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)
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Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves, a book review

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Title: Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves
by: Jane Smith
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

School camp can be fun, but not when it’s run by a nasty bully who picks on Tommy Bell and his friends. But when Tommy’s magic cabbage-tree hat takes him back in time to meet up with Ben Hall and his gang, Tommy discovers that even in the gold rush days there were bullies … and they were on both sides of the law!

They also really knew how to make trouble …

Multi-published author, Jane Smith, has captured the life of bushranger, Ben Hall, with accurate observation through the eyes of a fictional young character, Tommy Bell.

Tommy is on school camp at the town of Young, an old goldmining town. He lists the good and bad things about going on a school camp, but the worst thing about this camp is one of the leaders, Mr Porter. He is just outright mean and nasty. In fact, he is a bully. A grown-up bully! It’s during one of Mr Porter’s bullying rants that he shoves Tommy’s woven ‘straw-like’ hat made from the leaves of a cabbage-tree onto Tommy’s head, and in an instant, he finds himself back in time. He notices that the air is fresher and the birdsong louder, before a man enters Tommy’s time-travel adventure – Ben Hall (9 May 1837 – 5 May 1865) – an Australian bushranger.

Tommy joins Ben Hall and his accomplices—Johnny Gilbert, John O’Meally and Patrick Daley. They ride on horseback to a placed named Little Wombat, a goldfield near Young. When they enter Mr Soloman’s store, a gun battle breaks out: Tommy has just witnessed a robbery. Tommy hangs around with the bushrangers for a little longer before he removes his time-travel hat and returns to his school camp where his friend finds gold. However, the callous Mr Porter claims the gold as his, gets angry and shoves Tommy’s hat back onto his head. Tommy travels back in time again to Ben Hall, and the scene of another hold-up: a failed bank robbery.

Tommy also witnesses other incidents with Ben Hall in this action-packed chapter book that will have readers turning the pages. Another bonus to this Bushranger Boy series can be found the final pages of the book—a chapter called ‘Historical Note’, which contains a photograph of Ben Hall and interesting information about his life.

Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves, is the fifth book in the Tommy Bell, Bushranger Boy collection. It’s a remarkable Australian series where fictional characters watch Australian history unfold before their eyes. I highly recommend it for schools, independent readers, and for kids who love Australian history.

I’m looking forward to Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy Book 6 due for release in 2019, titled Mrs Thunderbolt.

Purchase a copy: Tommy Bell-Bushranger Boy-Gang of Thieves

Title: Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves
by: Jane Smith
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675238
Category: children
Pages: 100
Subject: Bushranger, Adventure series

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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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Little Witch Book 1 – Secrets & Spells, a book review

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Title: Little Witch – Secrets & Spells
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Black cats, a strange presence in the house, and family secrets …

Secrets & Spells (Little Witch Book 1), by author Aleesah Darlison, is a fun, yet daring chapter book, with an intriguing storyline in a fast-paced tale. From the onset, young independent readers will become invested in the story, as the main character, Courtney, discovers secrets in the attic of the house of her late grandmother, at a sleepy coastal town.

When Courtney finally sneaks some hidden time in the attic, she discovers a spell book left to her by her late grandmother, whom she has never met. And this is where the story becomes interesting.

Adding to the mix of intrigue is a black cat named Inky, and a surf boy, Justice, who seems to know more about her grandmother than she does, and lets slip that her grandmother was a white witch. As the story progresses, Courtney decides to try out one of her grandmother’s spells: How To Make Your Cat Talk, with disastrous results.

Aleesah Darlison has penned a well-written, fast-paced chapter book with likeable characters, including an adorable cat that knows more about everything than anyone else.

Purchase a copy: Little Witch – Secrets & Spells

Title: Little Witch – Secrets & Spells
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925520101
Subject: Magic, Spells, witchcraft
Category: 8+
Pages: 176

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)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
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The Duke of Hinklewinkle, a book review

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Title: The Duke of Hinklewinkle
Written and illustrated by: John Phillips
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Bridget lives in the sleepy, seaside town of Hinklewinkle. She spends a lot of time with her Grandpa. Her mother often has to work late and her father lives in another town. Luckily, her caring Grandpa is always close at hand to help out. Grandpa breeds show chickens and Bridget loves to help out. One day when Bridget is feeling a little lonely, Grandpa decides to let Bridget pick a chicken of her own. Far from picking the most beautiful chicken, she picks a strange looking rooster she names the “Duke of Hinklewinkle”. The two become inseparable. When Grandpa’s cranky old neighbour, Mr Borewater’s chickens are under threat, The Duke of Hinklewinkle surprises everyone.

If you like chickens, then The Duke of Hinklewinkle is for you. It’s a picture book narrative for primary aged children, written in third person, by author and illustrator, John Phillips.

In the story we meet Bridget, who lives in a sleepy, seaside town. Her grandpa breeds show chickens and lets her choose her very own chicken. After carefully considering the Long Beaked Australorp, the Stilt Legged Sussex, the Giant Combed Old English Bantam and the Headless Brahma, Bridget chooses a very unusual and slightly odd-looking rooster—a Big Beaked Pencilled Hortner—and names him, “The Duke of Hinklewinkle”. They become best friends in no time. But trouble is looming in the form of the next-door neighbour, Mr Borewater, who tells Bridget that Big Beaked Pencilled Hortners are silly birds. Little does he know that something is about to happen in the dark night to prove him wrong.

As an artist, John Phillips has created colourful and quirky illustrations to accompany his story. The illustrated chickens are guaranteed to keep the reader entertained.

The Duke of Hinklewinkle is a story with a diverse family – Bridget’s grandfather helps with her upbringing as well as her mother, while her father works in a different town. The big theme of the book is friendships, not only Bridget and her chicken, but neighbourly friendship as well.

Purchase a copy: The Duke of Hinklewinkle

Title: The Duke of Hinklewinkle
Written and illustrated by: John Phillips
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675191
Category: primary
Pages: 32

Julieann received this book from Big Sky Publishing for review.

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Published Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
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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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The Kids’ Survival Guide “When I was Young…” and other brain-exploding lectures! book review

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Title: The Kids’ Survival Guide “When I was young…” and other brain-exploding lectures!
by: Susan Berran
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Ever notice how adults have a gazillion annoying,
brain-exploding lectures that they repeat over and over and over!?

Like when you ask for pocket-money and you hear those five
terrifying little words… “When I was your age…”

Yeah, yeah I know. When you were my age – six hundred and
ninety-eight years ago when you had a dinosaur for a pet!

Well, get ready to strike back. No more boring lectures,
dumb sayings or annoying rules. I’m going to teach you how to
twist them, flip them, turn them and slam them right back!

Sam lives in the city and loves surfing and hanging out with his mates. Everything is totally awesome until along comes Miss Smelly Melly Poop Pants. And to make matters worse – BOOM – the family moves to the countryside, surrounded by dead-boring hills, dead grass, dead trees and dead sheep! Sam is really peeved, until Jared turns up.

As new best mates, Sam and Jared hang out and get creative with a secret dung-flunger and a Super Charged Cow Crapper Attacker which happens to get them into deep trouble. But then Sam finds the book of all books hidden amongst the toilet cleaning products in the cupboard – ‘Boring Useless Lectures, Lessons, Childrens’ Rules And Punishments’ – BULLCRAP for short.

From here, Sam’s story takes a turn explaining rules of the book in five parts –
Part 1 – Boring Lectures that Explode Your Brain and How to Get Out of Them
Part 2 – Awesome Excuses and Uses
Part 3 – Bending the Rules
Part 4 – Dumb Things Parents Say!
Part 5 – Getting Out of Things with Games That You Never Lose

Author, Susan Berran, has written a fast-paced, action-packed story that will have children sniggering at the events, and some will be nodding their heads at the familiarity of words seemingly used by parents, the world over. Susan has listed an instruction for kids on page 6 – But whatever you do – Don’t let an adult get hold of this book, or you and every other kid on the planet are doomed. After reading the book, I understand the need for the instruction, clearly.

Purchase a copy: Big Sky Publishing – The Kids Survival Guide

Title: The Kids’ Survival Guide “When I was young…” and other brain-exploding lectures!
by: Susan Berran
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925520071
Category: primary school age
Pages: 102

Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Truly Foul & Cheesy Body Jokes & Facts, book review

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Title: Truly Foul & Cheesy Body Jokes & Facts
by: John Townsend
illustrated by: David Antram
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

This hilarious, fact-packed joke book will have young readers laughing as they’re learning. It features dozens of gut-busting gags that children can share with their friends, themed around the gross and gruesome aspects of the human body, along with bite-sized information about the topics covered. Hold onto your sides and dive in!

Q: What does a brain do when it sees a friend across the street?
A: It has a quick brain wave!

Author, John Townsend, makes a statement at the beginning of ‘Truly Foul & Cheesy Body Jokes & Facts’: Our body is totally, amazingly, incredibly, mind-bogglingly, astoundingly, BRILLIANT, and also revolting. After reading his book, I whole heartedly agree.

John has organised the ‘Truly Foul & Cheesy Body Jokes & Facts’ book by body bits and pieces:

Body Secrets
Bacteria
Body Visitors
Sneezes
Stomach
Gooey Innards
You Are What You Eat
Record Breakers
A Whiff Of Trouble
Foul, Cheesy And Breezy
Tales of the Heart
Hairy, Scary, Icky & Sticky
Yucky, Mucky & Unlucky
Warts and All
Skin and Bones
Did You Know…
Dead Bodies
Dead Gruesome Facts
Live Gruesome Stuff
Brainy Stuff
Sleepy Slumbers & Neurotic Nightmares

In each of these body bit and pieces ‘chapters’ are interesting facts before some jokes emerge. A churning of your stomach is almost guaranteed with each page turn. There are also limericks and Cheesy Doctor Sketches to keep you rolling your eyes and giggling.

And for those who love to test their knowledge, there’s a quiz at the back of the book, as well as an index. So if you want to look up snot (kids love these parts), you will find it is mentioned on three pages, and poo (the top kid magnet) is found on four pages.

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Artist, David Antram, has created illustrations that will have children vocalising an ‘Eeeew!’ in some parts. The illustrations are totally suitable for the text and help create impact.

If your child is intrigued by the human body, and most of them are, I can assure you that John Townsend’s book, ‘Truly Foul & Cheesy Body Jokes & Facts’ will make them groan or feel sick out loud. I would gift my children the book for entertainment value, just to watch them pull an assortment of different faces as they read.

Purchase a copy: Big Sky Publishing – Truly Foul & Cheesy Animal Jokes & Facts

Title: Truly Foul & Cheesy Body Jokes & Facts
by: John Townsend
illustrated by: David Antram
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925520477
Category: children’s
Pages: 128

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

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Truly Foul & Cheesy Animal Jokes & Facts, book review

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Title: Truly Foul & Cheesy Animal Jokes & Facts
by: John Townsend
illustrated by: David Antram
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

This hilarious, fact-packed joke book will have young readers laughing as they’re learning. It features dozens of gut-busting gags that children can share with their friends, themed around the gross and gruesome aspects of the animal kingdom, along with bite-sized information about the topics covered. Hold onto your sides and dive in!

Q: What do you call an elephant that never washes?
A: A smellyphant!

You have probably heard that laughter is the best medicine. Laughter gets those happy juices flowing through your body retuning you to some kind of normal (we hope). After teaching for twenty-five years, I can tell you there is nothing better than the sound of children’s laughter, and watching those smiles on the kid’s faces.

Author, John Townsend, has created a hybrid book of serious and funny at the same time – something truly unique, and catering for both children’s thirst for knowledge as well as the need for light heartedness. He has logically organised the ‘Truly Foul & Cheesy Animal Jokes & Facts’ book by animals:

Elephants
Hippopotamuses
Poolicious
Skunks
Birds
Bears
Sloths
Big Cats
Reptiles
Monkeys
Giraffes
Camels
Cows
Frogs
Bats
Kangaroos
Rats

 

In each of these animal ‘chapters’ are intriguing facts before the jokes begin. A rumble of laughter will be bubbling inside you with each page turn. There are even limericks splashed here and there to keep you giggling. And for those who love to test their knowledge, there is a quiz at the back of the book.

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Artist, David Antram, has created exceptionally cool illustrations with humour that adds another level of fun to this book.

I can guarantee you that John Townsend’s book, ‘Truly Foul & Cheesy Animal Jokes & Facts’ will have the sound of your child’s laughter echoing on the walls of your house.

Purchase a copy: big sky publishing Truly Foul & Cheesy Animal Jokes & Facts

Title: The Truly Foul & Cheesy Animal Jokes & Facts
by: John Townsend
illustrated by: David Antram
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925520484
Category: children’s
Pages: 128

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

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Shiver Me Timbers!, book review

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Title: Shiver Me Timbers!
by: Oakley Graham
illustrated by: Nina Caniac
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

This is the tale of a fearsome pirate crew,
They’ll shiver your timbers with the things they do!

Join Captain Black and his pirate crew as they go looking for treasure in a swashbuckling, sea shanty adventure on the high seas.

Pirates never go out of favour. Oakley Graham has written Shiver Me Timbers! in rhyme, telling the tale of Captain Black and his fierce pirate crew. The story has all the lashings of the pirate life—a typhoon, treasure, sail mending, scrubbing the deck, walking the plank, sharks, mermaids, the poop deck, surfing and an angry octopus.

Illustrator, Nina Caniac has used a world of colour depicting the ongoing story of the captain and the pirate crew, drawing eager eyes to the pages of the story.

Children will enjoy chanting along to the repeated four line chorus, which appears on each double spread throughout the book. An added bonus to the story are the pirate facts, which can be found at the back of the book.

Purchase a copy: big sky publishing – Shiver-Me-Timbers

Title: Shiver Me Timbers!
by: Oakley Graham
illustrated by: Nina Caniac
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925520002
Category: children’s
Pages: 32

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

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Title: Beowulf the Brave
retold by: Oakley Graham
illustrated by: Emi Ordás
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

A brave little boy steps into the big boots of his hero, Beowulf the Brave, in this retelling of the epic poem. But will he defeat the scary monsters that threaten the land?

Children love stories that begin with ‘once upon a time’. Beowulf the Brave, retold by author, Oakley Graham, starts with these exciting words and continues as a rhyming poem, telling the story of Grendel, who was an unstoppable beast that hated laughter. No swords or spears could defeat the foul creature, not even an army of men.

But then there was Beowulf. He was brave. He launched an attack and knocked the monster down flat and sent him to the grave. The act set off a revenge attack by Grendel’s mother, who then was defeated by Beowulf with a giant’s sword. Beowulf becomes a hero of course, and is crowned as the new king.

All is peaceful in the kingdom until a cruel fiery dragon’s great hoard of treasure is disturbed, and King Beowulf the Brave must fight a new battle in his armour…

Illustrator, Emi Ordás, has created appealing pictures that fit the era of the original poem, which was set in Scandinavia, 6th century. The illustrations will have children wishing they could become a character in the story to join in the adventure.

Children will enjoy Beowulf the Brave and want it read over again. It is a fast paced rhyming poem that is based on the longest poem in Old English. The original poem was more than 3,000 lines long!

Purchase a copy: http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/Books/Children/Beowulf-The-Brave/1159/productview.aspx

Title: Beowulf the Brave
retold by: Oakley Graham
illustrated by: Emi Ordás
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925275933
Category: children’s
Pages: 32

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

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