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The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade
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About the Author

Davina Bell is a writer from Western Australia. She is the author of the award-winning picture book The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade, which won the 2016 Australian Book Industry Award for Best Children's Book from a Small Publisher, and Under the Love Umbrella, which was shortlisted for the same award in 2018 (both illustrated by Allison Colpoys). She is also author of the `Alice' books in the bestselling Our Australian Girl series. For six years she was a Senior Editor at Penguin Books in the Young Readers Division, where she worked with some of our country's most beloved children's book creators. Davina lives and works in Melbourne, where she still dreams about the Western Australian beaches while drinking a lot of very good Melbourne coffee. Allison Colpoys is an award-winning designer and illustrator, and the Associate Art Director at Scribe Publications. Her picture books include The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade, Under the Love Umbrella, If All the World Were... and All the Ways To Be Smart. As well as receiving numerous Australian Book Design Awards for her illustration and cover design, she has won the CBCA Crichton Award for Best New Talent and an Australian Book Industry Award. As a freelancer, Allison is represented by the Jacky Winter Group.

Reviews

'A simple palette makes for a stunning visual effect in this gentle story of one little boy's anxiety. Beautiful illustrations and a clear and sensitive text keep the message simple ... A useful book for children who suffer with anxiety or shyness, but the gorgeous style will appeal to those with artistic eyes too.'

* Booktrust's March 2015 'Books We Like' *

'Beautifully-written and sensitive, there's not a scrap of schmaltz in this book about the anxiety that plagues some children ... The tenderness in this story is divinely balanced with gentle pops of fluorescent colour on soft grey pages ... A considered, charming and important book for anyone struggling with throwing themselves into the vast ocean of modern day society.'

* Kid's Book Review *

This gorgeous picture book doesn't whack you over the head with its exploration of social anxiety, but considers a sensitive boy's feelings with empathy and subtlety ... The theme is beautifully explored and Allison Colpoys' illustrations perfectly capture his vulnerability'

-- Alexa Dretzke * Readings *

'This beautifully packaged book, embossed with shimmering detail and pops of colour will undoubtedly resonate with any of us who have ever been the tiniest bit scared about anything!'

* Picture Books Blogger *

'Delightful ... a beautiful object to hold in your hands and enjoy.'

* Magpie That *

'This book will help articulate 'that feeling' for many young children, offering them comfort and relief when they need it most.'

* Early Years Educator *

'In her gorgeous retro style illustrations executed with limited colour, Allison Colpoys conveys Alfie's fearfulness beautifully and the tale is sympathetically and convincingly told ... a demonstration of both the artist's and author's understanding of how young children try to cope with shyness/introversion.'

* Red Reading Hub *

'A completely charming, beautifully illustrated picture book about fitting in.'

* A Case for Books *

'Beguiling and breath-taking The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys deserves a place on everyone's bookshelf ... A story which will strike a tear-jerking chord with anyone who has ever been a little bit worried about anything. Beautifully designed this book with its carefully curated pallet and glimmering embellishments is a complete treasure.'

* The Book Sniffer *

'Immensely identifiable ... A touching and reassuring book which understands the way children think, normalising shyness and showing how it can be overcome with a little bit of time, understanding and encouragement ... A very beautiful book ... Required reading for children prone to shyness.'

* Junior Magazine 'April Book Club' *

'Davina Bell approaches the sensitive issue of anxiety in children with subtlety, her words matched by the elegance of Allison Colpoys' soft palette of grey, blue, white and peach'

-- Thuy On * Books & Publishing *

'[A] gorgeous book ... discusses anxiety without either demonising it or fixing it with a magic wand ... sweet and tender and shiny... And any book with a penguin driving a bus is a-ok with me.'

* Melbourne with the Rocket *

'A stunning, nature-inspired picture book on the dilemma of shyness.'

* Smallish Magazine *

'Davina Bell and Allison Colpoy's beautifully designed picture book captures perfectly how it feels to be small and shy in a big brave world ... Anyone who knows or has been a shy child will empathise with Alfie's plight, and Bell's descriptions of his anxiety are realistic yet simple ... Exquisite ... A must-read.'

* Inis Magazine *

'Charming tale for any child who's less than confident about new things.'

* Gurgle Magazine *

'A gorgeous book, perfect for parents with a shy or sensitive child.'

* The Gingerbread House (blog) *

'A distinctive and beautifully nuanced book about overcoming shyness and trying to be brave. Highly recommended.'

* The Bookseller *

`Poignant ... A wonderful way to support children who feel scared about different experiences.'

* Juno *

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