THE SECRET WILD book review


Paperback, ISBN 978 1 4063 9939 4

For me the main character in any book I read has to be likeable or I find it impossible to push past the first couple of chapters.

The main character in THE SECRET WILD, Fern fits the bill.

She is a bit clumsy and doesn’t think or plan ahead, but her love of plants and her curiousness about them is endearing despite her inability to do as her father says which can lead her into danger.

Ten year old Fern has lived her whole life in the rainforest with her botanist parents and loves to climb trees and talk to them. However after an incident that leaves her parents very worried about Fern, she has to leave them and the rainforest to move to London to live with her eccentric writer uncle.

Fern finds London at first to be strange and unfriendly and so very different to her life in the rainforest. However making an unusual friend helps her feel a little less uncomfortable and allows her time to try to plan her escape back to her parents.

I won’t share anything more about this story as it is full of adventure, love and friendship as well as a couple of bad characters.

It is however a really good read.

The images of plants slowly encroaching growing everywhere is a nice foreshadowing touch.


Sharon Greenaway

20th January 2023.

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Glimpse at my studio

I have changed my studio around a little bit and love this corner.

Thought I would share with you.

Corner of Sharon Greenaway’s studio, 2021.
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The Magic of Magnolia Moon book review

The Magic of Magnolia Moon, Edwina Wyatt, illustrated by Katherine Quinn, Walker Books, 2021, ISBN 978 1 760652722, Hb, $19.99

Even though this is the second Magnolia Moon book, you can dive right in and enjoy this enchanting contemporary novel featuring ten year old Magnolia. This book sees her starting her fifth year at school without the constant support of her best friend, Imogen May.

Magnolia Moon believes in Magic but as the novel progresses she struggles to hold onto her beliefs when challenged by a school bully, as well as her own observations of other people such as the new neighbour Reuben who used to fly like an angel when he was younger.

The grown up characters play second fiddle to the children, with the only exception being a whole chapter devoted to Magnolia Moon’s visit to Grandma Moon’s farm where the quirky nature of the older woman and her relationship to animals underpins the Magic in the book.

Magic is explained in various examples, one such piece on pages 100 – 101 is a delight, an example of Mystery Magic.

Magnolia considers Magic and the results of wishing for it to happen at various times in the novel; the part that I loved was when she was talking with Reuben about the wishes made on the Wishing Tree and whether they all come true. Magnolia thinks about the time she wishes for a baby sister but instead got a brother and now she wouldn’t swap baby Finnegan… (P.112) Magnolia realises that Magic is not as straight forward as she first thought.

Throughout the novel there are beautiful black and white illustrations by Quinn which add another lovely dimension to the text, a favourite one is on page 138 when Mama Moon encourages Magnolia Moon to write down a list of things that bothered her, Magnolia writes down what is real or made up, what are real things that are so incredible they must be magical in a way.

I enjoyed this novel, it was a pleasure to escape day to day life from and I recommend it highly.

Sharon Greenaway

12th December 2021.

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Book review ‘I Am Angry’

I am angry, Michael Rosen, illustrated by Robert Starling. Isbn 9781406396652, Walker Books.

This kitten is ANGRY.

He/she is so angry-jumping up and down with anger, rolling on the ground, throwing the little mouse in a red bin (appropriate colour for anger) and even scaring such big animals as tigers.

As we turn another page the kitten’s intense anger gets worse; even the sun and moon are not safe.

There is simply no calming or reasoning with this kitten.

The many characters who are affected by this kitten are beautifully illustrated in bold vibrant colour. I love the expressions of the tiger and kangaroo on one double page spread.

Parents of young children will recognise this anger, when a tired little one cannot be reasoned with no matter what.

It is a fun story with a happy ending.

Sharon Greenaway

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Book Review, An Amazing Australian Road Trip, 2021.

An Amazing Australian Road Trip, Jackie Hosking, illustrated by Lesley Vamos. Walker Books, Hardcover. Isbn 978 1 760650 76 6, 2021.

It is aunty’s 60th birthday and her family decide to celebrate her special day with a picnic and birthday cake at an amazing locale.

So the family pack up the car with everything they may need as well as an enormous birthday cake and leave their home town Melbourne to journey west.

There is also a statement on the opening double page spread that hints that there will be so much more to discover in this book when the reader is asked if he/she can find some of the… ‘…19 World Heritage listed properties…’ listed in the book.

The first stop is the 12 Apostles where the family bring the cake to the viewing platform but don’t eat it.

From here the family journey further west, discovering more interesting places along the way, including Coober Pedy (I particularly loved the illustrations here, especially the toilet scene). Then they change direction and head north to Broome, from here changing direction again in order to visit many other famous Australian landmarks, all the while trying to find the best place to wish aunty a Happy Birthday and eat the cake.

As well as the story of the family’s birthday journey, Hosking has added extra information about each location they are in. For example when the family are in Kakadu some of the information includes …‘Kakadu is home to more than 10,000 crocodiles…and 2000 different types of plants.’

The book is choc-full of vibrant illustrations, with each location featured on its own double page spread.

Like any good picture book the illustrations both serve to underline and enhance the existing text, for example when aunty decides she will climb the stairs to the moon (love the faces on the grown ups) or the majesty of Uluru is so richly illustrated.

As well, Vamos has added extra humorous drawings within the story which children and their readers love to find. As I said, I loved the Coober Pedy section of the story particularly, both for the humour and geological extras included, or going back to the beginning the things the family pack seem a little excessive!

There is a lot in this book, it features many stunning places of Australia as well as the story of an Australian family wanting to share a special celebration.

Oh and where, or if ,does aunty eat her cake?

You will need to read the story but for me it was such a suitably Aussie ending to this tale.


Sharon Greenaway

17th Feb. 2021.

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