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

Sunday, 31 March 2013

KBR Recommends: New Junior Fiction, March 2013

Here they come! A new slew of fabulous JF. These books would suit kids aged anywhere from 7 to 14, depending on reading ability. We have provided a suggested reading age with each book.

The Phenomenals: A Tangle of Traitors by F E Higgins
(Pan Macmillan, $12.99, 9780330507554, age  10 - 14)

The Giant, the Huntress, the Rich Girl, the Thief: these haphazard heroes will save us from grief. A twisted adventure of intrigue, magic and superstition from the bestselling F. E. Higgins.

Don't go down to the tar pits, children – for their shores are lined with the wretched wraiths of all the traitors and murderers who have drowned in its bubbling depths. In the shadows of this putrid place, an unlikely new alliance is being formed: they call them The Phenomenals, and only they can save us from a hideous fate that will befall the town if the wraiths escape their tarry shackles . . .

Meet The Phenomenals: Citrine Capodel – heiress to a corrupt empire and framed for a murder she did not commit; Folly Harpelaine – a merciless destroyer of Lurids, who dabbles in the dark arts; Jonah Scrimshander – a deadly harpoonist, who has already cheated death, and Vincent Verdigris – light-fingered and even lighter on his feet.

Juliet, Nearly a Vet: The Great Pet Plan by Rebecca Johnson (Puffin, $9.99, 9780143307044, age 6 - 10)

Juliet and her best friend Chelsea discover that the local Pet Hotel has closed down. They decide to open their own hotel for the weekend, offering overnight stay and a free health check and grooming.

They don't tell their parents.

But when the snake gets out of his cage, the rats  disappear and a mad cat turns up, things quickly get out of control.

Can Juliet prove she has what it takes to be a great vet and turn this disaster into something good?

The second book in the series, At the Show, is also out this month.

Gallipoli by Alan Tucker (Scholastic, $16.99, 9781742836935, age 9 - 14)

Lying about his age and looking for adventure, 14-year-old Victor March enlists in the 10th Battalion of the AIF to fight in the Great War.

Victor and his new mates, Fish, Needle and Robbo, are headed for the Gallipoli peninsula, and into battle. He is among the first soldiers to land at what will become known as Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915, and the world as he knows it is about to change.

In his diary, Victor records the horrors of war, his friendships, his fears, and the story of Australia's most legendary military campaign.

Part of the brilliant My Australian Story series.

Lost World Circus: The Last Elephant by Justin D'Ath
(Puffin, $14.99, 9780143307266, age 9 - 12)

Colt Lawless is on the run, suddenly famous, and more than a little superhuman. But can he save the last animals on earth?

Twelve years from now, rat flu has wiped out almost every animal and bird on the planet. The creatures in Captain Noah's Lost World Circus are the last of their kind. But the Rat Cops are determined to shut down the circus, and Colt and his acrobat friend Birdy might be the only ones who can save it, starting with Lucy - the world's last elephant.

An electrifying new series from Justin D'Ath, author of the bestselling Extreme Adventures. Absolutely loving the covers on these books. Book 2 - The Singing Ape - is out now, and Book 3 - Secret Superhero - is out  April.

Geronimo Stilton: Mouse in Space by Geronimo Stilton (Scholastic, $12.99, 9780545481915, age 7 - 10)

New Mouse City is in danger! An evil professor is threatening everyone with his terrible inventions. The authorieies call upon Geronimo Stilton to thwart his plans by traveling on a top secret mission - to outer space!

Geronimo Stilton stories are great for reluctant readers with entertaining, adventurous storylines and lots of colour and font variations in the text to keep readers focused. As always, reporter Geronimo and his friends save the day with lots of fun along the way.

KBR Recommends: New Picture Books, March 2013

Somewhere in Australia by Marcello Pennacchio (Scholastic, $24.99, 9781741695229)

Somewhere in Australia, in a land of scorching sun, lived a mother kangaroo and her little joey one. 'Hop,' said the mother. 'I hop,' said the one, as they hopped over land scorched by the hot sun.

Join the little joey and many more familiar animals in this glorious Australian counting book based on the classic rhyme Over in the Meadow.

Meet . . . Ned Kelly by Janeen Brian (Random House, $19.95, 9781742757186)

The perfect book for kids learning about Ned Kelly and his gang.

Ned Kelly was a notorious bushranger.
He lived in Australia's earliest days.
He was daring and clever and bold.
In a suit made of iron he battled police.
And his story is still being told.

This is the first book in a picture book series about the extraordinary men and women who shaped Australia's history.

Big Red Tractor Saves the Day by Melissa Firth (Scholastic, $14.99, 9781742831251)

Big red tractor with yellow wheels, ploughing up the great big fields. But something's in the tractor's way! Can Big Red Tractor save the day?

With simple, appealing illustrations by Cheryl Ostini, Big Red Tractor Saves the Day tells the story of Tractor's role in preparing the earth for planting and maintaining the crops. When a baby bird in a fallen nest is on the field, Tractor manages to protect the bird at the last minute.

I love the final illustration showing that the whole story has been part of an imaginative game in a sandpit.

Let's Go to Sleep by Margaret Wild (Working Title Press, $24.95, 9781921504440)

Hush! All over the world, little ones everywhere are going to sleep. Sweet dreams!

In different environments all over the world, mother animals are putting their babies to bed. Lions, meerkats, swans, wallabies, dolphins and other animals are settling for the night, with mothers checking that their babies are safe and comfortable as they drift off to sleep.

Beautiful illustrations by Michelle Dawson and a lovely rhythm to the text make this a perfect bedtime story for toddlers and young children.


Dog on Log by Tania Ingram (Scholastic, $24.99, 9781862919648)

Meet Dog, Frog, Hog and friends. Throw in a bog and a log, and you have a real mix-up! Watch out, Dog!

With text filled with rhymes and a rhythm that is at times reminiscent of Seuss' classic Fox in Socks, Dog on Log is a great story to read aloud with preschool-aged children. Fun and a little bit silly at times, the repeating sounds would work well for children learning to read.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Review: Remembering Lionsville

“This story is about my family’s life in Lionsville, nestled in the valley of the Washpool and Wingar Forests. It is a story of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people existing in support of each other.”

I have always loved Bronwyn Bancroft’s artworks – their vibrancy and sense of texture and movement. Her beautiful illustrations combined with her childhood memories of her family and experiences in Lionsville left me with goosebumps. It was inspiring to read about a childhood and family remembered with such fondness.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Review: Freia Lockhart's Summer of Awful

After a challenging year dealing with friendship dramas and bullying, Freia Lockhart is looking forward to relaxing and enjoying her summer holidays. In fact, she has a list of reasons why this will be the most awesome summer ever that includes celebrating Christmas and New Year with her new friends Siouxsie, Steph and Vicky and her boyfriend Dan.

It doesn’t take long for Freia’s plans for the perfect summer to go off the rails. First her mum comes home with terrible news, her younger brother Ziggy is being obnoxious, her interfering Grandmother comes to stay, she fights with her friends and then Dan has to leave town to visit his mother. Freia’s summer has gone from perfect to disastrous in a matter of days.

Review: My Easter Egg Hunt

Love hunting for Easter Eggs? What kid doesn't? In this gorgeous book for tots, Rosie Smith takes us on a journey in search of delicious foil-wrapped treasure, discovering a range of gorgeously-rendered animals that will delight children.

Look over. Look under. Look around. Look through, inside and outside. Eggs can be found in pockets, in hollows, in grass, under hats. And they're even better shared.

Whatley's divine illustrations and Eastery, sorbet colours combine with Smith's simple but evocative text to create a beautiful Easter gift. I know it's not chocolate, but it's even better. And anyway, you could always have the book chocolate-dipped.

Title: My Easter Egg Hunt
Author: Rosie Smith
Illustrator: Bruce Whatley
Publisher: Scholastic, $16.99 RRP
Publication Date: March 2013
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781742837772
For ages: 1 - 5
Type: Picture Book

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Review: Life in Outer Space

Sam Kinnison is a geek. He is totally cool with the fact that he doesn’t quite fit in, happy with his small group of nerdy friends, his horror movie collection, World of Warcraft and his dreams of writing screenplays.

Camilla Carter is… well, Sam’s not quite sure what she is, but she’s occupying his thoughts way more than he is comfortable with. The daughter of a jetsetting music critic, Camilla has all the A-list kids at school desperate to include her in their activities but she seems just as comfortable hanging out with the guys in the chess club or with Sam and his friends.

Review: Max and George

Max has just one friend. His name is George, and he appears in any kind of window - shop windows, car windows, train and house. Max loves hovering near windows to find his sweet bunny friend. He loves chatting to George and sharing jokes.

"What are you laughing at? Who are you talking to?" adults ask Max. They just don't understand.

Max and George share a lot of the same qualities. They are around the same height, dress the same and even move the same. When Max is feeling happy, George is, too. Same for when he's feeling jittery - and today, Max is feeling particularly jittery.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Review: A Really Super Hero

I want to be a hero
And a really super one
So my mum sewed my undies
With an ‘S’ upon the bum


Thus begins this delightful tale of a young girl who longs to be a superhero and her patient sidekick (her Mum).

Each double page features two illustrations: the girl’s image of herself as a valiant superhero, saving the world from crooks and dazzling crowds with her super powers and gorgeous hair contrasting with a more realistic image, usually featuring the long suffering mother dealing with the mess and mayhem that follows in the wake of all superheroes in training.


Guest Post: Charlotte Lance

Charlotte Lance. Photo credit Andrew Chew.
KBR is very pleased to welcome illustrator and author Charlotte Lance, who shares with us the inspiration for A Really Super Hero, her debut picture book.

I have had the amazing privilege of working with Jodie and Susannah at Allen and Unwin here in Melbourne, where we put together A Really Super Hero. I have illustrated books for other authors over the past ten years but now I get to illustrate my own which for me, is a dream come true.

A Really Super Hero began as a short poem and became a book about the way our kids can make the ordinary and everyday feel magical and extraordinary. With some ridiculousness along the way.

In her ordinary everyday life a small girl believes she is quite fabulous and definitely super. In the eyes of her appointed ‘sidekick’ (her mother) she is hilariously, but more often tediously, …not.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Ebook review: The Hippo, the Rhino, the Elephant and Me


What happens when a hippo, a rhino, an elephant and a little girl get together to play? Unadulterated mess, of course!

They may be an odd group of friends, but after a bout of hide and seek, fridge art, dress-ups and rock bands in the kitchen, things get awfully messy. And who's on hand to ensure our little roustabouts clean up after themselves? Mum, of course.

12 Curly Questions with author/illustrator Aaron Blabey

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I know all the lines in the movie JAWS, I enjoy offal and I can play a number of musical instruments but choose not to.

2. What is your nickname? 
My wife calls me Tinks but more and more people have started comparing me to Captain Haddock from Tintin. I’m not sure how I feel about it.

3. What is your greatest fear? 
Not getting it all done.

4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
My books are songs – but with pictures instead of tunes.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer. 
I’m comfortable jumping off cliffs.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Review: Bea

Bea is a unique kind of bird. While the other birds are pecking at ants and wriggling worms, Bea is in her very retro kitchen whipping up some biscuits and buns.

Yes, that's right.

And while the other birds fluff and flock, Bea is off disco dancing, all dressed-up. She really, truly is.

And what bird could resist bubbles in her bird bath? Not Bea, that's for sure.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Review: I've an Uncle Ivan

I’ve an Uncle Ivan who’s drivin’ a pie van.

Ivan has a niece named Kate who wears one rollerskate. Kate has two brothers, and so it goes until we meet all of Ivan’s amazing family and we discover where they are all travelling to using everything from Ivan’s pie van to Grandpa Wayne’s biplane and even a horse owned by manly cousin Morse.

Filled with fun rhymes and some hints along the way so that readers can try to guess who this amazing family is and where they are heading, I’ve an Uncle Ivan is a great read-aloud picture book for children. The book also includes a picture of Ivan’s van that children can colour and fold to create their own 3D pie van.

Review: Gordon the Giraffe

While I understand the good intentions that have gone into the production of Gordon the Giraffe, and definitely see a need for books covering the topics of gay tolerance and bullying amongst children, I do not think this book pulls it off.

While the illustrations are very beautiful, the story is lacking in so many ways and I found it just completely missed the mark. The language is clumsy, overly wordy and sometimes inappropriately colloquial, “The kids were soooooo mean”. While inconsistencies such as the story being set in ‘Ugladunga’ in Africa, where the characters played ‘Mulunga Doo’, but are named things like Gordon and Gary just took away from the overall effect.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Review: I am Blop!

Who are you? Blop? What's a blop? And what does it do?

Well, lots and lots and lots of things. Firstly, it comes in all colours and sizes. When you put a pink and yellow one together, it becomes orange. And you should see what becomes of the blue and yellow ones.

Blops can be made of fingerprints. They form families. They can be elegant and beautiful and spotty and broken. They can even be 3D.

Review: Warambi

When the home of Warambi’s colony is destroyed and she is unable to find her mother, Warambi must find somewhere safe where she can sleep and recover her strength. Danger is everywhere. Will the little bent-wing back ever find her way home?

A dramatic story based on a real-life event, Warambi is the story of a young bat barely old enough to be out on her own struggling to stay safe after her home is destroyed by excavators. The story begins with the day Warambi was born and continues as she grows in size and strength, through the destruction of her home and on to her adventure as she seeks shelter.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Review: The Light

In a lighthouse by the sea, a family works and plays together as they maintain the lighthouse beacon to protect those who sail along the coast.

Beautifully illustrated, The Light offers a nostalgic glimpse into the life of a lighthouse keeper and his family. Dedicated to the lighthouse keepers of Montague Island, the story is a reminder of simpler times. The family routine revolves around the upkeep of the signal and working together to prepare food and the other necessities of their remote life together.

Review: Eerie: Hunter and Collector

This book, I have to say, surprised me. I was expecting one thing and it gave me another. I suppose because the books are so small and thin, I presumed this new series would be for early readers, but I was wrong, oh so wrong. The content snuck up on me like Mrs Hunter on William. Let me explain.

William is a young lad who goes to his local school. He's a little bit of a loner and he stands out to Mrs Hunter almost immediately. What a delicious young lad. Mrs Hunter, you see, is not all that nice. She's also not Of This Place. She's from far, far away and just happens to enjoy hunting for young, unsuspecting children.

So, when Mrs Hunter targets young William to be her next victim, all goes exceedingly to plan - until William surprises Mrs Hunter with his own trump card. Let's just say, William is the collector in this story.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Review: The Colossus Rises

‘On the morning I was scheduled to die, a large barefoot man with a bushy red beard waddled past my house.’

Jack is an ordinary 13-year-old boy who expects his day to hold nothing more traumatic than a maths test that he really hasn’t prepared for. Instead, he collapses and finds himself kidnapped and taken away to a research facility on a remote island.

Jack is sceptical when he is told that he is one of a small group, the Select, who harbour a rare genetic marker that indicates that he has the potential for performing superhuman feats. Unfortunately, it will also result in his death before the age of 14 if he doesn’t receive the regular medical treatments devised by Professor Bhegad, who runs the research facility.

Guest Post: Choosing Books for Little Kids

KBR is delighted to welcome back Debbie Hatswell from Story Mama with this guest post on choosing the right books for your little one.

So there you are, standing in front of an overwhelming wall of picture books in your local department store or online, wondering which ones are any good? Which ones will your little one like? Why don’t these books have an age suitability guide on the back like a toy??!

At Story Mama online kids' books, we are often asked how to go about choosing books for a baby, toddler or preschooler. We know you want the ones will they sit still and listen to, the ones that are suited to their age and development. You want the ones which won’t drive the parent/grandparent/babysitter nuts after the 50th read. We give you the inside word below as to how we go about choosing a great picture book below. 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Review: I'm a Dirty Dinosaur

Dinosaurs sure are fun. But a dirty dinosaur is, without a doubt, an even more fun dinosaur than a regular dinosaur - that is my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

Let's face it, kids love to get dirty. They love to roll in the muck and LIVE life to the full, and so does the sweet little dino in this new book from Janeen Brian.

Dino starts with a grubby nose. Then a muddy face. Next comes a scummy tum and filthy feet and tail.

Shout Out: Robert Irwin Dinosaur Hunter


Crikey! Robert Irwin is taking you on a prehistoric adventure in his new Dinosaur Hunter series. Get ready to travel back in time with Robert and meet some pretty exciting dinosaurs along the way.

All the attention is always on Bindi. Not any more. Young Robert, son of beloved Aussie Animal Action Man Steve Irwin, has released his own series of books - a series of chapter books ideal for kids aged between 5 and 8, depending on reading ability. Children much younger could enjoy the books via Mum or Dad, too.

Four books in the series will be released this month, and titles include The Dinosaur Feather, Ambush at Cisco Swamp, The Discovery and Armoured Defence.




Dad Steve would be proud.

See the Random House website for more.





Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Review: The McElderry Book of Greek Myths

A note from the author prefaces this beautiful book of ancient tales, asking the reader 'Why Greek Myths'? Well, firstly, and quite simply - they are wonderful stories. Secondly, these myths are the foundation of language and literature. They also stretch our imagination and inspire us to dream.

And I couldn't agree more.

Encouraging children to look into the past and immerse themselves in classic fables is a magical way to elicit a love of storytelling and reading.

12 Curly Questions with author Goldie Alexander

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
Much like our PM Julia, I’m a compulsive knitter. I knit whenever I sit in front of TV, and read novels during commercial breaks.

2.What is your nickname? 
My name is sometimes shortened to Gold. Is that a nickname?

3. What is your greatest fear? 
I have lots of those. Perhaps the worst is losing my eyesight so I can no longer read.

4. Describe your writing style in ten words. 
Descriptive. Character, narrative and setting driven. Aims for simplicity even with complex issues.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Review: Jandamarra



Jandamarra’s story is told with the permission of the Bunuba Aboriginal Corporation for his story is ‘a treasured cultural inheritance’. It all takes place in the Kimberly region of north-west Australia.

The boy had a Bunuba name but he was called Pigeon. His job was to herd the sheep and for this he was paid in flour and sugar. But he was destined to be the leader of his people; to endure the warring of his conscience and find the courage to embrace his true identity. Never-the-less, to the settlers, he was just an outlaw. This story is about a journey of the Spirit.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Review: Bearly There

Bearly There is Blake’s favourite toy that goes everywhere with him. Although he is torn, ragged and well-used, he is much loved. Aunt Phelicia decides it’s time for Barely There to be replaced with a newer version.

Winston talks when his button is pushed, is clean and has soft velvet fur. His first action is to throw Bearly There out of the window into obscurity, but the old bear makes his way back.

While Blake cuddles and sleeps with his loved toy, Winston cries on the floor. But kind hearted Bearly There accepts and embraces Winston regardless of his short-comings, and the two bears and the boy cuddle up all together in friendship.

Review: Bear Has a Story to Tell

Winter is almost here. Bear is getting ready to find somewhere warm and cosy to sleep until spring arrives, but first, he has a story to tell.

Unfortunately, all of Bear’s friends are too busy to take time to hear his story. Bear helps each friend to find a safe place to spend the winter and then, as the first snowflakes start to fall, Bear falls asleep as well, his story untold.

When spring arrives, Bear greets his friends. When everyone has gathered together he starts to tell his story, but, after his long winter sleep, Bear can’t remember his story any longer. His friends repay Bear’s kindness by helping him to remember his story, a story of friends working together in the busy days before winter begins.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Review: All This Could End

What’s the craziest thing your mother has made you do?

Nina’s mother’s demands are few. She simply expects Nina to place the needs of her family above all other concerns. This means that Nina is expected to assist with the family business when asked. Unfortunately, Nina’s family business is robbing banks.

Moving around the country as her father takes on casual teaching positions, Nina has long since learned to keep friendships casual and stay under the radar. As soon as her mother picks the location for their next bank robbery, the family will be moving on.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Review: Curious Cats in the National Gallery of Victoria

This beautifully presented gift book showcases artworks from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, all of which curiously enough include cats. The opening essay introduces readers to a short history of the domestic cat, before briefly discussing how this history inspired several of the included artworks. The language and explanations are quite sophisticated, as to address an adult audience but the format of the book presents quite nicely as an introduction to art for a younger audience, perhaps 11 or 12 onwards.

Each of the selected artworks are displayed simply on a white background without the distractions of text or embellishments, and include photography and porcelain as well as a wide range of paintings. Details of the artworks are included at the back of the book (such as the artist’s name, country of origin, artwork title, and materials used) and the dust jacket can be folded out to be used as gift wrapping paper (or even as a little poster.)


Review: Penguin

I simply adore Polly Dunbar, and Penguin is the book from which my love for her blossomed. Polly’s illustrations are so distinctive, bright, and quite simply glorious; she has a talent for capturing innocence whilst simultaneously portraying a fantastically cheeky sense of humour.

When this book was first released, I was so enthralled that I read it aloud to a number of my twenty-something year old friends who were over for dinner. They were all left giggling by the end, forever solidifying my belief that picture books are not just for kids.


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Review: The Little Eskimo

How simple would life be if we only wanted to know the answer to two simple things? The Little Eskimo wants to know just two. He wants to know if he'll be a great hunter one day and he also wants to know what's on the other side of Great Ice Lake.

But there's a problem. The Other Side of the lake is forbidden. No one is allowed there, most especially not little eskimos.

Review: Dinosaurs Love Cheese

Well, who'd have thunk it? Dinosaurs and cheese? I mean, who wouldn't love cheese, especially with taste buds as experienced and sophisticated as the antiquated dinosaur?

We all know monkeys love bananas, do we not? And bears love honey. Giraffes are right into trees, of course, and it's common knowledge that camels are into sticky buns.

But dinosaurs and cheese? Yes, yes and yes. Swiss, sliced, melty - it doesn't matter, so long as it's of the dairy persuasion.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox

‘I used to be someone. Someone called Jenna Fox. That’s what they tell me. But I am more than a name… More. But I’m not sure what.’

17-year-old Jenna Fox was in a terrible accident that left her in a coma for over a year. When she wakes she remembers very little about her life before the accident. Removed to a remote location with her mother and grandmother, she feels disoriented and confused. How did she manage to recover from her life-threatening injuries? Just how far would her parents go to hold on to the child they adore?

Guest Post: Kate Constable

Kids Book Review is delighted to welcome author Kate Constable, as she shares her connection with and memories of Papua New Guinea, the setting for her young adult novel New Guinea Moon.

When I was six years old, my family moved to Papua New Guinea. My father was a charter pilot, like Julie's father in New Guinea Moon, and there was plenty of work for pilots in PNG. It's such a mountainous and rugged country that there are few serviceable roads, even now, and Port Moresby remains one of the few — perhaps the only! — capital city not connected by road to any other major centre. That meant that in the Highlands, in the centre of the country, almost everything had to be flown in and out: cattle, coffins, coffee beans, corpses, Coca Cola.
  
We lived in PNG for five years. It was the 1970s, and I have many vivid memories of that time. I remember going to the weekly market and seeing locals in traditional dress, the men with fur and feather headdresses, and wide belts with bunches of leaves at the back, called as-gras in Tok Pisin, which is a wonderfully descriptive language! I remember violent thunderstorms and frequent earth tremors. I remember women chewing betel, and spitting out the orange slime. Lots of these memories have found their way into the book.
  

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Event: Picture Books at Pinerolo


Don't miss this amazing opportunity to take a one-day picture book creation course with two of the masters of Australian children's literature, held at Pinerolo in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. There are only a few spots left, so RSVP asap! You can also phone 02-4787 8492.

www.pinerolo.com.au
 

12 Curly Questions with author Nick Earls

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
My left 6th or 7th rib is bifid anteriorly. That means it starts as one rib and then sort of divides into two. Sound slightly icky? It’s not. I’d have no idea of it if I hadn’t seen it on an x-ray. You could meet me and think I was skeletally standard issue, unless you had x-ray vision.

2. What is your nickname?  
I don’t think I’ve had one for years. When I was at school I once had a boil on my nose and that led to ... No, we’re not going there. I’m not revealing the nickname of a dodgy-nosed low-level Melbourne gangland figure that I ended up with for several months (way longer than the boil). If I put it out there, too many people I know will bring it back to life.

3. What is your greatest fear?
I’m 49, my son is 3. For his sake, I need to live a long time in good health. My greatest fear is that I won’t.

4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
Curly indeed. I’m a novelist. It takes me tens of thousands of words to say most things.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Review: The Lost Hunters

In their previous adventure, Lexi and Al thought they had seen it all – time travel, epic battles, ancient cities on the point of collapse and… vomiting rats. But nothing has prepared them for the realisation that their missing grandfather is a word hunter too.

Lexi and Al finally know why their Grandpa Al disappeared 30 years ago – he is trapped in the past on a word hunt that went wrong. With very few clues and trusting that the word hunter dictionary will take them to the time and place where Grandpa Al went missing, Lexi and Al are on a quest to return Grandpa Al to his family.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Review: Two Little Bugs

From the creators of the hilarious Baa Baa Smart Sheep and I Love Lemonade, comes this adorable little book about two little bugs and their little conundrum.

Little Bug Red sits on top of the leaf. Little Bug Blue sits below. Red is in sunshine, Blue is in shade. Blue laments his shady life so Red invites him to come on up to the top of the leaf and enjoy the view.