Paws and Read these! Review of Mr Walker and the Dessert Delight and Mr Walker Gets the Inside Scoop by Jess Black, illustrated by Sara Acton

First there was Mr Walker, introducing us to the very astute Labrador who makes his home at the very grand Park Hyatt, and now little readers have been treated to two new stories: Mr Walker Gets the Inside Scoop and Mr Walker and the Dessert Delight.

Inspired by the real-life Mr Walker, a Guide Dog Ambassador who lives at Park Hyatt in Melbourne, Mr Walker has many adventures and sometimes finds himself in a spot of bother! You can take a look at the real Mr Walker on his Instagram page (of course!) here.

Animal lover and author Jess Black has previously written a number of books on animals and also co-authored the highly successful Bindi Wildlife Adventure series, so she is well versed in the world of furry friends.

She first came across the real Mr Walker when working on the RSPCA Animal Tales series and her publisher told her the wonderful story of a Guide Dog Ambassador who had taken up residence in a luxury hotel. She was not only taken with the story, but chose to share it with lots of little readers. The first book was very well-loved, and also helped raise much needed funds for Guide Dogs Victoria.

Now Mr Walker is back in two new stories Mr Walker Gets the Inside Scoop and Mr Walker and the Dessert Delight.

Mr Walker and the Dessert Delight

Mr Walker and the staff at the Park Hyatt are preparing for the arrival of celebrity chef Grethe Schmidt who is visiting to promote her new cook book and to help with the 20thanniversary celebrations of the hotel.

However not everyone is thrilled that she’s coming – Remy the head chef is concerned that she will disrupt his kitchen and add to the pressure of an already stressful day.

Mr Walker is a keen observer of all goings on and is busy familiarising himself with Grethe’s cooking show before she arrives. He’s not allowed in the kitchen or restaurant, but he does love food more than most…

Will Grethe and Remy be able to get past their differences and work smoothly together in the kitchen to make the anniversary celebration a success? It’s going to take all the staff coming together to make it happen.

Mr Walker and the Inside Scoop

The Reeves Family have just left to take a well-earned holiday when there is news that a reviewer from the weekend newspaper will be visiting the Park Hyatt. Everything is certainly up to standard but the problem is they don’t know what the reviewer looks like. Will the staff be able to find out who the reviewer is and win them over or will they miss the perfect opportunity to tell the world about their wonderful hotel? You can be sure of one thing; Mr Walker will be right in the thick of it and will make sure he puts his best paw forward.

Both books have been printed in hard cover and are filled with very sweet illustrations so will make the perfect gift for a cheeky 5+ reader with a love of dogs and adventure. And fans will be excited to hear that there are a further two coming later this year.

Purchase a copy of Mr Walker and the Dessert Delight and Mr Walker Gets the Inside Scoop by Jess Black, illustrated by Sara Acton

Review by Rhyllis Bignell

Jess Black's Eve and the rebel fairies is a magical adventure written for young readers just starting junior novels. Friends Eve and Oscar have uncovered the special secret power of crystals and in each story, they travel into a different and dangerous world to help save the community.
Eve and Oscar are enjoying their school holidays, playing with Ingvar Eve's dragon and sleeping over at Eve's grandma's house. The discovery of a tiny pink fairy-sized door leads them into a new adventure. With a miniature fairy crystal in her hand, Eve with Oscar and Ingvar holding on, they shrink down to fairy size and enter a new kingdom. Summoned by Orla the Golden Queen of the Fairies, Eve and her friends are needed to stop two rebel fairies. They have stolen pixie dust from the Tree of life and are using it to upset the balance of nature. Creating a hot pink river that poisoned the fish, causing rockfalls and floods, they are troublemakers.
Lilith and Azura wreak havoc in the human world too turning sharks vegetarian, melting a glacier and turning a flock of sheep green! Eve must use her special skills to cross the troll bridge and stop the rebel fairies.
Jess Black's environmental messages are woven throughout her series, making the young reader thinks about the consequences of climate change and upsetting the natural balance. Her fairy fantasy world and the characters are beautifully described. Celeste Homes' sketches are delightful chapter headings.
Eve and the rebel fairies is a charming novel for young chapter book readers.

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

I fell in love with Mr Walker when he came to a booksellers’ function. He had the insouciant manner of a well bred dog; he was a golden boy.

Trained as a guide dog for the visually impaired, he is now a canine ambassador at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne. He is also the star of his own book about his adventures and mishaps, and it is as endearing and pleasing as Mr Walker himself. As the machinations of a hotel are revealed through the eyes, ears and, particularly, the nose of this charmingly affable dog, we meet a host of guests and staff. We enjoy his triumphs and good-natured perspectives as he sniffs out a delicious pastry or greets a world-renowned musician with a wag of his tail.

Jess Black understands dogs and as you read you feel you could reach down and pat Mr Walker.

I have had huge pleasure in selling the equally charming Plumdog and this summer I am going to have as much fun with The Tales of Mr Walker. For ages 6+.

Books and Publishing – review by Phil Lesnie

The Tales of Mr Walker (Jess Black, illus by Sara Acton, Puffin) 4 October 2018 

Mr Walker is a golden Labrador who has been hired as the Melbourne Park Hyatt’s canine ambassador. Based on his real-life counterpart, this middle-grade chapter book comprises four beguiling vignettes detailing Mr Walker’s life at the hotel, the guests he befriends and the adventures he embarks upon. 

Readers who have a soft spot for animal narrators are in for a treat. Mr Walker is surprisingly emotionally intuitive: always eager to help, while also highly aware of the canine impulses he’s unable to control. He’s also a constant delight, as are Sara Acton’s lively illustrations. 

Although the ensemble cast of hotel guests are varied and vividly drawn, there’s no getting around their uniform affluence. In one story, for example, Mr Walker meets a mysterious man in ratty jeans who encounters discrimination, but—plot twist!—he turns out to be richest of them all. Readers who found the overwhelming privilege of the Alice-Miranda series hard to swallow might be rubbed the wrong way by these stories. 

But for all others, there is much to admire: The Tales of Mr Walker is imbued with the same matter-of-fact kindness as the best Dick King-Smith novels and is irresistible for many of the same reasons. A frictionless charm offensive that should delight readers aged 8-10.

Cover_Keeper of the Crystals_1.jpg

Keeper of the Crystals 6: Eve and the Hidden Giant

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

Eve, her friend Oliver, and her dragon Ingvar are on a bushwalk. She’s glad it’s school holidays because sometimes it’s tiring to be a Keeper of the Crystals as well as a normal 10-year-old school girl. Even so, when a mythical creature needs her, calls her, she’s more than happy to help. This time, the trio are whisked (blown) away to an island where giants live. The giant who has called Eve and her friends needs her help to bring stability back to the island where ‘creator’ and ‘rogue’ giants are fighting one another.

Eve and the Hidden Giant is the sixth in this fantastical series from New Frontier Publishing. This instalment features earthquakes and tsunamis, and warring adult giants. It’s up to the younger set, both giant and human (and with the help of a dragon) to smooth over old wounds, and forge a new peace. Trotag, a shy young giant, wants to move beyond long-held animosities and show that with some goodwill, all giants can again live in harmony. The real world bookends the fantasy, making these stories suitable for gentle souls. Recommended for newly independent readers ready for non-illustrated texts.

Reviewed by Sharon Smith

Eve and the Hidden Giant is part six in the Keeper of the Crystals series by Jess Black, and it is just as wonderful as its predecessors.

In this new fantasy, while hiking to the top of Stingback Mountain, Oscar, Eve and Ingvar the dragon discover a new crystal and are blown through the air to the land of the giants to help heal the rift between the creators and the rogues.

A superb book with an eye-catching, sparkly cover and illustrations by Celeste Hulme. At only 68 pages and with helpful formatting, this book makes it easy for readers of all skills to enjoy. An adventure that can be enjoyed by itself or at any time in the series, as the author is a master at succinctly explaining past events.

Eve is our strong female protagonist who shows us that talking through an issue can help solve a problem… shame that it took 100 years for the giants to sit down and talk!

Jess Black weaves a story where each character, environment and emotion make the reader feel immersed in the story. Giggle as you imagine Eve and Oscar riding in a giant’s armpit, feel the exhilaration as they fly through the clouds with Ingvar, and shiver with fear for the giant, Trotag, as he faces the waves of the tsunami with a surfboard quickly made from a tree trunk.

I loved this story! With engaging characters and mythical creatures, Jess Black has written a fantasy series about problem solving from which we can all learn. I recommend this for readers 7 years – 100 years.

On the dedicated website you will find the series book list, author’s biography, puzzles and teachers’ notes.


Goldie Makes the Grade

Reviewed by Elizabeth Vercoe – Buzzwords Magazine
Goldie Makes the Grade is one in a series of four short chapter books about the puppies that train to become Guide Dogs and the families who look after them. If I were back in primary school now, I know I would have devoured every one of these! For reviewing purposes I have read just this title in the series.
Author Jess Black has penned all four books, and hopefully illustrator Gabriel Evans has also worked on each. The simple, black and white pencil sketches dotted throughout this story are wonderfully evocative and well-placed to support the narrative. The delightful storyline is engaging and very readable.
Goldie is a fourteen-month old Labrador who is due to leave eight-year-old Abby Agresta and her family soon, to begin her final Guide Dog training.
However, young Abby faces the urgent dilemma of clearing Goldie’s ‘name’ in order to ensure that she will be accepted as a service dog. An unfortunate incident in the Agresta household involving cupcakes, has cast some doubt on Goldie’s ability to control her Labrador eating instincts!
This short chapter book punches well above its weight in terms of providing thoughtful ideas for both individual pondering and further classroom discussion. Without being at all ‘preachy,’ it opens up issues of gender and cultural stereotypes, friendships, loyalty, standing up for what you believe in, self-empowerment and doing the right thing, and, of course, information about looking after a guide dog puppy.
I really enjoyed the fact that although child and dog share a very close bond (Goldie even sleeps on Abby’s bed), the story doesn’t delve into the sadness that the two will feel at the time of separation. It rather focuses on the gifts that will be brought to both Goldie and her future vision-impaired owner.
A section with interesting facts and further information is included at the end of the story. An added bonus is that ‘Buying this book helps me become a Guide Dog!” as claimed by the gorgeous golden Labrador on the front cover.
Both girls and boys of primary school age will enjoy, and be informed by, this book.

Welcome Home, Harley


Learn more about Guide Dogs in the Little Paws series. Local author Jess Black has written a new series of books about puppies that train to become Guide Dogs and the families that help raise them.

In the book Welcome Home, Harley, Lexie Walker and her brother Tom “adopt”, an eight-week old puppy Harley. The sibling are newly appointed Puppy Raisers, carers who look after Guide Dog puppies before they are ready to start their training at the age of 14 months.

They’re excited about having a new puppy but not as excited at the chaos that Harley brings. Prone to causing trouble, Harley hides under the bed, wees on the floor, annoys the cat next door and chews on everything from Tom’s Star Wars figures to Dad’s briefcase. It takes a Walker family meeting to learn how to handle a puppy like Harley.

This heart-warming and entertaining book is a must-read for animal loving kids. (It’s suitable for Early Readers or to read to younger kid). Be warned though, it will prompt your kids to ask if they can become a Puppy Raiser as well.

There’s also three more books available in the Little Paws series: Meg’s Big Mystery, Ringo’s Road Trip and Goldie Makes the Grade. All royalties from the sale of the books go to Guide Dogs Australia.

Little Paws

Reviewed by Jane O’Connell

Each book in the delightful Little Paws series tells the story of a puppy training to be a Guide Dog, and the families who take them into their homes to help teach the nuances of human behaviour. With large type and short chapters, plus a range of cute puppy graphics and adorable illustrations, the stories are perfect for read-alone early readers, or can be read by adults to younger children.

In the first book of the series, Welcome Home, Harley, Lexie Walker sees an ad in the local paper calling for Puppy Raisers for Guide Dogs Australia. Before she knows it, the family has a new member – eight-week-old golden Labrador, Harley. The story is rich in information about puppy training and the benefits Guide Dogs bring to the community. The Walkers soon learn they need to make some adjustments to their own busy lives to make sure Harley is properly cared for. Harley’s passion for chewing leads to mess and destruction, and the family wonders if they’ve taken on more than they can handle.

In Meg’s Big Mystery, the second book in the Little Paws series, training of four-month-old Meg is going well until she becomes sick, and must stay in the veterinary hospital until her illness is diagnosed. Meg’s young trainer, Lachie, decides to apply his school research assignment to the task of solving the mystery. With the help of his best mate, Lachie puts his best detective skills to the test, backtracking Meg’s weekend activities. If the professionals are stumped, what are the chances Lachie will be able to figure it out?

In Book 3, Ringo’s Road Trip, black Labrador pup Ringo joins April, Archie and their parents as the family embarks on a road trip for a beach holiday. The journey brings several new experiences for Ringo as he learns how to behave in the car, and how to adapt to unfamiliar environments. When Ringo and the children come face to face with a dangerous snake, the puppy shows he has what it takes to protect the humans in his care. But it all proves too much for Ringo and he runs away. Despite a wide search, the family is unable to find him before night fall. Can Ringo put his puppy training to the ultimate test, and find his way back home?

The Kaboom Kid - Home & Away

Reviewed by CKT

They say it’s harder to interest boys in reading that it is girls. Well, dare I say, this book (this series)—in the hands of certain young lads might prove that theory wrong. Particularly if they’re cricket fans.

I’m definitely no such fan but even so, picked up familiar names and references to the game throughout the book (HOWZAT!). Everything about this story is typically cricket and the banter between friends is great fun. This is an enjoyable read for all those who love cricket—and even for those of us who just break for tea!

The Kaboom Kid is a six book series by cricketer, David Warner, about his boyhood adventures with his friends—who, like him, live to play cricket. Not forgetting, Max, his trusty side-kick.

Home & Away, the sixth book in the series is about an away game trip. Things go from bad to worse. At the last minute, the favourite teacher is unable to accompany the team on the trip and is replaced by the least favourite teacher. The bus breaks down, the accommodation falls through, there’s an injury and many other predicaments along the way.

Davey’s team, the Sandhill Sluggers, their ‘responsible adult’, the bully and boohoo-er, the cheer-leaders and the dog need to pull together to not only turn things around, but to get them on a basic track! It doesn’t appear they can. This team need to realise – It’s just not cricket – it’s about working as a team, supporting each other and doing the best you can – and sometimes, a little bit more. The overall message of this story is about what makes a winning team, regardless of whether the actual game is won or not.

This comes across as straight-forward as any message from the coach would.

Moon Dance

Review by Romi Sharp

Here’s another book to move you… Moon Dance is an unbelievably charismatic story to get you physically jiving at all times of the day or night. Rather than reaching out to space, in this lyrical fun-fest the moon comes to you. A group of Australian native animals gather together in Eucalypt Gully for a dance under the dazzling, full moon. Gorgeously hysterical terms and rhyming phrases add to the frivolity of the action.
“Wombat starts a conga, He wiggles his caboose!” We’ve got drunken blue-tongue lizards, clapping paws, cicadas on the timbals, a slow-dancing possum with a goanna, and a spry, moonwalking bilby.
Moon Dance celebrates the joys of togetherness and the wonderful benefits of music and dance. The illustrations are whimsical and lively, bursting with exquisite texture, detail and a glorious Australiana feel. This book will light up the night for children from age three.

Eve and the Last Dragon

Reviewed by CKT

This book is about a girl named Eve and her best friend, Oscar. Eve loves to visit her grandma on the weekend because after their train ride there is always an adventure waiting. This time, Eve discovers that she is a dragon keeper. She ends up on a fantastic adventure to save the last dragon from the mysterious dragon slayer.
I really enjoyed this book but found it a little slow in the beginning. I was glad I kept reading because once the adventure started, it was really good. I enjoyed the twists at the end and was quite surprised when I found out who the dragon slayer actually was.

I think kids around the ages of 9-12 would enjoy this book, especially if they like dragons. I give it four stars.

Reviews for Keeper of the Crystals:

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

Eve and the Fiery Phoenix is a second title in a new series from New Frontier, with a third due for release late in 2015. The two main characters have quite different interests but it is in working together that they achieve success in their adventures. Eve’s story begins in the contemporary world, but they are transported to a more magical place with the help of a crystal. Their quest is important for the world they visit but imperative for them to return to their own world. Eve is a proactive hero and Oscar an able sidekick. Recommended for newly-confident readers ready for a short novel.

Kids Book Review

I was lucky enough to attend the launch for Book 1 in Jess Black's new adventure series, Keeper of the Crystals. So it was with an added sense of expectation that I sat down to read the first two titles. Written for children aged 7 and up, the stories focus on Eve and Oscar, two kids who are thrown together as playmates by virtue of being pretty much the only children in the town where Eve's grandmother lives.

In Book 1, Eve and the Runaway Unicorn, we get to know Eve and Oscar. They're your average kids: if you tell them absolutely, definitely not to do something, there's a strong chance they'll do it anyway!

So, even though Gran's attic is completely off-limits, somehow Eve and Oscar find themselves up there exploring. And when Eve finds a small crystal figurine of a unicorn, that's when the adventures start. The crystal magically transports them to the land of Panthor, where unicorns are now enslaved, the land has turned to desert and the people have been forced to become nomads — all at the hands of a cruel and evil king.

But Eve seems to have a connection with the unicorns, a power that might help to undo the king's actions and restore Panthor to the lush and peaceful land it was before.

In Book 2, Eve and the Fiery Phoenix, Eve and Oscar are once again exploring where they shouldn't when Eve finds a small crystal figurine of a phoenix. This time they're transported to the jungle of Griffid where tigers rule and where, without the song of the phoenix, the sun won't rise and the inhabitants of Griffid will slowly freeze. Can Oscar and Eve find the captured phoenix and help it to sing once more?

These are books with a strong environmental theme. Although set in worlds far removed from our own, the message that we — animal and human — are all interconnected comes across clearly. One ill-considered act can cause long-lasting consequences (fertile landscapes can become deserts; ecosystems can be destroyed), but if we pull together we can work to reverse the damage.

The books aren't preachy, though. The underlying lessons are lightly handled, well wrapped up in magic and adventure. And while little girls will love the resourceful Eve, there's enough action and danger to keep boys hooked as well.

Book 3 in the series, Eve and the Mermaid's Tears, will be published in October 2015.

Buzz Words Magazine

Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Eve and Oscar have become friends and constant companions, after sharing the experience in the desert of Panthor after Eve had summoned the power of the unicorn.

In the second book of the Keeper of the Crystals series Eve finds a tiny crystal phoenix in an Odditorium which once again, leaves an imprint on her palm.A powered illuminated light appears just before a torrent of water sweeps Eve and Oscar away.

Everything is dark around them. Eve, who loses sight of Oscar, allows herself to be helplessly taken along by the water. Suddenly, she connects with something solid and clings to it.

The force of the water sends her down a river surrounded by jungle on either side. A log with Oscar clinging to it brings them together, and they manage to haul themselves to the bank by grabbing onto overhanging branches.

A tiger confronts them, with the boy Slate close by. The children must find his people’s sacred fire spirit. Its song is what brings the sun up to warm the land of Griffid, the tiger jungle. Eve knows that her magic power has brought her to this place where tigers and people live in harmony together for that purpose.

But where is the phoenix? Eve and Oscar’s quest is to bring the magical bird back to them as soon as possible. It is losing its feathers and each feather dropped starts a fire that destroys more of the landscape.

Can the children negotiate the maze of caves at Merden by following the imprint on Eve’s hand? Will the bird, like its legend, rise from the ashes reborn, to bring the sun back to its people?

This fantasy adventure with magical powers at play is now moving at a faster pace. The question of what Gran has to do with the magic crystals was born in the reader’s mind at the end of the last book, and fed in this one. It has generated an interest that expands beyond the story and a longing to find out what secret Gran is hiding.

Eve and the Mermaid’s Tears is due in October. Full of mystery and adventure, this exciting series is proving to be an addictive read. It is highly suited to the 7+ age groups. It carries subtle environmental themes, addressing the importance of nature and its survival through people, plants and animals living together harmoniously.

Creative Kids Tales

The book is about two best friends Eva and Oscar, who are whisked away to a magical land where tigers rule. The jungle is dying because the sun sleeps and won’t wake up until the Phoenix sing it’s song. Will they find the Phoenix in time?

My favourite part is when the Phoenix speaks to Eve alone. I like this part because it makes you feel trustworthy and good inside.

The main characters are Eva and Oscar. They used to annoy each other but since their last adventure they were best friends.

This tale is a fantastic trilogy for 8-10-year-olds.

The book had a great way of showing the time passing. I rate this trilogy 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Leith B
CKT Book Reviewer

Reviews for The Kaboom Kid:

Creative Kids Tales

The Kaboom Kid: Hit For Six by David Warner with JS Black 

Davey Warner is a cricket-mad 11 year old who loves playing cricket and wants to play it every second he can. In this book, which is one of a series, he bets that he can hit six Sixes in a game but gets worried when he gets banned from cricket because his dog ripped up the green at lawn bowls.

I thought this was a really good book and the characters were well-developed. I expected it to be much simpler, but I was surprised by how well-written it was and how much I liked it. It's not something I would normally pick up because I don't usually read sports books, but I'm glad I did. I particularly liked the feel of the story - it moved pretty fast.

I would say that it helps to know a bit about cricket to understand what's happening, but I think people who like sport would love this book. I think it is suitable for ages 8+ and my little brother will really like it.

Kid's Book Review

Review: Playing Up (The Kaboom Kid #2)

While Davey is practising with older brother Steve, he is forced to listen to advice on how to improve his game. One thing Steve’s adamant about is that Davey should learn to bowl as well as bat. It’s his obsession with his bat Kaboom that leads Davey to play up in class. Mr Mudge gleefully confiscates it indefinitely.

Davey decides to practise his bowling as Steve suggested until he finds of a way to get Kaboom back. A regional selector is going to watch the boys play. He needs Kaboom back in order to avoid a disaster.

Steve’s team is one man down. Can Davey rise to the occasion, even without Kaboom? He’ll be playing against Mr Perfect, captain of his rival team. With the selector watching, can Davey help the team win by hitting a much needed six?

I’m enjoying this terrific series. Although with a cricket theme, the stories have great messages built into them. They encourage children to believe in their capabilities and challenge themselves in new areas while emphasising the importance of team work. The at times mischievous characters inspire self-confidence. They lead by example, overcome setbacks, and work towards a strong mind as well as a strong body while enjoying themselves.


The Bookshelf Gargoyle

Davey reads like a modern day Ginger Meggs, and the multicultural friendships and the feeling of the cricket lovers being “misunderstood” reminded me very much of that other Australian award-winning, cricket-based children’s novel, NIPS XI by Ruth Starke.  There’s a lot in the books that kids will enjoy – the boys get up to all kinds of hijinks and Davey’s stinky dog Max provides a plenty of comic relief.  I was a bit put off (having sat on the shelf of a few teachers in my time) by the casual blackmail applied by Davey’s team mates to his teacher Mr Mudge, in order to get back a bat that had been confiscated as a punishment for Davey breaking the rules in class.  Not quite sure what Warner is suggesting here, but one would have hoped that fair play in life is just as important as fair play on the cricket pitch.  I suspect kids won’t be beating themselves up over the ethics of that one, though.

The chapters and paragraphs are short and well-spaced and there are illustrations throughout, so the books are visually quite appealing, and not too overwhelming for younger or struggling readers.  The Aussie flavour and slang of the books will resonate nicely with those looking for a read from down our way and I found that you don’t have to know too much about cricket to be able to follow the action in the games.  (*Pointed aside* In fact, the whole first book is based around a trick shot from Davey that I thought was against the rules of cricket.  I have since discussed this with others who are more knowledgeable about the sport than I, and they agreed.  But unless David Warner contributed nothing to this book but his name on the cover, one would assume that  they would have got the rules of the game right and therefore we are all wrong. Input on this would be welcome from others who’ve read the book).

If you’ve got a cricket-mad (or just generally sports-mad) young person around your dwelling who is wandering around bleating about being bored this holidays, I can heartily recommend these first two of the Kaboom Kid series.  They’re quick reads that won’t cause any headaches from requiring too much, and will return plenty of enjoyment.

And they’re completely sun-safe. (Provided you read them in the shade. Or while wearing a broad-brimmed hat).

And they’d fit nicely in a Christmas stocking.

Just sayin’

I received a copy of these books (without even having to ask! They must have assumed that with a name like Bruce it would be unAustralian for me not to enjoy cricket) from Simon and Schuster Australia in return for an honest review.

Until next time,




The RSPCA Animal Tales Series

Canberra Times
The purrfect read for young animal lovers, this brand new adventure series is based around a young girl, Cassie, and her friend, Ben, who are on a mission to help vulnerable animals of any description.
These short chapter books will be popular with children who are already fond of their pets, but are also useful for teaching younger children to show animals respect and compassion. Proceeds go towards supporting the RSPCA in their efforts to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home neglected or abused domestic animals in Australia.
A number of renowned Australian children’s authors contribute to this series, including Chris Kunz, Helen Kelly, Jess Black and David Harding.

Review: While the series demonstrates the services that are offered by the RSPCA, these books are excellent reading for the newly competent reader, combining fiction with information on the care and welfare of pets and farm animals. Their child characters are not heroes, but children with a lot of commonsense and kindness and a sense of humour.

Book Review By Rama Gaind PS News Books
All animal lovers, young and old, will enjoy this delightful adventure series— endorsed by the RSPCA—that’s aimed at helping all creatures great and small. Perfect for children aged 6-10 years, each book is a complete story featuring a new escapade with Cassie Bannerman, 9, her inseparable canine companion, Ripper, friend Ben Stoppard, the son of vet Dr Joe, and their English sheepdog, Florence.

Animal Tales #1-4 is a collection, published by Random House, which has been endorsed by the RSPCA.

The stories are fictional, but each tale includes factual tips from the RSPCA including how to take care of a new puppy, learning why cage-free eggs are better along with certain other pertinent animal fact files. In The Million Paws Puppy, the foursome participate in the welfare organisation’s annual fundraiser and rescue a runaway puppy; Ruby’s Misadventure sees them racing against time to find the cause of a cat’s serious illness; two well-behaved terriers turn mischievous when their elderly owner goes into hospital for an operation in Double Trouble; and a visit to an RSPCA farm results in a surprising discovery in An Unexpected Arrival. The RSPCA, who will receive royalties from every Animal Tales book sold, deserve to be supported since this community-based charity works tirelessly to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection.

http://www. readplus.com.au

Oct 22 2012 Review by Fran Knight

RSPCA Animal Tales series
Random House, 2012. Dog in danger by Jess Black. ISBN 1742753361 Night fright! by Jess Black. ISBN 1742753388 (Age: 8+) Warmly recommended. Animals. Adventure.

This new series of books that numbers eight, with two more due for release in December, 2012, will have instant appeal. All the stories are about 80 pages long and revolve around families and animals. Written under the auspices of the RSPCA, they have straight-forward plots, easily absorbed and recognised characters, and lots to learn about animal care and responsibility as the story is read.

Dog in danger has a family, Cassie, Ben and Dr Joe, going on a bushwalk and coming across another family whose dog, Snowy, has run off after a rabbit and become lost. Dr Joe works for the RSPCA and so is able to direct the group as to the best way to search. One is sent off to ask their neighbours and alert other people to join the search. Flyers are made and posted, and the weather checked for possible changes. Sure enough, the weather does change and as rain falls, the dog is found stuck on a ledge. In this short story we not only get an adventure story, engrossing and involving, but learn how best to search for a missing animal, how to go on a bushwalk and what the bush offers for walkers.

Similarly Night fright! has Cassie and Ben searching for the ghost that is making their neighbourhood jumpy. Noises in the night are spooking everyone until they find out the cause after Cassie and Ben decide to stay out all night in the hope of trapping the ghost.. Each story has a different take on owning animals and the readers will certainly learn a great deal about the responsibility of owning a pet from this easily assimilated series of books.


Reviews for Bindi Wildlife Adventure Series:


Young readers can jump into the shoes of Bindi Irwin in this fictional adventure series based upon her life. Trouble at the Zoo is the first book in a planned six-book series titled, Bindi Wildlife Adventures. In this installment, it is Bindi’s birthday, and she is celebrating at the Australia Zoo. With the Irwin family and visitors dressed as sea creatures, Bindi is excited to tell everyone that the proceeds from the day’s event will be used to help prevent whaling in Antarctica. Things soon turn tense when Bindi’s younger brother, Robert, spies a visitor stealing an eastern water dragon. With the help of a green-winged macaw and some quick thinking, Bindi saves the day.

In the second book of Bindi Wildlife Adventures, Rescue, Bindi and her friend Hannah are on a guided horse-riding trek in South Africa. Bindi is thrilled that she is going to get a chance to see many kinds of African creatures. Their adventure is quickly sidetracked when the girls discover the supposed breeding sanctuary for the endangered giant sable antelope is actually a game reserve where rich men hunt the game for sport. When the girls are caught spying, they find themselves in grave danger.

Rescue follows the same format as Trouble at the Zoo, with the first page an entry from Bindi’s diary that talks about her adventure in South Africa as a teaser, and the full story following. Overall, I enjoyed this story a bit more than the first. The writing style is similar, capturing the essence of Bindi within its pages, but this one is more polished. Bindi’s mom, Terri, and brother Robert, play roles in this book, just as they did in the first one, which gives fans a feeling of being in familiar territory. Though Bindi is the focus of the books, readers witness the interaction between Bindi, her mom and her brother, in addition to the relationships they have with friends. It’s definitely a nice touch. It also allows the conservation message to be relayed in a way that it doesn’t come across like a hammer hitting you over the head. The reader watches the family’s dedication to wildlife and wants to be a part of that mission. I feel this is very important because the books aim to discuss serious topics, but because of how they are written, they are able to deliver that message and still be light.

Both Trouble at the Zoo and Rescue have colourful, fun covers that young readers will find attractive. Each book includes Animal Fact Files containing information about the animals mentioned in the book. There is also a page with a link to a website where readers can sign up to be a Wildlife Warrior. Both books are available now at a variety of online retailers. Book 3, Bushfire, and Book 4, Camouflage, will be released in June.

I’m excited about the Bindi Wildlife Adventures series. It’s a great way to honor the legacy of Steve (The Crocodile Hunter) Irwin, and teach kids the importance of protecting the creatures that share our planet.

Book Review: The Bindi Wildlife Adventures Series

May 18, 2011

By What Mama Wants

Everyone loves The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, now we can enjoy the adventures of his 12 year old daughter, Bindi!

The Bindi Wildlife Adventures series, by Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late Steve Irwin, is launching this month with the first two books in the series – Trouble at the Zoo, and Rescue. At only 12 years old, Bindi Sue Irwin is already an international award-winning celebrity. She was just on Good Morning America and Regis & Kelly talking about her new book series – check her out on Good Morning America.

Bindi Wildlife Adventures ($4.99; Juvenile Fiction; chapter book; Ages 7-10) is a fast-paced series featuring The Jungle Girl herself. The stories are inspired and co-created by Bindi, and feature the characters of Bindi, Robert (her brother), Terri (her mom), and the Australia Zoo (where they live!). The stories are based on Bindi’s real-life adventures, and include animal fact files at the end. Bindi likes to say that kids will “accidentally learn something” after reading her books! She also believes that kids will come away with a better understanding of wildlife and what they can do to help conserve and protect the world’s endangered animals.

Born to wildlife conservationists Steve and Terri Irwin, she was just 3 years old when she made her television debut on The Crocodile Hunter. In 2007, Bindi launched her clothing line, Bindi Wear International, and her very own TV show, Bindi: The Jungle Girl, which won an Emmy in 2008 and was nominated again in 2009. She’s won two Nickelodeon awards, and just made her first full-length feature film debut in Free Willy 4 with Beau Bridges, which was released in March 2010. My eleven year old daughter loved reading these books! As an aspiring writer and animal lover herself, she really identified with Bindi, and couldn’t stop talking about the series for many, many days! She said the writing was very well done, and the books kept her captivated from beginning to end. She read both books on her bed one rainy afternoon, and couldn’t put them down!

Jail Break

Subject: Child Fiction : Independent Readers

The first book I read in the series was called “Jail Break”. Bindi and her family are in Tasmania, Australia , to raise awareness about DFTD (Devil Facial Tumour Disease) in the form of a special fundraising Concert!

While Bindi is all about raising awareness for the endangered species, her friends are more interested in boys, in particular “ Adam Starr” a young celebrity, who is also meant to be involved in the concert, but more for the money than for the love of The Tasmanian Devil!

Bindi finds herself frustrated , that people are more interested in Adam Starr (including himself) than they are about the cause but what can she do to show them all just who is more important!

Just as Bindi is ready to throw up her hands and give up, The devils escape from their enclosure, and it’s a race against the clock, to get them back, in time for their special appearance on the concert stage!!!

I found parts of this story quite endearing, and funny and wondering “how is Bindi gonna pull this off!”


Bears Beware

This Story is set in Alaska, otherwise known as the “Emerald Isle”, for its majestic green landscape of forests, rolling fields and sparkling crystal clear lakes and rivers.

Bindi is on holidays , staying with her friend Katrina and her family.

The girls are anxious about seeing the Great Kodiak Bears which inhabit the island! But when they set out on their hike in the snowy landscape to find their beloved bears, they come across something that chills Bindi even more than the blustery cold winds around her – HUNTERS!!!!

In an effort to stop the hunters from killing the bears, Bindi and Katrina devise a plan, which sees them land in perilous danger!

While Bindi tries to save the bears – she winds up needing some saving of her own!


A Year in the Life of Bindi

A year in the life of Australia’s favourite wildlife warrior.

Reviewed by Angela Hall

Is there a Bindi fan in your house? There is in mine. Could you imagine what it would be like to be the Jungle Girl herself? It is a bit beyond the comprehension of most of us but a girl can dream can’t she! To help you with your imaginings Random House has published A Year in the Life of Bindi.

This is a month by month of 2010 in Bindi’s steps. Discover where she has been, what she has learned, her adventures, thoughts and facts. Full of vibrant pictures and interesting stories and fun this book is a must for the masses of Bindi fans out there.

As a parent I think Bindi is a great role model who teaches conservation and respect for the environment and all animals great and small. You have to love a girl who loves lizards and bugs. Talk about breaking the mold! Educational and inspiring. Yay for Bindi! Our little Aussie icon is growing up and taking us all with her. What a life! Check it out.

Fresh from the Bindi publishing juggernaut comes this very collectable compendium of fun, with that typical health and nature lifestyle bent this little girl and her producers are so famous for. And despite the Disneyfication, it’s certainly a book that’s very well done. Even if kids are not Bindi fanatics (because this is the ultimate book for any fanatic), there’s still a lot here to please kids with a zest for life and the great outdoors. In full, glamorous colour, this interactive book is an intimate glimpse at the life of Bindi, with plenty of photos, facts and figures, plus recipes, quizzes, word searches, crosswords, animal profiles, plus fabulous tips on healthy living and how to save the planet.
A collectible annual-style book combined with fun activities, this is a must-have for Bindi fan eco warrior.