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

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Review: The Cities Activity Book

Hooray for another sticker activity book from Lonely Planet!

The Cities Activity Book is, like its companion book, The Travel Activity Book, full of fun for young travellers.

Using the same format, The Cities Activity Book features cities from around the world, complete with information about what makes them famous or memorable.

We're told that Brussels, the capital of Belgium, has two official languages (French and Dutch) and is well-known for chocolate, beer, waffles and comic books!

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Review: Ivy Bird

Ivy is a redhead that loves birds. They surround her life. She associates herself with these feathered friends and imitates their calls and actions in play. She can trill and chirp, peep and chatter, cackle, tweet and squawk. 

Ivy enjoys a singular freedom which the sight of her birds and their sense of autonomy give her, for what she sees stimulates her imagination. It sets up her whole day.

Jess Racklyeft’s passion for drawing small birds, and her medium preference of watercolour, allows her to portray in the brightest light, McCartney’s creative and demonstrative text. 

Review: You Are Your Strong

Sometimes feelings can be so huge, they seem to overwhelm us. When big emotions rise inside you, how can you find your Strong? In this gentle book, written by Danielle Dufayet and illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin, we see children finding their own special ways to cope with their big emotions; by finding their Strong.

In the beginning of the book, the children turn to loved ones, who guide them with calmness, bravery, love and gentleness, when worry whispers, scared creeps in, sadness sprinkles and mad stomps in. But there are times when we each need to find our Strong, all by ourselves. Here we see the children in the story following their own hearts and minds to find their Strong in so many ways.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Giveaway: Harold's New Friends R Aliens!

Harold is a young boy who really wants to be hero but he just can't seem to make it happen. 

All of a sudden he has 3 crazy little aliens in a 'Birdship' that want to help him out … Iggy, Tsk-Tsk and Duke have a secret rewind button and their own ideas on what he should do, but it's all down to Harold to get it right ...!

Thanks to the cleverly creative people at Sagacious Vision, we have not one but three copies of this brilliant book to give away!

To enter, in 25 words or less simply tell us, what you would do - if your new friends were 3 crazy little aliens (that no one else could see) and they had superpowers to help you become a Hero!

Review: Enola Holmes Mystery: Book 6 - The Case of the Disappearing Duchess

The Enola Holmes Mystery series ends with Book 6 - The Case of the Disappearing Duchess. 

I enjoyed every word I read, with the language of the Victorian era being a special bonus. The delicious sound of lost words like fulminous, ubiquitous, precipitously, fortuitous, effulgence and many more that flow through the narrative renewed my flagging interest in lost things. 

Stimulating pads of words such as his dismissive tone starched my spine, interspersed throughout each book added a spicy texture to the narrative and dialogue. I see them as gems to be collected.

Enola has taken lodgings at the Professional Women’s Club with a new identity as Sherlock has learned too much about where she had been with Mrs Tupper. 

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Review: Miss Kraken

All the kids are stunned to know they have Miss Kraken a strict, cranky, weird looking octopus for a teacher this year. When the class goes on an excursion to the aquarium, things quickly wind out of control; the class misbehaves and suddenly Miss Kraken is nowhere to be found!

Meet The Illustrator: Xiaojie Liu

Name: Xiaojie Liu

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less. 
Emotional, colourful, vibrant, vivid, free, flat, patterned, joyful, fantasy and abstract.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
If I create digital illustration, I will draw sketches using pencil, and then scan them, and using
Photoshop to create the final work. Therefore, the scanner is an essential part of my creative
space.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Review: Animology

Author and illustrator Maree Coote has done it again with an extraordinary collection of illustrations made entirely from letters.

This time, Maree turns her attention to an exotic range of animals, with everything from tigers and flamingos, to whales and owls, showing off her striking use of colour and typography.

Each animal is created from the letters of its name and is accompanied by a playful and quirky rhyme that's so much fun to read out loud. The rhyme includes a fact about the animal featured, along with a clever reference to letters and words.

Look What I'm Reading! Janeen Brian Children's Author

I am a full-time, award-winning children’s author and poet and have been writing for about 35 years. I love picture books, short fiction and poetry, but have also enjoyed writing 3 upper-grade novels, and information books. Many of my 100 + titles have been translated and distributed world-wide.

Which children’s book are you currently reading?
My recent reading has included, Lenny’s Book of Everything (Karen Foxlee), The Gruffalo, (Julia Donaldson), Leave Taking (Lorraine Marwood) Cool Poems (Kate O’Neil) The Art of Taxidermy (Sharon Kernot) and The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by Deborah Abela. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of them but am currently reading Abela’s follow-up book, The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Review: Leaping Lola

Lola loves nothing more than to dance and prance across the fields, much to her mother’s dismay. But Lola cannot help who she is and has dreams of attending the Black & White Ball.

This delightful rhyming story by Tracey Hawkins champions anyone who does not conform or who is different but just does not care and is willing to chase their dreams. 

Anil Tortop’s gleeful illustrations will have you laughing out loud from dancing cows, to pigs that knit and theatrical scenes that warm the heart.

12 Curly Questions with author Laura Bloom

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
Sometimes on walks I’ll just idly imagine my star turn as a figure skater.

2. What is your nickname?
Ella B.

3. What is your greatest fear?
It has something do with my son, Leo, who is very active and adventurous, and has autism. This means I spend a lot of my weekends trying to be all like, chill, while he surfs, and cycles, and goes out to gigs.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Review: Little Puggle's Song

Puggle the echidna dreams of being part of the magical sounds of the bush choir with his friends, but when he tries to sing, no sound comes out.

Little Puggle’s friends Brown Feather the kookaburra, Fancy Crest the cockatoo and the other birds each have their own sounds which float, echo and hop through the bushland. Even the kangaroos and koalas have sounds to join in, but poor Puggle who so badly wants to join in, simply can’t, he is adamant and tries different breathing and singing techniques, but nothing works.