Stephanie Owen Reeder

Dr Stephanie Owen Reeder is a Canberra-based author, illustrator, editor and award-winning reviewer who has been reviewing children’s books for nearly thirty years. She has also worked as a secondary school teacher, a librarian, a university lecturer and a Hansard editor at Federal Parliament. Stephanie co-edited The Inside Story: Creating Children’s Books (1987) and was the editor of the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s journal Reading Time. Her historical novel Lost! A True Tale from the Bush (2009) was shortlisted in the CBCA Children’s Book of the Year Awards in 2010, while Amazing Grace: An Adventure at Sea (2011) won the New South Wales Premier’s History Award in 2012. Her picture book I’ve Got a Feeling! (2010) was an International Board on Books for Young People Outstanding Book in 2011. Her latest book for children is Dance Like a Pirate (2013).

Stephanie Owen Reeder reviews 'Good Dog Hank', 'I Have a Dog (an inconvenient dog)', 'Imagine a City', 'Snail and Turtle Are Friends', 'Poppy Cat', 'The Hairy-Nosed Wombats Find a New Home', 'That Car!',

August 2014, no. 363 01 August 2014
Stephanie Owen Reeder reviews 'Good Dog Hank', 'I Have a Dog (an inconvenient dog)', 'Imagine a City', 'Snail and Turtle Are Friends', 'Poppy Cat', 'The Hairy-Nosed Wombats Find a New Home', 'That Car!',
In order to appeal to a child audience, picture books often deal with similar subjects or themes. To compete in the marketplace, they therefore need a point of difference – something in the artist’s style, the author’s approach, the design of the book to set them apart. The relationship between children and their pets is a popular picture book subject and one that Jackie French explores in ... (read more)

Stylish imagery

April 2014, no. 360 31 March 2014
Stylish imagery
A good picture book melds a well-crafted text with illustrations that interpret and extend the narrative. The illustrator’s choice of artistic style is central to how effectively this combined narrative is communicated to readers. Australian Children’s Laureate Jackie French and illustrator Bruce Whatley have had a long and successful collaborative relationship. Their latest picture book is F ... (read more)

Picturing war

July–August 2013, no. 353 27 June 2013
Picturing war
Depicting war in a picture book requires a deft hand. Historical imperatives need to be considered, while also avoiding glorifying war for a young and impressionable audience. Ideally, such books should promote informed discussion rather than mindless militarism. ... (read more)

Stephanie Owen Reeder reviews recent picture books

September 2012, no. 344 28 August 2012
Good picture books stimulate a child’s imagination. Nick Bland and Stephen Michael King celebrate creativity in The Magnificent Tree (Scholastic, $24.99 hb, 32 pp, 9781742832951). Bonny and Pops enjoy sharing ideas and making things together. Bonny’s inventions are ‘simple, clever and properly made’, while Pops’s creations are ‘big, brave and brilliant with bits sticking out’. Determ ... (read more)

Stephanie Owen Reeder reviews recent children's picture books

November 2011, no. 336 21 October 2011
A common theme in picture books for children is the pivotal role of family and friends. Bee, the main protagonist in Good Morning Mr Pancakes (Allen & Unwin, $29.99 hb, 32 pp, 9781742377193), has a bevy of animal friends, all of whom must be catered for before she heads off for a week’s holiday with her family. Chris McKimmie’s idiosyncratic book explores the world from the child’s point ... (read more)

A survey of recent children's picture books by Stephanie Owen Reeder

November 2010, no. 326 07 October 2011
Many Australian picture book authors and illustrators continue to develop the genre in exciting and unusual ways. For example, Jeannie Baker’s Mirror (Walker Books, $39.95 hb, 44 pp, 9781406309140) challenges the very notion of a picture book. It contains dual narratives that are presented as two separate books in one. These books are designed to be opened and read simultaneously – one from le ... (read more)