Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton: Reigning supreme with Aussie kids

We’d been waiting for this moment for months.  And when I say ‘we‘, I don’t just mean ‘them‘, I mean me and him too.

Master Six and Master Nearly-Eight have read all the Storey Treehouse books, several times over. We’ve listened to them as audiobooks, several times over. They’ve written their own books (or started them anyway) that bear such a resemblance to the Griffiths’ pencraft that copyright is, categorically, an issue. In short, we LOVE the Griffiths/ Denton duo.  And last night we were there in the Melbourne Town Hall, thanks to tickets bought months and months ago, to witness the launch of the next sacred installment – The 91-Storey Treehouse.

The book launch was as chaotic as it was charming. It was improvised, and silly. But it had every child in the house on the edge on their seats. Literally.

‘Books are just a joy to paint’: Jodi Wiley’s book art

There are many ways to express a deep love for books.  You can (obviously) read them, but you can also buy them, hold them, smell them, list them, stalk them in a bookshop, covet them online and photograph them for others to admire. If you’re lucky enough to come across Melbourne artist Jodi Wiley, you can also hang beautiful watercolour paintings of them on your wall.

I discovered Jodi’s paintings thanks to a remarkable bookshop in Port Fairy (a small town on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria) called Blarney Books + Art.  It’s the kind of bookshop that has comfy couches, new and second hand books and even a piano. Already the perfect bookshop, right? It also celebrates ‘biblio-art’ and when I was there last, it was exhibiting Jodi Wiley’s Marginalia series.

I recently chatted with Jodi about the inspiration for her book stacks and why the books she’s painted are special to her.

Six books the library nabbed for me (and why I’m reading them)

I must have gone a bit mad a couple of weeks ago. While I don’t remember it, proof of this flaky episode was a series of library notifications delivered to my inbox last week alerting me that a(nother) book I’d requested was waiting for collection – six in total! I felt a bit overwhelmed after the visit to the library; I could only just carry all the books home.

Here’s a run-down of the six books I’ve now added to my (literally) towering book pile and why they’re there.

‘The people who drew the pictures are very good drawers’, pronounces Master Six

It’s Master Six’s birthday today (with fever-pitched excitement in this household!). Master Seven will turn into Master Eight in a few weeks time. It’s irrefutable; they’re growing up.

Notwithstanding their rapid ageing, as well as stiff competition from the likes of Captain Underpants and the Storey Treehouse series, both boys still love reading picture books. Although, it’s not guaranteed that every picture book will capture their imagination as might’ve been the case even a year ago.  With this in mind, we recently tested the waters with Mrs White and the Red Desert and On the Way to Nana’s House.

Master Six and Master Nearly-Eight give their considered opinions on these two books: their covers, storylines, illustrations, and as well as delivering an ultimate verdict on both books.

12 days, 4 books and a beach

Melbourne is in the depths of winter. It’s a little different to Glasgow winters – where I would look desperately at the day’s forecast and plead that the top temperature rise above 0 degrees – but it can be quite chilly.  Sometimes I have to wear gloves, as well as a scarf and coat. To escape this dreariness, me and my little family recently headed north to Queensland, like the humpback whales, for 12 days of excessive frolicking, lounging, eating and of course, reading.

On this holiday I read 4 totally different books:  Phone, Our Women Our Ways Our World, The Essex Serpent and The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly. Here’s a short review of each (and some gratuitous beach photos).