The Whirlpool – a book review


Title: The Whirlpool
by: Emily Larkin
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Wombat Books



Life is full of brightness for one polar bear cub. But then shadows fall … and his world changes. The little cub must learn to hope again.

The Whirlpool is a beautiful story about feeling sad and happy, lonely and loved, small and big. This gentle, emotive tale will help children navigate their way through the ups and downs of life. There is a whirlpool in all of us.

The Whirlpool booktrailer:

One moment the world is your oyster, and in the next moment, the world swallows you whole. Author, Emily Larkin has created a poignant, simple story describing the emotional journey and turmoil that can follow children and adults alike in our walk in life. A polar bear cub is the main character in The Whirlpool. We follow his journey, feeling his joy and happiness at the world and people around him. Even the stars shine for him. He can’t put a foot wrong…

But then comes the whirlpool … closing in and pulling him down into the depths of sadness and loneliness, hiding the brightest stars. As time passes, a new star finally peeks out from the ocean sky. The polar bear cub smiles. It’s a new day.







Emily Larkin has approached the subject of ‘swirling’ emotions that a child may experience on their quest in life with a gentle, non-judgmental acceptance. Children will relate to the emotions of the polar bear cub in a non-threatening way, and may even think, ‘Hey – that’s me.’

A crucial part of this story is when the polar bear cub comes through the cycle of sad days, and inhales the colours around him again. The importance of this ending is significant, and can be healing, calming and overflowing with hope for children who feel that their sad days will never end.

Emily Larkin’s message to her readers is simple, but highly effective in the recognition and acknowledgement of life’s emotive journey. Children need to know that life is not always happy and fun. It can be full of blue days and sad times too, but these will pass.






Illustrator, Helene Magisson, has captured the changes of emotion in the story with her effective use of colour and changes in facial expressions on the polar bear cub. These elements reach out to the reader and touch the heart, creating a bond and empathy.


In a world of darkness and light, inside and outside of ourselves, The Whirlpool is a welcome story that may help children feel they are not so alone after all, and on the inside, we all feel the same way at different times in our lives. The Whirlpool’s value in open discussions about our inner emotions is considerable, and may lift the weight of life’s journey from some children, and help them to see the stars and breathe the colours around them again.

Purchase a copy of The Whirlpool:

Connect with Emily Larkin at:

Connect with Helene Magisson at:

Author: Emily Larkin
Illustrator: Helene Magisson
ISBN: 978-1-925563-04-7
RRP: 24.99
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Wombat Books

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

Member of:
QLD Writers Centre
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Harrison’s Song – a book review


Title: Harrison’s Song
Written by: Harrison Craig
Illustrated by: Ann-Marie Finn
Published by: Wombat Books

Harrison is a bit different to the other kids.
Each time he tries to speak, he stutters. No matter how hard he tries, his tongue feels tied up in knots. That is, until one day when Harrison discovers his talent …
Harrison’s Song tells the story of how Harrison overcame adversity because he just wanted to share the love and words inside him.

Harrison’s Song is a book of triumph. It’s a true story about a boy with a speech impediment who became a target for teasing and isolation at school. But through the difficult days, Harrison found something unique to himself. Something that would lift him higher than he ever thought he could go. Something that made him shine through and above his stuttering.

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Harrison Craig on ‘The Voice – Australia’

Harrison Craig has not only gifted his voice to the world through singing, he has now gifted children his words through his story, Harrison’s Song, encouraging children to believe that good things will come, and that when times are tough, it takes courage to step outside your comfort zone.

This picture book is not just for children, however. It is for parents as well. Watching a child lose their bounce and happiness due to bullying at school is heart wrenching and beyond devastating, and parents always battle to find something that will return confidence and happiness to their child to restore balance to their world again. Harrison Craig’s book, Harrison’s Song, oozes with hope for parents and children alike.

Harrison Craig with illustrator, Ann-Marie Finn at The Mad Hatters Bookshop

Children love illustrations in picture books. They grab the attention of the reader way before the words are read. And illustrator, Ann-Marie Finn, has done this from the outset with the front cover, where she has portrayed Harrison Craig singing on ‘The Voice, Australia’, which he won in 2013. Ann-Marie has captured the essence of Harrison Craig with her colourful illustrations throughout the story. The depiction of his feelings in the facial expressions draws the reader to make an emotional connection with Harrison, experiencing his sadness, his worry and his self-doubt, then finally his immense happiness while he is singing, leaving the reader with a positive vibe of satisfaction and achievement.

Children are often surprised to hear the back-story of famous people and their journey of difficulties, and Harrison’s story is no exception. This book will open up discussion in homes and educational settings about people around them, and help to focus on strength and ability, instead of perceived weakness and disability. Everyone has a light within them, ready to shine to make the world a better place.


Purchase a copy of Harrison’s Song:
Connect with Harrison Craig at:
Connect with Ann-Marie Finn at:

Title: Harrison’s Song
Author: Harrison Craig
Illustrator: Ann-Marie Finn
Publisher: Wombat Books
ISBN: 978-1925563122 (hardback)
ISBN: 978-1-925563-11-5 (paperback)
Category: children
Pages: 32

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

Member of:
QLD Writers Centre
Write Links
Share Your Story