No, No, Gnome! By Ashlyn Anstee

I have always loved a garden gnome…..little creatures having adventures around gardens….painted differently to express their unique personalities. I also love my garden and take delight in attempting (sometimes successful!) to grow pretty flowers and my own fruit/veggies.

My favourite day at work is Friday…this is when the courier arrives with the boxes of new books . I was very excited when I opened the top box to find this gorgeous cover looking out at me.


We meet this little Gnome at ‘Greenthumb Elementary’ (great name, can I enroll?!) harvest day….and gnome although his best intentions, (and this can happen to any novice gardnener!)…get’s a little carried away… (No, No, Gnome!!). Despite the teacher’s attempts to assign him different tasks,  gardening isn’t proving to be poor little Gnome’s forte.


This has made his popularity with the other students take a rather large dive….what can Gnome do to make it up to his classmates…..


I absolutely adore the illustrations in this book, they are so bright and eyecatching. The story really does highlight the joy in gardening and growing/ harvesting your own food. Also by showing how you can learn from your mistakes.

There is so much you could do with this book, it is a great one to encourage children to get outdoors and create their own garden. Also to learn about plants, different fruit/veggies and explore where we get our fresh produce.


I am saying Yes, Yes Gnome to this one! I will be buying a copy of this one to add to my own picture book collection. I will also be using it during storytime and work, which I know will be a hit. Also on the publishers website there are some activities/colouring sheets related to the story. Children can learn about garden tools and fruit and vegies in the garden.

This super talented author/illustrator also has another children’s book called ‘Are we there yet’ (also a gem)

And if you would like to follow her in the twitterspehere and maybe give her a pat on the back for creating this gorgeous book!! .. you can find Ashlyn  @ashlynanstee

5/5 marmalade sandwiches for this beauty!


Today’s brew.. Pineapple, Almond, Coconut Green tea from my recent trip to Maui…absolutely delightful



Wannabe farmers….apply here

Title: Dirty Chick, Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer

Author: Antonia Murphy

Publisher: Text Publishing


Ok..confession time…I am a farmer wannabe…..when I say ‘wannabe’ I mean, I swoon and coo when I see a goat..cow…chicken….llama…pig….sheep…you name it, I will probably want one.

Now if you haven’t heard of Antonia Murphy (I shamefully had not…I know right..have I been living under a rock?!!) she is a very cool chick (@AntoniaMurphyNZ). Not only is she an author…a farmer, and adventurer she also has written about many of her sailing experiences which have appeared in many sailing magazines. (Many strings to her bow this one)

When I spotted this title ‘Dirty Chick’ Adeventures of an Unlikely Farmer…I thought to myself..this is me! This is the guide book I have been searching for..I need to cyber stalk this woman so I can pick her brains! However….did this give me a reality check! I was quicky thrown out of the ‘romantic’ bubble of farm life, which I envisioned, fresh farm eggs, milk, cheese on the table and a cute assortment of farm animals frolicking happily around the paddocks. (insert rainbows and lollipops here)

“By now I’d learned that country life is not a pastoral painting. Sure, at various times during the year you might see fluffy white lambs prancing in the tall grass, but those moments are rare. Real country life, it turns out, involves blood, shit and worms.”

The reader is taken on a funny, horrifying and entertaining journey with Murphy, which I promise will make you laugh out loud. From a sailor to a rookie farmer she shows us how not to start up a farm in picturesque NZ , with all the trials and tribulations. .The reader will also discover many fun facts from Murphy… the self confessed lamb addict (yes I am one of these too…)

“That’s how that lamb seduced me. It was cute like a baby, but unlike my own children, it didn’t whine or annoy me….I felt sorry for people who didn’t have lambs, because their lives seemed so grey and predictable. Unlike me, they didn’t live in hyper-elevated lamb reality, full of cute things and sparkles.”

Some of these fun facts include an education on a Duck’s penis (I will never look at a Duck the same again), vampire worms, chicken physiotherapy … alpaca noses and a very good example of how not to transport calves.

There are some serious elements as we learn of a death of a friend and the challenges faced with their young son Silas. Readers are able to experience how Murphy and her husband use their lifestyle to help foster his growth. Despite all the very turbulent and graphically described adventures (good and bad), there is still a charm to this lifestyle, which Murphy has no plans on ditching.

Murphy’s ability to find a humourous slant to almost any situation makes this a gem of a read. Wannabe farmer or not.



4/5 Marmalade sandwiches


Today’s brew

Organic Unicorn Blood from West End Tea Co.

Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey

title page

Title: Pig the Pug

Author: Aaron Blabey

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

‘Pig was a Pug
and I’m sorry to say,
he was greedy and selfish
in most every way’….

This is how the readers are introduced to Pig ….from first impressions, this pug isn’t a cool dude.

pig flipped wig

However poor ol Trevor the sausage dog , with a heart of gold, is Pug’s flat mate.


Trevor continues to politely ask Pig to share his toys (clearly a spoilt pup!)……but Pig doesn’t want a bar of friendly little Trev. But then…!!!! (drumroll please)…..the unexpected happens….will this teach Pig a lesson?!

pig the pug

The illustrations are just gorgeous and I can guarantee this book will produce giggles galore. Also a great story to highlight the importance of sharing. I hope we see Pig and Trevor again in the future. I’m sure there are many more adventures to be had by this pair.

Aaron Blabey in my opinion is a cool guy..with a talent of producing awesome creations. Some of you might recognize his illustrating style from his previous book ‘The Brothers Quibble’ which was the Australian National Simultaneous Storytime book for 2015 (big honour to be chosen for this one)


He has just had new book published this year (horray we cheer!!) titled ‘Thelma the Unicorn….which is described as ‘a joyful book about learning to love you you are..even if you don’t have sparkles’. So get your hands on this new gem pronto.


Paddington would approve of this giggle- aplenty tale

5/5 marmalade sandwiches


Today’s brew: ‘Get stuff done’ from SUM T.