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Best new children's books: How readers rate the new Willow the Wonderer children's book series

Updated: Mar 6

We've received over 200 reviews from genuine customers for our Willow the Wonderer children's books series so thought it time to do some good old fashion 'qualitative analysis' and see what our customers (on the whole) make of our books - and what we could learn and improve on.


It's ended up being a wonderful walk down the memory lane as I re-read all the beautiful words and sentiments that our readers have sent our way over the years - at our lowest points, these inspired us to keep going (thank you!)



The verdict : Willow the Wonderer is a five star children's book - amongst the best new children books


Willow the Wonderer storybooks have struck a chord with kids and grown-ups alike.


Since the release of the first book in the series, Willow the Wonderer has consistently gnared perfect five-star rating from readers and continues to maintain it today.

Comparing this to public rating for other books in the category, Willow the Wonderer is very much looking like one of the best new children's books of our time.


But it isn't just about the five star rating ... it's what customers have said about the books in their reviews that have stayed with us:

  • How they were using it

  • What their little ones made of it

  • The joy it had brought to storytime

  • Even their relief at finding a bedtime story they can enjoy as well


Our customer reviews are a mix of heart-felt, funny and sometimes poignant stories, written without 'airs and graces'. They also capture a beautiful fragment of their lives - the piece that overlaps with ours :)

Five major themes have emerged from reader reviews of Willow the Wonderer


Five main themes have emerged from the reviews - these account for 99% of our reviews:


  1. Teachers and Educators are loving using Willow the Wonderer books in class: They love that the story, rhymes and illustrations engage their young charges whilst helping with early learning goals like counting and even imparting a bit of philosophy!

  2. Parents love the joy Willow the Wonderer books bring to bedtime stories and their kids' lives: The rhyming helps their little ones remember entire stanzas (if not the whole book) and they are hopeful that this is how they will carry the message into their lives.

  3. Grandparents have absolutely embraced Willow the Wonderer books as gifts for grandkids of all ages: They want their grandkids to grow up hearing these stories from an early age (and their kids' concur!)

  4. Readers also appreciate the 'craft' that has gone into producing the books: Time and again, readers comments on enjoying the adventurous narrative, the lovely rhymes and of course, the beautiful illustrations.

  5. Overwhelming customers also high rate the service experience: These are things like ease of use and navigating the website, overall service, fast delivery and packaging! Teh few complaints we have received in this regard has to do with things that are out of our control e.g. patchy internet connection (an Australia wide problem) which means the checkout process gets reset or occasional delayed/misplaced parcels by Aussie Post. We deal to these as expediently as we can.


I've shared a sample of customer reviews under the themes below (comments around service experience are contained within these). It is a long list but still a curated list so if anyone out there would like to read the whole thing ... you can find the full listing here!


There was also one area which a handful of readers raised concerns - helping younger readers understand the message in the stories. I've share my thoughts on this at the end.


1. Book reviews from teachers and educators show that they love using Willow the Wonderer in classrooms


Looking forward to adding this book to my casual teacher bag of tricks!

-- Donna Munro, Teacher


The book is brilliant and my friend loved the personalised message in it too! Would love to organise a storytime at our daycare.

-- Davina Boland, Early Childhood Educator


They are the most amazing books with a beautiful message for anyone.

-- Debra Herrmann, School Principal


The children enjoyed the rhyme and illustrations. My class groups are PK or 3 yr olds so the concept needs me to explain but overall very happy

-- Teresa Wandek, Teacher


I loaned the book to a Philosophy School that I do casual teaching at and they loved it! Totally follows their philosophy guidelines. Thank you so much.

-- Chris Petry, Teacher


I really enjoyed reading the books. I purchased them to use with my students and know they will love them.

-- Mina Pastore, Teacher


Great resource for Primary school teachers.

-- Joanna Campbell, Teacher


I had already purchased the 3 books in the series, which I love and are yet to share with my class…but came back to buy the Willow plush toy to add to the experience of reading…& even better that I had a promo code to use! I also purchased a e-book as an alternative way to reading this story. Can’t go past a “turn the page” book, but love the idea of the e-book as an extra’ Can’t wait to receive this!

-- Belinda Heagney, Teacher


I have received excellent feedback from my colleagues [at school]. The purpose of each story is easy for the students to decipher.

-- Lina Ventura, Teacher



2. Parents love the joy Willow the Wonderer books bring to bedtime stories and their kids lives


Issy loves the book, she's been asking us to read it every night now as part of bedtime routine! A huge compliment because it has been the Hungry Caterpillar for the last 18 months.

-- Paul Handcock


Love it and so do the kids !! the detail in the pictures adding another dimension to the story so each time we read it they are counting and searching and creating their own dream

-- Leanne Whitehouse


Beautifully imagined book with a timeless message for all children to carry throughout life's journey.

-- Susan Snape


Definitely for the adventurous at heart! I love reading it to my kids. My 6yo girl raves about the mini-adventures and pops up the bed to find the not-so-obvious details in each page and my 3yo is engrossed with the counting. We all have our favourite page. Thank you for the positive and calming experience the book brings before bedtime. We are all looking forward to the next adventure.

-- Jessica Cabrera


Beginning a love of literature with little people is such a joy and these stories reflect that so beautifully

-- Reiki Rolle


Happiness lies with Wise As Stories! A father of two young daughters and an older son I was extremely impressed with the story of Willow the Wanderer. An authentic narration with a tangible outcome that leaves my kids with a simple learning… all with beautiful enchanted illustrations. Bravo!

-- Frank Muller


An absolute joy to read and a pleasure to hold! With such vibrant imagery and words on each page, the set is a feast for the senses at storytime.

-- Susan Snape


Beautiful book. Great illustrations. Lovely message! Big hit with the children.

--Anne Trelor


I love your books and the message that they send. The pictures in these books are beautiful and can be used to find different things with your children. I highly recommend these books. Thank you so much.

-- Cassie Dawes


Thank you so much for hand delivering the book to us, I’m really grateful. I’ve read the book to Xavier already, and we love it! I’d like to purchase 3 more copies :)

-- Marina Maunsell


We recently bought Willow the Wonderer from Wise As Stories for our son and absolutely adore it, it is so beautifully written and illustrated. My son has read it so many times and has so much fun finding all the hidden creatures. We also love the ending, such a wonderful message for children to learn. Bring on the next book!

-- Jayne Kenwright



3. Grandparents have absolutely embraced Willow the Wonderer books for grandkids of all ages (and even their kids approve ;-)


I read both of them as I couldn’t wait as I bought them as a present for my Grandsons birthday I read them to my daughter who is 8 months pregnant They are just so beautiful the rhythm of the rhymes and the wonderful illustrations ❤️

-- Martine Woods


I purchased these as a Christmas gift for my Grandchildren. But they look amazing and i cant wait for the grandies to have them.

-- Jennifer Brace


Bought for grandkids who are all a bit young yet. But I am sure they will love em and these will be family favourites handed down 😊

-- Maureen Cowley


Beautiful books 📖 parents enjoyed them as much as the kids!

-- Eve Cosentino


Wonderful shopping experience as it was so easy and loved all the important information about the contents etc and the author's... so important. Can't wait for my 3 grandson's to start reading, and ofcourse for the next book! 👌

-- Suzanne Loades


Amazed how my 3 yr old grand daughter got the message before we finished reading the book Loved it!!!

--- Jenine Murray


Beautiful book winging its way to Willow,our NZ granddaughter!

-- J Price


Anything that helps children in their journey of life is a positive thing 💖 Being a grandmother, I see it’s a whole different world to when I had my children, focusing on positive parenting is important

-- Georgina Bailey


Beautiful books,the story and illustrations are fantastic. Two very special presents for my granddaughters. Love the signing and messages in the back of the books. Very fast delivery and packed extremely well.

-- Jan Mulquiney


My granddaughter loves them. Artwork is beautiful.

-- Gregory Harris


Ordering process was simple, book arrived as advised and in great condition. Illustrations and story are beautiful and quality of books excellent. Will be a joy to share with grandchildren!

-- Sylvia Walton


What a wonderful book. My grandson loves it. Beautifully illustrated. Can't wait for your next book🤗

-- Allison Parkinson


Willow the Wonderer is the most beautiful story and the illustrations are so well done you can't wait to see what's over the next page. My grandchildren loved receiving it and their mum said she loved the story. Perfect present 🎁

-- Gayle Mcnamara


Darcy absolutely loves listening to mummy and daddy reading this incredible book. Many thanks keep creating such wonderful stories.

-- Lorraine Seddon


Such a beautiful story. I bought this book for my grandson and he loves the illustrations

-- Susie Ruffels


Bought it for my baby granddaughter and though she’s too small I know she’s going to love it. The pictures and words are beautiful.

-- Leonie Golombick


Beautiful book for a little one, lovely illustrations and story. It arrived quickly too, and safely packaged. Thank you 👵🏻🙏🏻

-- Michele Billings


Beautiful book , bought 2 daughter loved it, for Grandson , the other one Is a Christmas present

-- Helen Foyster


My three year old grandson Ariel loved the menagerie of hidden animals interspersed amongst the pages. "Read it again Poppa please" was the message repeated again and again.

-- Bill Wood


4. Our readers rate the craft that has gone into Willow the Wonderer books highly too


Lovely pictures and easy to read. Love the life lesson it teaches

-- Josie Gulifa


These two books are simply beautiful. The story and illustrations are just adorable. I have already bought two sets of both books as they are a wonderful edition to any child's bookcase.

-- Clare Ganderon


An incredible story that is so beautifully illustrated. Simply magnificent

-- Ann Holt


Both lovely books sweet story and beautiful illustrations

-- Mary Browning


The book is lovely and it arrived very quickly. All the best with continued sales of this great story book. The illustrations are beautiful! 😍

-- Julie McDonald


You've encapsulated the imagination of endless possibility.

-- Kevin Boyd


Probably a little ahead of the child I bought it for, but he loves looking for things and talking about the characters and illustrations.

-- Anthea Mitchell


I love the "where's Wally" vibe when looking for animals in the illustrations, lol!

-- Gerard Gonzales


It was such a wonderful experience I will diffently be purchasing from them again . I absolutely love the story I purchased from them truly beautiful . Thankyou so very much .

-- Emma Case


Very enjoyable story. Beaut pictures.

-- Roseley Huggins


Such beautiful books and such important stories for children (and adults) today! And such gorgeous packaging. I know my little nephews will love this gift.

-- Alison Hernandez


Excellent read for my niece . She loved it . A thoughtful , whimsical and considered story of the need to find out happiness from within . An existentialist touch , beautifully illustrated .

-- Sian Pryce


Wise story in beautiful rhyme and beautiful illustrations.

-- Slavko Orsolic


It was purchased as a gift for a 2 year old. It’s just a lovely story, with beautiful illustrations to complement the story. Thank you.

-- Patricia Hart


The books are a gift . The illustrations are gorgeous and I felt the stories carried great messages.

-- Kim Costa


Fantástico, waiting to read more issues. The illustrations with animals inside were exceptional and so creative. I loved the theme of the story too.

-- Di Killbride


My book arrived and it's beautiful. This really is a special work - will be a book that a generation remembers. I wish you much success in your future endeavours. ❤

-- Myles Boyd



The one area that some readers expressed concern about


The one issue that was raised by a handful of readers/reviews was the need to explain the subtler meaning behind the stories for children - but again, this varied as one grandmother was bowled over by the fact that her three year old granddaugher surmised this even before they had reached the end. Others loved the opportunity to have deeper conversations with their little ones.


My thoughts around this are as follows.


It's OK if children don't get all the finer and subtler points around the story immediately ... there is enough in the adventurous tales, catchy rhymes and beautiful illustrations for them to enjoy and learn from. We've made sure of this!


I like to think of the wisdom that I've woven into the fabric of each narrative as seeds.

Trust that it will get embedded somewhere in the psyche of young readers and when the time comes, will blossom and offer them guidance. Think about the stories you read growing up - did these not at some conscious or subconscious level shape your dreams, desires, if not, actions?


This does not mean that you do not endeavour to engage them in say, a deeper discussion around the meaning of the story or answer their burning questions at the end of story time - we want these discussion and questions to arise.


Just don't stress if your little ones don't get it immediately - they have a whole lifetime ahead of them to learn :-)


For now, happy reading! And thank you once again for letting us know your thoughts.


 

Add Willow the Wonderer to your little one's book set - Our readers agree - they are one of the best children's books out there.





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