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

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Review: Baz and Benz

Baz and Benz are friends. 

But Baz wants to know exactly how much they are friends, and in what circumstances Benz would or wouldn’t like him.

So he tests him. 

What if I turned purple and had spots? 

What if I said MEEP all the time?

With every challenge from Baz, Benz assures him he would still be his friend. 

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Review: New York Melody

First we were up, up and away with Mary Poppins in London and then in Paris. Now Hélène Druvert helps readers discover New York in, New York Melody.

This series of stories belong to the category of, those delicate and unique books. The use of laser-cut illustrations, make lovers of paper cut and silhouette art swoon.

The exquisite rhyme and rhythm of the story, help the notes wriggle and jiggle and dance through the book, as they float in and out of the night air. They spill out of Carnegie Hall into the Jazz Clubs of Broadway and then burst out of the darkness into the daylight of Central Park, as a man strums his guitar and hums.

12 Curly Questions with author Caz Goodwin

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I used to be a soldier in the army reserve when I was at university. I didn’t take it very seriously and thought charging through the bush in army greens with a self-loading rifle was a hoot.

2. What is your nickname?

3. What is your greatest fear?
I’ve always been scared of the dark and I still am. My mind goes crazy, imagining all sorts of horrific things if it’s pitch black, so I still have a night light.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Giveaway: Enchantee

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries - and magicians. 

When smallpox kills her parents, seventeen-year-old
Camille is left to provide for her frail sister and her volatile
brother. In desperation, she survives by using the petty
magic she learnt from her mother.

Enchantée is the compellingly beautiful YA tale of magic, intrigue and deception, set against the backdrop of eighteenth-century Paris on the cusp of revolution and thanks to the wonderful people of Macmillan Children's Books, KBR is celebrating this exciting new voice in YA fantasy, Gita Trelease, with FIVE copies of Enchantée to give away!

Review: Grey-glass-itis

The fourth book in the educational and entertaining Lessons of a LAC series by clinical psychologist Lyn Jenkins reveals the connection between how children see their world, and how that view influences their emotions.

Lyn uses coloured glasses as a metaphor for how children see things, and how they think about what they see. 

Changing the colour of the glasses, allows their emotional state to be reflected in their colour choice. 

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Review: Wakestone Hall

Stella Montgomery's aunts decide she needs rules, retribution and discipline so they send her to what can only be described as the worst imaginable boarding school of all time.

Stella promises to be grateful and obedient, but she can't help it when mysterious goings-on compel her to investigate. Especially when the safety of her friends are at stake.

From a helpful alley cat and penniless children who search for scraps in dangerous underground tunnels to survive, and thuggish standover men at the local fair,  there's plenty of action.

Not only are there kidnappings and ancient fables that have more truth to them than anyone ever expected, Stella discovers there is danger within the school walls.

And there's a chance, a very tiny chance, that all her questions about her mother might be answered.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Review: The Book Chook

OK, I'm just going to come right out and say it: The Book Chook is not recommended reading for bedtime.

Tried it in our house and bedtime turned into an hour of laughing, yellling, flapping around the room, and cries of, 'again, again'. The good news is, this cracking story is sure to appeal to adults as much as kids.

Ray gets himself into a real flap when he learns he is not a real chicken, merely a drawing of a chicken. He soon hatches a plan (well, several plans really) to get out of the book, enlisting the help of the book's readers along the way. When his attempts fail, his plucky friend, Janine, is there to help.

Review: Yahoo Creek

This is now the third creature seen in these parts resembling the hairy man — Clarence and Richman Examiner and New England Advertiser, 21 October 1881.

Yahoo Creek is a magical and refreshingly unique non-fiction picture book that delves into legend and culture.

The book is a series of newspaper articles  dating back to 1847.

Each article reports sightings of the hairy man/yowie/big foot/yeti — a large man-like creature covered in fur that stalks through the bush. 

Friday, 15 March 2019

Review: The Dog Runner

Award-winning author of How to Bee, Bren MacDibble, once again delivers a poignant, thought provoking middle grade adventure.

The Dog Runner is set a few years into the future when a fungus has devastated the world. Nothing grows, all the animals died, anarchy reins in the cities and life is dangerous.

Ella stays inside with her Dad, her older brother, Emery, and their dogs, waiting for Ella’s mum to make her way back through the checkpoints that scatter the city. 

But when her mum doesn’t come, and her Dad disappears after he goes to find her, Ella and Emery are faced with a difficult decision.

With no food and little hope, they leave the city and head into the bush to find safety with Emery’s mum. 

Review: The Stuff of Stars

The Stuff of Stars is a collaboration between Newbery Honor winner Marion Dane Bauer and Caldecott Honor winner Ekua Holmes.

It takes a quote from scientist Carl Sagan and develops it into a verse format picture book.

The text is evocative and exploratory as it describes a theory of the creation of earth, and thus the birth of children and people everywhere.
'But one lucky planet,
a fragile blue ball we call Earth,
was neither too far
nor too near.'

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Review: The Runaway Bunny

Before Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd wrote another story that has been touching hearts for generations, The Runaway Bunny, first released in 1942.

Mother bunny's love for baby bunny is endless and knows no bounds. She is gentle and understanding towards her little rascal who wants to run away from home.

Review: Little People, Big Dreams: Stephen Hawking

Little People, Big Dreams: Stephen Hawking gives young readers a glimpse into the life of one of the most incredible scientific thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries, and insights into some of the challenges he faced.

The story begins with Stephen Hawking as a young boy with an incredible curiosity about our universe. Readers may be surprised to discover that Stephen, who later became one of the greatest physicists of our time, did not always excel at school as his curiosity sometimes got in the way of his studies, but he continuously followed his dreams.

When Stephen was studying at University, he developed some weakness and clumsiness. He was diagnosed with a rare condition and told he may only have a few years to live.