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

Monday, 1 May 2017

Review: Release

Rural small town America, preacher parents, and a golden-boy-Christian-college-attending older brother all come together to make Adam Thorn's home life pretty miserable.

He has another year left of high school, after which he hopes to escape the Christian path laid out for him by his parents. Parents who seem to know but refuse to actually acknowledge that Adam is, in their words, 'a little bit gay'.

Adam is navigating his first broken heart, determined to move on with his new boyfriend Linus, but struggling to let go of whatever it was that he and Enzo shared. And to top it all off, he is about to have the worst day. Pretty much ever.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Review: Helper and Helper

Best friends Snake and Lizard return with another collection of stories to help you reflect on the importance of an adaptable relationship between friends, and how necessary compromise is between people that matter to each other.

Snake always wants to be first in all things, especially having his name before Lizard’s on the notice board advertising their help services. Lizard feels it’s time for a reshuffle of their partnership. He’s fed up with Snake’s bossy attitude. 

Review: Through the Gate

Children rarely have a say when changes affect their family, especially big ones: like moving home and leaving friends behind. Forever.

Sally Fawcett's illustrations of an ordinary view at the front gate of the new house show how what we perceive can be a window to our hearts.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Junior Review: The Dragon With A Chocolate Heart

A book overflowing with scrumptious chocolate and marvelous characters with an ingenious twist at the end, this book has everything!  

The Dragon With A Chocolate Heart is an incredible book about an adventurous young dragon called Aventurine who decides to journey out of the safety of her cave to prove herself to her family. 

Disaster soon strikes when a dragon’s most dangerous prey, a human uses an enchanted hot chocolate to transform her into a human girl. Now Aventurine must survive in unfamiliar territory, a human village. 

Review: Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts

Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts breathes new life into ancient fables through an easy-to-read and fun-to-explore graphic novel style.

The book includes ten stories from across the globe—old and famous fairy tales from Russia, Germany, America, Ireland and more. 

And while you may not be familiar with some of the tales (many were new to me), you will no doubt spot the warnings and lessons about courage and obedience that seem to repeat in these kinds of stories, no matter their origin.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Review: Ella Saw the Tree

Mindfulness has become a popular concept in today's bustling world, especially for children. It's about living in the moment and taking notice of the little things in life.

Here, Ella is so busy creating and exploring that she has never really noticed the tree in her back yard. When she finally sees the tree while playing outside one windy day, Ella is convinced the tree is crying as it showers leaves on the ground.

Giveaway: Ella Saw the Tree

Thanks to the good people at Big Sky Publishing, we have two paperback copies of Ella Saw the Tree by Robert Vescio to give away.

Simply answer the following question in 25 words or less. How do you teach your children the important skills of mindfulness? For example, Ella finds her self-awareness while sitting quietly, or taking a walk, or eating a sandwich.

Email your answer along with your name and postal address to dimity@gmail. The two responses we like the best will win a copy of the book. Competition is open to anyone, worldwide, so long as they have an Australian postal address for delivery of the book. Please note, we cannot deliver to PO Boxes. Entries without a name and street address will be ineligible. Winners will be announced right here on our website on Monday 7 May 2017.

Competition runs from 5am Friday 28 April to 9pm Friday 5 May 2017. Adults can enter for those aged 17 and under. This is a game of skill, not chance. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Check out for our review of Ella Saw the Tree, here.

Review: Night Swimming

Kirby Arrow and her best friend Clancy are the only two seventeen-year-olds in a town where everyone knows everyone.

They're opposites and want different things out of life; Clancy wants to go to the city and pursue his musical theatre dreams and Kirby is content living with her mother and grandfather who has dementia and help out in their goat's-milk soap business.

Kirby is an apprentice carpenter, has a pet goat named Stanley, and chooses not to leave home and go to university because she likes being with her family in a small country town. Besides, her family has a history of leaving, and Kirby doesn't wish to continue the pattern.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Review: The Building Boy

Deeply moving, intense and imaginative, this picture book is about life and death, grief and loss, but still, a story full of hope and resilience. It is about the bond between a child and grandparent.

Grandma and the boy live together in a house filled with love and dreams for the future. In her youth, Grandma had been an architect, and had built countless impressive structures. But age had caught up with her and it was time for her to leave life. How does a boy come to terms with such loss?

Review: Sachiko – A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story

Sachiko, a Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story has received no less than sixteen commendations and awards since its publication in November 2016.

However, I was still reluctant to pick it up. I've always been wary of stories about terrible wartime events.

But everything changed when five-year-old Sachiko sat on a worn woven tatami mat and stared at the solitary boiled egg on the family dining table. Would it be shared between the seven people sitting there? I was riveted.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Review: The Forbidden Library (Book 1)

Alice is a rule follower. She is intelligent, patient, kind and obedient, but she is always treated as an equal by her father and therefore finds no reason to rebel or break any rules.

When her father leaves on an unexpected trip and does not return, Alice finds her world turned inside out. Her father's house and belongings are all sold, she is told she has nothing left, and is sent to live with an uncle she's never even heard of.

Upon her arrival, Alice notices that things at her Uncle's mansion are...odd. Being a curious girl, and with no one forthcoming with answers, Alice begins to explore the old mansion and it's oddly forbidden library, and it is here that she stumbles upon secrets that she could never have imagined in her wildest dreams.

Review: The Cave

Some picture books have an amazing ability to leave you feeling happy and satisfied.

It’s the stories that capture you at the start, make you smile or laugh (or both) and end with awesome twists and surprises.

These are the books you remember and reach for again and again. And The Cave, I am thrilled to tell you, is one of these books.