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

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Review: Hush say the Stars

This is a lovely, gentle story for reading aloud with kids that will help them relax and prepare for rest.

As night falls, the stars slowly start appearing in the sky. They help all the animals on the farm to settle down and get ready for sleep.

The language is calming with a gentle rhythm that will lull children into that gorgeous pre-sleep state where they get all cuddly and dozy.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Review: Ancient Wonders - Then and Now

Ancient Wonders: Then & Now is a book to inspire a generation of future world explorers. Each double-page spread brings to life an ancient wonder of the world, with the added twist of a modern-day status update.

Information on ancient rituals and lost civilisations, coupled with modern details, such as UNESCO World Heritage listings, restoration projects, and numbers of visitors, makes the reader feel that each of these incredible wonders may only be a few footsteps away.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Winner: Wundersmith

And our lucky winner is...

Joseph Spagnolo, NSW

Congratulations! You have won a copy of Wundersmith, the highly anticipated sequel to Nevermoor, by Jessica Townsend.


Thank you to ALL who entered.

If you loved Morrigan Crow in the first Nevermoor book, visit again in January 2019 for our exciting review of Wundersmith.

Review: Love, Hate and Other Filters

Love, Hate and Other Filters is Samira Ahmed's debut novel about 17-year-old Maya Aziz, an American Muslim girl whose Indian-born parents hold traditional views on, well just about everything relating to Maya's teenage life.

What begins as a somewhat light-hearted overview of Maya's 'expected' life (whilst attending a traditional Indian wedding) slowly unfurls to reveal the undertones of being a young Muslim in America today. Maya is intelligent, beautiful and wishes to pursue her lifelong dream of film and cinema studies, something her parents think is just a hobby. They don't know she has secretly been accepted to the most prestigious film school in New York. They want her to become a lawyer and marry an Indian boy.

Maya doesn't want to do things just to please her parents. She's happiest when she's with her best friend Violet, who is independent, supportive and not constrained by anything or with her Aunt Hina who has defied traditional expectations and lives her dream life.

Review: From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons

From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons is all about Australia's amazing fossils.

Can you explain what a fossil is and where in Australia they have been found?

In From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons you'll be able to read all about fourteen places in Australia at which history has been preserved in the form of dinosaur fossils.

Start with an introduction to the prehistoric eras, and learn how to fossick for fossils (in caves, cliffs and by the sea).

Then explore different Australian locations and the types of dinosaurs found there, from polar dinosaurs at Dinosaur Cove, to Thingodonts and Fangaroos at Riversleigh.

You'll discover that many fossils at Lightening Ridge are made from opals, Titanosaurs (like those found in Queensland) were bigger than buses and semi-trailers, and megafauna fossils were known by Aboriginal people as bunyips.

And don't miss the glossary, or the list of places to go to explore Australian fossils further.

Written by zoologist Danielle Clode, and published by Museums Victoria, who have a large palaeontology collection, From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons is packed full of dinosaur drawings, maps, and trivia -- enough for even the most avid dinosaur buffs, and great for school projects.

Title: From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons
Author: Danielle Clode
Publisher: Museum Victoria, $ 24.95
Publication Date: August 2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781921833472
For ages: 5+
Type: Junior non-fiction

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Review: Yikes! 25th Anniversary Edition

Award-winning author and illustrator, and one of Australia's inaugural Children's Laureates, Alison Lester is loved by many for her large catalogue of books.

The Yikes! Special 25th Anniversary Edition is one of them.

Yikes! offers readers 'seven wild adventures' and asks them who they would like to be in those adventures.

The settings include a raging storm at sea, the wild west, a circus big top, the frozen northern hemisphere, a steamy hot jungle, a castle in Transylvania and out in space in the Milky Way.

Review: The Mapmakers' Race

This is a brilliant adventure, full of optimism and self belief, undertaken by five clever and talented children who prove that not only adults can change the world.

The child characters are brave, resourceful, adaptable, united and clever. They are leaders in a novel with a fantastic storyline written in superb prose.

The Santander family minus father have set out by train for Grand Prospect to enter the Mapmakers’ Race. 

Mother is a gifted Mapmaker who intends to chart a route from Grand Prospect through the mountains to New Coalhaven, for a horse track, then a railway. Winning the prize will save her family from abject poverty. 

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Review: Dry

If you want to wash your hair, you jump in the shower. If the garden is dry, you turn on the sprinklers. If you’re thirsty, you go to the tap and pour yourself a nice glass of water.

But what if one day you can’t? What if the water turns off and it doesn’t come back?

This is the premise for Dry. Set in American suburbia, it follows a group of teenagers as they struggle to come to terms with a strange and unpredictable apocalyptic world.

Alyssa and her younger brother Garrett are searching for their parents who went to collect water but never came back. 

Their neighbour, Kelton, whose been preparing for doomsday for years, knows how to navigate the dangers they face, but he hasn’t prepared for every scenario. 

Review: Lenny's Book of Everything

Eleven-year-old Lenny Spink narrates this mesmerising novel about love, letting go, acceptance, grief and healing, the importance of family and the value of life. 

Told in an electrifying original style in a voice full of confidence, it generously offers in minute detail, Lenny’s daily observations and thoughts. These are built on the life shared for a short time, with her young brother Davey.  

Lenny’s father left when Davey was five years old.  The sounds of his leaving are all that remain. This does not stop her from thinking of him constantly, sometimes with anger, others with deep pain and longing. At the same time, Davey starts growing and doesn’t stop.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Review: Pip and Posy: The Christmas Tree

Pip and Posy set out to get a Christmas tree. The ground and everything else is covered in snow, so they bring the tree back on their sled. They stand the tree in a pot and go to prepare the yummy decorations that will fill the room with a festive atmosphere.

Posy hangs the four delicious decorated biscuits on the branches. When she returns with the candy canes, one biscuit is missing! She hangs the candy canes and goes to get the chocolate bells. She counts the candy canes and again there is one less.

Review: Cardboard Box Creations

This ingenious interactive publication from Lonely Planet Kids will keep children busy for hours. It has instructions for over 20 cardboard box creations and includes cardboard sheets with press-out parts to get you started with some smaller projects.

Following a tools and materials list, the projects begin with a suitcase and play camera to prepare for your world journey. The book then continues on with projects of varying sizes based on well-known landmarks and cultural icons including a London bus, tiki totem pole, Chinese dragon, redback spider and my favourite, an Italian pizza oven!

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Review: The Sisters Saint-Claire and the Royal Mouse Ball

The Saint-Claire family is back and just as delightful in this latest book from Carlie Gibson and Tamsin Ainslie.

This time, the whole village has been invited to a royal mouse ball at the palace of Queen Julie S. Cheeser. But the village mice don't want to go because they feel they have nothing suitable to wear.

Enter the inventive and thrifty Sisters Saint-Claire, who come up with a brilliant plan to ensure everyone, including the queen, feels comfortable and glamorous at the ball.

Once again, Gibson's playful rhyme is frothy and light and an absolute treat to read out loud, while Ainslie's illustrations are a smorgasbord of colour and pattern for children (and adults) to pore over.