Picture Books

Concept and Picture Books 

Stephanie writes and illustrates picture books ranging from board books and concept books for the very young to nonfiction books for older children. Her books cover everything from dealing with feelings, to imaginary friends, historical events and the environment. For classroom activities linked to these books, see the Teaching Resources and Activities for Kids page.  

Sensational Australian Animals 

Illustrated by CHER HART

CSIRO Publishing, February 2024, $29.99     Age range: 8 to 12

Order at: https://www.publish.csiro.au/book/8094/ 

Book trailer:

Discover the intriguing and astonishing things that these sensational Australian animals can do!

Explore the fascinating world of native Australian animals through the five basic senses – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.

Covering more than 145 truly astounding animals – from sharp-eyed whale sharks to sticky-bellied green tree frogs – Sensational Australian Animals showcases the strange things these creatures can do with their eyes, ears, noses, mouths and skin! Meet birds that laugh, frogs that quack and fish that sing. Discover mammals that glow in the dark and seahorses disguised as seaweed. Be surprised by turtles that breathe through their bums and squirm at lizards that clean their eyes with their tongues. And then there’s the dangerous creatures that bite and sting!

Be intrigued, amazed and astonished by what insects, birds, spiders, fish and many other animals are capable of!


Get some insights into the book in these interviews:


This new book … is every bit as sensational as the titular creatures! … This is going to be a huge success with both kiddos and adults with it’s stunning design, layout and illustrations … put together in a variety of spreads that will engage the most jaded reader … My inner nerdy kid has revelled in the factual and my aesthetic has loved the artwork and style. What a treasure trove this is! It will be a valued resource for any unit of work on native animals, the environment or the senses … This is a brilliant book in all senses and … a must for pure interest and enjoyment and as a curriculum support resource. (Sue Warren, Just So Stories, 14 February 2024, https://losangzopa.blog/)

Once again author and researcher Owen Reeder has produced an outstanding non-fiction book which is a joy: it will reward young readers aged 9+ years with many hours of reading about the fascinating world of native Australian animals … This is a book that has so many fascinating facts, all fully researched, and presented in clear, detailed descriptions … The full-colour illustrations here are like the text – eye-catching, and well-worth hours of investigating … Be intrigued, be amazed, and astonished by what insects, birds, spiders, fish, and many other animals are capable of! (Dianne Bates, Buzz Word Magazine, 2 July 2024, http://www.buzzwordsmagazine.com/search?q=sensational+)  

‘In creating a book about the five senses, Stephanie Owen Reeder and Cher Hart have eschewed the commonplace … and opted to show our unique Australian fauna and the way they use their senses, some of them in the most remarkable ways … This approach is bound to appeal to young readers, not least because there are some wonderfully bizarre and interesting creatures and their habits on offer – 145 of them in total …. Stephanie Owen Reeder and Cher Hart have worked together to produce a winner here. It is to be hoped that the publishers will team them up again for another equally engaging project. (Barbie Robinson, Living Arts Canberra, https://www.livingartscanberra.com.au/stephanie-owen-reeder-and-cher-hart-sensational-australian-animals/#more-17396.          

Highly recommended … Sensational Australian Animals … is a striking book full of information, images, questions, and sensational fact boxes … This engaging and beautifully illustrated book is a treasure trove of amazing facts that will delight and entertain both young and older readers. A fabulous resource for a home, school or public library.  (Kathryn Beilby, ReadPlus, https://www.readplus.com.au/reviews/sensational-australian-animals.  

This is a treasure trove … invaluable for home or school. Stephanie Owen Reeder brilliantly delves into the fascinating world of native Australian animals, examining their remarkable abilities through the lens of the five basic senses … Stephanie skillfully presents a wealth of information about these creatures … Cher Hart’s illustrations bring these animals to life, making the learning experience visually engraving … A delightful and educational resource that not only celebrates the wonder of Australian wildlife but also fosters a sense of responsibility in its readers. (Abby’s Fabulous Library: https://www.instagram.com/p/C20wOC_Szz7/)

A dip-and-delve book that will keep the budding naturalist intrigued for hours, this is most definitely one to add to the collection. (Barbara Braxton, The Bottom Shelf, 20 February 2024, https://thebottomshelf.edublogs.org/.)

My kids are drawn to books that surprise and entertain them, and this one does so brilliantly, with ‘sensational facts’ on each page … and a clever combination of interesting information and gorgeous colourful illustrations … The clever layout of text and illustrations, along with the inclusion of a comprehensive glossary and index, makes this book perfect for the classroom and home library. (Sandy Bigna, ‘Amazing Animals’, Aussie Kids Books, https://www.instagram.com/aussie_kids_books/?img_index=1)    

Fun, surprising and interesting … This book is filled with weird and wacky facts about Australian animals and has beautiful illustrations … The illustrations are wonderful and there’s one for every animal. They are detailed, colourful and life-like … Kids who love animals and facts will love this book. It’s particularly helpful for an animal themed Kahoot! (Shaye Wardrop, Kids Book Review, http://www.kids-bookreview.com/2024/02/junior-review-sensational-australian.html). 

… this is an appealing and interesting book about Australian animals using a different and intriguing approach. (Lynne Babbage, Reading Time, https://readingtime.com.au/sensational-australian-animals/)  

There’s great information in this book, including fabulous gross bits kids will loveGreat stuff! (Jane Stephens, Goodreading February 2024, page 57)


Swifty: The Super-fast Parrot

Illustrated by ASTRED HICKS

CSIRO Publishing, October 2022, $24.99     Age range: 6 to 12

Order at: Swifty, Stephanie Owen Reeder, Astred Hicks , 9781486315918 (csiro.au)

View the stunning book trailer at https://vimeo.com/756973496 

The swift parrot was the Guardian/Birdlife Australia Australian Bird of the Year in 2023! 


The beautifully illustrated narrative nonfiction picture book Swifty: The Super-fast Parrot follows a year in the life of one of Australia’s critically endangered swift parrots. Fly along with young Swifty as she follows the blossom trail from Tasmania to mainland Australia and back again, encountering dangers and obstacles along the way. Will she make it safely home and find a nesting hollow to call her own?  


Longlisted, Best Designed Children’s Non-fiction Book, ABDA Book Design Awards 2023

Highly Commended, MARION ACT Notable Book Awards 2023   

Recommended Book, Queensland Premier’s Reading Challenge 2023 


Five-star review, Good Reading Magazine, November 2022, page 13 

The narrative non-fiction text is informative, engaging and skillfully light of touch. And it dovetails seamlessly with the vibrant illustrations to tell the important story of this endangered native parrot. (Emma Bowd at emma.bowd.au) 

Swifty is a beautiful narration of the flight, and plight, of the stunning swift parrot – a critically endangered Australian native bird. An informative story by Stephanie Owen Reeder that is heartfelt and powerful, with gorgeous bright illustrations by Astred Hicks, full of vibrant energy. (booksontour_aus)    

Award-winning author Stephanie Owen Reeder takes us on a journey through the eyes of Swifty the parrot in a delightful narrative story about her life … I love this immersive way of learning. Through story, readers will gain so much knowledge about the swift parrot. This is then backed up with four full pages of text to help clarify terminology and provide more details about these amazing birds … Overall, it is an inspiring and heart-warming readIllustrator Astred Hicks … brings colour, joy and so much heart to the pages. Her illustrations are funky and detailed … Joyful, inspiring and engaging, Switfty the Super-fast Parrot is a winner. (Shaye Wardrop, Kids’ Book Review, Kids’ Book Review: Review: Swifty the Super-fast Parrot (kids-bookreview.com))  

These precious parrots are endangered. This makes Swifty an invaluable book. It is time to bring the sift parrots into the orbit of children’s lives … Swifty does thisHighly recommended. (Susanne Gervay, Reading Time, Swifty – Reading Time)

Swifty is a … wonderful book that provides younger readers with the opportunity to learn about one of Australia’s critically endangered birds through an engaging story. The stunning endpapers and glossy illustrations by Astred Hicks perfectly complement the text and offer the reader so much to explore on each page. (Kathryn Beilby, ReadPlus, ReadPlus – Swifty: The super-fast parrot)

charming and delightful read about little ‘Swifty’ the bird. Honestly, the illustrations in this book are captivating, with rich colours, warm landscapes and iconic Australian landmarks that pair seamlessly with Stephanie’s carefully constructed words. A beautiful book from start to finish. (Elaine Obran, ’10 children’s books from Canberra authors’, HerCanberra, https://hercanberra.com.au/local-loves/our-favourite-childrens-books-by-our-favourite-canberra-authors/

I loved reading this book out loud – so many wonderful adjectives and descriptive verbs to show the reader how the Swift Parrot moves about … Young readers will see the beauty of Australia and the people who are helping the Swift Parrot to survive in the wild. (Vanessa RyanRendall, We Can!) 


Illustrated by MEL ARMSTRONG

Windy Hollow Books, March 2022, $25.99           Age range: 3 to 6 


When Mum and Dad are busy working from home, Ava gets bored. Luckily, her imaginary friend Ghostie comes to the rescue.

There’s mischief and mayhem galore as Ava and Ghostie explore his ghostly powers, howling, screeching, flittering and flying through the house and out into the garden.

This rollicking read-aloud picture book is perfect to share with toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarten/prep kids.


Within the sparse and engaging rhyming text, there are loads of opportunities to join in and relish the carefully selected onomatopoeia with delightful words being highlighted in reflective and creative font. The full-page illustrations use a combination of patterns and textures which skillfully capture emotion, shadow and movement … Clearly inspired by the recent experiences of children and their families during lockdowns, this is a delightful story for early childhood readers.  (Allison Paterson, Magpies: Talking About Books for Children, Volume 37, No. 3, July 2022, page 32)

Ghostie is a beautiful celebration of imagination, creative play and family … Child readers will delight in the messy, noisy play as Ava and Ghostie create havoc … the playful narrative … is full of action, alliteration and delightfully descriptive words … ensuring this story would make a great read-aloud choice.  The illustrations burst with colour and movement and mischief … your kids … will adore this story.  (Sandy at aussiekidsbooks, Ghostie, by Stephanie Owen Reeder, illustrated by Mel Armstrong (aussiekidsbooks.com)

This eerie romp for little ones is a owl and a hoot – skittering along with humour and charm …  Mel Armstrong’s adorable illustrations are bright and textured, with plenty of characterised emotion … Stephanie Owen Reeder’s text is pure fun. Punchy and full of movement, it gallops along with the onomatopoeia … and her short sentences and word choices show a deep understanding of the way children think and speak … this delightful book is something many children will relate to and giggle over.  (Tania McCartney, Kids’ Book Review: Review: Ghostie (kids-bookreview.com))

Australia’s Wild, Weird, Wonderful Weather

Illustrated by TANIA McCARTNEY

NLA Publishing, October 2020, $24.99           Age range: 5 to adult

Australia is a vast continent with a range of climates. It’s also a land of weather extremes––of killer cyclones, dancing dust-devils, cooling southerly-busters, ferocious firestorms and devastating floods.

In Australia’s Wild, Weird, Wonderful Weather, Stephanie Owen Reeder and Tania McCartney take the reader on a fascinating journey across this remarkable country, exploring everything from Indigenous weather knowledge to the challenges of climate change. In between, they explore lazy clouds, smelly rain, moody moonbows, toxic wind, hair-raising humidity and much more!

This strikingly designed book also explores Indigenous seasonal calendars, the many types of precipitation, sound and light phenomena, weather-based disasters, forecasting the weather and renewable energy. Each section is presented using an engaging mix of accessible text and interesting facts, along with informative diagrams, charts, illustrations, maps and weather icons.

Australia’s Wild, Weird, Wonderful Weather concludes with a section highlighting the range of material on the weather held in the collections of the National Library of Australia, along with a glossary, a reading list and a comprehensive index. So slap on a sunhat, fasten your life jacket, grab an umbrella and experience the wonders of the weather in Australia!


Highly Commended, Children’s 2020 Big Press Award, ACT Notable Awards 2022 

Notable Book, Eve Pownall Award for Information Books, CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2021

Winner, Children’s Books, Museums Australasia Publishing Design Award (MAPDA) 2021


Wow! Wow! Wow! If you have a curious, weather-minded small person in your life, this is the book for them without a doubt! This amazing nonfiction book about all things weather is choka-a-block full of weather facts … A feast for the eyes, the illustrations show us gorgeous pictures amongst charts, tables, diagrams and explanations of weather terms … get your hands on this wonderful book … Highly recommended! (Melissa, Wangaratta West School Library @wangwestlibrary.)

From its crafty alliterative title to the skillful illustrations and a multitude of intriguing facts, Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather is a great starter for those young minds interested in nature and the environment …. Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather is the perfect accompaniment to lessons in the natural sciences and would be a winner amongst young nature lovers  (Tamantha Smith, Magpies 36(1), March 2021, page 28).

What an amazing partnership these two creators make! Together they have made what is already an interesting topic for many children into one that is completely fascinating … The combination of information snippets in easily-digested chunks, alongside the simply splendid illustrations in Tania’s inimitable style and the absorbing bizarre facts presented is outstanding, and kids from Prep to Year 6 will thoroughly enjoy perusing it. Stephanie’s ability to search out little-known Australian history has become the stuff of legends and likewise her ability to translate them into wonderfully accessible texts for children … To my my mind this is a stand-out for award nominations in the coming year … (Sue Warren, Just So Stories, https://losangzopa.wordpress.com/2020/12/07/australias-wild-weird-wonderful-weather-stephanie-owen-reeder-and-tania-mccartney/)

THIS is fantastic nonfiction! It’s beautifully-designed with bold, full colour illustrations, charts and diagrams and jam packed with facts carefully presented in bite-sized snippets. It’s fascinating and modern, with insightful information about Indigenous Australian seasons and “bush forecasting” as well as clear explanations of different weather phenomenon and a bit of history too. Clear subheadings make it easy to navigate and I really like the inclusion of colourful quotes about weather taken from Aussie newspapers. I spied this book in our school library’s order when I was helping unpack Book Club and had to order a copy for my kids too. (bookskidslove, Instagram)

Explore all facets of Australia’s extraordinary weather in this fascinating book. Discover how we forecast and measure weather, about our climate and its extremes, and be amazed by quirky weather facts. With fun and vibrant illustrations, this engaging book will have everyone in the family wanting to know about the science of weather. (Kids’ Reading Guide 2020-2021: Handpicked and Reviewed by Australia’s Leading Booksellers: https://store.booksellers.org.au/products/kids-reading-guide-2020-2021)

Emerge from this book windswept away by the wonders of Aussie weather. Reeder and McCartney present vital information alongside vivacious graphics … in this fascinating and well-laid out book! … Weather the storm together this summer with this exhilarating read. (Leonna, Better Read Than Dead Bookshop, Summer Catalogue 2020-2021, page 48: Summer Reading Guide 2020-2021 by Better Read Than Dead – issuu

The weather in Australia is always a reliable topic of conversation and now two of my favourite creators have teamed together to offer an explanation for the phenomena for our younger readers. Both Stephanie and Tania have drawn deeply on the resources of the National Library of Australia … and being a NLA publication the support materials for further exploration are very detailed. Even more so, though, is the module written to support the book as part of the NLA’s digital classroomWhat more could you want? (Barbara Braxton, The Bottom Shelf: Great Books for Little People: https://thebottomshelf.edublogs.org/2020/11/12/)

Looking for an awesome coffee table book … a wonderful gift … a must-have addition to your school/public library collections … a book for yourself that you will always treasure? THIS IS IT! … a truly glorious book that teaches sooo much about the wonders of Australia’s weather. A true gem … (Picture Book Book Club, 22 October 2020: https://www.instagram.com/p/CGn1ZqqnTEA/.)

Perfect example of a really great, worthy, worthwhile, fun, engaging nonfiction bookhighly recommendedutterly giftable and a beautiful production. (Megan Daley, Children’s Books Daily, TBR Tueday, 27 October 2020: https://www.facebook.com/ChildrensBooksDaily/videos/807726723102478.)

A fascinating, detailed and comprehensive look at Australia’s weather, which is indeed weird. Illustrations extend the text and combined with the index, resources and word lists, this is an excellent non-fiction book. (Margaret Hamilton, Newsletter No 52, November 2020, Pinerolo: The Children’s Book Cottage)

Highly recommended. This is a beautifully presented and informative non-fiction book which highlights Australia’s vastly different weather patterns across our huge country … This book will be a valuable addition to any school, public library or home. (Kathryn Beilby, ReadPlus Review Blog, https://www.readplus.com.au/blog_detail.php?id=11336)

A captivating title and an intriguing cover … offer instant appeal for this non-fiction book … This book is certainly well-researched and presents some quality information … presents a solid overview of the topic and the attractive colour palettes and pictures makes for an engaging read. (Julie Bertola, Reading Time, Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather – Reading Time)

Trouble in the Surf

Illustrated by BRIONY STEWART

NLA Publishing 2019, $24.99    Age range: 5 to 12

The lavishly illustrated picture book Trouble in the Surf is based on the true story of budding aviator Charles Kingsford Smith and his cousin Rupert Swallow. Aged just nine, the boys headed off to Bondi Beach for a swim on a hot summer’s day in 1907. What happened when they got caught in the Bondi rip nearly changed the course of Australian aviation history and contributed to the formation of the volunteer lifesaving movement in Australia. The book includes background information on the life of Charles Kingsford Smith, safety in the surf and the history of lifesaving in Australia, as well as a message from the President of the Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club.

Order at bookshop.nla.gov.au


Notable Book, Eve Pownall Award for Information Books, CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2020

Shortlisted, Children’s Books, ACT Writing & Publishing Awards 2020

Recommended Book, Western Australian and South Australian Premier’s Reading Challenges 2023


Utterly beautiful … giftable … exquisite endpapers … Everything I want in a nonfiction book … One of my favourites … for everyone from 7 to 70 and beyond … Highly recommended. (Megan Daley, Five on Friday, 11 October 2019)

A fascinating step back in time … A story that includes themes of friendship, community and heroic acts of bravery, whilst beautifully including important historical information and Australian icons. A great book for educators, parents/carers to share – a must have in school and community libraries. Highly Recommended. (Sonia Bestulic, CBCA’s Reading Time, https://readingtime.com.au/trouble-in-the-surf/

Highly recommended … This engrossing picture book retells a part of our history which resonates today … Beautifully illustrated, Stewart has used archival photographs to render images accurately, and the clothing, particularly the swimming costumes, will delight young readers. Readers will be encouraged to think about and discuss their own safety in the surf. (Fran Knight, ReadPlus, https://www.readplus.com.au/blog_detail.php?id=10316)

A few weeks ago a wonderful new book, Trouble in the Surf … arrived in the offices here. Written for children, it was tested out on our five year old and she loved it! So much so that it had to be read again and again and again to her. The illustrations, which include a tram and explaining what they are, the talking about what a rip is, and even about the days when aeroplanes were rare brought up some great Australian history to speak about and share. (Pittwater Online Newshttp://www.pittwateronlinenews.com/Trouble-In-The-Surf-NLA-Publishing-2019.php).

Trouble in the Surf  is atmospheric, and you’ll feel transported back to the early 20th century. This is history that doesn’t read as dry or factual. It’s accessible and adventurous … Trouble in the Surf shares Australian history in an enjoyable way … There’s the boy who would become famous, the iconic Bondi Beach, and the lifesavers and innate water safety message that is a beneficial reminder for everyone … Trouble in the Surf is an excellent tribute to the important work of life savers, an insight into a little piece of our history, and an all around great story for families. (Sarah Steed, Kids’ Book Review, http://www.kids-bookreview.com/2019/09/review-story-time-stars.html)

The author, Dr Stephanie Owen Reeder, must have her own desk at the NLA in Canberra because she has built up an impressive body of work using their resources to tell our history in a way that is interesting, accessible and engaging for our younger students. (Barbara Braxton, The Bottom Shelf: Great Books for Little Peoplehttp://thebottomshelf.edublogs.org/category/about-australia/)

Dance Like a Pirate

NLA Publishing 2013, $17.95    Age range: 2 to 7

Who wants to dance like a pirate, tiptoe like a fairy, run like a fire fighter or pose like a superhero? And who could resist creeping like a witch, leaping like a ballet dancer, marching like a sailor or stomping like a dragon? Colourful paintings of children dressed up as everything from clowns and rabbits to rock stars and royalty adorn the pages of this lift-the-flap picture book. Rhythmical, interactive verses encourage children to join in the action and the role play, as they exercise both their bodies and their imaginations. And labelled pictures at the end of the book identify the 30 different parts of the body featured in the text. Sharing Dance Like a Pirate is the perfect way to encourage young children to learn the names of the various parts of their bodies and use their imaginations, whilst also getting active and having heaps of fun!


Dance like a Pirate … is the perfect way to encourage kids to get active and to teach them body parts, but more than that … it’s a wonderful stimulus for imaginative play … The brightly coloured pictures of children in costume are accompanied by verses in rhyming couplets with a strong, bouncing rhythm, perfect for children to join in … Foundation and kindergarten teachers will love this book. A few props in the dress-up box, and children will have a great time! (Lisa Hill, Lisa Hill School Stuffhttp://lisahillschoolstuff.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/book-review-dance-like-a-pirate-by-stephanie-owen-reeder/

Dance Like a Pirate would be priceless for childcare and early childhood centres, libraries and schools, but would be equally enjoyable at home. Just be sure to clear the furniture! (Tania McCartney, Kids Book Reviewhttp://www.kids-book-review.com/2013/10/review-dance-like-pirate.html)

Recommended by Katie Ekberg in ‘Best festive books for all ages’ in The Australian Women’s Weekly, December 2013

Feeling Fine!

National Library of Australia 2010, $12.95    Age range: 0 to 3

With its colourful illustrations and engaging word play, the boardbook Feeling Fine! encourages very young children to recognise faces that are happy, sad, angry or even scared. This is a perfect interactive book for babies and toddlers who are learning to understand their own emotions and to recognise how others are feeling. It is also recommended for autism spectrum children. Feeling Fine! is a boardbook version of I’ve Got a Feeling!, which was included by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) in the prestigious booklist and international exhibition Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities 2011.


A wonderful way for kids to explore their emotions and to learn a fabulous array of new words at the same time. (Tania McCartneyKids Book Review, www.kids-book-review.blogspot.com)

I’ve Got a Feeling!

National Library of Australia 2010, $17.95 (out of print)   

Age range: 1 to 7

When children feel an emotion, it is written all over their faces and reflected in their body language—the set of their eyebrows, the shape of their eyes and mouth, the way they hold their body and what they do with their hands. I’ve Got a Feeling! is an entertaining and interactive lift-the-flap book about emotions. With its engaging verses, colourful illustrations and pertinent questions, it encourages children to think about what makes them feel happy, sad, angry or even bored. Teachers Notes are provided at the back of the book, with activities to encourage children to explore their emotions through art and imaginative play. This is a perfect picture book for toddlers and preschoolers who are still learning to understand and control their own emotions and to empathise with how others are feeling. It is also recommended for autism spectrum children.


IBBY Outstanding Book for  Young People with a Disability 2011

Deadly Book for Little Kids, State Library of Western Australia Better Beginnings [Aboriginal] Literacy Program

Australia’s Biggest Child Safety Lesson 2018, Daniel Morcombe Foundation

Parenting Catalogue, Resource Centre for Child Health and Safety, The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne

The Archdiocese of Perth Safeguarding Children Program.


Vivid colours, large expressive faces and rich descriptive and action vocabulary make this interactive fold-out book a stand-out for young children. (http://amlib.eddept.wa.edu.au)

There are many books and programs for teaching emotional literacy, but this interactive, lift the flap book is one of the best. Children will be attracted by the vibrant colours, the clear drawings, and the quirky verses describing each of twelve emotions … The additional activities in the back of the book could form the basis of engaging lessons. (A. Souter, Scan: Online Journal for Educators)

Will appeal to a wide range of young children. Babies will love the clearly drawn faces, preschoolers will like the verse and the guessing component, while early primary children will gain most from the photographs and questions in the final pages. (Dr Kerry White, The Source)

… beautifully crafted book resplendent with adorable retro-style illustrations that really pack an emotional punch. (Tania McCartney, Kids Book Reviewwww.kids-book-review.blogspot.com)

Colour My World!

National Library of Australia 2008, $16.95    Age range: 1 to 6

Colours are all around us, but there is more to colour than meets the eye. Colours are often associated with feelings. Red can be warm and cheery, or represent anger or danger. Blue can be fresh and cheeky, or sad and cold. Colour My World! is a picture book for preschoolers and junior-primary children which celebrates colours and how they make us feel. Illustrated with black-and-white images of children from the amazing Pictures Collection of the National Library of AustraliaColour My World! is an interactive book, with a charming text and questions aimed at encouraging children to think about the role that colours play in their lives.  A section at the end of the book provides more information about colours, their different shades and connotations.


Owen Reeder’s … text establishes an emotional tone for the colour … Her language has wonderful rhythm and is full of interesting word choices. Each page culminates in an open-ended question … I read this book to my kindergarten class, and every question was a winner. It is a book that stimulates conversation and connection. (Nigel Pearn, Australian Book Review, August 2008)

An appealing book for the very young, designed to aid visual literacy. (Dr Kerry White, The Source)

The Flaming Witch


Random House 1997 (out of print)    Age range: 6 to adult

Based on an Indonesian folk tale from the 14th century, The Flaming Witch is the story of Rangda, a powerful witch. She curses the whole kingdom when no one will marry her daughter because no-one wants a witch as a mother-in-law! The king tries to fight fire with fire, but soon realises that only wisdom can defeat the witch’s terrible power. Illustrated with stunning watercolour paintings by Indonesian artist Dadang Christanto, whose artwork features in the National Gallery of Australia, this is a stirring story which, like all good traditional tales, takes the reader to another land and another time. And, of course, it has a happy ending.


It is an enrichment of literary experience for Australian children to encounter the folklore of Indonesia in this exciting way. (Reading Time)

… it is highly satisfying to spend time with this story—my few words can hardly summarise its immense appeal, which does not arise only from its originality, but also from the universal nature of the tussle between good and evil. (Viewpoint)