The Dream Bird, a book review


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)

Julieann is a member of:

Marvellous Mummy, a book review


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)

Julieann is a member of:

Young MacDonald, book review


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


Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

Julieann is a member of:

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?


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.


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.


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

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.


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.


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)

Julieann is a member of:

Pugs Don’t Wear Pyjamas, a book review


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:

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)

Julieann is a member of:

Shattered Souls and Dreams – Bullying

When I was a teacher, there was a question I used with kids. Frequently.

Are you okay?’

Powerful words.

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And then it was my job to listen without judgement, and to take it from there. Sometimes it was even before a child stepped foot into the classroom in the morning.

There’s an issue that seems to be escalating in society. Bullying.

Here’s the thing about bullying …
It’s a worldwide problem.


Here’s the thing about bullies …
Once, they were not a bully. They weren’t born with that trait.
They’re vulnerable people, like everyone else.
There is an underlying hurt that all bullies carry, and they are trying to mend it, to feel better. There’s something in their lives that they have no control over, so they lash out with the belief that it will make them feel better. Except it doesn’t, and they get caught in a cycle that damages themselves as well as their target.
Their behaviour is a reflection of someone who is bullying them, or of something about themselves that they hate.
Their aggressive behaviour is covering up their low self-esteem, in an attempt to feel better about themselves.
When they are not surrounded by their ‘friends’, they tend not to bully.

Here’s the thing about people. Including bullies …
We all need to belong.
We all need to feel that we are accepted.
We all need to feel that we are loved.

Here’s the thing about being human …
We’re not all the same. We never will be. Our differences are what makes our world interesting, and alive, and colourful. And that’s the way it is meant to be. It’s something to be celebrated.

Here’s the bottom line …
We live in an imperfect world. There will always be bullies – verbal bullies, physical bullies, social bullies, the bullying of exclusion, cyber bullies, etc. Schools seem to cop the barrage of blame. But bullies aren’t just at school, they’re at work, at home, at parties, at sport, at art class, dance class … everywhere.

What to do …
Let’s get off the blame-game merry-go-round. There are too many bruised and broken souls and a trail of irreparable destruction from bullying. And death.


It’s time to make a change, for the bullied, and the bully.
To date, we have tried to focus on the bully exclusively, with limited success.
We have tried to give the bullied strategies to stop the bullying, with limited success.     It’s time to look around. What do you see?
They have the power to change everything. Everything.

There’s a saying for when something bad happens –

“Look for the helpers, there’s always helpers!”

Let’s apply it to bullying situations –

“Look for the bystanders, there’s always bystanders!”

Here’s the thing about bystanders – you have already seen them in action … they are the heroes …

Have you ever watched a sportsperson pull a team member away from a fight? That’s a bystander.
Have you ever watched a sportsperson touch an angry team mate’s shoulder and told them to let it go, and remove them from the situation? That’s a bystander.
Have you ever watched a team gather around one of their own players and remove them from the volatility of the situation? That’s a bystander.
That’s what bystanders do. And it’s about distraction, diffusing a volatile situation, dispelling the destructive energy aimed at another person.

A bystander can be anyone. They can be the bully’s friend. They can be the bullied’s friend. They’re standing by. Observing.

It’s time to take action.

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But here’s another less well-known fact about bystanders
If there’s a group of people, less of them will step in to help. Why? It’s called the ‘bystander effect’. And it’s a social phenomenon.
People don’t like to step out of their comfort zone, in front of others.
People think that someone will do something first, and they wait for others to take that step.


Here’s the thing about schools …
Education empowers. Schools and teachers work with dedication to help our children. Always. We have the ‘High Five’ strategy to deal with bullies. Children know what bully behaviour looks and feels like. But now we need to educate our kids about the “bystander effect”. We need to tell them not to wait for another person to do something – because that person is waiting for someone else, which leads to nobody helping.

We need to encourage others to step boldly. STEP. BOLDLY. Be courageous.

I was helping at a party once. It was full of teenagers. There was a magnificent creation of birthday cupcakes and the happy birthday song was sung. But then, no one came forward to take a cupcake to eat. How strange …

I’m an observer, an analyser, a problem solver. I knew there was nothing wrong with the cupcakes. The problem wasn’t the cupcakes, it was a social entity.
I watched as one brave soul stepped forward and took a cupcake, and guess what, so did the others.

It takes just one person to step out of their comfort zone. Step boldly. 

Here’s the thing about the responsibility of being part of the human race …
It’s about looking out for your mates. It’s about knowing what is right and wrong and taking a stand. Bullying is always wrong. Everyone knows that. 

Here’s the thing about accountability …

We all have a choice. What will you choose?
I encourage you to step boldly, if you are a bystander, if it is safe for you to do so. If not, call for help. Don’t expect someone else to do it.

To the bully and the bullied … helpers are everywhere … reach out.

And please ask your own kids – 



Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, multiple-published author, illustrator, tea ninja, Cadbury chocoholic)

Darth is the new fish on the block. And there’s a gang with a leader who is not so nice. There’s a bystander. Can he change the outcome of Darth’s plight?
Dedicated to Steve Jobs.

Purchase a copy of Darth (published by Little Steps Publishing), at online bookstores, or get a signed copy at and download the FREE 37 page teaching resource pack at free-darth-teaching-resources-37-pages 





LOUIS I King of the Sheep, book review


LOUIS I king of the sheep
Written & Illustrated by Olivier Tallec
Published by Enchanted Lion Books

What would you do if a crown landed at your feet? There’s a good chance you would pick it up and put it on, just to see how it looked and felt. With a crown on his head, Louis the sheep knows just what kind of king he would be: regal, erudite, and all powerful. He feels perfectly suited to the royal life, but perhaps he shouldn’t get too comfortable, since winds have a way of blowing…


LOUIS, the humble sheep, stands alone on the top of a windy hill, while others graze in the calm, protected valley below. The wind produces a crown, blue in colour. Louis, uncertain of it at first, picks it up and places it onto his head. All of a sudden, Louise the sheep, can stand on two legs. His back is straighter and his chin lifted up. And so it was one windy day that Louise the sheep thereby became LOUIS I, King of the Sheep! He goes on an imaginative trip, and sources a scepter, a throne, a grand king’s bed and addresses his people as a good king should. As self-imposed power propels him to self-imposed greatness, his once sheep paddock surrounds become a grand kingdom of pleasure, importance and command. But … power is a dangerous thing.

LOUIS I is a tale of power and greatness that is not earned, but given, accidentally as it would happen. As the story unfolds, Louis takes his self-imposed power too far and banishes all those who do not look like him from his kingdom—a dark and sinister twist in the story. But then, upon another windy day … Louis I, King of the Sheep, becomes the sheep once again…


Author and Illustrator, Olivier Tallec, has created a book of mammoth textual depth as well as captivating illustrations that complements the mood, humour and the seriousness of the story. When I first read through the story, I was enchanted by the elaborate fantasy of the fairytale-like King that was being woven into the first part of the story, but then became horrified when Louis I, the King of Sheep, segregated the fold according to wool colour. Welcome to the high effective and perfectly placed plot twist the evokes emotion from the deepest part of your being! My rescuing and compassionate self wanted to shout out at him, “You can’t do that—we are all the same! That is a hideous thing to do!” And I wanted to cry as I related it to our human race. At first, I didn’t want to write a review about the story because it had deeply affected me as I affiliated it with racism. But now, I applaud Olivier Tallec. By manipulating LOUIS I, King of the Sheep, to drive out the sheep that did not look like him, he opens eyes to how people can be judged, if it is allowed. Olivier Tallec shows us how abhorrent the act of judging others is.

Cleverly, there is another level to the story – a statement about power, and how it can be misused as one thinks that they are mightier than thou. I smiled as a great sense of victory took hold when Louis I crown was blown off his head and he would have to return to the sheep fold … but what of the crown that has landed atop of the wolf’s head? Can an object really give you power in your own eyes, and the eyes of others?

LOUIS I is a truly rare and thought provoking book. I had a strong reaction to the story-line because of my own knowledge and experience of the world. Will children also react with the same deep feeling? This book demands conversation and debate. It leads the reader to comprehension with depth, if they choose. It is certainly a book with a huge potential for use in educational institutions (primary and secondary years) as it warrants analysis and questioning, a discussion on power, morals, and will lend to the teaching pedagogy of creating a thinking and questioning generation of children.

Title: LOUIS I king of the sheep
Author & Illustrator: Olivier Tullec
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books
Publication Date: December 2015
Format: hardcover
ISBN: 9781592701858
Type: Picture Book
Page Count: 40

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace for CKT Book Reviews
(Dip T, B. Ed, Published Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

Julieann is a member of:

Circle, a book review


Title: Circle
by: Jeannie Baker
Publisher: Walker Books

‘In a place where mud and sand become sea,
a godwit with white wing patches flies up with his flock.
The moment is right for the long journey north.’

A boy lies on his bed, a wheelchair beside him. His only wish is to fly. His mother wheels him to the beach, where the mud and sea become sand, and with his binoculars, he observes a flock of godwits.

One particular godwit with white wing patches catches his eye, and we leave the boy on the beach and follow the godwit on the long journey north, following an ancient invisible pathway. The journey is not all smooth going as the birds discover that their usual landscape has changed into a human-scape concrete jungle of buildings and roads, and they are forced to find another place to refuel before they take flight again toward their northerly destination.

There, the godwit with white wing patches finds a mate, and soon they have four perfect eggs, and then four newly hatched chicks until the hungry fox appears. Only one chick survives by disappearing into the colours of the land…


The days grow cold and finding food is harder. The time is right, and the flock of godwits leave as one, following an ancient invisible pathway high above the clouds back to the place where mud and sand become sea. A boy chases a dog on the beach, his crutches left on the sand. He still has one wish, and that is to fly.

Circle, written and illustrated by Jeannie Baker, is a feast of visual colour and art that is graced with her distinctive illustrating style of genius. Her story flows like the gentle movement of a bird’s wings and glides with smoothness and peace, filling the reader with wonder at how godwits continue to follow the ancient visible pathway, generation after generation, even as their landmarks disappear in our ever changing world. The Author’s Note and Godwit Migration Map are valuable additions at the end of the book, and feed hungry minds of those who want to know more about these amazing birds that make the longest unbroken journey of any animal in the world.

Format: Hardback
Publisher: Walker Books
Published: 24 May 2016
Pages: 48
For Ages: 8 – 12 years
ISBN: 978-1-4063-3801-0


Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
for CKT Book Reviews

Julieann is a member of:



Parmesan the Reluctant Racehorse, book review


Title: Parmesan, the Reluctant Racehorse
by: Jacqui Halpin
illustrated by: John Phillips
Publisher: Little Pink Dog Books

Parmesan, the racehorse, thinks he’s a dog. Instead of training with other horses, he’s off with his doggy friends, playing doggy games. Will he be ready to run like a racehorse in the Spring Carnival? A humorous light-hearted tale that celebrates the joy of being yourself and running your own race.

Parmesan is the type of horse every child would like to own. He’s adorable, endearing and interactive, like a dog. In fact, he thinks he’s a dog!

Children will love this light-hearted story about a horse who doesn’t fit into the expected mould of his racehorse family.

Author, Jacqui Halpin, has woven a wonderful tale with some repetition throughout the story that will have children happily joining in with the reading, and sharpening their skill of prediction, which is vitally important for children learning to read between 3-7 years of age.

The illustrator, John Phillips, has beautifully portrayed the character of Parmesan with heart, connecting the reader on a deeper level through humour, adding that lovely extra dimension that illustrators give to picture books.

Parmesan the Reluctant Racehorse, isn’t just a feel-good story. It’s also about thinking outside of the box to solve a problem. Jacqui Halpin has succeeded not only in telling an enjoyable story, but also in creating an entertaining story where I can imagine the giggles of children as they sit and listen in shared story time, or where they use the book as an independent reader.

I look forward to Jacqui’s second picture book, “Where’s Lucky?” to be released in 2019, by Little Pink Dog Books.

Purchase a copy:

Title: Parmesan, the Reluctant Racehorse
by: Jacqui Halpin
illustrated by: John Phillips
Publisher:  Little Pink Dog Books
ISBN: 978-0-9946269-2-9
Category: children 3-7 years
Pages: 32

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

Julieann is a member of:

Ballerina Monkey, book review


Title: Ballerina Monkey
by: Nicole Madigan
illustrated by: Joe M Ruiz
Publisher: blOOturtle Publishing

Malik is a typical little monkey – he loves to swing through the jungle trees with his friends. But unlike the other monkeys Malik also wants to dance – if only he knew how! In fact, Malik loves nothing more than watching the beautiful flamingos dance their special ballet dance. But monkeys aren’t supposed to dance – they’re supposed to swing like acrobats through the trees. So when Malik plucks up the courage to ask the flamingos for dancing lessons, the other monkeys laugh and make fun of him. Determined to do what he loves, Malik soon learns the importance of staying true to himself and the joy of following his dreams.

Ballerina Monkey, by author Nicole Madigan, will capture the hearts of children. The story revolves around a monkey named Malik. He loves to roam the jungle on mischievous pursuits like the other monkeys, but he has his heart set on bigger dreams. He wants to dance, just like the flamingos. Malik is ridiculed by the other monkeys who try to break his dream by calling him names and laughing at him. Monkeys just simply don’t dance. But after some imparted wisdom from his mother, Malik doesn’t give up. He digs deep for courage and joins a flamboyance of flamingos to learn to dance with grace and beauty, still to the taunts of the other monkeys.

However, they soon change their tune when the King of the Jungle arrives. The King of the Jungle has never seen a dancing monkey and is most impressed with Malik’s spectacular moves. The troop of monkeys now love Malik’s dancing, and stop teasing him.

Illustrator, Joe Ruiz, has created pictures rich in the colours of the jungle that will have children’s eyes focussed on each of the pages as the story is shared or read independently. Children will easily empathize with Malik’s emotions as they perceive his facial expressions as events occur in the story.

Ballerina Monkey is a wonderful story about never giving up and seeking your dreams, even when your friends don’t support you. It is also a story about the power of the bystander, who, in this story is the King of the Jungle. Just because he approves of Malik’s dancing, the other teasing monkeys then decide that they do too.

Purchase a copy: 

Eco-friendly, Carbon Neutral, Vegan Ink, 100% Recycling paper: trOOblOO

Title: Ballerina Monkey
by: Nicole Madigan
illustrated by: Joe M Ruiz
Publisher: blOOturtle publishing
ISBN: 9780995410640
Category: children 4 – 8
Pages: 32

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

Julieann is a member of: