan Jobbins a teacher, and ex-bookseller



Nick Dluzniak works for the Boroondara Library Service


a heavy and the effect emphasis of his on Irishsocial middle media, class upbringing. that both excites Gibbs also delights and traces Shaw’s without intellectual losing ‘the andplot’. literary Many development (including in relation myself ) mayto appreciate the massivetheevents less enhanced that occurred violence during in Shaw’s scenes. certain life, including With antwo ending world justwars ripe and for athe screenplay decline of the British translation, Gwynne’s colonialbook empire. has Aus leading primed authority for the next on Shaw, GibbsWith instalment. writes such vividly a likeable and main with acharacter, sure grasp youofcan’t his material. but hope he’ll This beat booktheis wrath sure to of The entertain Debt for the good. literary or political-minded reader, or anyone who simply enjoys a Murnaghan is a children’s bookseller and well-writtenJen biography. serial blogger

Issue 3

It’s a warm, George Bernard cloudless Shawday wason born theinGold Dublin Coast in when 1856,elite the only son runner Dom of an Silvagni alcoholic turnscorn 15. merchant On his routine and amorning leading amateur run, an soprano. altercation He with died at a white the agevan of 94 changes in 1950, things and was, as AInstead forever. M Gibbs of states, a party, a ‘herald Dom and is given creator a cursed of cultural gift and social from an organisation change.’ Despite so secret showing and promise powerful, in they his early are years as only known a novelist, as The Shaw Debt.began As thea eldest successful son, career it’s Dom’s as a playwright turn to perform in his one 30s,ofand sixbecame Herculean a major tasks,influence or risk the on the theatre loss of a pound of hisoftime flesh. andThe after. firstAdding assignment: to thecapture appeal of Shaw The Zolt,asa glorified a biographical thief, made subject famous are his on political Facebookand by amorous engagements. impressionable young teens. In hisIt’slove up life to Dom Shaw to revealed infiltrate as muchcunning this exuberance criminal’s as he world did in but his role it takes as spokesperson all his bold for the socialist tenacity and resilience Fabian to Society. succeed Gibbs and does save himself. justice toFastthe rich lifewith paced, of Bernard all the hallmarks Shaw, drawing of a thrill-seeking interesting and adventure, original insights into Gwynne’s book Shaw’s is a numerous page-turning relationships action adventure, with women with


Nonfiction  The Life You CanThe Save: Acting Now to End (Peter$14.99 Singer, pb, Text,ISBN $34.95 tpb, ISBN 9781921520013, Catch the Zolt: Debt Instalment OneWorld (PhillipPoverty Gwynne, A&U, 9781742378442, January) HHH H February) H HH

Reviews: Picture books / Young readers (December to February)

Granny Grommet and Me (Dianne Wolfer, illus by Karen Blair, Walker Books, $27.95 hb, ISBN 9781921720161, January)

Reviews: Young readers (December to February)

Escape from Cockatoo Island: My Australian Story (Yvette Poshoglian, Scholastic, $16.99 pb, ISBN 9781742832456, February) H H H Escape from Cockatoo Island is the latest offering in the ‘My Australian Story’ series. Olivia doesn’t think that she’s a bad girl. But she’s starting to wonder if maybe she’s got it wrong. Orphaned and alone, Olivia spends her days praying that a family will adopt her, that she’ll find work, or will somehow escape Cockatoo Island and the harsh conditions of Biloela Industrial School. Olivia’s life is a melting pot of hope and disappointment. Every snatch of hope thrown her way is tempered by bitter disappointment. Told in short, digestible diary entries, this series is designed to engage young readers with their Australian history through fictionalised accounts and it does so very well. Like the others in the series, this is well researched and offers an intimate portrayal of a specific

point in time. The story of the forgotten children from Cockatoo Island offers a refreshing look at an untold piece of our history. The final chapter was an abrupt conclusion to the piece, but overall Olivia’s story is one that many young readers will enjoy, and they will follow her ups and downs with great interest. Bec Kavanagh is a Melbourne based writer and reviewer

History Hackers: Omega Squad 2 (Charlie Carter, Pan Macmillan, $12.99 pb, ISBN 9781742611648, December) HHH

The Omega Squad continues the popular ‘Battle Boy’ series. Now 13, Napoleon Augustus Smythe is a Battle Agent, part of the Time Troopers team called the Omega Squad. Following on from book one, the team discovers a new threat—someone is stealing historical figures from the Battle Books and it looks like their nemesis, Time Broker Horace Horologe, is involved. History Hackers has everything you’d expect from the Battle Boy books: imaginative sci-fi scenarios, super-high-tech gadgetry and epic historical battles (this time, with a twist). Its story about creating humans from digital DNA, however, is only one piece of the puzzle. Targeting older readers (9–10 + years), Charlie Carter (aka children’s writer John

Heffernan) delivers an expanded, more sophisticated Battle Book universe. It takes things to the next level with an overarching conspiracy plotline involving the shadowy organisation MANIC—the intricacies of which may baffle new readers but satisfy fans with a growing interest in the world around them. It’s a clever continuation of a series wanting to grow up with its audience rather than be left behind, while the unanswered questions surrounding MANIC—and who the Omega Squad’s real enemies are—should bring readers back for more. Meredith Lewin is a Sydney-based freelance proofreader and reviewer who has worked for a children’s publisher

Tyrannosaurus in the Veggie Patch: Saurus Street 1: (Nick Falk, illus by Tony Flowers, Random House, $12.95 pb, ISBN 9781742756554, January) H H H H


Issue 3


At some point most of us poke around in the garden for signs that dinosaurs used to roam our backyards— the fantasy ends when all that’s unearthed is a broken bit of crockery. But what if one day you found a real live dinosaur in the vegetable patch? This happens to Jack when he wishes for a dinosaur of his very own. Tyrannosauruses being difficult to manage, Jack asks best friend Toby to help send it back. But a homemade time machine soon lands them in even bigger trouble— precisely dinosaur central, 60 million years in the past. This cute and exuberant series for children 6+ years is high on fun and over-the-top adventure. Its premise of dinosaurs popping up on the street where you live has

View more JUNIOR reviews online Among the books reviewed online in the past month:

Bookseller Publisher

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instant appeal for the age group, while its quirky mix of science, natural history and magic will maintain young readers’ interest throughout. Nick Falk gives prehistoric fans a plethora of dinosaurs—and a dinosaur battle, too— cleverly working an enormous number of facts into the plot and jokes. For less confident readers, help is available with a lively design, informal text types and Tony Flowers’ delightful illustrations of the loveable frankfurt-eating time-travelling T-Rex. Meredith Lewin is a Sydney-based freelance proofreader and reviewer who has worked for a children’s publisher.

Activity books

A taste of books to come


number of lovely board books are out later this year, including a some readalong picture books by Alison Lester: Run like a Rabbit: Read Along with Alison Lester Book 1 and Growl like a Tiger: Read Along with Alison Lester Book 2 (A&U; December) for children aged two to four years, with simple rhyming text and pictures of an animal or bird on each page, where children can do the actions while learning new words. Out early next year are two books in the adorable ‘Little Nutbrown Hare’ series, Guess How Much I Love You: Colours and Guess How Much I Love You: Counting (Sam McBratney, illus by Anita Jeram, Walker Books, January) where babies and toddlers are introduced to colours and numbers as they follow a curious Little Nutbrown Hare on his adventures. Colours is particularly eye-catching, with each of Little Nutbrown Hare’s friends, such as the green frog or the yellow butterfly, gorgeously depicted opposite a fullpage splash of bright, matching colour. Mouse Mansion: Sam and Julia (Karina Schaapman, A&U, November), for ages three and up, features cross-sectional photographs of the real-life ‘Mouse Mansion’ built by the author who is also an artist. Also out in November is We’re Going on a Croc Hunt (Laine Mitchell & Louis Shea; Scholastic), an entertaining picture book about a group of bush animals out to catch a crocodile. The story is told in a reinvention of a familiar rhyme and comes with a sing-along CD. Princess and Fairy: Enchanting Carnival (Anna Pignataro, Scholastic, November) is an

intricately illustrated look and find book, laid out on glossy, sparkly card, about two bunnies in Fairyland who need to find everything on their ‘list of enchanting things’ before the carnival arrives in town. In the full-colour illustrated book On the Farm: Our Holiday with Uncle Kev (Roland Harvey, A&U, November), Uncle Kev invites the family to visit his new farm for a ‘restful holiday’ but immediately sets them to work when they arrive. Some other children’s books offerings include a slightly hair-raising story about a troll family who only eat people, Troggle the Troll (Nick Falk & Tony Lowe, Random House, December), that might thrill some and scare others into liking their vegetables as Troggle, the only veggie-lover in the family, gets a chance to turn things around. Speaking of scary, also keep an eye out in December for How they Croaked (Georgia Bragg, illus by Kevin O’Malley, Bloomsbury)—a collection of stories for older children detailing the remarkable and sometimes gruesome deaths of 19 world figures. And in contrast, a new illustrated edition of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant, (Ritva Voutila, A&U) is out in November.

Penguin classics

‘Every so often, there comes a story so brilliant and lively and moving that it cannot be left in the past.’ With these words on the preliminary pages of each book, Viking is releasing new editions of four Australian children’s classics, each with a newly designed and simply illustrated cover, this December. I can Jump Puddles (Alan Marshall), Seven Little Australians (Ethel Turner), Picnic at Hanging Rock (Joan Lindsay) and Playing Beatie Bow (Ruth Park), will make up the Australian Classics collection, available in hardback and priced at RRP $19.99 each. At the back of each of the pastel-colour-themed books, is an informative ‘about the author’ section, and Seven Little Australians includes a touching foreword written by Ethel Turner’s granddaughter Philippa Poole.

Finch Publishing

Finch Publishing Up Downs

Author: Christine Durham ISBN: 9781876451189 RRP: $26.95

Authors: Dr Michelle Neumann and Kaye Forster ISBN: 9781876451806 RRP: $29.95 A fun and practical way to introduce reading and writing to children aged 2-5. At the heart of this book are songs, beautifully illustrated stories and imaginative activities.

Chasing Ideas is a stimulating resource of ideas to help parents and teachers unleash children’s curiosity about the world. The author offers a fascinating mix of thinking skills and techniques to stimulate children’s imagination.

Distributor: HarperCollins Tel: 1300 551 721 Email: Website:

Your Family Books Loved By Two – for children with two mums Author: Michelle Forte ISBN: 9780987264909 RRP: $14.95 A short poetic book for families with two mums! It explains that you can be loved by two mums, and it is normal! With a special activity section to be completed by children and parents.

Distributor: Your Family Books Tel: 0423 308 303 Email: Website:


Distributor: HarperCollins Tel: 1300 551 721 Email: Website:

Walker Books is running a marketing campaign called ‘You Don’t Know Me’ to publicise the Rosie Black Chronicles (which includes Dark Star out in November). It utilises street-level promotion, including postering throughout Melbourne and Sydney, as well as window decals in bookshops across the country. All material features QR codes that can be scanned to take readers straight to a website featuring a book trailer which portrays a grungy, dystopian narrative. A carefully selected group of social media leaders and avid fans of Rosie Black have also been tasked with ‘seeding the market’ with the ‘You Don’t Know Me’ message. They will post exclusive digital material and offer giveaways such as limited edition t-shirts and personal messages from author Lara Morgan. QR codes linking across all Rosie Black products and communication will enable ongoing series marketing and reader engagement in the future. Keep an eye out for this interactive material.

Issue 3 2012

Chasing Ideas

Taking Rosie Black to the streets


title showcase / nonfiction

Colourful, bright and packed full of activities with colouring-in pages, stickers, games and ideas for things to make and do, The Holiday Creativity Book (Mandy Archer, Walker Books, January) might make a good addition to a parent’s activity arsenal in time for the summer holidays. There’s also The Horse and Pony Creativity Book (Andrea Pinnington, Walker Books, January), which is much like the holiday creativity book, but with horses. For an alternative, keep an eye out for Pixel Sticker Art (Matthew Kelly, Walker Books, December) which, surprisingly, begins with a short introduction to Pointillism, as well as an outline of the history of pixels in computer graphics, through to modern day 3-D pixel sculptures. Kids aged seven and up can have fun placing the 3000 peel-off sticky squares included onto a preset grid guide to create pixel art aliens, dinosaurs and monsters. How Cars Work (Nick Arnold, illus by Allan Sanders, Walker Books, December) will captivate the curious, through explanation and practical application, in this interactive guide to the inner workings of a car.

Book bites

book bites

Junior 2012 Term 3  

The 2012 term 3 edition of Bookseller+Publisher Junior.

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