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

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Guest Post: Story Box Library Reflects on NAIDOC Week Theme: Voice. Treaty. Truth.

Jackie Small, Education Consultant at StoryBox Library, reflects on last week's NAIDOC theme; Voice. Treaty. Truth. 

One year since launching our Indigenous Story Time series, NAIDOC Week 2019 and its theme of Voice. Treaty. Truth provided an opportunity for us to reflect on the aims of the series and the quality and relevance of the resources we are providing educators and families.

Cover reveal: Little Puggle's Song

Little Puggle’s Song is an enchanting picture book about finding your place, chasing your dreams and overcoming fears.

Puggle wants to sing. But when he tries, no sound comes out. 'I wish I had my own sound, like all the other animals.'

But Puggle knows that echidnas cannot sing. Can Puggle find his voice in time to join the bush choir?

Look What I'm Reading! Dianne Wolfer Children's Author

Hello, I live on the south coast of Western Australia but love travelling across Australia to visit readers.

Six weeks ago I broke my foot while walking the dog. That’s slowed me down with school and library visits, but I’m a bookworm and so have enjoyed the extra reading time...

Which children’s book are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished Shine Mountain by Julie Hunt.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Review: Puffin Nibbles Blast Off

Here is a series of six new titles in the Puffin Nibbles parade. It caters perfectly to early readers with illustrated stories in short chapters full of fun and humour, fantastic characters, and clever use of language that captures children’s imagination and excites their thirst for role playing.

In Blast Off! Adam just wants to be an astronaut. He lives and breathes his longing. When he goes into Mad Marvin’s yard, he gets a taste of what it feels like to travel into space. But, does he still want to be an astronaut now he’s experienced what it’s like?

The Littlest Pirate by Sherryl Clark, Illustrated by Tom Jellett introduces Nicholas, the littlest pirate in the world. Even little people can have big dreams and achieve big things. When Nicholas is told that his family has been captured by pirates, he’s off and away to save them with the help of the cook Greta’s inedible puddings.

Review: Ella May Does It HER Way!

From the first pages it is clear that Ella May is a girl who loves to do things differently. In a world of legs all heading in the same direction, Ella May is walking backwards and even climbing a tree upside down!

Mick Jackson has created a feisty character, with heart and determination, who notices the tiniest details in the world around her. Andrea Stegmaier's illustrations show Ella May and her mum living in a houseboat, moored beside a town full of unique and interesting characters. Each page contains visual details that readers will love and Ella May would approve of. 

12 Curly Questions with author Weng Wai Chan

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I took my first puff on a cigarette when I was five years old. Our old gardener lived behind our house in Singapore and I asked to try his cigarette one day and he let me. I only told my mother recently, and she looked as if she wanted to discipline me, then realised that it had happened decades ago... guess I got away with that one! I never bothered with cigarettes after that.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Winners: The Hate U Give

And our lucky winners are...

Serge Smagarinsky, NSW
Kearin Guziak, VIC


You have each won a copy of the incredible The Hate U Give prize pack including a copy of the book and DVD of the movie.


Thank you to ALL who entered.

(One winning entry even included one of my all time fave books and films! Ed.)

Read our KBR review of The Hate U Give.

Review: The Bee Book

Who is not interested in bees? They are hard-working insects with interesting lives.  

In 2018, the number of domesticated hives was between 80 million and 100 million, each of them containing 10,000 to 60,000 bees. Bees cross-pollinate approximately 30 per cent of the world’s crops and 90 per cent of wild plants. 

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Review: Roald Dahl's Creative Writing with The BFG

Learning how to write splendid settings is the core of this instructive and interactive book. But there is more to it than settings. 

It encourages children to explore their imagination and through the activities, feel confident in creating and building their own stories. 

It presents examples on how to use unusual language to make writing sparkle with interest. 

Short excerpts from The BFG are used as a way to string examples together and preserve continuity through the book.

The exercises/brainstorming activities set up each separate section of clearly defined grammar and writing advice. 

Review: Window of Hope

Oh! What a glorious, emotional, quiet story, with a strong message that goes straight to the heart.

Window of Hope is the perfect title for this story. You know instantly that something is not right with Max because she is viewing the world from her window, but you equally know from the title, that everything will be okay by the end of the story.

The reason for Max's isolation is slowly revealed upon the arrival of  a little one legged bird. Max thought, 'The bird is broken...' and wondered, 'Is the bird sad...'.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Review: The Utterly Indescribable Thing That Happened in Huggabie Falls

The Kindle family lives in Huggabie Falls, the weirdest but best place to live. Here strange things start happening. 

Kipp is the son of invisible parents, who will inherit their invisibility at puberty. But his translucence has begun and Dr Tillgang informs him that the process will be complete by the time he is eleven, in 102 days.

There is also an uncontrollable invisible threat to the town. An indescribable thing is making the townspeople leave to move to Near Huggabie Falls, close by. 

Felonias Dark who has left his badness behind, is one of the first drawn into buying a house in the new development by this indescribable thing. His brother Al, ignored all his life, has found a way to make himself seen and heard. Kipp and his friends Tobias and Cymphany are determined to discover what this thing is.

Guest Post: Dee White on Letters to Leonardo: A Second Chance

When Matt Hudson turns fifteen, he receives a birthday card from the mother he thought was dead. Why has his father lied to him for the last ten years? Matt doesn’t know who or what to believe. 

He sets out to find his mother, and the reasons behind her abandonment soon become clear. Assigned a letter-writing project at school, Matt writes to his idol – Leonardo da Vinci. 

This simple act helps him work through his feelings of betrayal, and understand how neglected mental illness can tear a family

Join Australian author, Dee White as she revisits an old friend and shares how she resurrected a story close to her heart.