A review: Tibbidy – A new Australian magazine for 3-7 year olds

Tibbidy is a glossy 32 page magazine for young children. It includes stories, puzzles and lots of other activities. In this first, beach-themed, edition there are four stories, two by Jackie Hosking, one by Janette Brazel and the fourth by George Ivanoff. . Two are in verse, one is set in a graphic format (we used to call them comics), and the fourth is in a more traditional narrative format. Illustrations for stories and activities are by various illustrators (in a variety of styles) but all are bright and colourful. Activities suggested can be completed with items found in or around most homes. Tibbidy contains no advertising. It also links to a website where there are sample story pages and activities.

Tibbidy is a lovely looking magazine. It feels good to hold. The magazine is of sturdy paper and a size perfect for being read alone or for sharing with a older reader. From the bright-coloured ‘pick-me-up’ cover to the build-your-own rock pool activity inside the back cover, producer Kirsty Gautheron has put together a wonderful package. The stories are engaging, the illustrations full of extra tit-bits for the reader (or pre-reader) to find. There are a wide range of imaginative activities with something to appeal to every taste. The magazine is to be produced quarterly and is available from selected retailers (although I couldn’t find details of these), or online at http://www.tibbidy.com.au (order the print edition or download the printable edition).

Tibbidy produced by Kirsty Gautheron 2008 ISBN: 9771835001005 www.tibbidy.com.au

This review will also appear on Aussie Reviews

Sydney SCBWI conference

I spent the past weekend in Sydney at the Hughenden Hotel for the 2nd SCBWI Conference. Organised by Susanne Gervay and Chris Cheng, this conference for writers and illustrators was a blast! It featured appraisals, publishers, editors, case studies, fine food and wine, trend-spotting, trend-setting, 2 min pitches, new voices, experienced voices, sunshine and laughter.

The program was designed to facilitate plenty of chat time. It also allowed delegates to absorb the content of each presentation without feeling like heads might explode. I met several people I’d previously only ‘known’ via email. It’s always good to match the faces with the names. Interesting too, who is like their on-line self, and who surprises.

What is the best thing about a conference? The chance to be with people who share your passion, to learn how to improve your craft, to take a break from the solitude that is so necessary for creating, to see new books. They reinvigorate, re-enthuse, recharge and totally exhaust you. They are fantastic.

The simple things…

We went away last weekend with three other families, staying in shearing quarters on a Victorian Heritage noted property. The shearing quarters were of bluestone, built in a U shape around a central courtyard. 22 of us there were, in fairly basic accommodation. Immediately the tables and chairs were moved into the courtyard and that’s where they stayed for the weekend. Alfresco dining!

The children (some of whom are adults) were a bit underwhelmed by the facilities until the owner told us of a waterhole edging the property. Never touched the bottom, she said. Cliff on one side, but accessible from our side. Cliff was right, a sheer drop of almost 10 m. Too high to jump from, right? Wrong. First one, then most of the children and some of the adults succumbed to the call of the heights. Others looked on and hoped that no one would earn the dubious honour of finding the bottom of the waterhole for the first time. Fortunately no one did. Some of us, myself included, were happy enough to jump from the lowest possible ledge. Adventure enough to observe.

We opted for a roast dinner cooked in the big wood stove, but no one warned the stove that it was to be pressed into service. It woke up slowly and dinner plans were slightly delayed. No mind, a late evening repast in the courtyard on a perfect summer evening was no hardship.

The property boasted many original buildings including a smokehouse, laundry, manager’s house, stables and more. There was a formal garden, with century-old pines and olive trees and a glorious view down the valley. The house has been restored and includes glass panels in the ceiling which reveal the original roof trusses and wood shingles.

In the past 21 years we have met as a group in many places around Victoria. Some accommodation has been flasher than others, but all have been memorable. The children never fail to find entertainment even where none is immediately visible, the older watch out for the younger, the adults never run out of conversation and there is always plenty to eat.