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

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Review: Nexus

Our small band of anti-heroes meet their match and then some in Nexus. 

After breaking Bellweather out of a high security prison and racing to New Orleans where something big is about to go down, the edges of this mottly group begin to unravel.

While they are struggling to work out who they trust, all hell breaks loose.

Murder is on the cards – murder on a much bigger scale than anyone imagined – and it all centres around a new Zero with irresistible charisma.

Can the original Zeroes learn to trust each other enough to overcome her plan to decimate civilisation as we know it?

Review: How Many Kisses?

Looking for a counting book that’s special and different? How Many Kisses? delivers.

It has everything you’d expect in a counting book.

There are large, bold numbers that stand out on the page, and a visual representation of each number to get some counting practice in.

The numbers span from one to 10 (with extras at the end for special counting fun), and the text is simple so as not to distract from the purpose of the book.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Review: My Sweet Orange Tree

Translated into English for the first time, this International bestseller is a stunning work of great literary merit. Deeply moving, it tells the story of the highly intelligent but mischievous prankster Zeze, whose tremendous capacity for kindness, is matched only by his naughtiness. He pays for this naughtiness with severe beatings from his family members.

Zeze longs for tenderness. His mother is always absent, working to keep the family alive. His father is angry and distant, the result of being unemployed for ages. Zeze replaces what he doesn’t have with a fierce imagination; a creative ability to hear trees talk, to create imaginary friends, and to spin stories to entertain his beloved younger brother, King Louis.

When Zeze finally meets someone who recognizes his pureness of heart and abounding gifts, life has meaning at last.

Review: Easter Croc

One of the special things about Easter morning is waking up to find that the Easter Bunny has left a range of eggs for you to eat.

But how would you feel if you weren't left any eggs?

In the story Easter Croc, Roger Riddy's new pop-up and lift the flap book, children will discover that the only way one gets eggs from the Easter Bunny is to use good manners.

The Easter Bunny has finished her rounds and she has not left any eggs for Crocodile. Croc really would like an egg so he sets off to search for one.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Review: The Silver Sea

The Silver Sea is a truely magical picture book. 

It's something special, something different and something both children and adults will adore.

The collaboration of esteemed children’s authors Alison Lester and Jane Godwin AND kids from the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, the story follows a boy and girl as they explore the depths of the ocean, meet colourful sea beasts and travel home again.

Review: Ruben

Ruben is the latest book from the talented Bruce Whatley, and it's beautifully artistic.

An unusual story with stunning, black and white pencil illustrations, Ruben seems somewhat otherworldly, and yet not.

It's set in what appears to be the future, a place where a young boy lives and survives alone.

Ruben's life seems bleak. He has surrounded himself with items that mean something to him, and records his life in a journal he constructed from bits and pieces.

Ruben is a maker, an innovator, because he has to be. There's no other way for him to live. He's independent, a loner. In fact, there appear to be few other people in his world.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Review: The Usborne Big Book of the Body

The Usborne Big Book of the Body is a beautifully produced picture book style non-fiction title, with four fold out sections (equal to four pages attached together) that allows kids to start to develop a real sense and understanding of the different parts and functions of the human body.

The fold out sections are very well designed to open in and out smoothly, covering the topics of bones, muscles, the digestive system, and the heart/blood vessel network, all with aesthetically pleasing cartoon style illustrations that are guaranteed to not gross out even the most squeamish of readers.

Review: A Bear is a Bear (Except When He's Not)

In this funny, rhyming picture book by Karl Newson and Anuska Allepuz, poor Bear is having an identity crisis.

He’s actually forgotten he’s a bear, so he tries being other animals to see if he can figure out what he’s meant to be. 

A bird, a moose, a fox, a squirrel — poor Bear is none of these. 

He retreats to a cave for a little (or big) nap, and in doing so discovers exactly what he is.

A Bear is a Bear (Except When He’s Not) is a fun and funny story kids will love. 

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Cover Reveal: Maya and Cat

Announcing something new and more than a tiny bit special. Soft cat paw drumbeats for...

On a roof, as wet as a seal, as grey as a puddle, Cat was rumbling, a rumbly purr. What does Cat want most? Feather boas? Pretty pink shoelaces? A boatful of fish under a tiny tin sail – or perhaps something much more valuable?

Walker Books have a super adorable picture book called Maya and Cat coming out in August. Affectionate and evocative, Maya and Cat follows a child’s kindly impulse to an unexpected conclusion. Maya and Cat is by renowned author/illustrator Caroline Magerl. 

Caroline’s stunning artwork has been exhibited widely overseas and in Australia, in 2001 she won the Children's Book Council of Australia Crichton Award for new talent in children's book illustration for her picture book Grandma's Shoes (written by Libby Hathorn). 

12 Curly Questions with author/illustrator Joanna Young

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I danced in Rio Carnival when I was 15. We had just moved there and my parents thought it would help us integrate. So my brother and I joined the samba school Estacio de Sa. We had to learn the words to the song on the way to the sambadrome, and got hit with long sticks if we stopped singing or dancing. But it is a great memory.

2. What is your nickname? 
Poge. Short for Jogey Pogey. Strictly for family, although friends of family also seem to use it.

3. What is your greatest fear? 
Losing someone I love. Isn’t that everybody’s?

Monday, 12 March 2018

Review: Imagine

The words of John Lennon’s famous song are just as relevant today as when they were first written nearly 50 years ago.

Most of us probably take for granted the words, so embedded in a generation. An anthem for peace, a calling for an end to war and conflict and a focus on tolerance and love.

This beautiful picture book uses the words of the classic song to tell the story of a lone pigeon on a journey around the world to spread his message of peace.

Review: The Red Dread

Shrew and his forest friends are feeling kind of nervous.

The Red Dread is thumping through the trees and no one knows who will be snatched up next.

Thump, thump, thump, thump goes The Red Dread. 

Rabbit disappears. 

Then Chicken disappears. 

Who will be next?