Giveaway winner

Little Treasures pack (covers)Everyone who entered our Peter Carnavas book-pack giveaway nominated wonderful picture books as their ‘must read’ recommendations.

We put all the entrants’ names into a hat and the winner is … KEN WILLIAMS. Congratulations—we know you’ll love these four fabulous picture books by Peter Carnavas! (Please email with your postal address, Ken.)

Here’s what Ken said about his nominated picture book treasure:

A favourite book is Waiting for Mummy by Tae-Jun Lee—a Korean classic retold and published by Australian publishers Wilkins Farago. Story is told largely through some amazing illustrations that take me back to my own childhood as an only child waiting for my mother to finish work to tell her about my day. It transforms me into a sobbing mess with each read.

Waiting for Mummy (cover)


teachers' resources

Book review: The Great Expedition by Peter Carnavas

The Great Expedition, written and illustrated by Peter Carnavas, New Frontier Publishing, ISBN 9781921042812

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

The Great Expedition (cover)This story is loosely based on the expedition of explorers Burke and Wills. In The Great Expedition, the exploring party is assembled—with a leader, a navigator, a botanist, a biologist and an animal handler (to keep the dog under control). The group of young explorers needs to get a parcel safely to its destination. They set off in high spirits but soon run into all sorts of trouble … and then disaster strikes.

Although they are exhausted by their journey, obviously this adventure is not as arduous as the one Burke and Wills faced (plus, this journey has a happy ending!). This is a great picture book for kids learning about explorers—learning what happens on an expedition, and the roles of the people involved. At the end of the book there is a little about Burke and Wills, too.

Younger kids will enjoy the story as it is, older kids will appreciate the humour behind the kids’ expedition mirroring a real one. And everyone will love the quirky illustrations (look out for the dog in the endpapers!).

A fun adventure, and a springboard for learning about the great explorers of history.

© October 2011 “Review of The Great Expedition by Peter Carnavas”, 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

teachers' resources

Picture book review: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, by Sue Whiting, illustrated by Sarah Davis.

CD (included)* narrated by Antonia Kidman. Published by New Frontier Publishing.

"Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, book cover"


It’s a fairy tale book with a CD, about two adults that work as candy makers, their names were Marcus and  Mary.

The King comes and tastes the lollies, he loves them so much he says he’ll take fifty jars.

Marcus was worried how they would make them in time and a fairy overheard.

But will the fairy come to save the day?

I liked the book because I liked the happy ending and the colourful pictures.

[If you’d like to take a peek at a few pages of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, then visit the illustrator’s website. *CD includes the music of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, from The Nutcracker Ballet by Tchaikovsky. ]

"Undercover Readers Club logo"Olivia is a member of our Undercover Readers Club, a book reviewers’ club for kids. (The book was provided by the publisher, New Frontier Publishing.) If you or your class would like to join the club, you can download an information pack (PDF) from the magazine’s website. Membership is free!