Finding The Rhythm In Music: 

The Swift Way to Count

Marla Swift 

JoJo Publishing

ISBN: 9780980283693

RR $49.99 

Where most secondary schools employ music specialists, primary schools are not always so fortunate, with class teachers who have little or no musical experience expected to teach classes the basics of singing in tune… and keeping time.

This is where Marla Swift’s new book will come in handy. 

The author has provided educators with a brilliant new resource in Finding the Rhythm In Music: The Swift Way To Count

It is undoubtedly one of the simplest, most precise methods of learning how to understand and perform musical rhythms that I have come across. 

Her systematic and logical approach demonstrates a keen awareness of the challenges involved in counting in rhythm. 

In the course of her career, she has worked with noted soloists, performed worldwide at a variety of music festivals and been a soloist recording artist with the MSO; and this accumulated experience is evident throughout the book.

She writes: “Whether you are just starting out or you need to re-program, this book is going to put you on the right track for the rest of your musical life.” I absolutely agree. 

The book’s five chapters will help teachers and students to gain insight and confidence in a structured and sequential way, combining as they do, clear explanations and opportunities to put theory into practice. 

Well-known songs like Jingle Bells and Food Glorious Food are used to demonstrate the value of each beat.

I found a bonus in the section headed Teacher Notes For Young Children, which as a Music, Drama and classroom teacher of primary school students, is particularly innovative and interesting.

I have no hesitation in recommending Marla Swift’s book as an excellent contribution to the literature about ‘rhythm,’ one of the most difficult aspects of music making

Barb Ady  


Beating the Bullies:

How did Ben help himself?

Dr Lucy Blunt with illustrations by Chloe Osborn

Jane Curry Publishing

ISBN: 9780987227539

RR $18.95 + $7 shipping



Social media have made adolescent bullying nastier, more intense and unrelenting, with tragic outcomes, but is bullying any more of a problem in the primary school playground today than it has been in the past? Yes, according to Dr Lucy Blunt, clinical psychologist and author of Beating the Bullies.

The book’s back cover blurb states: “One in five children is bullied at school. Bullying can be Overt: physical and verbal – or Covert: passive aggressive and excluding.”

Her book, aimed at children age 9–11 and their parents and teachers, takes the form of a first person narrative by Ben, a boy who is bullied at school, and how with the help of Theresa, he develops coping strategies that eventually lead to his confronting his bullies and regaining his self confidence.

This nicely turned out little book, with keywords highlighted, appealing cartoons and a happy ending, will be an easy read for a nine-year-old to read by him- or herself. But the real value lies in using it to lead classroom discussions and help with child-parent conversations at home. The brief, practical guides for parents and teachers suggest strategies and exercises to resolve conflicts and rebuild self-confidence.

Australia’s greatest inventions and innovations

Christopher Cheng and Lindsay Knight 

in association with Powerhouse Museum

Random House Australia

ISBN: 9781742755649

RR $24.95


Christopher Cheng is a children’s author and Lindsay Knight is the former Head of Children’s Books at Random House. In association with Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, they have drawn together a wonderful overview of the many clever ideas that Australian inventors and scientists have dreamed up and developed over the years.

Inevitably, the icons are included  – Vegemite, The Hills Hoist, the Victa Mower… and the jump-stump plough – but there are a host of other inventions to be discovered in the book’s 184 pages. 

It’s an eclectic mix that includes the Fairlight digital sampling synthersiser; the disposable syringe; spray on skin; the buried contact solar cell; the dual flush toilet – and the list goes on.

Each invention is given two or more pages of text and illustrations and covers the problem that needed to be solved, who solved it and how, illustrated with diagrams and photographs. The writing style is clear and concise and doesn’t oversimplify. 

Though written for inquisitive young readers, it’s an interesting “I didn’t know that” browse for adults and well worth the cover price.