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

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Review: Rebel Girls: Ada Lovelace Cracks the Code


Meet Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron the poet, who dreams of being a scientist. In a time when women with brains were thought to be odd and encouraged to hide their intelligence to secure a husband, Ada is determined to break tradition.

But Ada’s dreams of creating machines that fly is crushed when she contracts measles which leaves her wheelchair bound.

It’s only after a long convalescence and the encouragement of her mother that she enters society and discovers a new love of mathematics. There she discovers machines that can calculate without errors, better known as a difference engine and its inventor Charles Babbage. Charles and Ada share their love of science and mathematics and a lifelong friendship is born.

Guest Post: Claire Zorn on The Necessity of Nonsense

It’s a difficult time to be a child these days. Like the rest of us, children find their lives flooded with imagery and information, a lot of which is highly troubling for a young mind. Studies have found that children are experiencing higher rates of anxiety than ever recorded. Primary school teachers report spending more time looking after the mental health of their students than they do behaviour management. 

Friday, 6 December 2019

Reviews: Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse

Wow, this is a cool book! It takes your common zombie tale and completely turns it on its head.

In Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse, Seb downloads a cool new zombie apocalypse game, not realising that he’s agreeing to some strange game options. 

When he wakes the next day, his family is acting strange. They won’t look away from their devices, they’re not interested in food and they’re not even talking.

Worse than that, it appears most of the people in Seb’s town are the same. 

It’s a real zombie apocalypse, but instead of zombies that want to eat your brains, the town is filled with people completely addicted to their screens. 

Review: The Sharp End of a Snowflake

Imogen is a successful social media influencer. Her daily posts rake in lots of perks as well as money. She appears to her fans to have the perfect life. They adore her; want to be her. 

All this is added to her day job – her other life - as marketing analyst for a leading company. But she hides dark secrets that play no part in the life she shares online.

Hannah is grieving but simultaneously relieved at the death of her bi-polar mother who she cared for. 

An intelligent and gifted school magazine reporter, she investigates a tip that exposes corruption at school – something she should have left alone. She is punished and banished to Iceland where her father now resides.  There she takes on a position as junior reporter on his paper.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Review: Hidden Wonders

In the busy bustle of day-to-day life it can be easy to miss the beauty and majesty of the world around us. Hidden Wonders entices us to look around and soak in the amazing sights of our world.

This extraordinary collection inspires awe and curiosity. Giant pink slugs, a miniature city, an underwater post office, an island for cats, sacred forests and sparkling caves. With appealing photographs and interesting narratives, this book reveals wonders from every continent.

Have you ever heard of a park full of monkeys who regularly bathe in hot springs? Or a valley with rocks so unusually shaped they appear like a moonscape? These and many other intriguing tales appear on every page.

Review: The Invincibles: Short Circuit (Book #2)

The Invincibles are back! And in this adventure they have a teeny bit of a problem.

While flexing their new super power muscles and testing their new skills, the team trigger a super power short circuit and shrink to the size of bugs.

While trying to stay alive, they discover Tricky Ricky is up to his old villainous tricks. But how can they save the day when someone might step on them at any moment?

The Invincibles series is an awesome junior fiction adventure for kids who love football, hanging out with friends and dreaming up cool super powers they’d love to have. 

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Review: Can you Hear the Trees Talking?

Did you know that trees in forests live in families and support each other? That family members can merge their roots together so they can exchange messages and food? And that there is a forest internet that connects trees across the forest and helps them communicate with each other?

In this amazing book, Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees, brings his message to a younger audience to help them understand the beauty and complexity of trees. 

Kids will learn how tree children grow, are protected and go to school. As well as how trees learn to adapt to their environment and know what to do in different seasons.

Review: Incredible Journeys

Here's an incredible book to ignite the imaginations of young adventurers and explorers.

Real-life explorer Levison Wood takes readers on some of history's most famous expeditions, tracing the routes of ancient explorers, such as Marco Polo and David Livingstone.

There are 20 different expeditions to study, each complete with bold and colourful illustrated maps and fascinating snippets of information to peruse.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Review: The Adventures of Crimson and the Guardian

When I was a child, I often fantasised about being chosen for a quest — for destiny to come knocking and have something epic to say. For kids who can relate, The Adventures of Crimson and the Guardian will take you on that epic quest.

Kinsey is an orphaned servant girl. She works in a castle kitchen, and while her employer treats her well, Kinsey knows she was meant to do more with her life.

Walking in the forest to visit her sister, Kinsey finds a magical cloak. A unicorn emerges from the trees, and Kinsey’s life changes forever.

There is trouble in the kingdom, and Crimson the unicorn needs Kinsey to help fight it. Reluctant and unprepared, Kinsey isn’t ready to be a hero. But as evil closes in and threatens the people she cares about, Kinsey is faced with a choice: run from her destiny, or face it head on.

12 Curly Questions with author Cori Brooke

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I got the highest final grade in Grade 11 Latin (98 per cent) in the history of that Junior High School.

2. What is your nickname?
Coco

3. What is your greatest fear?
This is a tough one. I think my greatest fear is losing people I love.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
I write from the centre of my heart and being.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Review: Cake

Cake is an amusing story of a sponge cake’s first time at a party... with an alarming surprise.

He has never been to a party before, so when Cake is invited to one he doesn’t know what to wear.  He asks for advice and tries on different costumes but is still unsure, so he goes shopping and buys an irresistible new hat.

Review: The First Christmas

The First Christmas is the Nativity story retold. It invites hope, joy, kindness and a renewal of faith into our lives in times of desperation, disbelief and indifference. 

It reminds us that what we celebrate is a time of giving and sharing – the true meaning of Christmas spirit. 

Its message comes wrapped between the covers of a beautifully designed and presented book, whose end pages are a delightful visual experience.