Something for the kids…

November 9, 2016

Synopsis: Albert can’t help getting into mischief when no one is around. But one day he goes too far… Oh, Albert! A perfect story about a family and their not-so-perfect (but loveable!) dog.

Review: Oh, Albert! is an adorable picture book, perfect for dog-loving families who will no doubt love reading about the mischievous Albert who is lovable but also often a handful. The story’s honest look at the potential reality of owning a dog – the items eaten or destroyed, the worry, and the vet visits – also makes the book a good title for parents who want to educate little ones about the responsibilities of pet ownership.

The story is told over the course of a week, and depicts some of the frustrations and joys of a modern Australian family who are often busy at work, school, exercising, and enjoying other extracurricular activities. The text, by Davina Bell, includes plenty of identifiable moments for children and adults alike, as well as repetition of key lines which will keep children following along.

The wording is simple and to the point, which allows illustrator Sara Acton’s beautiful, emotionally-engaging yet minimalist pictures to shine and bring Albert and his family to life even more. Additional humour and pathos is also conveyed through the stirring illustrations.

No matter whether readers are dog lovers or not, they are sure to find much to enjoy about this memorable picture book’s themes of unconditional love, forgiveness and hope. The title also hones in on the importance of family bonds and accepting each other for who we are, warts and all.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Penguin Random House, in exchange for an honest review.

Alphaprints: Dinoshapes

Synopsis: Learning about shapes is roarsome fun with this Alphaprints book of Dinoshapes. From triangles to circles, rectangles to squares, each dinosaur on its illustrated, prehistoric background introduces a new shape for babies and toddlers to learn. A unique and appealing Alphaprints illustration style, takes fingerprint pictures and adds photographs of everyday things for children to spot.

Review: When it comes to board books, it’s hard to go past an option about dinosaurs, a perennial favourite with young children year in and year out. The latest in the Alphaprints range from Priddy Books, Dinoshapes, introduces kids to seven different dinosaurs and shapes, one pair for each per spread.

Handily, children (and adults!) are given a breakdown on how to say each dinosaur name, and youngsters are sure to have fun spotting the shaped items on each page in addition to numerous everyday objects such as coffee beans, buttons, bananas, straws, chocolate, balls, biscuits and more. Dinoshapes provides a fun introduction to shapes for babies and toddlers and has rhythmical, rhyming text to boot.

The illustrations boast a unique mixture of photographs and pictures, while also incorporating fingerprints for textural appeal. Each spread of illustrations is bright and colourful to capture the interest of even young babies, while the complexity in the mix of images also allows toddlers and older kids to notice something new on each read through.  The sturdy board pages are perfect for chubby little hands to hold too, and will withstand plenty of impact.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Pan Macmillan, in exchange for an honest review.

Kellie Byrnes is a children’s author, full-time corporate writer, and life-long avid reader who enjoys immersing herself in stories of many different genres. When she is not working on her own writing, she can be found checking out the latest books, films, TV shows and theatre productions, or researching her next travel adventure.  You can connect with Kellie on Twitter at @KellieJByrnes.

Kellie Byrnes on Twitter
Kellie Byrnes

Kellie Byrnes is a full-time corporate writer and life-long avid reader who enjoys immersing herself in stories of many different genres, particularly children’s books.


Kellie’s debut children’s picture book will be published by Wombat Books in 2017/18, and when not writing she can often be found checking out the latest books, films, TV shows and theatre productions.