‘Arabella and the Magic Pencil’ giveaway

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May 292020
 

EK Books

Castles and crowns, glamour and gowns, tea parties and tiaras… if you thought the life of a princess is always easy, think again. Author Stephanie Ward and illustrator Shaney Hyde are welcoming you into the colourful world of Princess Arabella in this beautiful story published by EK Books:

Every year Princess Arabella, adored by her loving parents, is granted one special wish. She uses her royal wish for the most wonderful things, like pretty pink puppies and fluttery fairies. One thing she didn’t wish for, but she got it anyway, was a royal baby brother called prince Avery…

That year Arabella uses her annual wish to request a pencil with the amazing power to make anything she draws become reality. There is no limit to her art, her inventions are simply spectacular and it all comes together beautifully in her carefully designed garden party. Unfortunately Prince Avery turns out to be particularly good at disturbing Arabella’s perfect life and she decides something has to be done in Arabella and the Magic Pencil (RRP $24.99).

Featuring sweet watercolour art and magnificent words that have a royal ring to them this book is a joy to read and look at. Combining the power of magic with a wise lesson, Arabella and the Magic Pencil will help young readers to see the blessing a new sibling can bring.

You can find ‘Arabella and the Magic Pencil’ in leading book stores across Australia.

To find out more about EK Books, to browse the range and to order your favourite titles online visit www.ekbooks.org.

For your chance to win 1 of 3 copies of Arabella and the Magic Pencil (RRP $24.99) head over to the Hip Little One Facebook page, good luck!

National Reconciliation Week giveaway

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May 272020
 

Whether the kids are back at school or still learning along from home, starting today many students across Australia will be learning about National Reconciliation Week (May 27 – June 3). What is reconciliation, why is it important and why is it important to all of us? Reconciliation Australia captures the message like this:

At its heart, reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians’

We thought Reconciliation Week was a perfect opportunity to share a bunch of beautiful Magabala Books for children created by some of Australia’s most talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. Cuddle up with your kids on the couch or share a story (or a few) in your class room to celebrate, honour and recognise the traditional heart of Australia:

Respect (RRP $24.99) is probably my favourite pick for Reconciliation Week as it truly echos the beauty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in a simple yet heartfelt way that children will enjoy and understand. From their songs and their stories, the respect for their elders, ancestors, family, the country and the nature around them, it is all part of their rich culture and it is something people of all ages can learn from and share in.

If you are looking for inspiration for an Aboriginal art project to do at home or school look no further, Cunning Crow (RRP $24.99) is an absolute treat! Filled with the most amazing Aboriginal art by Gregg Dreise this colourful book takes us back to the Dreamtime, a time long ago when all the birds were white. One day a strike of lightning ignites a magical fire of rainbow colours, painting lorikeets in stunning bright colours, adding a bright yellow crest to the cockatoo and dressing Waan the crow in orange and red shades.

But Waan is not happy with his colouring and wants to look better and brighter than the other birds. In an attempt to improve his looks the cunning crow decides to recreate the magical fire, but instead of bright colours he ends up burning his feathers to a deep, dark black. Next time you see a black crow, remember to celebrate what makes you different and never to change yourself to be like someone else. We are all special and unique and together we make up a dazzling rainbow.

Goannas, mirritji, bull sharks, bakarra… Practise counting to ten, discover ten beautiful animals and learn their English and Ritharrŋu names in Counting Our Country (RRP $12.99). Don’t worry, Ritharrŋu artist and author Jill Daniels has even included a handy pronunciation guide to help you on your way with confidence. With its simple, bright illustrations and sturdy cardboard pages this sweet board book is perfect for our youngest Aussies.

Willy-Willy Wagtail (RRP $24.99) is the first book in Helen Milroy’s new ‘Tales from the Bush Mob’ series, throughout the series we will get to know all the members of the mob. But let’s start at the beginning, when everyone still spoke different languages and no one could understand each other. It all began when curious Willy Wagtail, helped by Gusto the Wind, set off to learn about all the different bush animals, their countries, their languages and their stories.

All Willy’s newfound knowledge comes in handy when a bushfire breaks out and slowly the animals are brought together. With 64 pages and quite a lot of text (and of course lovely pictures) Willy-Willy Wagtail is a great Australian lesson for older children about (animal) diversity, communicating and working together. Keep your eye out for the next two exciting titles in the Bush Mob series: The emu who ran through the sky and The sweetest egg of all.

Living alone in the Australian desert Bubbay wants nothing more than a family of his own. One summer night he makes a wish on a shimmering falling star and that is the beginning of Bubbay’s Desert Adventure (RRP $17.95). Guided by the spirit of his old grandma Gubarlee he sets off on a mission to find five special things for the star: A stone, an egg, a seed, a feather and a shell. Will he find them all before sunrise and what is the special surprise that awaits him?

We know all about puppies, kittens and lambs, but what about the offspring of an echidna, dugong, eagle or bilby? In What do you call a baby…? (RRP $12.99) Kimberley artist Kamsani Bin Salleh will show you a gorgeous puggle, eaglet, chick, pup, calf, tadpole, hatchling and joey and their proud mamas. This delightful board book is made for curious little hands and young readers will love the eye-cathing pastel coloured art.

To find out more about Magabala Books, to browse the range and to order your favourite Magabala titles online visit www.magabala.com.

For your chance to win a Magabala Books prize pack (RRP $118.90) containing the six titles featured above head over to the Hip Little One Facebook page, good luck!

Wave goodbye to bedtime worries with LeapStory

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May 202020
 

I won’t lie: These past months have been hard. I have always been someone who worries easily and this COVID19 outbreak has definitely been a challenge for me mentally. Late last year I lost my wonderful Opa and had to fly to Europe unexpectedly, forcing me to leave my husband and babies behind for the first time. Not long after that my dad received the exciting but scary news that after months on the waiting list a donor liver had been found for him and that he would be undergoing an organ transplant that same day.

We had been waiting impatiently to go and spend seven long weeks with Dad and the rest of family but thanks to COVID19 our flights to The Netherlands were cancelled again and again and after rebooking three times (and travel restrictions coming in) there were eventually no travel options left. With infections sky rocketing in Europe and my recovering Dad in a high risk category we have been terribly worried and still are. The disappointment we (and especially the kids) feel about not seeing our (grand)parents for yet another year is just heartbreaking, not even talking about the money lost through it all. Add to that eight weeks of total home isolation with six kids, home schooling and work worries and 2020 has definitely been a mental challenge I will not easily forget!

For me the only way to keep my head above water has been to grab tight our beautiful kids, take every day as it comes and snuggle up in our safe bubble until this is all behind us. We have baked, coloured, painted, crafted, cooked, puzzled and read. We have spent many days in our pyjamas and enjoyed drives through the country side. We stayed up late, slept in and learnt about all kinds of interesting things. We have built a custom garden bed and set up a chicken coop, we have hatched our very own chicks in an incubator and are watching our chicks and vegetables grow.

As Australia slowly eases back into the ‘new normal’ I look back at a special time with my family and am proud of how we spent it. This week the kids will go back to school and I will go back to my readers, time to tell you about some hip and handy finds that we used a lot during our home isolation time…

While I was away for Opa’s funeral hip Daddy did an amazing job at home. Quite the change for our little troublemaker Ted who was still sleeping with us (and breastfeeding) every single night which was getting pretty exhausting! All attempts at weaning and moving him into his own bed had been unsuccessful until then but with Mummy away he had no choice and it has been the start of a better routine for Ted. He now happily goes to sleep in his own bed with a bit of help from this fabulous LeapFrog bedtime buddy.

Packed full of story classics, myths, nursery rhymes, songs and much more this clever story-telling cube is a wonderful companion for any children’s bedroom or playroom. LeapStory (RRP $69.95, ages 3-8) gives children access to a delightful collection of stories, songs and tunes, they can choose their favourites, listen to them being read out loud and enjoy a mesmerising display of images and animations projected onto the ceiling or wall. Parents can even record themselves reading a special story to their child, which allowed Ted to listen to his mama’s voice even when I was on the other side of the world.

We love the fact that LeapStory presents a great mix of well known classics and lesser known content. With more than 80 preloaded tracks spread out over four different categories (classicsmyths, legends and fables, sleepy time and learning songs children are guaranteed to discover delightful stories and songs they have never heard before. From Rapunzel to Rumpelstiltskin, from the Tortoise and the Hare to Three Little Pigs, from Little Red Riding Hood to Robin Hood, from Jack and the Beanstalk to the Fox and the Crow and so many others, LeapStory offers loads to listen, learn and love. Ted’s favourite is by far the Gingerbread Man!

We have put the LeapStory on Ted’s bedside table so it is always within hand’s reach, he can see the light-up base and projector and he often turns it on himself to listen to a story or two. After six solid months of use we can safely say it has been thoroughly tested by our big family and the kids still turn it on every night at bedtime, if that’s not a tick of approval I don’t know what is!

Whether they want to select a favourite adventure or hear multiple tales, set a timer to listen to stories as they drift off to sleep, flick through the different options or turn on the light projector, we have found the LeapStory cube easy to control. Featuring six simple buttons and an adjustable projector LeapStory allows young children to feel independent and in charge and they don’t need to ask mum or dad for help with every little change (particularly handy at bedtime!).

Getting tired of the same stories? Need a fresh fable or new nursery rhyme? No problem! Simply connect your LeapStory to your computer and download an additional content pack completely free using the LeapFrog Connect application. The LeapStory device will work on 4 AA batteries (great for holidays, camping adventures or road trips) or mains power using the included adapter.

You can find LeapStory at a Big W, Myer or other good toy store near you and online at selected retailers.

To find out more about LeapFrog, to browse the range and to locate stockist near you visit www.leapfrog.com.au.