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

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Review: The Wall In The Middle Of The Book

At a glance, there is not much to this book. A brick wall is wedged in the gutter (middle) of the book with blank pages on either side.

On closer examination, you'll notice a brick is missing on the left-hand-side of the wall. 

Supposedly, this is the better side of the book, so it's fortunate the wall is in the middle of the book, protecting it - so says the little knight, who armed with a suitably sized ladder, aims to replace the missing brick.

While all this is happening, we catch a tantalising glimpse of the other side of the book. 

12 Curly Questions with New Junior Reviewer Evie Bee!


Evie is a ten-year-old book-mad girl who would read in her sleep if she could. She runs the bookish Instagram account @rockinreads where she shares her love of middle grade books. When she doesn’t have her head in an epic magical mystery or adventure story, Evie can be found dancing her way through the day or solving Rubik's cubes.

Evie is also KBR's newest and most effervescent contributor. We are beyond ecstatic to welcome Evie on board and can't wait to share her enthusiastic reviews with you. Luckily, her first junior fiction review will air just after Easter so make sure you visit again then. Meanwhile, we invite you to get to know this amazing powerhouse of book love a little better. Welcome, Evie!

Monday, 30 March 2020

Review: To The Bridge: The Journey of Lennie and Ginger Mick

Nine-year-old Lennie is awestruck by that engineering marvel, the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Life is harsh during the great depression, especially for a family working a small farm. 

This beautiful book tells the true story of Lennie’s courage and determination to bring his dream to see the opening of the bridge come true.

His father, impressed by the hard work and responsibility Lennie showed by running the farm during a period when he was unable to, gave him permission to embark on an adventure without adult support. 

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Review: Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes is a story of hope, peace and love. It is based on the life of a real child, who lived from 1943 to 1955.

Sadako was two years old when an atomic (nuclear) bomb was detonated over Hiroshima, Japan, near the end of World War II. As the story begins, Sadako is twelve years old, an athletic student who is close to her family and her best friend, believes in good luck symbols and is a fast runner who longs to make the school running team.

However, just as Sadako is running at her best, she notices dizziness and episodes of fatigue. She keeps her symptoms a secret, hoping they will disappear, until one day she collapses. Sadako is afraid she may have the atom bomb disease. Soon she is in hospital. Sadako has leukaemia, like so many others in her city who were affected by the radiation from the bomb.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Review: World's Wackiest Animals

The latest offering from Lonely Planet Kids is the fun and vibrant World’s Wackiest Animals which will appeal to children of all ages.

Glossy photographs provide readers with an up close view of these unique and often unheard of animals. The nature of the book allows readers to dip in and out of the book. 

While it will also encourage children, who are reluctant readers or who are not lovers of non fiction books.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Review: Lovable Lottie and the Shy Sheep

Lovable Lottie is now one year old. It is time for her to be given the responsible task of protecting the chickens from foxes. There is one impediment - the long grass. Daphne, Dolly and Dolores are brought in to resolve the problem. Lottie loves meeting new friends. Although she tries her best to make the sheep welcome, they keep their distance.

As in the previous book by Asia Upward, Lovable Lottie and the Lost Toy documents Lottie’s day-to-day activities for a week.

On Monday Lottie prepares the house for visitors. They don’t turn up.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Review: Eureka: A Story of the Goldfields

Eureka: A Story of the Goldfields is inspired by the real life of Catherine Martin, daughter of an English immigrant and Pan Ah Shin, a Chinese farmer that worked on the Goldfields.

The story tells of the Eureka rebellion which took place against unfair laws and enforced licence fees on the goldfields at Ballarat. It portrays in text and visual images, the environment on the goldfields, the intense dislike of the Chinese miners by others, and the social structure of the times.

Molly and her dad arrive at the goldfields to make money for a new life. Her mother has died leaving Molly only a gold locket.

Meet The Illustrator: Robert Henderson

Name: Robert Henderson

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
My own books. Concept driven. As little drawing as possible.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Brain space. No visible other things I could be doing. Right amount of strategic clutter. Books. Lack of children.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
I don’t draw well and I am petrified by the idea of spending hours on something and then ruining it. So I either create in Adobe Illustrator with my trusty undo button and bezier handles, or by digitally layering media from charcoal to collage to ink to paint to pixels.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Video: StoryMakers with Hervé Tullet: Mix It Up!

Hervé Tullet has created more than 80 books for children, starting his journey as an illustrator when he was in his thirties. As he explains it, he tries to elicit dialogue between children and adults. His books are certainly an unusual and entertaining experience.

This interview with Hervé Tullet explores his ideas, creative process, and how he enjoys taking readers on an 'expedition'. Seeing how Hervé reads his books will change the way you read them! Hear a little of Mix It Up! and how to discover the way colours work. There's also a great demonstration of making and exploring sounds with The Trail Game.



Title: Mix It Up!
Author/Illustrator: Hervé Tullet
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $22.99
Publication Date: 2014
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781760110956
For ages: 2+
Type: Picture book

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

12 Curly Questions with author Charlotte Barkla

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I grew up on a cattle farm west of Toowoomba, in Queensland. I’m one of four girls, and when we were younger we used to make up stories and plays together. (We were a bit Little Women-esque, but without the Laurie love interest next door. Or the war. Or Beth’s illness. Perhaps not so many parallels after all!)

Monday, 23 March 2020

Review: Myths, Legends & Sacred Stories: a children's encyclopedia

Myths, Legends & Sacred Stories is a children’s encyclopaedia rich in educational and cultural content. It contains stories passed down by word of mouth beginning with those from Europe.

The first section encompasses the mythological creation of the Universe, myths, legends and fables of heroes and gods of Europe, with all the gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece that you could hope to read about. It goes on to include sections on Asia, Africa, The Americas and Oceania.

Review: Beetle and Boo

Beetle and Boo is a humorous, lighthearted story of the two friends and Bear’s search to find out if and what Beetle is scared of.

When Beetle announces that she’s not scared of anything, Boo doesn’t seem convinced, so he asks her specifically about some of the usual scary suspects; spiders, the dark, thunder, lightening and more. It really seems that Beetle is very brave, will they ever find something she fears? A giggle-worthy discovery prevails!