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

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Review: Friday Brown

The opening scenes of Friday Brown quickly pull us into the nomadic, sketchy and tragic world of Vivienne Brown, a mother whose past female ancestors appear to have suffered a terrible curse - death by water. And always on a Saturday.

Over campfires and in hotel rooms, always on the run, Vivienne recounts these tales to her young daughter Liliane (nicknamed Friday, in a conscious attempt to stave off the Saturday 'curse'), who believes it has been foretold ... on a Saturday she will drown.

12 Curly Questions with illustrator Peter Viska

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I got suspended at school for publishing a funny magazine that made fun of  the teachers.

2. What is your nickname? 
I have a few but “Grandpa Pete” and “Papa Bear” win.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Running out of fuel. Both in my car and in my mind.

4. Describe your drawing style in ten words.

Energetic, happy, loose lined, smiley funny, logical, considered and original.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Review: Peter Viska Chant and Rhyme series

Silly chants and rhymes echo around school playgrounds all over the country as each generation ‘discovers’ variations of nursery rhymes, counting games, Christmas carols and other songs. These schoolyard songs and games entertain young children year after year with new rhymes appearing and old favourites amusing a new audience, who often head home to ‘teach’ their parents these great ‘new’ jokes.

Anyone up for a quick chorus of ‘Jingle Bells, Batman smells’?

Sunday, 28 April 2013

KBR Recommends: New Junior Fiction, April 2013

Here are a few of the great new Junior Fiction titles hitting the shelves in April.

The Amazing Spencer Gray by Deb Fitzpatrick (Fremantle Press, $14.99, 9781921089328, ages 9 - 12)

Spencer Gray is twelve – finally old enough to join Dad in his glider. His mates are going to be so jealous! Going up is awesome – but when disaster strikes, Spencer will need to be nothing short of amazing.

Read an extract here.

Twin Magic: Lost Tooth Rescue! by Kate Ledger (Scholastic, $6.99 RRP, 9780545480253, ages 5+)

On their first day of school, Lottie and Mia meet a girl named Anna. She has a very loose tooth. During the school day, Anna loses her tooth. Lottie and Mia use their special Super Twin powers to help find it!

Lost Tooth Rescue is the first book in a new young junior fiction series, Twin Magic. Book #2, School Bully, Beware, is due for release later in 2013.

Princess Ponies 1: A Magical Friend by Chloe Ryder (Bloomsbury Publishing, $9.99, 9781408827277, ages 6- 9)

Chevalia is an enchanted island where ponies and horses rule, its magic powered by eight golden horseshoes hanging in the royal castle. But the horseshoes have been stolen and must be found before Midsummer Day or the island will lose its magic...

Princess Ponies: A Magical Friend is the first book in a new 6-book series featuring spooky Night Mares, unicorns, Princess Ponies, and rip-roaring adventures.

Eric Vale - Super Male by Michael Gerard Bauer (Scholastic, $14.99 RRP, 9781862919938, ages 8+)

It's superhero week at school and Eric Vale is in for some SUPER surprises. A killer beast, a giant bully, a mutant orang-utan bear and the dreaded oogily-boogily man await him.

This looks like a job for Eric Vale Super Male!

But will it end in a super fail? Or will Eric finally go from Zero to Superhero?

Goosebumps Most Wanted #2: Son of Slappy by R L Stine (Scholastic,  $9.99 RRP, 9780545417990, ages 9-12)

Jackson Stander is every parent's dream. He doesn't get into trouble, he always does his homework, and he never, ever lies. His teachers all trust him completely. He even volunteers at the local Youth Centre.

But that was all before Jackson came across an evil ventriloquist dummy. Now he must deal with Slappy wreaking havoc on his family and friends. Jackson will soon see that two Slappys are not better than one.

Goosebumps Most Wanted stories - A brand-new take on terror for children who like their stories scary. You can read a sample chapter here.

KBR Recommends: New Picture Books, April 2013

Books Always Everywhere by Jane Blatt (Nosy Crow, $22.99, 9780857630896)

For the very young, books can be anything - a chair, a tower, to a hat - but the best thing they can be... is a book... and it's never too soon to share a good book with your little ones.

A lovely celebration of imagination and the way picture books fascinate babies and toddlers with their colourful pages and entertaining stories.

There is also a wonderful message, mostly through Sarah Massini's appealing illustrations, that a book is something to be shared.



Night Watch by Phil Cummings (Working Title Press, $24.95, 9781921504365)

Giraffe, Elephant, Hippo and Baboon all live by the lake, happily going about their own business, until one day Giraffe spies the shadow of Lion - prowling, creeping, stalking, sneaking. What are they to do now?

Phil Cummings' wonderfully rhythmic text will have young children itching to act out the story and is perfectly complemented by Janine Dawson's witty, vibrant illustrations in this lovely story about friends working together.

Meet Mary MacKillop by Sally Murphy (Random House, $19.95, 9781742757216)

Mary MacKillop is Australia's first saint.

Mary was born in the 1800s and devoted her life to teaching children. Mary believed everyone should have the chance to learn, no matter how rich or poor they are. In 1866 she set up her first school and founded an order of nuns called the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart. The Sisters continue to do the good work Mary started.

The Boys' Book of Things to Make (DK, $24.99, 9781409322337)

The ultimate book of things to make, play, create and do ...and it's boys only! Welcome to the club - The Boys' Book of Things To Make is the ultimate compendium of making models, games, quizzes and puzzles, and it's all perfect for active boys. 

With over 150 amazing projects, there is enough here to keep busy bodies occupied all year long, with monster puppets, DIY crazy golf, pirate games and garden Olympics and more. Split into three sections - things to make, things to do and things to know, this book is a good source of information as well as fun. 

Weasels by Elys Dolan (Nosy Crow, $22.99, 9780857631992)

Megalomania has never been so furry. This gorgeous picture book is packed with cross-over humour to amuse both kids and big kids, too. 

The art is stylish yet accessible and full of details for poring over time and time again. There are machines and maps and even a laboratory ...oh, and lots of lots of weasels.

Review coming soon.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Review: Chook Chook: Mei's Secret Pets

When Mei’s father dies, her mother clears the family farm of all animals due to her owns fear and grief. Mei misses her father terribly and the time they spent together tending the animals.

One day, two tiny chicks wander into Mei’s yard and she decides to keep them. Joy returns to her world as she dances with her new pets, but Mei is f fearful that her mother will find out. Mei hides the chickens, feeding them and tending their needs as they grow, but their existence is bound to be discovered.

Review: The Hunger Games

Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12. She lives with her mother and her younger sister, Primrose or 'Prim'. Every year, the Capitol chooses two children, one boy and one girl, from Districts 1 through 12 to go to the Hunger Games. This is to remind the districts of their power over them.

Out of all the twenty-four tributes, only one comes back . . .

This book starts off on the day of the reaping, and Katniss has her name entered twenty times. Up on the stage is the Mayor of District 12, Effie Trinket, Haymitch (one of district 12’s only Hunger Games winners) and two round glass balls - one for the boys, and one for the girls.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Review: The Gift

Wordless books are wonderful storytellers. The creator gives total freedom to the reader to interpret their work and uncover the messages and themes contained within. It’s a journey of discovery through unknown places. This is Deb Gilmartin’s first picture book and what an impressive debut it is.

Ginger cat has fish to eat. He saves some and sets out with a fish between his teeth and takes it to black and white cat next door.

Next day, black and white cat and a box with three kittens are abandoned by the side of the road and a car drives away. Night is falling. The mother cat carries the kittens to safe shelter beneath a house.

Review: Interrupting Chicken

Every now and then a book comes along that is so left-field, you peep with glee as you read it.

David Ezra Stein must have some wacky sense of humour - and boy does it show in this absolutely priceless picture book about a little red chicken who loves a good bedtime story.

She likes a good bedtime story so much, she can't help but interrupt her very patient dad.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Review: An ANZAC Tale


When war is declared on 5 August 1914 and Australia pledges its support to Great Britain, mates Roy Martin and Wally Cardwell are among the first to enlist. What Roy and Wally and their new friend Tom first thought would be an adventure soon turns to disaster. The day after the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915, more than 2000 of their fellow Anzacs are dead.

The experiences of the soldiers at Anzac Cove are shared through the eyes of Roy, Wally and Tom in a graphic novel format. Animal characters fill the roles of soldiers, officers, enemies and family at home, introducing younger readers to this pivotal event in Australian history.

Review: Evan's Gallipoli

It is WW1, and Evan is 14-years-old when his father, a deeply religious man, decides they should set out for the Dardenelles with spices, lice powder and herbal remedies accompanied by the word of God to offer comfort to the soldiers.  The two embark on an unknown and astonishing adventure fuelled by faith, unable to imagine the horrors they will encounter.

At Gallipoli, Evan’s world consists of noise, dead bodies and the stench of rotting corpses in the trenches; filth, hunger and prayer. Across the sea from the war is the island of Lemnos. This becomes their resting place when his father suffers from shell-shock, loses his mind and becomes very ill.

Review: The Treasure Box

Margaret Wild and Freya Blackwood are masters of their craft, so holding this book in hand is like holding a treasure.

The Treasure Box is set in a nameless war with a nameless enemy, but the story is universal. Families leave their homes, take whatever treasures they can, and seek refuge.

'For weeks they trudged through mud and rain.' The language is gorgeous, and the poignant illustrations paint a grey world.

Review: The Promise

Villers-Bretonneux is a village in France that maintains a strong and emotional connection with Australia. In World War I, Australian soldiers saved the village and the people of Villers-Bretonneux promised that they would always remember. More than 100 years later, they still hold that promise dear to their hearts.

To this day, the village of Villers-Bretonneux honours the memory of the Australian soldiers who fought, and died, in its defence. The villagers maintain a cemetery dedicated to the soldiers who died during the battle in 1918. A school was built in the village using funds donated by families in Victoria, Australia soon after the war. Many years later, the village returned this favour by donating money to help rebuild schools in Victoria after the terrible 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

ANZAC Day Picture Books

Here at KBR, we simply adore the beautiful picture books released each year around ANZAC Day. Heartfelt and visually beautiful, they never fail to tug at the heart strings. All of these books, some new releases, some older favourites, make for great classroom additions, but are equally as important at home. Lest we forget.

ANZAC Biscuits by Phil Cummings and Owen Swan (Scholastic, $24.99, 9781742833460)

Rachel is in the kitchen, warm and safe. Her father is in the trenches, cold and afraid. When Rachel makes biscuits for her father, she adds the love, warmth and hope that he needs.

This is a touching story of a family torn apart by war but brought together through the powerful simplicity of Anzac

Vietnam Diary by Mark Wilson (Lothian, $24.99, 9780734412744)

A powerful and moving story about the bonds of brotherhood and the tragedy of war, from the creator of My Mother's Eyes and Angel of Kokoda.

Leigh and Jason are inseparable.

But when Jason is conscripted and sent to fight in Vietnam, they are divided not just by distance, but by their beliefs about the war.

The Fair Dinkum War by David Cox (Allen & Unwin, $24.99, 9781743310625)

David Cox was a young boy during World War Two. He remembers his class racing oustide to watch a long line of soldiers in trucks and jeeps passing by, and how the children played war games and knew every aeroplane, tank and warship. Everyone took part in the war effort, and they all longed for the day it would be over.

This story of resilience and bravery captures the everyday moments - the challenges, the heartbreak and the humour - of people living in Australia during the years of the Second World War.

See our review of The Fair Dinkum War here.

Lone Pine by Susie Brown and Margaret Warner (Little Hare Books, $24.95 RRP, 9781921541346)

From a battlefield in Gallipoli, a soldier sends a pine cone home to his mother. Little does he know that his simple gift will become a national symbol of remembrance.

Based on a true story, Lone Pine is a moving account of both a personal experience and a nation-defining event.

Archie's Letter: An Anzac Day Story by Martin Flanagan (One Day Hill Publishers, $19.99 RRP, 9780980794878)

On Anzac day 2010, a 96-year-old man in Hobart, a returned soldier from World War II, wrote a letter to the local paper thanking the people who were going to that morning's dawn service. Who was this man? why did he write this letter?

Archie's Letter tells the story of an ordinary man who went off to fight in World War II. His experiences include the Burma railway, where he was under the command of Australian war hero, Weary Dunlop.

Archie's Letter also tells how he dealt with his wartime experiences; how, at the ae of 91, he agreed to meet a group of elderly Japanese women interested in world peace; how he could never forget the young men with him during the war who didn't come back.

Archie's Letter is written by Martin Flanagan. It is adapted from The Line by arch and Martin Flanagan.

Memorial by Gary Crew (Hachette Australia, $16.99 RRP, 9780734405456)

A story to help us all remember...

When the soldiers return in 1918, a memorial tree is planted... 'Lest we forget'. But generations later, what do those who paise in the shadows of the tree's immense branches remember?

A touching and insightful message we should never forget from internationally acclaimed children's choice author Gary Crew and multi-award winning illustrator Shaun Tan.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Review: Let's Make Some Great Fingerprint Art


Bees, elephants, buildings, pyramids, flags and more - all with fingers and ink! How amazing?

Let’s Make Some Great Fingerprint Art by Marion Deuchars is a colourful and exciting book filled with many activities. It demonstrates many different pieces of art and gives you space to recreate them.

It is packed with wonderful activities so that you never get bored. I know what I am going to do these holidays! (No, seriously, I actually am.)

The activities in this book are not only phenomenal, but they are beautiful too. The book suits everyone from younger children who love getting a bit messy to anyone above.

Review: Just Jack

Young Jack just loves wearing his super hero costume to kinder but wash day looms. Mud pies, paint and water play make things worse.

When Mum wants to wash this super hero's ensemble, Jack jumps up and down and ‘nearly makes the ground rumble.' Eventually, our lovely hero gives up the costume but things hit rock bottom when by the very next day, the costume is still wet.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

12 Curly Questions with author Matt Boyd

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I have an American half sister. I don’t know her name, I’ve never meet her and don’t even know if she still lives in the USA . . . It’s not only soaps that have long lost relatives!

2. What is your nickname? 
I’ve several over the years - the weirdest one was Stumpy Lizard. I think it was something to do with me flicking my tongue out a lot.

3. What is your greatest fear? 
Surgical gloves send shivers down my spine. Lucky you’re unconscious most of the time they come near your body.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Review: To Brave the Seas

Adam has always dreamt of going to sea. He loves the sea, lives by the sea, and is obsessed with ships. His mother dies on the day war is announced in Britain when Adam is barely sixteen years old.  His father, always described as feckless by his mother, leaves to find work and gives up the house they’ve lived in for so long.

Now alone, Adam joins the Merchant Navy as a Deck Boy. He has to learn the language of the sea, get use to the motion of the ship and the steep hills formed by the waves, and come to terms with the numbing cold amongst many other adjustments to his daily living.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Review: The Dark

Laszlo is afraid of the dark. The dark lives in the same house as Laszlo. It mostly spends its time in the basement, but at night it ventures out into the rest of the house.  When the dark visits Laszlo unexpectedly one night, he must be brave and face his fear. When he does, he discovers that the dark isn’t quite what he expected.

A wonderful exploration of fear from the perspective of a child, The Dark shares with readers an insightful and emotive story of one boy’s challenge to bravely face his fears.

Review: My Band


Did you know that the saxophone belongs to the woodwind family? Or that you can make your very own oboe with a plastic drinking straw? My Band by Elizabeth Lea and Chantal Stewart is a really engaging book that teaches everyone about musical instruments at the same time.

My Band teaches children many different types of instruments, how they are played and what family they belong to. This book includes 10 different instruments of all shapes and sizes, and to top it all off, lift-the-flaps to open, making it fun and exciting!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Review: Little Dolphin

Here is a poignant story of loss and survival with a strong environmental message.

Little Dolphin is orphaned when her mother gets caught in a net. When she fears that all is lost, she is taken into a pod and fed and protected.

This life-saving act teaches her to look out for the other dolphins in the pod. And she does. She is also taught to hunt for food and how to use the sea sponges to protect her nose from sharp coral. The clicks and whistles and other survival skills she learns, lead her to save another dolphin’s life.

Ford Street Publishing Trailer Competition


TEACHERS and LIBRARIANS! Does the next Steven Spielberg reside at your school? Do you have students interested in producing book trailers? Here’s their opportunity to produce a trailer for Ford Street Publishing, Australia’s leading boutique publisher of children’s literature. The winning entry of each title will win $300 worth of books for their school or municipal library.

CHOOSE A BOOK

Head to the Ford Street website and choose one of the following Ford Street titles:

Picture Books
Riley and the Grumpy Wombat by Tania McCartney and Kieron Pratt
Gracie and Josh by Susanne Gervay and Serena Geddes
The Down-under 12 Days of Christmas by Michael Salmon
Pirate Gold by Michael Salmon
Ships in the Field by Susanne Gervay and Anna Pignataro
Bobo, My Superdog by Michael Salmon
The Lost Tail by Patricia Bernard and Trish Oktober.

Younger Readers
Trust Me Too edited by Paul Collins
Marcy titles by Susan Halliday
Toocool titles by Phil Kettle

Older Readers (13+)
In the Beech Forest by Gary Crew and Den Scheer
Changing Yesterday by Sean McMullen
Dyson’s Drop by Paul Collins
Dragonlinks by Paul Collins
My Extraordinary Life and Death by Doug MacLeod
In Lonnie’s Shadow by Chrissie Michaels
My Private Pectus by Shane Thamm
The Key to Starveldt by Foz Meadows
Greylands by Isobelle Carmody
Riggs Crossing by Michelle Renee Heeter.

All these titles are available from all good bookshops or from your municipal/school library.

PRODUCE YOUR TRAILER 

Produce a trailer no more than 90 seconds long, advertising the book. The final two screens must include the Ford Street logo and cover (freely available from us at fordstr@internode.on.net) and the words AVAILABLE AT ALL GOOD BOOKSHOPS and the URL:
www.fordstreetpublishing.com. Internal images from picture books may also be used in the trailers.

WINNERS

We will award one prize per title.

*Entrants must include their school or library address with their submissions. Winners will be notified via email and will be announced on social media. Entrants can post their trailers on CD or USB sticks to: Paul Collins, 2 Ford Street, Clifton Hill, VIC 3068 or email them via fordstr@internode.on.net (if file is over 8MB, students can send it via Dropbox or Yousendit).

Hard copy entries will not be returned unless a self stamped and addressed envelope accompanies the submission.

Entries close 15 May 2013.

For more information on trailers go to the Ipswich District Teacher-Librarian Network’s website. Another site to explore is the CBCA Queensland’s site.

*This competition is open only to Australian students. Entrants must have copyright permission if using copyrighted music. It is advised that, if using music, students write it themselves or use copyright free music. Ford Street reserves the right not to award a winner in any book category if it is deemed the trailers are not suitable for publishing. Ford Street reserves the right to use any winning entry for whatever publicity or marketing it sees fit. Copyright of the trailers remains the property of the individual creators, but not the images.

Friday, 19 April 2013

New: ILF: Same but a little bit different


This is the third year the Indigenous Literacy Foundation has worked with Education Queensland on the ‘I Dream’ initiative. The project helps bring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture schools through a series of challenges and starts today in 50 schools across Queensland.

This year ILF has put together a literacy challenge called ‘Same but a little bit different’ and is providing a kit of 3 books to every school involved.


See more on the 'I Dream' initiative here

Review: In the Beech Forest

At first glance, I thought this impressive hardback was a graphic novel for young adults, but the story is pitched to a younger audience. Anyone with an imagination and a taste for adventure from middle primary school upwards will devour these pages.

Page borders hint at a journey through time while the forest within has an ancient feel to it. Creepy but hypnotising, the branches and roots of the Beech draw you deeper. As the pages offer facts about these timeless trees, the drawings insist on mystical, even mythical possibilities. Although no blood is shed, danger lurks.

Review: Open Very Carefully

We all know and love The Ugly Duckling tale - but wait - there's something rather odd infiltrating this retelling of a Hans Christian Anderson classic. What could it be?

It has sharp teeth, and oh - look out! Where's it gone? It's ripped a page out of the book! Let's turn the page very carefully and see what it could be . . .

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Review: Isla Lu, Where are You?

A game of hide and seek begins. Mother is searching. Isla Lu is hiding.

First look - behind the couch. But there’s only a red pencil, a hair pin and a lost scarf. The search continues behind the curtains, under the table, and past other family members on the stairs. Then it’s on to the shower, the wardrobe, down the stairs and into the garden. The search ends after a check of the smelly rubbish bin and the dog house.

Where was Isla Lu hiding?

Review: Martha Doesn't Share

This is a must-have for parents of pre-schoolers and anyone wanting to teach little ones the concept of ‘sharing’.

Martha is an adorable creature with a rather long tail and snub nose that she uses to great effect. She might be a big sister but sharing isn’t in her vocabulary. Her latest word, in fact is ‘mine’. Bruce Whatley’s illustrations leave no doubt as to the tumble of reactions Martha’s new word creates and the huge learning curve toddlers travel before they understand there are good reasons for sharing.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Review: Jasper McFlea will not Eat his Tea

Many books have been written about children and their distaste for certain foods, but this book excels at telling the story with plenty of humour. Young readers can’t help but giggle when Jasper claims a banana will just make him toot, and they’ll love the absurdity of hiding an apple in a swimsuit.

Where other books might simply preach, this book presents the problem with a great deal of truth and consequence. It will inspire change. It is true, inappetent children do eat something, and in Jasper’s case, it's pasta.

Review: Nuddy Ned

What is it about kids and the nudey-rudey dash? Is it the overwhelming sense of freedom, fresh air on skin? Is it the priceless reaction from the rest of the household? What about the reaction from the community?

Little Ned is ready for bed, fresh from the bath and keen to hop, skip and jump into a willy-nilly streak. Off he goes through the living room - nuddy cartwheels have never been so fun - and right out the front door!

"I'm Nuddy Ned! I'm Nuddy Ned! Jim-jams aren't for me!" he hollers as he skedaddles off down the street, his parents in hot pursuit.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

ILF News with Karen Williams, Executive Director


mum_baby_cropped

In the past couple of months, the Indigenous Literacy Foundation has traveled by plane, troupee and light aircraft, clocking up nearly 20,000 kilometres in field trips across Australia. During this period, we visited Warburton in Ngaanyatjarra Lands in WA, Yakanarra in the Kimberleys in WA and schools, service organisations and communities in Broken Hill, Wilcannia and Menindee in NSW and Alice Springs in NT.

The time spent in each of these communities is short but very precious. Most dawns, we’re up to be part of playgroup or to yarn with local teachers and principals, community members and elders before the day launches into school or a series of meetings.

In our Book Buzz communities, where our early literacy packs are changing the culture of literacy, it's interesting to note how each community has taken the same Buzz resources but introduced them differently, to suit each of their needs. It’s been a special time travelling out with Tina Raye, our new Program Manager, and in Warburton with Suzy Wilson, our Founder. You can read more about these trips on our website.

With April well underway, we’re hoping to engage more schools for the Great Book Swap and to confirm our activities for Indigenous Literacy Day on September 4. Please register and be part of a fundraiser to help us raise awareness and important funds. Note the terrific school kit (with Teachers notes and resources) that is now available to all schools that participate.

As the end of this financial year rapidly approaches, we encourage businesses and individuals to make a tax-deductible donation and be part of our Foundation’s efforts to make a difference. We have $560,000 more funds to raise in 2013.

- Karen Williams, Executive Director, ILF

12 Curly Questions with author Heidi Goh

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I’m a terrible sppeller and I’m terrified of baboons!

2. What is your nickname? 
‘Peach Piggy’, because I adore in season peaches

3. What is your greatest fear? 
Telling people my greatest fear!

4. Describe your writing style in ten words. 
My writing is precise, economical, subtle, controlled and thought-provoking.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Review: The Zigzag Effect

Sage is delighted when she lands a holiday job with a magician. She will earn the money she needs for the photography course she’s coveted since she first picked up a camera and it should be an interesting way to fill in the empty holidays until she starts at her new school. Even better, The Great Armand’s stagehand, Herb, is cute.

Filled with fun, intrigue and a touch of romance, The Zigzag Effect is an entertaining romantic mystery for teens. The developing romance between Sage and Herb is sweet with a few tender moments and a lot of humour as they get to know each other and try to solve the mystery of who (or what) is behind the mysterious happenings at the old theatre.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Review: A Month with April-May

April-May, named that because her parents couldn’t agree which her name should be, has won a bursary to Trinity College. Within the first minutes, on her first day at the new school, her socks are taken, and her school bag emptied and discarded after being confronted by the furious Mrs Ho for being out of uniform.

In class she is put next to mouth-breather Melanie, who suffers from sleep apnoea. Melanie readily gives unconditional friendship and loyalty to the undeserving April-May, who is quick to discard this priceless gift for the superficial company of the dangerous and manipulative Sebastian.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Event: SCWBI West Events, Perth


The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (Australia West) invites you to join them for two exciting events:

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Duelling Illustrators
5.00pm-5:30pm
With pen in hand, two illustrators at a time will duel it out as they illustrate their response to an unpublished picture book manuscript being read aloud.
Venue: The Place, Mezzanine Floor, State Library of WA, Perth Cultural Centre, Northbridge
All welcome; no RSVP required.

Publishing: Under the Covers
5:45-7:15pm
Panel presentation by Sue Whiting, (Publishing Manager, Walker Books) and Karen Tayleur (Editorial Manager, Five Mile Press). What are publishers looking for? How do they operate? What can you do to give your submission the best chance of success? Includes time for audience Q&A. Afternoon tea provided.
Venue: Education Space, Mezzanine Floor, State Library of WA.
Cost: $25 SCBWI members, $45 non-members
Registrations close 1 May

For details on how to book, head here now.


Review: Mr Darcy the Dancing Duck

Mr Darcy the duck is back (see our review of the first book, Mr Darcy, here) in this adorable tale in celebration of 200 years of Pride and Prejudice.

It's dancing season and all the animals are in full flight. Maria the mouse is skipping along the path, Bingley the horse is trotting through the field and Caroline the cow is waltzing in the pasture.

In Pemberley Park, Lizzy the duck and her sisters are dancing around a maypole, but Mr Darcy, despite his firm good looks, is not a dancer. As Lizzy runs up and asks him to dance, Mr Darcy most reluctantly and politely declines.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Review: Lyrebird! A True Story

Sweeping views of the magnificent Dandenongs and colourful close-ups of Edith’s flower farm burst from the pages of Lyrebird! A True Story.  Although this is a narrative about Edith the flower grower and James the lyrebird’s unusual friendship, the seasonally changing world of the Dandenongs is a powerful supporting character.

Lyrebirds are supposed to be shy, but James doesn’t know this. He hangs around Edith as she digs and sings, and he blocks her way as she works. Edith tracks James’ development from his first visit as a plain looking young male to full maturity through sketches and notes in her diary. As they learn to respect each other's need for space and to appreciate each others songs, the seasons progress around them.

Review: My Superhero

Oh, so lovely to see a book illustrated by the glorious Moira Court, whose illustrations I have long-admired. This new book by the talented Chris Owen combines with Moira's superlative retro modern illustration skills to create something very special indeed.

It's all about superheroes. Big ones. Tall ones. Muscly ones (because that's how they usually come). Superheroes are also blessed with good looks, don't you know?