Welcome to the Children’s Round-Up for November, 2018.

It’s been a quiet month for children’s book reviews. Three new books have been reviewed, and one title has appeared in previous Round-Ups. 

Christmas is only a few weeks away and books make great gifts, so please remember to support Australian authors, and if possible – independent book shops.

Please click on the highlighted links for further information about a particular book or author.


Sally RippinTotal Quack Up is a collection of short stories by some of Australia’s favourite authors – Sally Rippin, Deborah Abela, Jacqueline Harvey, Oliver Phommavanh, R.A. Spratt, Paul Jennings, Alex Miles, Adrian Beck, Tristan  Bancks and Matt Stanton. Illustrated by James Foley.

This book may also inspire budding young authors, as it includes a story written by school-aged Ella Wallace, who won a competition for her story to appear in the book.

All royalties go to Dymocks Children’s Charities – another fabulous reason to put this on your Christmas shopping list.

Ashleigh Meikle @ The Book Muse says that each story stars a child as the protagonist, navigating life at school, at sport, or as a superhero, and with family, friends and siblings. Every reader who picks up this book will find a story and character they will enjoy, love and laugh with. From Arabella von Champion – a superhero who sees herself as extraordinary and is quite daring, to the little brother at the end who blocks up the dunny with everything imaginable, to the soccer team with the pig as a mascot, and everything inbetween.

If you enjoy listening to podcasts, Words and Nerds (episode 58, featuring Adrian Beck) explores the collaborative effort which brought this book to life.



Jessica TownsendOne of our most reviewed books this year was Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend. Her second book in the series – Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (for ages 8+) has recently been released, and I have no doubt this book will prove just as popular as the first in the series.

The synopsis reads: Morrigan Crow has escaped her deadly fate and found a new home in the fantastical city of Nevermoor. She has also discovered that she has a strange and magical ability. But will her unique talent be a blessing or another curse? Now that Morrigan and her best friend Hawthorne are proud scholars in the elite Wundrous Society, she is sure that she’s found a place to belong at last, but life is far from perfect. Can Morrigan prove that she deserves to be in the Society – or will an unexpected new enemy ruin her new life?

Brenda at Goodreads says Wow! What a ride!! It is just as fantastical and exciting as the first. Fast paced with loads of action, plenty of magic and heart-stopping tension, Wundersmith is one Brenda highly recommends. But Brenda also suggests Nevermoor be read first so the full benefit of the series is felt.

Ashleigh Meikle @ The Book Muse says it is absolutely delightful. The entire book from beginning to end is amazing, and fits in so well with the previous book, naturally, and gives a deeper look into the characters, but still with enough mystery to ensure there are secrets to come out in later books.



Sally Odgers‘As the sunset spreads its glow,

Little brolga’s dancing slow. 

The outback hums with twilight sounds.

Numbat dreams of termite mounds.’

Outback Lullaby by Sally Odgers (illustrated by Lisa Stewart) for ages 3 to 5, was reviewed by Anna Greenwood at Goodreads. Anna says this is a charming bedtime book filled with sleepy Australian baby animals, including some unusual ones. The text is gentle and soothing, perfect for winding down to sleep. A few of the rhymes don’t quite work but these are in the minority, and the lines scan well making this easy and enjoyable to read aloud. The pastel-toned illustrations are well-suited to the text.


Karen Foxlee, Lenny's book of everythingLenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee (ages 10+) was released this month. It appeared previously in the AWW Children’s September 2018 Round-Up, and October 2018 Classics and Literary Round-up, and continues to attract reviews (click on the links for further reading):

Cloggie Downunder – ‘These are characters that get under the reader’s skin, get into the heart and, despite the sad ending being apparent from the blurb, there will be few readers who don’t find a lump in the throat or tears welling by the last few chapters.’

Ashleigh Meikle – The Book Muse – ‘This is a book with a big heart, that teaches us about love and letting go of those we love, and the strength it can take for this to happen, and the places we can draw it from.’ 

Rebecca Bowyer – ‘This is one of those books you press into your friends’ hands and quietly insist, “Read this.” It’s incredible, uplifting, warmly funny and devastating in equal parts. I loved every character (except the lecherous Mr King).’

Cass Moriarty – ‘This book will break your heart, but it will also open your eyes to the mysteries and wonders of the world. And somehow, in the midst of all that, it will remind you of love and friendship, of the joy of being alive, and of the deep well of hope that lies within us all. It will restore your faith in humanity and prove that while ‘dark heart feelings’ might be a part of the human condition, these are balanced with optimism, yearning, promise and possibilities.’


Thank you for taking the time to link your reviews. The final Children’s Round Up for 2018 is due out on Tuesday, 18 December.

You can sign up here to join the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge at any time.


About Marie:

Marie McLean bio photoIn awe of words from an early age, reading, writing and banter have become an obsession of mine. As a mother of two (who are growing up faster than I’d like), I am passionate about instilling a long-lasting love of reading in children. I am excited about joining the AWW team and sharing my love of children’s literature with you.

I blog about books and my own fledgling writing journey at mariemclean.com. You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook  and Goodreads