I was drawn to this book immediately because I love David Miller’s artwork. His colourful paper sculptures are amazing.

And in Millie’s Special Something, David’s artwork works so well with Tania Cox’s simple cumulative text.

Big, bad Reggie loves to scare Millie.

It’s fun. But not for Millie. It’s frightening!

Her friends each have a special something to feel brave.

So why doesn’t she? Or does she?

Millie’s Special Something is a positive book about friendship and loyalty. When Reggie threatens Millie, all her friends come to her defence and protect her from the fearsome Reggie who is so much bigger and stronger than Millie.

But Millie knows that somehow she’s going to have to find her own way of dealing with Reggie and stopping him from scaring her. She discovers the solution quite by accident, but soon realises that it’s a very powerful tool.

This is a poignant story of a little dinosaur’s quest to find out what’s special about her, and to live in a world without fear. It’s a book about self-esteem and facing up to the things that scare you.

Millie’s Special Something is a great book for class discussions or for reading in the home and getting kids to talk about the things that scare them, and helping them to overcome them.

Young readers will also love the fact that the characters and setting are from the age of the early dinosaurs.

Millie’s Special Something is for pre-school and early primary readers. It’s written by Tania Cox and illustrated by David Miller.

Millie’s Special Something is published by Working Title Press.


Two New “Laugh Out Loud” Picture Books

I wasn’t going to blog today. I have some serious rewrites to do on my YA novel and author visits to prepare for later in the week. But I couldn’t help myself.

I had to share two wonderful new picture books that had me giggling uncontrollably in the car, (parked of course) attracting suspicious looks from other parents while I waited for my son at school pickup.

Rufus The Numbat

They say a picture tells a thousand words, and this is definitely true of Rufus The Numbat, David Miller’s new book from Ford Street Publishing.

There are very few words in this beautifully illustrated book, but they combine with the pictures to tell a big story about a very small numbat. And roles are reversed. Instead of man causing havoc in the numbat’s environment, Rufus manages to cause complete chaos in town.

Apart from the simple text and humour, readers will love the amazing illustrations and engage with the tiny Numbat who is “Just passing through”. Rufus The Numbat, is David Miller’s fourteenth picture book and the fifth that he has written. He makes intricate, colourful 3D paper sculptures and then photographs them for his pictures.

This lively picture book introduces young readers to the fragile relationship between humans and animals.

The Truth About Penguins

Another  new “Laugh Out Loud” picture book is The Truth About Penguins, written by Meg McKinlay and illustrated by Mark Jackson

The animals at the zoo are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the penguins. None of them have actually seen a penguin before so they speculate about what the new inhabitants might be like.   It’s like an exaggerated game of Chinese Whispers as the animals share their ‘knowledge’.

They are soon convinced that penguins fly south for the winter, eat pizza and wear cool bathers. The humorous text and detailed illustrations work in perfect harmony. I think my loudest guffaw was when the elephant declares, “My mother was a penguin”. Not only was the text hilarious, but the sight of the elephant leaning up against the tree  ‘hand on hip’ and legs crossed added a new level of humour.

Fortunately, the zookeeper sets the zoo animals straight on what penguins are ‘really’ like. I love the way this book teaches readers so much about penguins, but in a funny and entertaining way.

The Truth About Penguins is published by Walker Books Australia.

Kids’ reading — Boots, Rufus the Numbat, and a Fairy Empire

As a proud parent, I find it endlessly interesting to watch my kids’ literary tastes developing. So I’m now going to make an enormous leap of (perhaps faulty) logic and assume that all you people out there will find it just as interesting. And thus I shall blog about the books that my daughters have been reading, or, in the case of the younger, chewing on.

My youngest, Alexandra, is just 18 months old. She loves books. She loves it when I read them to her — but she also spends ages turning the pages by herself, giggling at the pictures and pointing things out on the pages. Her current favourites include A Friend For Boots and Bath-Time Boots, both by Satoshi Kitamura. These board-books are absolutely brilliant! Simple yet delightful words combine with simple but charming illustrations, to tell the story of a cat named Boots. Alexandra delights in pointing out Boots and the various toys depicted on each page.

My eldest, Nykita, is 7 years old. She is currently obsessed with the Rainbow Magic fairy books by the pseudonymous Daisy Meadows. Daisy, or rather the four authors from Working Partners who write under this pseudonym, have built a Rainbow Magic empire. There are already over 90 titles in the series, and no doubt, they’ll keep churning them out for as long as little girls keep getting their parents to buy them. Nykita has been borrowing them from her school library. She is finding this rather frustrating as she only gets to borrow one book a week, and she usually finishes the book on the night she brings it home. But fear not… I went to a recent department store toy and book sale. There, amongst a sea of mothers with shopping trolleys stacked twice their height in toys, I wandered around with an armful of books. I got two boxed sets of the Rainbow Magic books, comprising books 71 to 84. And then to balance things out a bit, I also got a boxed set of Enid Blyton books. These should keep her entertained for a week or two.

With two young daughters who love books, I was delighted to receive a review copy of David Miller’s new picture book, Rufus the Numbat. This is Miller’s second book for Ford Street Publishing, after the critically acclaimed Big and Me. And he’s done it again — a lovely book with a unique look and a story that works on two levels. Kids can simply enjoy the madness and mayhem that ensues when Rufus the numbat wanders into the city, while adults can appreciate the subtle statement on humans encroaching on the natural habitats of native animals.

But don’t just take my word for how good it is… let’s get some expert opinions as well. It got a definite thumbs up from Nykita. She spent ages studying the intricate paper sculptures that Miller used to illustrate the book. “I like the way everything is made out of paper,” she announced. She also said that it was “a very creative story”. Her favourite bit was when Rufus rode a skateboard away from the city to the bush. I read the book to Alexandra, who kept pointing to Rufus each time I turned the page, giggling with enthusiasm every time she spotted him.

So Miller has managed to please an 18 month old, a 7 year old and a 42 year old with Rufus the Numbat — a pretty good achievement!

Anyone out there want to share with us what their kids have been reading? Leave a comment.

And tune in next time so I can tell you about how much I love old books.

Catch ya later,  George

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