The Dream Bird, a book review

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Title: The Dream Bird
by: Aleesah Darlison
illustrated by: Emma Middleton
Publisher: Wombat Books

Once upon a time in a faraway land there lived the rarest of rare birds. The Dream Bird. George is a day child. He rollicks and romps in the light. But at night, George just can’t seem to get to sleep. That is, until Gran tells him a bedtime story about a magical bird who sings children to sleep. Will the Dream Bird’s magic work on George?

A stunning bedtime book that will enchant readers young and old.

Some children have a difficult time trying to go to sleep. I think I have found the sleep potion. It’s a book called The Dream Bird, written by multi-published author, Aleesah Darlison.

In the story we meet a young boy, George—a day child who can’t sleep at night, not even after counting one hundred sheep walking backwards, and drinking warm milk to lull him to sleep.

His wonderful Gran comes to the rescue with a beautiful story about the most beautiful bird in the world—The Dream Bird.

Artist (and author), Emma Middleton,  has created exceptional dreamlike illustrations with colours that flow with a divine harmony, expressing calmness, contentment, peacefulness, relaxation, and tranquility, that are sure to sprinkle the magic of sleep dust.

The Dream Bird could be a life-saver for parents with kids who have a troublesome time trying to sleep. Aleesah’s use of descriptive words will paint a calming vision in a child’s imagination, helping them to change from their unsettled mind to one where they are encouraged to concentrate on their own favourite things, lulling them to sleep.

Purchase a copy: The Dream Bird

Title: The Dream Bird
by: Aleesah Darlison
illustrated by: Emma Middleton
Publisher: Wombat Books
ISBN: 9781925563337
Category: children
Pages: 32

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

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Marvellous Mummy, a book review

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Title: Marvellous Mummy
by: Katie Poli
illustrated by: Giuseppe Poli
Publisher: New Frontier

My mummy is cuddly and snuggly and warm.

Mums can be funny and friendly and gentle and strong … all in one day!
This sweet and simple picture book will delight Mums and children everywhere.

Marvellous Mummy is marvellous! Although, I’d liked to call it ‘Magnificent Marvellous Mummy’! Author, Katie Poli, has captured everything mums can, and have to be. Each page of the book captures the essence of a mother, whether it is when she’s being kind or caring, or silly or fancy, or noisy or grumpy, or clever or brave … mums are all of those things, plus more. And the plus more is the love imbued in the illustrations by illustrator, Giuseppe Poli.

Marvellous Mummy is an inspiring book. It not only celebrates the gentle, caring side of motherhood, but also the fiercely protective side of motherhood. It’s a feel-good picture book that hits you in the heart with an explosion of warm fuzzy feelings.

There’s a pause in the text of the story, three-quarters of the way through the book that I love, where a double page illustration resides. It’s like the story builds up in its crescendo, then glides in silence on that textless page, before the story floats down and resumes in gentle tones. It’s completely satisfying.

Illustrator, Giuseppe Poli has used the most glorious shades of colour throughout the story, hitting the ‘Mummy’ factor spot on. He has also used eye expression in the characters to show the love and adoration between the mother and child.

Marvellous Mummy has a high rating on the ‘read-aloud-ability’ scale. The variance of voice pitch, intonation and expression, when sharing Marvellous Mummy with your own child, or a group of children, will vary from soft to loud and strong, and back to soft again. I know that children will adore this book, particularly the repetitive three-word sentences that will have children joining in with the reading, and relishing in the feel of the words on their tongue as they say them – ‘Tickle, tickle, squeeze.’ See what I mean.

Marvellous Mummy is a beautiful book written and illustrated with heart. It will absolutely ‘sparkle, sparkle, shine’ into your memories as precious time shared with your child as you read it together.

Purchase a Copy: Marvellous Mummy
Teacher Notes: Marvellous Mummy Tteaching Notes.pdf

Title: Marvellous Mummy
by: Katie Poli
Illustrated by: Giuseppe Poli
Publisher: New Frontier
ISBN: 978-1-925594-18-8
Category: 3 – 6 years
Pages: 28

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

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Young MacDonald, book review

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Title: Young MacDonald
Written and Illustrated by: Giuseppe Poli
Publisher: Yellow Brick Books

In this fun twist on an old favourite, Young MacDonald’s vivid imagination transforms an otherwise ordinary day on the farm into his grandest adventure yet …

The classic, Old MacDonald Had a Farm, was originally a cumulative nursery rhyme about farm animals and their sounds that children the world over loved to join in with since 1917. In England, 1908, an even older version of this song was discovered.

The success of the nursery rhyme’s longevity is tied up in the repetition of verses, and the animals and the sounds they make, giving the nursery rhyme a fun and feel good reaction. Old MacDonald had a Farm is an easy story to innovate on, which teachers in classrooms around the globe have been doing for years.

And indeed, that is what author and illustrator, Giuseppe Poli, has done. No longer is it just about Old MacDonald. He now has a son—a farm boy, born and bred. However, Young MacDonald has a wild imagination, one that strays from the farm animals and to the earth, the sky, the sea and the last frontier, space, collecting farm animals as he goes on his adventure of imagination.

Children will enjoy this bright and happy book as they join in the choruses of digging and splashing and chopper-ing and burbling and zooming. I’m sure it will be a favourite go-to book for young children, requested to be read over and over again.

Purchase a copy: Young MacDonald

Title: Young MacDonald
Written and Illustrated by: Giuseppe Poli
Publisher:  Yellow Brick Books
ISBN: 9780994557018
Pages: 32 pages

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
/www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com

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7 Absolute Musts of Writing a Picture Book

 

Picture books play an absolute vital and pivotal role in the lives of children. There are numerous studies that show children who are read picture books from birth up to, and including while still going to school, are smarter and have more empathy for others – yes – they are kinder! And thankfully, there is never a shortage of authors who are passionate about writing picture books. As an experienced teacher of 25 years, I have personally observed the power of books. By 8 years of age, there is a notable difference between children who have been read to at home, and those who have not.

Importance of reading to children
Children prefer real books rather than screens
Why reading the same book repeatedly is good for kids

After 5 years of working as a publisher and book designer with picture book authors, I’d like to share 7 points that will help authors along in their journey:

1. Writing a picture book is not as easy as it seems. You need to read lots and lots of picture books so you can internalize what writing a children picture book story is about. And there is a certain knack to writing a successful picture book. You will also develop your own individual style and voice.

2. Your story must have a beginning, middle and end – also known as a story arc.

3. There must be a problem that needs to be solved. If there’s no problem, there’s no story!

4. Don’t tell kids what to think with your writing. It’s the biggest turn off for children. Kids are clever, and feel a great sense of achievement when they understand the gist of the story without you telling them. You want kids to make an emotional feel good connection to your book, so they want to read it again and again.

5. Don’t talk down to kids. Build them up. Use those interesting words that will inspire!

6. Less words can often have more impact.

7. Illustrations are vitally important – they also tell the story – are there words in your writing you can leave out that can be shown in the illustration?

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Traditionally Published vs Independently Published. Which to Choose?

If you’re not quite sure about the difference between traditionally published and independently published, read this article by Joanna Penn. It provides a good description of both.

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Preparing Your Picture Book to Traditionally Publish

• Write your story. Edit, rewrite, read it out loud, rewrite.
• Put it away for a while. When you return to it, you will see it with new eyes. You will find bits of it that you love, and others that simply don’t work.
• Write a final version of your story, then send it to an editor. This is a vital step for you to have the best version of your story. Don’t be surprised if you need to do some adjustments and rewrites. All authors, no matter how experienced or famous they are, always have to rewrite to make their work shine.
• Polish your final version …
• Research which traditional publishers you would like to send your manuscript to before you send it off, and ensure that you follow their guidelines (do you need an agent or not? Are they closed for submissions? Do they publish picture books?) Make sure you format your manuscript to their specifications.

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Preparing Your Picture Book to Indie Publish 

Authors have a bubbling enthusiasm about their story. And rightly so. However, there is a series of steps to follow, even with the self-publishing of your book. If you are investing in publishing a book that the eyes of the world will read, it makes sense to educate yourself about how to go about it. This is what it looks like:

1. Story
Writing your story is exactly the same as writing it with the intention of securing a traditional publishing contract. Independent publishing does not mean lesser quality stories, and it never, ever should be.

• Write your story. Edit, rewrite, read it out loud, rewrite.
• Put it away for a while. When you return to it, you will see it with new eyes. You will find bits of it that you love, and others that simply don’t work.
• Write a final version of your story, then send it to an editor. This is a vital step for you to have the best version of your story. Don’t be surprised if you need to do some adjustments and rewrites. All authors, no matter how experienced or famous they are, always have to rewrite to make their work shine.
• Polish your final version …

2. Storyboard

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storyboard by inkygirl.com

The storyboard is a pivotal stage of development of your book. The impact of your story hinges on your storyboard, and the placement of the page turn in keeping the attention of your readers so they are invested in your story. The storyboard is also the magic key for your illustrator to bring your story to life through the gift of their creative artwork. Have you nailed the timing of your page turn? If you’re not sure, you can find out here.

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3. Illustrations

The final and important part of the journey of a book is the illustrations. Before your illustrator begins the final illustrations – it is imperative they know the size of your book (you’ll need to discuss these major details with your publisher, or the printer you have chosen). Your illustrator also needs to know:

• About page bleed
• Not to place major components of illustrations in the middle of a page spread, where parts may be lost in the spine binding of the book, or the image doesn’t align correctly due to variables during the printing process.

If you decide to independently publish, send your manuscript to your chosen indie publisher/self-publishing company, and they should guide you from there.

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And remember, whatever your journey is with your story – don’t go it alone. Connect with other authors, or join a writing group, network. Authors love to help each other out.

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Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Multi-Published Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator, CEO of Lilly Pilly Publishing)

www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Pugs Don’t Wear Pyjamas, a book review

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Title: Pugs Don’t Wear Pyjamas
by: Michelle Worthington
illustrated by: Cecilia Johansson
Publisher: New Frontier

When Tom visits his aunt he meets her pug Ellie.
Ellie is no ordinary pug. Wherever Tom’s aunt goes, her pug must go too. His aunt dresses Ellie up for every outing.
Tom finds Ellie strange but she makes friends wherever she goes. Tom makes no friends. He realises something has to change.

Pugs in books are popular, and Ellie the pug is no exception in Pugs Don’t’ Wear Pyjamas. Young readers will giggle at Ellie’s human antics as she wears pyjamas to bed, drinks out of a straw and rides a skateboard, amongst other crazy activities.

Ellie the pug isn’t the only star of the story. There’s another character who is very likeable—a boy named Tom who meets Ellie at his Aunt Roz’s house when he goes to stay there. Tom marvels at Ellie the pug – the wondrous dog. But jealousy surfaces while Tom watches as Ellie makes a million friends with ease, but Tom doesn’t. And then one day, disaster strikes. Supposedly under Tom’s watchful eye, Ellie goes missing, and Tom is devastated, filled with guilt.

Illustrator, Cecilia Johansson has captured the differing moods of the story with beautiful, colourful, eye-catching pictures that will have eyes looking with excitement as children listen to the story unfold. And while they listen, multi-published author, Michelle Worthington, has cleverly lured her readers into the story with the adorable pug, Ellie, and then in a whisper, Ellie disappears, making hearts beat a little faster with worry. Thankfully, Michelle adds an extra surprise at the end of the story that will have readers buzzing with excitement. Perhaps there could be an Ellie the pug picture book number two?

Purchase a copy: www.newfrontier.com.au/books/pugs-dont-wear-pyjamas

Title: Pugs Don’t Wear Pyjamas
by: Michelle Worthington
Illustrated by: Cecilia Johansson
Publisher: New Frontier
ISBN: 978-1-925594-03-4
Age: 3-6 years
Pages: 24

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com

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Anzac Sons – Five Brothers on the Western Front, book review

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Title: Anzac Sons – Five Brothers on the Western Front
by: Allison Marlow Paterson
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

…Well dear Jim it breaks my heart to write this letter. Our dear [brother] was killed yesterday morning at 5.30. The bullet killed him instantly and he never spoke a word. I had just left him and gone down the trench to see the other lads when I was called back. Oh Jim it is awful…Oh I do hope he is the last…

Anzac Sons – Five Brothers on the Western Front is a book to treasure. It’s a piece of Australian history that should never be forgotten.

Author, Allison Marlow Paterson has meticulously researched the true-life stories of five brothers – Charles, George, twins Percy and Allan, and Albert Marlow, who eventually enlisted in the Australian Army to serve their king and country, and fought in World War 1, one of the greatest tragedies and deadliest conflicts in history.

It wasn’t an easy entry into the army for the brothers. Jim and Percy weren’t tall enough and were rejected, Jim had poor eyesight and was rejected, and Charlie had dental problems, and was rejected. But as circumstances may have it, all five brothers ended up serving with the promise to return, words that were echoed the world over.

From there we follow the lives of the five brothers; three of who would never return to home soil. The full colour book is engaging and intriguing, filled with postcards, maps, photographs, papers, medals, telegrams, field service cards, identification bracelets, Red Cross reports, newspaper clippings and handwritten letters. Every page is attention capturing, inviting the reader to learn more, to know more, to feel more.

I highly recommend Anzac Sons – Five Brothers on the Western Front for all families and children, not only those who love Australian history. I also highly recommend it for educational use in primary and secondary schools, as it fits perfectly as a brilliant resource for Remembrance Day, as well the Australian Year 9 History curriculum, World War I.

Teaching Resources PDF 

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The spirit of the soldiers of the Great War lives on in the legacy they left behind.
We are the custodians of that legacy and we should never forget.

Purchase a copy of Anzac Sons

Title: Anzac Sons – Five Brothers on the Western Front
by: Allison Marlow Paterson
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781922132796
Category: non-fiction
Pages: 47

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Julieann is a member of:

 

The Harper Effect, a book review

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Title: The Harper Effect
by: Taryn Bashford
Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia

Harper Hunter doesn’t know how it came to this.
Her tennis dreams are collapsing: her coach says she doesn’t have what it takes to make it in the world of professional tennis.
Her new doubles partner is moody, mysterious and angry at the world. What is he hiding?
She is in love with Jacob, but he is her sister’s boyfriend. Or, he was. Harper could never betray Aria with Jacob … could she?
As Harper’s heart and dreams pull her in different directions, she has to figure out exactly what she wants. And just how hard she’s willing to fight to get it.

There are some books you need to read a second time, or a third, not because you didn’t understand it, but because you want to be immersed in that world again, and you want to bask in the emotions of how it made you feel. The Harper Effect is that book.

Author, Taryn Bashford’s evocative wordsmithing in The Harper Effect reads like she is conducting a word orchestra, who then play a magnificent symphony of sentences that flow with a mesmerising energy, making you believe in the magical powers of written text that takes you on an emotive, amazing journey, totally absorbing you into the pages until you exist inside them with the characters.

The Harper Effect rallies around Harper Hunter, an up and coming professional tennis player whose world is in perfect order and flowing, according to a plan that was carved when she was young, until, her coach utters the devastating words, “You’re not good enough” and ditches her. Her dreams are shattered, and she begrudgingly agrees to compete in double tournaments instead of the elite singles tournaments. As things go from bad to worse, Harper crosses paths the formidable Colt Quinn, where they instantly clash in a world of privileged girl vs unprivileged boy. And this is where the story becomes totally addictive as Harper’s world becomes shaken, stirred, upended, swallowed and spat out.

The Harper Effect is an absolute must read, and one I cannot recommend highly enough. It’s a story of childhood connections and memories, of emotional turmoil, of regret, of bad choices, of growing up and becoming your own person, to reconnecting and finding that place of healing. This book has it all. You may even find a piece of Harper Hunter in yourself.

Purchase a copy: https://www.panmacmillan.com.au/9781760552091/

Title: The Harper Effect
by: Taryn Bashford
Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia

ISBN: 9781760552091
Format: Paperback
Pub Date: 27/12/2017
Category: Children’s, Teenage & educational / General fiction (Children’s / Teenage)
Teenage & Young Adult Fiction / Young Adult
Imprint: Pan Australia
Pages: 384

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

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A Wrinkle in Time, book review

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Title: A Wrinkle in Time
by: Madeleine L’Engle
Publisher: Penguin

Meg always felt she was different and when her little brother Charles Murry go searching for their lost father, they find themselves travelling on a dangerous journey through a ‘wrinkle in time’. As the cosmic evil forces of darkness threaten to swallow the universe, Meg must overcome her insecurities and channel all her inner strengths – her stubbornness, anger and ultimately her love – to save her family. An exciting mixture of fantasy and science fiction, which all the way through is dominated by the funny and mysterious trio of guardian angels known as Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which, A Wrinkle in Time is an empowering story about the battle between good and evil and the power of love.

A Wrinkle in Time was released in 1962, after twenty-six rejections by publishers, and has withstood the test of time.

It begins with, “It was a dark and stormy night”. How often had I used those words as a story starter for creative writing as a teacher. And so, I laughed when I read the opening words of Chapter 1, Mrs Whatsit.

As I continued to read, I was sucked into the plot and amazed by the science embedded into the novel. The deeper I went into the story, more of it seemed to make sense in today’s world, 50 years after it was published.

There are many things I enjoyed about A Wrinkle in Time. I loved the tesseract, the time travel, and the characters who didn’t fit into the society norm, plus their journey of discovery and growth that enabled them to rescue Mr. Murry, the father of Meg and Charles Wallace. I loved the imagined built worlds and the challenges Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin encountered.

As I look back at pages I have dog-eared, it still blows me away with the science and physics embedded into the story. Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful!

If your middle school child or teenager likes to read sci-fi novels, this is book is well suited, with a perfect dose of physics. Plus, there’s pearls of wisdom throughout the book. My favourite: “Qui plus sait, plus se tait”, French for “The more a man knows, the less he talks.”

And now to see the movie …

 

Literature Study Guide at SparkNotes http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/wrinkle/characters/

Purchase a copy: https://www.penguin.com.au/books/a-wrinkle-in-time-9780241331163

Title: A Wrinkle in Time
by: Madeleine L’Engle
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780241331163
Category: Children and teenagers
Pages: 288

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com

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