'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

10 Quirky Questions with author Susannah McFarlane

1. What's your hidden talent?
A near-perfect score on Playstation Just Dance Rasputin, perfected during Melbourne lockdown – I think my children are hoping it remains hidden.

2. Who is your favourite literary villain and why?
Hairy McClairy from Donaldson’s dairy – that little dog got away with wreaking a lot of havoc and leading many a dog astray by being super-cute.

Monday, 25 October 2021

Review: Wandi

With Wandi, her first book for children, Favel Parrett has chosen a sensitive and moving real life story; the plight of the dingo, Australia’s native, wild Canid. 

It is specifically about a rare, beautiful and intelligent endangered alpine dingo, whom she followed on Instagram and came to love dearly.

Wandi is the smallest but smartest pup of his pack. His father teaches him awareness of the dangers that threaten their species. Two major ones are eagles and humans.

It is an eagle that lifts him from his home and carries him far away where cries for his mama cannot reach her. For some reason, the eagle drops him.

He is found frightened and starving by a human; the enemy.

Junior Review: Furia

Camila Hassan is unnoticeable at home . But on the soccer field, she’s 'la Furia',a ball of fire, an unstoppable soccer force. 

At home she’s a diligent daughter quietly hiding in the glory of her brother Pablo, a soccer superstar. But hide no more when her team qualifies for a South American tournament, the truth is inevitably going to come out. To make matters even more interesting, Camila’s first love Diego is back in town from playing club soccer in Juventus. They rushed through their feelings earlier but is a spark still there waiting for something more?

Love is a complicated feeling that Camila doesn’t know how to control. She wants to live her own life but how can she escape her father’s control? Camila wants to embrace Furia and find herself, but that’s not possible without a few hurdles along the way.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Review: Afloat in Venice

Afloat in Venice captures the thrill of travel from the perpective of someone who has never been overseas before, and features both a sense of adventure and innocence.

In this simple and appealing story, Monkey is excited to be heading off on his first ever holiday.

He needs to pack before he leaves, and that means deciding what to take with him. Clothes are important of course, and if you're leaving the country, so is a passport.

Monkey has also been given a special gift, a camera. It will help him record memories of his trip.

Afloat in Venice is a cute and quirky tale told using beautiful photographs. Monkey himself is a soft toy and the photo composition places him carefully to help tell the story.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Giveaway: Plume: World Explorer

Hitch a ride on the Albatross Express and travel the globe with Plume: World Explorer. This exciting new picture book series for little ones celebrates culture, diversity and the natural wonders of our world.

Plume is not your typical Antarctic penguin. Sporting a bright yellow plume on the top of his head, Plume is bored of black and white, of shuffling around and snoozing on icebergs. He much prefers to cook, read, knit and sky dive. He craves colour, adventure, excitement! He wants to seize the world he’s discovered in the books of his fantastical, glacier library (the largest in the Southern Hemisphere).

Plume's great hope is to grow the hearts and minds of his penguin friends. Through his travels, children will engage with themes such as friendship, acceptance, understanding and the wellbeing of our planet. 

Written and illustrated by KBR Founder Tania McCartney, Plume is truly a book series for our times.

For the chance to win this gorgeous picture book, and travel the world through the pages of a book with Plume, tell us in 25 words or less, where your child would most like to visit.

Friday, 22 October 2021

Review: Princess Hayley's Comet Audio

What would you like for your birthday?
the King asks his only daughter. A good question to someone who has everything.

There is only one thing that Princess Hayley wants, and that’s a comet.

The first book by Rebecca Fung, Princess Hayley’s Comet published in 2018, is now an audiobook. Narrated by voice over artist Aimee Smith in a pleasant animated way, it includes sound effects and music.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

The What On Earth Institute of Wonder

Riddle me this. What do an animal-loving girl with a special gift, a talking kakapo, a teen boy who prefers his boombox to Spotify, a kombi van and the world’s youngest doomsdayer have in common? Well, an elephant, of course!

This is a fun adventure packed with so many ideas that it will appeal to a wide cross-section of your readers. Sal and Roy have had a difficult home situation since their dad left the family, because their mum has, to all intents and purposes, abandoned them as well, as she tries to make sense of the situation by focusing on her study of the moon.  

At only 12, it’s been a big responsibility for Sal to keep things on track for her little brother Roy, a quirky kid obsessed with his perpetual preparations for the impending end of the world. 

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Review: Gotcha!

The evolution of Sam Tyler from student to professional Barrister makes a fantastic read. Her character is a powerful role model for young adults; generous-hearted, down-to-earth, inspiring, and lovable.

Clancy Tucker’s latest novel, Gotcha! the fourth book in the Kick Ass series, finds Sam on her last day at Folkestone University. Although it’s a happy time, Sam reflects on all the things she achieved and the people that supported her on her journey to who she has become.

At nearly twenty-two, Sam has completed her Bachelor of Criminal Law with Honours, and passed her Bar exam. She is very proud of her personal accomplishments and is looking forward to the next chapter of her life.

Guest Post: Andy Griffiths

Andy Griffiths received the 2015 Dromkeen Medal for his outstanding contribution to children’s literature. Ambassador for The Indigenous Foundation and the Pyjama Foundation, he has spent his writing life creating books that draw kids to reading.

His The130-Storey Treehouse was released to coincide with the Coles Collectables campaign. His current release. The 143-Storey Treehouse will be available in mid- October 2021. We ask the delightful Andy to share a portion of his life with us.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Review: What Zola did on Sunday

Oh, wow! Is it Sunday already?

What Zola did on Sunday is book seven (and the final book) in the What Zola Did series. 

In this darling last instalment of this super sweet series, the St Odo’s Fete is finally here, and everything Zola and her friends have learnt, have been practicing for and have discovered over the rest of the series comes backs into play.

Everyone is helping out at the fete, selling plants and cakes, playing music, hosting the pet parade and running the chocolate wheel. 

Zola wants to help out with everything, but she can’t NOT help out at the cake stall her Mum and Nona are running.

Until… the pets at the pet parade tempt her away from the stall.

Review: Night Lights

It may seem extraordinary to our Gen Alpha readers of today that not so very long ago, our nights were not so bright, meaning, the world was a place of less light pollution, certainly it was not illuminated by the blue light of so many devices as it is now. 

It is this sentiment that author, Inda Ahmad Zahri and illustrator, Lesley McGee impart in their new picture book, Night Lights.

Night Lights is more than an evocative plea to value nature and honour the night. It is an impassioned return to the author’s childhood home in Malaysia and a spellbinding invitation to experience her memories of growing up in a verdant tropical paradise, focusing on the various forms of light that illuminated her world.

Monday, 18 October 2021

Review: Tele-porta-loo

Keen for some laughing out loud while you read a super fun book packed with awesome illustrations?

You NEED to check out Tele-porta-loo by The Listies! This is going to be THE book kids are talking about. I guarantee it.

If you’ve not heard of them (but seriously how could that be!), The Listies are Richard Higgins and Matt Kelly. They are a kids comedy duo who make kids giggle and LOL with their in-person and online comedy shows. They’re also the authors of the seriously funny encyclopedias: Icky-pedia and Icky-foodia.

Tele-porta-loo is their first narrative story for kids, and as the first in a series, The Listies have now truly landed in the kid lit community. And honestly, they blow it out of the park (or the toilet!).