Dreaming Soldiers, a book review

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Title: Dreaming Soldiers
by: Catherine Bauer
illustrated by: Shane McGrath
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Jimmy and Johnno are best mates. The two young friends do everything together, sharing adventures and growing up side by side in the dust cattle yards on an Australian Outback Station. When World War 1 strikes, the head overseas to fight on the battlefields of the western Front. Two boys from different cultures. A friendship for life.

Author, Catherine Bauer, has penned a superb picture book based on the lives of Jimmy Watson (an Indigenous Australian) and Johnno Hogan, at an Australian Outback Cattle Station in 1914. We follow the boys’ carefree and fun childhood, where they solidify their friendship as they navigate waterholes, camping, horse-riding, fly swishing, listening to dreamtime stories and the forever words from Johnno’s mum, ‘Don’t you two get into trouble!’
But as Jimmy and Johnno get older, the best friends are separated as Johnno attends ‘big school’, then university. However, each holiday break, Jimmy and Johnno were always reunited, returning to carefree days of friendship and fun.

One day, when Jimmy and Johnno go to town for supplies, they enlist for the Australian Army. ‘Don’t you two get into trouble!’ a teary-eyed Mrs Hogan said. And then they were gone. As the reader turns the following pages, the reality and darkness of war sets in. And there you will see Jimmy and Johnno together, best mates, looking out for each other so they don’t get into trouble.

Illustrator, Shane McGrath, has portrayed the spirit of each page with depth, reflecting the mood of the text. His artwork is divine as he captures the strength of Jimmy and Johnno’s friendship.

I love stories like this one, breaking boundaries, breaking fear of the unknown because of skin colour, helping others to see each person, not by their colour, but by their kindness and empathy for others. We all matter.

Catherine Bauer has included an important information page titled, ‘Indigenous Australians at War’ after the last page of the story. It’s an absolute must read.

Dreaming Soldiers is filled with well-chosen words, but there is one sentence in the story that is most poignant. It reads like this: But this time was special too because, for the first time, Jimmy was treated just like everyone else.

Dreaming Soldiers is most certainly in my top five Anzac Day and Remembrance Day books to read to children and students.

Teacher Notes: Dreaming Soldiers by Catherine Bauer Teacher Notes

Purchase a copy: Big Sky Publishing – Dreaming Soldiers

Title: Dreaming Soldiers
by: Catherine Bauer
illustrated by: Shane McGrath
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675535
Subject: Children, WWII
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/

Julieann is a published author and illustrator who is continually inspired by the gift of imagination and the power of words. When she is not disappearing into her imaginary worlds as Julieann Wallace – children’s author, or as Amelia Grace – YA and fiction novelist, she is working as an editor, book designer, and book magician for other authors. Julieann is a self-confessed tea ninja and Cadbury chocoholic, has a passion for music and art, and tries not to scare her cat, Claude Monet, with her terrible cello playing.

The Colour of Broken new cover again

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Granny’s Place, book review

 

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Title: Granny’s Place
by: Allison Paterson
illustrated by: Shane McGrath
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Granny and Pa’s farm was the best place in the world, brimming with treasures of the past and endless adventures to be had … but time brings change.

I have a confession. I never read the book blurb on the back cover. I like to read a story without pre-conceived ideas. The title ‘Granny’s Place’ had me dreaming of what visiting a grandmother at her home would be like, as I never had that privilege. As I read the story out loud, I joined in the lovely memories of the main character. But this story has an unexpected turn. I was sure it was going to be about all things wonderful at Granny’s and Pa’s place, and the magical yesteryear memories of uncomplicated times. Until Pa gets sick. Then the story takes a different path.

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Author, Allison Paterson, has captured the era of the grandparents well, with descriptive words of what the main character could see, feel and hear that made you feel like you are right there at Granny’s place too. The author’s words read with a calm fluency, impressing upon the reader that Granny’s place was filled with love, as well as the exciting adventures that come with farm life.

Illustrator, Shane McGrath, has nailed all the details of the grandparents’ era in his illustrations, from the style of the house on the farm and the interior design with all the knick-knacks, to the colour schemes used at the time. He then changes the colour scheme and architectural elements in the new house in keeping with the era when Granny moves from the farm to town, showing the stark contrast in ways of life.

Granny’s Place is a beautiful story showing three generations of family and the love that binds them. It is also a story about loss, dealt with in a caring and sensitive manner, reminding us of the preciousness of family and memories that live on.

Purchase a copy of Granny’s Place:
http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/Books/Children/Granny-s-Place-PB/1142/productview.aspx

Title: Granny’s Place
by: Allison Paterson
illustrated by: Shane McGrath
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925275636
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/

Julieann is a member of:

Stripes in the Forest – The Story of the Last Wild Thylacine, book review

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Title: Stripes in the Forest – The Story of the Last Wild Thylacine
by: Aleesah Darlison
illustrated by: Shane McGrath
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

I am the last of my kind. This I know. Once, we roamed the land. We owned the land. We called it Home. But strange creatures came to take it from us…
My story matters. I am the last living female Tasmanian Tiger.

 

 

Stripes in the Forest – The Story of the Last Wild Thylacine, written by Aleesah Darlison is a powerful story, one that will stir deep emotions in the reader.

There are many features I love about this story:

One. It is about Australia’s Thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian Tiger, or the Tasmanian Wolf, which was Australia’s largest known carnivorous marsupial. It looked much like a yellowish-brown dog with stripes across its back, and it had a pouch for its young. Imagine that – a dog with a pouch!

Two. The story is written in first person, emotionally drawing the reader into the story. You feel what the Tasmanian Tiger feels – every fear, every happiness, every sadness.

Three. Aleesah has used a clever mix of short and long sentences in the story. The shorter sentences creating critical impact, while the longer sentences keep the plot flowing.

Four. The illustrations by Shane McGrath, recreate the Australian Tasmanian landscape with colours complementing the mood of the text. He has injected action into his illustrations, filling you with a sense of urgency as the Tasmanian Tigers run from death and try to cling on to their last chance at life.

Five. There is a text-less double-page-spread with one powerful illustration. The double-page-spread is voice silent, but mind loud, tearing at your heartstrings. You almost don’t want to turn the page to have your suspicions confirmed.

Six. Aleesah has included a fascinating Thylacine Fact page at the end of the book with eleven interesting points of information.

Stripes in the Forest – The Story of the Last Wild Thylacine, is a book of love and a book of sadness. It is a book of love as you learn about the Tasmanian Tiger, part of Australia’s animal history, and part of the world’s Kingdom Animalia. It is a book of sadness, as we come to the understanding that the Thylacine is most possibly be extinct.

But Aleesah’s final words of her story – I am the last of my kind. Or am I? – help to keep alive that little bit of hope that the Tasmanian Tiger is still living. Imagine if the Tasmanian Tiger was not extinct, but hiding, stripes in the forest. Stealth in the shadows…

Purchase a copy: Stripes in the Forest – The Story of the Last Wild Thylacine

teacher notes: Stripes in the Forest Teacher Notes

Title: Stripes in the Forest – The Story of the Last Wild Thylacine
by: Aleesah Darlison
illustrated by: Shane McGrath
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925275704
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/

Julieann is a member of:
Queensland Writers Centre
Write Links
Share Your Story Australia

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Shearing Time, book review

shearing time

Shearing Time
by: Allison Paterson
illustrated by: Shane McGrath
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

 

As the sun peeks over the horizon we are ready to start the working day all over again… I love shearing time!

 

Shearing Time, written by Allison Paterson, is full of energy from the first page turn to the last. It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the shearing of the sheep, as told through the eyes of a girl who lives and breathes life on the farm, from the hard work to the fun parts to the yucky sheep droppings.

As children engage in this story, they will learn about the many jobs to be done at shearing time; like the mustering of the sheep and herding them to the shearing shed, the shearing team and the machines that make the shed rumble with the racket. But there is no time to rest. There’s the grading and baling of the wool where the young girl feels like she is floating on a cloud as she stomps the wool into the wool press. And of course is the clean up!

Illustrator, Shane McGrath, has created a real life sheep farm atmosphere on each page which captures the all the liveliness with detailed illustrations that convey the very essence of the story, making you feel like the farm is your home, too.

Another facet I enjoyed about Shearing Time, is the information page at the end of the story. It tells of when the first sheep arrived in Australia and lists some curious words and sayings used in shearing – ‘Ducks on the Pond’ made me laugh.

Children will enjoy this fast paced story about Australia’s sheep shearers, learning the process about our wool, from sheep to shop, acknowledging the hard work and dedication of our wool farmers and shearers.

Purchase a copy: http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/Books/Children/Shearing-Time-PB/1164/productview.aspx

Title: Shearing Time
Written by: Allison Paterson
Illustrated by: Shane McGrath
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
Hardback
ISBN: 9781925520088
RRP $24.99

julieann

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

Julieann is a member of:
Queensland Writers Centre
Write Links
Share Your Story Australia

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