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Margaret Robson Kett

Margaret Robson Kett
Margaret Robson Kett is a Melbourne writer and editor. She blogs at

Margaret Robson Kett reviews ‘Young Murphy: A Boy’s Adventure’ by Gary Crew, ‘101 Great Killer Creatures’ by Paul Holper and Simon Torok, and ‘Iron Soldiers’ by Dave Luckett

November 2005, no. 276 01 November 2005
There is an almost overwhelming tide of historical texts for young people being published at the moment. Fictional accounts of actual events are enormously popular, and frequently the diary form is used, as this is felt to be more accessible to young people, and also gives the writer licence to use the historical present tense with impunity. Gary Crew and Mark Wilson have collaborated on Young Mu ... (read more)

Margaret Robson Kett reviews 'A Life in Children's Books' by Walter McVitty

August 2004, no. 263 01 August 2004
The Lu Rees Archives of Australian Children’s literature is a collection of children’s books and manuscripts whose stated purpose is to ‘provide resources for the study and research of Australian authors and illustrators, including both the literature and the historical and cultural context in which it was created’. Officially owned by the Children’s Book Council of Australia, and housed ... (read more)

Margaret Robson Kett reviews‘Can I Call You Colin?: The Authorised Biography of Colin Thiele’ by Stephany Evans Steggall

May 2004, no. 261 01 May 2004
Mention Colin Thiele’s name, and at least one listener will sigh and say The Sun on the Stubble in a wistful or regretful voice, depending on their schooldays memories. This biography takes us on ngrugie ngoppun: a ‘good walk’ with its subject. Largely chronological, it begins with a glimpse of the writer poised to tell his enduring story of the Coorong, Storm Boy (1963), and then retraces h ... (read more)

Margaret Robson Kett reviews children's non-fiction books

May 2006, no. 281 01 May 2006
History has never been so much fun,’ says the blurb of one of the books reviewed below. Welcome to the twenty-first century. Work is fun. History is fun. Writing is fun. Writing history must therefore be really fun! The English writer Terry Deary was the creator of the Horrible History series, which blatantly exploits the perceived unlimited capacity of most nine-year-olds to wallow in poo and ... (read more)

Margaret Robson Kett reviews 5 books

October 2001, no. 235 01 October 2001
At school assemblies, when I was ten, I was required to recite a pledge which ended with the words ‘and cheerfully obey my parents, teachers and the law’. The novels reviewed here are all concerned with family, and the way in which young people operate within and outside it. The gardener of the family has a dilemma. If she wants a brand-new compost bin, she must get an ‘A’ on the final pr ... (read more)

'Imagine … the Wonder of Picture Books: The littlest ant’s guide to stories' by Margaret Robson Kett

ABR Arts 03 February 2023
‘Just follow the ants,’ said a smiling guide at the Macquarie Street entrance to the State Library of New South Wales. I was led up the stairs by Tohby Riddle’s jaunty decals of those excellent insects to Imagine … the Wonder of Picture Books. The viewer is invited to ‘find old and new favourites’ and welcomed to the exhibition by Bronwyn Bancroft’s acrylic painting for her book Co ... (read more)

Margaret Robson Kett reviews 'Lioness: The extraordinary untold story of Sue Brierley, mother of Saroo, the boy known as Lion' by Sue Brierley

November 2020, no. 426 22 October 2020
The vision was of a brown-skinned child standing by her side. She sensed it so keenly that she could even feel the child’s warmth. It was so striking she wondered about her sanity … but as time went by, she became more comfortable with her vision, accepted it as something precious, a visitation of some sort that only she knew about.’ Saroo Brierley related this life-changing vision from his ... (read more)

Margaret Robson Kett reviews 'The Threads of Magic' by Alison Croggon, 'Euphoria Kids' by Alison Evans, and 'The Vanishing Deep' by Astrid Scholte

June–July 2020, no. 422 26 May 2020
This month’s survey features three bewitching novels from authors intent on transporting younger readers to other worlds. The Threads of Magic by Alison CroggonWalker Books, $19.95 pb, 380 pp In Alison Croggon’s latest fantasy novel, The Threads of Magic, Pip and his sister El are living in a poor but snug apartment in the city of Clarel, bequeathed to them by Missus Pledge. Pip, always on t ... (read more)

Story Time: Australian Children’s Literature (National Library of Australia)

ABR Arts 03 December 2019
Like a party where you hope to see famous faces, this exhibition offers the familiar – the Green Sheep, the wombats, the Magic Pudding – but also the chance to meet half-remembered friends and to make new ones. Story Time: Australian Children’s Literature, the result of three years’ work by curator Grace Blakeley-Carroll, features works from NLA’s collection and beyond. In the exhibition ... (read more)

Margaret Robson Kett reviews 'Storytime: Growing up with books' by Jane Sullivan

November 2019, no. 416 03 September 2019
Maryanne Wolf’s excellent book about the reading brain, Proust and the Squid: The story and the science of the reading brain (2007), quotes Marcel himself: There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived as fully as those … we spent with a favourite book … they have engraved in us so sweet a memory (so much more precious to our present judgment than what we read then with such love), ... (read more)
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