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

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Review: My Dog Mouse

It’s true when they say the simple things in life are often the best. 

Here it is a dog walk. A little girl takes an old dog, who doesn’t belong to her, for a walk around the block.

12 Curly Questions with author Nicole Hayes

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
The whole time I was playing AFL footy as a girl, which I wrote about in The Whole of My World, I was also studying classical ballet. I loved both for a while, but then I got really embarrassed about doing ballet and quit right as I was learning to go en pointe, which we were all dying to do!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Review: Gemina

If you enjoyed Illuminae, you're going to love Gemina. With the same alternative formatting that includes diary entries, artwork, text that traverses the page as if it was a person crawling through the vents...you get the idea.

Hannah, the Heimdall space station captain's daughter, has spent her life playing military strategy games with her dad. Little did either of them realise how crucial those games would be to her survival and maybe even to the survival of the entire universe.

People might say Gemina, like Illuminae, is a love story but to me, both are a rip-snorting Sci Fi thrillers that would not let me put them down.

In Gemina there's a love triangle, I admit, but there are also bad guys from Beitech trying to mop up potential witnesses left behind at the end of Illuminae, disgusting soul-sucking creatures and hyper-dimensional obstacles. There are also heartbreaking scenes, unexpected deaths and a twist or three.

Weighing in at 659 pages, this tome is best read while seated, which is a shame, because it's the perfect bedtime escape material. No matter which position you take, make sure you're nice and comfortable, because there's a chance you won't be moving far as the pages fly.

Title: Gemina
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Illustrator: Marie Lu
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $22.99
Publication Date: 26 October 2016
Format: Paperback
ISBN: b9781925266573
For ages: 14 years +
Type: Young Adult Sci Fi

Guest Post: Giorgio Cassella with Five Alternative Children's Books Encouraging Diversity

Take a look at your kids’ bookshelf (or Kindle if you’re so inclined). How wide is the diversity of publications on there?

Introducing children to a wide variety of books is a powerful way of educating them about the wider world, and enhancing their understanding, emotional intelligence and empathy for those they’ll meet throughout their life’s journey.

Below, I’ve listed five books I highly recommend all parents to introduce to their children which provide entertaining, but challenging, reading opportunities. These expertly crafted stories tackle difficult questions around gender, race, nationality, disability and empowerment, introducing and informing children about real-world themes.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Review: Never Say Die

Alex Rider is back in another adrenalin-fuelled adventure.

This is the eleventh story in the series featuring the teenage spy, written by Anthony Horowitz.

You should be aware that if you haven't read Scorpia Rising, then you will run headlong into big spoilers in Never Say Die, and there's no way to avoid them.

At the end of Scorpia Rising, Alex was left broken by his experiences. There's really only one person who could pull him back into the world he had been trying to leave behind.

Someone who Alex believes to be that person makes themself known to him by email early on, which spurs him onto a journey, but to tell you who it is would spoil the story.

The action takes place in the United States, Britain, France and Egypt. And it really is action. Anthony Horowitz writes in a visual and fast-paced style. It's like you're watching events play out on screen, which should be no real surprise given he is also an accomplished screenwriter.

Review: Eric Finds a Way

Eric loves books and the magical worlds he reads about, but he wishes he could find a way to hang out in these wonderful worlds.

He tries to draw his own pictures. He tries to write his own stories.

But they never quite work out the way he wants them to. 

So Eric finds his own way to live in his fantasy worlds. And his idea is kind of genius.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Review: Dr First

Do Mr. Men and Little Miss books have a special place in your heart?

When I spot a new one, I have a burning need to know what is inside the cover. So when I found the mash-up of Doctor Who meets Mr. Men books, I did a little happy dance.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Review: Bruno: Some of the More Interesting Days of My Life So Far

Bruno is a cat that wears a blue checkered hat. The ‘more interesting days of his life so far’ are presented in six linked stories using animal characters. 

Beautifully illustrated, the tales are filled with humour and are more than a bit bizarre. It’s a book that will definitely entertain.

Giveaway: A Monster Calls

Thanks to the good people at Walker Books Australia and in celebration of the movie release of the sensational Patrick Ness novel, A Monster Calls, we have FIVE signed copies of the book, A Monster Calls PLUS two tickets to watch the film from 27 July for each winner to giveaway.

Simply answer the following question in 25 words or less. Who was / is your favourite bedtime toy as a child, what was / is their name and why did / do they matter to you?

Email your answer along with your name and postal address to dimity. The response we like the best will win the pack. 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 Sunday 30 July 2017.

Competition runs from 5am Friday 21 July to 9pm Friday 28 July 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.

Immerse yourself into this engrossing story with our review of A Monster Calls Special Collector's Edition

A Monster Calls, the movie, makes its Australian national debut on July 27, 2017.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Review: Pip and Houdini

After all the danger and excitement of being a fugitive in Run Pip Run, you'd think it would be fair enough for Pip to finally find a place to call home.

But life is never that simple.

Pip seems to be forever getting into trouble when she's true to her principles. But standing up for herself leads to the  unimaginable.

So Pip decides to go it alone.

She tries to leave Houdini behind so he can have a happy life but Houdini is the best four-legged friend a girl could hope for. He refuses to stay put.

Review: The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: Fabulous Flowers & Perfect Patterns

The colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: Fabulous Flowers & Perfect Patterns is a fabulously fun collection of cardboard cards and envelopes to colour in and create. 

The black and white illustrations are intricate and detailed, and illustrator Rachel Cloyne has used artefacts from the British museum to inspire their creation.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Review: The Three Legged Kangaroo from Uluru

Here is a story of reinvention, taking a chance, being proud of what you are, and how sometimes you have to make the best of what you have.

This little kangaroo from Uluru was born with a kinky tale that resembles a third leg. He dislikes the way others make fun of him. His friend Emu encourages him to ignore the taunts.

Along come two surfer boys whose van has taken a wrong turn in the night, and ended up in the outback instead of the beach. They ask for directions.