Tag Archives: Christina Booth

Aussie Kids series # 7 & # 8


Penguin Australia

Continuing today’s theme of virtual travel around Australia, here are the next two instalments in one of my favourite series of the past year. These delightful little books have been a huge hit with our newly independent readers who not only enjoy the adventures of the featured kids but are able to learn so much about our big beautiful country and how their counterparts live in so many various places.

Meet Matilda at the Festival – Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern & Tania McCartney

  • September 2020
  • ISBN: 9781760894511
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $12.99

This is my favourite so far not only because it’s illustrated by my beautiful and talented friend Tania McCartney but also because it made me seriously reminiscent about my time living in Canberra – particularly a special visit to the Japanese embassy!

Matilda is sad because her friend Hansuke and his family are returning to Tokyo after their appointment and she knows she will miss him very much. As their last adventure together Matilda and her family are once again invited to the embassy celebrations for the Emperor of Japan’s birthday. It is always such a wonderful occasion with delicious food, drumming, origami, tea ceremony and more. Matilda has made her friend a wonderful scrapbook detailing their many shared experiences from hot air ballooning to spotting kangaroos and they have fun remembering all the good times they’ve had together.

Not long after Hansuke has left Matilda has a special surprise when Irish girl Cara appears. Her family has now been posted to Canberra from Tokyo and Hansuke had been her friend there at school. Matilda is thrilled to have a new friend but still misses Hansuke as the months go by. When her birthday arrives there is an even bigger surprise in store for the little girl.

This is such a great addition to this series as it truly captures the wonderful diversity and personality of Canberra as well as the warmth of friendship.

Meet Dooley at the Farm

  • ISBN: 9781760893682
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $12.99

From Canberra to Tassie and a city mouse/country mouse story when cousin Sienna visits Dooley on his family farm. Sienna is a real city girl who really doesn’t like all the ‘pongs’ or the prickles from raspberry bushes or the noises of the milking shed. In fact, it seems like she’s not going to enjoy the farm visit much at all.

But Dooley remains undaunted – he’s always wanted to sleep in the barn one night and hasn’t been allowed to do alone but now with an older cousin in tow, he will finally be able to do so. Dooley might be the farm kid used to all kinds of different things to Sienna but it’s both children who find that hay is really not that comfortable as a bed, that possums at night can really disturb your sleep as can your dog chasing mice in the haystacks and when a really bad ‘pong’ wakes them up and turns out to be a billy goat, the pair are totally taken aback. Luckily some quick thinking by Dooley sees the stray goat safely put in the calf shed and the children eventually get a little sleep.

Sienna is pretty impressed with Dooley’s skill and brave enough to sleep in the barn again – but Dooley decides that Jess the dog is ‘too tired’ so the next barn sleepover had best wait a night or so.

Lots of fun as these two contrasting cousins learn more about each other and readers learn more about life on a dairy farm.

As with the previous books in the series there are some fun facts at the end of each book and don’t forget the activity pack!

Highly recommended for your young ‘uns from around five years upwards.

A Swag of Magabala!



Opening a parcel from Magabala Books is always such a joy! I love seeing what our First Australian authors and illustrators have created and they enable me to share rich culture and boundless talent with my readers.

First up is the absolute little treasure of a book:

Girls Can Fly – Sally Morgan/Ambelin Kwaymullina


March 2020


RRP: $16.99

Talented mother and daughter Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina have crafted a beautiful and inspirational book for tweens and teens drawing on their own life experiences. In a riot of colour and thoughtful and pithy texts for each thought, girls will find themselves dipping into this again and again. Young girls from the Kimberley and Pilbara Girls program were invited to offer feedback and their own thoughts on an early draft of the book and they are beautifully acknowledged at the back of book with photographs and information about the successful and transformational program

If you are looking for a special book for a young girl in your life, a worthy addition to  your collection or perhaps a new ‘feature’ book for upcoming International Women’s Day this would be a superb choice. I think mine will go to my girl first of all and then will spread its ripples among some of my students in my new library.

Highly recommended for girls from around 10 upwards.



Bubbay’s desert adventure – Josie Wowolla Boyle. Illustrated by Fern Martins.


March 2020


RRP: $17.99

The Australian outback is a lonely place. For some it’s very isolation and empty spaces hold even more loneliness. For Bubbay, a little boy on his own with just his herd of goats and the stars for company, it is even more so. He does have one other person to occasionally visit. Mrs Timms lives down on the plains and sometimes Bubbay trades his goat milk for her eggs. He doesn’t know how fondly Mrs Timms regards him so when he wishes for  a family of his own and Gubbarlee the grandmother appears to him with a quest he has no idea what joy lies ahead.

With the help of Gubbarlee as well as kangaroo, emu, bower bird and crow Bubbay fulfils his magical quest and gains the family love he so craves.

This is a simple and heart-warming story which underlines the need of all children to feel treasured and safe. The illustrations are perfect – with a dream-like mystical quality that enhances the text and allows the readers to explore their own imagination.

Highly recommended for young readers from around 5 years upwards.


Mum’s Elephant – Maureen Jipyiliya Nampijinpa O’Keefe and Christina Booth


April 2020

ISBN: 9781925936728

RRP: $17.99

No, you wouldn’t expect to find an elephant in the Australian outback especially in a very remote community but to a child what might be an ‘elephant’ can well be something just as special and significant. The author has taken an endearing memory of her childhood and woven it into a delightful and oft humorous story for little readers of her mother’s most prized possession.

Growing up in the Northern Territory remoteness near Tennant Creek O’Keefe recalls the importance of her mother’s ‘elephant’ and the role that it played in creating bonds and community sharing on their remote station homeland.

As to be expected Christina Booth’s illustrations are evocative of the harsh red outback and with skill keep the true identity of the elephant tantalisingly hidden until the final reveal.

This is just simply delightful and will, I have no doubt, resonate with young children who will want to nominate their own mothers’ special treasure as well as with adults who may well have their own fond memories of their mum’s ‘special elephant’.

Again, highly recommended for little readers and highly suitable for Prep onwards, particularly when integrated with exploration of family and community.


All three are available for pre-order now so don’t miss out on adding these to your shelves!

The Gum Family Finds a Home – Tania McCartney/Christina Booth



Publisher:   National Library of Australia
Edition:   1st Edition
ISBN:   9780642279255
Publication Date:   01 August 2018


Tania McCartney is not only one of my very favourite author/illustrators but also one of my favourite humans. This impossibly talented woman is clever, stylish, generous, beautiful inside and out and passionate about our unique country. It took a while for this review copy to get to me but oh how worth the wait it was! And as with Tania’s other books this one doesn’t go to our library shelves or some other worthy recipient but remains firmly in my own collection.


A sweet family of koalas live, as they would do, in a gum tree but their home is not without its problems. High winds, busy buzzy bees, no shelter from rain and more all make for a sometimes difficult living environment and like many other families this one thinks perhaps they might look for something more congenial and comfortable. With their koala caravan hitched up they follow their black noses around some of Australia’s most glorious geological wonders in search of a dream home. Along the way they see some of the most spectacular scenery in the world but when all is said and done, they realise that their own home is special – and with just a few modifications might suit them best after all.


What a perfectly wonderful way to introduce kidlets to our amazing landscapes (some of which Miss No-Longer-Small and I will be privileged to see next holidays! Excitement!). I am just a little sorry I didn’t receive it in time to use it with Year 2 this term – but what the hey there’s always next term to follow up on their classroom unit! Particularly as there is a wealth of information at the end of the book about the various locations this will prove not only entertaining but enlightening.


Tania, you and Christina, are a dream team – and this is just beautiful as well as informative. And oh my! The end papers are just truly divine!!!! (my kiddos at school find my obsession with endpapers highly amusing).


Watch the beautiful Tania share this gorgeous book here.

This is Banjo Paterson – Tania McCartney/Christina Booth



NLA Publishing

February 2017

ISBN 9780642278982

RRP $24.99


Those of us of a certain age will most likely have grown up with the ballads of Andrew Barton Paterson. I was fortunate to share a love of the Banjo’s work with my father and would often perform his bush poetry as my ‘party piece’ for my parents’ friends.

Our younger readers may not be so familiar with the name but will most definitely know Waltzing Matilda and may even recognise The Man from Snowy River or Clancy of the Overflow. This wonderful and lively picture book will introduce the man behind the verse to a whole new generation.

Tania McCartney has a real gift for bringing the best of our Australian culture and icons to life for children and this book is further testament to her skill.  Her delightful re-tracing of Banjo’s childhood and later life is told simply but engagingly. The recurring dialogue (in an effective use of speech bubbles) underline the early beginnings of Banjo’s writing successes as the boy who loved to rhyme grows to a multi-talented man.

With a clever twist Christina Booth has provided charming illustrations which show the young Barty with his family, dogs and friends in a contemporary backyard setting to which young readers will instantly relate.

At the close of the book factual information and images are provided in a delightful newspaper facsimile brilliantly alluding to one of Banjo’s many talents – his journalistic writing. Selections of his poetry are also included and thorough teaching notes are also available from the publisher’s website.

On this, the anniversary of his birth in 1864, what better to honour the man who has become the human representation of the Australian bush and its many colourful characters, than sharing his story with the next generation of readers?

Highly recommended for primary aged children, as well as adult aficionados of the Bard from the Bush.

Happy birthday A.B – I believe you would be thrilled with this special tribute to your amazing life.