Wednesday 15 September 2021

Storybook Corner Book Review & Giveaway: Afloat in Venice by Tina Wilson

Afloat in Venice
Monkey's Great Adventures
by Tina Wilson
Music by Matt Ottley Knitting by Joan Wilson
Publisher: One Tentacle Publishing
Publication date: 1st September 2021
Series: Monkey's Great Adventures #1
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Pages: 40
RRP: $27.95AUD
Format read: Hardcover + CD
Source: Courtesy of the author
About the book
In Monkey’s first adventure, Afloat in Venice, Monkey wakes to find he has been given a brand new camera. He can’t wait to use it during his holiday in Venice ... but after he is separated from his camera and he becomes lost, he discovers something more precious than sightseeing. This book includes original music composed by the highly acclaimed, Matt Ottley and an additional version specifically narrated for the visually impaired.
About the series

Imaginative, nostalgic and quirky, the Monkey’s Great Adventures series, with bespoke hand-knitted toys, is beautifully photographed in locations around the world and captures the innocence of childhood. Monkey, an endearing soft toy, finds himself in all sorts of scrapes where he learns about himself and the world around him. In this first book, Afloat in Venice, Monkey is entranced by a “magical floating city that seems to grow straight out of the sea.” The book includes original music composed by highly acclaimed artist, Matt Ottley, with text narrated by the author. There is an additional version of the music specifically narrated for the visually impaired.
My review
Monkey is off on a holiday and he is given a camera as a special gift. There are relatable photos of monkey  packing and the items you would take on a trip which opens discussion on holidays and travel. Wilson includes humorous shots that will appeal to children with monkey sitting in a drawer. A photo of monkey with his shorts on his head elicited a few laughs.
He goes on a long plane ride and meets a cat named Clarabella who offers to show him around. A very adventurous day ensues with lots of sightseeing, climbing and a trip on a gondola. Monkey loses his camera and then can't find Clarabella. He wanders around asking all the animals if they have seen her. Sad and lonely he starts to cry. Then Clarabella turns up; She had found his camera. Monkey was so happy to have found a new friend.
 Afloat in Venice is a picture book illustrated with photos which gives children the opportunity to perceive a story through realistic images. Tina Wilson uses clever staging and beautiful photography in this sweet story teaching children about the world around them, travel and friendship. The photographs and simple text show the excitement and adventure of travel abroad.
The pictures have a certain charm about them with the warmth of hand-knitted toys and props showing everyday items that children will relate to.
The photographs of the Venice scenery are stunning and make a good talking point for older children about the different way people live and travel around the world.

The accompanying CD has a narration of the story with narrative music which enhances the story telling with changes in tempo and pitch. I really enjoyed this added element to the book.
We are looking forward to more of Monkey's adventures.
My rating 5 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 
Dot's Review
I liked that it was knitted characters and you could spot Monkey's friends in the background. I want to learn how to knit the patterns in the back of the book.
I thought it was fun, cool and cute.
Dot's rating


About the author

Tina Wilson is a freelance artist moving between painting, drawing, curating, writing and illustrating books. Tina founded the Lester Prize (prev. Black Swan Prize for Portraiture) and
was its executive director for ten years.

About the composer

Matt Ottley is an internationally acclaimed award winning author, illustrator and composer. He is an Endorsed Yamaha Musician, plays flamenco guitar and piano and composes music for picture books.

Challenges Entered: Australian Women Writers Challenge AWW2021
                                   Aussie Author Challenge #Aussieauthor21 
The author has kindly sent me an extra copy of the book to Giveaway.
Giveaway closes at Midnight on 25th September 2021 (Australia only)
This giveaway has now closed and the winner was announced here.


  1. My grandsons would love this book! Thanks for the opportunity Veronica :)

  2. What a lovely looking book! My son would love it.

  3. I have a new grandbaby due on Australia Day and I am sure they would love listening to someone read them this story. :)

    Thanks for the chance

    Have Fun