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An Australian discovery: Mem Fox and her gorgeous children’s books

Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild

Ten Little Fingers

The Magic Hat

Koala Lou

I had never heard of Mem Fox before we arrived to Australia last month. But it appears our stars were aligned, because in the past five weeks we have coincidentally discovered many of her best-known children’s books. And completely by chance! First, we discovered Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes in the Airbnb apartment we rented in Sydney. Marlow fell in love with that book and asked me to read it to her every single night. Next, we discovered both Koala Lou and The Magic Hat in a second-hand bookstore in Lennox Head. I bought both books (for only $2 each! you’ve gotta love used books!!) without knowing they were written by the same author (we simply liked the look of both stories). It wasn’t until we got back to our camper van that I realised they were by the same author.

Lastly, and this is the sweetest story, we met a gorgeous family from Newcastle who were travelling in their little blue caravan the same weekend we happened to be in the cute town of Bellingen. We met at the campsite and became friends immediately. When she learned that we were getting a bit bored with our book selection, she very sweetly gave us Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild , one of her girls’ favourite books. She told us she had two copies, and didn’t mind letting us have this one. (Isn’t that the sweetest?)

It turns out… Mem Fox might now be one of our favourite authors. Her books are so, so endearing. Both ‘Koala Lou’ and ‘Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild’ will pull at your mama heart strings (I cried when reading both). ‘Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes’ is perfect for babies and toddlers, and I’ve been told that Possum Magic is one of her best stories (we’re searching for a copy, but haven’t come across one yet).  Her books are available outside of Australia, so if you can get your hands on them, I highly recommend doing so!

Courtney x


Comments (21)

March 21, 2016

I was an English Ed major in college and Mem Fox books were known to be the best of the best in the children’s lit world. Glad you have discovered them!

March 21, 2016

What a lovely bit of happenstance! Mem Fox is a national treasure :).

March 21, 2016

No Australian child’s book collection is complete without her “Where is the Green Sheep” book! The little ones always adore it! My kids have always loved her “Time for bed” book too. It’s a good one to read right before lights ou. And yes! Find Possum Magic! Xx

March 21, 2016

Ahhhh, yes, Mem Fox. We parents all know and love her here in Australia. After all these years I’ve never been able to read through ‘Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge’ without tearing up at the end. (that’s my favourite)
Please read through ‘Time for bed’ as Belinda suggested and then, just for a laugh, promise you’ll find the book entitled ‘Go the F**k to Sleep’ not by Mem Fox but based on her dear night time story only its intended for adults, it’s hilarious!
Love your family adventures and discoveries Courtney. Thanks for sharing x

March 21, 2016

A few people mentioned Mem Fox in the comments after your June 2014 post about Marlow’s favourite books. I’m glad you have finally discovered them yourself here in Australia.
Mem Fox is also a huge advocate for reading to babies and toddlers too which is wonderful. I followed her advice and started reading to my children when they were just a week old!

March 21, 2016

Head to your local Australia Post shop – they often sell packs of four of her books for $20. Great souvenirs – love Mem Fox in this household too! Especially green sheep!

March 21, 2016

Mem Fox is amazing! Very popular here in the States! 💙

March 21, 2016

We arrived in Australia from the UK a month ago as well and were quickly introduced to Mem Fox. They are brilliant. Recently we’ve been gifted books by another Australian author, Nick bland. We were given The Cranky Bear Collection and our 3 year old adores them. I think we were in a bit of a rut at home reading the same old books over and over so it’s great to have a change and be introduced to these fabulous authors. Any books that gets kids excited gets a thumbs up from me!

kAra Turner
March 21, 2016

I discovered Mem Fox through the library when my eldest (now 11) was a baby. We were instantly smitten and Where is the Green Sheep became my favourite children’s book of all time. I worked in children’s publishing at the time and wrote a few articles about my fav books. I found this article about how Mem wrote the story and I love her insights! http://memfox.com/gossip-behind-mems-books/where-is-the-green-sheep-illustrated-by-judy-horacek/

March 21, 2016

I met Mem Fox once and she signed a copy of Possum Magic for my son: ‘To a little possum named Eli. Love Mem Fox.’ I cried!! It was my favourite book as a child and was really significant to me when my family migrated to Australia (you’ll know what I mean when you read it.) Also, she has recently released a new book about a puppy called ‘Nellie Belle’ that my boys adore. Her use of language and rhyme is so much fun

March 21, 2016

Love reading that you have found Mem Fox – she is certainly an iconic Australian! Can’t wait to hear what you think about Possum Magic, perfect book for your travels as the possums travel around Australia too! You should also look out for ‘Reading Magic’ its a book for adults but it’s a book I recommend to first time parents as it talks about the importance of reading to children, I think you and your readers would love it! Oh and ‘Whoever you are’ is another priceless Mem Fox story, sweet for Marlowe, you will have quite a collection by the time you return home!

March 21, 2016

We have these, one of my best friends moved to Australia a couple of years ago and has sent these books as gifts over the years. A firm favourite with my two is Time for Bed.

March 22, 2016

Someone gave us a second hand copy of Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. Had no idea that it was by an Australian author but my baby loves it. Will have to look out for the other titles for my slightly older boy.

March 22, 2016

“Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes” is my most favorite book for babies. I buy it for all my friends! The story, and message are just so sweet (first time moms always tear up at the end), and there’s something about the cadence that always relaxed my babies. We recently checked out “Two Little Monkeys” from the library and my son loved it as well!

March 22, 2016

Love Mem Fox. “Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge” is my all time favorite. I treasure reading it to my kids…the same copy my mother read to me as a child.

Mary Jo
March 23, 2016

We were introduced to Mem Fox when my youngest was a baby (Ivy’s age) and the librarian said “ten little fingers and ten little toes” was one she had read to her son when he was small. we quickly went out and bought it after a few overdue fines. We have loved so many more of her wonderful books…we live in California.

March 25, 2016

We love Mem Fox. I also highly recommend “Wombat Divine” for your Christmas book collection. No snow – just Wombat trying to get a part in the school nativity – with a glorious ending.

April 3, 2016

[…] people have not heard of Australia’s beloved Mem Fox. Read this […]

April 4, 2016

Mem Fox is a favourite of ours as well. Where Is the Green Sheep is glorious! Readers may also be interested in her book, ‘Reading Magic’, where she discusses the benefits or reading aloud to children. http://memfox.com/books/reading-magic/

May 17, 2016

[…] my recent post about Australian author Mem Fox in which I shared some of our new favourites written by her, I received the sweetest direct message […]

May 15, 2018

I received a copy of Possum Magic when I left kindergarden 33 years ago in Melbourne (Hurstbridge actually). Its the only book I still have from my childhood and I still love it. My little one is obsessed with Koala Lou and can’t wait for her to fall in love with Possum Magic.

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