Bub’s Books For Xmas

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” — Albert Einstein

My daughter, Pocohontas, has already read six week old Harry Kilometres this years Booker Prize Winner. So of course I have been having great fun at local bookstores finding more appropriate literature for the child for Christmas.

This is Harry’s major Christmas parcel from his Meemaw:

I’m a firm believer that you cannot begin your Classic Movie education too early.

Aunt Cat Balou is gifting a copy of the movie Calamity Jane and a book about Audrey Hepburn. (Have I done well with my kids, or what!)

“You don’t have enough money to be considered eccentric. You’re just weird.” – my friend, Bernadette Mercer.

This one’s going into the babe’s Christmas stocking :

Harry’s Dad, a military boyo, has also been reading to young Harry : books on international conflict and aviation strategy.

And they think I’m weird…………..

NOTE :

Discovered a great website which encourages young girls to follow their interest in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths. Go to http://www.amightygirl.com

For fairy tales starring clever and courageous girls, you can find over 180 girl-empowering books of fairy tales in A Mighty Girl’s “Fairy Tale Collection” at https://www.amightygirl.com/books/fiction/fairy-tales-folktales

If you’re looking for princess stories that break the ‘damsel in distress’ mold, A Mighty Girl’s “Ultimate Guide to the Independent Princess” collection features 100 books starring princesses who are smart, daring, and aren’t waiting around to be rescued at https://www.amightygirl.com/mighty-girl-picks/independent-princess

I’ll share these purchases soon with no guilt. Helping both the economy and the sisterhood.

This Week In Books

Firstly, my fave : A beautiful friend from the other side of the country sent me through the post a May Gibbs Gumnut Babies cardboard book, Goodnight Gumnuts to share with Harrison Miles ( born on October 7th) when he visits his Meemaw. You are one of the world’s sweethearts, Tenielle.

Peter Corris, Australian crime writer’s Lugarno. My home town and birth place of both daughters. Ok, not one of Corris’ best efforts and just 103 pages in length. Only one decent description of the suburb I felt with “ it was elevated and leafy, without any through traffic. Nice place if you had a good car and a swimming pool and didn’t mind being that far from the CBD. It looked like everyone living there would be much the same – comfortable and conservative -but I knew that wasn’t true ; there’d be secret drinkers and crossdressers and One Nation voters”.      

Cecila Ahern’s sequel to PS I Love You. Hated the original – loved the movie. Gerard Butler, Harry Connick Jnr and Jeffrey Dean Morgan – what’s not to love? Enjoyed this novel about adjusting to loss but not sure if it was because of the author’s story telling ability or more that my thoughts kept returning to the previously mentioned boyos. Probably the latter……

Had wanted to read Where The Crawdads Sing for months if only to learn more about crawdads. Imagined them to be like a yabbie. Bzzzzzzz. Wrong. I enjoyed this novel  though the American colloquialisms, especially about food, had me baffled. A good read.

Another good week for the Little Community Library with one of the local mummas painting and hiding rocks around the park for the Little People.

And great news! Further easing of COVID restrictions mean that Author Talks at my local library are recommencing. These are fantastic opportunities to learn what motivates writers and what makes them tick. Haven’t been disappointed yet.

Yee Haa!

Welcome To Spring

These cheerful Wattle Babies are the most good-natured of all of May Gibbs’  Bush Babies. Their bright yellow clothes brighten the bush on a Winter’s day. In Spring they love to go boating and swimming with their frog friends and have fun playing hide and seek with the baby birds. 

May Gibbs (1877-1969), author and illustrator, has captured the hearts and imaginations of generations of Australians with her lovable bush characters and fairytale landscapes. She is best known for The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

September 1st is Wattle Day in Australia.

I love everything about the Wattleit’s simply sensational.

My Wattle Sapling in flower for the first time

A Positive Beginning To The New Week

Firstly, a new children’s book: Tippy and Jellybean by Sophie Cunningham.

Based on the true story of Tippy the koala, and her baby, Jellybean, which was one of the tales that broke hearts all around Australia during our devastating bushfires last summer.

Tippy was found by rescuers in the Snowy River National Park just after the fires raged through the area with a burnt back and paws. She was crouched over her joey, Jellybean, who was unscathed.

Sadly, many of our koalas were lost when they made the mistake of scrambling for the top tree branches when fires went through, offering them absolutely no protection whatsoever.

Tippy and Jellybean have since recovered and have been released back to an area with eucalyptus trees.

Proceeds from this book will raise money for the Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund.

Meet the real Tippy and Jellybean

And another Iso-Project successfully completed.

Two Things : Magabala Books and the Little Library.

It was recently announced that Magabala Books won the Australian Book Industry Small Publisher of the Year Award.

Based in Broome, Western Australia, Magabala publish Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors, artists and illustrators from all over Australia. An independent, not-for-profit Indigenous Corporation, Magabala is governed by a dedicated Board of Kimberley Aboriginal cultural leaders, educators, business professionals and creative practitioners.

Magabala publishes up to 15 new titles annually across a range of genres: children’s picture books, memoir, fiction (junior, YA and adult), non-fiction, graphic novels, social history and poetry.

What I found interesting was that Magabala also delivers a range of social and cultural initiatives, including providing books to parents in correctional centres so that they can record the stories for their children whilst in isolation. What a wonderful concept!


Restrictions were eased last weekend allowing parks and playground equipment to reopen. This called for a dose of disinfectant to the Little Community Library located in our local parkland which has been much utilised over the past months with our Council Libraries closed and only re-opening last week (for ten people at a time).

Many thanks to the Rotary Club of Capalaba who came to the rescue with much needed children’s books to restock our Library in the park. Little People aren’t fond of ebooks or kindles……as it should be…..

Wombats


Wombats are short legged, muscular marsupials that look like little bears. Marsupials native to Australia they live in burrows. They spend daylight hours underground in their burrows and emerge in the night to forage for grasses, herbs, seeds, roots and bark. They have a very slow metabolism and it takes about 14 days to complete digestion. This aids wombats’ survival in arid landscapes. Interestingly – well, to me – wombat droppings are square in shape. How that works is beyond me but fascinating……( Keep that one in mind for your next trivia night!)

Wombats have been well represented over the years in Australian Children’s Literature, with the most popular including:

The Muddleheaded Wombat   –  Ruth Park

Wombat Stew  –  Marcia K Vaughan

One Woolly Wombat   –  Kerrie Argent

Diary Of A Wombat  –  Jackie French

Sebastian Lives In A Hat  – Thelma Catterwell

Wombat Goes Walkabout  – Michael Morpurgo

Did you know that we even have an annual Wombat Day ? The official day in set in Australia for October 22, but since the first celebration of the day in 2005, the rest of the world has seen fit to jump on board. As such, October 23 is World Wombat Day.  Add that to your diary now!

In Australia to be called a wombat is almost a term of endearment. A wombat often refers to an overweight, lazy, or slow idiot. He’s probably your best friend and eating Doritos on the couch right now. Or more bluntly, a Waste Of Money, Brains And Time.

Why are we even talking about Wombats today? Because I’m adding a Wombat experience to my Bucket List.

The Wombat Awareness Organisation in South Australia is the only free range, cage free wombat sanctuary in the World. It is also the only place where you can see two out of the three species of wombats living harmoniously together.

I’ve just scrubbed Disney’s Magic Kingdom off the list. I want to sit on a sofa with a wombat instead. See http://www.wombatawareness.com.

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt

Families in my neighbourhood are joining the global bear hunt movement, making walks around the streets lots of fun during this wretched disruption to life as we know it.

This has people putting teddy bears and other soft toys in windows, trees and on balconies, encouraging Little People to get outdoors for a walk with their parents while hunting for bears. This is particularly important, both mentally and physically, with our parks and reserves currently deemed out of bounds.

It is lovely to see the joy on the kiddies’ faces as they drive by when they have spied a bear.

The hunt is inspired by the children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, in which the characters sing: 

We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one — what a beautiful day, we’re not scared.’’

The initiative has been widely shared on community Facebook pages. As I understand it, bears are about to be swapped for Bunnies for Easter. I’m going to have to look up Paper Mache instructions on youtube.

I’m having great fun bear spotting on my rare outings to the shops, and moving Suzanne and Jasmine around my house. What about you?


Update:

Emotional health and wellbeing holding steady though I’m getting ready to kill for a decent coffee. And if I hear #BoomerRemover one more time it wont be freakin’ pretty……Funny Not Funny.

Lockdown and Millennials

A lovely article in the weekend newspaper  by journalist Lucy Carne. A millennial, she says she’s done all the right things and has stocked up on both toilet paper and flour. Except she doesn’t know what to do with flour as she’s only ever cooked pancakes out of those plastic shaker bottles. She’s also quite concerned about starving once UberEats stops delivering. 

I laughed until I nearly wet myself.

I came home after a few days away and needed to clean the fridge out of leftovers and scraps before shopping for the coming week.

Weary, stressed and with a head full of exciting stuff (which I will share soon) dinner was done in thirty minutes.  It would have been twenty but I opened a bottle of wine first.

From this:

Slimey salad leftovers
Secret ingredient. No-one knows what it is as it’s all in Chinese. It was a gift.
Wonton Soup.

No need for concern this end. I’ve just done an inventory of the bar fridge and we’re okay for three months.

May Gibbs did this for the Spanish Flu in 1918

Museums Aren’t Dead

The Redland Museum is my local history museum and is situated in the suburb of Cleveland, Brisbane. It specialises in preserving the Redland’s social history from 1842 to the present day.

Each year the Museum hosts the local community theatre group who perform an Australian-themed play over a period that includes January 26th – Australia Day. The event is a fundraiser for both the theatre group and the museum and is an example of community working together at its best with meals being prepared, cooked and served by both volunteer museum staff and the performers.

With the rain we were prevented from eating alfresco under the towering eucalypts, and instead dined amongst the Cobb and Co Carriages and fencing wire display. As always it was a hugely entertaining night.

The Museum takes pride in regularly changing its exhibits.

Room For Reading explores its large collection of children’s Annuals and favourite books such as Charles Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ together with nostalgic Christmas cards and postcards sent from France by soldiers in the First World War.

Extended to February29th.

Publishers of magazines and periodicals introduced ‘Annuals’ during the first decades of the 19th Century. By the late 1800s, the genre of children’s annuals developed rapidly. Publishers competed for their share of this emerging, and increasingly literate, reading audience. The ‘Boy’s Own Annual’ and the ‘Girl’s Own Annual’ engrossed young readers with adventure stories for boys and educational articles for girls. I always opted for the Boy’s Own myself.


Who would buy a bag from Harrod’s when this was on offer at Notting Hill?

Other books on display include Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and W.E. Johns pilot and adventurer ‘Biggles’ as well as  children’s books by Australian authors such as ‘Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’, ‘The Magic Pudding’ and ‘Blinky Bill’. I will forever remain enamoured by the Gumnut babies….

It’s a small exhibition but it brought back many memories.

NOTE: I was talking to an English lass today who was unfamiliar with May Gibbs and her gumnut babies. So, for cultural exchange purposes a photo of gumnuts, which were the idea behind Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. Beautiful, aren’t they?

Maryborough and a Touch of Whimsey : Part 1

Maryborough is 300kms north of Brisbane, inland on the Mary River, and positioned between those tourist mecca’s, Hervey Bay and the Sunshine Coast. Founded in 1847, proclaimed a municipality in 1861, it became a city in 1905. During the second half of the 19th-century, the city was an entry point for immigrants arriving in Queensland from all parts of the world.

Maryborough’s income comes from numerous farming and station prospects in and around the city and it’s healthy fishing industry. Tourism also plays a significant part in the economy and sells itself as the Heritage City of Queensland  holding heritage markets each Thursday. Many 19th and 20th century buildings have been preserved and the suburbs are littered with the quintessential old Queenslander homes, ( which a Danish friend described as a “wooden s***box on stilts”) and which are worth a small fortune.

However, Maryborough’s real claim to fame is as the birth place of whom? Here’s a clue……

And another, in case that one was a little obtuse….

Yep, P L Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books lived in Maryborough before moving elsewhere at age eight. Her father managed a bank, in the building where, in a room on the second storey, she was born. This is in the centre of town and still in use, no longer as a bank but as a retail shop. A life-size bronze statue of Mary Poppins, as P.L. Travers described her, complete with umbrella was erected outside the old bank premises at 331 Kent Street, on the corner of Richmond Street, in 2005. 

It is now one of Maryborough’s most famous and photographed icons.

From dusk till 9pm every night there is an illuminated mural that is simply enchanting. ( I was between tea and a show so without camera – Damn!) Here’s another mural – the joint is jumping with them!

But there’s more – we Aussies are adept at flogging a dead horse, you see.

Every winter school holidays for the past ten years Maryborough has held a Mary Poppins Festival. The Festival offers something for all the family. The ‘Art of Storytelling’ program includes film, art, music, performance and literature during the 10-day event. Events are held in various locations across the CBD as well as heritage-listed Queens Park.

Maryborough, thank you for your hospitality. It was a lovely visit.

I do so love our country towns and learn something new at each and every one.LIFE LESSON : Get away from the cricket on the telly and help our farmers and country cousins by spending a few bob in their towns. You’ll be blown away by some of the stories these townships can share.