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

Monday, 21 January 2019

Review: How to Nab a Rabbit

In How to Nab a Rabbit, we follow the famous Big Bad Wolf as he presents his book about catching pesky rabbits. He takes the reader on a journey with rhythm, rhyme and funny situations as he demonstrates his methods and foolproof tips for catching a tasty dinner.

With a title to uphold, this wolf is determined to make a catch, so he starts with ‘the stalking strategy’, it doesn’t play out as planned then he discovers a huge inconvenience... bears live in the woods and they eat wolves! Four more methods follow, will rabbit stew really be on the menu? You must read the book to find out!

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Review: First Children's Dictionary

This is a fantastic first dictionary for kids.

Easy to navigate, filled with over 800 illustrations and packed with over 4,000 fantastic words, it’s been designed to appeal to a young audience and entice them to explore and interact with the pages.

It starts with an introduction to dictionaries in general, giving kids the basics on how to look up words in the book. 

Then there’s a lesson on words, which explains things like nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, plurals and tense.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

For a well-written, can't-put-down summer read, you can't go past To All the Boys I've Loved Before by successful US author Jenny Han. Although published in 2014, I came across it the other day and had a glimpse to see why this novel/series has been so popular. I wasn't disappointed.

In the first of this best selling trilogy, we meet Lara Jean, a 17-year-old of Korean/American background who has kept secret love letters to the five boys she's ever loved, in an old cherished hat box.

One day, somehow, all her letters are posted and Lara Jean has to deal with the fallout of the letters' contents. She is mortified, especially as one of the recipients of the letters is her sister's recent ex-boyfriend and another is one of the hottest, most popular guys at school. Lara Jean has a lot of explaining to do.

Review: Dragons In Love

Drake is in love.

The problem is, Drake is a dragon, and he's in love with his very human friend, Violet who gave him a kiss on the snout.

And a dragon in love can be a dangerous thing. In fact, Drake is a little out of control.

He can't control his fire breathing -- there are flames and sparks flying everywhere, rather like a volcano rumbling to life.

Poor Drake decides that although he enjoyed Violet's kiss, he can't let his feelings cause havoc by setting fire to buildings around him, so he must avoid her.

He struggles to control his feelings, until his dad explains that fire breathing is a dragon's way of showing their love.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Review: Visual Guide to Grammar and Punctuation

If you’re looking for a simple and easy-to-understand guide to grammar and punctuation, this is definitely it.

This book is packed with information, and while it’s been fantastically designed for kids who are learning this stuff for the first time, it’s a book for anyone and everyone looking for a little help or a reminder of the basics.

At the beginning, you’ll find a great overview of how to use the book, so you’ll know what to expect and where to look for information as you read. 

Review: Sing Along With Me! This is the Way We Go to School

Sing Along With Me! This is the Way We Go to School is a strong and sturdy book for babies and toddlers in the stages of early learning. The characters are a happy family of tigers. 

It is created with chunky movable pieces that little hands can push and pull or slide in various directions, to alter the picture and move the actions of the characters.

The book goes through the whole song from getting up, having breakfast, brushing teeth, going to school and waving bye-bye.  

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Review: Colours

I still find myself drawn to board books, even though my youngest has outgrown them. There's something so luscious about them, from the thick, glossy cardboard to the simple, eye-catching artworks.

This board book, featuring the work of renowned Japanese paper-cut artist Chihiro Takeuchi, is surely one to delight young and old.

Review: What Can You See? Animals in the Night

In this delightful book, What Can You See? Animals in the Night, children will discover the secrets of nocturnal animals from all over the world. Hidden creatures and surprises abound in the pages, encouraging children to eagerly hunt for every one by illuminating them with the unique star-shaped UV light supplied.

Author, Ruth Austin, provides factual details, in rhyming text, about each of the cleverly camouflaged creatures, with clues to help children solve the mysteries of identifying the animals. Creatures are featured from lands across the world including the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Review: Boats Fast and Slow

This is a beautifully presented book introducing children to boats in all their shapes and sizes. It is a high quality, hard cover production with a wealth of information.

The history of boats is cleverly intertwined with stories of famous boats, fictional boats, boat festivals and races. It takes you through the first boats and log canoes, and even goes into myths such as the story of the Egyptian sun god, Ra’s barge that travels through the underworld and up through the sky.

The basics of boats are covered, including a labelled diagram of the key elements and a narrative about different types of boats.

Review: The Lost Penguin

A heartwarming story about friendship, working together and helping others. Beautifully illustrated by Kate Hindley.

Best friends, Oliver, Ruby and Patch the dog do everything together. Playing, exploring, even feeding birds. One day at the zoo they come across a new rescue penguin named Peep who appears sad and out of place. Later when Peep becomes lost, the concerned trio of friends set off on a search to find the little penguin.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Review: Otherworld

Imagine playing a computer game where you physically experience everything through your own senses.

Ice cold winds? Your shivering is real. Delicious feasts? You taste every delicate flavour. This is the upside of Otherworld.

But the Company is trialling something new and it is breaking multiple laws in the process.

An unexpected number of serious accidents result in unprecedented numbers of 'brain dead' people who require long term care in a secure medical facility — a facility which happens to be owned by the Company.

These patients are clandestine guinea pigs. They might get to play out their fantasies in Otherworld where no laws exist, but one mistake could prove fatal. Literally.

Enter Simon, computer geek, madly in love with Kat, but unable to tell her.

Now watch as Kat is in a horrific accident and she is pronounced brain incapacitated.

12 Curly Questions with author/illustrator Gwyn Perkins

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
When I was about 7, I pushed the slightly older bullying son of my parent's esteemed friends into fresh cow manure at the Royal Melbourne Show and he had to wear an overcoat for the rest of the hot day. I got into trouble, but I still think it was worth it.

2. What is your nickname?
Having a name like mine troubled me as a child. Once Father Christmas gave me a cut-out doll book when the other boys got pull-along toys at my dad's work Christmas party. Another time, the name 'Miss Gwyn Perkins' was announced loudly and repeatedly in the waiting room at the Dental Hospital and I was sure there was co-incidentally a female there with a name just like mine.