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

Monday, 22 July 2019

Review: Enola Holmes Mystery: Book 4 - The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan

The story opens on Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes having a heated argument about their sister Enola and her ability to remain undiscovered. 

She continues to go out at night, serving the poorest people of London with life’s basic necessities, all funded by the money her mother has left her. This time she is disguised as a midden-picker.

Lady Cecily, who had gone missing in The Case of the Left-Handed Lady, and was tracked down by Enola, enters the picture again.  

Their strong friendship forged then due to their connecting free-spirit, independence and strong mindedness, reignites at a glance. 

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Review: The Boy Who Steals Houses

Brothers Sam and Avery are homeless. Abandoned by their mother, nobody else wants them. 

Their abusive father dumps them at Aunt Karen’s house when he can’t cope with Avery’s autism. But she too, finds it impossible to deal with Avery’s uncontrollable movements and disobedience. After a forced lengthy stay they are thrown out.

Sam is also abusive. The injustices of his life have moulded him into a tough and hard teenager, far older than his years. He is Avery’s protector; his brother’s keeper. 

Sam fixes all the messes Avery gets into with his fists. He steals money, purses and food whenever necessary for survival. And he steals houses. 

The Way I Love You

In 2004 David Bedford wrote The Way I Love You, for and about his daughter. Readers can now enjoy sharing this heartwarming story in a  board book version.

Bedford's story captures the friendship between a girl and her dog in a delightful way.

The pair are perfect companions that care for each other. When the little girl falls over dog comes to check on her.

They play and share together, holding a dress-up tea party, with biscuits, yum.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Giveaway: Alex Rider

'One teenage spy. Seven adrenaline-charged, detail-filled short stories. That's Alex Rider: Secret Weapon.

Anthony Horowitz previously declared he was finished with the adventures of Alex Rider, but found himself drawn back to Alex's world.'
KBR review of Horowitz's latest Alex Rider release, Secret Weapon by Sarah Steed.

Allow yourself to be drawn back into these thrilling tales, too 

Thanks to the dynamic people at Walker Books Australia, we have two incredible prize packs to giveaway each featuring signed copies of the first three books in the series plus a signed copy of Secret Weapon!

To enter, simply tell us in 25 words or less what your dream adventure activity is.

Review: Gary's Banana Drama

A laugh out loud story of a gorilla named Gary whose love for bananas lands him in a spot of bother.

Gary loves bananas, in fact I’d say he's obsessed. One day when there are no bananas left, he sets off in search for some and a fabulously funny journey begins. It doesn’t take long before he finds some barking bananas, only to realise they are actually dogs, next thing we know Gary sees bananas everywhere but unfortunately it’s all just his wild banana loving imagination. Surely he will find more bananas, or will he? Either way, you will have a good giggle.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Review: A Mouse Called Julian

Julian is independent, he lives alone by choice and prefers his own company - it’s safer and easier and it has been like that for quite a long time.

You see Julian is a mouse and everytime he ventures above ground animals attempt to eat him. Below ground, where he lives all the animals seem to get in his way.

It takes practice and talent to avoid rabbits and moles, finding the secret hiding spots from the farmer and her dog and even knowing which branch to leap across to escape the hungry barn owl. 

Julian has performed these manoeuvres time and time again. But little does he know that someone is watching his every move.

Guest Post: Taryn Bashford: Life Begins At The End of Your Comfort Zone

Taryn loves to write about elite teens, focusing on how they may excel at one side of their life, but socially and emotionally, they’re fairly flawed. While her first book The Harper Effect explored the world of professional tennis, The Astrid Notes delves into the world of elite teen musicians. 

Here’s what she has to say about why she writes these sorts of books.

I recently had a chat with a writer friend about why I cannot read crime fiction. The friend explained that he writes crime because he likes to explore the darker side of human nature.

That’s when I had a lightbulb moment. 

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Review: Lizard's Tale

The year is1940. The setting is the Raffles Hotel, Singapore. Lizard is very poor and lives in a cupboard space above a tailor’s shop in Chinatown. It is the home that Lili found for him. He survives with work from Boss Man Beng – running errands and the occasional stealing.

When Lizard is sent to Suite 70 in the Palm Court Wing to steal a teak box and deliver it at a specific time and place to Beng, he is surprised by Georgina, the daughter of the room’s occupants. Lizard manages to get away, but finds Beng dead when he reaches their rendezvous. This cements Georgina’s role in the story.

A chain of events makes the clever and street-wise Lizard question the value of a box that is worth a man’s life. But it isn’t the box, but what is in it that the story is built around. This makes Lizard trust no one as he could be the next to die.

Guest Post: Jeanne Chemla on Jolie Galerie

JolieGalerie is dedicated to children’s book illustrations. 

The gallery currently presents artwork from 21 Australian and French artists featuring more than 200 original illustrations, French and Australian children’s books, art brooches, ceramics and so much more. 

Special exhibitions run from time to time showcasing artwork from international and Australian artists including Phil Bunting and Gus Gordon.

Jolie Galerie also offers creative sessions during regular school terms and school Holidays. 

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Guest Post: Story Box Library Reflects on NAIDOC Week Theme: Voice. Treaty. Truth.

Jackie Small, Education Consultant at StoryBox Library, reflects on last week's NAIDOC theme; Voice. Treaty. Truth. 

One year since launching our Indigenous Story Time series, NAIDOC Week 2019 and its theme of Voice. Treaty. Truth provided an opportunity for us to reflect on the aims of the series and the quality and relevance of the resources we are providing educators and families.

Cover reveal: Little Puggle's Song

Little Puggle’s Song is an enchanting picture book about finding your place, chasing your dreams and overcoming fears.

Puggle wants to sing. But when he tries, no sound comes out. 'I wish I had my own sound, like all the other animals.'

But Puggle knows that echidnas cannot sing. Can Puggle find his voice in time to join the bush choir?

Look What I'm Reading! Dianne Wolfer Children's Author

Hello, I live on the south coast of Western Australia but love travelling across Australia to visit readers.

Six weeks ago I broke my foot while walking the dog. That’s slowed me down with school and library visits, but I’m a bookworm and so have enjoyed the extra reading time...

Which children’s book are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished Shine Mountain by Julie Hunt.