Hasel and Rose (& the wish thing)

Welcome to the story behind my latest picture book,

Rose and the Wish Thing.

Rose and the Wish Thing Lrg


A history of the creation of this book can be viewed on this page, below the book trailer.

Reviews can been seen at the bottom of this page.

Teachers notes for Rose and the Wish Thing, courtesy of Penguin Random Australia available free (click here). 

Purchase the original illustrations from Rose and the Wish Thing from Chris Beetles Gallery St James London (click here).

An insight into the creative process in creating Rose and the Wish Thing can be view at The Children’s Writer’s Guild (Click here).


[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jSrdSWQAEU” width=500 height=350 maxwidth=1000 ]


The story behind Rose and the Wish Thing (Hasel and Rose).

Double Day 

Penguin logo

  .Published by DoubleDay USA and Penguin Books Australia

German Picture Books

When my family was newly settled in the dry suburban landscape of western Sydney, picturebooks arrived sporadically from my East German grandmother.

The world of images and words inside these books provided such a fascination that it has lasted to this day. Those parcels from the other side of the world put my feet on a path.

On the boat at Seven Hills

It was a curious thing that we came to a country in order to float on the edge of urban Sydney life. We moved about a great deal. For me, a sense of connection to myself and my surroundings came through reading books, and from drawing and writing.


During my thirties, I began to obtain work as an illustrator.

Although I had illustrated a number of books, my desire to write and illustrate a text of my own emerged with the birth of my daughter Jennifer.


A pair of baggy trousers I wore when pregnant, gave me a mile of material to make toys for Jen.

Hasel was one of the things I made during Jen’s first two years.

However, Hasel seemed to have something to say.

Original Cover

I was given a hand bound journal, a really lovely thing.

I began to draw and write in the journal with no particular agenda. About halfway through, some sentences emerged quite spontaneously.

I knew this was what I was looking for, but it was so little, and certainly not a book.

Hadn't been licked to the ends.

What I had was a collection of images with poetic fragments.

Rose and Box

Sometime just images.

Rose holding Hasel

Other times the words.


It seemed almost as if, while I was trying to form the story … it was changing me too.

Rose asleep

The story was there. It had been with me for a very long time.

Cat and Me

An old photo came to mind, and some of the reasons for persisting with the writing became apparent.

Moon Jellies

Now came the hardest part, I had to put it all together.

The part that makes emotive images and the part that makes a structured narrative that can be followed, seemed at a distance from each other.

In fact, I suspect they were not on speaking terms.

It was a matter of how to handle this and make an outcome as both, meaning and emotion, had to contribute. I needed a consistant voice to glue things together.

Writing in German

I tried writing in German. Wierdly, that helped.

Beach character page

While spending many weeks in Melbourne, on my from May Gibbs fellowship residency.

The scenery and atmosphere took hold.

I needed a real setting, a stage for my players.

Combined logos

Help came in many forms.

Assistance I greatly appreciated.

Penguin Letter

In time came the holy grail, a contract.

Text 2

This is where professional help came in.

Spare a thought for my editor at Penguin, Michelle Madden.

Above is what she had to deal with.

Rose Rose watercolour Hasel and rose skip

 I had bewildered myself with variation in illustrative style, and had to make a choice now.

Hasel at Sea

A line and wash style, much as in the first journal became the final choice.

Hasel at Sea

There were some do overs, but the art was finished.

I found it quite hard to say that this was now ‘done and over!’

Hasel and Rose final art 2

A favourite photo of when Hasel and Rose finally arrived in Melbourne.

Pictured here is wonderful Penguin designer, Marina Messiha,who contributed so much to this book.

Cover Options

Finding a definitive cover image is a combined effort. There can only be one.



A chance meeting put me in touch with a group of film people.

The collaboration resulted in a book trailer for ‘Hasel and Rose’ that was a lot of fun (for me, if not the crew) to make.


A score was written and performed for the trailer.

The finished book trailer.



Links to these reviews are found by clicking on the (reviewer’s name)

  • A lonely young girl makes a wish that eventually comes true in both magical and pragmatic ways.(Kirkus review)
  • The illustrations are almost like water colored sketches and are whimsical and a bit magical themselves.  The story is easy to read and can touch your soul. (Jo Ann Hakola – Journey of a Bookseller)
  • The story does not underestimate children’s emotional intelligence, instead it actually helps them use their own abilities to understand difficult feelings (Lesley Tauranac – Australian Picture Books)
  • It’s both unusual and wonderful to find a real wordsmith who is also a brilliant artist. (Expat living Singapore)
  • Hasel and Rose is a quirky and conceptual tale, that’s also wonderfully magical and beautiful. (Sharon Dowley – Nurture Magazine)
  • I love the gentle sway of the words, and Caroline Magerl’s delicate, whimsical illustrations. (Danni Netherclift – Sandhasnohome.com)
  • The story will mesmerise some children – the words are lyrical with a slightly off-beat phrasing which perfectly calls its readers to listen and ponder..It’s also a story that adults will love to look at and read aloud, for the gentle reminders they’ll find as much as for the sheer loveliness of it. (Kim Fulcher and Joan Walker – Where the books are)
  • The writing is poetic, words tinted with further meaning; quirky watercolour sketches carry a touch of mystery, sitting out on the edge of imagination waiting to float in. Children will be attracted to the eccentric whimsy of this enchanting story. (Kerry Neary – 4MBS)
  • There is a whimsical and enchanting beauty to this story … A tantalising sub-plot. (Blanche Clark – Sunday Herald Sun – 50 Best kids’ books in 5 years)
  • Achingly beautiful illustrations tell of the loneliness of Rose in her new home.  At the same time from across the oceans and mountains of the world comes a displaced creature looking for acceptance.  Travel through time, suspension of belief to embrace the inexplicable and the magic of belonging and friendship are woven powerfully into a moving affirmation of the power of love.  The language of the text is exquisite, the visual story commanding.  Highly recommended.(Chris Dayman – Reading Time)
  • Richly evocative art that needs to be examined repeatedly. A magical story of hope and new beginnings.(Chris Chen – newkidsbooksinoz)
  • … her use of imagery in this book is full of movement and feeling. I found this to be an imaginative read accompanied by lovely artistic stroke styled illustrations… (R.E.C. Pearson – Creative Kids Tales)
  • Magerl’s prose is sparse but eloquent – intensely beautiful illustrations provide an overarching narrative, one that’s imaginative, brave and sweet. (Katrina Whelen – Babyology)
  • This is a contemplative book in which Rose deals with her longing for what was and, with rabbit’s help, is able to come to terms with what is. Magerl’s illustrations feature energetic, scratchy line work and pared-back watercolour washes. The wordless double-page spreads that chart rabbit’s epic progress across wild, threatening landscapes effectively contrast with the vignettes that show Rose’s progress from distraught to contented child. This is an evocative and poignant story. (Dr S Reeder – Sydney Morning Herald /Melbourne Age)
  • Hasel and Rose is a visually stunning picture book; warm and captivating I can’t recommend it highly enough. (Emma Perry – My Book Corner)
  • A sweet story of friendship and longing, with beautifully-penned text and concepts that will stay with the reader long after the last page has turned. (Tania McCartney -KidsBookReview.com)
  • As someone who moved to the other side of the world I know how hard it is to settle in, to find that feeling of belonging and to make new friends. Australian author and illustrator Caroline Magerl has captured these feelings beautifully in her very first book called Hasel and Rose. ( Simone – HipLittleOne.com)
  • Such a beautiful book for any little human’s book shelf! Caroline Magerl has outdone herself with beautiful illustrations and a truly magical storyline. (Melissa Puli – TwoLittleHumansandMe.com)
  • Great stories cannot be written to order and a timetable, but need to be nurtured and nourished and allowed to flourish in their own time . . . just as Rosie did.(Barbara Braxton – ReadPlus)
  • Picture books such as Hasel and Rose are for everyone. They are evocative and poignant and layered with meaning. They are works of art in every sense. (Jen Storer – Baxterstreetblogspot)
  • it reveals itself over time. It doesn’t underestimate children’s intelligence – emotional or intellectual. It instead plays on their ability to understand difficult stuff. (Zanni Louise – MyLittleSunshineHouse)
  • by her own evocative hand-coloured etchings which add so much atmosphere and tension, offers confirmation that sometimes all it takes is time, and new journeys can happen around any corner.- (Barbara Braxton – Oztlnet.com)
  • This gifted illustrator’s first written book (Margaret Hamilton – Pinerolo)
  • It is lovely to see that she has a way with words, too. (Dr Virginia Lowe)
  • Hasel and Rose is a story about optimism and hope. (Alana Brekelmans – Spoonful Magazine)