My Books

Thunderstorm Dancing

thunderstorm-dancing-cover Notable

A rollicking rhyming story about a family who dance up a wild storm while the wind and rain swirl outside. Rhythm, rhyme and family mayhem… Perfect for reading aloud, this playful, energetic story will have young children leaping into action.

‘This is a vibrant, high-energy and love-filled book. You want to dive into its pages and dance alongside this fabulous family, as they rollick and romp about. Judy Watson’s superb illustrations hoist the energy of the text and fling it on high, pulling the reader along at a breathtaking pace. I particularly loved the suspense-building beach scenes.’ Kids Book Review

‘From the lyrical, flowing language to the gorgeous illustrations, this was a sumptuous read.’ Buzz Words

‘The descriptions of the sounds, movement and lightning are very evocative and Katrina Germein’s poetry makes for a great read aloud, she really captures the feeling of a summery thunderstorm and Judy Watson’s illustrations dramatize the event with lots of exuberant joie de vie.’ Readings

‘Judy Watson’s mixed media illustrations, with their defining ink lines and dramatic watercolour washes, are superb, highlighting movement and intensity and taking the rollicking narrative to another plane…. The elements feature large in these artworks which never lose touch with the human experience at the story’s heart. The endpapers are worth savouring.’ Magpies

Germein has gifted us with lyrical prose carefully constructed to create tension. Each word contributes to the intense drama of an approaching storm, and yet this is all language kids will understand and relate to. What fun they will have using words like “flicking and flashing – tricking and dashing – crackling zap! – sizzling snap!” in their own poems to create word pictures and sound bites for an audience!

The choice of Watson as illustrator for this enthusiastic text was an inspired one. She has chosen unusual backgrounds and perspectives to nudge us toward an understanding of point of view. There’s lots to think about in each illustration. How has Watson used colour to communicate with us? How has she showed movement? What artistic techniques has she used throughout the book? Look carefully at the lines and decide what effect they have. 

Germein has used lots of metaphors in the story: Granny is the sun, Mum is the rain. Can kids create metaphors about their own family members? 

I love picture books that celebrate the sheer joy of playing with words. Watson’s illustrations make Thunderstorm Dancing a visual feast as well. Do seek out this wonderful children’s picture book for your home or school. It will make a fine text for reader’s theatre and suits a unit on Families. I can visualise it being brought vibrantly to life as a performance by children using dance, body percussion, voice, language and art work. The Book Chook 

With its fantastic vocabulary, rhyme, rhythm and repetition the story is the storm full of the most amazing and inspiring energy – you just want to get up and move and make noise and join in the fun. It is a joyous celebration of something that can be scary and intimidating and is the perfect example of how careful colour choice and the use of line and expression are integral to creating mood and atmosphere. Just like a storm, it builds to a crescendo and then suddenly there is peace and serenity until… Even without yet having read it to my Year 2 audience, I can hear it in my head and know they are going to adore this and it will add so much to what they have been learning about setting, characters and plot.

But apart from that it’s just a rollicking good read that encourages us to embrace our fears, stare them in the face and poke fun at them by making ourselves their master. Barbara Braxton, Teacher Librarian, Cooma NSW 

Written by Katrina Germein and published by Allen and Unwin, this book was named a  Notable Book in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards, 2016 (early childhood) and achieved a Highly Commended Award, in the Illustrators Australia Awards 2015 (children’s books).
Buy copies here. 

Free printable stormy activities for kids here

Goodnight, Mice!


Kiss Dad once.
Cuddle Mum twice.
′Goodnight, Mum and Dad.′
′Goodnight, mice.′

It′s time to say goodnight — but the four cheeky mice skittering, scampering and scurrying to bed don′t seem very sleepy!

This warm, affectionate story is the perfect bedtime book for the whole family to share.

‘The collaboration of writer and illustrator in this case makes for an almost perfect bedtime book. Watts’s words sing with rhyme and repetition, making them excellent linguistic tools for small children, while Watson’s impish, affectionate illustrations speak to families from every type of background.’ Judges’ comments. Prime Minister’s Literary Awards (Children’s Fiction) 2012

′the perfect bedtime book … told at a cleverly thought-out pace that should ensure a yawn before the final page … Illustrator Judy Watson′s detailed expressions on the four mouslings are fun, funny and rewarding upon further visits′ Courier-Mail

′a story filled with warmth and family love … This is sure to become a book young children and parents will be happy to read again and again′ Aussiereviews

′Watts knows how to break up a story′s rhythm by using a refrain, making a story which will be read again and again. Watson′s mice are individuals and the many untold stories in the pictures will be pored over by avid three and four-year-old listeners.′ West Australian

Written by Frances Watts and published by ABC Books, this book won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award (Children’s Fiction) 2012 and was a Notable Book in the CBCA awards 2012.
Buy copies here


1 thought on “My Books

  1. Pingback: Book review: Thunderstorm Dancing | Alphabet Soup

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