Review Blog

Sep 20 2019

Story Time Stars: favourite characters from Australian picture books by Stephanie Owen Reeder

cover image

National Library of Australia, 2019. ISBN: 9780642279408.
(Age: All) Highly recommended. Recognise these characters? Horace the elephant, Blinky Bill, Ginger Meggs, Billy the Punk, The Watertower, Mr Huff, Edward the Emu, Hattie, Koala Lou? I could go on. And on.
I love that this book makes heroes of the characters from a wide variety of Australian children's picture books, many familiar to me and some unknown. I now have a list of new characters that I want to meet, introduced to me in this eminently readable book.
This is a truly all-age book. The format will intrigue younger readers with its illustrations and interesting facts. Older readers will journey back into memory lane as well as finding new characters to introduce to the children in their lives. Teachers and parents will find it a delightful book to peruse and a useful resource.
The book includes over 100 years of old favourite and newly-met characters, is organised by the decade of publication and is indexed. Each double-page layout includes a full-page illustration of the character from the original book, a precis of them and their story as well as sections titled Brought to you by (author and illustrator), Debut, Encores, Stage and screen, International appearances, Awards, and Special recognition.
The afterwords section speaks of the important work being done by both the Children's Literature Collections in the National Library of Australia and the National Centre for Australian Children's Literature in preserving and celebrating the treasures in this popular genre of Australia's publishing history.
The book complements the National Library of Australia's exhibition Story Time: Australian Children's Literature (held 2019-2020).
There are many things to recommend this book to you: the illustrations, information, format, size and price. I am sure it will be enjoyed and utilised for many years to come.
Jan Barwick

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