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

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Review: Skandar and the Unicorn Thief

Like every other kid on the mainland, Skandar dreams of acing the hatchling exam and being chosen to move to the Island to train a unicorn. 

He doesn’t care that unicorns are bloodthirsty and dangerously powerful animals. From the time he was born, it’s all he’s ever wanted.

But things take an interesting turn when a dangerous enemy, the Weaver, threatens the Island and the Mainland, and Skandar is ordered not to take the hatchery exam. 

His hopes and dreams are smashed, until a mystery unicorn rider arrives and takes him to the Island after all...

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Guest Post: Ellie Royce on The Fantastic Journeys of Storytelling

This week we welcome, Ellie Royce as she uncovers how we are all made of stories and explores the many ways to tell them.

Review: Flipper and Finnegan

Based on a real event in 2001, Flipper and Finnegan is the story of two Little penguins, and how hand knitted jumpers from a caring community helped save them after an oil spill. 

The story begins by describing Flipper and Finnigan’s cosy home and environment on Phillip Island. Details of their days and evenings are beautifully portrayed. When disaster strikes, Flipper, Finnegan and their penguin friends endure a scary journey covered in oil. A brighter ending prevails thanks to wildlife rangers and the kindness of many people knitting tiny jumpers to help the affected penguins.

I especially adore Anil Tortop’s illustrations, her use of colour and lighting express time, place and mood wonderfully while her characters are cute and loveable. 

12 Curly Questions with author Karen Ginnane

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I once taught a Catholic nun how to bellydance.

2. What is your nickname?
Most people call me Karen, a few friends call me Kaz, but I’m just grateful that nobody has called me Ginnanny Goat since school days.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Being called Ginnanny Goat.

Monday, 15 August 2022

Book list: Cyber safety and digital wellbeing picture books

Check out this great range of picture books exploring cyber safety and digital wellbeing. There's something here for everyone.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Giveaway: My Dad Thinks He's A Pirate: Katrina Germein Prize Pack

Captain Dad and his crew are having a day at the beach, and of course Dad is bringing his treasure trove of jokes. Whether it’s a ship he bought on sail or an earring that costs one buccaneer, a day with Dad is shore to be hilarious! At least he seems to think so.

You’ll be hooked on this addition to the 'My Dad…' series by Aussie author, Katrina Germein and illustrator, Tom Jellett. Sail the seven seas with Dad with more jokes to make you laugh (and cringe!) – arrr arrr arrr! 

And thanks to our maties at Walker Books Australia, we have a copy of this hilarious new title to giveaway, along with a copy of the original, My Dad Thinks He's Funny.

For your chance to win this side-splitting prize pack, tell us in 25 words or less what a day at the beach looks like to you?

Friday, 12 August 2022

Guest Post: Teacher Librarians: The Aunty Of The School

With Book Week a mere week or so away, we welcome back, Cherie Bell to discuss the importance of not only school libraries but those special individuals that run and man them: teacher librarians. 

If the classroom teacher is the ‘school parent’, then the teacher-librarian is an aunty. They are a caring, supportive presence in a child’s life. A person with responsibility and a high level of investment in the child, they are a central part of the safety net all kids need from time to time.

Review: Group Hug! A Collective Noun Safari

A flamboyance of flamingos. A troop of orangutans. A bloat of hippos.                    
This book is a joyful adventure into the very strange world of animal collective nouns. A playful homage to our (at times) ridiculous English language, Group Hug! is wonderfully quirky.      

Wilbur is a city kid who loves animals and shares with us those that have the strangest group-names and habits. He does this through asking questions in cheerful rhyme that is clever and unpretentious.                                         

Thursday, 11 August 2022

Meet The Illustrator: Connah Brecon

Connah Brecon

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Hopefully it’s believable to the audience. Contains essence. 

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Can’t live without pencil & paper. Music or a good podcast for my ears. My Mac, which is where the magic happens after the pencil & paper bit.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Currently I work digitally on Final Art, but I love the initial exploration of a story in pencil; finding out who the characters are, how the scenery might look etc.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
I admire many illustrators but I tend not to scrutinise their work too much. As for past artists, I am a big fan of Turner especially, but also many other artists.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Thunderstorm Dancing

Books with spark come around again and it’s Thunderstorm Dancing’s turn to return with a ‘crackling zap! sizzling snap!’ 

First published in 2015, this 2016 CBCA Book of the Year, Early Childhood, has now been released in paperback. 

Perhaps you remember Tania McCartney’s original review of the hardcover version?

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Review: Animal Migrations: Flying, Walking, Swimming

Many animals migrate, but why some and not others? 

What prompts them to move from one place to another?

You may have many questions about this particular animal behaviour and Animal Migrations by Diane Jackson Hill sets out to answer them.

Animal Migrations has ten chapters, the first being about animal migration in general, and then chapters about three different types of migration.

Monday, 8 August 2022

Review: Oceans of plastic: understanding and solving a pollution problem

Plastic often seems to be found everywhere, and it equals pollution, especially when it's in the ocean.

In Oceans of Plastic readers will uncover a wealth of information about the the importance of our oceans, the issue of plastics, and how to help solve plastic pollution problems.

All presented in ten chapters, with glossary and further information recommendations.