This Hungry Dragon by Heath McKenzie, hardback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2016.
A very hungry dragon goes on an eating spree. Bear, fox, bull, is there anything he won’t eat?
This Hungry Dragon is an hilarious book with a message about eating right. The dragon grows and grows with every meal, eating well past the time when he is actually full, leaving him feeling rather sick.
All of my kids love This Hungry Dragon, especially my three year olds. They will ‘read’ it to themselves over and over, in between asking me to read it to them. The story is funny with great read aloud rhyming language and lovely illustrations. The dragon is pretty cute, but my favourite picture is inside the dragon’s tummy. We all love to spot different items that the dragon has eaten! I also like the unchangeable expression on the beefy bull.
This Hungry Dragon is most suitable for toddlers, preschoolers and lower primary school children. Heath McKenzie is a well loved author in our house; we like I Wanna Be a Pretty Princess and What Does Santa do When it’s not Christmas. We are looking forward to more books from this terrific author soon.
With Christmas only six weeks away, it was time to pull out some of our Christmas books. We have a pretty good selection of Christmas themed books and I wanted to share some of the Australian ones here.
Our absolute favourite Christmas book, What Does Santa do When it’s not Christmas? is by Australian author and illustrator Heath McKenzie. It is a perfect picture book for sharing aloud and is sure to make you laugh!
Other humourous rhyming books for an Aussie Christmas include There Was an Old Bloke who Swallowed a Present and There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Star, both by P. Crumble and Louis Shea. With hilarious illustrations and a familiar cadence, these are great for young children.
For some Christmas carols with an Aussie twist Colin Buchanan has it covered with Santa Koala (to the tune of Waltzing Matilda), Aussie Jingle Bells and The Twelve Days of Aussie Christmas. The latter also has a list of things to spot in the pictures throughout the book. Fair Dinkum Aussie Christmas is a collection of songs by Bucko & Champs which can be sung to the tunes of some traditional carols. Possibly the most popular Australian Christmas song is Six White Boomers by Rolf Harris and Bruce Whatley; it is certainly our favourite! We also like The Twelve Cats of Christmas by Kevin Whitlark. If you’re more of a dog lover, you may prefer The Twelve Dogs of Christmas!
It wouldn’t be Christmas without reading An Aussie Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve! I love the idea of Santa arriving in an old ute.
Fans of Diary of a Wombat won’t be able to pass Christmas Wombat by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley. That wombat sure does like carrots!
We have a picture book called Santa is Coming to Sydney. Santa takes the whole night to make his special deliveries to Sydney children before flying home… it’s probably nice for kids in Sydney to read about Santa coming to their city, but my kids weren’t really impressed, as it made it seem like Santa would only be visiting Sydney. I do like that Santa uses Santa-Nav to get around though.
If you’re looking for something to keep the kids entertained, you might like to try Where’s Santa? In Australia by Louis Shea. There are literally hundreds of things to spot in this Where’s Wally?-esque book. The humourous illustrations will keep the kids busy for hours!
We also enjoyed The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas by Michael Salmon (my favourite version), Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly and Robert Ingpen, and Christmas in Australia by John Williamson and Mitch Vane. We borrowed these ones from the library.
What Aussie Christmas books do you like to read with your kids?
What do Werewolves do when it’s not Halloween? by Heath McKenzie, paperback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2013.
Halloween comes but once a year, when all the spooky things emerge from the shadows, but what do they do with the time in between? Find out what the witches and vampires, ghosts and mummies get up to in their free time. And specifically what do the werewolves do when they are not scaring the wits out of everyday people?
A hauntingly funny book for primary school children, What do Werewolves do when it’s not Halloween? is another great story from Heath McKenzie. The rhyming text is amusing, and the illustrations divine. The thought of those mummies changing their bandages never fails to make me laugh, and my kindergartner loves to pore over the pictures finding all the little quirks, like the ghost playing guitar and the vampire rubber ducky. The ending is her favourite part, and she can recite the last few pages to me! Reading this book has been a good inspiration for both my kindergartner and my third grader to create some of their own funny halloween pictures, with what they think could be alternative activities for the spooky creatures. I love that reading this book has prompted them to be artistic and creative.
This book is enjoyable for adults as well, the zombie scene is my favourite, have a look at those library cards! A great read out loud book to share and laugh over. After reading What do Werewolves do when it’s not Halloween? and What does Santa do when it’s not Christmas?, I do so hope that Heath McKenzie will tell us what the Easter Bunny is up to next!
What does Santa do When it’s not Christmas? by Heath McKenzie, hardback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2014.
When Christmas is over for another year, does Santa and all his helpers get a good rest?
This humourous rhyming book is an excellent read for Christmas, we just love it! It is my new favourite Christmas book to share with the kids. The story is very clever, and is a delight to share with children of all ages (though teenagers may feel “too old” for such a book!)
The illustrations are beautiful with so much detail, and plenty of funny things to spot, like the elves’ shopping and the reindeer’s plans for greater efficiency. My absolute favourite page is where the gingerbread men are making themselves less delicious using hot mustard, fish paste and asparagus heads, it’s just ingenious. Every time we read this book we find more interesting things within the illustrations. There are also Christmas mice throughout the book to spot, which was a fun activity for us to share whilst reading.
For us Where does Santa go When it’s not Christmas? is the Christmas book to have this year. Read it and laugh with your children. It will inspire Christmas cheer and reinforce belief in Santa and all the Christmas magic that surrounds the North Pole.
I Wanna Be a Pretty Princess by Heath McKenzie, hardback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2014.
Wanting to become a pretty princess is a dream of many young girls, but what does it really take to be one? Dresses, hair, dancing… Here are the rules for being a pretty princess.
A Princess shows the young girl what it takes to be a pretty princess, which isn’t really much fun, there’s hard work too. Some things are uncomfortable and boring, she can’t even eat all the yummy food at the tea party, and she certainly can’t just be herself.
My preschooler likes to dress up as a pretty princess a lot, so when she saw this book she was very excited. She loves it. It is very funny, and the illustrations are fantastic. The expressions of the girl are particularly well drawn, and the boy prince that comes to court her is amusing. I like that the girl discovers that being a princess isn’t all glamour and fun as they are often portrayed, there are sacrifices as well. She finds that it is far better to be herself and do the things she actually likes to do, this is a good message for our girls and boys (though I’m not sure many boys aspire to become princesses!). Pretending to be a princess, without all of the pressures and obligations of a real princess, is much more fun!
This is a nice book for preschool and lower primary school children. It probably appeals more to girls, though I won’t hesitate to read it to my son as well.