The Ivy Bird BIRD CREW!

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Finally, I have Ivy Bird in my clutches! Copies arrived this morning and I've been peeping like a chick over the divine production values--beautiful paper, stunning colour. Very happy! And to celebrate their arrival, of course, I had to have a photo shoot.

Introducing the Ivy Bird Bird Crew. I've spent the last couple of months hooking these darlings, with mountains of yarn and stuffing for plump tummies and thighs. Some of these birds will soon be flying the nest ... one will be given away on Kids' Book Review, along with a copy of the book (signed by moi!). 

bird costume ideas for little ones - celebrating Ivy Bird

Thursday, 15 August 2019

In just two weeks, Ivy Bird will take flight! Release date is 1 September, and in celebration, here are some fabulous dress-up ideas for the little chicks in your life. Or the big chicks. {Watercolour images from the book by Jess Racklyeft.}

Ivy Bird loves to play dress-ups. From warbling in the early morning light like a magpie to donning her owl hat to hoot in the dark at bedtime, she takes great delight in mimicking her bird friends. It might be a very special red robin outfit, a peacock tail of leaves and flowers in the garden, or a rainbow lorikeet cape to help her fly with her feathered friends.

It's time to play dress-ups!

a kids' year series - An Aussie Year and A Kiwi Year in paperback

Monday, 12 August 2019

Just look at these stunning new covers for An Aussie Year and A Kiwi Year, designed by the amazing Tina Snerling - for the paperback versions of each book. Love!

Both books will be released 21 October, in Australia and New Zealand, with EK Books. If you'd like to pre-order, just click An Aussie Year or A Kiwi Year and you'll be taken directly to each one.

Click the covers above for more on each book, and below is a peek at all nine books in one spot! Click on the GIF to buy/pre-order.

The Helper Monkeys story in Funny Bones anthology

Thursday, 8 August 2019


I'm absolutely delighted to have a story in this superb (and funny!) anthology, edited by Kate and Jol Temple, and Oliver Phommavanh, featuring over 100 stories from children's authors, illustrators and comedians all over Australia. I mean, it's over 700 pages thick! And very, very best of all, the royalties from sales go to War Child Australia.

War Child is an international relief and development agency dedicated to providing immediate, effective and sustainable aid to children affected by war. War Child was formed in 1993 in response to conflict in the former Yugoslavia, and has since expanded its work to conflicts worldwide. War Child Australia is an all-volunteer organisation that was established in July 2002. Since that time, War Child Australia has been committed to providing aid to young victims of war all around the world.

For more about the book, click the cover above.

My story, The Helper Monkeys, has its own official Twitter account (as featured in the story). So if you, yourself, are one day interested in getting your own Helper Monkeys (I take no responsibility for what might happen if you do), you will need to follow the account, pronto.

I hope you snaffle a copy or twenty of this wonderful book. Perfect stocking stuffer for Christmas! and for such a worthwhile cause.


Wednesday, 10 July 2019

I'm absolutely delighted to reveal the cover for Ivy Bird, my next book with the illustrious Jess Racklyeft - about a little girl and her obsession with the beauty of birds. Ideal for early childhood, the book also features some wonderful, accessible bird facts.

I really love this book, and Jess's illos melt my heart. You can PRE-ORDER Ivy Bird, and look out for its appearance on shelves this September, thanks to Windy Hollow Books. An internal page peek, below!

a wintry warmer and book peeks

Monday, 1 July 2019

I don't know about you, but I'm shivering in my ugg boots this early morning as I type up this blog post, warmed by a hot water with lemon and a little blow heater at my feet. Yesterday I clicked send on a final draft for my large format picture book for Hardie Grant Travel. My divine editor will be working her magic these coming weeks. Not much rest, though, as today I'm diving back into my junior fiction series, Evie and Pog (and will be underwater again for quite a while), so I wanted to say hi and send some pretty pictures and a few little happenings before I disappear again.

The first and most important thing I want to tell you is that I've rediscovered gypsophila. I remember wearing a baby's breath crown at my Debut ahem-years-ago (Debut? yes, that's how old I am) and I think the '80s ruined this flower (along with any form of dress sense and style, and let's not even mention the hair). But just look at this blossomy cloud, en masse, above. Is it not beautiful? So, I declare gypsophila so very much back, baby. I'm sure those little white buds have their own light source.

CBCA Conference 2019 - best ever!

Monday, 3 June 2019

Okay, so I have literally dragged myself out of bed because I can wait not a moment longer to tell you about the CBCA Conference, 2019. This will be a steam of consciousness, celebrating the wonderful event proper (so please know that if you are after a rundown of what people covered in their sessions, you won't find it here, although I still hope you enjoy it) and I have a year's worth of production to get done by September, so this post may not even be edited!! And I didn't manage to get photos of all sessions.

Anyhoo - to start with, I just have to say:

Best. CBCA. Conference. EVER.

Enormous congrats to Margaret Hamilton and Dyan Blacklock and their crew, and to our local ACT CBCA branch, headed by Julie Long, and to major sponsors Copyright Agency, Booktopia and Dymocks and conference bags and dinner sponsor HarperCollins Children's Books and to Conference Solutions and QT Hotel - breathe in - for a brilliantly conceived, planned and executed two-and-a-bit days of pure children's book heaven.

It all began with a glorious - goosebumping, tear-jerking - Welcome to Country by local man Duncan Smith, who entranced us with the most astonishing didgeridoo. This music enters every cell of your body. Truly beautiful.

Then a keynote address by Morris Gleitzman that, as ever, had us laughing and burrowing deep into our own brains to think, and to think hard...

CBCA Awards Foundaton Bears - introducing Mamie

Saturday, 25 May 2019

I was thrilled and honoured to be asked to create a bear for the CBCA Awards Foundation, which raises valued Book of the Year prize money for Australian children's book creators. Meet 'Mamie' - one of four bears that will be silent auctioned at this year's CBCA National Conference in Canberra.

hello, Flo - passion project

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

While scouring my laptop today, I came across this watercolour I did for a picture book I was penning on Florence Broadhurst (around 4 - 5 years ago). The project, like my book on May Gibbs, Mamie, proved difficult to pursue, but if Mamie could come to fruition, maybe Flo could, too.

Although I'd change a million things about this artwork, seeing it brought back a flood of beautiful memories - mainly because this was a passion project for me. Uncontracted and just for 'fun'.

It's also a reminder to revisit past ideas and projects that bring us joy. Will I pursue this book one day? Perhaps. When I get out from under this production mountain I'm under! Until then, I hope this little random post encourages you to dive into projects you adore - and ignore both the limitations imposed by the world around you ... and by yourself.

some lovely bits as winter creeps in

Friday, 3 May 2019

Hello, hello - I hope you're having a gorgeous start to the winter season. Above is a Canada goose flying to Texas for the winter, and as ANZAC Day has come and gone, Canberra has (as it always does) plummeted headlong into beanie weather. If I had wings, though, I wouldn't be heading to warmer climes, no no. Could not be happier. I even bought new boots last week. Beanies, gloves, boots, scarves, tights is where I'm at. Bring it on!

Yes, it's definitely snuggle weather, and that couldn't be more appropriate because all I seem to be doing of late is snuggling up to my Mac, my laptop, my drawing board . . . and barely looking up. I'm right in the thick of a LOT and feel quite out of touch with the world, so wanted to say hi, share a bit of news, and give you some peeks before I go back into creative hibernation.

Australia Map--it's a puzzle!

Friday, 12 April 2019

Sometimes, you just have addictions, you know? Picture books, handbags, puzzles. I LOVE puzzles. Totally surreal, then, to sit at a table and do your own puzzle! (By the way, this photo, above was taken on a table, with me standing on it!)

Thanks to the gorgeous peeps at Hardie Grant Travel, my Australia Illustrated Map has been converted to the pieced-up form--252 pieces, to be exact. I've already made it three times and it's so much fun, especially as I drive my son nuts by knowing where most things are located!

Australia Map Puzzle will be on the shelves 1 June, in bookstores or online, and you can pre-order a copy right here. The puzzle pieces come in a lovely sturdy box, and on the front of the box is a 12-page booklet with fun facts the kids can work through as they make the puzzle.

Here are some more pics, and you can read the product blurb right here. Happy puzzling!

This is Home : Essential Australian Poems for Children launch wrap-up

Monday, 8 April 2019

Yesterday, at the National Library of Australia, a sea of poetry-loving peeps descended to celebrate the official launch of This is Home: Essential Australian Poems for Children. It truly was the most beautiful gathering--there was some poetic magic in the air.

Publisher Susan Hall opened proceedings, then the amazing Margaret Hamilton, who had travelled all the way from the Blue Mountains, launched the book. She spoke so eloquently while simultaneously having us laughing, as she is wont to do. Jackie then spoke, and as always, had the entire audience enchanted. Even the children were enthralled, and a friend's young son later expressed he was brought to tears by her beautiful words. Says it all.

I spoke briefly before handing the mic to the gorgeous poets in attendance, some who had travelled from far flung places. In order of left to right in the following photos: Stephen Whiteside, Libby Hathorn, Janeen Brian, Geoff Page, Chris Cheng, Jackie Hosking and young local poet Leo Barnard. Absolute literary legends in this group, and such beautiful people. I am fiercly clutching my book copy, signed by all poets (except Geoff, but I hope to have him sign it in the future, along with any other poets I encounter!). It's now a treasured possession, that's for sure.

What struck me, as the event unfolded and as the poets read their work, was how utterly engrossed the children were. Even the very young. They were also super calm and relaxed, lounging on the floor cushions and drinking in the words, as though a soothing balm was washing over them. The event was quite long, yet little eyes, everywhere, were wide with wonder and engagement.

At the end of the poetry spell (did not want it to end!) Jackie and I signed books for--golly, I reckon over an hour. It was so special to meet these poetry lovers and chat and share stories.

Huge thanks to everyone who came along to celebrate This is Home. Thanks to Jackie who travelled all the way from the Araluen Valley, with her painful leg! She is one incredible woman. Thanks to the NLA--to Susan, Candice, Lynda, Amy, Katherine and the rest of the team, for this book and for this beautiful event. A special thank you to Stephen Whiteside for making everyone laugh with delight at his poetic 'performance'. It was an absolute hoot! Thanks, also, to my beautiful friend Stephanie Owen Reeder who was roped into taking pics--they are sensational!

And now--pictures paint a thousand words--so here we go . . .

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