#aww2020 · 2020 Reviews · children

Children’s Book Review: What a Lot of Nonsense by Sheena Knowles

Title: What a Lot of Nonsensewhat a lot of nonsense small

Author: Sheena Knowles

Illustrator: Jonathan Bentley

Published: February 24th 2020

Publisher: Harper Collins

Pages: 32

Genres:  Children (3+)

RRP: $24.99

From the author of the internationally bestselling EDWARD and EDWINA THE EMU, comes a book that presents readers with a puzzle – to find the anagrams hidden on every page.

Dear reader, please take time to note
Two ways to read this book I wrote.
The first way is for everyone,
Just read the book, enjoy the fun.

The second way will challenge those
Who like to look beyond the prose.
Who’d like to ACT just like a ‘cat’
(And that’s an anagram, in fact).

Join in the fun with a host of quirky animals, and find out why a bear doesn’t want to be bare, a seal goes to a sale, and a dingo is doing a dance.

Sheena Knowles, author of internationally bestselling Edward the Emu and Edwina the Emu, has teamed up with renowned illustrator Jonathan Bentley to create a joyous book that fires up the imagination and revels in the joy of words.


‘What would you wear if you were a bear

And you couldn’t fit into your pants?’

Sheena Knowles, best known for her classic children’s picture book Edward the Emu, has partnered up with talented illustrator Jonathan Bentley to produce What a Lot of Nonsense. This funny and entertaining story uses word play to draw in young readers.

What a Lot of Nonsense is a 2020 Harper Collins children’s book publication from respected author Sheena Knowles. It is supported by the vibrant illustration work of Jonathan Bentley. What a lot of Nonsense requests that the audience read this book in two different ways. The first way is to simply enjoy the text and let it carry you away in a bevy of laughter and joy. The second way author Sheena Knowles suggests is to look closer at the words in the text and seek out the thirteen different anagrams present in the story. Both challenging and entertaining, What a Lot of Nonsense has plenty to offer young minds.

Having loved Sheena Knowles’ picture books, Edward and Edwina the Emu, I was very pleased to be offered the chance to review this author’s brand new text. What a Lot of Nonsense was just a wonderful children’s picture book from the first page to the last. It incited plenty of belly laughs with the audience I was able to share this new book with.

It was an original touch on behalf of the author to present her reader with two different ways to enjoy the same text. It is always important to read books for pure enjoyment purposes, hopefully igniting a young child’s interest in books and the magic of reading in general. What a lot of Nonsense succeeds in fulfilling this role. However, there is an alternative route to approach this story. For those who like an extra level of challenge in their reading sessions, Knowles has presented the reader with thirteen different anagrams within this book to identify. It was fun to explore these with my audience.

What a Lot of Nonsense is a picture book I would happily recommend to children aged five years and above. I was fortune enough to test this one on my year two class, which comprises of students aged six and seven years old. I feel this was the perfect age for this particular book, they responded very well to the story, the animals, the situations and they were able to identify the world play. Their favourite aspect of the book was the panda character. We all reveled in the panda’s awkward but hilarious antics, which were brought to life by the colourful artwork of Jonathan Bentley.

What a Lot of Nonsense by Sheena Knowles is a comical and creative set piece. With a solid accompanying dose of rhyme, the prose reads very fluidly. I would be happy to endorse this super fun picture book to young readers.

What a Lot of Nonsense by Sheena Knowles was published on 24th February 2020 by Harper Collins Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

*I wish to thank Harper Collins Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

What a Lot of Nonsense is book #35 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge

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