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

Sunday, 30 June 2013

KBR Recommends: New Non-Fiction, June 2013

Australians All by Nadia Wheatley and Ken Searle, Allen & Unwin, $49.99, 9781741146370

Australians All encompasses the history of our continent from the Ice Age to the Apology, from the arrival of the First Fleet to the Mabo Judgement.
Brief account of the lives of real young Australians opens up this chronological narrative. Some of the subjects of the eighty mini-biographies have become nationally or even internationally famous. Others were legends in their own families and communities.

Meticulously researched, beautifully written and highly readable, Australians All helps us understand who we are, and how we belong to the land we all share. It also shows us who we might be.

Yoko's Diary, edited by Paul Jam, Harper Collins, $12.99, 9781743096314

1945 was a hard time to be a child in Japan. Many had seen their cities destroyed by US bombers. Food, fuel and materials were in short supply. Yet spirits remained high. In April 1945, Yoko Moriwaki started high school in Hiroshima, excited to be a prestigious ′Kenjo′ girl, and full of duty towards her parents, school and country. But the country was falling apart and in four months time her city would become the target for the first atomic bomb ever used as a weapon.

In her diary, Yoko provides an account of that time - when conditions were so poor that children as young as twelve were required to work in industry; when fierce battles raged in the Pacific and children like Yoko believed victory was near. With additions by Yoko′s relatives and fellow students, and an introduction by award-winning author Paul Ham, Yoko′s Diary not only shows us the hopes, beliefs and daily life of a young girl in wartime Japan, it is a touching account of the consequences of the first nuclear bombing of a city.

Car-Sized Crabs and Other Animal Giants by Anna Claybourne, Bloomsbury, $24.99, 978140818183

From gangly giraffes to terrifying tarantulas, meet all the biggest beasts the animal kingdom has to offer. Did you know a crab can grow to the size of a car? Or that an angry elephant can charge at a mighty speed of 40 km per hour?

Packed with amazing facts and covering everything from mammoth mammals and big birds to creepy crawly giants, this essential guide brings the wonderful world of the animal kingdom to life. Features include essential stats and animal scales on every spread.

KBR Recommends: New Middle Fiction, June & July 2013

Julius and the Watchmaker by Tom Hehir, Text, $19.99, 9781922079732, age 10+

A lost diary. A spinning pocket watch. A gentleman wielding a deadly walking cane. And a boy who's about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

When Julius Higgins isn't running from Crimper McCready and his gang of bullies he's working in his grandfather's bookshop in Ironmonger Lane.

Until Jack Springheel, a mysterious clock collector, turns up looking for the fabled diary of John Harrison—the greatest watchmaker of all time.

Before he knows it, Julius becomes a thief and a runaway and makes a deal with Springheel that he will live to regret. And all before he finds out that Harrison's diary is really an instruction manual for making a time machine.

KBR Recommends: New Junior Fiction, June 2013

Lulu Bell and the Fairy Penguin by Belinda Murrell and Serena Geddes, Random House, $9.95, 9781742758770, ages 6 - 8

Meet Lulu Bell. Where there's Lulu, there's family, friends, animals and adventures galore!

It's a hot day and the Bell family is going for a swim. But when a runaway dog chases a little penguin that is waddling up the beach, Lulu has to leap into action!

Is the little penguin hurt? And as if that's not enough for Lulu to worry about, where is Pickles the cat, who's about to have her kittens? Let the search begin!

Also in this series Lulu Bell and the Birthday Unicorn. (see KBR review here)

Vanishing Acts by Leslie Margolis, Bloomsbury, $15.99, 9781599909813, ages 6 - 10

When a movie starring tween heart throb Seth Ryan starts filming in Maggie's neighborhood, everyone gets movie mania.

Maggie manages to capture Seth's attention, but then he disappears! Everyone thinks he's been kidnapped, but Maggie knows better. She's on the case.

Lina at theGames (Our Australian Girl) by Sally Rippin, Penguin , $14.95, 9780143307020, ages 8 - 10

It's 1956 and the Melbourne Olympic Games have finally arrived! The whole city is buzzing with excitement and Lina can't wait to go along as a reporter for the school magazine. Now is her chance to prove to everyone that she's a real writer, and nothing could be more important – until Lina makes a new friend, who changes the way she sees the world . . .

Follow Lina on her adventure in the third of four exciting books about a passionate girl finding a place to belong.

How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli and Snake Hill (Middle School) by James Paterson and Chris Tebbetts, Arrow, $19.95, 9780099567554, ages 8 - 13

Rafe Khatchadorian, the hero of the bestselling Middle School series, is ready for a fun summer at camp – until he finds out it's a summer school camp! Luckily, Rafe easily makes friends with his trouble-making cabin mates and bunkmate, a boy nicknamed Booger Eater, who puts up with endless teasing from the other kids. Rafe soon realises there's more to a person than a nickname, though, and Booger Eater might be the kind of friend you want on your side when the boys from the Cool Cabin attack.

This fourth book in the massively popular Middle School series is an unforgettable summer of hi-jinks, new friends, and surprises, all told with the hilarity and honesty readers have come to expect from blockbuster author James Patterson.

Mr Birdsnest and the House Next Door by Julia Donaldson and Hannah Shaw, Scholastic, $9.99, 9781742837109, ages 5 - 8.

Monkeys! Tigers! Bird-eating spiders!

Elmo and his sister love to play in the jungle house next door. But then mean old Mr Birdsnest moves in.

Will the jungle house be Out of Bounds forever?

KBR Recommends: New Picture Books, May & June 2013

 
Dino-Baby by Mark Sperring and Sam Llloyd, Bloomsbury, $14.99, 9780733330445, ages 2 - 5)

It's not easy being a big sister - especially when your new baby brother is a roaring dino baby. There are just SO many things to remember . . . be quiet in the morning, because crashes, bangs and thuds will wake our dino pup. Shhhhhhhh! Don't play rough and tumble - be soft and gentle.

Before long, this big sister grows to love teaching her brother all the grown-up things she knows and, very quickly, life in the dino family is as fun (and chaotic!) as ever.

Hoot / Splash / Snore by Alison Lester, ABC Books, $12.99, 9780733330438 / 9780733330452 / 9780733330445, ages 0 - 3

These board books are part of a delightful new series by bestselling author-illustrator Alison Lester, designed especially for 0-3 year olds. Babies will respond to the rhyming text and the simple, colourful images, while toddlers will love joining in to make their own animal sounds.

With sturdy covers and pages, these bright, engaging board books are perfect for little hands. Alison's iconic artwork is truly wonderful.

Fabulous Fishes by Susan Stockdale, Working Title Press, $24.95, 9781921504556, ages 2 - 5

Fishes come in all sorts of shapes, Colours and sizes. And many of them can do amazing things!

Can you imagine fish that leap and glide, fish that crawl on land and fish with flashing lights? They're all here in Fabulous Fishes!

Whose Bottom? by Jeannette Rowe, ABC Books, $14.99, 9780733332074, ages 1-5

The latest in Jeannette Rowe's classic, totally-toddler-friendly 'whose' series is one that will have kids a-titter. With a sturdy hard cover and firm paper pages, kids will delight in lifting each double page spread flap for a peek at whose bottom might be hiding there.

Shut the Duck Up! illustrated by Mandy Foot, Hachette Children's Books, $14.99 RRP, 9780734413833, ages 3 - 5

Indie dreams of being able to fly, but as an Indian Runner Duck, he can't.

Up late to practise his flying technique, he spots a fox and raises the alarm.

No-one believes his at first, but when Indie sets a trap to catch the fox, he becomes an unlikely hero.

Can on noisy and determined duck save his farmyard friends from a very hungry fox?

Florentine and Pig and the Lost Pirate Treasure by Eva Katzler and Jess Mikhail, Bloomsbury, $14.99 RRP, 9781408824405, ages 4 - 7

Florentine and Pig are stuck in the house on a terribly gloomy day, but they're not gloomy - they're brimming with inspiration for entertaining things to do.

Soon they're sailing the high seas of their imaginations in a pirate ship, and it seems that Pig is very, very good at finding hidden treasure.

Between the Pages by Joan van Loon and Chantal Stewart, New Frontier, $24.99, 9781921928444

Between the Pages is the story of two brave boys, Billy and Jack, and their exciting adventures in the rainforest. 

Barrelling through the forest on an enthusiastic adventure, it celebrates the pleasures of reading, especially reading in bed.

Chantal Stewart's stunning illustrations and the tall format make for a divinely retro-style book with fabulous crossover appeal.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Event: Pinerolo Blue Mountains Art Trail Open Day


Pinerolo, the Children's Book Cottage, has joined the Blue Mountains Art Trail - a quarterly event highlighting galleries and studios in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. Nirvana for lovers of picture books, Pinerolo is the only place of its kind in New South Wales.

As part of the Art Trail, Pinerolo is hosting a book-loving Open Day. Come along and enjoy an impressive collection of original artwork from children's picture books, and a library of picture books and reference books. 

Guests can also browse through the original artwork and children's books for sale. There might be a treasure there you can't live without!

Sunday 7 July
10am - 4pm

116 Shipley Road, Blackheath 

For information about the Blue Mountains Art Trail go to: bman.org.au/artstrail of see it on Facebook at BlueMountainsArtistsNetwork. See www.pinerolo.com.au.

Event: School Holiday Activities at The Children's Bookshop


In Term 2, 2013 New South Wales school holidays, The Children's Bookshop in Beecroft, Sydney, are pleased to announce a range of events including visiting authors and artists, reading and writing workshops.

Writing with Deborah Abela 

Calling all future writers! We are very excited to announce that author Deborah Abela will be leading a writing workshop in July for students in Years 3-6 at The Children’s Bookshop as our Writer in Residence.

Participants in this workshops will be exploring the writing process, focusing on creating charismatic characters and sensational settings!

Activities will be hands-on and fun! For students in years 3 to 6.

When? Thursday July 11, 9 - 12:30pm

Creating Spooky Houses with Sarah Davis

In this hands-on workshop, students will make a paper diorama of a haunted house with Sarah Davis, illustrator of "Sounds Spooky". Students will design character cutouts and set up and photograph little dioramas with spooky lighting! Students will go home with a photo print, and their house and characters. Very cool! For children in grades 3 to 6.

When? Tuesday July 9th, 9 - 12:30pm

Cost? $50 per student. All materials provided. Book early!

Last Minute Trials Revisions

Just before the HSC Trials commence… students will enjoy the opportunity for a quick revision of the English HSC Papers (Paper 1 and 2), reviewing the Area of Study and reviewing strategies for approaching Modules A-C. This Revision morning will focus on the Advanced Course and hand-outs are provided. For advanced students.

When? Monday July 8th, 9 to 1pm

Cost? $50 per student

Let's Go to the Circus

Children in this workshop will share the stories and adventures of the world of the Circus, enjoying craft and art activities based around this theme. And there is a prize for the best dressed Circus participant!

Workshop leader Jocelyn Shute is a talented Infants Teacher and a great friend of The Children’s Bookshop. For children aged 5 to 7.

When? Wednesday, July 10th , 9 to 11am

Cost? $30 per student. All materials provided. Book early!

Enquire at The Children’s Bookshop, 6 Hannah Street, Beecroft
tel: 02-9481 8811 or staff@thechildrensbookshop.com.au

Review: 10 Green Geckos

“There were ten green geckos living in our house,
but when one green gecko got taken by a mouse,
there were only nine green geckos living in our house.”


Adults and older children will recognise the Ten Green Bottles tune used in the story of ten mischievous little lizards.

Geckos are well known for their climbing ability, and in this book from Phillip Gwynne and Lloyd Foye, the geckos eat flies, swim in the sink, surf, and spin on the ceiling fan. As the cute little geckos get up to their antics, they disappear one by one, in keeping with the tradition of the song, until there are no green geckos left.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Review: Children's Creative Play

Keep it simple is the main message in this book. This is a well-written, easy read that aims to encourage creativity in children.

The main body of the book is divided into short chapters covering each developmental stage from babies to age seven. Each chapter concludes with a summary table and a list of suitable toys for the developmental stage under discussion.

Other chapters cover children who are reluctant to play, doll history and creative play.

Guest Post: Wendy Milton - Creating Believable Characters

Kids' Book Review is delighted to welcome Australian author Wendy Milton. Wendy is the author of three books for children and today is sharing her tips on how to create believable characters.

Creating Believable Characters

If characters aren’t believable, stories don’t succeed. How do you breathe life into fictitious beings? Sometimes characters become so real they appear to take over. Sounds crazy? I’ve often had the feeling my characters are doing this. There are characters in fiction, like the inimitable Harry Potter, who’ve become so real we think we know them. Yes, you need a good story, but it’s believable characters that will make your story tick.  Here are a few hints. I’ve used “he” instead of the more cumbersome “he or she”.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Review: Bertie

When Bertie is grumpy, EVERYONE is grumpy – the queen, the baby, the maid, the king and the little dog. What would happen if Bertie was happy?

In this simple book for toddlers by favourite picture book author/illustrator Pamela Allen, young children can read about how Bertie’s mood affects everyone around him. When Bertie is grumpy, everyone is unhappy, but when Bertie is happy, everyone is lighthearted, even the little dog.

Review: You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum (Mr Gum #1)

The first book in the Mr Gum series is hilarious. Side-splitting, gut-busting, laugh-a-minute funny. I don’t think I read more than three sentences at a time, without a silly chuckle.

Of course the character Mr Gum is completely awful and already picking his nose and eating it by the second page. His favourite TV show is Bag of Sticks, which is a show about a Bag of Sticks.

Mr Gum is not the only interesting character in this tale. All the characters in the book are odd with their silly names and their silly ways of speaking. Wait till you meet Peter the girl, Martin Launderette, who ran the Launderette and Billy William, who speaks ‘funty’.

Review: Queen Alice's Palaces

Queen Alice lives in a divine palace. It's gilded and grand and stands by the sea, the oldest (and also goldest) in the land.

When Sir Hugh (owner of the cruddiest and crumbliest palace) sees Alice's Palace, he feels self-righteously determined her palace should be his. By military coup, of course.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Review: Professor Fred Hollows (Aussie Heroes)

Most Australian adults would be familiar with the name Professor Fred Hollows, the eye doctor who worked to improve eye health in remote and Aboriginal communities. Children might recognise his name only from television and radio promotions for the Fred Hollows Foundation.

Prior to reading this book, I confess my own knowledge of Professor Hollows was limited to a vague awareness of his work performing cataract surgery in Australian remote communities and in poverty-stricken areas overseas.

Guest Post: Early Harvest Project with 100 Story Building


Back in May, the Emerging Writers’ Festival hosted a panel talk about writing in Melbourne’s west. That same week, 13 children ran into a room above West Footscray Library to get started on the second issue of a literary journal called early harvest. So it’s not only young writers emerging in the west, but young editors, too.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Review: No-Bot, the Robot with No Bottom!

You don’t even have to open the pages of this book to know that it will be popular with young children. It features a loveable looking robot and the word ‘bottom’. What more could a young child ask for? How about the sentence ‘Excuse me, Bear, have you been drumming on my bottom?’ See. I told you this book was a winner.

12 Curly Questions with author Chris Morphew

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
When I was little, I was convinced that I wanted to be a zookeeper and an astronaut when I grew up. Now I’m a primary school teacher and a science fiction writer. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about how far I’ve deviated from my original plans.

2. What is your nickname?
I don’t really have a proper, regularly-used nickname, but a few of my friends call me either Crispy or Kruz.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Maybe fear of grief? The idea of losing loved ones is awful to me. I mean, I don’t believe for a second that this life is all there is, but there is really no getting around the suckiness of death.

4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
I write weird stories about finding redemption in dark places.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Our 2013 Unpublished Picture Book Manuscript Award Shortlist!


SHORTLIST 2013

We have been busy reading-bees, scouring a plethora of divine entries in our annual KBR Unpublished Picture Book Award, and we are delighted to announce the shortlist.

This list contains our winner and two runners-up, along with our three biggest-scoring, highly-commended entries.

Who will our winner be?

The Fix it Man by Dimity Powell

Aunt Adelaide’s Underpants by Belinda Landsberry

Too Plain by Ken Williams

Where Do Odd Socks Go? by Belinda Landsberry

Oomi by Michelle Lewry

Great Grandmother’s Walking Stick by Sarah Taylor

Our biggest congrats to the shortlistees, and stay tuned for our Winners announcement at 7pm on Monday 1 July! We will also announce our full list of Highly Commended stories and some Special Mentions.



Review: Doomsday (The Phoenix Files #6)

There are only 17 hours remaining in the countdown to the end of the world. Can Luke and his friends thwart Shackleton’s plans to release a super virus on an unsuspecting world? As they make a last attempt to overcome Shackleton and his supporters, they must also face the fact that win or lose, the world as they know it is coming to an end.

The final book in the six-book The Phoenix Files series, Doomsday brings this gripping sci-fi thriller story to its suspense-filled conclusion, with author Chris Morphew maintaining the tension until the final chapters.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Review: Toocool Series #5

Now in its fifth series, Toocool, presents five entirely new books to add to the collection featuring the ever-lovable character, Toocool, and his comrades Spike, Wong, Marcy, Bella and Bad Billy Brown. Resting as an almost brother companion to the Marcy series, these stories are not only perfect for the young boy readers, but with the cross over of characters between the Marcy and Toocool series, these are just as fitting for the girls and Marcy fans.

Written in the first person from Toocool’s perspective, the five books cover a range of topics and adventures. There are big bash 20/20 cricket matches that show Toocool and Marcy’s ingenious thinking skills and sense of humour. There are summer stays on Uncle Buck’s farm that see Spike and Toocool become little jackaroos to round up the cattle and help baby calves.

Review: A Hare, A Hound and Shy Mousey Brown

The cover of A Hare, a Hound & Shy Mousey Brown introduces readers to the characters with beautiful renditions of three animals: a hare, a hound and a mouse.

Hare is energetic and joyful. She loves dancing, and leaping, and living life to the full.

Hound is big and sleepy, and it looks like he doesn’t know what’s going on.

Shy Mousey Brown is small and quiet.

Review: Too Many Cheeky Dogs

On Monday I went to my auntie’s house and guess what I saw? One yellow cheeky dog sleeping on the floor?

Too Many Cheeky Dogs shares a wonderful array of colours and locations around a remote Australian Indigenous community as the story moves from this quiet beginning through the days of the week. Each day, more dogs are seen as the reader walks from one location to another until the exciting conclusion of the story.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Review: Tanglewood

On a far away island, Tanglewood lives alone. The tree stands tall and calls out to the birds and animals, but only the wind visits, blowing through the tree’s branches.

One day, Seagull takes shelter from a storm in Tanglewood’s twisted branches. The lonely tree has a friend at last, but what will happen when the Seagull continues her journey and Tanglewood is alone once more?

Tanglewood is a beautifully told story of loneliness, friendship and family. Margaret Wild weaves an emotional tale as she describes Tanglewood’s longing to belong and Vivienne Goodman’s illustrations are just gorgeous. I particularly love the 15 images on the double-page spread showing the seasons passing.

Review: Goodbye, Brecken

Anyone who has owned a pet will be familiar with the heartbreaking sense of loss when they die.

For children, it's especially difficult. It's often their first experience of grief and loss, and depending on their age, they might find it hard to understand that their beloved pet is never coming back. At times like these, a book such as Goodbye, Brecken can be invaluable.

Book List: The Seasons

Our changing seasons, their cyclic rhythm of life and poignant beauty have been the inspiration for many amazing children's books. Enjoy this list of books that put a chill in the air and the sunshine on your back.

Seasons (Saisons) by Blexbolex, Gecko Press, $29.99, 9781877467622. KBR review.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Shout Out: Eric Vale Super Male


We absolutely loved the debut book in the Eric Vale series by Michael Gerard Bauer - Eric Vale: Epic Fail - a kooky, beautifully-produced book that's ideal for encouraging kids to read.

We were subsequently thrilled to get our hands on the second book - Super Male - in which our hero, Eric of the woeful fortune, finally manages to shed his Epic Fail moniker. Things are looking up - but not for long.

When Mr Winter announces a study unit on superheroes and declares a superhero week, Eric knows it’s his time to shine. Superheroes are the coolest thing ever and Eric’s practically an expert on the subject.

Alas, luck is yet again far from his side, and Eric really should know that what goes up must come down.

This is another fabulously funny and thoroughly engaging schooltime romp by the talented Bauer. Coupled with truly sensational line drawings by the author's own son Joe, this is a series your boys - and girls - will devour at a supersonic rate. Also great for repeat reads.

You can see our review of Eric Vale: Epic Fail right here.

And don't worry, Eric fans, Eric Vale: Off the Rails will be out this August.

Creative Kids' Tales: Emerging Author Competition


Emerging Children’s Author of the Year Competition

Proudly supported by:


In 2013, will you be Creative Kids' Tales' Emerging Children's Author of the Year?

To enter, all you have to do is be an existing emerging author on their website, email to tell them you would like to be on the voting form then get your friends, family or work colleagues to vote for you. The more you promote yourself the more votes you can potentially collect.

Voting opens on 1 September. Any emerging authors who register with the website after 1 September will be ineligible to enter this competition, however, they will still be able to be a part of the website.

Opens: 1 September 2013 (you must be one of their emerging authors prior to the opening date).

Closes: 15 November 2013 at 11.59pm. Winners will be announced on the Creative Kids Tales website on 1 December 2013.

Fee: $15

Prize: The emerging author who secures the most votes will be awarded the winner. He/she will receive $200 worth of books from Australian Publisher extraordinaire, Ford Street Publishing and $100 cash.

The winner will also be a part of the next Creative Kids Tales National Archives snapshot, to be taken in December. For one full year, you will receive exposure on the National Library’s Pandora Archives website.

See Creative Kids' Tales for more.

Review: Tyrannosaurus in the Veggie Patch (Saurus Street #1)

Tyrannosaurus in the Veggie Patch is like 'Back to the Future' for the dinosaur loving set.

Jack finds a Tyrannosaurus in the Veggie Patch. He isn’t surprised, because he wished for one when he saw a shooting star.

The arrival of the dinosaur is immediately a problem as dinosaurs are very big, and they eat a lot. So Jack, his best friend Toby and dog Charlie go about the business of hiding the dinosaur.

Their action-packed romp leads them to an abandoned house and the T-Rex and the dog become quite good friends.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Review: Harris the Hero

Harris the puffin is lonely. All of the other seabirds seem to have friends, just not him. So to cheer himself up, he decides to set off on an adventure, but it's not long before he hears a cry for help — a baby seal has become lost and doesn't know how to get back to his island home. It's Harris to the rescue!

Harris flies low over the water, guiding the baby seal home. But the ocean is stormy and the little seal struggles in the big waves.

Review: The Princess and the Peas

Peas? Lily-Rose May is not a fan. No matter how hard her divinely-dedicated father tries, she can't bear a bite. Pea smoothies, cupcakes, cookies - nothing works. Young Lily-Rose just breaks out in spots and feels awfully poorly.

The doctor is called in. It's serious. And there's no cure. To push his point home, he pulls out a storybook about a young princess who was so allergic to peas, a single green orb under a tower of mattresses still managed to bruise her black and blue.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Review: The Littlest Bushranger

How lovely to see a celebration of Australian childhood in this adorable story about a kid with a very big imagination.

Jack sees his big sister off to school. He's too little for school but he's not too little to go on adventures. Using his sister's telescope, he spies over the backyard fence when suddenly a shadow swoops down from above, snatching the telescope from his hands.

An outlaw!

Blog Tour: The Creation of a Picture Book - The Littlest Bushranger

Kids' Book Review is delighted to welcome author Alison Reynolds, who is stopping by as part of the blog tour for her latest picture book, The Littlest Bushranger. Read on for Alison's explanation of the process of creating her wonderful new book and make sure you check out the giveaway details at the end of the post - there are some great prizes on offer!

The Littlest Bushranger arose from the publisher asking me to create a picture book about a bushranger.

I suspect that the publisher expected a very different book with a stereotypical bushranger robbing stage coaches and hiding out from the police.

Instead, I submitted a book that is very much from the viewpoint of the child. It’s set solely in Jack’s backyard, which transforms through the use of his imagination into a rainforest, desert and billabong. I sought to recapture the sense of your backyard being your entire world when you’re little. I wanted to empower Jack to be his own hero in his own world.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Review: That Boy, Jack

As I read this book, I really worried for That Boy, Jack. I was so concerned about what would happen to him, I couldn’t stop turning the pages.

This evocative book is the reason we read. To be entertained, to be worried, to be affected.

The story transports us to 1874, where we get to experience life in a mining town through the eyes of a normal boy. Just before his twelfth birthday, it is decided that Jack will work in the mines, like his father. The mines are terrifying and Jack is scared of going underground.

12 Curly Questions with author Janeen Brian

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you?
I stole a pencil sharpener from a local hardware shop when I was about seven.

2. What is your nickname?
It’s Neen, which I love for its sound, and the fact that it’s used by my family and oldest friends makes it special and endearing.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Of being unable to look after myself; of being dependent and possibly unable to create.

4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
Picture-creating, emotional, poetic, concise, humorous, tapping into the child’s psyche.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Review: Horribly Huge Book of Terrible Tudors (Horrible Histories)

The Tudors were a family who ruled England from 1485 to 1603 – five rulers (including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I) over 118 years who significantly influenced England and Great Britain.

While dry historical facts and figures such as this might interest (some) adults, most children will quickly lose interest. That’s where Horrible Histories comes in – sharing all the interesting, gory, quirky, unusual and unbelievable facts from history to engage children in learning about the past. The Horribly Huge Book of Terrible Tudors is a combination of two books, Terrible Tudors (published 1993) and Terrifying Tudors (published 1998), guaranteed to convince children that learning about history is anything but boring.