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

Saturday 17 July 2010

Shortlist: Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2010 (Children's Fiction)

Cicada Summer by Kate Constable (Allen and Unwin)

When Eloise's get-rich-quick dad moves them back to his home town to turn the derelict family mansion into a convention centre, Eloise feels an immediate bond with the old house. She begins spending all her time there, ignoring her strange grandmother and avoiding the friendly boy next door. Then Eloise meets a 'ghost girl' who may or may not be from the house's past, and events take a strange – and ultimately dangerous – turn.

The Terrible Plop by Ursula Dubosarsky and Andrew Joyner (Penguin)

Here is the story
Of the Terrible PLOP,
With a bear and a rabbit
And a hop hop hop.

But what is the PLOP?
And where does it hide?
Open the book
And look inside...

Just Macbeth by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton (Pan Macmillan)

Take one Shakespearean tragedy: Macbeth.

Add Andy, Danny and Lisa – the ‘Just’ trio, whose madcap exploits have already delighted hundreds of thousands of readers for the last ten years.

Mix them all together to create one of the most hilarious, most dramatic, moving stories of love, Whizz Fizz, witches, murder and madness.

Mr Chicken Goes to Paris by Leigh Hobbs (Allen and Unwin)

Mr Chicken has taken up his friend Yvette's invitation to visit Paris. As they journey together through the City of Love, Mr Chicken is overcome by the magic of all the city has to offer – and the inhabitants of this most stylish city don't quite know what to make of him. Mr Chicken will delight children of all ages.

Running With the Horses by Alison Lester (Penguin)

Ten-year-old Nina lives with her father above the palace stables at the Royal Academy of Dancing Horses. She loves watching the famous white stallions as they parade for the crowds, but her favourite horse is an ordinary mare called Zelda – an old cab horse Nina often pats on her way home from school. When Nina's world changes dramatically, she and her father have to flee from the city. Their journey over the mountains with Zelda and the stallions seems impossible, with danger at every turn.

Star Jumps by Lorraine Marwood (Walker Books)

A poignant verse novel depicting the joys and heartbreaks of a farming family as they struggle to cope with the devastating effects of long-term drought. Told through the eyes of Ruby, day to day farm life involves playing in grassy paddocks with siblings, doing jobs and helping out, and witnessing birth, death and sacrifice. The family is devastated when they have to sell-off some of their herd, but in the spirit of hope it is Ruby who tries in her own small way to help the family by making miniature bales of hay.

Mannie and the Long Brave Day by Martine Murray and Sally Rippin (Allen and Unwin)

Mannie is going on an adventure. She's taking her favourite elephant and her doll. And she hasn't forgotten her special box of secret things, just in case the adventure gets adventurous... A magical story that celebrates the wonder of a child's imagination.

Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children by Jen Storer (Penguin)

Dumped in the River Charon, hunted by an accursed river creature and betrayed by the wicked Matron Pluckrose, Tensy Farlow is in mortal danger. She has no parents. Worse still, she has no guardian angel.
When she is thrown into the Home for Mislaid Children – a gloomy orphanage where ravens attack, Watchers hover over your bed, and even the angels cannot be trusted – it seems that all hope is lost. Yet could it be that a plucky, flame-haired orphan with a mysterious past is precisely what this dark world needs?

Harry and Hopper by Margaret Wild and Freya Blackwood (Scholastic)

Harry and his dog Hopper have done everything together, ever since Hopper was a jumpy little puppy. But one day the unthinkable happens. When Harry comes home from school, Hopper isn’t there to greet him. Hopper will never be there again, but Harry is not ready to let him go.