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POSSUM AND WATTLE

MY BIG BOOK OF AUSTRALIAN WORDS

From A to Z, this introduction to Australian words and Aboriginal art brings the country to life. Every letter has its own spread, complete with bright and appealing paintings for each word (usually five to six per spread) separated by striking borders. Some words are specific to Australia (bandicoot, wattle, wobbegong); others are not (bee, apple, umbrella) but often have additional meaning or information relevant to a study of Australia, as noted in the glossary at the back of the book. (For example, the entry for the word bee explains that “there are over 1500 kinds of native bee in Australia.”) Some children unfamiliar with Australian words may not grasp their meaning based on the illustrations and will need to utilize the glossary with some frequency, but Bancroft—an Aboriginal artist—has provided eye-catching art that truly makes this selection unique. Reminiscent of wood-block illustrations and filled with vibrant color and flowing dots, each simple image offers much for children to examine and appreciate. (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-921272-58-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2010

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HOW TO MAKE AN APPLE PIE AND SEE THE WORLD

What if the market was closed when you wanted to bake a pie? You could embark for Europe, learn Italian en route, and pick up some semolina wheat in Italy, an egg in France, kurundu bark for cinnamon in Sri Lanka, and an entire cow in England (butter) before coming home via Jamaica (sugar) and Vermont (apples). The expertly designed illustrations in which a dark-haired lass journeys by various means to these interesting places to get her groceries are lovely and lively, and the narrative, too, travels at a spritely pace. The journey is neither quite logical enough to be truly informative nor quite bizarre enough to be satisfyingly silly, while the rich, sweet recipe that's appended will take some adult assistance. Still, fun. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 2, 1994

ISBN: 0-679-83705-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1994

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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