Category Archives: Picture Books

There’s a Bear in There

Two bears, actually. On the CBCA Book of the Year Shortlist.

I was out when the announcements were made, and I’m not a smartphone kind of girl. So I found out via text message and slightly garbled phone calls (Frané Lessac, I’m looking at you!). First, someone told me that both Surface Tension and No Bears had made it onto the Notables list. I was thrilled by this.

Later, other texts started coming in. No Bears had made the Shortlist too. Wonderful. Amazing.

In two categories. Early Childhood and Picture Book. What?

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The Truth Is Still Out There

As many of you know, I have been working for some years to dispel the many myths that circulate about penguins. My picture book The Truth About Penguins was an important step in this process.

Since its publication, I have gone into schools, libraries, festivals – wherever they will have me – presenting the facts to children young and old. Some of my audience, I find, are more easily persuaded than others. Some are downright stubborn.

Earlier this week, to kick off the National Year of Reading, I went down to Kwinana Library. There I attempted, mostly in vain, to preach my penguin-y gospel.

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Everything Old Is New Again

Or at least one thing. Specifically, this:

It’s my new book, The Truth About Penguins. And my old book, The Truth About Penguins.

Confused? Don’t be.

If you look closely, you can see differences in the two books – in size, font, and other small elements to do with presentation.*

I’m delighted to announce that The Truth About Penguins will be out in paperback in December, just in time for Christmas. It’s lovely to see my work getting a new lease on life like this, and I can only hope the new format helps it find its way into the hands of even more readers over the coming months.

* For the eagle-eyed reader, there is another crucial difference. If you have access to both copies, the last page of text will reveal all.

A Not-so-tiny Thing

I’ve been sitting on this news for a while, waiting for an illustrator to be confirmed, but now that all is signed and sealed, I can announce that I have a new picture book forthcoming in 2012!

This one is with Fremantle Press, which is fitting as it’s a ‘very Freo’ book in many ways. It’s called Ten Tiny Things and it’s inspired by something my daughter and I often do when we go out walking, an activity we have cleverly named “Things We Would Never Have Seen If We Had Been Driving”. As you can see, I have a way with words …

I’ve seen early sketches and am very excited about what’s to come for this book. The illustrator is this guy. He’s a little creepy but there’s not much I can (or would) do about that. Click on the “Secrets” link on his site to see why he’s perfect for the book. You’ve probably seen his work in the city, possibly without even realising. You would probably have seen more of it had you been on foot …

Watch this space for more details. Watch the secret spaces all around you for random flashes of loveliness. Go out walking. See if you can spot ten tiny things.

At the Zoo

Just a fine and fancy ramble
To the zoo.

But you can take the crosstown bus
If it’s raining or it’s cold,
And the animals will love it
If you do.

Somethin’ tells me
It’s all happening at the zoo.

It wasn’t cold or raining. It was fine and sunny. I didn’t have time to catch the bus but that was okay because my thoughtful hosts had reserved a parking space for me.

But it was most definitely all happening at the zoo.

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Imaginary Connections

Ever had this happen? You’re working on a project, or thinking about a project, or you’ve just sent something off to a publisher. And it’s so distinctive. It’s an idea that’s specific to you, emerging from your own personal history, and you’ve attached to it all the other little bits and pieces that accumulate during the writing process, bits and pieces which, again, are idiosyncratic, part of your own subjective experience.

And then all of a sudden you see something similar in Bookseller+Publisher, hey, I’m working on this thing and they look at you oddly and say but *I’m* working on that thing or oh, you mean like that book by suchandsuch.

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a1050-cvrduckforadayYesterday, I learned that Duck for a Day (illust. Leila Rudge) had been selected as a Notable in the Younger Readers Category of the Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards. An hour later, I learned it was on the shortlist. Shortly after, my inbox looked like this:


Thank you, lovely, supportive writing friends. Thank you, Children’s Book Council. I never imagined my duck might quack loudly enough to be noticed. I’m thrilled.

And I’m mindful, too, of the many books that didn’t make it on to the various lists (Duck is my fourth book, my first listing). With every award, there’s a chorus of excitement and head shaking. What about this one? And that one? Why that one?

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Penguins in Japan

After the book trailer workshop I did in late 2009, I had the best intentions of putting together trailers for my 2010 titles. However, life and busy-ness overtook me and that didn’t eventuate. I was very excited to see recently that my penguins nonetheless have an international video presence. Skip ahead to 14:50 in the video below (original version here) and you’ll see what I mean.

[Update Feb 2015: It appears that the video has now been taken offline. The internet is now sadly without “Penguin TV”. But you can still read the transcript/translation I made below]

This guy Kazuoki Ueda seems to be some sort of penguin researcher who is fond of picking up representations of penguins in literature and popular culture. On a visit to Melbourne last year, he came across The Truth About Penguins in a bookstore and decided to pick up a copy for his discussion group back in Japan.

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Three More Things on Thursday

I am still in the trenches. Last week, I said I would pop my head up again, “all things being well”.

That may be something of an overstatement. The novel goes slowly, more slowly than it needs must (is that an actual sentence? It sounds like it should be. I guess this sort of digression has something to do with why the novel goes slowly. If I’m having to ask what constitutes a sentence, I am clearly in trouble).

But today was better than yesterday. There is progress. And that is a good thing, on a Thursday, when the book is due on a Monday.

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