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

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Review: I Am Change

This powerful coming of age novel is based on a true story. Author Suzy Vail met Namukasa Nusala Sarah in Kampasa, Uganda in 2015.  She discovered a young girl with a thirst for knowledge who would wash clothes and sell porridge to earn money to purchase books.

The novel’s central character Lilian personifies Namukasa. Lilian learns the hard way of how a young girl in Uganda should behave and what is expected of her within her own family and the world in general.

On the verge of womanhood, Lilian can no longer wear short dresses in case she attracts attention, she must ensure no man is present when she washes and should always tend to the men of the family before her own needs.

12 Curly Questions with author Emma Perry

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
But then, everyone will know. I’m not sure I can reveal it. Not yet. Not now. Maybe later… ?!

2. What is your nickname?
Sometimes people call me Em. Does that count? I’m clutching at straws there, aren’t I!

3. What is your greatest fear?
That at some point I will use SO many exclamation marks in my writing that I’ll end up with a page with more exclamation marks than words. What can I say, I like them!!! See. Ooops.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Winners: The Good Hawk

Our winners are...

Ben Tolz, NSW
Kearin Guziak
Joseph Spagnolo


You have each one a copy of the fantastical, The Good Hawk by Joseph Elliot.

Your prize is on its way.

Meantime, if you want to find out more about the making of this fascinating trilogy, read Joseph's interview.

Thank you to ALL who entered. We think you are all heroes!

Review: Humanimal

Humanimal takes a fabulous, fascinating look at the many ways animals are just like humans.
Beginning with community and teamwork, the book is divided into topics such as farming, grief, language, inventions and more. For each topic, discoveries about different animals; how they think and what they do similarly to humans in various situations are told.

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Video: League of Llamas

League of Llamas is a cool new series written by Aleesah Darlison and illustrated by Simon Greiner. Just imagine a bunch of secret agents known as LOL (League of Llamas) whose evil nemesis is a badger named General Bottomburp! How would the llamas save the world and what mischief could ensue?

League of Llamas features characters with tongue twisting names, action packed adventures, and plenty of humour. Look out for The Golden Llama, Llama Impossible, Undercover Llamas and Rogue Llama.

Review: The Family Travel Handbook

The Family Travel Handbook is a useful resource for adults planning to embark on the adventure of travelling with children. It is also for families who have often travelled, but are looking for inspiration for their next adventure.

All families are diverse in their shape and make-up. This book is primarily focussed on the subset of families consisting of one or more adults (parents or carers) with a child or children. This includes those travelling with infants, toddlers, primary-school-aged children and teenagers. There is a brief section on multi-generational travel, but this is not the primary focus for this particular book.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Review: Ready, Set, Code!

I’ll start by stating the obvious: technology has permeated every aspect of our daily lives. 

Learning about how it works is no longer a skill reserved for those who want a career in the industry, but a necessity. 

Our kids need to be able to draw back the curtains and engage backstage in order to competently and safely use technology. 

Coding is now taught at Primary school level, and this book was developed to support the Australian Curriculum for Years 3 to 6.

The activities in this book are both engaging and achievable. As a non-technology savvy adult, I found that I was able to follow the step by step instructions and managed to (gasp!) learn something.

Friday, 21 February 2020

Review: I Heart the World

To try and describe the immensity of the work involved in Tania McCartney’s I Heart the World seems impossible. The research that has gone into creating this magnificent encyclopaedic oversized book is staggering. That’s only the text.

In addressing the illustrations, they have to be seen to be believed. The detail involved needs time and examination to truly appreciate what McCartney has done here. This is perhaps her magnum opus amongst all of her outstanding output.

Each full page entry is an excursion into knowledge, statistics and information. With exquisite supportive and detailed illustrations.

Review: The Girl, The Dog and The Writer in Lucerne

Following on from her two previous books in this series The Girl, The Dog and The Writer in Rome and The Girl, The Dog and The Writer in Provence, Australian author Katrina Nannestad invites us back into her world of charming and quirky characters; independent Freja, clumsy Tobias and caring Clementine.

The story picks up with Freja, Tobias and her Irish wolfhound Finnegan on their way to reunite with her mother Clementine in Lucerne. 

As usual nothing goes to plan and after spending the night in a barn, they are finally reunited. Life almost resembles normality, well for them anyway.

That is until they decide to stay in an old castle remodelled into a flashy hotel. It does not take long before Freja is dragged into solving a mystery involving her new friends, Lady P and chocolatier Frau Niederhauser.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Review: Charlie Morphs into a Mammoth

How to describe Charlie Morphs into a Mammoth?

Outrageously hilarious, beyond engaging and the best fun you can have with paper and words!

This is a FANTASTIC series for kids. 

It follows Charlie McGuffin, who has a very special and interesting talent: Charlie can morph into animals!

He can make it happen by thinking about things that make him sad, angry or stressed, but he doesn’t quite have control over the animals he turns into, which results in hugely hilarious challenges for Charlie.

I haven’t read the first two books in the series (Charlie Changes into a Chicken and Charlie Turns into a T-Rex), but it caused me no confusion whatsoever. Author Sam Copeland does a great job of getting readers up to speed on Charlie’s adventures.

Review: The Corner of My Eye

This is a book you must spend time with. Because it is the story of a life whose colour has gone out of everything and all is reflected in grey. You will want to read how this came about.

It is presented frame by intricate frame, in whole page illustrations that depict the amount of things collected in a lifetime, and the probability that more than half of them will be forgotten.

You don’t actually forget anything. You’ve collected so much stuff in your head there’s not enough room for it all, so you throw lots of it away.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Review: 7 Steps to Get Your Child Reading

If you’re anything like me, you are constantly worrying that you’re not doing enough as a parent.

You worry you have dropped the ball on something you find out all the other parents are doing. You worry your kids are falling behind in something and you could have done more to prevent it.

Reading and writing are big worries — reading in particular. Reading to kids is essential and exposing them to books at a young age is key.

But when and how and why? It isn't always clear.

Luckily, Louise Park has come to the rescue with 7 Steps to Get Your Child Reading.

Louise is a teacher, children’s author and an educational consultant. She knows what’s what when it comes to books, kids and literacy.