Lily the Elf – New Releases

imageSo utterly adorable and perfect for exploring deep emotions, friendships, problem solving, confidence and adventure are award-winning Anna Branford‘s Lily the Elf series for emergent readers. All with five short, steadily-paced chapters, enlarged font and sweet, detailed illustrations by Lisa Coutts throughout, these books are irresistibly readable.

I read the latest two books with my six year old daughter, alternating pages as we like to do. She participated with confidence, both understanding the concepts as she read and enjoying the active listening role as well. The books also effectively engaged her interaction as chapter endings left us with opportunities for discussion.

imageIn ‘The Sleepover’, Lily’s cousin, Fern, is invited to stay for the night. It has been a long time since they have seen each other, but Lily is excited nevertheless. She helps prepare a delicious meal, some fun games, a special bed for Fern and her favourite bedtime stories. The anticipation is almost too much to bear, but when Fern finally arrives, Lily’s expectations for a fun evening are soon dashed. Fern dismisses all of Lily’s efforts, leaving her confused and disappointed. But despite Fern’s scornful attitude, Lily manages to cut to the core of the issue and gently reassures Fern, slowly but surely, that she is safe and welcome.

The themes of empathy and kindness are evidently clear but written beautifully to reflect associated feelings of misplacement, uncertainty and disillusionment. Intertwined are playfulness and familiarity to make this story relatable and relevant to its early readers.

imageIn ‘The Jumble Sale’ Lily’s elf neighbourhood is holding a Jumble Sale Day to sell their no-longer-needed belongings. Lily yearns to buy a dress-up mermaid’s tail with her elf coins. But when Dad and Granny begin to clear out some of their own old dress ups, Lily is cross, but not as devastated as the notion of selling her baby cot with the precious hanging cloud. The day turns from bad to worse when she discovers the mermaid’s tail is too expensive, and her cot is the only option for a couple expecting their first baby. With a little thought and a lot of courage, Lily’s generosity, resilience and willingness to part with the special treasures ultimately lead to the satisfying ending she hoped for…in more ways than one!

I love how this story focuses on sentimentality and how simple possessions can evoke such strong feelings deep within us. It also reminds us that we are still able to cherish our memories forever, and allow others to create their own memories with those passed-on treasures.

Totally age-appropriate with supportive reading structures, simple language and whimsical illustrations, children from age five will just adore this special, spirited and good-natured series with a whole lot of heart.

Walker Books, August 2016.  

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REVIEW OF POND MAGIC

It’s hard enough being a twelve-year-old and having to deal with teasing from the school bully because your parents have given you the unfortunate name of Lily Padd.

But when Lily is forced to give up her bedroom for the French exchange student and share with her younger and annoying twin sisters, she thinks that things can’t get any worse.

Unfortunately they do. For some inexplicable reason Lily Padd is turning into a frog and unless she does something about it soon she’s going to be spending the rest of her days hopping around the house eating flies.

Pond Magic, is an hilarious new Chomp from Penguin. It is the debut novel of author, Angela Sunde. Angela is also a talented illustrator but for Pond Magic, the quirky illustrations have been drawn by Lisa Coutts.

There’s a great sense of comedy in this book and plenty of tension as Lily’s symptoms increase daily. First it’s the burping, then the webbed feet, the green skin tinge and the frog like wart. But when Lily starts thinking that flies look appetizing she knows she’s really in trouble.

Lily is a great character as are her best friend, Maureen and the mysterious and attractive exchange student Rainier le Dauphin de France.

Chomp lovers will enjoy the humour, action and hint of romance to be found in Pond Magic. This is a cleverly-crafted and well written first novel.

More about Angela and her work can be found at www.angelasunde.com Lisa’s website is currently being rebuilt but you can find her details at