Alexa Dretzke

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Alexa Dretzke is a Children’s & YA Book Specialist at Readings Hawthorn.

Reviews

What’s Your Favourite Animal? by Eric Carle & friends

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

You would think Lucy Cousins’s favourite animal would be a mouse but surprisingly it isn’t. Eric Carle has asked 14 of the world’s leading children’s book illustrators what their favourite animal is …

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Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

When Chris Haughton arrived on the children’s book scene four years ago with A Bit Lost there was a lot of excitement. His style was original and his palette was superb. His shapes, patterns and colo…

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A Lion in Paris by Beatrice Alemagna

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Big in size, A Lion in Paris is also big on imagination with a haunting, surreal sensitivity. You want to re-read it immediately and really explore the mixed media and collage of writer and illustrat…

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The Open Ocean by Francesco Pittau & Bernadette Gervais

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

If you are unaware of this series you are in for a treat. (The previous titles are the gorgeous Out of Sight and Birds of a Feather.) Innovative, surprising and informative they are a visual trove th…

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Waffle Hearts: Lena and me in Mathildewich Cove by Maria Parr

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

They say opposites attract and the two main characters of this charming Norwegian novel couldn’t be more different. Lena and Trille live next door to each other and where Trille is sensitive and stea…

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Fire by Jackie French & illustrated by Bruce Whatley

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Fire, everyone’s nightmare if not contained in a fireplace, is something Australians are all too familiar with, and this moving picture book hauntingly conveys the sheer immensity of bushfire. The su…

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Mr. Rouse Builds His House by Stefan Themerson & illustrated by Franciszka Themerson

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

What this little book lacks in stature it more than makes up for with content. One hundred and forty-four pages, to be exact, with 122 quaint illustrations.

Originally published in Poland in 1938, i…

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The Goods by McSweeney’s

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

The team at McSweeney’s have combined their extensive talents for their latest publication, which is a book of puzzles, games, comics and all manner of fun facts. Strictly speaking, this is not just …

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I Wish I Had by Giovanna Zoboli & Simona Mulazzani

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Can you imagine what it would be like to be a tiger or a whale?

I Wish I Had… describes a character trait for each creature featured and the pictures depict it doing what it does best. There’s fun t…

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Fighting For Freedom by Cassy Liberman & Lucy Desbordes (Illus.)

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Nancy Wake, a true heroine who worked for the French Resistance and Allies in World War II as a courier, was one of the most wanted spies by the German Gestapo. At 16, Nancy ran away from home to tra…

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Lillypilly Hill by Eleanor Spence

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Eleanor Spence was one of my favourite authors when I was a young so I was excited when I heard Text were reissuing Lillipilly Hill. The spirited Harriet has moved with her family from England to Aus…

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Hannah’s Night by Komako Sakai

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

This charming picture book depicts Hannah waking to find it is still night time. Her sister and parents are sound asleep so her only companion during her nocturnal wanderings is her cat. They have a …

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Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

From the team that created the wonderful Iggy Peck, Architect comes another gem. Rosie dreams of being an engineer. She tinkers away with the bits and pieces she has collected, inventing machines and…

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Starting School by Jane Godwin & Anna Walker

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Jane Godwin and Anna Walker have formed a very successful partnership with their two previous picture books, All Through the Year and Today We Have No Plans. Their new book explores five children sta…

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I Got This Hat by Jol Temple, Kate Temple & Jon Foye

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

It all seems pretty simple – a picture book about hats – and as we know, hats are fun but then again they can be serious. So the writers and illustrator are sneakily pretending their simple book is j…

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Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

As the omnipresent narrator explains, Two Boys Kissing is about the power of possibility. It’s not about sex, it’s about the power of seeing two boys who love each other being able to display that lo…

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Letters to Klaus by Klaus Flugge

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Remember the days when letters with stamps were posted? The momentary mystery of what the contents held, deciphering the handwriting to identify the sender.

Times have changed and personal mail and …

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Peck, Peck, Peck by Lucy Cousins

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Peck, Peck, Peck is fun, fun, fun and well timed for Father’s Day. Daddy woodpecker teaches his baby bird how to peck, and from then on she pretty much practices on everything she encounters. She fin…

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Silver Buttons by Bob Graham

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

A new Bob Graham picture book is always a delightful addition to children’s publishing. His gentle stories celebrate family and home and embrace the wider community and multiculturalism. Silver Butto

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Let’s Paint! by Gabriel Alborozo

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Art is fun! It can be experimental and controversial, and it’s totally subjective. Let’s Paint! shows us that all ideas and styles are valid, and that respect for individual creativity is to be enco…

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Bluebird by Bob Staake

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

A little boy is sad and lonely, and then a bluebird comes and changes his day. The small bird offers him friendship and happiness follows, until a dramatic event occurs!

Bluebird is a wordless pict…

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The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Things are not right in crayon world! Oh, I bet you thought they were having a ball happily colouring in and looking bright in kids’ pictures, but you’d be wrong. It seems there is a downside to a cr…

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On the Day You Were Born by Margaret Wild & Ron Brooks

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

This sweet and gentle book will give you both goosebumps and a warm glow in your stomach. It will sing to you of a father’s love, and the wonder and elation that the birth of a child can bring. It wi…

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Yoo Hoo, Ladybird! by Mem Fox & Laura Ljungkvist

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

There is a giraffe in the bath and is that really a car in there too? But where is the ladybird?

As we hunt for the elusive little bug, we are introduced to an array of creatures and objects that su…

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Wildlife by Paul Thurlby

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Did you know green algae can grow in a polar bear’s fur if they stay too hot for too long? I didn’t!

Paul Thurlby offers some tantalising animal truths: some well known, others more obscure. Each pa…

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Oscar Goes to the Moon by Helen Tanner

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

I have been lucky enough to see Oscar Goes to the Moon develop from its early days to the finished book, and because Helen Tanner has self-published, she has had full control in maintaining its gentl…

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Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

In 2011, Clare Vanderpool’s Moon Over Manifest was one of my favourite books. It went on to win one of children’s literature’s most prestigious awards, the Newbery Medal. With her latest novel, Vande…

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Jemmy Button by Alix Barzelay & Jennifer Uman & Valerio Vidali

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

It is very rare for a picture book to have two illustrators, but this is the case with Jemmy Button. Even more unusual is the fact that the two artists met online and didn’t share a common language, …

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Ted by Leila Rudge

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Sometimes finding your place in the world takes perseverance and tenacity, particularly in the face of rejection. Ted is an ordinary pooch who never gets chosen at the pet shop. He is clever and even…

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Lio: There’s a Monster in My Socks by Mark Tatulli

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Liō is naughty and inventive. He devises cool experiments that fool his father and get the better of bullies. He has a pet snake and octopus, but sometimes the animals fool him, even an alien or two.…

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