Max Booth Future Sleuth: Stamp Safari, a book review

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Title: Max Booth Future Sleuth: Stamp Safari (book 3)
by: Cameron Macintosh
illustrated by: Dave Atze
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

A tiny piece of paper from the year 2019 might not sound very interesting to most people. But Max and Oscar – Bluggsville’s sharpest sleuths – aren’t most people! Max has a hunch that this ancient patch of paper might be valuable, and extremely rare.
Max is right – this isn’t just any old piece of paper. It’s a strange, sticky thing called a postage stamp, and it’s more than 400 years old! It’s an exciting discovery, but before long, it leads Max and Oscar into some very sticky situations…

Max Booth Future Sleuth: Stamp Safari, is a thoroughly enjoyable chapter book. This story, and indeed the series, is set in the future, 2424, but looks back to the past.

The main character, Max Booth, has an adorable robo dog (a beagle-bot) named Oscar. He is loyal, but also creates some hilarious misadventures. When Oscar, the robodog, wiggles his nose into a pile of gadgets, something sticks to the side of his snout. It happens to be a picture of Neptune Williams, and their curiosity about the sticky square sets them on a quest to find out exactly what it is: why it is sticky, and from what age is comes from?

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Artist, Dave Atze, has added a fun flavour to the chapter book with his expressive character illustrations, creating an extra layer to the book. Readers will appreciate the humour and the feel-good style to his artwork.

Another bonus of this chapter book, written by talented author, Cameron Macintosh, is the clever addition of factual information about the origins of the stamp, where you, the reader, will be surprised about its beginnings.

I highly recommend Max Booth Future Sleuth: Stamp Safari, as a high interest chapter book for the reluctant and independent reader. The futuristic lingo is both quirky and fun, and the story is packed with action that will have readers zooming through history and the 130 pages in record time.

Purchase a copy: max-booth-future-sleuth-book-3/

Title: Max Booth Future Sleuth Stamp Safari (book 3)
by: Cameron Macintosh
illustrated by: Dave Atze

Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925520606
Category: childrens, sci-fi, adventure
Pages: 130

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Finn’s Feather, a book review

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Title: Finn’s Feather
by: Rachel Noble
illustrated by: Zoey Abbott
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Finn discovers an amazing white feather right on his doorstep.
Could it be from his brother Hamish who is now an angel?

Finn’s Feather is a rare book. It’s a book of acceptance, of understanding, of remembering, of healing, of love – a love that never vanishes; a love that cannot be contained by time or place.

Author, Rachel Noble, has penned a picture book that reaches out a hand to hold on to others as they walk the path of the loss of a child, not only for siblings, but also for parents. Rachel was inspired to write Finn’s Feather after the loss of her son, Hamish, in 2012. Shortly after the story took shape, she found a feather on her doorstep.

The story is told gently through the eyes of a child, Finn, who believes his brother left the feather on the doorstep. At first, the reader is unaware that Finn’s brother, Hamish, is no longer on the earth. He could be away or living elsewhere. It is only when a discussion between Finn and his friend takes place and the word ‘angel’ is used, that you reach a deeper understanding of the story.

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Artist, Zoey Abbott, has recreated the mood and emotion of each scene of the story intuitively with compassion. The use of coloured pencil and watercolour washes make a more real-life connection to the heart of the story than the use of digital illustration would have.

Finn’s Feather is not just for children. It’s for everyone. It’s a tool to open up discussion about the sometimes, taboo subject of death. It’s a tool to bridge emotional connections and understanding of those who have lost a loved one. And it’s a tool for remembrance, and a light in the darkness of grief. And quietly and gently, it’s also a celebration of a life.

Purchase a copy: Finn’s Feather by Rachel Noble

Title: Finn’s Feather
by: Rachel Noble
illustrated by: Zoey Abbott
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books
ISBN: 9781592702749
Category: 4 years +
Pages: 56

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Cat Spies Mouse, a book review

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Title: Cat Spies Mouse
by: Rina A Foti
illustrated by: Dave Atze
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

What happens when an impatient and arrogant cat spies a humble and patient mouse?
An exciting read-aloud story about how a small mouse who asks BIG questions changes the world.

Author, Rina A Foti has written a story that has a theme that young children are familiar with in the animal world – mouse vs cat and cat vs dog. Kids will totally get it. They will also understand the repeated words, “That’s not fair!”

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Illustrator, Dave Atze has created colourful, likeable characters that leap off the page,  showing their personality through facial expressions, poses and humour that will attract children’s interest and make them giggle, but also help to develop empathy for the under-dog character in each situation.

There is no doubt that this story will open up discussion on the topic of fairness – at school, as well as at home, and question the notion about doing things without thinking, just because “that is what is expected”, or “that is the way it has always been done”. But why? And is it reasonable, or fair?

There are two outstanding take-aways from this tale: one is the courage and bravery of the mouse to question what cat is doing, and the other is that the cat can absolutely not understand how mouse feels, until what he is doing to mouse, happens to him. It’s kind of satisfying to see him get a taste of his own medicine, plus being covered in dog-stomach-goop at the end.

Purchase a copy: Cat Spies Mouse picture book

Title: Cat Spies Mouse
by: Rina A Foti
illustrated by: Dave Atze
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675344
Category: Children, Fiction, Humour, Inspiration, Social Issues
Pages: 32

This book was given to Julieann by Big Sky Publishing for review.

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Weird Weirder Weirdest – a book review

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Title: Weird Weirder Weirdest
written & illustrated by: Martii Maclean
Publisher: Kooky Cat Books

Children’s Chapter Book author, Martii Maclean will have you turning the pages with her collection of short stories in ‘Weird Weirder Weirdest’. The seven stories, suitable for children aged 8+, will have both kids and parents giggling, sniggering and laughing out loud.

But beware, behind some of the most hilarious parts are pieces of truth that every child and adult alike will see, and some may even recognise pieces of themselves in the characters or situations.

Besides being an entertaining read, ‘Weird Weirder Weirdest’ has some main characters as bullies, in relatable real life situations, and all children and grown-ups will delight when they receive their “just desserts”.

‘Weird Weirder Weirdest’ is a perfect book of short stories that can be read independently, or as a book to read together at home. It contains pertinent concepts that every child will experience or witness at school, and Martii Maclean’s writing opens the incidents up for discussion.

In educational settings, ‘Weird Weirder Weirdest’ would be ideal to read a short story a day, and to encourage students to write their own ‘weird’ story. It would also to suitable to open the discussion topic of bullying, and the power of the bystander.

P_work_girl-2-232x300Comprehensive teaching notes (26 pages) for schools (with Australian Curriculum links), homeschooling and home, can be found at: http://www.martiimaclean.com/wp-content/uploads/Weird_Teaching-Notes.pdf well as a colouring page http://www.martiimaclean.com/wp-content/uploads/Weird-colouring-booklet.pdf for each short story – making it the perfect teaching resource.

‘Weird Weirder Weirdest’, written and illustrated by Martii Maclean has something for everyone. If you love Paul Jennings short stories, you will love this book too.

Purchase a copy: Weird Weirder Weirdest

Connect with Martii Maclean at:
website: www.martiimaclean.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MartiiMacleanAuthor/

Title: Weird Weirder Weirdest
Author: Martii Maclean
ISBN: 978-0-9945408-2-9 (print book)
ISBN:978-0-9945408-3-6 (eBook)
Publisher: Kooky Cat Books
First Published in Australia: 2017
Page Count: 102 pages

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Averil – The Master of Callus, a book review

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Title: Averil – The Master of Callus
by: John Barwick
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Fourteen-year-old Averil has never been far from the small desert town of Aum. But all that is about to change. Chosen as a novice Trader-Diplomat on her first expedition, she finds a world full of surprises. But Evil is stirring, and Averil is drawn into a battle between malevolent powers that threatens to change the world forever. In a world of war and sorcery, Averil finds strengths and qualities she didn’t know she possessed.

Averil, Book 1 – The Master of Callus is a fantasy middle-school chapter book that takes the reader away from today’s fast-paced life of technology. The main character, a 14-year-old girl named Averil, has been chosen as a Trader-Diplomat, and must accompany warriors, a Wise One and a trading party to distant lands. During the journey, they encounter a number of challenges.

The story, written by retired Primary School Principal, John Barwick, has all the elements of a fantasy book with magic, world building, conflict and a power structure. It will appeal to readers who like to escape into novels with ships, castles and a sorcerer.

Purchase a copy: Averil – The Master of Callus – purchase

Title: Averil – The Master of Callus
by: John Barwick
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675177
Category: children’s
Subject: Fantasy , Adventure, Children
Pages: 300

This book was given to Julieann by Big Sky Publishing for review

Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Rudi Hooper’s Super Pooper-Scooper, a book review

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Title: Rudi Hooper’s Super Pooper-Scooper
by: Alan Horsfield
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Despite their best attempts to be noticed, Morris and Rudi Hooper have never received much acclaim. But this is all about to change when big brother Rudi grabs the spotlight for his rather dubious involvement in the local “Tidy Towns” scheme. Much to little brother Morris’s embarrassment, Rudi is now Sandbar’s official doggie droppings ranger! As the Hooper parents’ pride grows, so does Morris’s trepidation. Will Rudi’s gross new pursuit end in disaster as Morris suspects just when fame is finally within reach? Or can Morris get to the bottom of the rather messy problem before everything hits the fan?

I must admit, with the title of Alan Horsfield’s chapter book, ‘Rudi Hooper’s Super Pooper-Scooper’, I was expecting a book full of corny toilet humour story-lines. However, as I settled into the book, I discovered it was a well-written story about family, siblings and town pride, plus dog poop, and I became a fan of Rudi Hooper, who cleaned up the mess that nobody else would.

Rudi Hooper’s Super Pooper-Scooper is a book full of everything—problems, conflict, cheating, inventions, sibling rivalry then support, all tied in very nicely with a large dose of humour. Every child, person and dog will relate to this story. Everyone has seen that person walking a dog, who, as the dog goes down into the poop squat, looks away, then charges off immediately afterward, not caring to scoop up the offending deposit left by the dog. Thankfully, Rudi has a solution for the problem, and gains fans and fame—almost in a good way, and totally in a dramatic way that will have kids in fits of giggles.

Rudi Hooper’s Super Pooper-Scooper is guaranteed to capture the attention of children. They’ll be struggling to hold in bellies full of laughter from the opening pages of this action-packed book. Their curiosity as to finding out what happens next will become like an unquenchable thirst. There is no doubt this book will be a go to for a second read.

Purchase a copy: buy Rudi Hooper’s Super Pooper-Scooper

Title: Rudi Hooper’s Super Pooper-Scooper
By: Alan Horsfield
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675160
Category: Children
Pages: 62

This book was given to Julieann by Big Sky Publishing for review

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Little Witch Book 3, Plots and Potions, a book review

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Title: Plots & Potions (Little Witch book 3)
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Drama, magic – and a miniature cat – abound in the latest Little Witch.

Plots & Potions is the 3rd book in the Little Witch book series by author, Aleesah Darlison. The main character, Courtney, is off to Bromlow Forest Adventure Camp with school, on her mother’s insistence, to work on fledging relationships, being new to the school.

School camp is everything Courtney dislikes – hikes, abseiling, bungee jumping and white-water rafting, but it’s made more bearable when she uses a shrinking spell on her cat, Inky, and takes him along to camp with her, safely nestled away in her pocket.

However, the mean and nasty Camp Director, Miss Maude Mouseheart, starts sneezing when she is close to Courtney. She suffers from a cat allergy and is highly suspicious of Courtney, who does well at hiding Inky, until disaster strikes.

As the story continues, Courtney discovers bits and pieces of information, that all point to something unsavoury going on at the camp grounds. As Courtney investigates, she uncovers a secret plot, and must take action, or forever be left with regret and grief.

Plots & Potions will have the reader turning the pages as fast as they can digest them, needing to know what will happen next. There’s good balance of friendship niggles and resolutions, camp fun, and added magical spells that will be thoroughly enjoyed by fans of the Little Witch Series.

Purchase a copy: Little Witch Book 3 – Plots & Potions

Title: Plots & Potions (Little Witch book 3)
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675252
Category: children’s
Subject: Magic, Spells
Pages: 176

This book was given to Julieann by Big Sky Publishing for review.

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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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Little Witch Book 2 – Hauntings & Hexes, a book review

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Title: Hauntings & Hexes (Little Witch Book 2)
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

New home. New school. New friends. And new enemies… The summer holidays are over. It’s time for Courtney to start at her new school and settle into life in Mixton Bay. No problem. Right? Except for the fact that Courtney is a witch-in-training so `fitting in’ isn’t the easiest thing to do. When a malevolent spirit bent on revenge is released into the world, things get dangerous for Courtney and those closest to her. Will she be able to save the day and keep her growing powers a secret?

Hauntings and Hexes is the 2nd book in the Little Witch book series by author, Aleesah Darlison. The main character, Courtney, starts at a new school, and has all the usual social uncomfortableness with trying to make new friends. She also creates some accidental, and not so accidental disasters with her new found white witch powers.

In one such incident in science class, Courtney is asked to hold a bald rat. Filled with fear, she unleashes a spell that calls every cat in the town of Mixton Bay to rescue her. Hence, the typical boring science lesson becomes phenomenal in the eyes of the students. However, Mr Zenebar, the science teacher recognises Courtney’s magic and tells her to visit the cemetery, where she meets a ghost, who requests her to find a grey book.

As the story continues, we meet Eleanor, a flying tricycle which is at Courtney’s beck and call, and the evil grimoire—a talking and flying black magic book that belongs to the ghost in the crypt at the cemetery. However, the reunion of the ghost and the grimoire unleashes black magic in the town, and it’s up to Courtney to banish the evil ghost by returning it to the Soul Tree forever, or until she can mend her ways.

Hauntings and Hexes is a fast-paced chapter book packed with action, humour and a few surprises. It is well-written and will have Little Witch fans turning the pages as they absorb the magical story.

Purchase a copy: Little Witch Book 2 – Hauntings & Hexes

Title: Little Witch Book 2  – Hauntings & Hexes
Author: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-925520-57-6
Category: Children’s/Children’s Fiction 8+
Subject: Children, Magic, Witches, Humour
Pages: 176

This book was given to Julieann by Big Sky Publishing for review.

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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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Magic Fish Dreaming, a book review

 

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Title: Magic Fish Dreaming
by: June Perkins
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Gumbootspearlz Books

A full colour poetry book, inspired by the diverse people of Far North Queensland and their tropical environment. It’s full of some of the strangest birds and animals, as well as resilient rainforest, cane farms and tropical beaches.

Beyond the title page is the dedication page, and words stopped me in my tracks …

Dedicated to:

All my ancestors
who sing and
dance the stories

And the ones
who listen

When you read a dedication that gives you goose-bumps, you know you are in for a treat, and the fact that Magic Fish Dreaming won several Royal Dragonfly Book Awards, only reinforces the feeling that this stunning book of poetry is one that will capture your heart.

Magic Fish Dreaming is written by talented and compassionate author, Dr June Perkins. Her PhD was on the subject of writing empowerment.

When you open the book, you’ll discover that Magic Fish Dreaming is in two parts.

Part 1 – Hunting for Giggle Poems

Hunting for Giggle Poems is touching, spiritual, and enjoyable. The poetic words will reach out and wrap their words around you, creating a special bond to the earth, making you feel like you must be a protector of all that we have been given. You’ll also find yourself smiling and trailing after the children with their net as they go to capture poems full of giggles.

Part 2 – Magic Fish Dreaming

It’s flowing, soothing, and caressing, with people and spirituality. There’s chats between a father and son, a mother and children, a cassowary and children. There’s magic and wishes and the wonder of creation. There’s fun with the storm dancers, a bottle lost at sea, and a geckos dance, plus many more.

June Perkins has teamed up with talented artist, Helene Magisson, who imbues June’s poetic words with the gift of visual art. Besides enjoying the words of the poems, the reader will spend an age meandering in each of the illustrations, lost in the magical colours, the action, and the flowing peace that leaps off the pages. Helene’s art style is enchanting, making your heart sing.

If you are fishing for a beautifully written and inspiring book of poetry, Magic Fish Dreaming must be on your ‘to purchase list’. If you could ever fall in love with a poetry book, it would be this one.

I highly recommend Magic Fish Dreaming. It will make you feel like the world is a beautiful, wonderous place as the author weaves her gift of words on the page. When you finally close the book, you will be left with a feeling of peacefulness.

June Perkins is right. Writing is empowering: for the author, and the reader.

Purchase a copy: Magic Fish Dreaming

Title: Magic Fish Dreaming
by: June Perkins
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
ISBN: 9780980731187
Category: Poetry
Publisher: Gumbootspearlz Press
17 poems, 48 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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Slowly! Slowly! a book review

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Title: Slowly! Slowly!
by: T. M. Clark
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Wombat Books

Slowly, slowly, you catch a monkey …

Bongani wants to go to school but he is too young. To prove to his family that he is big and strong just like his cousins, he tries to catch a monkey.
Slowly, slowly, he must go.
Luckily his family is there to school him in the lessons of patience and compassion.

I love the very first sentence of Slowly! Slowly! written by author, T. M. Clark:

Bongani stood tall.

It is brimming with anticipation. And as you read on, you can feel the blanket of peace and love that surrounds the main character. The words of the story also whisper that same blanket to you, gently, gently, like the singing of a lullaby.

Slowly! Slowly! is a clever story. Imbued into the tale is the unfolding guidance of how to catch a monkey with the kind encouragement of the father, the calm teaching of the grandfather, and the insightful way of looking at a problem from a different point of view, which is a way of teaching resilience.

Inside the story, we follow a young child named Bongani, while he tries to catch a monkey. His failed attempts are followed by guidance from his grandfather, revealed layer by layer, teaching Bongani patience; a virtue that is sometimes lost in the busy-ness of our lives today.

I particularly enjoyed the way Bongani’s family would work out whether he was ready for school …

‘Dad, am I big enough?
Am I higher than the hyena?
Can I go to school?’

Mathematically, the act of measuring your height against an animal to see if you are tall enough to go to school is full of imagination and excitement. This comparison would make an interesting discussion in families and schools.

Illustrator, Helene Magisson, has once again shown her extraordinary artistic talent in the pages of Slowly! Slowly! and has created a visual space where a variety of thoughts and ideas coexist in addition to the text, telling a story where the words don’t, or where the words imply particular ideas or feelings. Helene’s choice of gentle tones wraps around the mind of the reader, encouraging a connection and deep understanding of the character of Bongani.

Parents and teachers will love Slowly! Slowly! as author, T.M. Clark, deploys with sparkling effect, the use of alliteration, repetition, word rhythm and story building. The tale naturally lends itself to variance of voice as you read, from gentle words to the shouting of “GO AWAY!”

Slowly! Slowly! is an engaging and heart-warming story that is a must for children to read. Patience, compassion and resilience speak a gentle heart-song through the story, gifting children with mind tools to use through their lifetime.

(Slowly! Slowly! is adapted as a South African story, this variation of ‘Softly, softly, catchee monkey’ was originally an Ashanti (Ghana) proverb quoted by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Founder of the Boy Scouts)

Purchase a copy: Slowly! Slowly!

Title: Slowly! Slowly!
Author: T. M. Clark
Illustrator: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Wombat Books
Format: 9781925563221
ISBN: Hard cover
For ages: 3+

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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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