New books out from Hachette just in time for Christmas

Looking for a fun Australian gift for your kids this Christmas? Nearly all of the books reviewed here are by Australian-born and based authors and illustrators – perfect to put under the tree for young readers!

For the littlies:

Robobee Roo montage

Roobee Roo Series
by Nico and Candy Robertson, pub by Lothian Children’s Books, board book RRP$14.99. Ages 0-2
Also in the series are That’s Me!, Fun in The Sun, Sunny Day Treats, Under the Stars, Hoppy Jolly Christmas.

This talented young couple has channelled their artistic skills into the creatively themed Roobee Roo series of books.

It all started with the stories, but it was also a work of love for Nico to support charities (like Secondbite), who supported his family as he was growing up. This series of Lift-the-Flap books follow the antics of a little kangaroo with a magical pouch full of surprises. The graphic illustrations are clear and solid. With simple drawings and interesting stories around a theme: Roobee Roo wakes up each day to find out what’s new in her pouch. And that leads the story. Roobee Roo, in Fun in the Sun, finds her pouch full of items ready to go to the beach.
“I put on my
Sunsuit and rub on
my sunscreen.
Rubby, rub, rub.”



Gymnastica Fantastica!
written and illustrated by Briony Stewart, pub by Lothian Children’s Books, h/b RRP$24.99. Ages 2+

This beautifully written and very colourful book has you smiling from the first moment you open it. The little person cavorts from page to page, demonstrating how they can bend, balance, ninja-squat and leap acrobatically around whilst a very shaggy dog looks on!
“Quick! Come and see! Something fabulous, it’s . . . me!”
It’s definitely a read-aloud book with lots of new words, such as ‘razzley-dazzley ribbony twirls’ to help with the rhyming throughout. It’s definitely Gymnastica Fantastica!




What to Do When You’re Not Sure What to Do
written by Davina Bell and illustrated by Hilary Jean Tapper, pub by Lothian Children’s Books, h/b RRP$24.99. Ages 3+

This book has a variety of little vignettes about a child’s feeling of not knowing what to do and how they might overcome that feeling.
Each page has a small child confronted with an experience and working out what behaviour or emotion would be best in that situation. For example, “it’s always good to ask first” is illustrated with a simple picture of a child helping themselves to freshly baked cookies whilst the mother and older child look on surprised! The book covers in illustrated form, a few emotional and behavioural skills that would be hard to illustrate otherwise.
What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say is also by this duo and looks at suggested responses to situations a small child might need (like owning up to drawing on a wall!).



The Balloon Blowup!
written and illustrated by Andy Geppert, pub by Lothian Children’s Books, h/b RRP$19.99. Ages 3+

Also by this author, non-fiction board books: Australian Backyard Buddies, Australian Backyard Birdies.
The Balloon Blowup!
It is a story about a small girl, a balloon and a toy elephant. The little girl must decide how big she wants her yellow balloon to be. As big as a fishbowl or even bigger, like the moon? She has to decide quickly because it looks like the balloon has its own ideas.
“Would you like a balloon?
Yes please, Elly. Can you make it big?
How big?”



If I Was a Horse
written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, pub by Lothian Children’s Books, h/b RRP$24.99. Ages 3+
Also by Sophie is Farmhouse and Hello Lighthouse

If I was a horse, I would gallop all day…
This sassy horse in a tutu and party hat on the front cover of this book goes to places that no horse has been before – except in a child’s imagination! It is larger than life and, in familiar settings, offers a visual feast, a grand dose of joy and a celebration of the real power of imagination to help us navigate the world.

Sophie has used some exciting new illustration techniques that seamlessly “were made using a combination of traditional and digital media”! She has also hidden an image of a whale in every book, in honour of the novel Moby Dick, by Herman Melville – see if you can find it!



A Christmas Present for Roo
written by Sophie Sayle and illustrated by Daron Parton, pub by Lothian Children’s Books, h/b RRP$19.99. Ages 3+
Also by Sophie and Daron is The Great Aussie Egg-And-Spoon Race.

A simple story, with colourful illustrations featuring Australian bush animals preparing for Christmas Day.  Searching for that special handmade gift for her friend presents a challenge to little Echidna. Her handmade gift might not be exactly as she planned, but it is most welcome anyway.


An interesting non-fiction book for inquiring minds:

How We Came to Be: Creatures of Camouflage and Mimicry
written and illustrated by Sami Bayly, pub by Lothian Children’s Books, h/b RRP$19.99. Ages 3+

Also, by the same author, How We Came to Be: Surprising Sea Creatures
This is a non-fiction book for the littlies that is full of amazing facts and drawings. Broken up into sections for the different forms of camouflage (appearance, smell, sound, behaviour and location), each page is realistically illustrated with speech bubbles and facts about the creatures on the page, starting with one of the “masters of disguise, the veiled chameleon”. Perfect for the home library!



For older readers:

Kimmi: Queen of the Dingoes
written by Favel Parrett and illustrated by Astred Hicks, pub by Lothian Children’s Books, h/b RRP$19.99. Ages 7+

This is a beautiful and sweet true story of Kimmi a tropical dingo, by one of the best advocates for dingo conservation.
Favel’s first book was Wandi, which follows a young cub who now lives in a dingo sanctuary in Victoria, where Kimmi now resides.

This is Kimmi’s story about the strong female dogs in her family and the bond between Kimmi and her mother, Ding. Ding’s strength and knowledge are imparted to Kimmi along the journey, from early in the story when Kimmi’s brother is shot by a farmer through to the kindness of the human, Lyn, who shelters and finally connects Kimmi to the Dingo Discovery Sanctuary. Kimmi’s family’s dislocation and her mother, Ding’s conversations with Kimmi will resonate with any parent wanting to encourage a child to be courageous, listen to her feelings and go with her intuition when making decisions in life.


Which Way Round the Galaxy
written by Cressida Cowell, pub by Hodder Children’s Books, h/b RRP$19.99. Ages 8+
The sequel to Which Way to Anywhere.

This is such a cool book for emerging readers they won’t want to put it down. Beautifully illustrated by the author with scratchy-style pen and ink words and drawings, the fantasy story travels fast and furiously. Narrated by the storyteller Horizabel Delft, the blended family of the four O’Hero-Smith kids, find a ‘Magical Creature’ being chased by humans, dogs and Vorcixix, “The Vile”, who has arrived on Earth looking for “The Child with the Atlas Gift” and their family. What follows is a tale of “Magical Gifts”; weird creatures from another world and lots of fun. Cressida Cowell’s use of language is superb and gives the book that extra bit needed for a young reader to keep turning those pages. From the author of How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once.



These limited collector’s editions of the Nevermoor series by Australian author Jessica Townsend are available for fans just in time for Christmas.
Published by Lothian Children’s Books, each collector’s edition book (RRP$24.99) features a special limited-edition cover with custom artwork, metallic flourishes and colourful sprayed edges. Ages 8+

  1. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow,
  2. Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow and
  3. Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow

Morrigan is ‘cursed’. She was born on the wrong day of the year – Eventide – and is doomed to die at midnight on her 12th birthday. A common fate for the ‘cursed’ in the rather nasty Wintersea Republic where she lives. At the mysterious ‘Bid Day’ ceremony, Morrigan finds that she is rescued from her fate by the mysterious Jupiter North and whisked away, well before midnight, to the secret city of Nevermoor. To stay in Nevermoor, Morrigan needs to learn a series of difficult and dangerous tasks required to remain living there…

Jessica Townsend’s stories of Morrigan Crow are unique. The Nevermoor series is an international bestseller and has won multiple awards both in Australia and overseas.

Hachette is giving away a selection of these reviewed books.

All of the books are by Australian-born or based authors and illustrators – perfect to put under the tree for young readers!

Entries close on 30 November 2023 at midnight.

The winner will be notified via email within 3 days of the closing date (make sure to check your junk folder) and published. If the winner cannot be contacted, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.

Giveaways are open to Australian residents ONLY.