2017 Reviews · Australian · children

Children’s Book Review: Friends by Teena Raffa-Mulligan and illustrated by Veronica Rooke

Title: Friendsfreinds

Author:  Teena Raffa-Mulligan

Illustrator:  Veronica Rooke

Published: March 3rd 2017

Publisher: Serenity Press

Pages: 32

Genres:  Children

RRP: $12.99

A delightful picture book written by Teena Raffa-Mulligan and illustrated by Veronica Rooke.

What makes a friend special?

Join Koala and an endearing menagerie of Australian creatures to celebrate the many ways in which friends brighten our days.

Playing the clown to turn frowns into smiles…caring and sharing…sticking around in sunshine and storms.

Life wouldn’t be the same without Friends…

Rhyme, rhythm and lively, fun-filled illustrations are a delightful mix in this warm-hearted celebration of friendship.

My review:

A colourful crew of Australian animals, headed by a very cute koala take us on a lively journey exploring what is means to have and be a friend, in Teena Raffa-Mulligan’s latest picture book,  titled Friends. This delightful story is full of humour and sentiment. Friends is supported by the bright and true blue Australian infused illustrations of Veronica Rooke.

Inspired by her own friendships in life, author Teena Raffa-Mulligan has penned her thoughts in the form of this gentle children’s book. The value of friendship comes across as a strong message in this thoughtful, as well as honest children’s book. The varied collection of Australian animals used to tell this compelling tale is just wonderful. Travelling amongst the Australian bushland with the main character Koala, the reader is taken on a journey packed full of fun and mishaps. Each page links to the main theme of friendship, but also includes instances of acceptance, caring and sharing with others. Good times, hard times are represented in Friends, which is an accurate reflection of life and a valuable lesson for young children to learn.

Raffa-Mulligan’s prose has a steady beat and is easy to deliver when read aloud, which is assisted by the strong use of rhyme. The text is nice and bold, as well as varied (my children and I loved the upside down text moments). It is clear from reading Friends that Raffa-Mulligan is well versed in writing for her target audience, primary aged children, as she has her finger on what ticks and how to draw her reader into the book.

Raffa-Mulligan’s text is supported by the beautiful artwork of Veronica Rooke. The Australian landscape and the animals that inhabit this setting come across as vivid and lifelike. The favourite in our household was the frill necked lizard dressed as a rock star, as well as the tough as nails crocodile. We also loved the koala hanging upside down with the bats, which gave my children a chance to interact with the book, turning the book back and forth, while laughing at the koala’s funny predicament!

Friends is a book that could easily be read by a parent to a child and in the early childhood classroom as a teaching tool. I had the opportunity to trial this book both at home with my own children aged 4 and 7, while also reading it aloud to a kindergarten class. The feedback I got from both situations was overwhelmingly warm and positive, the children all connected to this book and were able to take an important message away about friendship.

Friends by Teena Raffa-Mulligan was published in March 2017 by Serenity Press. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Friends, Teena Raffa-Mulligan, visit her website here.

To learn more about the illustrator of Friends, Veronica Rooke, visit her website here.

*I wish to thank the publisher, Serenity Press, for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


One thought on “Children’s Book Review: Friends by Teena Raffa-Mulligan and illustrated by Veronica Rooke

  1. Thank you, Amanda. I’m glad you like the book. I’m absolutely thrilled with Veronica’s illustrations. My favourites are also the frill-necked lizard rock star and the tough croc.


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