• In The Shadow Of An Elephant

    First impressions count. They are (for me) seldom wrong. However, like a painting on the wall, a second, closer look can often enhance if not alter those first gut reactions. Closer inspection often reveals hitherto unseen beauties secreted among shadows laden with meaning. This is precisely why I adore picture books.

    My first impression of Georgie Donaghey’s, In the Shadow of an Elephant was that it was an immense story; a picture book attempting to embrace a life story as boundless as the African Savannah, just as brutal and beautiful. Even the magnificent front cover of Lualani the elephant required a full cover wrap to encompass her complete gorgeous form.

    Then I took the book home and read it quietly. I read it aloud to my teen daughter. I read it again, alone. Each reading became more and more emotional as the fullness of the story swept over me and somehow the largeness of this tale found a perfect fit within its picture book confines, and within my heart.

    Lualani is an adorable baby elephant who enjoys her baby elephant life with her herd and her ever-present mumma until one terrible night when her world rips apart following a merciless poachers’ attack. Alone and bereft, she is taken in by Jabari and his Papa who coax Lualani into loving life again, teaching her ‘how to be an elephant.’

    Together they grow, sing and dance and again, morn after Jabari’s papa dies. And, just as elephants are wont to do, Lualani returns Jabari’s love with patience and understanding, salving his grief and cherishing every moment of their time together; ‘dancing in each other’s shadows’ until life’s curtains draw close.

    In the Shadow of an Elephant is a sweeping tale, an epic story of beginnings and endings, of love and the unrelenting qualities of the cycle of life. Donaghey’s lyrical prose is charged with emotion yet is never excessive or cloying. It tells Lualani’s life story with just the right amount of colour and sentiment. It is because we can relate to the feelings of loss and grief that each cleverly chosen word becomes so emotionally amplified, giving us a fuller sense of the depth of friendship Lualani and Jabari share.

    The other notable thing of greatness this book possesses is the artwork. Sandra Svergnini’s pencil lined drawings are exquisite, pulsing with life and texture. The limited colour palette against greyscale drawings works a treat, highlighting the significant parts of each illustration without ever compromising focus. Patterned page bands simultaneously reflect these highlights and the colours of the Savannah.

    There is so much heart in each of Lualani’s facial expressions that you cannot fail to feel her agonising despair, her soaring joy. This story is a true marriage of words and pictures that works to elicit compassion, empathy and thankfulness.

    Despite its magnitude or perhaps because of it, In The Shadow of an Elephant is delivered with great grace and gentleness making it an obvious classroom go-to to aid discussions about animal welfare, namely the problem of poaching in Africa as well as friendship, animal human bonds and finding the light in the darkest moments of despair. If I had to offer one suggestion to enhance this book, it would be to increase its hardback format to a greater size to match the story’s undeniable presence.

    Highly recommended for middle primary readers and lovers of elephants.

    See the original review and visit Dimity Powell's blog

    Dimity Powell's website: www.dimitypowell.com


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  • Clover's Big Ideas

    Clover's Big Ideas by Georgie Donaghey & Emma Middleton (Little Pink Dog).

    Being small doesn’t mean you can’t have big ideas. This story of a very cute little lamb saving the day, with its very appealing illustrations will delight small people.


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  • Clover's Big Ideas

    'Clover's Big Ideas' is a very gentle and sweet story, but has a strong message - to trust in yourself no matter what others say.

    My daughter and I really enjoyed reading this book together and it gave me an opportunity to discuss issues such as bullying and exclusion.


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  • In The Shadow Of An Elephant

    Georgie Donaghey has delivered a moving story that explores love, loss, friendship, and trust. Though this story is for five to six year olds, it could be used as an aid in middle primary when dealing with the sensitive issues of life and death.

    The story takes you to the African Savannah where Lualani a baby elephant is ripped away from her mother’s side one dark night. Poachers scare the herd leaving Lualani calling for her mother. It informs those new to reading about the harshness of life in a gentle way.

    Lualani is frightened and extremely sad, but she is not alone for long. A boy Jabari and his Papa find her, and through, empathy, understanding, patience, and perseverance earn the trust of Lualani. A strong friendship forms and both Jabari and Lualani over many years learn from each other.

    The story brings you full circle when Jabari’s papa passes, and now Lualani is the one to help Jabari through his saddest moments.

    The story is added to with the delightful artwork by Sandra Severgnini showing the reader the beauty of Africa and evoking the nature of the emotions that are felt throughout the story.

    Original review on Buzz Words: www.buzzwordsmagazine.com/2019/04/in-shadow-of-elephant


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  • Lulu

    Georgie Donaghey’s charming verse and Ann-Marie Finn’s enchanting illustrations have combined to create ‘Lulu’.

    Following your dreams, the joy of performance and the importance of friendship are the key ingredients in this delightful picture book about Lulu, an ambitious little polar bear who seeks fame on the stage.

    Adults will love reading the story aloud to young children and older children will delight in reading the book themselves while dreaming their own special dreams.

    Pat's website: www.patsimmonswriter.com.au


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  • Clover's Big Ideas

    Clover is small, and her Mumma wants her to stay put and be safe. But Clover is a curious little lamb, and she wants the other lambs to see that being small doesn’t mean she can’t do big things.

    The other lambs ignore poor Clover and dismiss her for her size, but when they get into trouble with the bull in the next paddock, it's little Clover who comes to their rescue with her big and brilliant ideas.

    This is a heart-warming picture book that shows kids that being small — being different — doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your dreams.

    Clover is such a gorgeous character, and her emotional journey throughout the book is both touching and powerful. Over the course of the story, Clover is happy, curious, intimidated, sad, lonely, brave, daring and kind. Georgie Donaghey's words bring her to life on the page, making you wish she was a real little lamb you could meet (and maybe learn from). With stunning illustrations by Emma Middleton, this is a picture book you'll want to take your time to explore. The gorgeous colour palette and exquisite details fill every page, and there’s a cheeky little mouse for kids to spot throughout the story. Many children will relate to little Clover and her challenges in life, so I dare say this story will inspire them to reach for the stars, which is a beautiful and amazing gift.


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  • In The Shadow Of An Elephant

    IN THE SHADOW OF AN ELEPHANT by Georgie Donaghey & Sandra Severgnini (Little Pink Dog).

    The moving and heartfelt story of a lifelong friendship between a boy and an elephant. The expressive illustrations are enhanced by an African border. A beautiful production.


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  • Clover's Big Ideas

    Spring is an exciting time of the year. Particularly on farms where spring means babies. And that is where the adorable Clover comes into the story, written by author, Georgie Donaghey. Clover is clearly loved by her mother, who tells her to stay on this side of the fence where it is safer. When Clover sees the bull in the next paddock and giggles, it is a clear indicator of her positive outlook on life and her sweet disposition. But you also get that bumbly feeling in your tummy that something is going to happen … so you turn the page with caution …

    Enter Duncan, Stu and Shadow, the villains of the story. They tease Clover about being small and you instantly want to protect her from them. Clover bravely speaks up, ‘I may be small, but I have BIG ideas,’ before she turns her head away so they can’t see her tears.

    Duncan, Stu and Shadow don’t just tease Clover. It seems anyone can be a target of their bullying. So they approach the bull and tease him (the bullies bully the bull…), Angus the bull is justifiably angry, and will have the readers cheering him on.

    When Shadow gets stuck in the fence, there is only one small lamb who can help. Enter the heroine of the story, Clover, who also cleverly plans a stunt with Angus the bull for a little bit of light hearted revenge that will have kids sniggering and smiling.

    Illustrator (and author), Emma Middleton, has gifted the readers will spectacular pictures using oil paints. You will fall in love with her painting technique that creates a visual softness for the wool and fur of the animals, that will make you want to reach out and touch the pages. Sometimes I have a favourite illustration or two in books, but with Clover’s BIG Ideas, I have twelve favourite double page spreads that draw my eyes, due to the variety and use of colour, or the love visually pouring from the pages.

    Clover’s BIG Ideas is a beautiful, heartfelt story, written by author, Georgie Donaghey,  that has all the ingredients to make it a successful and popular story, and it certainly makes a positive impact with its message. There is no doubt that Clover’s BIG Ideas will become an ‘anytime’ favourite story to be read and reread, not just for bedtime.

    Original Review: booksteaandcupcakes.blog/2017/11/16/clovers-big-ideas-book-review


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  • Lulu

    Meet Lulu.

    Lulu is a gorgeous little polar bear who loves to sing and dance. But dancing on ice and pirouetting on snow just can’t compare with the call of the show. Lulu dreams of more. She dreams of performing on a real stage.

    Despite her friends’ discouragement, Lulu follows her dreams and sails to the city in search of excitement and the theatre. Very soon she becomes an accomplished entertainer; performing to princesses, princes and queens with their kings.

    But as much as she loves the stage, the city and the lights, Lulu soon realises there is nothing more satisfying than being with her friends back on the ice.

    Little girls everywhere will fall in love with this talented polar bear. I can already see Lulu plush toys in demand!

    I take great delight in the fact that Lulu is not deterred or dismayed by her friends’ discouragement. With the wonderful message of encouraging children to chase their dreams, despite obstacles and adversaries, the story also highlights the importance of friendship and love above all.

    Lulu is an endearing story written by Georgie Donaghey. The cantering metered rhyme makes for a fun and enjoyable read-aloud story. Ann-Marie Finn’s illustrations, with her clever choice of colour, are simply adorable.

    A charming story to delight children again and again.

    Original Review: www.kids-bookreview.com/2015/06/review-lulu


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  • In The Shadow Of An Elephant

    A very endearing tale which, importantly, touches on elephant’s great emotional capacity.


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  • Lulu

    From the first page, you can't help falling in love with Lulu. This beautiful polar bear with something more on her mind than her cosy life of fishing amongst the ice.

    Lulu longs for the lights of the stage, and will be never content to only dance in front of a pack of sea lions. 

    When her friends remind her of her place, Lulu packs up and heads for the city. 

    Opening night, the butterflies flutter and tickle her belly, but Lulu doesn't give in to her limbs wobbling like jelly. 

    She conquers the stage with polish and grace, night after night with a smile on her face. 

    Her dream of performing has certainly come true, but Lulu is lonely and misses her crew.

    She heads on home, to find her friends have built her, her very own show.Lulu's life is once again cosy and nice with her wonderfully supportive friends on the ice.

    I read this with my almost 4 year old who was captivated from start to finish. We loved the whimsical rhyme that flowed so smoothly, making this a great read aloud. The stunning illustrations by Ann-Marie Finn bring Lulu to life. Every page is so beautiful I wanted to print them to put upon my little girls walls. My absolute favourite illustration is this one.

    The overarching theme of following your dreams but keeping grounded in yourself is expertly woven into the story, making this a book I suspect will be read over and over again in our household.

    Georgie Donaghey has a true sense of what entertains children and I believe this will be a great addition to any child's book shelf ages 3-6.


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  • In The Shadow Of An Elephant

    I absolutely loved In the Shadow Of An Elephant! What a beautifully written story. You captured the shock, sadness and loneliness that grief brings but also mastered the new relationships and support found while on a grief journey. I love the use of seasons to show time passing (extremely hard to show in a picture book).


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  • Lulu

    At first glance, life on the icy floes may seem appealing. (Unless you reside in SE Queensland as I do with no real concept of what cold is until you have to live through ‘an unseasonably cold winter’ with little more than a cotton tee-shirt and a pair of bed socks). In Lulu’s world, there is more ice than you can shake an Eskimo at and ‘mountains of fish’ to sate the largest appetite. What more could a young polar bear desire? Yet like many of us closeted in the everyday cosiness of the familiar, Lulu harbours dreams and a hankering to fulfil them.

    Lulu’s name ribbons across the sweetly simple cover of Georgie Donaghey’s debut picture book, Lulu. Along with illustrator, Ann-Marie Finn, Donaghey has created a tale that will strike at least two chords with many young readers aged three and above: the need to chase one’s desires no matter how ambitious and dancing.

    Expounding these themes, Donaghey uses carefully nurtured verse to draw the reader along with Lulu who sets off alone in pursuit of her dream of performing on the big stage. It’s not really a case of running away, rather running to somewhere. Pirouetting on the snow for her Arctic friends just doesn’t cut it for her anymore and in true grass-is-greener style, or in this case, the lights-are-brighter-than-the-aurora-borealis style, Lulu eventually conquers her ambitions, finds her place on stage and performs for many seasons in the big city.

    It’s a life filled with glamour and fame, highbrow audiences and gratifying reviews but sadly not with true friends. Turns out, the ice is greener after all and eventually the call of home lures Lulu back.

    Donaghey does well to point out to young readers that it’s okay to have dreams and great aspirations. We don’t always attain our goals, but sometimes, if we want them hard enough, dreams do come true. Lulu was lucky enough to experience the realisation of her strongest desires but also to realise that her most steadfast believers, her friends would always be there waiting for her no matter how far away her dreams took her. This conveys a positive message of security for children, stressing the importance of being self-assured.

     Finns’ considered colour choices for the illustrations are uncomplicated revealing mood, time and place with minimal clutter. White space replicates the vast pristine landscape of Lulu’s home with subtle colour shifts and blends from polar blues and whites to snowflake- pretty sunset yellows used to maximum effect on what could have been a monochromatic environment to illustrate. Little blips of pink provide contrast and encourage little eyes to focus on Lulu, the true star of the show.

    With its soft matt cover (in this paperback edition), comfortable rhythm, and pleasing artwork it is hard not to be warmed by this story set on the ice.


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  • In The Shadow Of An Elephant

    'This is a book of intense meaning, of beauty, life, earth-shattering loss and of an epic forge of bonding.'


    One terrible night the ground rumbled, and dark shapes appeared in the distance. A cracking sound tore through the air. Lualani’s life was changed forever.‘Don’t be afraid. I will look after you.’ Jabari reached out his hand.A life-long friendship set on the edge of the African Savanna. Through life’s challenges they will embrace the joys of dancing in the shadow of an elephant.


    From the first glimpse of the cover, we, the reader, are immediately drawn in to this emotive story. With a loving embrace and tears streaming down their cheeks, this image captures something deep in all of us – a special connection, so full of emotion, heart and intrigue. We need to know more.

    Being African-born, and a huge animal-lover and protector, In the Shadow of an Elephant touched a part of me from the beginning. But you don’t have to be those things to fall in love with this heart-rending, moving tale. Within us all is the need to feel loved and cared for – to have and to hold a friendship so near that withstands a life-time of ups and downs. Georgie Donaghey so beautifully elicits all of this in her story; from complete joy and tenderness, to shock, despair and sorrow, and comfort, trust and loyalty. Donaghey’s poetic-like narrative takes us to the vast African Savanna, which finds baby elephant Lualani suddenly orphaned due to the terrors of hunters. And so, although understandably heartbroken, she begins her journey on a new path with boy Jabari and his Papa. Across time, we encounter a unique friendship of understanding, of learning new things (like, how to be an elephant), of sharing grief, and of an undeniable dance between love and light. What joy and soul, trumpeting off these pages with Sandra Severgnini’s mixture of light and shade and pops of patterned, vibrant, and warm tones. She has created unforgettable illustrations that ooze with a cultural, heart-warming and eye-appeasing aura.

    In the Shadow of an Elephant is such a valuable book for its ability to promote compassion, thought and discussion around topics of wildlife poaching and the treatment of animals, friendship, love, life and loss and the power of memory. How neatly does this intertwine with the amazing power of elephants?!

    This is a book of intense meaning, of beauty, life, earth-shattering loss and of an epic forge of bonding. Tender, emotional and sublime. Highly recommended for primary school-aged children.


    In the Shadow of an Elephant, has been honoured as a “Finalist” in the “Children’s Picture Book: Hardcover Fiction” category in the 2019 International Book Awards.


    Original Review: www.justkidslit.com/bookreview-in-the-shadow-of-an-elephant-by-georgie-donaghey-and-sandra-severgnini


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  • In The Shadow Of An Elephant

    Lualani is a baby elephant that lives with her family on the African plains. 

    At night she sleeps cuddled into her mother. During the day she stands in her mother’s shadow as protection from the burning sun.

    It is night when the sharp sounds split the calm and force the herd to scatter. Lualani is left alone.  

    She is found by the boy Jabari and his father, and taken to a place of safety to be fed and cared for. But Lualani longs for her mother until she realizes Mumma won’t be coming back.

    Trust is built and a strong bond is formed between the elephant and the two humans. Their shadows become one until a tragedy occurs and the tables are turned. Now Lualani is the comforter, and the boy the broken-hearted.

    When time and space separate the two friends, they both know that they will be reunited again at some future stage.

    This is a delicate story, beautifully told about the hunt and slaughter of African elephants by poachers. This central theme is revealed in a non-confronting way through subtle allusion.

    The  secondary theme of the strong friendship between animal and Man is the maintaining wall built around the poaching reference, as is the fragility of life, and the protection of wildlife.

    Sandra Servergnini’s exquisite illustrations in pencil and watercolour sit as light as air on the page in cohesion with the gentle tone of the text.  Her portrayal of the separation of mother and baby projected on a dark background effectively relays the devastation felt by the two elephants. Decorative African trim at the bottom of selected pages adds that something extra. These same colours are the only ones used in all the illustrations. The rest is grey against white. The fly pages reflect intimate images replicated from inside the book of Lualani and Jabari together.

    Original Review: www.kids-bookreview.com/2019/08/review-in-shadow-of-elephant


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