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

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Review: Super Side Kicks: Ocean's Revenge

Dive into the next action-packed adventure of cartoonist Gavin Aung Than’s Super Sidekicks series. Where the real heroes are the superheroes sidekicks. 

Catch up with Junior Justice (JJ to his friends), Flygirl, Dinomite and Goo as they face the next diabolic threat to humanity.

What starts off as an ordinary day of doing the usual sidekicks’ tasks; buying hair gel, collect the dry-cleaning and cleaning the toilet turns into something they have never encountered before.

Tiamata, Mother of the Seas has had enough of the human race using the ocean as a junkyard. Now it’s time for payback and a taste of their own medicine.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Junior Review: The Verindon Alliance

The Vendel and Verindal races have been at war for centuries, attacking each other and conspiring against each other.

Vashta is the youngest of the Vendel princesses and hates to get trampled on by her older siblings. She is the most skillful fighter of her family and loves the anticipation of battle.

Brandonin is the prince of Verindal and his sister Larinda is the princess. Brandonin wants peace with both the races and will do anything to have his way.

But when the Vendel royal family is visited by the Verindal heir, Brandonin, they discover that a new alien species, the Arctals, is attacking both their races.

Vashta and Brandonin must unite their races before both the Vendel and Verindal become extinct. 

Friday, 3 July 2020

Review: My Place (For Younger Readers)

An abridged version of the 1987 classic, My Place for younger readers is a book that has lost no power in the 33 years since it was first published.

This book should be read by everyone. It should be read and discussed. It should spark anger and tears and hope and belief. 

That’s what powerful books do. And this book has mountains of power.

My Place is the autobiography of Sally Morgan — author, illustrator, creative genius. You might recognise her name. She’s created so many beautiful books you may have read to your kids (Dreamers, Girls Can Fly and so many more).

This book is her story, her life from childhood into adulthood and the discovery she made as a child that she and her family were Aboriginal.

Review: Winterborne Home: for Vengeance and Valour

Thrilling, on the edge of your seat reading, Winterborne Home - For Vengeance and Valour is a gripping mystery with more twists and turns than a labyrinth.

April is observant, smart, fearless and resilient. She has been in twelve foster homes in ten years. This has taught her a great deal about survival.

She was left at a fire station, with a note saying this is my baby April. Keep her safe. I will be back soon. She continues to believe that her mother will return for her. The only clue to her past is a key she has worn around her neck since she was three.

Isabella Nelson heads a charity for the very wealthy Winterbornes whose past is tied to tragic circumstances. Isabella picks up April from hospital after she survives a museum fire she didn’t mean to start.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Review: Finding Francois

Alice lives with her gran. She likes to write lists and draw pictures and cook with her grandmother.

But sometimes she wishes she had a friend her age. So Alice writes a message, puts it in a shiny green bottle and throws it in the ocean.

Across the seas, on the shores of a lighthouse, François finds the bottle. He reads Alice’s message and so begins a friendship across the water.

But when Alice’s gran passes away, things change. Time passes and there are no more messages in a bottle. 

Meet The Illustrator: Jools Bentley

Name: Jools Bentley 

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Characterful and humorous.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Pencils, both coloured and graphite.
Gouache paints.
A variety of brushes.
Plenty of paper.
A Wafer daylight lightbox.
iMac for photoshop.
Wacom tablet.
Epson A3 Scanner.
Epson A3 Printer.
iPad for Procreate and Pages.
A kettle, mug, good coffee, and a cafetière.
Oh, and my phone to listen to podcasts.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Review: Her Perilous Mansion

Are you looking for an adventure? Are you ready to step over the threshold into a brand new world? A brand new mystery?

You are? Great!

Her Perilous Mansion is waiting for you.

A middle grade read filled with intrigue and adventure, this novel will suck you in and keep you guessing until the end.

Don’t dismiss any clue. Don’t ignore any secret message. Because they all mean something in this book, and it all leads to an epic conclusion you won’t expect.

Almanac is an orphan. He’s been an orphan his whole life. So when he’s given the opportunity to be apprentice second footman at a manor, he jumps at the chance.

Review: Scribble Witch #1: Notes in Class

This is a fun-filled fantasy; an imaginative and magical illustrated chapter book. It’s the first in a series whose text and quirky illustrations promise to keep even reluctant readers turning pages.

Molly Mills is nine years old. She likes doodling and pencil toppers. (Lots of images are involved). Her best friend is Chloe who wants to go to Mars. They have been BFs since kindergarten.

Chloe is leaving. She’s moving to a school closer to home. This shocking news destabilises Molly far more than being unable to spell the word treasure has.

She is given an old dictionary by her teacher Mr Stilton (whom Molly believes lacks affinity with children) to find the word, but if you can’t spell it how can you find it?

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

12 Curly Questions with author Andrew Levins

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
When I was seven years old I wanted to grow up to become a magician! We came home one evening and there was a package in the mail; a prize I’d won for sending in tokens from a chocolate milk tin, this big suitcase full of magic tricks! I would torture my family with magic shows for about a month before all the cheap plastic magic sets broke and then I forgot about my dream.

Review: Fantasically Great Women Who Saved the Planet

Kate Pankhurst continues her theme of Fantastically Great Women, with the fourth book in the series, Fantastically Great Women Who Saved the Planet

Profiles of famous women from diverse backgrounds and their successes are showcased.

Eugene Clark, a Marine Biologist, awoke awareness to the intelligence of sharks. Her last dive was in 2014 at 92 years old.

Monday, 29 June 2020

Junior Review: The Girl Who Stole An Elephant

Impulsive and brazen, Chaya is a school girl who does all the wrong things for all the right reasons. 

This modern Robin Hood tale begins as she swipes the Queens Jewels, hoping to help her friend who needs money for a doctor.

Through her actions, Chaya unwittingly lands her best friend a death-sentence, which they then try and outrun in an adventure through the jungle, all on the back of the Royal elephant (also stolen, of course). 

Pursued by the Kings men, It looks like theres no way back for these exiles, but sometimes, help can come from the most unexpected places.

With one close shave after the next, the story is lively and moves along at a satisfyingly brisk pace. But the most memorable element of this book definitely is the setting. Heady and exotic, it is a fictional Sri Lanka, verdant, tropical and sticky with heat. A place of riotously fragrant frangipani and jasmine,  jambu fruit and rice paddies, all inspired by author Nizrana Farooks homeland.

Winner: Picture Books: Ellie's Dragon and Barkley

Our lucky winner is...

Louise Brooks, QLD


You have won a copy each of Bob Graham's latest picture, Ellie's Dragon and Rebecca Crane's Barkley. We hope you enjoy them both. 

Thank you to ALL who entered. There were plenty of interesting companions suggested, not least of which the dragon!

To read more about the beautiful, Ellie's Dragon, have a look at Jo's review. And keep your eyes peeled for our next exciting Giveaway coming soon, 11 July!