Alison Lester (Australian Children's Laureate, 2012 - 2013) is one of Australia's most popular and bestselling creators of children's books. She has won many awards, including the 2005 Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Picture Book of the Year Award for her much-loved classic Are We There Yet? and the 2012 CBCA Eve Pownall Book of the Year Award for One Small Island. Her picture books include Running with the Horses, a story based on the evacuation of the world-famous Lipizzaner horses from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna during World War Two; One Small Island, about the possibility of hope and environmental preservation for a World Heritage listed island and for the world itself; Sophie Scott Goes South about a little girl's voyage to Antarctica and the sense of wonder that it brings; Kissed by the Moon, a lyrical celebration of the natural world and all that it has to offer a child; and My Dog Bigsy - to name just a few. Alison lives on a farm in the Victorian countryside. She spends part of each year travelling to schools around Australia, helping students and teachers develop their own stories. http-//alisonlester.com
K-Gr 2-Eight-year-old Grace describes a three-month trip around Australia with her Mum; Dad; older brother, Luke; and younger brother, Billy (he's the one who keeps up the refrain of the title). Hitching up Poppa's old camper trailer behind their car, this amiable family takes a winter term off from school to experience the remarkable diversity of their country. The varied layout, with text judiciously interspersed among the appealing illustrations, gives readers the experience of browsing through a family album. This is more than just a sightseeing tour as the family members react and interact, often humorously, on their journey. (Mother is afraid of heights-until that scary bungee ride at Surfers Paradise, which she loves). The text assumes local knowledge, (e.g., the Nullarbor Plain, Quokkas, or the Bungle Bungles) without benefit of a glossary, though a detailed map on the front endpapers clearly labels locations and sights. Young armchair travelers interested in Australia may be limited in number, but those who embark will find this an enjoyable trip.-Caroline Ward, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Lester (The Snow Pony) takes readers on a sprightly tour of her native Australia, placing them in the pleasant company of narrator Grace, her parents and two brothers. The bustling artwork is as key to this engaging travelogue as is the chirpy narration. Eight-year-old Grace balances anecdotes about family interaction with descriptions of landmarks they visit and activities they enjoy. Pulling an old camper behind their car, the clan sets off on a three-month trip, heading in a clockwise direction from their home on Australia's southern coast and around the perimeter of the continent, with several forays inland. Framed full-page illustrations depict the family listening to singing whales from the cliffs at Head of Bight and hiking around the giant red rock Uluru ("a huge red heart, right in the middle of the country"). Spot illustrations show the siblings hiding behind the Pinnacles that poke up through the sand "like giant limestone fingers," and a view of the Bungle Bungles from inside a helicopter. Other highlights include snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef ("a swirling underwater carnival of fish and coral"), sheep-shearing at some friends' farm and a picnic as fireworks explode over Sydney harbor. Lester's brisk visual and verbal pace gives readers an appreciation for the variegated topography and diverse animal population of her homeland and may well prompt future visits. And kids will surely nod in recognition at Grace's younger brother's familiar refrain, which gives the book its title. Ages 5-9. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.