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See what happens when you’re looking forward to a trip to the zoo with your dad and discover it’s not just human dads who like to tell embarrassing and goofy dad jokes. It’s every dad’s mission!

Whether they growl or they squeal,
Or they bellow or croak,
No dad can ever resist telling a joke.

Lion, hippo, giraffe and leopard are just some of the zoo animal dads trying hard to make their kids laugh with bad jokes. Crocodile's joke reminded me of my dad. Whenever we said, “I’m, hungry!” dad would always shake our hand and say “Pleased to meet you Hungry, I’m Dad!”

Adrian Beck is one of the funniest people I know, so I'm not surprised his first picture book is a fun rhyming story filled with non-stop dad jokes and a clever twist at the end. It's definitely a book to read aloud!

Simon Greiner’s bright, cartoon illustrations add to the humour with eye rolls, raised eyebrows and cringing looks. See if you can find the 'Three Wise Monkeys' who aren't even safe from their dad’s jokes at the cafe.

Even though dad jokes can make us groan out loud, Stop the Dad Jokes! reminds us that jokes are our dad's way of making us laugh and showing they care.

If your dad drives you crazy with his jokes, Stop the Dad Jokes! could be the  book you need to help you either 'beat him or join him'! Beat dad at his own game by using the jokes in the book or join him by reading the book together and making up more dad jokes.

Stop the Dad Jokes! would make a great gift for Father’s Day.

Here's a fun dad joke I spotted on my travels...

Do you have a favourite Dad joke?

Happy reading!

Bear and Rat by Christopher Cheng celebrates a friendship that is deep and true and filled with love.

Bear and Rat are best friends who do everything together, but one day Rat wonders

"Will we always hold hands like this, even when we are old and wrinkly..."

Bear reassures Rat that he will be there for her no matter what happens. He will hold her hand if she is scared of spooky stories or stubs her toe, if they cross a river or if she is sick in bed for weeks and he will even hold her hand if she does something really, really bad. 

Stephen Michael King’s water colour and ink illustrations tenderly bring Bear and Rat to life as they travel hand-in-hand through the seasons with their trusty umbrellas, sharing adventures and cups of tea and being there for each other through life's ups and downs. Until one day Bear has to let go of Rat’s hand and hold her close in a different way.

Christopher was lucky to marry his best friend Bini. When Bini was sick he wrote Bear and Rat for her using their favourite animals. Christopher Cheng and Stephen Michael King's seamlessly woven words and images create a very special picture book that will gently squeeze your heart.

It is always a treat to hear an author read their book. Enjoy Christopher Cheng reading Bear and Rat...

Happy reading!

Teacher notes


Look a herd of cows!

The Bird in the Herd is a playful, cumulative rhyming story that takes readers on a farm adventure stalking slugs and bugs with a very cheeky (and hungry) bird.

Kathryn Apel's skilful rhyming makes this a fun story to read aloud to the rhythm of the herd as it moves along guided by the drover on his horse that nods as it plods and his dog who gives a yip and a nip until an unexpected Hoooot! Toooot! and an ending that will have you laughing out loud!

Rene Treml's warm water colour illustrations capture an Australian farm with lots of little details to explore on each page. What can you see as the bird stalks slugs and bugs around the farm? Can you see the cheeky bird sitting on the cow? This bird is a Cattle Egret and they stand on cows to look out for insects.

Kathryn Apel is an author and poet who lives on a grazing farm in Queensland and is scared of cows! Kat has also recently released another rhyming picture book for young readers called Up and Down on a Rainy Day (videos and activities HERE)

Thank you for the copy of this book to review UQP.

Happy reading!


There are sure to be giggles and guffaws when you read Poo and Other Words that Make me Laugh

This cheeky book begs to be read aloud as weird and wonderful words playfully weave their way around brightly coloured pages reminding us how fun and fascinating words can be.

Unleash your funny voices (and faces) and try not to tangle your tongue on words like FLIBBERTIGIBBET, PERSNICKETYHUBBUB and SUCCOTASH.
many interesting ways can you say that little word POO?
Check out the the glossary to see if you have COLLYWOBBLES or whether you should use
 a BUMBERSHOOT or a SNICKERSNEE next time it rains!

Do you have a favourite word? One of mine is SERENDIPITY.

Try brainstorming words with your friends or class and create your own book of Poo (or ???) and Other Words That Make Us Laugh. 

 Felice Arena and Tom Jellett are a dynamic duo who love to make reading fun. Have a look for Sporty Kids and The Besties at your library or bookshop.

Happy reading! 



Based on stories from her Grandma, Jackie French and Bruce Whatley have created a story reminding us of what we can achieve with kindness and by working together to protect, support and care for each other.

Pandemic transports us to the end of World War One (1918-1920) when a virus called the Spanish Flu was brought home by soldiers returning from war and spread rapidly throughout the world. Today, one hundred years later, we are experiencing another global pandemic with a virus called COVID-19.

As the Spanish Flu spread, people followed the rules and went into quarantine to keep everyone safe by staying apart to stop the virus from spreading. Masks were worn, the doors of shops, theatres and schools closed and 'quarantine curtains' were drawn on homes where people were sick. The streets were deserted.

"People can't get better if they're hungry" she said.
And cows must be milked and dogs must be fed."

Great Grandma organised children from healthy families to help their community. Children rode their bicycles and ponies across the empty land to milk cows, feed dogs and chooks, pick ripe fruit and vegetables and deliver food to saucepans waiting on doorsteps. Eventually the Spanish Flu was defeated and people came together again to celebrate and continue with their lives once more.

Amazingly, Bruce Whatley illustrated Pandemic during his two weeks of hotel quarantine. Bruce could only use the art materials he had on hand so he used a ballpoint pen for the first time for his line work and perfectly captured the bleak mood of the pandemic with the limited paint colours he had available.

Jackie has also included her Great Grandma's Banana Custard recipe on the endpapers for you to try along with how to make Lemon Barley Water.

As you read Pandemic what similarities can you find between the Spanish Flu and COVID-19

Look for the helpers.
You will always find people who are helping.

(Fred Rogers)

Happy reading!



Dharma the Llama likes reading for hours and hours and hours. The other llamas can't understand why she's always reading. When they're out stampeding, Dharma is having her own exciting adventures lost in the pages of her books. Dharma is happy doing her own thing and doesn't listen to the sneering and jeering, but when the other llamas get stuck in a big pit of mud, it's Dharma and her books to the rescue! Finally the llamas have to agree...It sure pays to read!

Matt Cosgrove has created another fun, colourful and joyful book that begs to be read aloud. Dharma is a great example of being 'you' and doing what you love. She is also a total bookworm and Dharma the Llama celebrates reading, the adventures you can have and how books can help us learn new things. I really enjoyed the way reading sparked Dharma's creativity to solve problems, especially her astronaut idea. Matt has also had fun giving some of Dhama's books a 'llama make-over'. Can you spot them? Try giving some of your favourite books a 'llama make-over' too!

Get creative and download Matt's illustrations from Dharma the Llama and add your own colour.


Something very exciting has recently happened to Dharma the Llama. Dharma's book has been made into a rap performed by Jessica Mauboy. 

Have fun doing karaoke with the Dharma the Llama rap. 

There are other raps on the  BIG W Rap Books website including Alpacas with Maracas by Matt Cosgrove and rapped by Tom Thum.















Happy reading and rapping!


Hello Jimmy! by Anna Walker is a gentle story about Jack and his dad as they find a new way of being a family together.

When Jack visits his dad's house it's quiet and his dad doesn't tell funny jokes any more. Jack wonders if his dad is lonely. Then Jimmy a loud and cheeky parrot unexpectedly arrives on dad's doorstep. Jimmy's big personality fills the house and dad is laughing again with his new friend who helps with the dishes, entertains with his witty chatter and is full of surprises. Jack feels left out. What happens when Jack accidentally lets Jimmy out the window? 

Anna has used pencil, collage, paint and mono-printing to create her delicate illustrations filled with tiny details of every day life that invite you to look closely at each page. She has captured Jimmy's larger than life personality with his cheeky antics and vibrant green feathers that can also be found floating gently across the endpapers. 

Read HERE to learn more about Anna's ideas behind creating Hello Jimmy!

On her Twiglet website, Anna shares 'tiny ideas' to inspire creativity. Click on the links below to explore three ways you can make your own Jimmy and bring him to life.

Jimmy Parrot 

Jimmy split pin 

Flying Jimmy 

Anna has made Jimmy using felt and he is being very cheeky in the Hello Jimmy! book trailer...

Happy reading!


I Saw Pete and Pete Saw Me  by Maggie Hutchings is a gentle story of kindness and compassion, looking closely at the world around us and opening our hearts to others.

A small boy is the only one who sees Pete's warm smile and bright drawings as he sits quietly with his dog on a busy footpath. When the boy says hello, Pete gives him a picture of a yellow bird like flying sunshine and their friendship begins. The boy makes Pete visible to others and through small acts of kindness, the boy and his local community care for Pete. While snuggled in his bed, the boy wishes he could give Pete a safe and warm home of his own. When Pete gets sick and nobody knows where he's gone, his little friend knows the best way to get a message to Pete.

Yellow sunshine flows through Evie Barrow's hand-drawn pencil illustrations highlighting kindness, friendship and hope in this tender story. I especially love that the endpapers wrap the book up in the warm colourful blanket given to Pete. Can you find the blanket in the story? 

I Saw Pete and Pete Saw Me shows us the connections we can make when we open our eyes to see the people around us. During lockdown here in Melbourne, I have enjoyed meeting and talking to people on my daily walks, especially older people who have the most interesting stories to share when you take the time to stop and listen. Everybody has a story.

One dollar from each sale is donated to The Big Issue that helps homeless and disadvantaged people make positive changes to their lives.

Happy reading!




Charlie Wintergreen is an elderly musician who rescues a no-name pup from the Dog’s Home and gives him a home of his own and the name Louis. They become a team as Charlie plays his trumpet at night and Louis joins in with his ooh-ooh song.

“Louis you have to have heart and soul. It’s the only way to play!”

When Charlie gets sick, Louis becomes a lonely street dog, scavenging and scrounging for food and sleeping in dark corners until music brings Pete into his life along with one other special surprise.

This is a gentle and uplifting story of friendship that shows how friends can become the family we choose. It reminds us of how precious our elderly people are and celebrates the way music brings joy and connects us no matter our age.

I first discovered Tull Suwannakit when he illustrated one of my favourite books, Sad the Dog by Sandy Fussell. The front cover looked so much like a photo I had taken of my dog Jambo watching autumn leaves fall in my backyard. Can you see the likeness?

To illustrate this book, Tull uses a small palette of gentle watercolours that give the story a warm vintage feel. Can you see the colours he has chosen? Tull has designed beautiful moss green endpapers covered in musical notes. How might these have a connection with Charlie?

Author Carol Ann Martin’s husband is a jazz musician and I wonder if he was the inspiration for this story.

Heart and Soul is a book that will warm your heart and soul and might even bring a tear to your eye, in a good way.

Happy reading!


I could not resist a book with the word cake in the title and a scrumptious cake on the cover!

Edwina Wyatt has written a gentle and playful story about Audrey and her friend Lion who find happiness in celebrating the little things in their world like colours, coconuts and Tuesdays and Thursdays. They remind us that even ordinary days hold small joys that can be celebrated in many ways, especially with cake!

Tamsin Ainslie's whimsical water colour illustrations capture the friendship and fun Audrey and Lion share in their celebrations. Their creativity leaps off the pages and makes you want to join them. Watch Tamsin's stop motion book trailer for Sometimes CAKE on Instagram HERE

In Melbourne we need to stay at home at the moment and our days can feel pretty ordinary. Just like Audrey and Lion, I try to find small things to celebrate. Each day on my neighbourhood walk, I seek out little things in nature to photograph and share that bring me joy and remind me how EXTRAordinary our world is when we take the time to look. 

I wonder what small joys you might discover if you look closely in your backyard, on a neighbourhood walk or even around your house. Will you celebrate and share them by drawing, painting, writing, making, photographing? You might even bake a cake!

PS. Did you know Edwina Wyatt has also written The Secrets of Magnolia Moon that I've written about HERE

Happy reading!


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