Grasshoppers Dance

By Juliette MacIver
Illustrated by Nina Rycroft
First published by Scholastic, 2015

The grasshoppers dance as the world turns through the four seasons – summer sun, leaf-falling autumn, fog of the winter-time chill, and the springtime gales. The rhyming words and the illustrations stir the imagination and are bound to delight many children.

Review by Kathryn Burgess, Librarian, Panmure Bridge School

The bunny goes PUM on the big bass drum,
the husky goes TRILL through the cold and the chill,
the kingfisher’s found a new shell sound…
and the grasshoppers DANCE as the world goes round.

Once a Creepy Crocodile

By Peter Taylor
Illustrated by Nina Rycroft
Musical arrangement by Rusty Berther
First published by Five Mile Press, 2015

Rycroft’s illustrations are full of action with double page spreads adding to the anticipation of an end which contains a neat unexpected twist. To add to the fun is a CD containing a lively sung version, to the tune of Waltzing Matilda, of the poem by Rusty Berther. Here is a wonderful combination of talent that makes this book a real winner. No young child up to junior primary, and, I suspect, adults who share, will fail to enjoy this book and its accompanying music.

Review by John Cohen,
the Children’s Book Council of Australia Reading Time

When a baby brolga catches a lurking crocodile’s eye, the animals of the billabong try to keep the little bird from harm. Afternoon tea has never been so dangerous! (or fun!)

Shortlisted for Speech Pathology Australia’s ‘Book of the Year Award, 2015’

Possum’s Big Surprise

By Colin Buchanan
Illustrated by Nina Rycroft
First published by Scholastic, 2014

Colin Buchanan’s experience as a songwriter is evident in Possum’s Big Surprise. The language trips and flows effortlessly across the pages, escalating the tension until Flossy is safely home. Nina Rycroft’s gentle colours and soft outlines dance across each spread. Together they have created a beautiful picture book for the very young. It introduces the Australian landscape and some of our iconic animals, in a lyrical story about things that twitch in the day. Young children love a surprise, and Possum’s Big Surprise delivers this deliciously! 

Review by Claire Saxby, children’s author and bookseller

Flossy the Possum is up and away!
Off in a flash and a tumble of grey
Flossy the Possum, quick as can be!
When all of a sudden… what does she see?
Flossy’s friends have a big surprise for her.
Will she find out before everything is ready?

Good Dog Hank

By Jackie French
Illustrated by Nina Rycroft
First published by Harper Collins, 2014

Based on a real canine, this picture book is about a much loved family dog. It describes all the good things that Hank does in his own special way such as helping wash socks and making new friends. The interpretation of good is clearly different for parents as it is for kids and that’s why kids will love his antics.

The illustrations by Nina Rycroft are colourful and imaginative and perfectly suit this tale of a larger than life dog. Hank’s escapades and his close bond with the family kids make this a heart warming and entertaining story.

Review by The Mummy Project

Hank is ALWAYS a good dog…
in his own special way.

This is the story of a dog called Hank, who obeys all the rules … by interpreting them in his own way. A very funny picture book about a dog who is convinced he is doing the right thing – and a family who love him, no matter what.

Dinosaurs Love Cheese

By Jackie French
Illustrated by Nina Rycroft
First published by Harper Collins, 2013

Young lovers of dinosaurs will adore this picture book. This is the story of a young boy with his mother going about their daily routine. While they have breakfast and go shopping, the animals that the boy is playing with on the first page come alive. Rycroft has used various ways to encourage the reader/viewer to interact with the book, including changing the layout to portrait for the giraffes, forcing the book to be turned on its side. I read this book to a story time group and they absolutely loved it, joining in the repetitive text of ‘… but dinosaurs love cheese’. The parents also enjoyed it, recognising the familiar zebra crossing! This is a favourite, highly recommended.

Review by Liz Derouet, Magpies

Monkeys love bananas, giraffes can’t resist the trees
I like milk and sandwiches … But who stole the cheese?

A delightful picture book
for everyone who loves dinosaurs – and cheese

Pooka

By Carol Chataway
Illustrated by Nina Rycroft
First published by Working Title Press, 2012

Nina Rycroft’s illustrations capture the growing bond between the small boy and the friendly pooch in delicate watercolour illustrations which sympathetically portray family life. Her style is an interesting cross between the work of Julia Vivas and Freya Blackwood – gentle and child-centered, with an emphasis on expressive body language and composition that draws the eye across the page.

Review by Stephanie Owen Reeder, a Canberra author, illustrator and editor

From the moment she is discovered on the doorstep, everyone loves Pooka.
She’s the best dog ever! ‘Don’t go getting attached,’ Granddad grumbles. But it’s too late for that!

Winner of the 2013, YABBA (Young Australians Best Book Awards)

Now I Am Bigger

By Sherryl Clark
Illustrated by Nina Rycroft
First Published by Working Title Press, 2010

Now I Am Bigger captures all the excitement and wonder of a small child’s world, when every day brings something new – new teeth, new words, new shoes, new bed – and every little change is very, very, BIG.

Now I Am Bigger captures all the excitment and wonder of a small child’s world, when every day brings something new – new teeth, new words, new shoes, new bed – and every little change is very, very BIG

No More Kisses

By Margaret Wild
Illustrated by Nina Rycroft
First published by Little Hare, 2010

Nina Rycroft’s gorgeous watercolours are simple but capture the feeling of playfulness effortlessly. Each character has a range of expressions but their enjoyment can’t help but be communicated to the reader. The garden is a delight, and the simplest everyday objects form part of the playground. A simple, effective tale full of mischief, mayhem and plenty of frivolity.

Review by Melinda Bilbey, bookseller and publisher, April 2010

A catch-and-kiss story to chase you around the garden!

Baby has had enough of kisses and cuddles, so he squirms and wriggles and runs away through a maze of obstacles, with his friends in hot pursuit. This delightful rhythmic and accumulative story is full of twists and turns, as well as fun words that toddlers will love to repeat again and again.

Ballroom Bonanza

By Nina Rycroft
First published by Working Title Press, 2009
Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, New York, 2010

In this colourfully and flamboyantly illustrated large-format alphabet book, animals from around the globe have gathered for a dance contest in the world-famous Tower Ballroom. Who will win? The camels dancing the conga? The flamingos dancing flamenco? And what are those mischievous monkeys up to? Turns out they’ve stolen the band’s instruments—twenty-six in all! Once the reader finds all of them hidden within the artwork, the grand finale can begin.

Ballroom Bonanza is an ideal primer to teach children about some of the most popular styles of dance, while offering a look at musical instruments to inspire young Mozarts—all while helping teach ABCs to aspiring readers and writers.

Review by Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book

Painting the front cover of Ballroom Bonanza

Join alpaca, bears, camels and a host of other animals as they conga, cancan and hip-hop the night away in the most amazing dance contest you’ll ever see.

A sumptuous, playful alphabet book with a dash of mystery and lots of monkey business.

Boom Bah!

By Phil Cummings
Illustrated by Nina Rycroft
First published by Working Title Press, 2008
Kane Miller’s first American edition, 2009

What fun readers young and old are going to have with this rhythmic book that is an encouragement to make lots of noise. What begins in the kitchen with a ‘ting’ on a teacup builds to a symphony that is a celebratory union between animals with home-made instruments and ‘real’ brass band led by a baton-waving horse. You can see the dramatic possibilities of this cumulative tale.

Most of the text consists of sounds, as the title suggests, and along with marching and improvised music-making there is an introduction to concepts of position, size and number. Rycroft’s watercolour illustrations, the best she has published to date, walk a fine line between nurseryland beauty and fun park hilarity.

5 star review by Kerry White, 2007

The picture book Boom Bah! was presented to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to commemorate their visit to Australia, May 2014.

Shhh! Listen! What’s that sound?

It starts with a Ting! when a tiny mouse taps on a cup with a spoon. And ends with a triumphant Tah-dah! as, one by one, all the other animals join in.

Follow the band and tap your toe! BOOM BAH! Here we go!

In 2007 Windmill Performing Arts toured Australia performing Boom Bah! in SA, NSW, Victoria, and Queensland as a literacy initiative between Windmill and the advertiser Little Big Book Club, travelling to Korea and Singapore, April and May 2009 and Auckland NZ July 2009.

Elephant Dance

By Sue Whiting
Illustrated by Nina Rycroft
First published by Koala Books, 2007

Hugo and Millie were the best of mates. They did everything together. They kicked up dirt. They tramped through trees. They played water fights. And showery fountains…

Elephant Dance is a beautiful picture book about friendship and compromise. The repeated refrain of ‘boom-boompa-chee’ will delight youngsters who will echo it during and after the story – when I read it to a class of year one students they wanted to boom-boompa-chee around the school for the rest of the day.

Review by Sally Murphy

Tricky Little Hippo

By Jane Bowring
Illustrated by Nina Rycroft
First published by Koala Books, 2005

Holly wants to be the best at something but her friends win all the games. Then Holly has a really good idea and discovers she is the best at something!

Little Platypus

By Nette Hilton
Illustrated by Nina Rycroft
First published by Koala Books, 2000

‘Who are you? asked the small glossy creature.
‘Am I one of you?’

Little Platypus is feeling lonely. He doesn’t know where he belongs. How can he find a friend who is just the same as him? Help him discover who he really is.

Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book, 2001
A NSW Premiers Reading Challenge book