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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).

Commentary | The State of the Art by Stephanie Owen Reeder

April 2006, no. 280 01 April 2006
The future of the Australian picture book would appear to be in very good hands. The most recently published writers include familiar names such as authors Hazel Edwards, Margaret Wild and Gary Crew, and author–illustrators Deborah Niland and Roland Harvey. What makes the latest offerings stand out, however, is the plethora of new and emerging authors and illustrators who are venturing into this ... (read more)

Stephanie Owen Reeder reviews nine picture books

April 2008, no. 300 01 April 2008
A good picture book is like a complicated dance between words and pictures in which each must be in step and working towards the same artistic outcome. If either clement is dancing to a different tune, the narrative strength will be diminished and the story will limp along. In The Peasant Prince: The True Story of Mao s Last Dancer (Penguin, $29.95 hb, 40 pp, 9780670070541), author and illustrator ... (read more)

Stephanie Owen Reeder reviews twenty-two children's picture books

November 2006, no. 286 01 November 2006
The latest batch of Australian picture books contains many good, solid stories, competently told – but definitely nothing out of the ordinary. However, picture books do not necessarily have to deal with new subjects, use complex illustrative techniques or contain gimmicks to be something special. Some of the best picture books are those which simply celebrate the ordinary. Some of the latest re ... (read more)

Engaging with facts

September 2008, no. 304 01 September 2008
Despite increasing competition from Internet search engines and online encyclopedias, quality information titles for children continue to be produced in Australia. Well-researched non-fiction books that bring their subject matter to life can have a much greater impact on an inquisitive mind than is the case with the fact-bites of Google. ... (read more)

CYA Survey by Stephanie Owen Reeder

June 2009, no. 312 01 June 2009
Food is always a winning ingredient in books for children. Mini-chocoholics will devour I Like Chocolate (Wilkins Farago, $24.99 hb, 28 pp), a delicious book that celebrates the delights of chocolate consumption. Davide Cali has produced an enthusiastic and humorous book with gentle messages about sharing and caring, and eating in moderation. Shaped like a large block of chocolate, I Like Chocolat ... (read more)

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

November 2009, no. 316 01 November 2009
The line between picture books, graphic novels and comic books is becoming increasingly blurred as picture books adopt elements from a wide range of graphic forms of storytelling. With The Hero of Little Street (Allen & Unwin, $29.99 hb, 32 pp), Gregory Rogers reprises the successful graphic-novel format of his Boy Bear series. The boy, whom we first met in The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the B ... (read more)

Stephanie Owen Reeder reviews 'The Art of Graeme Base' by Julie Watts

December 2008–January 2009, no. 307 01 December 2008
When Graeme Base’s first picture book, My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch, was published in 1983, his exuberant illustrations and rollicking text produced a frisson. However, it was the incomparable ‘alphabet’ book Animalia (1986) that really launched Base’s career as a picture-book author–illustrator, and made him a publishing phenomenon in both Australia and the United States. In celebrati ... (read more)

'Harry Potter and the fantastic Australians' by Stephanie Owen Reeder

October 2005, no. 275 01 October 2005
Within a week of the recent release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, millions of children and adults around the world had read it. Now comes the long wait for the final tome in this cleverly designed series by the prolific J.K. Rowling. Nil desperandum. The fantasy novel for children – and especially crossover books which, like the Harry Potter series, appeal to both adults and childre ... (read more)

Stephanie Owen Reeder reviews children's books

July–August 2010, no. 323 01 July 2010
Many adults who grew up the 1980s doubtless remember a hairy, conical-shaped creature with very big feet that lived in the Australian bush, as well as a large hippopotamus that lived on a little girl’s roof and ate cake. The conical creature was, of course, Grug. Ted Prior’s Grug books were small, affordable paperbacks featuring simple but entertaining stories about this unflappable creature. ... (read more)

CYA Survey by Stephanie Owen Reeder

July–August 2007, no. 293 01 July 2007
Once upon a time, identifying a good picture book was simple: it had bright-coloured illustrations, an easy-to-read text, and it dealt with things relevant to a child’s life. While these elements are still important, the genre has developed to such an extent that simplicity is no longer the prime criterion. As some recent titles show, picture books can cover a multitude of styles and themes; how ... (read more)
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