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About the book
  • Published: 29 January 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143506669
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $14.99

Something Wonderful

Formats & editions

An inspirational story about discovery, invention and the importance of dreams.

Sam likes to pull things apart and put them back together, and think about how things work. But he is sometimes so busy doing this, he forgets his chores on the family farm.

Then one day he creates something truly wonderful . . .

An inspirational story about discovery, invention and the importance of dreams.

  • Pub date: 29 January 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143506669
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $14.99

About the Authors

Raewyn Caisley

Raewyn Caisley was born in New Zealand but has lived in Australia, in Fremantle, WA, for more than half her life, with her husband Terry and their son Jack. Raewyn is the author of books for younger readers that include bestselling Aussie Bites and Nibbles titles, and the picture books Hello From Nowhere and Something Wonderful. Hello From Nowhere won the 2015 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for Australia and New Zealand, was shortlisted for the 2016 Adelaide Festival Awards and the WA Premier's Book Awards, and was a CBCA Notable Book in 2015. Something Wonderful was short-listed for the Patricia Wrightson Prize for children's Literature, won the 2016 Speech Pathology Australia book of the Year Award, and was a 2017 CBCA Notable Book.

Karen Blair

Karen grew up in Perth, Western Australia. She loves to illustrate the joys and adventures of childhood. She lives in Fremantle with her husband and two children and works part-time as a primary-school art teacher. Her characters are often inspired by her students and her own children.
Her award-winning books include Something Wonderful and Hello From Nowhere, by Raewyn Caisley; With Nan, by Tania Cox; Granny Grommet and Me by Dianne Wolfer; Me and You by Deborah Kelly; Baby Beats; and Baby Animal Farm.

Praise for Something Wonderful

“A wonderful story about a child’s curiosity and inventiveness, a salute to anyone who has ever dismantled and then reassembled a childhood toy. Raewyn Caisley’s text is beautifully and engagingly rendered. Karen Blair’s illustrations likewise reflect the verve and optimism of the story’s protagonist, as well as the love and admiration of his parents.”

Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature, Judges’ Comments

“A gorgeous tale about how childhood really should be lived.”


“A gentle reminder to all of us that something wonderful exists within our imagination if we just take the time to explore and let our minds run free.”


“Raewyn Caisley’s first book with illustrator Karen Blair, Hello from Nowhere, took readers to the Australian Nullarbor to reveal the benefits of living in the middle of a desert. In Something Wonderful, the duo returns to show how growing up on a farm can offer kids something that the big, bustling city might not—time and space to learn about the world free from the constant lure of technology. Young Sam is distracted from his chores by the endless possibilities of the farm. Instead, he uses the things he learns from playing outdoors—chasing feathers in the wind, climbing trees, pondering raindrops—to invent something useful and, as it happens, wonderful! In her dedication, Caisley reveals Sam is based on an acquaintance who grew up in a small country town in WA and became a physicist. Blair’s gentle pencil-and-watercolour illustrations charmingly evoke Australian country life, complementing Caisley’s story that harks back to a time when children were able to play without high-tech diversions and hovering parents. Ideal for children aged three to six years, Something Wonderful is a good tool for parents and teachers to encourage kids to turn off the TV, shut down the computer and think creatively.”

Suzanne Garcia, Books + Publishing

“Sam lives in the country – way out in the country where the air is fresh and clean and he and his dog have room to run and chase feathers, climb trees, spin around on the Hills Hoist and build things from all sorts of old stuff lying around. Pulling things apart and putting them back together is what he loves best – so much so that he sometimes forgets his chores like feeding the chooks, collecting the eggs and making sure the goat is in its paddock. This frustrates his dad who thinks he should be more focused, but his mum understands and knows that his distractedness mean a brain is very busy at work. For all that he seems to be playing, Sam is learning, learning, learning… One day while chasing a shadow across the paddocks it starts to rain and after momentarily stopping to think whether a raindrop is round, Sam makes a dash for shelter in the shed. And in the shed are all the bits and pieces that Sam needs to make … something wonderful. Raewyn Caisley and Karen Blair have once again combined to create something wonderful, their first since the delightful Hello from Nowhere (https://thebottomshelf.edublogs.org/2014/09/27/hello-from-nowhere/). The book is dedicated to the real-life Sam who now “works at a famous university in Europe, where he is trying to work out what is in-between the smallest things” and demonstrates that his mum was right – all that pulling apart and putting together, the curiosity, the wondering of it all was just the lead up to what he is doing now. So even though not all tinkerers will end up at “a famous university” those makerspaces we offer in city libraries could just be the breeding ground for a new Sam as they play and plan and dream… Just as Sam learns about pulling and pushing and pulleys (in the most hilarious way ever) so too could one of our students albeit it in a more artificial situation. Karen Blair’s illustrations are superb – you can feel the wind in your face and breathe the fresh country air, sense dad’s frustration and Sam’s sense of wonder – they are as wonderful as that which Sam creates. The final textless page and endpapers are divine! Threaded throughout the joy in this story (which shines through like a mother’s love) is a powerful message about the importance of play and discovery. THIS is what childhood is about – not academic competition and grades and being ICT savvy. Academic things should just be the means to an end – the vehicle on which children can make their own discoveries as they explore and explain and not only make sense of their world but make it better. A very serious contender for my favourite book for a while.”

Barbara Braxton, OZTL Net

Awards & Recognition

  • Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards

    Winner • 2016 • 3–5 Years

  • NSW Premier's Literary Awards

    Shortlisted • 2017 • Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's Literature

  • CBCA Book of the Year Awards

    Notable Book • 2017 • Picture Book

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