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

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Review: My Friend Fred

My Friend Fred cover
My Friend Fred is a happy tale about an endearing dachshund named Fred with a cheeky and unexpected ending.

Told from the view of Fred’s best friend, the story explores many of the activities Fred likes and dislikes such as sniffing trees, digging holes and climbing stairs. Fred’s friend often has differing views on these activities, for example eating dog food…disgusting.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Review: Little Fish and Mummy

I adore the Little Fish series; Where is Little Fish, Count with Little Fish and Hooray Little Fish. Now meet Little Fish and Mummy in a sturdy board book shaped like a fish.

In this story we join Mummy and Little Fish on their special day together. These two have a wonderful loving bond. Little Fish's  youthful excitement about exploring life is very endearing.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Review: Arthur and the Tiger

Arthur is the son of a magnificent circus ringmaster.

The circus has many brilliant performers who can perform all manner of trickery and brave and daring acts, but poor Arthur is not one of them. Poor Arthur is not brave at all.

And then one day the ringmaster announces that a tiger is coming to join the circus, and Arthur is the one who must tame it.

Review: Alex Rider: Secret Weapon

One teenage spy. Seven adrenaline-charged, detail-filled short stories. That's Alex Rider: Secret Weapon.

Anthony Horowitz previously declared he was finished with the adventures of Alex Rider, but found himself drawn back to Alex's world.

In fact, another novel in the series is expected. And for super fans, a television series is being made of book two, Point Blanc.

Until then, we have seven stories set in and around those previously published books. Three of them are brand new. Others you might have read online, or somewhere else, before.

The stories may be short (as in not novel length), but some are more than a single chapter's worth.

The first opens in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Another features tea at the home of MI6's gadget geek, Mr Smithers -- all is not as it seems.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Guest Post Interview: Kathy Kozlowski

Kathy Kozlowski is the winner of ABIA Pixie O’HarrisAward 2019, which recognizes representatives from all areas of the children’s literature industry who have worked consistently in this field, have ‘demonstrated commitment beyond the call of duty and who have developed a reputation for their contribution.’ Kathy is also the recipient of the Leila St John Award 2019. After 52 years in the children’s book industry, she has been the instrument of progress and innovation in her field. She is currently Readings Kids Specialist Bookseller. 

A little overwhelmed by the awards she’s received for doing what she loves, she spoke with Anastasia Gonis about her life in children’s books.

Review: Snoozette

Meet the delightfully kooky Snoozette. This endearing new character from Red Paper Kite publishing lives in a land where clouds are 'always in season' and spends her days speaking French to her cat, boiling the kettle for endless cups of tea and, of course, snoozing.

Snoozette's snoozy days are pretty much the same, giving her a good shot at the Speed Napping World Champion Title. That is, until she sets out on a fantastical journey across the sky.

What follows is a fabulously nonsensical tale of raindrop perfumes, woolly sheep, fairy floss clouds and teacup baths.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Review: Barefoot Bea

Beatrice Jones refuses to wear shoes. There is simply no need for them.

This hilarious, rhyming story looks at why convention is not always the best way and how you can be an individual who stands out for all the right reasons.

Beatrice, or better known as Barefoot Bea, thinks nothing of wearing shoes.  They slow you down, stop you from climbing trees or washing your feet after jumping in the rain puddles. It seems Bea has an answer for everything much to the dismay of her parents.

Review: Bat vs Poss

A delightfully rhythmic story about sharing and making friends set in branches of a sprawling paperbark tree.

Bat vs Poss caught my heart in the very first scene, beautifully illustrated with an Australian native tree; the home of a possum family and other creatures, surrounded by terrace houses, wheelie bins and city lights in the background. Everything about it felt familiar to me, as it would for many people who have lived in urban Australia.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

News: 2019 National Simultaneous Storytime

Wednesday 22 of May 2019 marks the 19th National Simultaneous Storytime event, an annual advocacy campaign, hosted by the Australian Library and Information Association.

Each year, one picture book is selected for a simultaneous read-aloud event held in libraries, schools, pre-schools, family homes, childcare centres, bookshops, children’s hospitals and communities across Australia and New Zealand, where two nations read together as one.
Last year we saw over 1 million kids join in the campaign. This year we aim to drive the numbers of participants even higher, to help promote the importance of reading and literacy for children.

Review: Leonard Doesn't Dance

When Leonard first hears about the Big Beaky Bird Ball, he is eager to join his feathered friends as they practice their dances for the big event. Every bird seems to have their specialty, from waltzing magpies to chickens who cha-cha. But no matter how hard Leonard tries, every step seems to go wrong and soon Leonard declares he is 'never going to dance again.' 

France Watts' alliterative text joyfully rolls of the tongue. Judy Watson's illustrations are vibrant, with rich deep blues, reminiscent of an evening sky, illuminated by the setting sun and a display of fireflies. The landscape feels like the Australian bush, but each spread is populated by an array of birds from all over the world, each with their own distinct plumage and personalities.

12 Curly Questions with author Jessica Sanders

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I was born in Japan and lived there for the first two years of my life. My parents were teaching English over there and I was a happy surprise. My middle name is actually Kyoko.

2. What is your nickname?
I don’t really have one. Although, my sister calls me Joobi sometimes. I couldn’t tell you why.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Review: Tigers On The Beach

If it’s a book by Doug MacLeod, you are pretty much guaranteed a chuckle. Okay, so I admit to being a fan. Although lacking the same punch as his masterful The Life Of A Teenage Body Snatcher (A CBCA Honour Book in 2012), or of the tragedy within The Shiny Guys (shortlisted for a CBCA award in 2013), Tigers on the Beach is nevertheless is an authentic portrayal of the burdens and embarrassing glitches of adolescence.

This light-hearted novel tells the story of thirteen-year-old Adam. His family run a crumbling holiday park. A vulture-like property developer is circling, digging up the dirt to blemish the site’s reputation to scare away guests. And with Adam’s eccentric grandmother taking up residence at the park, the opportunities run thick and fast.