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

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Review: Bear Moves

How dances do you know?

Bear knows heaps of them, and he loves to move!

When the dancing mood hits him, which appears to be quite often, Bear gets his groove on, and in a rather hilarious way.

Bear can breakdance, do the limbo, and the foxtrot.

He's also pretty good at belly dancing, the quickstep, and the Running Man.

Bear Moves shows him in action.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Junior Review: The Knot Impossible: Tales of Fontania

A young boy named Rufkin (the son of two rich actors) is left with an elderly couple due to his stage fright while his parents and his older brother and sister go on a six-week world tour. But while away from his parents odd things start to happen. 

Those extremely odd things lead Rufkin on an adventure out at sea with two companions Vosco and Nilly.
 
Rufkin and his friends know that the weird happenings will lead to certain danger, but what danger exactly? Read this delightfully thrilling book to find out what dangers Rufkin runs into.

I love this book not only because it has a few characters from another book Barbara Else has written called The Queen and The Nobody Boy but also because this book is about magic, weird mechanics and a lot of odd things that we do not have here on earth yet. 

Review: Lola Dutch When I Grow Up

Lola Dutch wants to be so much.

There are just too many opportunities, so many things she could grow up to be.

How is she supposed to choose?

With the help of her good friend, Bear, Lola explores some of the options: an inventor, a botanist, a performer and many, many more. 

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Review: My Heart

The art for this exquisite book was created with a printmaking process called monotype, using water based-inks and pencil. 

Its shades of soft lemons and silky greys express the strength and light and shadows reflected in love, and the ever-existing challenge of self-acceptance.

The compound of a surge and collapse of these two emotions, and the minimal rhyming verse combined with the artwork, make this a work of art framed in the light and energy it emits. Pure, beautiful and blinding, it is an ode to love.

Review: On The Come Up

On the come up: something that is not quite happening yet, but on the verge of blowing up or making some serious noise.
 
Straight up, I’m no hip-hop, rapping expert or even fan. The combative nature of this genre of music and the whole gangster rap code that surrounds much of it inhibits my understanding and desire to get up close and cosy with it. 

I’m also a bit of a stranger to the world of the older teen, so this contentious tale of sixteen-year-old Bri Lawless was never going to be an easy record for me to spin. However, wait, because On The Come Up by YA master, Angie Thomas is worth playing to the very end.

Bri tells her story in first person providing even more edgy immediacy to a tale that is full of raw language and frequently bared emotions. 

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Review: Night Walk

A simple night-time walk in the Australian bush becomes a lyrical, meditative journey in this captivating picture book from author/illustrator Alison Binks.

Caspar has been camping in the bush for his holidays, while other people are overseas, including his friend Levi, who is at the seaside.

On the last night, he creeps out of his tent into the moonlight to explore one last time.

Review: Balance the Birds

A cute flock of little birds flutter though the air and land on a tree. Four birds land on each side of the tree, they balance.

When a squirrel disturbs the birds, some of them fly away. Now one side of the tree is heavier than the other. How will the birds balance the tree?

Balance the Birds by Susie Ghahermani introduces the concept of balance to young children. The story demonstrates how to create  equilibrium by shifting weight from one side of the tree to the other side.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Review: The Box Cars

In the lives of little people, imagination rules! They can turn toilet rolls into spacecraft or French knitting kits. Make puppets or trains. 

There is no limit to what can be created. Anything can be recycled, restructured, converted or recreated. All that’s needed is imagination.

This is the story of two best friends, Liam and Kai who are very good at all those things. 

12 Curly Questions with author/illustrator Alison Binks

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I was a primary school library monitor. We got to wear a badge with gold edging that pinned on with a little chain.

2. What is your nickname?
Binksy

3. What is your greatest fear?
I think all parents have the same greatest fear.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Review: We Eat Bananas

Interactive, engaging and entertaining, We Eat Bananas is a glorious exploration of the foods we love (and maybe don't love!).

As you turn each page, a crowd of cheeky animals eat a variety of different foods: bananas, pancakes, sandwiches, ice cream, spaghetti, peas and more.

They all eat in their own unique ways, adding the toppings and fillings they love, serving things up to suit their tastes.

Review: The Inheritance

Fourteen year old Veronica Mitchell, called Nic, is dumped at her grandad’s remote homestead at Yaratgil, her mother’s childhood home. 

Melbourne and internet access are now a memory, and it appears so will be, her travelling musician father that left her there. With no TV or phone connection, and miles away from the nearest town, Nic is isolated and alone in every sense.

Barely a word passes between Nic and grumpy grandad who forbids her to roam the house. 

With this silent rhythm of life, and discovering that her mother is buried in the paddock behind the house, Nic struggles to find a way to go about her life. 

When she discovers the Mitchells are  in Yaratgil for reasons that no one will discuss with her, she feels totally lost.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Review: Emily Green's Garden

Emily Green’s Garden is a breath of fresh air, a book which represents the creative and nurturing minds of many young children.

Emily lives with her family on a busy street. Everything and everyone around her is on-the-go, from the hustle bustle outside to household chores. While lovely it’s also constant and consistent, until one day a flicker of green catches Emily’s eye.