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

Friday, 17 August 2018

Review: Perry Angel's Suitcase

Not one of us can say we have never yearned to fit in, to feel we are wanted and that we are loved. That we have a place in the world to call our own. When all is said and done we are all searching for a place to belong.

Imagine a tiny child, a ward of the state, whose mother has flown to heaven not even leaving him with a name. A small boy who clutches tightly to the one thing he is certain of. A battered suitcase that has been his constant companion. Providing a safe place in which to hide his feelings. Somewhere to hide his wanting, searching, needing, yearning, battered seven year old heart. An injured heart that begs to belong.

Review: Look Up! Numbers, Colours and Shapes in Architecture

As someone who loves both art and architecture, Look Up! Numbers, Colours and Shapes in Architecture is right up my alley.

It's a fabulous and creative introduction for children to several different concepts.

It all starts on the title page, where a snail in the bottom right corner tells us that it is an architect, and carries its building on its back.

The snail encourages us to look closely at 18 different buildings and the numbers, shapes and colours to be found in them.

This is where the visual element is so important.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Review: Oma's Buttons

This stunning picture book reflects the strong bond between grandparent and child, the importance of shared memories, and the value of storytelling.

Ruthie and Oma share many things. They enjoy each other’s company and always want to be together. 

The day Ruthie finds a box of buttons under Oma’s bed her grandmother’s life opens up to her. 

Video: Fearless Frederic

Fearless Frederic is a historical fiction novel set in Paris, written by Felice Arena, author of The Boy and the Spy.

Title: Fearless Frederic
Author: Felice Arena
Publisher: Penguin Books, $16.99
Publication Date: 2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780143786757
For ages: 8+
Type: Junior fiction

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Giveaway: Walker Books 25th Anniversary Book Pack

Thanks to the phenomenal people at Walker Books Australia and to celebrate 25 years of storytelling in Australia and New Zealand, we have the most spectacular picture book pack to giveaway! One lucky winner has the chance to win twenty-five of Walker Book's most popular and beloved titles! Yes, that's a prize pack of twenty-five books.

Review: Want To Play Trucks?

Want To Play Trucks? is about Jack and Alex who love to play together. It's also about friendship and overcoming stereotypes.

Jack and Alex meet in the playground regularly. They each like to play with different things.

Jack likes trucks, especially ones with loud sirens or cranes. Alex prefers playing with dolls who wear colourful outfits.

They argue a bit, but eventually work out a way to play together so they both enjoy the experience.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Review: Temeraire

Temeraire, (also published as His Majesty’s Dragon in the US) is the first novel in the nine-book Temeraire series, by author, Naomi Novik.
This novel was highly recommended to me by a wonderful teacher-librarian, who knew I was seeking a novel with depth, intrigue and dragons, and immediately retrieved this novel for me from her Young Adult shelves. 

Whilst Temeraire is listed for a general audience and has broad appeal to adults, it is also suitable, engaging and appealing to young adults and adolescents.

Before the first page has turned, the reader is drawn into the early 1800s, on a British Royal Navy Ship, mid-way through a battle. 

We meet Captain Will Laurence and see that he is honourable, intelligent and battle-wise, with a crew prepared to fight for their Captain and Country.

12 Curly Questions with author/illustrator Caroline Magerl

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I left home at a very early age and went to work as a pot scrubber in the bowels of an old hotel in Brisbane. At night, I used to read the Larousse Gastronomique, which a chef had lent to me. I dreamed of creating extraordinary desserts.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Look What I'm Reading! Claire Saxby

Claire Saxby writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry for children. She has too many brothers but just the right number of sons. She lives in a house with too many bedrooms and just the right number of husbands. She finds inspiration all around her. Her latest books include Bird to Bird (illustrated by Wayne Harris, Black Dog Books) and Dingo (illustrated by Tannya Harricks, Walker Books Australia).

Which children’s book are you currently reading?
I have two enormous piles of books, one by my bed; the other in my office. I’m often reading more than one at a time. And then there’s research. But to answer the question: I’ve just finished Scythe by Neal Shusterman. It’s a YA future novel about a perfect world where there is no government, no numbering of years, no disease or aging, Oh my!

Review: The Honeybee

Flapping, flying, landing, prying’ in The Honeybee we follow bees from a colony as they set out to make golden, delicious honey. Their journey plays out as they select flowers, collect nectar, then return to their hive to do a wiggly waggly dance and and further process the nectar into honey.

The book is beautifully finished, the pages are filled with truly refreshing artwork which sets scenes and pairs perfectly with the accompanying text. The honeybee characters are adorably cute with pointy little noses and tiny white collared shirts. I love the little details such as the dotted lines indicating where the bees have been buzzing and the striking bright yellow colour of nectar throughout the book.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Review: The Peacock Detectives

Here is middle grade novel with an original, authentic voice that will resonate with kids. Cassie is a curious 11-year-old girl who notices things and writes them down. She is a writer. And a peacock detective.

When the peacocks go missing, she is the best person to find them because she notices the details that others miss. She’s writing a book. It’s about finding the peacocks. Or is it?

However, this book is about so much more than Cassie’s search for the peacocks. It is her search to understand her world, which is changing so quickly she is struggling to keep up.

Review: Where in the Wild

Where in the Wild entwines a fun rhyming text with informative information and a powerful message about the environment.

Paired with the most colourful, vibrant and frame-worthy illustrations, it’s a joy to explore with (and without) the kids.

In lush rainforests, homes abound,
From high treetops to shady ground.
On branches, monkeys screech and chitter,
And insects hide in damp leaf litter.