Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How Big is Too Small? by Jane Godwin & Andrew Joyner

Reviewed by Carmela Ramos

     Sam’s big brother excludes Sam from playing because he is “too small". Sam ponders the question of ‘how big is too small?’ by comparing himself to the world around him. When Sam’s brother calls on him to climb and get back their ball, Sam easily completes this mission because of his size. While Sam is up high finding the ball, he meets another boy who shares a different perspective on size, and it doesn’t take long for these two boys to become new friends.  

      Jane Godwin is definitely in tune to the thoughts and struggles of a younger sibling feeling lonely and left out. Her writing is emotive, effective and appealing. Not only can the story easily connect with a young reader, it is also beautifully written in rhyme.
     The brush and ink drawings of Andrew Joyner look spontaneous and fun, and successfully help the young reader to understand the content of the story.  The illustrations are meaningful, energetic and entertaining. Andrew Joyner’s illustrations always make me smile, there is a familiarity about his drawings that is so appealing (They posses a similarity to the old picture books I was fond of as a child). I also liked the use of collage and vintage cutouts, from the plants around the house to the toy trains and scotch tape in Sam’s bedroom.

How Big is Too Small? is a picture book to treasure and will surely impress.

Thank you Penguin (Australia) for sending us a copy of this brilliant Picture Book.

RELEASE DATE : 22 April 2015
ILLUSTRATOR'S WEBSITE : http://andrewjoyner.com.au

Jane Godwin (AUTHOR) 

     Jane Godwin is the Publisher for Young Readers at Penguin Books Australia. She is also a highly acclaimed author of many books for children. Her work is published internationally and she has received many commendations. Together with Anna Walker, Jane has created several bestselling picture books, including Little Cat and the Big Red Bus, All Through the Year and its companion volume Today We Have No Plans and, most recently, Starting School.

Andrew Joyner (ILLUSTRATOR)

     Andrew Joyner is an Australian illustrator and author. His books have been published in more than 20 countries, and they include Tim and Ed and The Terrible Plop, both written by Ursula Dubosarsky; The Swap, written by Jan Ormerod (winner in 2014 of the CBCA Book of the Year, Early Childhood, and the WA Premier’s Children’s Book Award); and the Boris series.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Two stories from the OUR AUSTRALIAN GIRL series

Reviewed by Jess (aged 8 years) and Bella (aged 11 years)

Meet Marly – 1983 
By Alice Pung

     This is the first of four stories about Marly, a girl living in Australia in 1983.  Marly and her family came to Australia as refugees and now her cousins are coming from a refugee camp to live with them too. Marly is a very engaging main character because she is an interesting and lively girl. She made us laugh and enjoy this book very much.

     This book informed us about the lives and experiences of new Australians during the 1980s. It is interesting to see how Marly navigates between two worlds – her home life with her Vietnamese family, and her school life in the wider Australian community. It made us realise that girls today aren’t so different to little girls in the 1980s and that although our cultures might be different, all people are actually quite alike. It also made us realise that we should take pleasure in life and not worry about what other people think. This is a great book and we think all girls our age should read it.

Marly’s Business – 1983 
By Alice Pung

     This story is fantastic! It was interesting and captivating and it gave you a look into a typical girl’s life from the 1980s. It was heartwarming but at the same time adventurous and bewildering. We were hooked from the beginning and did not want to stop until we finished it!

     This is the second of four stories which is part of the Our Australian Girl series. It’s about Marly, a girl from a Vietnamese refugee family living in Australia in 1983. Marly wants, more than anything, to buy Donkey Kong cards and collect them like the other kids at school, but her Mum and Dad don’t see the value in them.  She sets about raising the money for them herself and makes some great new friends along the way and has exciting adventures on the bus. We think most kids can relate to wanting to collect things that your Mum and Dad don’t see as valuable, and also to their first experiences catching the bus on their own. We haven’t done it yet, but we hope our first bus trip is less nerve-wracking than Marly’s!

                                                                    We would definitely recommend this book to our friends!

The Kidz Review Krew really appreciate Penguin Group (Australia) sending us copies of these two amazing books which are part of the Our Australian Girl series.

For more information on the author go to alicepung.com

  About The Author
     Alice Pung is a writer, editor, teacher and lawyer based in Melbourne. Born a month after her Chinese parents fled from Cambodia to Australia as asylum seekers from Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge Regime, Alice has used her shared family's experiences to write stories that captivate all readers.

     She has won numerous awards including the 2007 Newcomer of the Year Award in the Australia Book Industry Awards for her first book Unpolished Gem. Her next book Her Father's Daughter won the Western Australia Premier's Book Award for Non Fiction, and it was also shortlisted for the Premier's Literary Awards in Victoria and New South Wales, and nominated also in the Queensland Literary Awards. Laurinda, Alice's first novel, was published in 2014 and was one of Readings' Top 100 bestselling books for the year. She is writing four books around the character Marly for Penguin's Our Australian Girl series.
     Alice's writing has appeared in many notable publications including the Monthly, the Age, Meanjin, Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Essays. Alice edited Growing Up Asian in Australia, a collection of personal accounts, essays, short stories and poetry which is currently a set text for the VCE English context on Identity and Belonging.

Alice lives with her husband at Janet Clarke Hall at the University of Melbourne, where she is currently the Artist in Residence.