Illustrated children’s books
Edge of the World
Nobody smiled in the village near the edge of the world. The wind blew cold, snow lay thick on the ground and each day the villagers went about their lives with heavy hearts. Until one day Toby McPhee discovered the magical silver pots and brought light and colour back to their lives.
Bumped and Thumped
Grown-ups don’t know what some kids go through. When I stagger home, all bumped and thumped, they always say the same thing…
The Postman’s Race
A postman’s pushbike is simply no match for a grocer’s van, so Albert usually loses the Postman’s race to his friend and rival, Arnie. But the day baby Molly is bitten by a snake changes… CBCA Notable Australian Book
A heart warming story about a girl and an old fisherman whose friendship is cemented the night Periwinkle the cat takes a wild and unplanned ride over the cliffs of Mooberry Town.
Buck’s Big Adventure
Buck, a brand-new dollar coin, left the Australian Mint and was sent to work at the Credit Union. He dazzled the other coins with his brightness. What they didn’t know however, was that Buck was no ordinary one dollar coin!
A chook called Delilah wants to escape the humdrum life of the farmyard and experience some real adventure. A great book to read to little tackers (like grandchildren) or just to read …
Grasslands can be found in many parts of the world. Some are called savanna and others are called prairies. Learn how these grasslands are different and how animals live together in each one.
Monkey Buys Trouble
All monkey wanted to do was taste some more of Mamma Marie’s delicious coconut cookies. Little did he realise the amount of trouble he would land in!
Taking Rover for a walk turns out to be a real trial for Tom, but it helps earn a place in the Harrietville Soccer team.
Each pair of gumboots by the back door has a story to tell about the person who wears them. There are Tom’s blue gumboots with red paint on them; Sophie’s with pieces missing from them; Mum’s pure white gumboots; and even a mystery pair of tiny yellow gumboots.
Quincy is the scariest dog in town – at least that is what Christopher thinks. What happens to make him change his mind makes a warm and amusing story. CBCA Notable Australian Book
The Towers of Zordran
Two parallel worlds – one dark and mysterious where an ancient people live under the harsh rule of an evil sorceress; the other a small country town where nothing out of the ordinary ever happens until … A full-on, fast paced adventure that slips from the present day to a mysterious past; a hyperventilating story that will keep you on the edge of your seat with its unexpected twists and turns; that will have you cheering loud and strong for Jack and Ruby as they don their armour, grab their swords and set off on an adventure of a lifetime!
Hopscotch – Medusa Stone
When Hannah and Jake discover an ancient scroll in Kostas the Giant’s boathouse, they are intrigued. What does the rhyme mean?
A simple game of hopscotch catapults them into a strange world. Trapped in mythological Ancient Greece, Hannah must find three objects – and Jake. Will they ever make it back to Pelican Bay? Cast your stone upon the square. Leap and dance across the air. At the end a door awaits. Be prepared to meet the Fates.
Hopscotch – Golden Scarab
Hannah and Jake are back in Pelican Bay – safe at last from the evil Kostas. That is, until Kostas appears, warning that they have unfinished business. Once more, they are lured into Kostas’s strange game – a game of hopscotch which thrusts them into a new adventure where they must retrieve three objects from ancient Egypt. The trouble is, they’ve lost the golden scarab – the key to getting back home…
Of Boys and Boats
It’s 1956 – the year the Olympic Games came to Melbourne. Jack Spiller and his small town mates are caught up in the excitement of the torch relay. But when Jack and the new kid, Heinrich, discover an unfinished sailboat in ‘Mad’ Mick’s shed, Jack’s focus changes.
Can he convince Mick to allow them to finish it? Or has the old man been too damaged by the horrors of WW1?
Excerpt from Of Boys and Boats
CHAPTER 29: A SECRET BEACH
We rode the rest of the way to Eastern Beach using the back streets. Anna didn’t say much, making me wonder if she was thinking if she’d been with Gunther he would have stood up to Bruiser and his mates.
‘I think we’re safe now,’ I told her when we reached the yacht club.
‘I hope so,’ she said. ‘That was scary as. Bruiser is a crazy thug.’
‘Don’t’ I know it,’ I said. ‘He’s always been a bully, ever since primary school.’
We lapsed into silence and watched the yachts cut through the water, their sails billowing in the breeze as they scudded across the water.
‘Will you take me for a sail when you finish the boat?’ she asked.
‘Too right,’ I replied, imagining the two of us whipping across the water in Mick’s boat.
We watched the yachts for a bit longer before riding on towards Eastern Beach, stopping at the steps where the statues of two snarling lions kept watch over the crowd. There were kids everywhere, frolicking and splashing in the little pool where I first learned to swim. Families sat on the lawns with their towels laid out and their umbrellas up, and there was a mob of people gathered around the kiosk, buying ice-creams.
‘It’s pretty crowded,’ Anna said. ‘I think half the town’s here.’
‘We could go to Parkside,’ I suggested.
‘It’s just a bit further,’ I said and pointed towards the finger of land poking into the bay beyond Eastern Beach. ‘There’s an old pier and an enclosed swimming area. Dad used to swim there when he was a kid. Nobody goes there anymore. It’s a secret beach.’
‘Let’s go then,’ she said. ‘I love secrets.’
We rode past the Eastern Gardens until I spotted the gap in the fence where a rough track wound down to Parkside beach. We left our bikes in the waist high grass and followed the track down the hillside. At the end of it was a tiny stretch of sand and beyond that a dilapidated pier. Most of its planks were splintered and cracked and some were missing altogether. The little beach was empty.
‘This is perfect,’ Anna said. ‘We’ve got the beach all to ourselves.’
She jumped down onto the sand and spread out her towel. She peeled off her tee-shirt, and took off her shorts revealing her one piece swimsuit. She shook out her dark hair before turning to me. ‘You coming?’ she said, patting the sand beside her.
I stopped staring and swallowed. ‘I might just cool off,’ I said, stripping down to my bathers before making my way out along the old jetty, testing each of the rotting planks and jumping between the gaps. At the end of the jetty there were some weathered pylons and the remains of the baths where Dad used to swim when he was a member of the Parkside Swimming Club.
I stepped onto one of the pylons and looked down into the crystal clear water. It looked deep enough so I dived in. The water was cool and refreshing and even though the bars around the pool had mostly rusted away, I wasn’t too worried about any sharks suddenly appearing. I swam a couple of laps then climbed up a rusty ladder onto the pier and lay down on the sun-warmed planks and stared up at the cloudless sky, thinking life couldn’t get much better than this.
I lay there soaking up the sun when the peace was suddenly shattered by a high pitched scream. I scrambled to my feet as another scream filled the air. I looked towards the beach where Anna hopped about in the shallows. I studied the water, expecting to see a sinister fin, but there was nothing. I skipped across the planks and jumped down onto the beach where Anna was crumpled on the sand rubbing her leg.
‘What’s the matter?’ I asked.
‘Jellyfish,’ she explained, pointing to the ugly red welt running from her ankle up to her knee. ‘It bloody stings like hell!’ she muttered through clenched teeth.
‘I know a way to get rid of the sting,’ I offered.
‘Um, I’m not sure it’s something you’d really want me to do. It’s what Dad used to do when I was a little kid whenever I got stung.’
‘Well?’ she said, looking at me, her eyes filled with tears of pain and hurt.
‘I really don’t think I should,’ I said, wishing I hadn’t mentioned it. ‘It’s a bit embarrassing.’
‘What? What is this magic cure? Geez Jack, if it’ll get rid of this pain, whatever it is, just do it.’
‘Okay, if you’re sure. You’d better look the other away then,’ I replied. ‘You won’t like what you see.’
‘Oh, Jack! You’re not are you?’ she said. ‘You don’t mean?’
‘It worked whenever Dad did it.’
‘On my leg!’ she exclaimed. ‘You’re going to pee on my leg?’
A seagull swooped down low over us, squawking loudly. It flew out over the baths and landed on one of the pylons. Right at that moment I wished I was that seagull.
‘All right,’ she said, squirming on the sand. ‘Just hurry up and do it. It hurts like hell.’
‘Are you sure?’ I asked, reaching down to my bathers.
‘Do it Jack!’ she almost shouted. ‘Just hurry up and do it. The pain is killing me.’
She turned her head away. I glanced up and down the tiny beach. I looked up to the cliff tops. I looked out to sea. We were alone, except for the seagull perched on one yellow leg on the pylon. I yanked down my bathers and I did it; I pissed on Anna Spiteri’s leg. It was just a brief squirt. Anna said nothing and I realised she was holding her breath.
‘Better?’ I asked as I adjusted my bathers.
She looked at her wet leg and nodded. ‘I think it might’ve worked.’
She looked up and smiled.
‘Any . . .’ I started to say.
‘. . . time,’ she finished and giggled.
‘No, sorry,’ I stuttered. ‘I didn’t mean to . . .’
My voice trailed off as she stood up. She rested her hand on my shoulder to steady herself, before hobbling into the shallows. The seagull flapped its wings and lifted off from the pylon and flew lazily over the cliffs.
‘It feels better already,’ she said. ‘Thanks Jack, but don’t you ever tell anyone, or else.’
‘Cross my heart, hope to die,’ I said.
Writing for children
Writing a book for children, especially a picture book isn’t as easy as it might look! For a start, you have to pare down what is written to the bare bones; the language has to be ‘kid friendly’ and you have to remember that other VIP in the book’s creation – the illustrator – whose pictures will tell a whole lot more than your words. Oh, and it helps if you have an interesting story line!