Weekly Readings XVIII

Weekly Readings 18_2


Welcome to another edition of “Weekly Readings”

For those new here, Weekly Readings is when your lit. rat reviews books I’ve read here and there. While T.A.A. focuses on animal stories, we do give humans their due now and again…


This week, in celebration of “Music In Our Schools Month” your lit. rat reviews some fantastic fauna tales garunteed to get you moving and grooving!




The Blues of Flats Brown

by Walter Dean Myers

Illustrated by Nina Laden

Publisher: Holiday House


Pub. Date: March 1st, 2000

While many readers best know the recently deceased Walter Dean Myers for his middle grade and YA novels, many of which sheding light on the certain on the African-American experience, he also penned a few picture books, and I fell in love with “The Blues of Flats Brown” just from seeing the cover. 

I’ve since read the book and WOW! Does it deliver. I planned to review it later this year, but when I learned of Walter’s death a few weeks back, and found out about “Music In Our Schools Month” going in March, I had to bump up reviewing this book!

Long ago in a junkyard lived a dog named Flats Brown, who loves playing the Blues for him and his fellow canine bud, Caleb.

But their no-good owner, A.J. Grubbs wasn’t keen on music (or much anything else) except making his dogs fight in the underground…

But Flats and Caleb are lovers, not fighters, especially ‘Ol Caleb, who with his arthirtis has no business being in a combat zone!


Now these dogs are on the run, with the hopes of finding a peaceful life, where Flats can sing the Blues, without having to live it…

Picture books are often equated to poetry, whether or not they rhyme, and especially with a story clearly hinging on the power of music such as this one.

As I said about Nina Laden’s “Bad Dog” this book would made a rad song, it would actually make an awesome audio drama. (if they could get some smoking musical talent [and possibly get James Earl Jones to narrate it while he’s still on this planet] to really take it to town) Walter gives us a crackerjack southern twang to the narratitve that doesn’t give the reader a migrane.


When editors tell writers to use dialect selctively and sparingly, this books expertly shows what they mean.


You feel the uncanny southern drawl in the text, without the reader tripping over awkward or uncommon spelling of words.


It also avoids What I call the “Bumpkin Syndrome” that makes southern characters sound dumb when they’re clearly anything but!


Nina Laden’s illusrations really sing in this book, while I love her quirky angled characters in her more cartoonish solo words, for “Flats Brown” she navigates the hazy nexus between “Anthropomorhic” and “Naturaltistic” schools of thought in the fantastical fauna landscape,  delivering an idea of how a more modern reinterptration of the “Beatrix Potter” tradtion would look like: Given the “Deep South” treatment.


Walter Dean Myers will be a man and author missed by many, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and colleagues who knew him better than most.


I’ve only just started to mine the uvre this writer has left behind, and this is also one of those picture books I would happily offer/recommend to older kids and even teens without hesitation, and it also would make a non-preachy conversation starter regarding animal abuse without scaring younger children, but still adressing it orgaincally and truthfully in the story.


“The Blues of Flats Brown” is a poigant but hopeful tale that has the heart of the south, the prose of a lyricist, and the charm those of us lucky to have a “Flats” in our life know all too well…Even if they couldn’t carry a tune. 


Check Out

Our Fan Trailer For 

“The Blues of Flats Brown”



Herman and Rosie

Herman and Rosie

by Gus Gordon (@IllustratorGus)

(A.U.) Publisher: Viking Children’s (@VikingChildrens)

(Imprint of Penguin Books AU)

(U.S.) Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

(An Imprint of Macmillan)

(AU) Pub. Date: May 2013

(U.S.) Pub. Date: October 15th, 2013


NOTE FROM THE LITERARY RAT: This is a re-post of our original review of “Herman and Rosie.”

Books have always had a storied history with an ongoing playlist of love songs to iconic settings (Real, imagined, and all in-between) and picture books are no different.

In fact, with SO MANY love songs to a specific place, it’s HARD to stand out, but I believe ”Herman and Rosie” is one such stand out. For me, of the many love songs to New York City (Real or Surreal), this book DOES jump out in the most positive sense.

The story follows titular characters: Herman, a crocodile salary-man who loves playing his oboe, hot dogs in winter, and movies about the ocean, and Rosie, who loves toffee, movies about the ocean, and singing her heart out at a jazz club at night, after working in the restaurant biz by day.

While both Herman and Rosie love life in the city, it can feel lonely at times, sometimes lacking the kind of community building more directly inherent in a small town, or county within a large city or town.

The illustrations do an excellent job projecting the urban motif, using collage scrapbook-like elements to further enhance the overall charm to the illustration.

When I first saw the cover for this book, I almost wanted to weep with joy, because it’s unabashedly old-fashioned, in a tune when being modern is often meant to mean “Simplistic to a fault.”

Please understand, I’m not bashing simplicity, when it’s right for the story that’s fine, whether we;re talking words or text, but I don’t want simplicity to overly dictate stories that frankly demand some finesse and sophistication.

These two have a lot in common, yet like most city slickers, start out as two wayward spirits who are strangers to each other, but certainly not to the readers of their story.

When Herman loses his job (Due to lack of sales), and Rosie learns the jazz club where she sings is forced to close down, the two once mostly content souls have been infected with the “Lost my job, (Herman) Lost my Passion, (Rosie), whatever will I do now” blues…

They spend days and weeks at home.

Herman too bummed out to play his Oboe.

Rosie too down in dumps to sing and share her song to others.

Eventually, the two find their way back to their musical passions and soon after, AT LAST, find each other…
There’s something about the vintage feel that I’ve always responded to, long before I even knew the history behind it, which only enriched my appreciation as I got older.


This book manages to feel modern without also feeling cold and lifeless.


It also brings a certain flair to the everyday hustle and bustle that those of you who are urban dwellers will find familiar, yet those you in the boonies will feel right at home with theme this book organically projects: connections to friends helps fight the day do day doldrums we all face, wherever in the world we call home.


For me, of the many love songs to New York (Real or Surreal), this book DOES jump out in the most positive sense.


 Check Out My Fan Trailer for

“Herman and Rosie”



Ballerino Nate Cover 2

Ballerino Nate

by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Illustrated by R.W. Alley

Publisher: Dial

Pub. Date: March 16th, 2006


NOTE FROM THE LITERARY RAT: This is a re-post of our original review of “Ballerino Nate.”


Don’t laugh, but “The Literary Rat” in his preschool days once wanted to be a ballet dancer, though I lacked the discipline and stick-to-it factor I’ve learned to develop for writing over time, but I’m all for boys who dare to defy “gender norms” with wild abandon.


This is one of those books that I would’ve loved to read when I first became enchanted by the ballet, and while it may not have kept me on the ballet path, I would’ve had this as literary empowerment armor whenever some chauvinist lad or lass says “That’s only for GIRLS!”


Well, I wouldn’t have used the word “Chauvinist” at age 4, of course. But by age 9, to use a retro tween play on words: For sure! (That was the beginning of my “I Love Lucy” obsession), but that’s a whole other story…


Nate, like any sensible nonconformist, has no qualms disagreeing with his “Know-it-All” big brother who by contrast is more “Tom Sawyer” than “Baryshnikov” [buhrish-ni-kawf], but at times can’t help but wonder “Is he right?”


Would I have to wear a tutu?

Do I have to wear pink even though I’m a boy?

Can boys even be “Ballerinas” at all?


Well, the latter’s kind of true, but NOT how you think, and I’ll let the book show that to not spoil the pathos!

The illustration style is appropriately traditional, hand-drawn watercolors has charm to spare, and accents the movement and grace that any serious dancer (ballet or otherwise) can relate to, and also gives readers with self-proclaimed “Two Left Feet” syndrome a glimpse into the art and practice of dance in general, and ballet in particular.

It’s very hard to talk about this book without thinking of another famous ballet student in the fantastical fauna universe, but rest assured, this book while great for both genders gives those nontraditional boys something they can quickly identify with.


While gender doesn’t solely define our identity as it once did (In some parts of the world, anyway…), parental baggage aside, it does play a part, and this book honors that, without stereotyping, and at the same time doesn’t shy away from the questions (be they spoken or unspoken)even the most progressive and open-minded families ask at times.


This is in many ways “Angelina Ballerina” for boys, only we have anthropomorphic dogs (and/or wolves, it’s not quite specific either way) instead of mice, but here it’s the youngest in the family that takes center stage.


Sadly, unlike the mouselet star with big dreams, this seems to be a one and done, but what a wonderful and worthy one and done it is!


If you’ve got a ballet fan of the male persuasion, tell him I said “BRAVO!” and to give him this book.


He’ll thank you for it, if not in words, in his actions when one day he too could be a Supremo Ballerino, just like Nate. Ballet Men UNITE!


Check out my fan book trailer for Ballerino Nate!


The Driftwood Ball

The Driftwood Ball

by Thomas Docherty (@TDIllustration)

(U.K.) Publisher: Templar Publishing (@templarbooks)

(U.K.) Pub. Date: January 1st, 2014


NOTE FROM THE LITERARY RAT: This is a re-post of our original review of “The Driftwood Ball.”


In addition to collaborating with his wife and fellow author Helen (See our profile on them from our Picture Book Month 2013 author/illustrator spotlight), author-illustrator Thomas Docherty brings us his most recent solo outing about family feuds, high stakes dance offs, and true love, what more can a lit. rat need?

On one side you’ve got badgers, who are prim, proper and composed, in dance terms they’re like a waltz. Form and technique are everything!

The otters by contrast are cool, casual, and thrive on improvisation, in dance they represent freestyle, with some hip-hop thrown in here and there. Whatever’s fun and flowing!

The Badgers find the otters crude and their dancing unrefined.

The otters think badgers are snobbish, wound too tight, and their dance moves stiff and soulless.

The only thing both species agree on is their love of dancing, but while “The Driftwood Ball” brings the two species together, competition and rivalry keep them apart in every way.

Until Celia (an otter) and George (a badger) meet in secret and have different ideas…

George likes how free and soulful the otters move,  and Celia’s enchanted by the composed technique of the badgers dancing, and the two soon learn to dance a little bit like the other, until they create a dance style all their own, and fall in love…


When titular dance-off “The Driftwood Ball” begins, the feuding species are stunned to find Celia and George dancing together, a first for this bitter rivalry charged event, and from there a new normal takes hold that I won’t spoil here…


What I love most about Thomas Docherty is how he tailors his illustration style for each of his books, be they his own, or when visualizing another author’s work.


While there some slight nods to the style used in “The Snatchabook” his previous book (written by his wife, Helen) this book is about movement and a more tropical color palette, versus the Seuss-inspired two-tone impressionistic tone taken in the verse-driven tale.


T.A.A. nominated this book as one of our first “Most Anticipated Reads” back in 2013 (before it’s release) so you may be wondering why it took a year after it published to review it…


The road to reviewing this book is long and complicated, but to give you the abridged version, this book isn’t (YET) out in the U.S., and since T.A.A. HQ is based stateside, your lit. rat didn’t realize that at the time I nominated it this book is still kind of a U.K./Europe exclusive at the time this review is being written…


That’s why I want to give special thanks to my Twitter friend, Anne-Marie (@ChildLedChaos), for sending me a copy from the U.K. You made reviewing this book possible.


I hope “The Driftwood Ball” comes to the rest of the world soon, but while T.A.A. primarily reviews books that are fairly accessible worldwide, our goal is to be as global community as possible, and while many of Thomas Docherty’s older solo picture books solo books are available worldwide, this sadly remains a U.K. exclusive, but when that changes, T.A.A. will let you know. 


That said, for our Euro/U.K. T.A.A. fans, “The Driftwood Ball’s a must-read, especially if you’ve got little movers and groovers in your life!


This book earned the honor of being one of our  “Most Anticipated Reads of 2014″, and if you’ve the spare cash and patience for intercontinental shipping, this is a book worth importing!


That’s it for Weekly Readings!

See you next time.

FINAL NOTE FROM THE LITERARY RAT: If my ramblings convinced you to buy one or more of the books mentioned above, please support T.A.A. by clicking on the affiliate cover images above or links within the review.

Australia Day

 Australia Day 2015 Banner BETA


Today’s “Australia Day” where the citizens of the frontier continent celebrate their storied culture and heritage.


T.A.A. HQ may be based in the U.S. but we do our best to honor our community of our fantastic fauna lovers all over the world.


In celebration, your lit. rat will share some of his favorite things with ties to Australia.


While we primarily focus on books, T.A.A. also wants to give needed love to other mediums kids and grown-ups love, such as television and film and here are some Aussie-Centric entertainment picks that your lit. rat thinks are worth your family’s “Screen Time.”




Before the “CGI Revolution” dominated the current world of animation, one of the last gems of the “Old School” stop-motion series was “The Koala Brothers” about a pair of brothers who do what they can to assist their friends in a small rural town in the Australian Outback. First aired in 2003, it’s won many awards in accolades in the U.K. It eventually came to America (more on that below)


While I was technically WAY past the target age group when this series first aired (15 to be exact) I was ensnared by its charming animation and slice of life approach which is rare for shows aimed at where there’s usually a heavy academic hook of some kind.


While I’m all for shows like “Dinosaur Train” or “The Magic School Bus(based on the iconic book series of the same name)  that weave in science and still engage on an entertainment level, there always need to be shows that are simply fun for their own sake, but have a little more depth than the typical “Saturday Morning Cartoon” fare.


Programs like “The Koala Brothers” help round out the “Edutainment” onslaught in a lot of children’s television today.


Yes, these shows touch on social skills and working as a team, but rather than do a “Rule of Three” breakdown, it just happens naturally through the story being told. It gives the Similar to shows that don’t have laugh tracks, they let the audience decide what they want to take away without a laugh track or other gimmicks getting between them and the content.


I’m not at all saying the direct, pseudo-interactive approach that “Dora the Explorer” or “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” shoot for can’t work, clearly it speaks to countless children across the country (or the world in Dora’s 10+ year history), but I love shows that let the viewers decide what’s funny, and what they want to learn from it.


An occasional narrator chiming in does “break the fourth wall” a tiny bit, but you really feel part of the world, without being verbally asked to join in.


If you (and your lit. rattlings) love shows like “The Backyardigans“,  “Olivia” (Based on Ian Falconer’s iconic picture book series of the same name)  and “Maggie and The Ferocious Beast(Another modern classic) this series might be up your alley.


It used to air in the U.S. on Disney Channel during it’s “Playhouse Disney” morning programming block (this was prior to the “Disney Junior” re-branding back in 2010) and until mid-2014 aired on “Disney Junior The Channel” where I saw it again for the first time in over a decade and it’s still as comforting as I remembered it.


Selected episodes were released on DVD a few years back in the U.S., but I’m not sure if they’re still available.


If you’re curious, you can see a sample episode!

NOTE FROM THE LITERARY RAT: Part of the intro is cut down for time and one music cue is missing, but otherwise a nice taste until someone brings out a complete series set…




This is one of those movies that can be hit or miss depending on three things-


-How much you love dogs. (of course!)

-Dealing with a tiny dash of teen angst.

-And an itsy bit of cheesiness doesn’t bother you.

Meet all the above, than this flick’s for you!





I dare say my canine pal, Guido (from Guido and Bonnie) would enjoy this movie, too!



Okay, now let’s talk books! 


I only just learned many of my favorite authors were born and/or raised in Australia, and one of them is Gus Gordon, who wrote/illustrated one of my favorite books of 2013, “Herman and Rosie.”


Herman and Rosie

Herman and Rosie

by Gus Gordon (@IllustratorGus)

(AU) Publisher: Viking

(An Imprint of Penguin AU)

(U.S.) Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

(An Imprint of Macmillan)

(U.S.) Pub. Date: October 15th, 2013



Check out my fan book trailer for

“Herman and Rosie”


Check Out your lit. rat’s review of  

“Herman and Rosie.”


Learn More about Gus, his books, and more at his website: http://www.gusgordon.com 

He’s Also on Facebook!



Another author with ties to Australia is John Flanagan

best known for his bestselling “Ranger’s Apprentice” series.


Graeme Base + AnimaliaOur next author from down under is author-illustrator Graeme Base, whose best known book is “Animalia” which was adapted into an animated television series 

in 2008 by Cyber Group Studios.

Learn more about Graeme, his books, and buy his original artwork at his OFFICIAL website: http://www.graemebase.com



Shauna Tan + The Arrival

Last, but FAR from least, is author-illustrator, Shauna Tan, best known for his wordless picture book  “The Arrival.”

Learn more about Shaun and his books

at his OFFICIAL website: http://www.shauntan.net

If you, or someone you know lives (or has lived) in Australia, please share your story in the comments below.


Also, if you’ve got a favorite book, film, or television series that was filmed in or by or set in Australia, please share in the comments below, too!

For our all T.A.A. fans Down Under, Happy Australia Day!

Until next time, Blokes, may the fantastical fauna be with you.

Picture Book Month 2014: Future Releases

 TAA Picture Book 2014 FB

As “Picture Book Month” come to a close for another year, it’s time to unveil T.A.A.’s “Most Anticipated Reads of 2015!


A Penguin Named Patience  (A Hurricane Katrina Rescue Story)

A Penguin Named Patience

(A Hurricane Katrina Rescue Story)

by Suzanne Lewis 

Illustrated by Lisa Anchin

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press 

Pub. Date: February 1st, 2015

2015 will the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

and while there’s still a long road to recovery for many day to day, we’ve also seen great stories of survival and rebirth of lives most impacted by the devastation the storms left during and after’s it’s wake.

This picture book tells the story 

T.A.A. will do something special in remembrance of this disaster, and also something to help keep their recovery on track.

We’ll have more info in the coming year, and if you want to be among the first to know our plans, please sign up for our mailing list on the right side of this site!



by Helen Docherty

Illustrated by Thomas Docherty

(U.K.) Publisher: Scholastic Press

Pub. Date: February 5th, 2015


The husband-wife team behind “The Snatchabook” team up again for another magical adventure.


Learn more about Helen and Thomas in our Picture Book Month 2013 coverage 


The Snatchabook (U.S. and U.K. Edictions) 3

(U.S. and U.K. Covers for “The Snatchabook”)


Also, check out your lit. rat’s review of their last book together, “The Snatchabook”


UPDATE (1/21/15): I learned from author Helen Docherty that “Abracazebra” has not yet found a U.S. publisher, so it remains a U.K./Europe exclusive for now, I apologize for the transformation (I’ll not rely Amazon for release info of international titles again!)

 UPDATE: Here’s Our Review of “Abracazebra”

But it’s still one of our “Most Anticipated Reads” and I will still review the book as planned, Helen was kind enough to offer sending us a copy! Thanks Helen!

When “Abracazebra” does come stateside, your lit. rat will let you know! But I encourage our U.K. fans to check it out.


Big Pet Day

Big Pet Day

by Lisa Shanahan

Illustrated by Gus Gordon (@IllustratorGus)

(U.S./U.K.) Publisher: Scholastic Press

Pub. Date: January 1st, 2015

It’s no secret T.A.A. LOVES pet stories, but with so many awesome ones, it takes really special ones to stand out from the countless classics, but I have confidence this is will be an exceptional one. It doesn’t hurt that Gus Gordon’s charming illustrations sweeten the deal for this lit. rat.

If you haven’t already, check out T.A.A.’s Author/Illustrator Spotlight on Gus Gordon!

Also, check out your lit. rat’s review of Gus’ “Herman and Rosie”



Crickey and Cat

Crikey and Cat

by Chris Mckimmie

(U.S.) Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pub. Date: May 1st, 2015

We’re trying to review more books that star or feature cats on T.A.A. I may the lit. rat, but not all cats hunt rodents such myself anymore, and hey, we’ve got plenty of fab felines that deserve T.A.A.’s spotlight.





I Thought This Was A Bear Book

by Tara Lazar (@taralazar)

Illustrated by Benji Davies (@Benji_Davies)

Publisher: Aladdin

Pub. Date: August, 2015


The author of “The Monstore” (2013) and founder of PiBoIdMo (Pie-Beau-Id-Moe), Tara Lazar is back with a new book where the three bears meet alien abduction, nicely drawn by illustrator Benji Davies. (The Storm Whale)


Check out Tara Lazar’s interview with Katie Davis on “Brain Burps About Books”


Also check out our spotlight feature on Tara and James Burks (illustrator of “The Monstore” and author-illustrator of his own books)



Last Stop On Market Street

by Matt de la Peña (@mattdelapena)

Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

(Imprint of Penguin Books USA)

Pub. Date: January 8th, 2015


While we mostly cover animal stories on T.A.A. we do give humans their due, and with the ever-increasing outcry for more diverse humans in children’s books (as well as behind the scenes in publishing) we’re honored to bring this book to your attention.



The book’s illustrator, Christian Robinson,  illustrated one of your lit. rat’s favorite books of the year, “Gaston” (written by Kelly DiPucchio) which T.A.A. will be reviewing soon!

UPFATE: Check Out Our Review of “Gaston”

Chris also illustrated “Josephine” released in 2013, and has done animation work that’s appeared on Sesame Street (Which recently celebrated PBS’ 45th anniversary)


Otter in Space

Otter in Space (@i_am_otter)

by Sam Garton (@SamuelGarton)

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

(An Imprint of HarperCollins)

Pub. Date: May 5th, 2015


T.A.A.’s favorite otter returns with her latest adventure, which as you can tell from the cover alone, involves intergalactic exploration, or at least the closest thing you can get without being trained by NASA, or going to space camp!


Learn more about Otter, play fun games, and read exclusive web stories (complete with picture!) at her OFFICIAL website: iamotter.co.uk


Also, check out our Author/Illustrator spotlight for “Picture Book Month 2014”


If you haven’t checked out Otter’s first book (one of our first “Most Anticipated Reads”), check your lit. rat’s review! Finally, please share this teaser video (made by your lit. rat) to help spread the word, and rest assured it’s Otter Approved!

 (Otter in Space Teaser Video)



Bears Don't Read

Bears Don’t Read!

by Emma Chichester Clark


Pub. Date: TBA 2015

One of my favorite authors is bringing us a double feature in 2015 One of which involves a bear who doesn’t yet know the joy and empowerment reading has to offer.


Check our Author/Illustrator Spotlight on Emma!

Finally, read your lit.rat’s review of “Melrose and Croc: A Christmas To Remember”





by Emma Chichester Clark


Pub. Date: TBA 2015

One of my favorite authors is bringing us a double feature in 2015! One of those books is “Plumdog” and while I’m still a bit down over the loss of my beloved Pepper back in June 2014, I’m still reading my share of dog books,  they’re healing, and after a drought of new voices in the picture book canine district, I have a strong feeling Plum will fit right in, the fact that she reminds me of Pepper in some ways is an added bonus.


I know Guido (my canine friend from T.A.A. FM’s “Guido & Bonnie” [@GuidoandBonnie]) is just as psyched as I am for Plum’s debut in America! 

There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight

There Was an Old Dragon

Who Swallowed a Knight

by Penny Parker Klostermann (@pklostermann)

Illustrated by Ben Mantle

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books


Pub. Date: August 4th, 2015


There’s been many a tale of an old man, woman, and even a coyote who swallowed something they shouldn’t have. Now in a Ye Olde twist to a long remixed tale, we’ve got a dragon who finally bests a knight through feasting him.

How will this pan out?

We’ll find out Summer 2015!



WOLFIE the Bunny

by Ame Dyckman  (@AmeDyckman)

Illustrated by Zachariah OHora 


Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Pub. Date: February 17th, 2015


Author Ame Dyckman, best known for her books “Boy+Bot” (illustrated by Dan Yaccarino) and “Tea Party Rules” (illustrated by K.G. Campbell) teams up with author-illustrator Zachariah OHara (of “No Fits, Nelson!” fame)


This is one of those books that has caught my eye on the merit of the title/cover alone, and I can’t wait to have this book in my paws, and review it for you, my precious readers.


UPDATE: Check out our review of

“Wolfie the Bunny”

Your lit. rat hopes you’ve enjoyed our special features and author/illustrator spotlights we did this year. We’ll have more fun goodies in store for our Holiday Showcase starting this week!


Until next time, may the fantastic fauna be with you.


P.S. One Last Video the lit. rat hope you watch and share-

Gus Gordon – Picture Book Month

Gus Gordon Spotlight


Check Out Our Previous Author/Illustrator Spotlights-

Sam Garton and Otter

Tara Lazar and James Burks


As our series of Author/illustrator spotlights continues, your lit. rat is honored to introduce you to author-illustrator Gus Gordon


While his best known book outside Australia is “Herman and Rosie” (more on that later) he’s got a slightly bigger blacklist in his native homeland  which I discovered recently-





 For now, this seems to be an “Down Under” exclusive, but hopefully it’ll come stateside, eventually…


Herman and Rosie


Herman and Rosie

by Gus Gordon (@IllustratorGus)

(AU) Publisher: Viking

(An Imprint of Penguin AU)

(U.S.) Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

(An Imprint of Macmillan)

Pub. Date: October 15th, 2013


This was one of my favorite finds last year and reviewed it as part our “Holiday 2013 Showcase”


That said, it’s not a seasonal title, but I included it in the showcase as it embodies the goodwill and spirit the winter holidays universally represent whatever you celebrate.

Check out my fan book trailer for

“Herman and Rosie”


In addition to books Gus has written and illustrated, he’s also teamed up with various authors over the years-


I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo!

I Am Cow, Hear Me MOO! 

by Jill Esbaum 

Publisher (U.S.): Dial

(Penguin Imprint)

Publisher (AU): Penguin Books 

Pub. Date: May 15th, 2014


If you LOVE Sam Garton’s “I Am Otter” (No relation, mind you) than this is another book to have on your radar if it’s not already. T.A.A. will review this in near future!



In the meantime, check out the fan book trailer created by my colleague, Patricia Miller- 


For my T.A.A. fans in the U.S. and Canada, get ready for Gus Gordon’s most recent author collaboration

Big Pet Day (AU+US)

(Big Pet Day Cover, AU Left, U.S. Right)

Big Pet Day

by Lisa Shanahan

Publisher (U.S.): Templar Publishing (@templarbooks)

Publisher (AU): Hachette (@HachetteAus)

Pub. Date: January 1st, 2014


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