Tag Archives: Tom Jellett

Poo! and other words that make me laugh – Felice Arena/Tom Jellett


Harper Collins Australia

January 2020

  • ISBN: 9780733341427
  • ISBN 10: 073334142X
  • Imprint: ABC Books – AU
  • List Price: 19.99 AUD

Kids love words – there’s no doubt about that all – and they particularly love rambunctious words I have found. One time, when I taught my darling Year 1/2 class about onomatopoeia in our little school (just 100 kids), they were so delighted with being able to say it. I swore them to secrecy to not, under any circumstances, tell the Year 7s when they went out to the playground – as ‘those big kids, you know, they’re not good with difficult words’ ;-). Naturally the first thing they all did was run shrieking at any big kid they saw “We can say ‘onomatopoeia’ and you can’t!’. It was rather amusing.

Of course, ‘poo’ is a very popular word with little kiddos especially but just think how you could enrich them with words such as squeegee, dilly-dally and succotash!

That’s what this riotously funny book is all about – the magic of weird and wonderful words. Tom Jellett’s always distinctive illustrations fill each page with glorious colour and vibrancy and the children will just lap it all up. The addition of a glossary to inform the reader of meanings of the crazy words is a superb touch!

This will easily springboard into an ongoing word wall with some little word detectives sleuthing out some additional unusual, quirky or obsolete words to build into their burgeoning vocabularies. I’m pretty sure that it will also be a pretty simple step towards moving away from ‘POO!’ into something far more hilarious for common usage – ‘bumbershoot’ perhaps?

Highly recommended for fun and learning for little – or even bigger – readers from around 3 years upwards.

The Besties Make a Splash – Felice Arena/Tom Jellett



Penguin Random House

April 2020

ISBN: 9781760890964

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $9.99

The Besties are back for their next little adventure and your little newly independent readers are going to be well pleased about that!

Again Felice has taken a familiar event in the lives of many small humans and turned it into a fun and engaging romp with a great message woven into it.

As we know Oliver and Ruby have been besties for ever. They do everything together and they love going to the beach where there is so much to do; swimming and jumping the waves, exploring the rock pools, racing around in general and of course getting an ice-cream from the beachside kiosk van.  Such an outing is doubly exciting when their two friends from school turn up as well. Zac is very funny and Isabella is quite the live-wire and they are both great friends as well. Just because you are best friends doesn’t mean that you absolutely positively have to do everything together or even enjoy everything the same so when the two Besties split up to enjoy their own preference of activity – Ruby with Zac and Oliver with Isabella – it seems like a great idea.

Well sometimes things don’t work out quite the way we plan and Ruby and Oliver find themselves feeling just a tad overwhelmed by their individual companions, their exuberance and just the, well, difference in personalities. All in all it’s a bit of a relief to have the adventure over and to be back in their own comfortable groove.

As we know these little ones at the start of their school years are often dipping in and out of friendship circles and for some it can be quite the challenge to try out the company of someone else. We all prefer the friendship of those with whom we are comfortable but it can also be a great learning experience to connect with someone else, even on a temporary basis.

Once again Tom Jellett has captured the personalities of Oliver and Ruby perfectly and Felice has ticked all the boxes for these beginning readers who will love this new book as much as the earlier ones in the series and will be waiting impatiently for the next one.

Highly recommended for small humans from around 5 years upwards.

In case you missed it – catch up on Felice’s blog post about the importance of play.

The Besties – Felice Arena and Tom Jellett



We all know how hungrily those newly independent readers gobble up their favourite series of easy chapter books and we also know that there are times when we struggle to find them the ‘next series’ on which to embark.

This super new series from a highly talented pairing is going to tick a lot of boxes. The two ‘besties’ of the title are Ruby and Oliver so right there you have instant appeal for both boys and girls and also a fabulous demonstration that opposite genders can very easily be friends!

Felice has the knack of engaging his readers always and by having these two new characters simply enjoying their friendship, everyday life, playtimes and simple adventures will very easily hook those early readers into the narratives.

The Besties Show and Smell (#1)


January 2020

ISBN: 9781760890988

Imprint: Puffin

Format: Paperback

RRP: $9.99

Ruby has been so excitedly looking forward to her turn at Show & Tell because she’s going to play her ukulele for the class but things go awry when their regular teacher is away. The replacement teacher Mr Botham is a real grump and refuses to proceed with the regular program but Ruby is not to be daunted. Ollie is a little disturbed and cross that she’s going to defy the old crank while he’s out of the room but soon recovers and all is well. Ruby’s impromptu performance is a huge success and not even class clown Zac’s ‘smelly’ response can quench the mood.

The Besties to the Rescue (#2)


January 2020

ISBN: 9781760890971

Imprint: Puffin

Format: Paperback

RRP: $9.99

Ruby has been practicing her trampoline skills and asks Ollie to video her stunning flips and tricks. Of course Ollie is only too happy to do so but when the pair watches the result they realise that the naughty neighbourhood cat has attacked a bird’s nest and the little fledgling has been tipped out onto the ground. Ruby and Ollie know the little bird is too young to fly so it’s up to them to help it and enable it to survive.


These are super cute stories full of fun with the right dash of imagination to appeal to the little ones that will pounce upon it. Jellet’s illustrations resonate with the joy and energy of the characters. Felice and Tom, who did such a brilliant job on the Sporty Kids, have nailed it again with this new series. Two more are already on the way so what a great way to start off the new year for your borrowers – get some on your shelves ASAP!

Highly recommended for readers from around 6 years upwards