Book Reviews: diverse books for ages 3+

Lots of great books around for littlies at the moment and these are some that highlight diversity in different ways.

Fredrick the Fox

by Elissa de Waard, illus by Elise Parker. p/b RRP $16.95 Available online Fredrickthefox.com.au

Self-published by the author, this is a delightful book about finding, making and valuing friends, when what you look like can keep friendships away.

Fredrick is a very happy fox whose quiet life is up ended when a possum called Ada moves into his favourite gum tree. Beautifully illustrated, the little possum gradually learns to trust that Fredrick will become her friend even though she fears him at first (like others beforehand). Through gradual conversation, with Ada at the top of the gum tree and Frederick at the bottom, Ada learns that although he’s a fox on the outside Frederick has a kind heart and that she can trust him and be his best friend.


The Little Hardware Shop

by Hazel Lekkas, illus. by Dasha Riley Little Steps Publishing. p/b RRP$ 16.95

Written to honour her parents who owned a Little Hardware Shop, the author and the illustrator work together to give each page an insight into the timeline of this little shop. Starting with birth, then through the various stages of life, each page shows items used from the shop at work or at home, in one of the 18 languages that were spoken in the local community.

Little Steps Publishers are known as the home for self-published books and this is a welcome addition to their available collection for children.


My Little Barlaagany (Sunshine)

written and illus. by Melissa Greenwood, pub. HarperCollins (ABC Imprint) h/b RRP$24.99

Gumbaynggirr artist Melissa Greenwood’s striking traditional illustrations work with line, dots and dashes familiar to aboriginal art. With the use of a palate of mainly pastel colours, she tells the bedtime story of the sun rising and setting; the moon rising and the dreamtime stories of the ‘bari’ (special place) of her ancestral homelands. This is her second picture book after Miimi Marraal, Mother Earth.


Backyard Footy

by Carl Merrison, illus Samantha Campbell pub. Hachette Aust. (imprint Lothian Children’s Books) h/b RRP$19.99

This is the first in a series of picture books from First Nation’s creators Carl Merrison and Samantha Campbell featuring the joys of playing sports in your local community and encouraging kids to go outside and try new things. Depicting parts of Australia not often used in stories, these local kids are playing energetic Aussie Rules Footy with their friends, their dogs and others and having lots of fun.


Koori ABC

Illustrator Amy Lea Hill-Trindall, pub. Dharawal Publishing. p/b RRP$20. Available from Collins Books Thirroul.

This simple, very colourful book for learning the alphabet, is based around the traditional First Nations art of Amy Lea Hill-Trindall (from Dharawal country). For children learning to write, each page has one letter in both upper- and lower-case of the alphabet. Each letter has distinct drawings of animals and plants of Dharawal country (Illawarra area, south of Sydney). For example: K is illustrated by an interesting kookaburra!