Looking at life... from an oblique angle / and I sometimes Twitter (normally only when riled up): @brindafella

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And, then the alien said, "Take me to your reader."

This is Children's Book Week in Australia.

Yet, I have to ask why the promoters of these events take the trouble to stage the media circus in a classroom where the age of the children means that inane comments get aired rather than sensible comments by children actually reading or at lease capable of reading.

Another odd thing I've discovered is that, while the prizes were supposedly awarded on 19 August, and I can find a list of the short-listed books, by four working days later The Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) has not yet published on its web site the list of winners.

However, dear reader, I found a much better list (with hyperlinks) and marked with "Winner" tags.

Not only that, but I found that the winner of the 2005 Eve Pownall Award for Information Books was about 'space', of which I heartily approve.

book: To the Moon and Back; Bryan Sullivan with Jackie French
"To the Moon and Back: The Amazing Australians at the Forefront of Space Travel Plus Fantastic Moon Facts", Bryan Sullivan with Jackie French; Illus. Gus Gordon; Angus&Robertson, HarperCollinsPublishers, Australia, 2004

It's the story of the NASA Honeysuckle Creek tracking station that was quite near here, and the Apollo journeys to the Moon.

Now, Jackie French is a real sport! She is a riot -- always good for a laugh -- to see or hear 'presenting' a cooking or gardening or animal spot on a life-style show on TV or being interviewed on radio. She "knows stuff" and could make interviewers look / sound quite ordinary if she didn't help them out, which she always does. She is also a 'wombat' person, having studied and lived with them them almost all her life. (Well, she has raised quite a few of these wild animals by hand.) She even lives kind of locally to me, here, on a rural property that has this garden and which adjoins wombat territory! Here, she's with a moderately sized speciment called "Col".

Jackie French with the wombat called Col.

What if an alien landed and the first thing it spied was a wombat?

Wombats really are quite stupid animals. For instance, they are quite good at crossing roads just in front of cars. They are quite bad for a car if it runs over the wombat, as wombats are balls of muscle and tend to launch cars off the road (and then often into trees.) Wombats are herbivors, and tend to smell like what they eat which is roots and leaves. (There's an Australian saying / joke that goes, "A wombat: Eats, root and leaves." (... and... I'll leave the reader to re-punctuate that as 'nice' people might say it.)

Note and hint to some of my readers: Jackie French's web site also has some great advice for new writers, on how to get published. She knows how to do that. Just look at her list of (published) books.

For those who will ask... No, I don't get a kick-back, and I've never even met Jackie. But, I do know John Saxon (in passing) who, along with Bryan Sullivan, worked at Honeysuckle Creek.


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