Praise for BOY

“Here lies a powerful story, in more ways than one. Whilst the king and his knights fight the dragon with all their strength, the true empowerment comes in the form of a young, hearing-impaired boy who, with the power of communication, resolves the misconstrued conflict between them.

Award-winning author Phil Cummings is legendary for his skill in approaching difficult concepts with sensitivity and astuteness. The clever choice of a protagonist with a disability beautifully distills any myths about ability, as well as relating the important link between effective communication and understanding. Boy, the main character, connects with those around him using a variety of tools, including sign language (dancing hands), drawings, the written word, and a sense of emotion. It is these perceptive qualities that make him the perfect candidate for facilitating awareness,
acceptance and community inclusion.

When Boy unknowingly steps into the middle of the unnecessary kerfuffle, the battlers are confounded by his obliviousness. But upon Boy’s questioning of their intentions, the king, knights and dragon realise that they were indeed the oblivious ones. And perhaps not as brave as they were letting on, either. I love the heartwarming ending with the recognition for Boy displayed accordingly by the whole village.

The enlarged and interweaving text, and fun onomatopoeia, along with the remarkably fluid and textured digital illustrations, are the best ingredients for a lively yet intuitive blend of charisma, warmth and consideration. Devries has brilliantly integrated a mix of body and facial expressions against the appropriately chosen coloured backgrounds, allowing for a visual storytelling experience, even on its own.

Boy is an encouraging, simple and gentle story of power and ability, perception and conflict resolution that has the power to validate every child’s strength. It also provides opportunities for discussions on the ways different people communicate, both physically and effectively in varying situations. Boy allows readers to discover something new with every read. Highly recommended for children aged four and up.”

Romi Sharp.

Reading Time.

“Following the success of Ride, Ricardo, Ride! with its award of Honour Book in the 2016 Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year, Phil Cummings and Shane Devries have collaborated once more to produce this little gem titled simply, BOY.

The picture book is a triumph, with powerful messages about the senseless pursuit of war, the importance of communication and the inclusion of people with disabilities.

The illustrations are beautiful…
Whilst Primary school children will also value the powerful text.
Highly recommended.”

Patricia Halsall.


Praise for Newspaper Hats
“This most powerful and moving book shines a light on a child’s reaction to the sometimes uneasy reality of our ageing loved ones. The controlled palette illustrations are so hauntingly beautiful. So thoroughly Australian and unflinching in their honesty they propel this beautifully authentic text to an uplifting conclusion…This treasure of a book has it all in spades. [Highly Recommended]”

Chris Dayman,
Reading Time

“Among the many beautiful children’s picture books sent to me, a few are just as appealing to adults. Newspaper Hats by Phil Cummings and Owen Swan (Scholastic Press) is one. The book’s gentle, nostalgic message for all generations is delicately illustrated, with shiny sticky-taped titles and Australian newspaper clippings.”

Susan Wyndham,
Sydney Morning Herald

Newspaper Hats by Phil Cummings and Owen Swan is an incredibly intelligent and beautifully sensitive look at a family dealing with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease. Cummings’ unrushed narrative pulses gently with visceral images, doors that slide open like curtains; thunderclouds that taste like dust; they leave your heart swooning with emotion until the very last word. A beautiful book on many levels from a potent teller of poignant tales.”

Boomerang Books

“Phil Cummings has had two outstanding books published this year. Ride, Ricardo, Ride! and now Newspaper Hats. This latest one has been described as “a gentle yet powerful story” and it certainly is. This is really a great book.”

Megan Stuart,

Bug in a Book

Praise for Ride, Ricardo, Ride!
“Cummings is a true craftsman of words and the text throughout is carefully chosen and effective, providing the reader with a clear sense of the themes being conveyed.  He effectively captures the devastation of war and the sense of loss it brings but he also manages to inject a sense of hope and survival into his stories. This is a multi layered and well structured book by a talented creative team.”

Maria H Alessandrino,
Reading Time

Ride, Ricardo, Ride! is a poignant look at war, the resilience of children and the joy that can be recaptured through simple pleasures. There is a lot to explore in this moving and inspiring picture book.”


“This wonderful book extolls the persistence of the human spirit, the perseverance of humanity in overcoming the worst of times to look forward to a brighter future. At a time when more and more picture books about war cross my desk, this stands out in its depiction of the effect of war upon children while through it all, life persists. And Devries’ illustrations are absorbing, with his all-seeing eye approach, looking down upon so many scenes, making the reader a spectator, someone spying on this wonderful little community. Little touches by Devries made me catch my breath. Highly recommended.”

Fran Knight

“So simple, so understated, so powerful — this is an incredibly moving story about war and its effect on ordinary people…this is a glorious partnership of text and image.”

Kids Book Review

“Phil Cummings is a master story-teller and, in this book, suitable for children aged four plus, uses simple languages to tell a haunting tale of war and its impact on a little boy.”

Wellington Times

Praise for Bridie’s Boots
“A sum far greater that its component parts, this is a perfect picture book marriage between Adelaide author Cummings’s simple, clear, judiciously repeating text and Acton’s uncluttered white space and line drawings full of character and little echoes to be picked up by observant readers. [Five Stars]”

Katharine England,
Adelaide Advertiser

“The text is everything a picture book text should be – sparse and clean – leaving only the crucial words in place.”

Rebecca Kemble,
Reading Time

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