Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

A Writer Reads (or Penny Discovers What She's Been Missing!)*

Penny devours some classics!

I guess a lot of people would assume that writers of children's books have read every good children's book ever written. But not me. You see I grew up in a musical family who read lots of sheet music but didn't read much in the way of fiction. So I still read children's books at every possible opportunity and I recently trawled through the shelves of the State Library and picked a selection at random. Here's what I'm discovering this time around.

Ghost Hunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost! by German-born author Cornelia Funke is a fun and quirky story about various kinds of ghosts and how to stop them haunting people and places. Cornelia also wrote Inkheart, a personal favourite.

Mr Badger and the Big Surprise, written and illustrated by talented Aussie Leigh Hobbs, is a terrific story about Mr Badger, the Special Events Manager in a big London hotel and I so look forward to reading more in the series.

Sarindi's Dragon Kite by Australian author Janine M Fraser looks at the effects of natural disasters on families. Through Sarindi's eyes we visit loss and grief but also hope and joy.

But the one I read last night and which I absolutely loved is Scottish author Kenneth Grahame's classic Wind in the Willows, the story of Mole, Rat, Badger and Toad. I'm sure I read this as a child ... I must have, mustn't I? Anyway, I loved it and the beautiful colour illustrations.

I've just started The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by Aussie icon May Gibbs., another classic. It's going to take me some time to get through this volume but I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Then there are the others waiting in the wings (actually on my bedside table) ... Agent Z and the penguin from Mars by Mark Haddon, Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool by Odo Hirsch and finally The Enchanted Wood by the brilliant Enid Blyton.

You've probably all read these already and know what a treat is in store for me. Then, when I've finished them, it's back to the library for me.

Happy reading everyone!

Cheers, Penny Garnsworthy (newsletter officer)

* We need your help! What do you think, readers? Has Penny got a good selection here? Did you love The Wind in the Willows? Is Enid Blyton really brilliant? And what other novels should Penny read as she continues her kidlit education? 


  1. Denise Milburn17 July 2011 at 22:07

    Definitely Little White Dogs Can't Jump for fantastic understating in text and gorgeous illustrations!

  2. I love The Wind in the Willows! I think Penny should read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken, The Children of Green Knowe by L. M. Boston, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, The Ghost Drum by Susan Price and, if she hasn't already, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I would say anything at all by Nicholas Stuart Gray, but his books are so hard to come by...

  3. Charlotte's Web is a wonderful book. It's for children but it's for adults, too. A must read. Charlotte is one of the most charming characters in literature.
    Wind in the Willows is cosy and warm and funny. Beautiful characters well written. Not to mention AA Milne's work --brilliant writing :)

  4. Oh wow. Don't get me started. There are so many wonderful children's books these days.
    Roald Dahl is also a classic. (My favourite is "The Twits")
    Deltora Quest series (Emily Rodda)
    Morris Gleitzman is awesome, Toad Rage, Two Weeks with the Queen, and Boy Overboard, depending on age.
    Paul Jennings, with Round the Twist, Singenpoo, Wicked, and Deadly (last two with Morris Gleitzman).
    Very young fantasy, 4 sets of 4 books by Fiona McIntosh(Shapeshifter), Ian Irvine (The Sorceror's Tower), Kim Wilkins (The Sunken Kingdom), and Richard Harland (Wolf Kingdom).
    Goosebumps (RL Stein) are fun.
    John Heffernan (Pete Paddockbasher)
    The Buggalugs Bum Thief (Tim Winton)
    The original Winnie the Pooh
    The Book of Three (Lloyd Alexander)
    Enid Blyton still has a charm. Molly Moon, Charlie Bone, The Magic Pudding, Blinky Bill, Tashi...
    That's just off the top of my head of stuff I've read. Now if we move onto upper primary...

  5. I read Swallows and Amazons recently to my sons and they loved it. One other for the boys is the Brian Hobble series by Richard Tulloch - Weird Stuff, Freaky Stuff and Awesome Stuff.

  6. R M Ballantyne Victorian adventure stories: The Coral Island: The Fur Traders: The Dog Crusoe, etc.

  7. Garry:
    A lot of my favorites have already been put up, but I'll add all of Graeme Base's books too. I loved working out the riddles in 'The Eleventh Hour' and his illustrations are always brilliant.