The following reviews are just a small taste of the many book reviews available.

CBCA Reading Time

Review of 'Jelly-Boy' by Liz Anellli
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The book’s clear and rhythmic design adds to the enjoyment and reality of the book and it is beautifully printed, with subtle touches of varnish to enhance the gorgeous colours. Narrative and content are well paced throughout with a fact and call to action page at the end. Lending itself to a wide range of art activities and classroom ideas from rubbish disposal, recycling and sea life to relationships, family values and knowing when to let go this book gives us science inside a storybook –  in my opinion the best way to educate readers young and old.

Read the full review here.

The Bottom Shelf

Review of 'Jelly-Boy' by Barbara Braxton
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Nicole Godwin, author of both Ella and Billie, has made it her mission to be the voice for those creatures who don’t have their own, and in this new release she has taken on the cause of our ocean creatures and the pollution of their habitat, particularly by plastic bags. Even being caught in the propeller of a boat’s motor does not destroy Jelly-Boy as he floats on carried by the currents and in one dramatic double-page spread the reader is shown just how lethal these items can be. A must-have addition to any unit focusing on the environment, its threats and sustainability – such a hot topic that even our little ones understand it from a young age.

Read the full review here.

Kids Book Review

Review of 'Jelly-Boy' by Amie Sabadin
Kids Book Review - Ella review

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When a sweet, endearing looking jellyfish spots a plastic bag drifting in the ocean she mistakes it for a jelly-boy; and for love as first sight. The story then follows the duo on an adventure into the ocean with the jellyfish becoming both more curious and educated about the perplexing jelly-boy. Worrying events and a strong message about the danger and destruction of plastic in our oceans prevail.

Read the full review here.

Mr Love's Bookshelf

Review of 'Jelly-Boy' by Jamie Love

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This book was sent to me by the amazing team at @walkerbooksaus and it is absolutely stunning. The emotional love story between a jellyfish and a plastic bag will give both kids and adults the feels and will definitely make you think twice about what you do with rubbish - particularly plastic and how much you use it! This book was released today and I can’t tell you enough how much I love it. The illustrations alone are beautiful but more importantly, I can’t wait to share it and discuss the strong message of conservation and the importance of caring for our environment with my children and students.

Read the full review here.

I Dream of All the Books

Review of 'Jelly-Boy' by Zoe from I Dream of All the Books

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An unconventional love story with a topical issue at its core! A must read for burgeoning environmentalists and any child wanting to create a better world.

Read the full review here.

Read Plus

Review of 'Jelly-Boy' by Fran Knight
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A wonderful read aloud as well as a cunning cautionary tale about the destructive nature of the plastic bag in our environment, this book deserves a place in every classroom to be read and discussed along with a rethink of their use of the plastic bag. Themes: Sea creatures, Pollution, Jellyfish, Environment, Marine pollution.

Read the full review here.

My Picture Book Heart

Review of 'Jelly-Boy' by Gemma Patience
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This gorgeous new release deftly uses humour and bright mid-century vintage style illustrations to delight and amuse, along with subtly woven details about our love for plastic packaging and the impact on our ocean life. This is a truly beautiful picture book full of heart and humour.

Read the full review here.

The Bottom Shelf

Review of 'Billie' by Barbara Braxton
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The Canberra author of Ella has made it her mission to be a voice for those creatures of the wild who don’t have their own voice to bring attention to the destruction of their habitat.  Many young  readers will be familiar with the sight of dolphins surfing the waves and develop a fascination for these beautiful, intelligent creatures from a young age.  But they are unaware of the issues that dolphins face as the human world encroaches more and more on their environment and so it is books like this that carry a critical message of conservation as well as a charming story that inspire them to action.  Rather like the little wave that forms and is then apparently lost in the vast ocean, but in fact becomes part of a larger wave, so the voices of authors like Godwin and illustrators like Haughton who has created such vivid images become bigger and bigger and louder and louder as both Ella and Billie are shared with our young students as part of the sustainability perspective of the Australian Curriculum.

Read the full review here.

Educate. Empower

Review of 'Billie' by Vanessa Ryan
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This picture book is told through the careful collaboration of illustration and words. Nicole Godwin has told this story in a careful way, that without looking at the illustrations, you might just think is about Billie catching waves in different places around the ocean. But with the addition of Demelsa Haughton’s illustrations, we see what Billie is really swimming through – and these illustrations tell the awful truth.

Nicole Godwin has shared this message in a gentle way – showing the reader that despite the current conditions of the oceans, we can still make a difference if we join with our friends, family and community.

Read the full review here.

Stephanie Owen Reeder

Review of 'Billie' by Stephanie Owen Reeder

In Billie (Tusk Books. 32 pp. $24.99), Nicole Godwin and Demelsa Haughton tell the story of a surfing dolphin in search of the ultimate wave. Her search takes her on quite a different path, as she rescues sea creatures along the way, and ultimately has to be rescued herself when she gets caught in a drift net. While the best-ever wave eludes her, Billie does make lots of friends along the way. Written by local Canberra author Nicole Godwin, a passionate supporter of animal rights, the text lyrically brings to life the sounds, patterns and movement of the sea, while the digitally created illustrations, with their paper-engineering vibe and endearing characters, graphically show the reality of life under the waves amidst the dangers to sea creatures created by human activity. Information at the end of the book describes the plight of dolphins in the wild. Billie communicates an important message through an engaging story paired with attractive, well-designed images, strong design concepts and high-quality production values.

Tell Tales to Me

Review of 'Billie' by Brook Tayla

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The author’s intent is very clear in this book – to show the beauty of the natural world in which all animals should live happily and peacefully, compared to the hardships that they actually face every day because of humans.

‘Billie’ presents readers with many scenarios that underwater sea creatures face. The protagonist is Billie, a bottlenose dolphin, who just wants to spend her days playing joyfully in the surf, but instead, sets about helping animals affected by human intervention.

Read the full review here.

Kids Book Review

Review of 'Ella' by Jo Burnell
Kids Book Review - Ella review

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Ella dreams of finding her mother and of having a full stomach. With only one friend in the world, Ella she manages to escape. Her journey is fraught but it is worth hanging in for the upswing. Although young children will find the ending a satisfying relief, adults will dwell on the deeper truth that not all elephants are as lucky as Ella.

Ella is an important pioneer tale for young children, who are never too young to become champions for justice. I hope Nicole continues her crusade with many more irresistible books to join Ella on our bookshelves.

Read the full review here.

THE BOTTOM SHELF

Review of 'Ella' by Barbara Braxton
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Written to give a voice to elephants and all other creatures held captive for the tourism market, this is a touching story that tugs at the heartstrings as the reader is given an insight into what really happens behind the scenes of what seems like an innocuous activity. Despite the charming illustrations that suggest a story for the very young, the front cover gives a clue that this is not a happy, sweetness-and-light story and despite its uplifting ending readers are bound to have questions they want answered.  Some of these are provided on the final pages of the book while  others might need some research.  

Along with Elizabeth Stanley’s The Deliverance of Dancing Bears  and Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan  it would make an ideal springboard into the use and treatment of animals as tourist attractions and spark a lot of debate about the ethical issues and changing attitudes towards animals in captivity.

Thought-provoking and worthy of a place on the library’s shelves. 

Read the full review here.

TELL TALES TO ME

Review of 'Ella' by Brook Tayla
Tell tales to me book review - Ella by Nicole Godwin and Demelsa Haughton

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It is a brave journey that presents the truth. Children want to know the truth and as adults we have a responsibility of care to teach facts in an open and accurate way, ensuring that we are contributing to empathetic and compassionate future generations. Of course, we don’t want to frighten children, and that is a tender balance that Nicole Godwin masters with her words and Demelsa Haughton supports with her beautiful illustrations.

I recommend that every household, pre-school, kindergarten and primary school keep a copy of this serious but beautifully told story on their shelves.

Read the full review here.

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