The Cat in the Christmas Tree: A Magical Tail by Peter Scottsdale

From Bestselling Author Peter Scottsdale Comes His First Children’s Chapter Book For Ages 8 and Up It’s Christmas Eve and Nathan’s cat is wrecking the holidays by destroying the Christmas tree.

Fed up with Shadow’s antics, Dad wants the kitty out of the house – for good! So Nathan pleads for help in hope the magic of the holidays will allow him to keep his cat. In this enchanting tale (or should it be “tail?”), does Shadow change his misbehaving ways or will he ruin Christmas? Find out!

The Cat in the Christmas Tree by Peter Scottsdale A Magical Tail

Combine two things I love (cats and Christmas), and I will read your book!

The Cat in the Christmas Tree is all about crazy cat antics that a cat can get up to when there’re decorations to destroy and there’s food to be eaten (and the cat in this book is a young one).

I’ve personally never experienced a destructive cat at Christmastime (they’ve been more inclined to sleep under the tree than attack it), but I do know one or two who I’m sure would behave like Shadow in this book!

A quick, fun read for the season.


Review copy from NetGalley.


Oh, Tumblr…

Tumblr Header

There’s no question that Tumblr had (has!) problems – many problems. The adult content all over the site? Impossible to avoid. The fact there are underage people using the site in droves? Unavoidable.

However, in the past couple of days Tumblr has shot itself in the foot. Their bizarre blanket ban on “adult content” is misogynistic (why are women’s bodies more banned than men’s?), homophobic, and ineffectual.

I don’t – never have, and never will – post anything 18+ on my blog, but the program being used to identify “inappropriate content” is failing miserably. Paintings of Jesus have been flagged, as have pictures of seashells, of Disney characters, of fully-clothed women…

And some of my dance pictures have been flagged. Completely g-rated, regular pictures of ballet dancers – including pictures of The Nutcracker (a Christmas ballet for children!) – are now being blocked.

Also, why are Nazi and pro-Stalin blogs allowed? Is genocide now considered more appropriate than the human body?

Tumblr, you created a mess years ago. And now your attempts to fix is are a complete failure. What a disaster.

Christmas Books: The Legend of Chris Moose: A Christmas Story by Allen Northcutt

The Legend of Chris Moose A Christmas Story

The Legend of Chris Moose: A Christmas Story by Allen Northcutt

Author Allen Northcutt’s fun-filled holiday tale weaves a whimsical “ugly duckling” story of animal friends that love an amiable but tattered moose whose name is “Ugly.”

This picture book introduces eleven animal characters in rhyme as they join Ugly on a snowy trip through the woods to Momma and Poppa Bears’ house. There, a Christmas eve party is made very special when Ugly gives unselfishly of himself to overcome a forgotten Christmas tree. The story addresses everyday issues of how “Ugly” names are hurtful and it is not nice to exclude someone from a group because they are different. In the end the animals embrace Ugly as part of their group and change his name to Chris Moose, because it sounds so much like Christmas and is what his spirit is all about.

Christie Morris’ captivating and humorous illustrations add magic to this soon-to-be-classic Christmas story.

Out Now: A Flicker of Hope by Julia Cook

A-Flicker-of-Hope_D121-cover A FLicker of Hope by Julia Cook

How sweet are the illustrations in this book! MacKenzie Haley has done a wonderful job, and A Flicker of Hope is out now

A Flicker of Hope by Julia Cook

HOPE is our children’s window for a better tomorrow. In terms of resilience and well-being, hope is a critically important predictor of success. This creative story from the best-selling author of My Mouth is a Volcano!, and Bubble Gum Brain, reminds children that dark clouds can be temporary and asking for help is always okay. We all have times when we need to borrow a little hope from someone else.

When your clouds get too dark,

and too heavy to push away,

Reach out and ask, Can I borrow some light?

I’m having a really bad day.

It’s always okay to admit to yourself,

I just can’t do it today.

Everyone needs somebody sometimes,

to help them find their way.

Sometimes the dark clouds overhead seem too heavy and you feel like giving up. Little candle knows all about this. Bad grades, blasted on social media, worried about making the team, and wondering who her real friends are so many hard things to deal with! All she can see is darkness. But her story begins to change when someone notices she needs a boost of hope. As little candle is reminded she has purpose and her own unique gifts, and that she isn’t the only one with dark clouds, her dim light begins to shine brighter.

This hopeful story emphasises for children (and adults) the many different ways to ask for help, and their ability to be a hope builder for others, too.

The Cat Who Ate Christmas by Lil Chase and Thomas Docherty (Illustrations)

The Cat Who Ate Christmas by Lil Chase and Thomas Docherty (Illustrations)

The Cat Who Ate Christmas by Lil Chase and Thomas Docherty (Illustrations)

A funny, heart-warming Christmas story about one little kitten and a very big turkey!

It’s Christmas, and everyone in the Hudson family is very excited – including their kitten. First he knocks the Christmas tree over, then he shreds the presents, and finally he eats the entire Christmas turkey! Mum gets cross, and the kitten runs away. But when he doesn’t come back, the Hudson family have to venture out on Christmas Day to find their naughty kitten. Can they have a merry Christmas after all?

This gorgeous book is illustrated in two-colour throughout, with a special section at the back for Christmas facts, jokes, craft activities and recipes.

The Cat Who Ate Christmas by Lil Chase and Thomas Docherty (Illustrations)

I am reviving a review from earlier this year, as it’s now a more appropriate time of year for Christmas books!


This is a sweet little book about a family at Christmas – and the kitten who destroys everything. It is very much a book for the festive season.


The Cat Who Ate Christmas comes with illustrations (highlighting an interracial family without ever feeling the pressure to make a fuss about it), as well as recipes, activities and jokes related to the story.


It is a little longer than I expected it to be, which means the youngest readers might need some parental assistance.


I was confused for a while where the story was set (my copy was in American English). There was a reference to time zones that made *no* sense if the setting was America. It turns out the author is from London, making this a British-set book with American language!


One thought: this family needs to read up on cats! They do everything wrong and neither train nor restrict the kitten from all the things he does wrong. I know it’s just a book, but what terrible pet owners!


However, it’s a solid entry for younger readers.


Review copy from NetGalley.

“I Wasn’t Cast as Clara”

Kansas City Ballet's The Nutcracker 2016.jpg


Pointe Magazine has an article over on their website: “I Wasn’t Cast as Clara”

Every young ballet dancer wants a chance to play Clara in The Nutcracker, but very few ever get it. I did get to play the role, but I saw many girls get their hearts broken each time we performed the ballet.

Unfortunately, I think Pointe Magazine missed an opportunity with their article. They talked to three professional ballerinas about their experiences, but only ONE of those dancers never performed the role! It made the story totally miss its impact.

They should have focused on all the dancers who missed out on Clara but had professional success (there are many of them). A number of girls I grew up with who missed out went on to have international dance careers!

Silent Night by Lara Hawthorne

Silent Night by Lara Hawthorne Book Cover Christmas

Celebrate the magic of Christmas with this beautifully illustrated book, based on the world’s best-loved carol. Rediscover the Nativity Story in all its glory – from quaking shepherds to heaven-sent angels – as the song lyrics are brought to life on every spread. A gorgeous book for all the family to share during the festive season.

Silent Night by Lara Hawthorne Book Page Christmas

This is a beautifully illustrated children’s book that uses the lyrics of the famous carol, Silent Night, to tell the Christmas story.

There’s something about children’s books that appeals to a wider audience during the Christmas season.


Review copy from NetGalley.

Duck Is Stuck by Zoubida Mouhssin and Pascale Moutte-Baur

Duck Is Stuck by Zoubida Mouhssin and Pascale Moutte-Baur

Duck is tired. His sleep is so deep, he doesn’t notice it starts snowing . . . And the lake freezes over. Quack, quack! Duck tries to get free by flapping his wings. But it’s no use. Duck is stuck! Snowflake the Rabbit, Bob the Blackbird, Moses the Moose, Rachel the Rainbow Trout, and Bert the Beaver all try to help but, no luck! What would happen if they worked together? Rhythm and repetition, animal characteristics, and humor make for an ideal read-aloud.

Duck Is Stuck by Zoubida Mouhssin and Pascale Moutte-Baur

This is a cute, slightly silly (in a good way!) little book that feels appropriate for those who have Christmas in wintertime.

I have a soft spot for children’s books that feature a funny bird as a major character, and this one is no exception.

Simple in illustration and language, Duck is Stuck is a bit of fun for the festive season.


Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Paperbacks Out Now!

Now that Australia is finally waking up to the fact nothing the government does will stop people shopping online, some of our crazy restrictions have been lifted again.

This means that Australians can now order paperback copies of my books from Amazon!

Here are the links:

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Reading Now: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Have you ever read Anne of Green Gables? I bet if you’re Canadian you probably have. Maybe if you’re American, too…? I bet you’ve also seen the television adaptations.

As for me? I have just received a review copy of the book (yes, it’s pretty funny to have a review copy of a classic!), so I’m meeting Anne for the first time.

Australian children have their own books they grow up with. We have some fantastic children’s’ authors here. And so L. M. Montgomery’s classic never made it onto a school reading list where I live.

Now it’s time to fix a gap in my “read” list on Goodreads!