Book reviews by Rebecca

Book Review: Mbobo Tree

Mbobo Tree by Glenda Millard, ill. Annie White. Scholastic Press for Scholastic Australia, ISBN 9781741693515

A review copy of this book was sent to us from the publisher.

"Mbobo tree (cover)"

Tiranambo Adesimbo Mbobo is found as a baby, swinging in the branches of the tree on the crest of a hill. Like the tree, the baby belongs to no-one and everyone. She grows up in the village and shares in the dancing and celebrating and mourning but she never speaks. The tree where she was found is a source of joy and life for the village and the animals that live around it. One day the tree is threatened—can Tiranambo Adesimbo Mbobo’s bravery save the village?

This story is told in the style of a folktale or a myth and it includes some wonderful description.

I like this sentence—

They gave her a name that was longer than she was: Tiranambo Adesimbo Mbobo.


Late at night, when the moon was as round and yellow as a cornmeal pancake, Tiranambo Adesimbo Mbobo sat by her window.

The illustrations are in oils on canvas and I love how you can see the texture of the canvas showing through on many of the pages. My favourite pages show Tiranambo Adesimbo Mbobo and the villagers dancing.

This is a good story with a bit of mystery about it. Mbobo Tree is now on the shelf with my favourite picture books.

© July  2011 “Review of Mbobo Tree by Glenda Millard, ill. Annie White”, reviewed by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

5 things you didn’t know about picture book Samuel’s Kisses

"Karen Collum"
Karen Collum, author of Samuel's Kisses

Karen Collum is visiting today as part of a tour to celebrate her new picture book, Samuel’s Kisses. Karen is a mother to three beautiful boys, with a baby girl about to join the family in December 2010. Samuel’s Kisses is illustrated by Serena Geddes and published by New Frontier Publishing. To read more about Karen’s work visit her website.


"Samuel's Kisses cover"5 things you didn’t know about Samuel’s Kisses

1.      Samuel’s Kisses is based on a real person.

My eldest son’s name is Samuel and when he was little he used to blow kisses to everyone we walked past in the shops. I was amazed at how much happier people were after receiving a kiss from Sam and thought it would make a wonderful picture book. It turns out I was right!

2.      The illustrations were done twice.

The publisher who accepted my book found an illustrator to draw all the pictures for Samuel’s Kisses, but sadly, she wasn’t able to finish them. So, another illustrator had to be found. I was a little bit nervous as I wondered if I’d like the second lot of illustrations as much as the first, but I’m delighted to say I absolutely adore the illustrations by Serena Geddes. Serena has made the book lively and exciting while at the same time being soft and gentle, which is just perfect for the story.

3.      I had to change one important word.

When I sent my book to the publisher I had each of the kisses landing on people’s cheeks with a loud ‘SMACK’. One of the first things the publisher did was get me to change that to ‘SPLAT’. After all, we don’t want to encourage little children to smack anybody!

4.      There was a poem on the very last page that is no longer there.

When a publisher decides to publish a book they make changes to make it better. This happened with Samuel’s Kisses and as a result, the poem that I had at the end of the book was cut out. I’m glad it’s not in the final version as I think the book is stronger without it, but I’ll share it with you here:

Blow me a kiss, my sweet little one

Blow me a kiss, make it fast and fun

Fly it over your pillow and under your bed

Past your window and round my head

Blow me a kiss with all your might

And I’ll blow you a kiss and say goodnight.

5.      It took nearly two years to be published.

Making a book takes a very long time. I found out in April 2009 that New Frontier Publishing were going to publish Samuel’s Kisses so it’s taken almost two years for the book to be brought to life. There are a lot of things that happen during that time such as signing a publishing contract, organising an illustrator, editing the book and getting it printed, but it’s still a long time to wait. I’m very excited that I can finally hold my book in my hands and read it to my kids.

Here are the other stops on the blog tour:

Dec 1: Kathryn Apel

Dec 2: Dee White

Dec 3: Sheryl Gwyther

Dec 4: New Frontier Blog and Serena Geddes

Dec 5: Alphabet Soup magazine [You’re here]

Dec 6: Susan Stephenson

Dec 7: Katrina Germein