Welcome everyone to Tania McCartney’s Very Jumpy Tour celebrating the release of her new book Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo – A Journey around Canberra.
I’m going to kick off with a review of Tania’s book (complete with book giveaway) and then dive into a very telling interview.
Tania has got to be one of the busiest people I know!
Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo – A Journey around Canberra.
by Tania McCartney illustrated by Kieron Pratt
published by Ford Street Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-925000-03-0 (pbk)
What I love above Tania’s McCartney’s Riley books are the pictures tell a thousand words aspect. Gorgeous black and white photographs, each with a limited splash of colour, draw the reader in.
The cartoon characters superimposed over photos of the nation’s capital spice up each page not only with their colour but also with their cheeky expressions. The Kangeroo is particularly appealing reminding me, expression-wise, of Scooby Do!
This is Tania’s 5th book in the Riley series. It is a beautiful depiction of Canberra, a book every child will love to pour over. There’s even a hidden gnome to be found.
As a gift to you for taking part in the Jumpy Tour celebration I would like to invite you to comment on this blog post between now and Sunday 4th August for your chance to win a copy of Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo – A Journey around Canberra.
The competition will run from Wednesday 31 July 2013 to Sunday 4 August 2013, 9pm AEST, and the competition is open to residents of Australia, over the age of 18 (mum and dad can enter on behalf of kids). The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
So Tania, Jumpy Kangaroo is the fifth book in your Riley the Little Aviator series. Why Canberra?
It’s Canberra’s birthday! I thought launching Jumpy Roo in the capital’s Centenary year would be a hoot. I also live in Canberra, and I think this town has some of the best sites and sights in Australia. It was so much fun to think up inventive ways for this jumpy kangaroo to pay visit to some of the very best.
Roo certainly gets around the capital – both old and new Parliament House, The War Memorial, Lake Burley Griffin, and she’s in and out of the National Library faster than a librarian’s stamp. Do librarians still have stamps?
I had a quiet laugh when I wrote this line and knew my publisher would come back and flag it (he did) but we decided to leave it in.
I think it’s so lovely for kids to learn about the ways of our past. I’ll never forget bringing home some carbon paper once—my kids went nuts for it. They couldn’t believe we used to use this! So I love writing text that makes our kids go ‘Huh? What’s a librarian’s stamp?’
And to be honest, ‘in and out faster than an electronic scanner’ just didn’t have the same ring to it.
Each new Riley book brings along with it the character from the previous book—in this recent case, it’s Grumpy Wombat from book four. With six intrepid animals now trailing Riley on his adventures, how do you envisage keeping track of this growing pack?
This has been a challenge from—oh, about book three. Kieron has come up with some inventive ways of stuffing the animals in bags and other vessels (like a kangaroo pouch!). Sometimes we only show a few animals at a time on each page.
Kieron and I have discussed ways to house the animals as the books continue. We’re tossing up a hot air balloon or some other vessel that can be attached to the back of the little red plane. Watch this space.
You’re launching at Floriade this year—and I believe there is going to be a very special treasure hunt?
Yes! A Rotary group runs Gnome Knoll—a popular spot in Floriade where kids (and big kids) can paint garden gnomes for a charity donation (all proceeds to Rotary Australia). The group have painted one of the gnomes in the image of Riley, and kids are going to hunt for him after the book launch. I think it’s going to be quite hilarious.
You’ve been a busy bee, with four new books launching between now and October. What are you working on now?
I’ve been wanting to write junior fiction for ages; have dabbled in it before, but rarely had the time to get my teeth into it. At the start of the year, I promised myself I’d carve out some time to do this—and I did.
Consciously carving out that time really works. I ended up writing two books (much to my surprise!) and I’m very excited about the second one, in particular—Ella McZoo: Animal Whisperer. Hopefully I can come back to Pass It On and talk about it when it’s published! (The subbing begins…)
Will Riley the Little Aviator feature in a junior fiction incarnation?
Not sure. My darling daughter, Ella, has been waiting years for her own book series, so this is the one I’ll be focusing on for a while now. Riley(my son) has been very spoiled.
My great love is picture books, so I can’t see myself straying from the genre for too long.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently expanding Kids’ Book Review (www.kids-bookreview.com) with a new team and an exciting new initiative called The Literary Hub, so I’ll be spending quite a bit of time on that.
I have three picture books currently in production and have been penning some new work, concentrating on some really unusual book forms. This is something I have a real obsession with.
But my biggest focus right now is Book Week Month (17 – 23 August), so I won’t find time to pause until December, when I planned to take some forced time off (note the stress on forced). Book Week is always a huge time and takes a lot of prepping, so I’ll be writing workshops and presentations until I’m purple.
Lucky I love it so much, but I must admit I have my eye on December!
The Jumpy Roo book launch is being held at Floriade this year! Anyone living in or visiting Canberra on 15 September is invited along, but RSVPs are essential if you want a goodie bag and balloon! You can find out more here.
You can also visit the Riley the Little Aviator website (www.rileyaviator.com) to see updates, learn more about the places Riley visits, and see behind-the-scenes work. There’s also some Fun Activities for kids.
Learn more about Tania’s books at her website – www.taniamccartney.com.
Blog Tour Schedule
Bound along with Roo on a Very Jumpy Tour! Monday 29 July to Thursday 1 August at the following destinations:
MONDAY 29 JULY
Full Blog Tour Schedule
Tania McCartney’s Blog
Kids Book Review
Interview and Review
Boomerang Books Blog
Children’s Books Daily
TUESDAY 30 JULY
Instagram Book Giveaway
Review and Five Picture Book Writing Tips
WEDNESDAY 31 JULY
My Little Bookcase
Guest Post – Behind the Scenes
Sheryl Gwyther’s Blog
Review and Author Interview
Pass It On
Elaine Ouston Blog
THURSDAY 1 AUGUST
Author Interview and Review
Bug in a Book
Tania McCartney’s Blog