Jennifer Douglas is a literary publicist who believes in the right of equality for all authors. With a vision of a world where positivity is the norm and negativity is long forgotten Jennifer works alongside authors creating a marketing and publicity plan that meets the needs of the individual.

With years of experience in publicity, public relations and the marketing industry, which includes working with Allen and Unwin and Palmer Higgs Publishing, Jennifer has become a well sort after reviewer. To work with Jennifer is to know you are working with someone who will not hold back on being open and honest about your book and its marketing possibilities.

Having undertaken many courses in writing and poetry over the years Jennifer has a vast knowledge in the field of writing and reviewing, being able to provide an efficient, effective and professional service. As a qualified Early Childhood Educator and a home educating mum with over 16 years experience, she has a passion for quality children's books and educational resources.

Having spent 6 years as the founder and managing editor of two magazines, Good Gabble and Rattling Reviews, Jennifer has an eye for marketing and sales, knowing what the consumer is looking for and how to reach them. She works individually with each client meeting their needs and the needs of their product. She has many years experience in critiquing websites, placing herself in the shoes of the consumer who is browsing. Many clients return time and time again knowing they will be receiving an honest, open and non judgmental review or critique. Jennifer prides herself on providing a friendly, non threatening and personal service. Her clients are able to contact her personally throughout the whole review process.

For further information on the services Jennifer offers please visit her website www.jenniferdouglasliterarypublicist.com. This blog is a review base only.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Wolfbaene by Michelle Dennis

In Wolfbaene Michelle Dennis takes the reader on a fantasy journey with two young lads, Thomas and William, as they find a life they never knew they lived and a mother they never knew existed. What unfolds is a journey you do not expect to take when you first start reading. Will the boys successfully overpower Wolfgang, the King who is not all he seems to be, and save a kingdom that is rightfully theirs? Will the love that is in William's heart for Emma become fruitful? Will William be able to unleash the power’s within in time to save his brother and those he loves?

This is a wonderful book full of twists and turns that have you wanting to read more. Michelle Dennis writes with an easy reading style that moves you, capturing each moment with intensity and passion. It is easy to see that she is a writer with passion in her heart for the craft she has chosen. 

Although listed as a young adult novel Wolfbaene is definitely suited for a wide audience. For an adult it is a light read but in no way a read that leaves you feeling you are reading to your kids.  At first I felt the topic at hand may have been a little boyish for my liking but by the time I had completed chapter two I was hooked. This is definitely a book suitable to both sexes leaving you so engrossed you forget it is about boys. 

Michelle Dennis has done a wonderful job of setting the medievil theme. Although fantasy the book reads with a little bit of reality that you can relate to. At no period of time did I feel anything was far fetched or silly but felt as though I was there with William, Thomas and Emma fighting every step of the way. 

Wolfbaene has something magical about it in the sense that it draws you in. It contains all a good fantasy book needs - love, loss, magic, a world unknown and the finding of oneself in a place you never dreamed existed. Wolfbaene took me through all the emotions I needed to feel.

Did I predict the ending? No Way! As I got to chapter nineteen and things were drawing to a close I sat with breath held in anticipation. From chapter twenty to the last chapter, twenty two, I was glued and racing forward. Watch out anyone who should interrupt me!

I felt a little sad as I closed the cover of Wolfbaene. My journey had ended. Wolfbaene is Michelle Dennis' debut novel,I eagerly await more. 

ISBN: 9781849633437

Available online at www.austinmacauley.com 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Suvi and the Sky Folk written by Sandra Horn illustrated by Muza Ulasowski

It is Suvi’s first winter. She is amazed when the Northern Lights appear in the sky. She can’t stop gazing at them. Her Grand-Deer tells her an old Two-legs story: The Lights are Sky Folk, who will snatch away anyone who waves at them!

Old Man Wolf comes prowling and howling. Suvi runs off in fright and loses the herd. All alone, she meets some strange creatures and then Old Man Wolf himself looms out of the snow, waving his tail...

An enchanting story set in the Arctic night. 

Suvi and the Sky Folk follows the previous collaboration of Sandra Horn and Muza Ulasowski in  ‘I Can’t Hear You! I Can’t See You! Yet again they do not disappoint with Suvi and the Sky Folk showing the talent of both as individuals and a team. 

Sandra Horn has based this beautiful tale on that of the belief of the Canadian Inuit people and the story told to children in Norway. It is here that children are told that they must not wave or whistle at the northern lights or they will be snatched away. As Suvi jumps for joy her Grand-deer relays is this message : 

“Hush, little Suvi!” her Grand-deer warned.

“It’s the Sky-folk! The Two-legs say if you wave or make a noise, they will swoop down and snatch you away, far beyond the stars, where no moss grows”

I love the tradition and use of generations of deer within this story. It depicts the warmth and knowledge that is passed down. Children can easily relate the love and protection of the herd toward Suvi to that of their own family. Muza Ulasowski gives the emotion within the words perspective, using expressions and actions within her illustrations.

Suvi and the Sky Folk is one of those books that blends beautifully from page to page and keeps you in suspense as you travel the journey. It contains all that a good picture book should, that of clear inviting illustrations, large font that is easy to read and a story that not only invites but educates and intrigues. Sandra Horn has managed to weave magic in such few words, including not only love and warmth but a little bit of suspense and danger with a feel good outcome. 

I truly hope it is not the last we see of this author/illustrator partnership. The magic they weave as a team is a delight to behold and an asset to children’s literature. 

ISBN: 978-1-63063-395-0

Follow Suvi and the Sky Folk on Facebook:

Learn more about Sandra Horn: www.tattybogle.co.uk

Visit Muza Ulasowski: www.muzadesigns.com.au

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Surfing Christmas by Meryl Harris

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Read! Read! Read! A Surfing Christmas by Meryl Harris is part of  set 2 of the early readers published by Aussie School Books. 

This is a feel good book with a clear message of giving. Scott and Nick are friends and surf buddies but their lives differ. Scott lives with his family. Sadly Nick lost his parents in a car accident earlier in the year and was already on his fourth foster carer family. Scott and Nick planned to spend Christmas Day surfing until Scott’s mum comes up with the idea of starting a Christmas family tradition spent at home. Scott does not like the idea but soon finds that it includes Nick, with a little heart warming twist at the end.

Scott Chester won’t have anything to do with his family’s new Christmas traditions. No way is he going to stay at home, having a traditional Christmas dinner. He’s already planned the perfect day at the beach with his best friend, Nick. He can’t let Nick spend Christmas all on his own. Scott’s mum has other ideas, however, and the boys are in for a Christmas surprise. 

This is a book suitable for reading all year round. Although Christmas themed there is more within than the title suggests. A Surfing Christmas is a book about loss, friendship, acceptance and finding a place you can call home. Well presented with clear black and white illustrations by Phong Lam, A Surfing Christmas by Meryl Harris will have children eager to read.

ISBN: 978-1-921255-18-2

Find out more about Aussie School Books: www.aussieschoolbooks.com.au

Friday, December 20, 2013

Elliot Find A Home by Amelia Picklewiggle Illustrations by Muza Ulasowski

Elliot Finds A Home is a beautiful story that touches the heart, moves emotionally and pulls at the heart strings.

Elliot is a dog that is different, sitting in a pet shop with no one wanting him. As time passes he is sent to ‘a place for unwanted puppies’. 

Joseph is a little boy who is different. Joseph has Autism and has never spoken or responded to his mummy and daddy. He is alone in his head. 

Elliot Finds A Home is a beautiful story in which Elliot and Joseph find each other, love and a friend for life. It is about acceptance of being different, finding someone you can relate to and finding your place in this world.  Elliot Finds A Home touches the heart in both story and illustration. It moves you emotionally regardless of your age. Throughout the reading of this story there were a lot of ooh’s and aahs coming from my 6 year old. Her facial expression and the excited conversations she just had to have with me whilst reading the book showed the emotions and thoughts that were running through her body. After reading she just didn’t want to put the book down. She carried it around for a while bringing it back to me, opening the pages to talk further about the pictures. It will surely be a favourite on her shelf. 

This is another high quality book illustrated Muza Ulasowski. She has yet again created a pictorial journey that breathes life, love and friendship.This book as a whole speaks of the purity of love and of home being the place where our heart is. The facial expressions of Elliot and later Joseph are just perfect, carrying through the emotions of the words written by Amelia Picklewiggle. Like all books illustrated by Muza I could feel the softness of the human skin and wanted to pat Elliot and run my fingers through his soft fur. I also wanted to wrap my arms around Elliot and Joseph and hug them tight, celebrating the love they had just found in each other. 

I highly recommend this book to any family with an Autistic child. I have an Autistic son, who although verbal has his difficulties and has found love and companionship in a cat. My 6 year old has heard the words Autistic used in relation to her brother but has never asked for an explanation. Elliot Finds A Home was a great resource for the introduction into Autism and how Autistic people are different. It opens the door for conversation about the companionship and comfort animals bring to our lives. 

This is a great resource for parents, carers and teachers and a book that all children will hug close to their heart for many years to come.

ISBN: 978-1-4791-2317-9

Find out more about Elliot Finds A Home and view the illustrations on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/elliotfindsahome

Visit Muza Ulasowksi - www.muzadesigns.com.au

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Big Cheese Family by Tony Jerris

The Big Cheese Family is a book of battle between mice and man. It is an amusing tale that children will find humorous and entertaining. It contains cartoon illustrations that have a pencil drawn look that children will be able to relate to. This is book 1  “Not’cho Cheese!” in a series.

This book had me wondering why in many ways. Why are there so many blank pages at the front, with some being the yellow of the whole book but a few being white? There are also two white blank pages at the back. It is as though a few extra sheets got thrown in when putting the book together, but these sheets are yellow and white not fully yellow.  I also questioned the use of yellow pages but this is consistent with the colour that Tony Jerris likes in his books as his first book The Little Spruce is printed on red paper. The illustrations also had me baffled, some filling the frame, the others falling short leaving them looking unfinished. 

‘They are a cheese-loving family of mice that live in a grocery store, giving them free range to the dairy section. There’s only one problem standing in their way - Mr McGrime, the cranky store owner. Still, that doesn’t stop the playful critters, who somehow always outsmart Mr McGrime. Written in metered poetry, this series of books will take kids on a fun-filled romp with each new story.

In Book1 -”Not’cho Cheese!” - Grandpa Gouda pays a visit to Papa Parmesan, Papa’s wife, Brie and their son, Reggiano. But when Reggiano eats the macaroni-and-cheese that Brie’s prepared for dinner, the mice must figure out a way of sneaking cheese from the grocery store and into their nook without being caught by Mr McGrime.

The Big Cheese Family has a great story plot with humor thrown in. I loved the use of cheese names such as Parmesan and Brie for the mouse family. Placing a cheese glossary at the end of the book adds a little educational value to a fiction book and extends the interest in the subject at hand. 

Tony Jerris has a great idea but I feel he may have rushed the production process leaving the final product looking as though not much thought had gone in to it. I feel more time could have been spent tightening the story as at times the rhyme misses, making for hard reading and the loss of flow. I would love to see this book republished as the story itself has a lot to offer.

Overall The Big Cheese by Tony Jerris is a book that will entertain children, being suitable for the early reader, but probably not a book that they will come back to time and time again. 

Visit Tony Jerris and find out more at www.tonyjerris.com

ISBN: 9781493521418

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Sea Cat Dreams by J R Poulter Illustrations Muza Ulasowski

What can I say about The Sea Cat Dreams but Wow! I swayed with the ocean as I took an emotional journey with the sea cat from farm, to sea, to the loss of the one she called her owner and  the joy of her comforting another during their loss.

The Sea Cat Dreams is the second book I have reviewed which has been illustrated by Muza Ulasowski and with each I have been in awe. The realism of her work puts the reader right where they need to be, within the book. I always feel a need to reach out and touch her illustrations expecting to actually be able to feel the texture of the picture. Her attention to detail has me wanting to sit for hours and study every aspect of her work. She truly is an artist to be adored. To have a piece of her work upon your lounge room wall would be to have a picture that tells a never ending story. 

The Sea Cat Dreams is a book that will leave children dreaming of places far away and a cat that they call theirs. The message of love and loss is hidden nicely within the adventures of the life of this cat but is clear enough for it to be addressed should the need arise. Coping with change also speaks clearly within this book and would be great used with a child who is sensitive to change in their lives. 

I wanted to cuddle and stroke the sea cat and have her curl up on my lap and purr. I was able to hear the laughter and the barking of the girl and puppy on page 7, as though I was there taking thepicture.   I really wanted to pick that puppy up and take him home. I could hear the soft flutter of the wings of butterflies on page 13, feeling at peace and relaxed.

The Seat Cat Dreams is more than a book. I felt as though I was watching a movie as I watched the transition from page to page, moving to the next frame of the adventure. This book captivates, elates and moves. This is a book that shows the high quality that is available in children’s literature. 

Join the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/theSeaCatDreams where you can view illustrations from the book and find out more. 

Find out more about Muza Ulasowski : www.muzadesigns.com.au

Find out more about J R Poulter: http://jrpoulter.wordpress.com/

ISBN: 978-1-62563-912-7

Monday, December 16, 2013

That's not a Bulldozer! by Jacque Duffy

That’s not a Bulldozer! by Jacque Duffy is a story about a little boy and his knowledge of machinery. It is an early reader and part of the  ‘That’s not a...’ series. 

My daughter and myself enjoyed this little reader finding it informative and easy to relate too. Having read other books in this series we would have to say we can highly recommend the series as a set of early readers suitable for both gender. Although there are a couple of titles that can be seen to be aiming at boys we did not find this at all when reading them.

In That’s not a Bulldozer! the reader travels a journey with Lachlan who is ten years old. Living in the country Lockie has a very big back yard to play in, often helping dad with the machinery. There is the front end loader for scooping up dirt, the excavator for lifting things, the backhoe which combines both the front end loader and the excavator and the bobcat. Throw in some machinery used to build the roads and you have it all covered.

Jacque Duffy has done a wonderful job with the illustrations of this book. They are simple yet capture every bit of detail of each piece of machinery. They add a wonderful visual journey to the experience of reading. For children interested in art the illustrations lend themselves to that of enhancing interest and encouraging creativity.

Find out more about Jacque Duffy and her work at www.jacqueartandbooks.com

ISBN: 978-0-646-53621-7

Sunday, December 15, 2013

No Matter Who We're With by Robert Vescio

No Matter Who We’re With is a delightful picture book that captures the difficulty of having to spend time with mum and dad on different occasions due to separation.  As a divorced father Robert Vescio has done a wonderful job of addressing the topic from the child’s point of view, using his own experiences to capture the moment. His own emotion and compassion shines through in his writing. This is a book that turns what can be a difficult topic to discuss with kids into fun and an opportunity of sharing.

After reading No Matter Who We’re With I felt as though I wanted to shout Yes! at the top of my voice. Where was this book when I divorced and my children needed that little bit of reassurance. When I was reading it to my daughter, now 6 years old, I could see her face lighting up as she realised she was not alone, other children went through this too. It was a moment of enlightenment and that of building self worth and self esteem as she felt a bit of normality and relief. 

No Matter Who We’re With makes splitting your time between two parents something that is ok. It acknowledges that it is ok to miss one parent when you are with the other. You can love both parents even though they do not live together anymore. It is ok to feel sad each time you leave a parent to be with the other but you can still have fun. It is important to note the acceptance within this book of the situation by the mother and the father. There is a clear message to parents here. It is not about competing or showing dislike for each other but about acceptance of the situation and allowing the children to feel comfortable no matter who’s house they are at. It is all about being an adult and sharing the love of your children regardless of your differences. Unfortunately for some children the relationship between the parents only makes it harder. 

I love the way this book shows the difference between both parents and, although it tends to stick to stereotypical jobs most of the time, both parents do step outside the general role on occasions, showing versatility. It also has the children acknowledge that they miss the role dad played in their life with mum as they mention ‘Dad used to be really good with a duster-wand’ when dusting with mum. I love the fun the kids have individually with mum and dad but also the reality that chores must be done and food must be cooked. 

Robert Vescio has touched on a topic that is too often forgotten and he has done it with ease. The illustration by Cheri Sholten show the love and caring between the parents and their children. They enhance the fun loving nature of this book, helping share the pleasures and spontaneity of childhood and family, no matter how it has to be. 

Whether you and your children are just going through divorce and separation or you went there some time ago I urge you to grab a copy of No Matter Who We’re With by Robert Vescio. This book should be a mandatory read for all children who experience the sharing of two homes with their parents. 

ISBN: 978-1-922-12021-2

Find out more about Robert Vescio www.robertvescio.com

The Tooth Adventures of Fanny Nightsky by L Hollar

The Tooth Adventures of Fanny Nightsky by L Hollar  takes you on a journey with tooth fair Fanny and her fairy in training Zip as they visit the homes of children. Fanny  surely has her job set out for her as Zip gets into trouble from house to house. Can Fanny save Zip from the fairy trap or from being eaten by a cat? As Fanny begins to loose her patience with Zip she takes a moment to remember that she was once a trainee too.

This is a fun loving book that encourages the creative mind, promoting reading for fun and leisure. I did feel in places that it tended to drag and could be tightened but overall my daughter and myself enjoyed sharing it, which is one of the most rewarding parts of reading with a child. 

The Tooth Adventures of Fanny Nightsky opened itself to pre-empting what would happen next which created a flow of discussion encouraging problem solving and early story telling skills. This is definitely not a book to be read in a matter of a few minutes but one that you will find yourself taking your time with. There is a little humour thrown in that adults will find amusing and kids will giggle at. 

Overall The Tooth Adventures of Fanny Nightsky by L Hollar is an enjoyable picture book with illustrations by Sue Mydliak

ISBN: 9781482378795

Available at www.amazon.com

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Littlest Spruce by Tony Jerris

The littlest Spruce by Tony Jerris is a Christmas tale with a difference. Based around three trees and two mice The littlest Spruce tells of the chopping of Christmas trees, separating the littlest spruce from momma and pop. Along come two little mice who devise a plan to reunite the littlest spruce with his parents in a warm cosy house.

This is a sweet little book that is written in metered poetry and sits nicely as an early reader. Each page contains an illustration by Tanya Weinberger, with the words sitting around it. 

I enjoyed sharing this book with my daughter but on the downside found the red pages a little hard on the eyes as I was halfway through. On the first instance I was a little put off by the use of capitals for the entire back blurb feeling that the quality I was about to find within was going to be poor. This was not the case as the story provides an enjoyable read.

The Littlest Spruce by Tony Jerris is a book that focuses on the importance of family value and consideration for others. I love the use of a tree giving thought to our environment. 

Tony Jerris is an accomplished playwright, author and and screenwriter. His professionalism as a writer shows within The Littlest Spruce. This was his first children’s book, winning Best New Children’s Book at the North American Book Exchange and featuring on Good Morning America. It was soon followed by The Big Cheese Family!

The Littlest Spruce is a great Christmas read that will grow with children, being pulled off the shelf and shared each Christmas.

View the book trailer at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_u_LUAwiDw

Find out more about Tony Jerris at: www.tonyjerris.com

The Littlest Spruce is available at www.amazon.com

ISBN: 9780963010711

Friday, December 13, 2013

I Can't Hear You! I Can't See You! written by Sandra Horn Illustrated by Muza Ulasowski

I Can’t Hear You! I Can’t See You! is a beautiful story about being different and finding acceptance.   It is about finding what you are good at and feeling proud. This feel good picture book takes children on a journey with Tippy the penguin and his ocean life friends.

‘Tippy the penguin has a problem. His feet are too big! He’s always caught out first when he plays hide-and-seek with his friends because his toes poke out.

Finally he loses his temper and stomps off to the edge of the ice, closing his eyes and covering his ears so he can’t see or hear his friends. Then the ice breaks away...

Tippy is swept away into the bay. With his eyes shut and his ears covered up, he has encounters he doesn’t even know about - but the ice beneath his feet is slowly melting...

Then Tippy’s big flat feet save the day and turn him into a hero - the penguin who invented surfing!’

There are a lot of things to love about this book. Printed on smooth glossy paper with illustrations that come alive it invites and invigorates. The smooth theme is carried through in the pages which turn beautifully and are a delight to read. It is hard to say what I love about this book but I just love it! It was such a pleasure to read.

I Can’t Hear You! I Can’t See You! is one of those books that shows great team work between the author and illustrator. The pictures and words compliment each other beautifully. I love the large illustrations that jump out of the page and take you to with them to the next one. You can see and feel the movement of each character which creates a desire to reach out and touch them, expecting to feel the soft down of a penguin. 

I Can’t Hear You! I Can’t See You! is a high quality children’s picture book that will be enjoyed by all who read it. It is a visual journey that stimulates the senses creating a warm pleasurable experience that enhances the sharing pleasure. 

Meet the author Sandra Horn at www.tattybogle.co.uk

Find out more about the illustrator Muza Ulasowski at www.muzadesigns.com.au

ISBN: 978-0-9569609-1-7

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I Love You 5 Lollipops by Jaquelyn Muller

I Love you 5 Lollipops by Jaquelyn Muller is an adorable picture book that says so much in so little words whilst touching the heart. The illustrations by Kathryn Zammit add to the soft feel good mood of this book.

I Love You 5 Lollipops captures the love between a child and their mother as well as touching on the love and bond toward other family members. Elizabeth Rose is a little girl who loves her family. When each asks how much she loves them she replies in number -  Sister 1 puppy dog, Pop 2 dollies, Gran 3 cupcakes, Daddy 4 teddy bears but most of all Mum 5 lollipops.

My daughter loved this book. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney is an all time favourite in our household so I Love You 5 Lollipops followed beautifully behind. We play the how much do you love me game often and have a giggle as we try to out do each other, this book adding further pleasure and challenges to our game using everyday objects my daughter can relate to. 

I Love You 5 Lollipops is a perfect book for the child who has just started to read and will captivate the younger child with it's conversational illustrations. Based around a circus theme and incorporating counting I Love You 5 Lollipops has it all. 

This is sure to become another one of our all time favourite reads,  promoting a loving feeling that leads to a peaceful sleep. 

Find out more about Jaquelyn Muller and purchase I Love You 5 Lollipops at www.jmullerbooks.com

That's not a balloon! by Jacque Duffy

That’s not a balloon! by Jacque Duffy is an early reader that captivates and educates, investigating the Blimp and Hot Air Balloon. 

We found this book very informative and full of information we did not know. Blimps are something we do not see very often, less these days than we use to. How do they work? What are their dimensions? Did you know the lightsign is made of approximately 369,600 LEDs.

Hot Air Balloons are something we see a little more regularly and we admire as they float through the sky but something we do not give much technical thought too. Do you know what temperature the inside of the balloon is or how the heat is monitored? What are the different parts of a hot air balloon called? How much gas do the burners use per hour?

This book is a little package full of lots of information. The colourful illustrations complete the informative package. The comparison of the two balloons and their relationship to that of the hot air balloons that a child would see at a birthday party make this book easy to understand and a resource that gets the cogs of the mind churning. 

Well done Jacque Duffy, this is one of the most informative early readers I have read with my daughter in a long time.

ISBN: 978-0-646-49579-8

Find out more about Jacque Duffy: www.jacquesartandbooks.com

Purchase online from Angus and Robertson: www.angusrobertson.com.au/book/thats-not-a-balloon/3268894/