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--PRESS RELEASE 22/6/05 --

JOHN THWAITES MP Member for Albert Park

JOHN THWAITES MP, pictured above with author and illustrator Maree Coote, and with his son, Jack Thwaites at the launch of Gingerbread Books.

Today the Acting Premier and Member for Albert Park, the Honourable John Thwaites, launched three exciting new children's books at the Avenue Bookstore in Albert Park.

The three books, The Gum Queen, The Black Pot Belly, and The Seacret of Driftus and Sprout, are the first foray into children's literature by local Port Melbourne author Maree Coote. Maree has already found acclaim with her hip Melbourne handbook, The Melbourne Book A History of Now, published in 2003.

These books also see the launch of a new independent publishing company, Gingerbread Books. Gingerbread is based in Port Melbourne and is dedicated to bringing Australian Stories to Australians and the world.

The Acting Premier said he was "delighted to launch these Australian-themed, Victorian-focused and Melbourne-made books in my electorate."

"It is important for our young children to grow up with and appreciate their own local stories. And these books are a great example, with positive philosophies for Aussie kids," Mr Thwaites said.

"It was also great to see that one of the books, The Seacret of Driftus and Sprout, features our marine state emblem, the Weedy Seadragon."

The Gum Queen is a fun philosophy on life and finding your own curl: Growing up is easy just be the nut you are!

The Seacret of Driftus and Sprout explores the idea that imagination is a treasure worth more than gold.

The Black Pot Belly tells the story of a magical pot belly stove whose antics illuminate the charm of low-tech living, and whose dreams include joining the Kelly gang.

All three books are also beautifully illustrated with vibrant art by Maree Coote.

Mr Thwaites is hopeful that these books will be a success and see more local production of local stories.

Media inquiries: Amy Rogers, Office of John Thwaites Ph: 9699 6755


New Melbourne publisher launches
with a distinctly Australian approach to children's picture books.

"What should we be feeding into our kids' imaginations?" asks writer/illustrator Coote. "MoreAmerican pie? More British pud? Or fresh, home-grown, free-range Australian goodies? I think we've had plenty of the UK and US backlists, and it's time we took a chance on local stories. How else can we teach our kids to have a go at their own dreams?"

Gingerbread Books is a brand new publisher based in Melbourne. Launching with 3 very different new titles - The Gum Queen, The Black Pot Belly, and The Seacret of Driftus and Sprout, - Gingerbread is headed for 4-7 year olds who love colour and fun, and parents who appreciate funky Australiana.

Gingerbread's aim is the delivery of original Australian stories to Australian children. Focusing on clever ideas, optimistic themes, and larrikin logic, Gingerbread is dedicated to presenting stories with heart, soul and the all important 'something-you-didn't-know-about-Australia'.

This first trilogy of titles is the work of Maree Coote, a Melbourne writer and illustrator who is passionate about art and design, and hopes to infuse the magic of picture books with her own very strong sense of place and love of Australian history and local imagery. Author of the essential funky Melbourne handbook The Melbourne book - A History of Now - Coote is acutely aware of the magic to be found in Australian stories, past and present.

Coote's debut into children's literature includes The Gum Queen - who, helped by a stunning array of native flora and seedpods, illustrates a fun philosophy on individualism brought to life in the infinite diversity in the Aussie bush ....Growing up is easy - just be the nut you are.

The Seacret of Driftus and Sprout reveals that the smallest dragon of all is a real, live Aussie with a big secret,-and happy to keep it that way. The natural wonder of dragons, of nature, and of imagination reveal the power of occupying a special, secret place within the larger scheme of things.

The Black Pot Belly is a charming and witty piece of nonsense about a magical pot belly stove whose antics illuminate the charm of low-tech living, and whose dreams include joining the Kelly gang... Unusual and fresh, this very different tale is a delight.

Gingerbread has its sights on several new titles to come, continuing this theme of Australian tales. For information about these and other forthcoming titles visit and follow the links to Gingerbread Books.

Contact details For sales enquiries: Contact Gingerbread Books Mob: 0432 202 675