Chapter Books - Heartwarming Feed

The Cleo Stories by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood

The Cleo StoriesAllen & Unwin, Sydney, 2015

Hardcover, 64 pages

ISBN: 978-1-7433-1527-9

Suggested reading age: 5+

Reviewed by: Indrani Perera

Rating: ***

Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood are an awesome author/illustrator team who have already collaborated on many children's books including Amy & Louis and Clancy & Millie and the Very Fine House. 

The Cleo Stories is not quite a picture book and not quite a chapter book - perfect for budding readers who want something longer than a picture book but not as long as a chapter book.  It features two stories about Cleopatra Miranda McCann - an imaginative and resourceful little girl who finds creative solutions to her problems.

Violet Mackerel's Possible Friend by Anna Branford and Sarah Davis

Violet Mackerel's Possible Friend

Walker Books Australia, Newtown, 2013

Hardcover, 112 pages

ISBN: 978-1-9219-7756-5

Suggested reading age: 4+

Reviewed by: Indrani Perera

Rating: *****

Anna Branford and Sarah Davis have created a series of delightful books about a young girl called Violet Mackerel.  She lives with her mum and older brother and sister.  Her mum makes knitted things to sell at a local Saturday market which the whole family attend.  These stories are well written and beautifully illustrated.  Sarah Davis' pencil drawings perfectly compliment Anna Branford's stories.  They are full of heart, gentleness and warmth.  I just love everything about these books.  From the gorgeous illustrations to the delightful stories, to the size of the books and the cover illustrations.  They are a joy to read.

In Violet Mackerel's Possible Friend, Violet and her family move into a new house after her mum and Vincent get married.  Violet creates a hole in the fence and leaves a message for her neighbour.  Will her neighbour find it?  Will her neighbour (with a very tidy yard, unlike Violet's messy yard) be cross about the hole in the fence?  These books deal with the little troubles that are so big for children and the not so little ones they face in a kind and caring way.

Other titles in this series: Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot, Violet Mackerel's Remarkable Recovery, Violet Mackerel's Natural Habitat, Violet Mackerel's Personal Space, Violet Mackerel's Pocket Protest, Violet Mackerel's Helpful Suggestion and Violet Mackerel's Formal Occasion.

Waffle Hearts by Maria Parr

ALB - Waffle HeartsWalker Books, London, 2013

Hardcover, 240 pages

ISBN: 978-1-4063-4136-2

Suggested reading age: 8+

Reviewed by: Indrani Perera

Rating: *****

 This gorgeous book was originally published in 2005 in Maria Parr's native Norwegian.  I am so glad it was translated into English.  If you are wondering what the book is like, think modern day Pippi Longstocking, only to my mind, much funnier.  I read this one myself before giving it to my daughter and laughed aloud, a lot!

Lena Lid and Trille Yttergard are next door neighbours with wild imaginations.  As Lena leads Trille from one mad-cap adventure to another, Trille wonders if he is Lena's best friend.  Through the adventures of Lena and Trille, Maria Parr has captured the way in which children think and the way that the adults in their lives respond to them.  The characters in this story are depicted with humour, insight and sensitivity.  This story is a beautiful depiction of what growing up is like - full of laughs, heartache and wonder.  You may want to read this book with younger readers as it deals with the death of a loved one and mentions war.