22 Sep 2009

Time for another Give Away!

It's time for The Great Aussie Living Book Give away #4, I reckon!

Soon after taking office, Victoria's Premier, John Brumby, spoke at the 2007 Children's Book of the Year Awards. During his speech he said this:
The winner of the 1946 Children's Book of the Year Award was The Story of Karrawingi the Emu, written by Leslie Rees and illustrated by Walter Cunningham. I have a copy here, on loan from the State Library of Victoria.

This classic Australian children's book was part of a series that I am sure some of the people here today grew up with with titles including Shy the Platypus and Russ, the Australian Tree Kangaroo.

Today, rare book dealers will tell you that this series is still popular and sells well, proving that the qualities that made it a classic the skillful storytelling, the Australian setting, the memorable animal characters and the wonderful illustrations remain the hallmark of a great children's book.
Does it not strike anybody else as ironic that a book that is 'still popular and sells well' has been relegated to the shelves of the 'rare book dealers' instead of being found in Borders and Dymocks?

Leslie Rees, who died aged 94 in October 2000 is one of the greats of Australian Children's Literature. Maybe one day he will be recognised as such and his books will be readily available once more.

Until that day, at least I have a few Leslie Rees books to give away as part of A Peaceful Day's 1st Birthday Celebrations (Hip Hip Hooray!) Sarah is now the proud owner of Wy-Lah the Black Cockatoo. Now one of you has the opportunity to adopt Koonaworra the Black Swan.Take a look at a couple of Margaret Senior's illustrations:

To enter The Great Aussie Living Books Give Away #4 to win this copy of Koonaworra, all you need to do is comment on this post and tell us of an Aussie kids' book that you think deserves to more readily available. If you're not an Aussie I'll accept a classic from your country instead. Like always, you'll get another entry by joining my Faithful Friends by clicking on the 'follow' button in the right side bar - or by mentioning that you already do so. I like seeing your smiling faces there!! I'll draw a winner at the end of Tuesday next week - that is, when it is no longer Tuesday anywhere in the world. Be sure to enter before then.

I'll start the ball rolling with Ethel Pedley's Dot and the Kangaroo. What's your favourite hard to find children's book?

And don't forget, there is still time to enter The Great Aussie Give Away #3 to win a new copy of 60 Classic Australian Poems edited by Christopher Cheng and illustrated by Gregory Rogers.

Of course, you're welcome to enter both!

Happy First Birthday, A Peaceful Day!


  1. Okay, birthday girl, other than "The Way of the Whirlwind" my sister has not been able to get any of your recommended Aussie Living Books through her library. Turns out there are plenty here but they are in the university libraries and not available for loan. You see, they are for research purposes and not for reading to our children.

    The irony has not escaped me - I recently went into a used book store with my list and nothing was under $80. My only hope is that the collector is reading them.

    Missing for our Term 1 is William Steig's "Yellow & Pink" so that is my pick for being made readily available here, along with your Aussie Living Book list.

    BTW, I have posted re drawings #3 & #4 so put me in coach - though I will be thrilled for anyone winning your fantastic goodies.

  2. Hey there... ok, I'm bad. I have to admit that not only am I NOT an Aussie - but I can't think of a great Canadian Living book that I think should be more accessible. That is, because the Canadian Living books that I know of ARE accessible.... I'm sure there are lots out there that are not - but that I just don't know them because of that very fact.

    But - I can name some living books from Canada....

    The entire Anne of Green Gables series. Owls in the Family. Never Cry Wolf. Who has seen the Wind. Dandilion wine. (well, the last couple I had to read for school, and thus hated.... but I think they are supposed to be good... lol)

    will this count??? It has the bonus that if someone wants a living Canadian book suggestion, they might actually be able to find it?

  3. Well, I'm Aussie & I'll bite but if by some far flung chance I win I'd like the book to go to one of your non~Aussie readers.

    Firstly ALL the Billabong books! These are funny & informative & very readable despite the fact that the early ones were written prior to WWI. The ones set during the war contain lots & lots of deatail about the reality of ordinarly life lived through the war years. I think these are fantastic books.

    Seven Little Australians ~ that Aussie classic. Again, lots of detail about ordinary life in the time period.

    Pastures of the Blue Crane ~ & anything else by Hesba Brinsmead.

    The Green Laurel ~ or anything else by Eleanor Spence. She's GOOD!

    The Sun on the Stubble by Colin Theile. If I remember correctly that's semi~autobiographical. Interesting look at culture clash & immigration.

    Ivan Southall ~ Ash Road.

    Want more? I'm good to go. ☺

    Yes, these are mostly for older kids but hey, mine's 14.

  4. Well, I actually HAVE this one! So, don't enter me in the draw:)
    I started reading Shy the platypus to Rebekah earlier this year but I think she was too young for it so will try next year. I have a few of his books (thanks to the Aussie homeschool forum where I got them from).
    I am an Indo-Aussie and so just learning about all these great Aussie living books and enjoying reading them for the first time along with Rebekah! So, I can't give you any titles yet...give me a few years:)

  5. What about some Indian living books, Joyfulmum? That would be fascinating!

  6. I can do that! lol

    Time of the Peacock by Mena Abdullah.

    This is a lovely look at being non~white, non~Christian & non~Australian in the Australia of the 60's. Lovely, lovely book!

    I wish I could find more like it.

  7. Unfortunately I was not into living books or any good books for that matter growing up in India - CM has truly changed me:)
    I will need to do some research on some good Indian living books to read to Rebekah. Although I only speak English so not sure how I'd go about finding good ones in English???
    Jeanne, you are always stretching me.....:)

  8. That previous blooper that was deleted was from me, in case you were wondering:)
    I was signed in with a different google a/c obviously :)

  9. That is a beautiful book! The watercolour illustrations remind me of the lovely pictures in "James Herriott's Treasury for Children" illustrated by Ruth Brown & Peter Barrett. Do you have a copy of that book? It is lovely.
    Unfortunately, you have shown me up on my lack of knowledge of NZ Poetry and classic literature, I must find some more of it!
    I just read Ganeida's comment - we have a book here called "Six Little New Zealanders" by Esther Glenn. It's a lovely look at colonial life in NZ through the eyes of a young girl called Ngaire. I don't think it's still in print. It's the sort of book all the public libraries are selling off nowadays.
    (PS Don't enter me again either, I've already won my book :-)

  10. What no t-shirts marketed yet? No playsets, backpacks, jammies or sheet sets,no sippy cups? That explains why it's in the rare book store!! lol. Sounds like a wonderful series.

  11. a New Zealand book that is out of print and would be so wonderful for CM home educators...or anyone wanting to implement Nature Studies into their curriculum is
    Nature Study by D Beggs. It is rare and a collectible. It was published for the Department of Education in New Zealand and has line drawings, with lessons included. I puicked up a copy from an aution site we have called TradeMe and I have friends who are a bit envious of my wonderful find.

  12. Yes, I have that book too, Sandra, I think I found it in a secondhand bookstore in Warkworth. Library sales are great for living books, because they're always getting rid of them! I found one of my copies of Nature Talks to NZers by Crosbie Morrison in the Carterton library. Another one I'm excited to have found recently is "Emily's Garden" by Kerry Carman. She immigrated to NZ in the late 1800s and kept a garden diary. I'm still reading the intro & biography written by Kerry Carman in her revised edition. I will blog about it once I've read it - great NZ history & nature all rolled into one! NZ's "Country Diary..."

  13. You find the most beautiful books! I must come hang out with you for awhile! I am new at this so I simply do not know of any books that I would like to see printed again. This book is beautiful.

  14. Oh, and I forgot to tell you that I already follow your blog! Thanks for being so informative!

  15. Hi Jeanne, i love these books! We have been lucky enough to pick up Shy the Platypus and Kurri Kurri the Kookaburra in a second hand shop recently. What about The Wonderland of Nature by Nuri Mass??? We own and love this book and use it as a foundation for so much of our nature studies. Or Flip the Flying Possum by Noela Young? And of course River Murray Mary by Colin Thiele...I could go on!

  16. Well I've been slow to respond to this post because......well I'm an Aussie and i don't really know which books are hard to get! (Said with a red face.) That may be because I'm not actually homeschooling at present. My only school-aged child will be finished yr 12 in 7 weeks -but she has been at public school the last couple. I homeschooled the older children for 14 years and my baby is not quite school-age yet. i don't remember reading any Leslie Rees books in those years but perhaps it was because we relied mostly on the library for Aust. studies. We certaily read what was readily available. I'll be on the lookout for them this 2nd time around at home educating. It's funny that when I first began homeschooling I was aware of how 'uneducated' I really was and I thought that I'd learnt so much while we were but here I am beginning again - and feeling the same way. There is always more to learn and more ways to learn it!

  17. When I was at uni. I read 'Family at Misrule' by Ethel Turner, in a locked room!!!!!!! It was part of Monash University's rare book collection. Now in order to read it at home I could pay up to $175 for the privilege! It would be good to see it more readily available. I am going to throw in another book even though it doesn't fit your criteria.
    ' A Bush Calendar' by Amy Mack
    I just love that book, fascinating text and inspiring illustrations.

    Congrats. on the CATS win, even though I was 'going for' the Saints.


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