my little bookcase

Raiding the Kids’ Bookshelves

For the next little few months, I’m going to make Saturday on the blog, Kids Day. As I try hard to share my love of books and writing with my kids, I thought it might be nice to share a few of these endeavours with my bookish friends.

This weekend I want to tell you about the fantastic Book-A-Day Instagram Game that Oscar and I are playing throughout the month of May.

book a dayUsing daily prompts from My Little Bookcase, Oscar and I are rediscovering our book collection. The first day had us revisiting a classic title, day two was our favourite, funniest book, and the third day was all about the best read-out-loud book on our bookshelf.

Today we got to choose our very favourite cover… we chose The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle.

Of course, when picking them up off the shelf to photograph, we have to sit and read them too…

Photos are shared on Instagram (you can find TBYL on Instagram here) as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

You can find out full details here… at the My Little Bookcase site.

Will you play along?

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Resourceful rabbits and helpful owls

Hopefully this weekend you went shopping…

Specifically, book shopping. Hopefully you paid a lovely little bookshop a visit to help them celebrate National Bookshop Day.

Oscar and I did, and we had a wonderful day. It involved a trip into the city on the train and a short stroll in the unseasonal sun, after which we were able to hang out with some delightfully resourceful rabbits and terribly helpful owls.

There were lots of different bookish events going on on Saturday, all as part of National Bookshop Day. It was hard to decide which to go to, but in the end we chose to visit the Hill of Content bookshop in Bourke Street. Partly because it’s one of my favourite stores, but also because I was pretty sure that Oscar would enjoy meeting their special guests, Cat Rabbit and Isobel Knowles, the authors of the beautiful Owl Know How (Thames and Hudson).

The girls were lovely, and read their story to a spell-bound crowd of little kids, cozy on cushions…

We had a chance to have a look at the hand-made sets used to make the book. Oscar and I were equally fascinated by this…

We even had a chance to get a book signed for a special friend of ours…

And as a wonderful bonus I finally had the chance to meet the lovely Jackie from one of my favourite blogs, My Little Bookcase, and a new friend Lou from We Heart Books. So nice to put faces to these virtual voices.

We topped off the day with chips and apple juice and somewhat reluctantly made the trip back home, with book and poster in hand and huge smile on our faces. These special days out with my boys are what memories are made of, and all up, it was a fabulous day.

Did you do anything for National Bookshop Day?

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The brand new TBYL News: All Things Bookish…

I’m very excited this morning, as I happily welcome to my new ‘baby’ to That Book You Like – the TBYL News: All Things Bookish…

I’m so pleased to be able to publish our very first newsletter, and I hope you’ll enjoy having a little read – grab a cuppa and put your feet up for a couple of minutes.

TBYL News is a great way to catch up on recent reviews, upcoming news and words from my lovely special guests. This month, I had a little chat to Jackie from My Little Bookcase.

You’ll also find exclusive newsletter specials at The Store and excitingly, newsletter-only competitions! This month I’ve got a copy of Jennifer Paynter’s Mary Bennet to give-away, with thanks to Penguin Books. Don’t miss out on the chance to add this lovely novel to your collection.

Click here to read TBYL News: All Things Bookish, May 2012

If you’d like to subscribe to the newsletter, you can click here. This’ll mean that you get our monthly news by email, on the first Monday of the month. Perfect!

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Project No. 2, tick

It seems to come around so quickly, but it was time again to return our batch of library books to our local library and so I thought it the perfect time to take care of Project No. 2 of The Little Book Adventure. The adventure is a fun year-long program being run by My Little Bookcase (in conjunction with the National Year of Reading).

Once Oscar and I had had one final read of our library books we proceeded to have a wonderful time spreading our love for books. This month, the idea of the project was to leave a little message in a book for the next person to choose it from the library.

After choosing our favourite book (a beautiful, colourful dinosaur story) we set ourselves up. I wrote a note for Oscar, and then he got into the decoration…

He approached his role with great enthusiasm…

…and was very happy with the end product…

A final re-read and then it was ready to go…

We folded it up, slipped it inside the pages of the picture book, and headed to the library to complete our mission.

I only wish I could see the look on the face of the next littlie that reads this book – I hope they get a bit of a buzz out of our little letter.

To find out more about The Little Book Adventure, visit the delightful My Little Bookcase.

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Project No. 1, Tick!

So, I was chatting about The Little Book Adventure, a fantastic program being run by My Little Bookcase (in conjunction with the National Year of Reading).

Yesterday, Oscar and I had a ball getting creative with with our book storage. The idea being to arrange Oscar’s book collection in a way that was easily accessible to him, and enticing – it needed to look great, inviting and therefore encourage him to sit and read as part of his average day.

We did just that…

He can reach them…

He can play…

He knows where to find his favourite books…

And he’s got his own little reading spot, which he loves!

This has been wonderful fun, and it’ll make it all the easier for both Oscar and I to remember to make time for lots and lots of story time.

To find out more about The Little Book Adventure, visit the delightful My Little Bookcase.

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Birds and Bookshelves

There are two really lovely things that I’d like to tell you about today…

Firstly, I’m really excited to announce the novel for April’s TBYL Book Club. It’s a new book from an incredible Australian author, Carrie Tiffany. The book is Mateship with Birds:

“On the outskirts of an Australian country town in the 1950s, a lonely farmer trains his binoculars on a family of kookaburras that roost in a tree near his house. Harry observes the kookaburras through a year of feast, famine, birth, death, war, romance and song. As Harry watches the birds, his next door neighbour has her own set of binoculars trained on him. Ardent, hard-working Betty has escaped to the country with her two fatherless children. Betty is pleased that her son, Michael, wants to spend time with the gentle farmer next door. But when Harry decides to teach Michael about the opposite sex, perilous boundaries are crossed.

Mateship with Birds is a novel about young lust and mature love. It is a hymn to the rhythm of country life – to vicious birds, virginal cows, adored dogs and ill-used sheep. On one small farm in a vast, ancient landscape, a collection of misfits question the nature of what a family can be.”

This is an incredible book and one of my new favourites. It’s a little shocking at times, it’s incredibly moving and beautifully written. I’ll be posting a full review of the novel on Wednesday, and it’ll include an author-interview – I had a chance to chat with Carrie a couple of weeks ago. Keep an eye out if you’d like to know more.

Remember, it’s free to join the club, and if you’d like to buy a copy of the book, I’ve got them in The Store for just $19.99.

We’re gearing up for this month’s catch-up to discuss Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. Discussions kick off on the 26.3.12 and will run for the week – I hope you’ll join us. Read the review || Buy the Book

Secondly, I’ve been meaning to tell you about a challenge that I’ve taken on, with help from my loyal side-kick Oscar. It’s The Little Book Adventure, by My Little Bookcase (in conjunction with the National Year of Reading).

It’s going to be so much fun! Basically, the adventure is a series of challenges designed to get families to working together, enjoying quality time with each other and sharing their love of reading and books.

This month’s challenge, is to get creative with with your book storage. The idea is to arrange Oscar’s books in a way that he can easily access and enjoy them – they’ll be reachable, interesting and enticing – to encourage him to help himself to reading as a fun part of his day.

I’m half-way through the project, and as soon as I’m finished, I’ll post photos here. You’ll also find other project submissions on the My Little Bookcase Facebook Page.

As you can see, I’ve been lucky enough to start the week off with some lovely things…great ideas, nice announcements, and fantastic reads.

I hope you’ll join in!

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A heart-felt thanks

Another month is over, and that means, sadly, that I have to finish off BE MY GUEST August. It’s been a blast, and I really hope you’ve enjoyed hearing some new voices here at That Book You Like…

I want to say a huge, heart-felt thank-you to my great new friends for agreeing to help out with this little experiment of mine. Thanks so much to…

Fiona from My Mummy Daze, who shared her thoughts on the book, Happily Ever After? by Benison Anne O’Reilly. I’m looking forward to reading this, it sounds like it’ll really hit home. Fiona’s blog is a stand-out mummy-blog, and well worth a look. Wonderful documentation of modern motherhood, and lots of great give-aways too.

Amanda from Rumble (Underground), who gave us a snap shot of a favourite of her’s, Adam Lambert. Amanda’s site produces fascinating podcasts with equally fascinating people. I’ve got a few to catch up on, so I might spend a few hours with my ipod soon to listen to her latest.

Jackie from My Little Bookcase, who provided a wonderful rundown of the great work of Nick Bland. I’ve since read Oscar The Very Cranky Bear many, many times. Jackie’s site is a constant inspiration, both in terms of great books for kids, but also for ways to help create a real love for reading in our little ones. Her recommendations and activities are always spot on.

Jo from Little Melbourne, who gave us some fabulous ideas for outings and activities to keep the kidlings in hand. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I can’t go past this one-stop-shop for ideas for outings with the kids. Now that I’m back up and running, this site will be my first stop to find something fun to do with Oscar and Evan, especially as the holidays are coming up quick.

Karyn from A Penguin a Week, whose pictures of green grass, blue skies and books, books, books had me spellbound. Karyn’s blog is such a wonderful concept, and I love reading her reviews. Collecting and reading at its finest.

Jess from Whoa, Mamma!, with her fun and sincere thoughts on the book, Anonymums by the Anonymums. As I’ve said before, Jess’s site is funny and insightful. Sometimes humorous, sometimes more serious, but always entertaining…

August was a tricky month, there’s no doubt about it, but it was made all the easier by these wonderful ladies who helped me out with posts to share and welcome distractions while I was laid up. Again, thanks.

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That author you like…

I’m so rapt to be able to feature a post by today’s Be My Guest, Jackie from My Little Bookcase. I love Jackie’s work, and her love for kid’s reading is unsurpassed. I share her love of Nick Bland’s Twinkle, and really enjoyed hearing more about his work. I trust you’ll enjoy it too. Thanks so much Jackie…

That Author You Like…Nick Bland
I’m thrilled to be one of Mandi’s guests this month. I was also a little excited to write about something that wasn’t necessarily related to children’s books or reading with children.

Alas, it seems I’m not making enough time for ‘me’ moments (I will have to change that), so I’m sticking with children’s literature for now.

There is a children’s book author and illustrator who has captivated me with his work of late. In my eyes, he is absolutely kicking goals.

This picture book creator is Nick Bland. He has been around for a number of years now but his latest books have caught my eye. His first published book, A Monster Wrote Me A Letter, was published by Scholastic in 2005. Scholastic were definitely onto a good thing because each book he produces just keeps getting better and better (well, I think so.)

Information on him is hard to come by but I understand that while working in a bookstore he devoured picture books to help him refine his story-telling and illustrations.

The first Nick Bland book I read was The Wrong Book (2009). It made me giggle, out loud, as do The Very Cranky Bear (2008) and the The Very Itchy Bear (2010). They are easy reads, but great for reading aloud.

Then I read Twinkle (2010), which could possibly be my very favourite picture book. It made me cry, happily. I’ve actually written an official review of this book so you can read about it here.

The Aunties Three (2011) is a rambunctious hoot which has my daughter and I roaring with laughter at every reading. Grug and The Gruffalo are making it big on the screens and stage, but The Aunties Three is one picture book I’d love to see adapted as a play script. Three high-spirited toddlers are trying to reclaim order in their house as they host a visit by their three aunties who are stern and demanding. It’s a recipe for success isn’t it?

The Runaway Hug (2011) is his latest book, illustrated by Freya Blackwood. I instantly thought this book was clever and warm. A young girl asks her mother for a hug. Before giving her daughter a hug, the mother announces that it’s her last hug. Lucy protects this hug fiercely and passes it around to each family member before giving it back to Mum. It simply captures the warmth of family life.

You will also have to look out for Some Dads (2011) which has only just been released this month in time for Fathers’ Day. It’s bright and colourful. Poking a little fun at dads, the book is humorous and comforting at the same time. The rhyming text is short and simple but the full-page illustrations will make you laugh out loud.

That leaves the following books for me to track down, and I will track them down: A Monster Wrote Me a Letter (2005), Aussie Jingle Bells (2006), I’ve Lost My Kisses (2007), Donald Loves Drumming (2008) and When Henry Caught Imaginitis (2008). One thing is for sure, he’s got a fan in me and I’ll be keeping a close eye on him.

What is it about his work that I love?

  • His illustrations are rich and complex (Most of his illustrations are oil paintings). There is so much going on in the illustrations that you need to spend time pouring over the pages even after the kids have gone to bed.
  • His stories are written to entertain children and he knows what makes them laugh, but there’s another layer to his stories that entertain the adult reader also.
  • His rhyme is not forced. It’s so natural that you hardly know you’re reading rhyme. This makes reading them aloud so enjoyable. I doubt that they were as easy to write as they are to read.
  • I think he understands children so well. He captures them so accurately (physically and behaviourally) in his illustrations and parents relate to that.
  • The concepts of his storylines are so clever and unique, but at the same time they resonate with families. There is so much depth in his stories.

Have you read a Nick Bland book yet? Any favourites in your home?


Jackie’s website My Little Bookcase celebrates the value of a traditional book, the joys of reading and quality time shared between parent and child. It is one of my personal favourites, and I’d encourage you to pop over for some great reading ideas. Thanks Jackie!

P.S. Don’t forget, this month’s give-away is a short one! To go into the running to win a double pass to MWF’s Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, see details here.

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Happy Birthday Eric Carle

I’ve been working this week with My Little Bookcase to help celebrate the birthday of a very special children’s author, Eric Carle.

By Eric Carle

Carle’s work is amazingly timeless, I loved The Very Hungry Caterpillar when I was a kid. My eldest son was given a beautiful copy of …Caterpillar about 10 years ago accompanied by a toy that I’d have loved when I was little, and which really brought the story to life for him. And now I continue to enjoy Eric’s stories with Oscar. Decades of enjoyment. Thanks Eric…


To help mark the occasion, you’ll find my review of Slowly, Slowly, Slowly said the Sloth on My Little Bookcase’s wonderful website here…

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