Tag Archives: Mem Fox

Early One Morning – Mem Fox. Illustrated by Christine Davenier


Penguin Australia

  • March 2021
  • ISBN: 9781761040030
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $19.99

It’s always a delight to see a new Mem Fox book and this one for very little people is no exception. Your littlest humans will thoroughly enjoy this little boy’s mission to collect his breakfast, as he walks around the farm in search of the source. There is no doubt that they will giggle along with the reading and guessing, and no doubt feel very superior that they know very well that it won’t be the tractor or the pony or the cow or the haystack that provides that elusive breakfast goodie.

The simple text perfectly underlines the ‘rambling’ nature of the little boy’s walk around his patch but these absolutely beautiful illustrations are killer. With wonderfully, almost retro, gentle and evocative illustrations completing this excursion into an enviable rural idyll, this will be such a huge hit with readers from toddlers upwards.

One never needs much of a hard sell for Mem’s books but needless to say it has a high recommendation from me – for either your personal shelves or in your collection.

Roly Poly – Mem Fox/Jane Dyer



Penguin Random House

November 2019

  • ISBN: 9781760896348
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Hardback
  • RRP: $19.99

This is just adorable! Of course Mem’s story about the arrival of a little usurper in the family is just delightful and  will resonate with so many small children but aside from that. those glorious illustrations! They remind me so much of Jeannie Baker’s Polar of many years ago (does anyone else remember that one?).  This little fuzzy bear family with all the accoutrements for a little home with tiny props is just the most wonderful thing I’ve seen for ages.

Roly Poly is a very happy young bear with his own room and his own bed, his own walrus tooth with which to play and his own fish to eat after he’s been fishing through the ice hole. You can well imagine his complete and utter disbelief when he wakes up to find a tiny brother in the bed with him. His resistance to having a younger sibling is palpable as he continually rejects little Monty time after time – until ,that is, there is an almost catastrophe when the little brother is castaway on a ice floe. Luckily Roly Poly does not take his resentment of his sibling quite that far and after a brave rescue the two finally achieve a bond.

Some children cope very easily with the arrival of a new sibling and others do struggle with it. Whichever is the case little readers will immediately connect with this and I can assure will absolutely adore those illustrations.

HIghly recommended for small humans from early childhood upwards.

Q&A with the AMAZING Mem Fox!



Photo Credit: Penguin Books

Welcome to Just So Stories Mem! What an absolute honour to be able to have this exchange with you – many thanks!

  • I’ve had the great pleasure of attending various of your presentations and PD events over the years and every time have come away energised and re-enthused. Your passion is always so infectious. Perhaps you could share your thoughts on maintaining our enthusiasm for our work with children and reading?

So far, I have never experienced a lack of passion for reading aloud to children. I adore it when they sit at my feet, listening, sometimes hardly breathing, and at other times laughing so much they’re on their backs with their legs in the air. I think the secret to maintaining our passion is finding fantastic books that set us alight as adults, and similarly send children into transports of delight. Boring books do nothing for anyone, nor does boring expression when we’re reading. Zest and enjoyment in our voices and on our faces pays dividends in keeping the children in the palms of our hands. I’ve found it’s best not to engage in any preliminary talk before I begin to read a story. I cut to chase, open the book and go for it, trusting that the writer’s words will grab the children’s attention and hold it to the end. It always does.


  • I’ve always wondered if your childhood years in Africa were a spur for your imagination and creativity. It seems to me that today our children are so completely surrounded by noise, distractions, screens, endless organised activities and so on that there is little time left for imaginative play or creating one’s own ‘magic’. What are your thoughts on this?

It’s true that I grew up (a long time ago!) without much external distraction, and became a creative, imaginative person. I can’t deny that. But It’s perfectly possible for children to be just as imaginative and creative today if screen time is severely limited and children are allowed to get bored. Boredom is a great fillip to creativity and the imagination, but most kids aren’t left alone long enough to get bored. I don’t mean physically alone. I mean being without any overt stimulation.  I love it when I see my grandson teetering on the edge of boredom. (I allow it to happen, even though I want to jump in sometimes and suggest things.) I know the result will be some incredible game that might begin with an old tablecloth and my dad’s ancient walking stick, and go on for a self-entertaining hour.


  • Your body of work comprises so many iconic picture books, all of them much loved. If I ask friends and colleagues to name a favourite there is always such a wide response (my own would be Tough Boris and Wombat Divine!) but I also enjoyed greatly your autobiography Mem’s The Word and I wonder if you have ever considered writing a novel for children?

I like writing picture books for young children and non-fiction books for adults, although both are hard work and take a long time, but I have no desire to write a novel for any age group. I read them all the time—I hate to be without one, but writing one? No thank you!


  • Your beautiful new book The Tiny Star (so lovely it made me teary) is inspired by your bond with your grandchild. As I am raising my granddaughter since the death of her mother, I can completely and whole-heartedly connect with this. Please tell us more about your decision and emotions behind the writing.

Because you are raising your grandchild after the death of her mother, I will say very little in reply, except that you are awesome. Need I say more?  You totally understand the bond between grandparents and their grandchildren, let alone children and their own parents. I hope your grand-daughter knows her mother is now a star shining brightly and loving her from afar, forever.


  • Aside from your family and the memories they will carry in their hearts, how would you want to be remembered by the world at large?

I hope people remember that I was fun to be with and that I wrote some great books that touched people’s hearts for generations. (I hope they forget the not-so-great books. Hah.)


  • Though you have been ‘semi-retired’ for quite a long time now there seems to be no stopping the unstoppable Mem Fox so what’s the next delight in store for us?

Amazingly, although The Tiny Star hits the shelves on October 1st, I have yet another new book arriving on November 5th, a dramatic sibling rivalry story: Roly Poly, about two polar bear brothers. You can guess the rest…


Mem, again I thank you for taking the time to share your words with my audience. It is truly an honour.


And thank YOU very much for your kind interest!


Mem Fox

Visit Mem’s website for more!

The Tiny Star – Mem Fox/Freya Blackwood




1st October 2019

ISBN: 9780670078127

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $24.99

Mem Fox has triumphed again with this simply beautiful new picture book inspired by the most personal of motivations – the bond between loving grandparent and grandchild.

In their first collaboration Mem and Freya have produced a gentle and warming exploration of life and death that will resonate with many readers, both young and old.

When a tiny star falls to earth it turns into a baby to be cherished, nurtured and loved by its family, growing and thriving in that security of warmth and tenderness.  All the time, growing taller and getting older and eventually creating its own family where the circle of love continues.  After many full and happy years the star that was begins to become frailer and to shrink until once again becomes tiny, so tiny that it disappears it seems. But no, once again the tiny star sparkles in the night sky reminding all that the love we feel never ends.

Some readers will know that I am raising my beautiful granddaughter so I can completely relate to this expression of love and the accompanying realisation that one day we will not be here for our grandchildren.  In the meantime, how privileged are we to share so deeply in their lives and forge these bonds that will last forever.

Thank you Mem and Freya for this outstanding and tender testament to that love which, I have no doubt, will be not only welcomed but lauded with praise.

Highly recommended for both your professional and personal shelves to share with young readers from toddlers upwards – why not pre-order yours now!

Stay posted for a forthcoming Q&A with the inimitable Mem soon!