Monday, December 2, 2013

Chookeriffic Children's Book Giveaway 2013 Day 1

Chookeriffic Children's Book Giveaway 2013 Day 1
by Susan Stephenson,

I'm chookeriffically eggcited about all my suggestions for children's books that would make wonderful Christmas gifts for special young people in your life. Today, Wednesday and Friday of this week, I'll be sharing brief reviews of 18 books for a range of ages and interests. In conjunction with my mini-reviews, several Australian publishers are playing Santa: donating books to lucky readers of The Book Chook who are also Australian residents. Scroll down to find out more about the Giveaway.

I've been scouring websites and catalogues for months to bring you a variety of books that will make children's eyes light up when they unwrap their gifts. Here are the first six:

My First Animalia: What a brilliant concept! Puzzle and book in one, illustrated as only Graeme Base can. Big brothers and sisters may know and love the Animalia books already, but here's a very special book that will also help younger siblings learn the alphabet. In My First Animalia, kids are presented with four illustrated words (e.g. cap, cake, cow and clock on the C page) and must then find the corresponding small pictures in each letter's fold-out spread (Crafty Crimson Cats carefully catching Crusty Crayfish.) Great book choice for libraries, classrooms and homes where beautiful art is appreciated. (Penguin Books are giving away 3 copies of My First Animalia.)

Banjo and Ruby Red: If you're looking for a new picture book for your child, and you want something special, a story that will stay with kids and perhaps illuminate moments in their lives, find Banjo and Ruby Red. Written by Libby Gleeson, illustrated by Freya Blackwood (both so deservedly stars on Australia's literary stage), it was published by Little Hare, an imprint of Hardie Grant Egmont (2013.)

Banjo is a chook dog. Ruby is a chook. Theirs is an interesting relationship. But when Ruby needs him, Banjo is there, forging a special bond. Gorgeous artwork from Blackwood enhances Gleeson's heart-warming tale. (Hardie Grant Egmont are giving away 3 copies of Banjo and Ruby Red.)

Off by Heart: Are you searching for a fun way to introduce your kids to poetry? Here's an anthology of poems for the young, chosen by Roger Stevens, illustrated by Spike Gerrell, and published by Bloomsbury (2013.) So often when adults choose poems for kids, I cringe a little, because while the poems may have been written for the young, they might not necessarily be enjoyed by the young. Roger Stevens obviously understands kids! There are verses with naughty bits, lots of energy, noise and surprises, and above all, poetry kids will want to learn and perform. Share fun from poets like Kit Wright and Colin McNaughton, Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll as well as tips from Stevens on learning by heart and performing. (Bloomsbury are giving away 3 copies of Off by Heart.)

The Christmas Book: In an increasingly secular world, parents sometimes find themselves at a loss when asked to tell the traditional story of Christmas to children. With so many books about Christmas, which one to choose? Here's my favourite. The Christmas Book was written and illustrated by Dick Bruna. First published by Methuen UK in 1964, my copy is a sturdy hardback, published by Hardie Grant Egmont (2007.)

I used this book over and over as a teacher. The language is simple but not dumbed down, and adheres to the Biblical version without being overly formal. It's perfect to use as a reader's theatre, read by a team of narrators and interspersed with improvised scenes. Children loved to read The Christmas Book for themselves and also begged me to read it aloud to them. The illustrations are so simple and childlike, perfectly matched to a story about a very special Child. This is a must for homes and libraries everywhere. (Hardie Grant Egmont are giving away 3 copies of The Christmas Book.)

The Naughtiest Reindeer: Here's a children's picture book that captures a corner of Christmas and makes it magical. Written and illustrated by Nicki Greenberg, it was published by Allen and Unwin (2013.) and tells the story of Rudolph's naughty sister, Ruby. It also feeds into children's secret fantasy - a reindeer of their own! Kids will love Ruby's naughtiness, especially as illustrated in riotous comic book style by Greenberg. I especially enjoyed the way Greenberg depicted the reindeer - as if they were made by kids from odds and ends. Superb! The Naughtiest Reindeer will also make a wonderful gift for teachers as I predict they'll instantly see its performance possibilities. (Allen and Unwin are giving away 3 copies of The Naughtiest Reindeer.)

Australia's Greatest People and Their Achievements: Older children (10+) and adults will find lots to savour in Australia's Greatest People. Kids need heroes and role models to inspire their own dreams, and they'll find plenty to admire in this attractive and educational non-fiction book by Linsay Knight, published by Random House Australia (2013.) I like that Knight has chosen well-known and not-so-well-known Aussies from a range of pursuits, including three of my personal heroes: Mum Shirl, Gabi Hollows and Julia Gillard. The book is set out to encourage browsing - plenty of white space, a clean and clear interface, lots of interesting images, text boxes, quotes and call-outs. As well as a wonderful gift, I think it makes an excellent choice for libraries. (Random House Australia are giving away 3 copies of Australia's Greatest People and Their Achievements.)

Giveaway conditions:
1. Open to Australian residents only.
2. One email entry per family or library or school for the giveaway.
3. There are multiple copies of different books in the giveaway but a random chicken will appoint a winner to a book. You and I have no control over which book you get if you win. If that doesn't suit you, please don't enter.
4. The giveaway is open for one week. Winners will be notified via email. Publishers will post books out when they can.

Giveaway directions:
1. Send an email 
2. On the subject line of your email write Chookeriffic Giveaway.
3. In the body of your email write your name and Australian postal address.


  1. Wow..
    Great giveaway / contest.
    I hope I can have similar giveaway like this too.
    Hope everyone enjoy it. Good luck.


  2. Have sent in my email fingers crossed :0)


Related Posts with Thumbnails