Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Saturday 17 March 2018

CBCA favourites from the Notables list

Tania provides her personal insights into some of the recently announced CBCA Notables for 2018.

With the CBCA long list having been announced recently, I was really thrilled to see my primary school library had the greater proportion of the titles, many of which had come through my standing orders supplier but quite a few which I had already identified at being on my hit list of “must get” books. So I thought I might talk about a couple of those.

Whatcha Building? written by Andrew Daddo, illustrated by Stephen Michael King.
This first came to my notice because it is illustrated by Stephen Michael King, and he is one of my absolute favourites. I love this story of a quirky boy who finds a way to reach his goals using imagination, politeness and persistence. And I love to watch the growing friendship between Davey and builder Bruce. Plus the illustrations are amazing! The large double spread page with the juxtaposition of real items used as a backdrop to the cityscape is very powerful and a fantastic jumping off point for children to use every day items in new and imaginative ways.

Koala Bare written by Jackie French, illustrated by Matt Shanks.
What a fun way to explain to children that koalas aren’t bears! Already classes have heavily used this book when they are studying Australian animals and it is fast becoming a favourite. The way the main character romps through the book destroying the myths that he is a bear and the havoc he causes by demonstrating his reasons why he’s not a bear are hilarious and resonate with the reader. This is a fun fiction title to use when studying Australian animals as a bit of light relief.

Nomax written and illustrated by Shannon Horsfall
As the owner of a dog who shares quite a few of Max’s traits, I loved this book immediately.  And I really enjoy the gentle joke on the last page as Max is so perplexed that the name on his dog bowl isn’t Nomax, which according to him is his name. Fun illustrations and engaging text will have the children giggling along.

Boy written by Phil Cummings and illustrated by Shane DeVries
What a delightful read with a lovely message about differences being strengths and how a different point of view on a problem can give a whole new perspective. The artwork is engaging, making the Viking village come alive, although there are some additions that make you smile…cacti? In a Viking village? I really love the double spread with all the characters pointing fingers at each other, each blaming the others. Children will really identify with this and hopefully take the message away that good communication and understanding of differences are good tools in conflict resolution.
Phil Cummins reading Boy

Exploring Soils: A Hidden World Underground written by Sam Grover, illustrated by Camille Heisler.
I saw a pre-publication review of this book and just knew it would be a fantastic addition to our primary school library. And it is! The lovely soft illustrations bring the garden and its processes alive, showing readers how soil isn’t just something we walk on but a microscopic world that we depend on for a huge variety of things. Once again, this is a great title to read to classes to increase their science understanding.
Dr Sam Grover talks about and shares her book on soils

Did you have some favourites on the long list?
Now all we have to do is wait with bated breath to see which books make the shortlist.

Tania Cooper
Library Technician
Ulverstone Primary School


  1. I too love Stephen Michael King, and I'm sad that my absolute favourite, The Little Blue Parcel, is currently out of print. Thanks Tania for these...and not long to wait for the Short List Announcement on Mar 27.

  2. Tania's enthusiastic review of some of her favorite picture books for primary school children among the Notables list is very informative. If this is only small sample the quality of the picture books, the short list is going to be amazing.