Do you judge a book by its cover?

Maurizio There’s no doubt an attractive cover grabs our attention but how do you choose a book? Is it the cover illustration or a curious title? Do you read the blurb to see what it’s about or read the first page to see if it suits your reading ability? Do you search out a favourite author or go on the recommendation of a friend?

Below is my Top 5 Favourite Picture Books by International Authors. The covers are all attention grabbing but what was it about each that appealed to me?

The cover of The Tunnel by UK author illustrator Anthony Browne intrigued me. What could be on the other side? Does it lead to a magical place? Does it scream out DANGER to you? It did for me.


Bouncy, bright, rollicking rhyme. That what you can expect from New Zealand author illustrator Lynley Dodd’s stories. I could have selected any of her Hairy Maclary stories but being a cat lover I was attracted to the roughest, the toughest, the boldest, the bravest, the mighty, magnificent, Scarface Claw. Lots of fun!

scarface claw

David Weisner, a US author illustrator posed a real dilemma. Which one to choose? I read Tuesday way back in 1991 when it was first published and have eagerly sought out all his books since. I’m passing over Flotsam; June29, 1999; and Hurricane for… (drum roll please!)… Sector 7. Prepare to be swept away on a cloud of adventure with this one.

sector 7

My last two favourites are recent finds. They were both published in 2014 and I read them for the first time in the same week. They both touched me deeply.

One Red Shoe by German author and illustrator, Karin Gruss and Tobias Krejtschi is a book for older readers. It’s the story of a photojournalist working in the Gaza Strip who is summoned to report on the bombing of a school bus. The title and cover illustration with its powerful symbolism of the single red shoe left stranded on the barbed wire hooked me immediately. After reading the blurb on the back cover, I knew this was a book I had to read. I wasn’t disappointed!

one red shoe

The last of my top 5 is titled My Father the Great Pirate, written by Italian author David Cali and illustrated by Maurizio Quarello. It’s a touching story of the relationship between a boy and his father and how a dramatic incident caused the nature of that relationship to change. I’m not giving too much away because I want you to read it yourself. It wasn’t until I reached the end of this story that I discovered that the book was inspired by the real stories of Italians who left Italy seeking a better life after World War 2, and by one of history’s great mining disasters, at Marcinelle in Belgium in 1956.

my father the great pirate

I hope you take some time to read some of my favourites. They are on display in our makeshift library along with my Australian Top 5.

How do you choose which book to read? I’d be interested to find out.

My Top 5 Australian Picture Books

It’s no secret that I LOVE picture books. They can be beautifully simple yet contain ideas so complex and multi-layered. I have compiled my top 5 all time favourites by Australian authors. No mean feat but here it is!

Fox by Margaret Wild

Rose meets Mr Wintergarten by Bob Graham

big little
The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness by Colin Thompson

Koala Lou by Mem Fox

Milli Jack and the Dancing Cat by Stephen Michael King

It was hard to leave out The Brothers Quibble by Aaron Blabey, Tanglewood also by Margaret Wild, and The Peasant Prince by Li Cunxin… I could have gone on and on and on…

I was tempted to give you a quick review of each book but instead I’ve featured my top 5 on display in our makeshift library. I want you to find out for yourself why I chose each one. Please read and enjoy!

Do you have a top 5 like me or just one all time favourite? I’d love to hear what it is.

Coming soon: my top 5 picture books by international authors. Look out for books by Anthony Browne, Lynley Dodd, David Cali, David Wiesner, Karin Gruss.

Jasmine’s Book Review


The 39 Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffith And Terry Denton

I LOVE THIS BOOK! And I recommend it to EVERYONE IN THE SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!

In this book Terry builds a new 39th storey on the treehouse and its called a ‘once upon a time machine’ which writes books for them. The two friends go out but when they come back to the treehouse they find themselves locked out by the ‘once upon a time machine’. It has stretchy hands with eyes on the palms which come out and slaps them away.

The complication gets MUCH WORSE… Read it and you’ll see!

Thanks so much Mrs Riding for putting this book in your hallish library! I hope that very soon you get the actual library up and running again! Hopefully when the new book comes out you will have it STRAIGHT in the library!!!!!!

Andrew’s Book Review


My favourite books to read are the EJ12 Girl Hero series by Susan McFarlane.

Well Emma Jacks is a normal school girl but she is also a spy agent, EJ12 of SHINE a secret agency. SHINE is good as Shadow is bad.

The best EJ12 I’ve read is called Big Brother. In this book EJ12 and her friend Hannah, HJ12, ride a horse to save another horse from the evil agency Shadow. They save it by brushing off all of the metalic bugs that explode and taking it back to the horse training area.

I like EJ12 because I like her moves, charms and because she is a spy.

A Weekend with Glenda Millard


Have you ever read a book where the words are so beautiful you just have to go back and read them over and over again? Glenda Millard’s books do that to me. Her words paint perfect pictures. Soft, gentle, tender, evocative, “… like an arm about your shoulder, a candle in the dark or like golden syrup dumplings for the soul.”

I woke early on Friday morning to the soothing sound of rain on the roof and snuggled up with A Small Free Kiss in the Dark. I was immediately reminded of the magic that is Millard. This story although quite bleak in its subject matter dealing with loss and longing and the struggle to survive against all odds had me from the first page. I could fill a page with quotes from this book but one I especially love:

“She reminded me of the sea; the way she came dancing towards you, wild and beautiful, and just when she was almost close enough to touch she’d rush away again.”

With a weekend of rain forecast I could think of nothing better than reacquainting myself with the Silk family so began a search of my local libraries for the seven books in the Kingdom of Silk series. The series centres on an “uncommon kind of family,” and each book is about a different family member or someone close to the family. The stories are told with sunshine and sensitivity, in rich, descriptive language characteristic of Millard. My favourite quote from the series is from book six; The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk and it concerns reading:

“From the moment her daughters were born, Nell read to them. It didn’t matter that they didn’t understand the words. Books are many things: lullabies for the weary, ointment for the wounded, armour for the fearful and nests for those in need of a home.”

Do you have a special author whose books you love?