Magic Fish Dreaming, a book review



Title: Magic Fish Dreaming
by: June Perkins
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Gumbootspearlz Books

A full colour poetry book, inspired by the diverse people of Far North Queensland and their tropical environment. It’s full of some of the strangest birds and animals, as well as resilient rainforest, cane farms and tropical beaches.

Beyond the title page is the dedication page, and words stopped me in my tracks …

Dedicated to:

All my ancestors
who sing and
dance the stories

And the ones
who listen

When you read a dedication that gives you goose-bumps, you know you are in for a treat, and the fact that Magic Fish Dreaming won several Royal Dragonfly Book Awards, only reinforces the feeling that this stunning book of poetry is one that will capture your heart.

Magic Fish Dreaming is written by talented and compassionate author, Dr June Perkins. Her PhD was on the subject of writing empowerment.

When you open the book, you’ll discover that Magic Fish Dreaming is in two parts.

Part 1 – Hunting for Giggle Poems

Hunting for Giggle Poems is touching, spiritual, and enjoyable. The poetic words will reach out and wrap their words around you, creating a special bond to the earth, making you feel like you must be a protector of all that we have been given. You’ll also find yourself smiling and trailing after the children with their net as they go to capture poems full of giggles.

Part 2 – Magic Fish Dreaming

It’s flowing, soothing, and caressing, with people and spirituality. There’s chats between a father and son, a mother and children, a cassowary and children. There’s magic and wishes and the wonder of creation. There’s fun with the storm dancers, a bottle lost at sea, and a geckos dance, plus many more.

June Perkins has teamed up with talented artist, Helene Magisson, who imbues June’s poetic words with the gift of visual art. Besides enjoying the words of the poems, the reader will spend an age meandering in each of the illustrations, lost in the magical colours, the action, and the flowing peace that leaps off the pages. Helene’s art style is enchanting, making your heart sing.

If you are fishing for a beautifully written and inspiring book of poetry, Magic Fish Dreaming must be on your ‘to purchase list’. If you could ever fall in love with a poetry book, it would be this one.

I highly recommend Magic Fish Dreaming. It will make you feel like the world is a beautiful, wonderous place as the author weaves her gift of words on the page. When you finally close the book, you will be left with a feeling of peacefulness.

June Perkins is right. Writing is empowering: for the author, and the reader.

Purchase a copy: Magic Fish Dreaming

Title: Magic Fish Dreaming
by: June Perkins
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
ISBN: 9780980731187
Category: Poetry
Publisher: Gumbootspearlz Press
17 poems, 48 pages

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

Julieann is a member of:


Slowly! Slowly! a book review


Title: Slowly! Slowly!
by: T. M. Clark
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Wombat Books

Slowly, slowly, you catch a monkey …

Bongani wants to go to school but he is too young. To prove to his family that he is big and strong just like his cousins, he tries to catch a monkey.
Slowly, slowly, he must go.
Luckily his family is there to school him in the lessons of patience and compassion.

I love the very first sentence of Slowly! Slowly! written by author, T. M. Clark:

Bongani stood tall.

It is brimming with anticipation. And as you read on, you can feel the blanket of peace and love that surrounds the main character. The words of the story also whisper that same blanket to you, gently, gently, like the singing of a lullaby.

Slowly! Slowly! is a clever story. Imbued into the tale is the unfolding guidance of how to catch a monkey with the kind encouragement of the father, the calm teaching of the grandfather, and the insightful way of looking at a problem from a different point of view, which is a way of teaching resilience.

Inside the story, we follow a young child named Bongani, while he tries to catch a monkey. His failed attempts are followed by guidance from his grandfather, revealed layer by layer, teaching Bongani patience; a virtue that is sometimes lost in the busy-ness of our lives today.

I particularly enjoyed the way Bongani’s family would work out whether he was ready for school …

‘Dad, am I big enough?
Am I higher than the hyena?
Can I go to school?’

Mathematically, the act of measuring your height against an animal to see if you are tall enough to go to school is full of imagination and excitement. This comparison would make an interesting discussion in families and schools.

Illustrator, Helene Magisson, has once again shown her extraordinary artistic talent in the pages of Slowly! Slowly! and has created a visual space where a variety of thoughts and ideas coexist in addition to the text, telling a story where the words don’t, or where the words imply particular ideas or feelings. Helene’s choice of gentle tones wraps around the mind of the reader, encouraging a connection and deep understanding of the character of Bongani.

Parents and teachers will love Slowly! Slowly! as author, T.M. Clark, deploys with sparkling effect, the use of alliteration, repetition, word rhythm and story building. The tale naturally lends itself to variance of voice as you read, from gentle words to the shouting of “GO AWAY!”

Slowly! Slowly! is an engaging and heart-warming story that is a must for children to read. Patience, compassion and resilience speak a gentle heart-song through the story, gifting children with mind tools to use through their lifetime.

(Slowly! Slowly! is adapted as a South African story, this variation of ‘Softly, softly, catchee monkey’ was originally an Ashanti (Ghana) proverb quoted by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Founder of the Boy Scouts)

Purchase a copy: Slowly! Slowly!

Title: Slowly! Slowly!
Author: T. M. Clark
Illustrator: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Wombat Books
Format: 9781925563221
ISBN: Hard cover
For ages: 3+

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

Julieann is a member of:

The Whirlpool – a book review


Title: The Whirlpool
by: Emily Larkin
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Wombat Books



Life is full of brightness for one polar bear cub. But then shadows fall … and his world changes. The little cub must learn to hope again.

The Whirlpool is a beautiful story about feeling sad and happy, lonely and loved, small and big. This gentle, emotive tale will help children navigate their way through the ups and downs of life. There is a whirlpool in all of us.

The Whirlpool booktrailer:

One moment the world is your oyster, and in the next moment, the world swallows you whole. Author, Emily Larkin has created a poignant, simple story describing the emotional journey and turmoil that can follow children and adults alike in our walk in life. A polar bear cub is the main character in The Whirlpool. We follow his journey, feeling his joy and happiness at the world and people around him. Even the stars shine for him. He can’t put a foot wrong…

But then comes the whirlpool … closing in and pulling him down into the depths of sadness and loneliness, hiding the brightest stars. As time passes, a new star finally peeks out from the ocean sky. The polar bear cub smiles. It’s a new day.







Emily Larkin has approached the subject of ‘swirling’ emotions that a child may experience on their quest in life with a gentle, non-judgmental acceptance. Children will relate to the emotions of the polar bear cub in a non-threatening way, and may even think, ‘Hey – that’s me.’

A crucial part of this story is when the polar bear cub comes through the cycle of sad days, and inhales the colours around him again. The importance of this ending is significant, and can be healing, calming and overflowing with hope for children who feel that their sad days will never end.

Emily Larkin’s message to her readers is simple, but highly effective in the recognition and acknowledgement of life’s emotive journey. Children need to know that life is not always happy and fun. It can be full of blue days and sad times too, but these will pass.






Illustrator, Helene Magisson, has captured the changes of emotion in the story with her effective use of colour and changes in facial expressions on the polar bear cub. These elements reach out to the reader and touch the heart, creating a bond and empathy.


In a world of darkness and light, inside and outside of ourselves, The Whirlpool is a welcome story that may help children feel they are not so alone after all, and on the inside, we all feel the same way at different times in our lives. The Whirlpool’s value in open discussions about our inner emotions is considerable, and may lift the weight of life’s journey from some children, and help them to see the stars and breathe the colours around them again.

Purchase a copy of The Whirlpool:

Connect with Emily Larkin at:

Connect with Helene Magisson at:

Author: Emily Larkin
Illustrator: Helene Magisson
ISBN: 978-1-925563-04-7
RRP: 24.99
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Wombat Books

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Editor, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

Member of:
QLD Writers Centre
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