Your Reviews of Dawn Meredith's books

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- The Anything Shop by Dawn Meredith is the wondrous story of Charlie and Sam; two strangers who work together to crack the sinister goings on at the strange toy store to restore the “intangibles” to their rightful owners.
This is a moral tale, written without a righteous tone. Dawn truly has respect for her readers. She trusts them to use their imaginations and their own moral compasses.
The language Dawn uses is vivid, emotive, and clever.  
 “Charlie’s breath caught in his throat. Was it really possible? Could a shop give you anything you wanted? He had to find out.”
 I enjoyed the way she brought to life characters with the economic constraint of a highly talented writer.
 “Sitting on top of it was a tiny, crumpled, elderly lady wearing jeans, a pink fluffy top and five pairs of spectacles.”
And: “She kicked her feet like a little girl and grinned at him.”
The title of this page-turner is conservative and does not at all hint at the exciting, action-packed journey readers will be taken on.
The book’s illustrator, Lesley Vamos is extremely talented. Her drawings are delightful, full of expression and pleasing to the eye.
My 10-year-old son said of The Anything Shop: “It’s such a cool story... very adventurous.”
We both give it 5 stars.

About the reviewer
Flavia is a journalist, social media commentator and public relations zealot. She has started many books but never finished a single one. Her goal for the time being is to encourage and critique other authors that have actually achieved finishing a novel – or two.

- I bought your ace book, which I finished reading to my 6yo daughter last night - she LOVED it and was talking about it this morning, going back and looking at the illustrations and making up songs about The Anything Shop. She also drew her very own smellometer, spy kit case and other necessary spy accoutrements this afternoon. I think you could say your book was a big hit. I really enjoyed reading it to her too. Congrats again! Cheers, Lily

- Review by Crisetta MacLeod for AurealisXpress ezine -

Christmas is coming! Here is an enchanting little book that will appeal to junior school readers. What is this shop that seems to offer so much to children, but traps them into giving away parts of their life that they miss dreadfully? How to live in a world without hugs? Charlie and his friend Sam eventually see the wicked shopkeepers for the treacherous creatures they are. With courage and determination, they invade that strange Anything Shop, defeat the villains’ nasty little plot and return all the stolen hugs, tickles and other treasures to the children that have been tricked. The book’s print and layout are clear and attractive, the pictures illustrate and clarify the story—this would give confidence to reluctant readers. Lesley Vamos’s deftly drawn characters liven every page. Get lots of copies for the children in your life.

- I really enjoyed this book about Fat Abby.
I liked when Abby's friend Molly goes missing and Abby tries to find her, she comes across the mean and vicious Fang.
Then Abby tries to think of a plan to fight Fang and thought of a great idea to attack Fang's wounds, then Fang limps away,hurt.
A short time later,Abby finds Molly,she is pregnant and she needs a safe place to have her babies.When Abby and Molly get back home Molly's babies are ready to come out.There is one boy and three girls.Abby's friend Manky was at the vet because he was hurt by Fang.In the end Helen,Abby's mother and Molly have to care for four cubs that are very cute.
This book is very adventurous and exciting.I rate this book very high,I give it a 10 out of 10.
From Kyle (nearly 9 years old)

- Pearson Education has also published The Wobbly Wombat, by Dawn and several other books in the successful Blueprint series by Pearson, feature her work. The Wobbly Wombat is about bullying and the way to overcome it, as Woody wombat, small for his age and a little wobbly on his short legs is derided by others. He retreats to the forest where he meets a variety of animals who tell him how to overcome the intimidation he receives. Their sage advice helps him achieve this, and in a smart resolution learns that he has friends.
- Fran Knight, ReadPlus website  full interview here

The Anything Shop by Dawn Meredith, illustrated by Lesley Vamos (Wombat Books)
PB RRP $14.95
ISBN 978-1-921633-51-5
Reviewed by Jacque Duffy

- First impression of this chapter book was that it would be perfect for boys age 7 -10. Thanks to the cover illustration at first glance I was reaching for this book rather than others on the table and I am sure it would have same effect on children. The illustration of two young boys scheming supposedly against the cranky looking older couple on the cover is engaging.

Dawn Meredith’s story of young Charlie and his new friend Sam is one most children will relate to. The story shares a valuable life lesson in a way children will embrace. The Anything Shop is a strange building that has suddenly appeared in town. Charlie discovers the elderly man and woman from the store know his name and know his dreams. They swap his embarrassing hugs for a cricket bat that always hits a six, something that makes him very happy. It is not long before he and other children in the town discover they miss the hugs, laughter and kisses from their families, and that new toys can not replace affection.

Meredith’s writing is flavored with recognizable smells, sounds and sights and is a delight to read. “It was bright and clean inside the shop and smelled of vanilla and licorice.” This sentence invites you into the store and then on the next page the reader can feel a sense of uncertainty. “Meryl jumped down off the counter lightly. ‘Come into the storeroom,’ she said, beckoning with a bony finger, looking at him over the tops of her glasses. Her high heels clip-clopped on the floor as she led him to a blue triangular shaped door at the rear of the shop. On it was a sign that said ‘All your dreams in here’.”

The layout of the book is clean and easy to follow. Vamos’ illustrations are a big part of the book and keep the story flowing nicely giving affirmation to the younger reader who may be a little unsure. Each black and white illustration is strong and appears to be full of life and colour.

Young readers will enjoy this book.

The Anything Shop by Dawn Meredith

Ill. Lesley Vamos. Wombat Books 2011. ISBN 9781921633515.

- (Ages: 6 to 9) Recommended. Dawn Meredith admits to having weird ideas in her head and this little story does have an odd starting point. However, the story is a satisfying one, initiating some interesting and thought-provoking ideas. Ten year-old Charlie is fascinated when he comes across a new shop which seems to have magically appeared, calling itself The Anything Shop, and inviting customers in to swap or buy anything they wish. Could a shop really give Charlie whatever he wanted? He has to find out. Charlie's inquiry seems to have been prearranged as Alfred and Meryl, the shop owners, know exactly why he is there. Charlie swaps those very embarrassing hugs he gets at home for an amazing cricket bat, which is the answer to all his dreams of becoming a champion player at school! It is not long before he realises that 'no hugs at home' cannot be replaced by cricket prowess; but he is locked into the swap for two years. How can he get back to what life was like and why do Alfred and Meryl what to take the joys of childhood away? As Charlie sets out to solve his dilemma, along with Sam his new friend caught up in the same swindle, he comes to an understanding of what is really important. There is plenty of action in this simple, but cleverly told story, and the interspersing of lively black and white drawings add to its accessibility.
- by Julie Wells.

$14.95 hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-921633-51-5
Release: 1st October 2011
Reviewed by Angela Hall

- Things changed the day the Anything Shop appeared in town. Suddenly Charlie could have what he wanted more than anything in the world. And he didn’t even need any money, he could just swap something he didn’t want.  Like those annoying hugs his family felt the need to smother him with. How awesome is that! No more hugs and a bat that meant he never failed at cricket. He didn’t question the oddities surrounding the shop; like how it just seemed to just appear, the strange owners, Meryl and Alfred or the incredible magic behind the shops doors. Why would he? He had everything he wanted? Didn’t he?
Can Charlie and his new friend Sam figure out what is really going on with the Anything Shop before it is too late and the children in their town lose their special things forever?
The Anything Shop is a bit of fun, mystery and magic for independent readers. I recommend you get your hands on the latest book by Dawn Meredith.
What would you trade at the Anything shop?

~ An Aussie Review ~

The Anything Shop 
written by Dawn Meredith 
Illustrated by Lesley Vamos

- This chapter book takes kids into the world of intangibles. Charlie is happy to trade the hugs he receives from his family for a new magical cricket bat.  After glorious praises for his new cricket talent, Charlie begins to miss his family’s hugs. He meets Sam, who didn’t like his family laughing at him and happily traded the laughter for a shiny new spy kit. Sam soon realised that not only had his family stopped laughing at him, they wouldn’t even laugh when he was trying to be funny. Together the boys set out to snoop on the owners of the anything shop, hoping to exchange the spy kit and cricket bat in return for their hugs and laughs.

This is a fun story for the early reader or a lovely book to read to children. With fun illustrations dotted throughout, it will urge even the most reluctant reader to turn the page. The Anything Shop opens the readers’ eyes to intangibles. 

Review: The Anything Shop (Chapter book)

Posted by chenoafawn on November 21, 2011 · 
- Ten year old Charlie notices a curious addition to his neighbourhood: The Anything Shop. Appearing as if by magic, it promises to make every child’s dream come true. Charlie’s desire is to be good at cricket and he trades two years’ hugs for a cricket bat which will make him the best cricketer in the school. His new found skill creates problems of its own and Charlie dreadfully misses the hugs his family used to give him.

Unfortunately Charlie has signed a binding contract with the proprietors and the shop has disappeared. Charlie teams up with another victim (a boy who has traded the ability to laugh) to reclaim their ‘intangibles’.
Meredith makes good use of sensory detail with the shop smelling of ‘vanilla and licorice’ and the subtly menacing Meryl’s shoes and reading glasses clacking.
The details in Vamos’ illustrations such as the itching powder and the book of ‘Every word ever invented’ add an element of discovery which young readers will enjoy.

The book uses speaking cues extensively, so it is accessible to a six year old moving from picture books to longer pieces.
There was a moment when I was drawn out of the text. Charlie is in the area of the shop where all the goods are stored including live animals. He sees a kangaroo and joey and wonders what it would be like to take them home or to Show and Tell. Of the children I know, Show and Tell ends by age six or seven (and Charlie is ten), so this thought seems more appropriate for the book’s audience rather than the character himself.
The Anything Shop is about valuing the intangibles of life (such as hugs) and being wary of materialistic magic. Meredith has written an engaging chapter book with an important message for children in our consumer culture. Vamos’ retro illustrations capture the fun and drama of the story.
Suitable for ages six and older.

The Anything Shop written by Dawn Meredith and illustrated by Lesley Vamos (Wombat Books)
ISBN: 9781921633515



- Fat Abby is the delightful story of a contented, domesticated cat on a quest to uncover a mystery and protect her friends and owner. 
     The narrative is action-packed, full of suspense, emotion, and twists and thrills. The many characters are well-rounded. Some are lovable. Some are desperate. Some are fierce and scary. Abby, the feline investigator is brave and loyal even when face-to-face “with the biggest, ugliest, war torn animal [she’s] ever seen.” 
     I particularly enjoyed the rhythm of the following paragraph on page 54:

 “Screams and yowls and thrashing around and thumps and cries and low, rumbling, blood freezing growls. Two shapes thrashed around in the bush right near us. The noise was terrifying.”

     Some of the concepts in the story are best suited to mature readers. My 10-year-old son described them as “full on.” For example on page 58 Fang says: “Molly’s getting a bit too old to have my kittens. This will be her last litter. Then I want new, fresh mothers for my progeny.” 
     However, parents and care givers know the maturity and comprehension levels of their children best and may decide younger readers are able to fully enjoy the story and its themes. In general, I would recommend Fat Abby for kids aged 10+. 
     When I asked my son what he thought of Fat Abby, he said: “It had all the elements of a terrific story. It has action, suspense, friendship, and mystery. It was awesome and the drawings are cute.” He gives Fat Abby 3 stars. I give it 5. 
     I had not heard of Dawn Meredith before reading Fat Abby but I am now a loyal fan and I look forward to reading many, many more of her books. What a great story teller!
About the reviewer
Flavia is a journalist, social media commentator and public relations zealot. She has started many books but never finished a single one. Her goal for the time being is to encourage and critique other authors that have actually achieved finishing a novel – or two.

Title: Fat Abby: Feline Investigator

Author: Dawn Meredith  Illustrator: See review for details

Publisher: Shining Press, $10.95 RRP  Format: Paperback  ISBN: 9781876870171

For ages: 7+    Type: Novel


Abby thinks she is lean, brave and strong. Then Molly enters her world and she is surprised at how frightened she is. She is also shocked that Molly calls her fat. Surely she isn’t Fat Abby?!

Molly is a strange cat who scares Abby with her size and her confident manner, but when she realises that Molly is actually pregnant and vulnerable, Abby is no longer frightened and just wants to help and protect her new friend.

The fear returns when Fang, the tomcat who got Molly pregnant, comes searching for her. He is a big, rough-looking, scary cat who will stop at nothing – including killing Abby’s oldest friend – to get his way.

Can Abby and Molly escape his terrifying hold on them?

Fat Abby is a lovely story about friendship, overcoming adversity, mystery and investigation, but it does tackle some heavy topics as well. Things like death, bullying, pregnancy are introduced and, whilst they aren’t dealt with in detail, will make children curious and keen for further conversations around these areas.

The drawings by thirteen-year-old Cassandra De Jonge are a highlight – I love illustrations by kids! – that dot through every few pages and complement the story’s comical charm.

This book is available from Five Senses Education by calling (02) 9838 9265. It will soon be available on the website at

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