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

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Book List: Libraries

Libraries are free and fabulous, and they can open up whole new worlds. These picture books show how that’s possible, and will introduce young children to the concept, helping to excite them about books and libraries.

Maisy Goes to the Library by Lucy Cousins, Walker Books, $11.95, 9781406306965

Review: Child Convicts (Our Stories)

Most people would be surprised to hear that children as young as nine were transported to Australia as convicts, and in fact eight convicts in the First Fleet were under fifteen years of age. These children were treated as adults and punished the same way.

Why were children so young sentenced to such harsh punishment? What would life have been like for them in Australia?

Our Stories: Child Convicts is the story of life in the then mysterious and isolated Great Southern Land. It’s divided into sections like ‘From Gaol to Colony’ and ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ as it explores how convicts went from arrest to transportation to settling in a foreign country. Food supplies and escape attempts are also covered, and a short glossary and list of references provided.

Review: Rosie Revere, Engineer

I simply adored Iggy Peck, Architect, so was falling all over myself to get hands on copy of this follow-up book--this time featuring the lovely Rosie Revere--Engineer.

There is so much to like about this book. Andrea Beaty's story concept is truly brilliant because it's not been over-thought or steeped in morals. It's just about a kid who loves to create ... hot dog dispensers and helium pants are just two of her fabulous inventions.

Review: Hannah's Night

One night, a little girl called Hannah wakes up and finds she's the only person awake in her house. Her sister is sleeping. Her parents are sleeping. The house is hers to explore!

So, together with her cat Shiro, Hannah makes the most of the opportunity. She enjoys a midnight snack then borrows some of her sister's things and takes them back to her bed to play with. Through the richly textured illustrations and carefully chosen words, we can feel just how much Hannah relishes the opportunity to use items that her sister would probably never let her touch if she was awake!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Review: The Wombats go on Camp

What happens when a group of small children with big personalities go on their first camp? You’ll find out in The Wombats Go On Camp. Join Ms Annabel and Mrs Nott (affectionately known as ‘Mumbat’) as they take a busload of quirky kids on their first camping adventure.

There is a profile for each of the children inside either the front or back covers. It’s worth reading them before and then again after you read the story for the first time. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I was sold on this book before I turned beyond the endpages inside the front cover where I was introduced to Audrey Gaudrey who includes the following line in her profile – ‘Enemy: Ava, because she misplaces her apostrophes.’ I thought I was the only person who judged people based on apostrophe abuse.

Review: My First Animalia

When Animalia was first released in 1986, it became an instant bestseller, adored by children and adults all over the world. The book has now achieved classic status, with global sales of over three million copies.

This beautiful new version - My First Animalia - is designed for younger kids, and is a fine introduction to both the original book and to the alphabet.

Tall-format and beautifully-produced, it features two letters per page with a half page flap that opens out to reveal a snapshot of the original book's pages.

Event: Documentary Launch - 'Literacy: The Buk bilong Pikinini Way'


You are invited to attend a special fundraising event to benefit the creation of children's libraries in Papua New Guinea.

We are looking forward to launching our new documentary 'Literacy: The Buk bilong Pikinini Way' by Tania Nugent.

Thursday 14 November 2013

Lunch time event: 12:30 pm - 2.00 pm
or
Evening event: 7.00 pm - 9.00 pm

PNG High Commission Haus Kamasan
39-41 Forster Crescent, Yarralumla
Canberra
RSVP by Friday 8 November, indicating which event you would like to attend: annesophie@bukbilongpikinini.org or or 02 61201801

Light refreshments will be served.

Buk bilong Pikinini patron and Australian author Drusilla Modjeska will be speaking about early childhood learning and literacy.

Access to this event is free, however if you would like to make a donation to fight illiteracy in Papua New Guinea, it would be much appreciated.

For more information, please visit our website www.bukbilongpikinini.org

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Review: Mudpoo and the Fungus Mystery


Australian animals and bush settings are the draw cards in this third book of the Mudpoo adventure stories. Tightly knitted to the storyline, and reflected in all the scenes of camaraderie between the characters, is the easy-going lifestyle of the bush and the beauty of the natural world.  But the book’s value is due in large part to the exceptional and detailed ink pen artwork depicting the plethora of Australian native birds and animals.

12 Curly Questions with author/illustrator Roland Harvey

1. Can you tell us something hardly anyone knows about you?
I only have five toes on my left foot. I also would have liked to be Groucho Marx.
He said: “Time flies like an arrow; Fruit flies like a banana”.

2. Do you have a nickname?
At school: ‘Harv’ and ‘Harfless’. Also ‘Roly’, at the moment: ‘Rolie’, and in my first job: ’Lurch’ and ‘Spasm’ (I think I had a twitch).

3. What is your greatest fear?
That I will die knowing the beautiful Australian environment has been trashed and I didn’t do enough about it and no-one will care.

4. Can you describe your writing style for us in ten words?
Humorous, quirky, ‘Zany’, irreverent, correctly punctuated and spelled,  eccentric, devious, informative, unpredictable, always with the right number of words…

5. What are five positive words that describe you as a writer?
Spasmodic, creative, thorough, enthusiastic, shabbily-dressed.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Event: Reading for Australia Challenge

Reading for Australia’s second online literary festival will be held during November 2013 to promote the 2014 Kids’ Lit  Quiz™ Australia competition! Kids’ Book Review is delighted to welcome Reading for Australia coordinator Linda De Silva, who will explain more about the upcoming literary festival and the Kids' Lit Quiz™ competition.

Reading for Australia is an online book site aimed at the reading interests of 10 to 13 year olds. Although the target readership is children aged 10 to 13, all book-lovers (including adults) are welcome to participate in and contribute to the discussions.

During November 2013, a number of guest authors, artists and other creators with an interest in children’s literature, including Isobelle Carmody, Mark Carthew and Sean Williams, will write guest posts for our audience of avid readers – both in Australia and overseas.  There’ll also be book reviews and recommendations by kids from around the world, together with other guest posts on the book industry.

Launched on 30 April 2013 by the Kids' Lit Quiz Australia (a not-for-profit incorporated association) Reading for Australia is an initiative of the parents and friends of the 2013 Australian team to promote the Kids' Lit Quiz™.

KBR Short Story: Supermarket Ghost

by Zoë Disher

Frank haunted the supermarket aisles. He had a lovely time—much better than when he’d worked there when he was alive. He hung off trolleys so they steered wonky. He knocked bottles of maple syrup off the shelves. He rolled tins of baked beans under people’s feet.

Frank sometimes got lonely, though. The only person who could see him was Sue, his old boss, and she always said:

‘Frank! Behave yourself,’

and

‘Stop that right now!’

So she wasn't very good company at all.

One day, Sue saw Frank behaving extremely badly indeed. He was wrestling a jar of olives from the deli girl. No one else could see him. They just saw the girl screaming as she waved the jar around. A crowd of customers had gathered to watch. Some were taking photos.

Then the jar rose by itself, hovered in the air and went flying across the deli to smash on the bench. The deli girl fainted. A huge Swiss cheese rose next. It wobbled up into the air and hung there like a holey UFO.

The customers all ran out of the shop.

‘A ghost!’ they shouted.

‘Aliens!’

‘The bogeyman!’

‘Tax inspectors!’

‘Frank!’ snapped Sue. ‘Put that down!’

‘There’s a monster!’ Frank whimpered, holding the cheese high. ‘I’m trying to squash it.’

‘Rubbish!’ said Sue with her hands on her hips. ‘Monsters don't exist. Now tell me what's really going on here.’

‘I felt it last night,’ said Frank in a low voice. ‘A horrible monster with cold feet ran over my face. Today I saw it sitting on the ham. It’s hiding behind the meat slicer.’

Frank pointed, dropping the cheese which bounced off the deli girl and rolled away.

Sue peered behind the meat slicer. She could see something that looked like a dirty tea towel. She picked up some tongs to fish it out. The tea towel trembled and sat up.

‘Ugh! It’s a rat,’ cried Sue, jumping back. The rat fled from behind the slicer and ran up her arm and onto her head. It was a ghost rat with glowing red eyes and a flat head where a trolley had run over it.

‘Get it off!’ screamed Sue, running in circles. ‘I hate rats!’

‘A rat! Awesome!’ said Frank and he plucked it off Sue’s head.

‘Get rid of it!’ cried Sue. ‘It’s filthy!’ She was shaking all over and frantically wiping her hair with her apron. The ghost rat had left a snail-trail of slime.

But Frank didn’t get rid of the rat. He liked it. He stroked its fur and sang it a little song. Soon it sat up and groomed its whiskers, turning its squashed head to the side to look at him.

After that, Frank wasn’t lonely anymore. He called the rat Gooey and trained him to run down the backs of people’s shirts. They had a great time together.

As for Sue, she hated rats so much, she had to take a long holiday. She never came back.



Zoë Disher is a writer living in Newcastle where she gets up extraordinarily early to write before the kids are awake. Visit Zoe's website to find out more.


KBR Short Stories are a way to get your work ‘out there’—and to delight our KBR readers. Stories are set to a monthly theme and entries are due in the 25th of each month. Find out more here.

Review: Everything We Ever Saw

Roland Harvey’s family holiday adventure books are some of my favourite picture books. Showcasing a variety of distinctive Australian environments, from the bustling city to the remote Top End and the bush to the beach, these books are a wonderful tribute to family, fun and the diversity of our Australian culture and landscape.

Everything We Ever Saw is a compilation of Harvey’s six holiday adventure books:
At the Beach
In the Bush
In the City
To the Top End (KBR review)
All the Way to WA (KBR review)
On the Farm (KBR review)

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Children's Week: Book Summary: The Youngest One

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

The Youngest One is a book about a boy called Craig Martin He is very passionate about AFL but this is an interest he shares with no one in his family. Craig finds life quite hard as his sister Julie is sarcastic. He shares a room full of bugs and has a brother called Leigh who teases him.

When his Dad loses his job everything goes bad. Everyone is devastated and they go bankrupt. When the kids step in, they go around helping random people do house work for a small payment. After a while their parents find out and their Dad gets depressed.

Children's Week: Review: The Breadwinner

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

I thought that The Breadwinner was the most outstanding, amazing, intriguing book I’ve ever read!
I loved every single part of it and I finished it in about 4 days because once I picked it up I could not put it down!

Once I had finished it I basically missed it!

I loved the fact that it explained what had happened to Afghanistan, and that The Taliban was in charge and the rules that he had made about women wearing burqas and that if women had to leave their house they had to use their husband, son or any man as an escort.

Children's Week: Review: Parvana's Journey

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

Parvana’s Journey was the best book I have ever read!  It was absolutely amazing!  When I picked up The Breadwinner (which is Deborah Ellis’ other book), I looked at the cover and thought “this is going to be boring”.  When I actually read the book I was so shocked at how good it was and here I am now sharing with you my book review on the second one – and this one is even better!!

I think that Parvana’s Journey is a good sized book and is just right for our age.  The book was very detailed and I think that Deborah Ellis is very good at hooking people in to her books.  I just wanted to read more and more and I think you will want to too.

Children's Week: Review: Who am I? The Diary of Mary Talence

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

About the book
Who Am I? The Diary of Mary Talence, Sydney 1937 is a wonderful book about an Aboriginal girl called Mary Talence.  She was taken from her family when she was only 5 years old to a place called Bomaderry, where she grew up.

When she was 10 years old, a family called the Burkes adopt her and she doesn’t fit in.  After a while she starts to question why she doesn’t fit in.

Children's Week: Review: The Youngest One

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

The Youngest One is about Craig Martin, an eleven-year- old boy who is keen to prove himself to the world. His big brother Leigh is always teasing him, his big sister Julie nags him all the time, his mum still treats him like a baby and his dad is so tied up in his work and is never around.

Craig’s family were miserable because their dad lost his job, along with his sense of humour, and he’d recently gone missing, leaving his family to survive without any money to buy what they needed and to pay the bills.

Children's Week: Review: The One and Only Ivan

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

The One and Only Ivan is a book suitable for children from ages 8 to 12 years old. The story is about a Gorilla named Ivan who lives in the Exit 8 Big Top Circus Mall with a stray dog called Bob and an elephant called Stella. There is a girl called Julia who comes to complete her homework at the mall while her father George does the cleaning. Mack is the owner of the Big Top Circus Mall who bought Ivan as a baby and now Ivan has lived at the mall for 9855 days.

A gorilla’s job is to protect his family but in the mall Ivan has no family until the day that Mack buys another elephant called Ruby. A couple of days after Ruby arrives, Stella dies. Ivan decides to protect Ruby from Mack who is hurting her with his training weapon when he is trying to teach her tricks so she can perform for tourists at the mall.

Children's Week: Review: Who Could That Be at This Hour?

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

The book I am telling you about is called "Who Could That Be at This Hour?" (All The Wrong Questions #1) by Lemony Snicket.

The Problem
People were trying to steal the Bombinating Beast, especially Hangfire, who had a few people help him. It was Lemony’s job to keep the Beast safe while Theodora took naps and cried once.

They lost and claimed The Bombinating Beast in the book, which I really liked.

It’s like everyone had a chance  in the book to have the Beast but Pip, Squeak and the Mitchum family. Sally Murphy almost had the Beast but missed out. On the other hand Lemony , Ellington, the Mallahan family and maybe Thoedora, because she works with Lemony, got the Bombinating Beast once or twice.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Children's Week: Review: Parvana's Journey

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

Parvana’s Journey is a brilliant sequel to The Breadwinner, which is suitable for children between the ages of 9 to 15. The book is about a girl called Parvana who is searching for her family. At the start of the book Parvana’s dad died and they had a funeral. After that Parvana started her journey and along the way she found a mud hut village with a barn, chickens and a goat.

When she walked into a damaged house, she found a baby boy with his deceased mother next to him. Parvarna wanted to keep the baby, and after a couple of days she finally came up with a name for him, she called him Hassan. After another couple of days walking, they found a cave with a boy called Asif inside it. Parvana told him a story about treasure and they tried digging but they only found a very rusty old box of bullets.

Children's Week: Review: Parvana's Journey

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

Parvana’s Journey is a sequel to the international bestselling book, The Breadwinner.

This remarkable story is about a young girl’s journey to find her mother and her siblings in a war torn Afghanistan. The book starts at her father’s funeral  and Parvana, disguised as a boy, has the courage and determination to continue the journey on her own. Along the way she finds orphaned children who join her in her search.

The book is not written for the fainthearted as there is a lot of death and brutality from living in a war zone. The story is well written and very interesting and it captures the reader’s mind. 

After reading The Breadwinner, I really wanted to read this book to see what happens next and I have not been disappointed.

The rating for this book is a 4.5 out of 5.

- This review by Jared McFadgen, a member of the St Mary's Catholic Primary School Kalgoorlie Book Club.

KBR Note: The Breadwinner was published in Australia by Allen & Unwin with the title Parvana.

Title: Parvana's Journey
Author: Deborah Ellis
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $15.95 RRP
Publication Date: November 2002
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781865089997
For ages: 11-14
Type: Middle Fiction

Children's Week: Review: The Youngest One

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

A boy named Craig Martin has a passion football, but his family is not too supportive. His sister Julie nags him, his brother Leigh teases him all the time and his mother treats him like a baby. The last thing that Craig needs is something bad to happen but something bad does happen. His parents are depressed because Craig’s dad has lost his job and they are running out of money.

Craig has made things easier for others in different ways, but just doesn't notice until his dad runs away and Craig stops playing football. People then came and tell Craig how his footy made them happy.

Craig’s dad comes back but he is not so easily forgiven by Julie. In the end they are a very happy family!

Children's Week: Review: Prince Caspian (Narnia)

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

The book Prince Caspian is about four children called Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. They all get transported to Narnia when they were waiting for the trains to go to boarding school. They had to get split up because the boys went to one school and the girls went to another. When they got to Narnia they had an adventure with Prince Caspian that I found very interesting.

What I Liked
I liked the book Prince Caspian because it was very wondering and full of mystery. The blurb was very convincing so I could not help reading the book.

Children's Week: Review: Who am I? The Diary of Mary Talence

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

I have never known what it is like to live away from your real family and with foster parents, but this book makes me feel as if I had known what it is like.

This book is called Who Am I? The Diary of Mary Talence by Anita Heiss. The book is about a girl named Amy Charles whose name was changed to Mary Talence when she was taken to Bomaderry Aboriginal Children’s Home at just 5 years old.

These are some of the characters in this book: Her foster parents, Marj, Matron Rose & other children in the Bomaderry Home.

Children's Week: Review: Parvana's Journey

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

Parvana’s Journey is about a girl called Parvana who is journeying in Afghanistan. She comes across a strange noise while journeying, “what is it?” you might say, but you will have to read the book to find out!

I really enjoyed reading Parvana’s Journey. When you see the cover you don’t think it’s going to be good but once you start to read it, it is absolutely amazing. But remember this is the sequel to The Breadwinner, so make sure to read The Breadwinner first! If I was to give it a rating out of five, I would give it a FIVE!

Children's Week: Review: The One and Only Ivan

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

Ivan is an easy-going gorilla who is used to humans watching his every move through the glass of his cage. He can hardly remember his life is the jungle or what happened to his family. That is, until a baby elephant called Ruby arrives. Suddenly Ivan sees his home through new eyes and knows he must do something to make sure Ruby doesn’t end up like him.

Ivan is a very friendly and caring gorilla. Ivan grew up in a video arcade in exit 8. Ivan LOVES art and TV shows and just because of that he saved himself and one of his baby elephant friends called Ruby. This all happened when they were in a prison, slowly Ivan’s life started to change because of his little friend. Ivan has many friends here at the mall, and Stella the elephant is one of them.

Children's Week: St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Kalgoorlie Book Club

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

Today we will feature a series of reviews provided by Year Four students from St Mary's Catholic Primary School in Kalgoorlie, WA. The students regularly write reviews for the books they read as part of their group and we are very excited to have them sharing their recommendations here on Kids' Book Review. We are also grateful to St Mary's Extension and Enrichment Support Teacher Julie Gardner for introducing the Book Club to us.

The Year Four students at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, have been engaged in their very own Book Club over the past two terms.

Book Club meetings are held fortnightly with the members coming together to discuss the book they have been reading and to fulfill the Book Club roles they have been assigned. Some of these roles include:

The Host: The host is responsible for thinking of new and interesting ways to conduct the Book Club meetings. Group hosts need to provide food (complete with recipes), beverages, costumes and anything else that will provide some atmosphere to the meeting in a way that is relevant to the book that is being read.

Review: Holy Crushamoly! (Girl V the World)

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

Phoebe has never been considered as smart, but after a school speech everyone is shocked. Soon after, she is asked to join a school debating team. She is surprised, but this means after school meetings, competitions and hanging out with Jagath, her new teammate and secret crush.

But when Phoebe’s dad discovers she is hanging out with Jagath, he strongly disagrees with it. Phoebe struggles to understand why her dad is so against him, he doesn’t even know him! Now Phoebe has to decide whether to stand up for what she believes in.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Children's Week: Review: Verity Sparks, Lost and Found (Verity Sparks #2)

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

Have you read Verity Sparks? Are you ready for some new mysteries to be solved? Then let’s embark on this new adventure with multiple mysteries to be solved! 

Verity has now found her dad, who is now nagging her to go to an exclusive boarding ladies college. When she arrives, a very rude girl, without even asking permission to come into Verity’s room, comes in and digs out all Verity’s treasured things.

Children's Week: Review: The Day the Crayons Quit

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

The story is about a boxful of complaining crayons who are unhappy about how they are being used.

The main characters are Duncan, a young boy and his box of crayons.

Children's Week: Book List: Favourites School Stories From My Bookshelf by Pippa


We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

Favourites from my bookshelf by Pippa, 11, WA

Are you interested in school-themed books? Want some good reads for yourself or a present for someone else? Here are some great reads straight from my bookshelf.

The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (7 books)

A very popular series of books about a boy who finds he is a wizard and sets off to wizarding school. He finds out about his dark past, battles with Voldemort (a dark wizard who wishes to kill him) and makes friends. This book is good for children ages 10-16 (and adults!)

Children's Week: The Coolest People in Australian History

 

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with or about kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

 I recently had the pleasure of going on virtual tour with my new junior faction historical novel, Caroline Chisholm: The Emigrant's Friend. As part of my journey, I stopped at the glorious Soup Blog, where clever kids and reading kids tend to go, and asked this question:

Who are your top 5 coolest people in Australian history?

I was astonished at the results. Expecting Ned Kelly x 5, these kids totally impressed me with lists of both well-known people (and some Ned Kellys--I also nominated him!) and people I had never even heard of. They also listed many literary people, and I loved their responses so much, I just had to share them with you during Children's Week.

You can see the original post on Soup Blog here, including my top 5. And if you click on the poster above, you can see the full Caroline Blog Tour.

Celine, 11

I like your choice of cool people in history; one of your coolest people in your list is in mine as well. Here’s my list:

1. Mary Haydock
Mary Haydock ran away from the house where she was in service at the age of 13, disguised as a boy. She was caught stealing a horse and was sent to seven years transportation. When she was a convict, she married a free settler and businessman Thomas Reibey. Thomas died in 1811. Mary expanded many businesses, raised her family, and became extremely rich and did many charitable works. Her portrait is on the twenty-dollar note.

2. Ned Kelly
Ned Kelly is one of those people who some think is a villain and some think is a hero. I personally thought that Ned Kelly was a villain, but after I went into further research about Ned Kelly, I changed my mind. He’s cool!

3. John Simpson Kirkpatrick
Simpson was an ordinary boy who at the age of 21, signed up to go to war. He found a donkey, and used him to help carry wounded soldiers back to the hospital. John and Duffy (his donkey), saved many lives and was beginning to be known to lots of the enemies, and they were beginning to be angry. One day, a Turkish soldier sneaked up on John and shot him. Duffy still continued to take the wounded soldier to the hospital because he had already memorised the path. This made not only John Simpson Kirkpatrick a hero, but his donkey as well.

4. Andrew Barton Paterson
Andrew Barton Paterson (Banjo Paterson) wrote the words to the famous song “Waltzing Matilda”. I think he is one of the coolest people in history because he wrote about what people were doing in the rural areas of the country that he loved.

5. Jandamarra
Jandamarra was friends with an Englishmen called Richardson and joined the police force with him. However, when he was assigned to kill his own people in jail, he refused. Instead, Jandamarra changed sides and freed his own people. From then on Jandamarra was on the list of “wanted”. I think he’s cool because he never betrayed his own people.

Joseph, 9

1. Donald Bradman – he was a great cricket player

2. AB (Banjo Paterson) because of his bush poetry.

3. CJ Dennis who also wrote bush poetry

4. Cathy Freeman – a very fast runner

5. Fay Kathleen Howe – she lived on Breaksea Island in a lighthouse in WA and even when she was still a girl she used to pass on telegraph messages from soldiers on passing ships to the soldiers’ families during the war.

Matilda, 7

I like Banjo Paterson because of his poems and May Gibbs because I like Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and my Great Nana because without her I wouldn’t be born.

Pippa, 11

1. Howard Florey who discovered Penicillin

2. Edmund Barton – Australia’s first Prime Minister and he pushed for Federation

3. Mary MacKillop – the first Australian saint

4. Lionel Logue – the Australian speech therapist who helped King George VI

5. Can I put me? :-) I’m a poet, writer, musician, composer, editor, book reviewer, publisher, scientific discoverer, mathematician … and more to come!

Jamie

My Five coolest People in Australian History

1. Ned Kelly the famous bushranger.

2. Sir Donald Bradman amazing cricketer

3. Captain Cook found Australia.

4. C.Y. O’ Connor a famous engineer who built water pipelines and got water to Kalgoorlie gold fields.

5. Banjo Patterson famous for his poetry.

How brilliant are these kids!?

Leave a comment and see if you can impress me with YOUR top 5 coolest people from Australian history.

- Tania McCartney

Review: An Aussie Year

Meet Zoe, Kirra, Matilda, Lily and Ned - five young Aussies ready to take you on a childhood adventure through twelve months in the life of Australian kids.

Close your eyes. Think about all the things that say ‘Australia’ to you – the sights, sounds, events, places, activities and celebrations. How about the Sydney City to Surf marathon or the Henley-on-Todd regatta in the Northern Territory? What about book week character costumes, tomato sauce on meat pies, football season, Reconciliation Day, pavlova, swinging on the clothesline, and breakfast in bed for Mum on Mother’s Day?

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Children's Week: Review: WeirDo

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

What is this story about?
A boy who is new to a school. He has a strange name that everyone laughs at, but he wants to make new friends and join in things at school.

Who are the main characters?
A boy called Weir and his new friends called Bella and Henry.

What problems or challenges do these characters face?
Weir and Henry have problems with a boy called Blake Green, who is a bully at their school.

What is the climax of the story, when things get the most problematic or exciting?
It was exciting when Henry and Weir were about to get in trouble because Blake Green had tricked them into doing the wrong thing, but they ended up becoming friends instead.

Children's Week: My Favourite Book: Dorothy's Garden


We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

Which characters are in Dorothy’s Garden?
Dorothy, Wags, Henry, Captain and The Wiggles — Jeff, Anthony, Sam and Murray. Not Lachy, Emma or Simon.

What happens in the story?
They all plant Dorothy’s Garden and the seeds bloom into flowers.

Why do you like the book?
I just do. Dorothy makes me laugh and so does Jeff when he falls asleep in the bushes.

What is your favourite part of the story?
When the flowers bloom and bloom and they grow like my plants.

Which is your favourite picture?
I like the front (cover). It is colourful.

- This review brought to you by Lilly, age 2, South Australia. (Lilly is a huge fan of The Wiggles — both past and present — and was lucky enough to find this book at a local garage sale!)

Title: Dorothy's Garden (The Wiggles)
Author: Kathleen Warren
Illustrator: Paul E. Nunn
Publisher: Parragon, $10.99 RRP
Publication Date: 2010
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781407589879
For ages: 0+
Type: Picture Book

Children's Week: Book List: Art and Artists

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

This Book List of fabulous books about art and artists was compiled by Elizabeth, age 12, daughter of Kids' Book Review Managing Editor, Susan Whelan

Seen Art? by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, Viking, $24.99, 9780670059867

Children's Week: My Favourite Book: Old Tom's Big Book of Beauty


We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

What is this story about?
It is about Old Tom (a very messy cat) being given a book by his friend Angela Throgmorton, it is a book about making yourself beautiful. Old Tom loves this book and he decides to read it every day. He changes from messy Old Tom to a not-messy Old Tom. He gets to go to lots of parties.

What are the main characters?
Old Tom and Angela Throgmorton.

Children's Week: My Favourite Book: Charlotte's Web


We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

Charlotte’s Web is about friendship and helping each other out. The book is based on animals who live on a farm. The farmers thought they were just ordinary animals but they were special animals that made a difference.

The main characters are Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider. Charlotte is a very smart, kind and helpful friend to Wilbur. Wilbur is funny and friendly, but is unsure of what goes on at the farm. There is also a human character called Fern, a kind little girl who loves animals, who saved Wilbur’s life by telling her father not to kill the runt pig. Fern’s father said she could raise the piglet.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Children's Week: Review: The Hunt

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with or about kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

Ava (5) attended the launch of Narelle’s book, Don’t Let a Spoonbill in the Kitchen, with me earlier in the year. This is a book Ava has come back to time and time again, as children often do when they have a personal connection with a book, such as going to a book launch or hearing an author speak at their school.

She came across Narelle’s book, The Hunt, recently, and instantly spotted a spoonbill bird in this one as well – she’s pretty convinced that Narelle must put spoonbills in all her books.

Children's Week: Book List: Logan's List

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews and articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here

This Book List of favourites was contributed by Logan, 12-year-old nephew of KBR Consultant Librarian, Sarah Steed.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, HarperCollins, $14.99, 9780007458424.

The Hobbit is about Bilbo Baggins and, thirteen dwarves I think it is, and Gandalf the wizard, and they’re trying to reclaim the treasure that Smaug the Magnificent stole from them. And Smaug is a giant dragon, who is awesome.

The Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien, HarperCollins, $39.99, 9780007488360.

It’s about Frodo, Sam, Pippin, Merry, Gandalf, Gimli, Legolas, Aragorn, and Boromir. And they’re on a quest to destroy the one and only ring, which is basically evil and turns you invisible when you put it on.

Children's Week: Guest Post: Erik Weibel and The Adventures of Tomato and Pea

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

Kids' Book Review  is delighted to welcome Erik Weibel. This amazing 11-year-old not only runs his own book blog (This Kid Reviews Books), he is committed to breaking his school AR (Advanced Reader) points record, is using his super reading prowess to raise money to help another child, and has even written and published his own book, The Adventures of Tomato and Pea

We think Erik is not only an inspiring reader (you can find his amazing list of 2013 reads here), but also a gifted writer and we are especially delighted to have Erik visit Kids' Book Review today to share about writing his first book.

First I’d like to thank the nice people at Kids' Book Reviews for allowing me to be a guest here today!

I’m Erik, the blogger at This Kid Reviews Books (TKRB)! I am an 11-year-old kid in the 6th grade that loves to read. I started reading independently at an early age (my mom says around 4). I have always loved reading books and I had an idea when I was nine that I would write book reviews for newspapers. My dad suggested that I start a book review blog instead of trying to get a newspaper to hire me.

I have been reviewing books for two years now and I LOVE it (the funny thing is, I now also write a monthly book column for a local free newspaper too). I just self-published my first book called The Adventures of Tomato and Pea: Book 1, A Bad Idea.

Children's Week: Review: Family Forest

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

The story is about a kid talking about his family and all the different people that make up his family.

The main characters are Eliza, Harriet, Dad and Dad (he has two dads) and Babs the stepmum. I think the main character is a boy but we don’t really know his name. He is telling us the story.

Children's Week: Review: The Eye of Minds (Mortality Doctrine #1)

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

 ‘For Michael and the other gamers, the VirtNet can make their wildest fantasies become real…’

VirtNet is a virtual reality where all go to try to reach Lifeblood Deep, the last level in the game where the game is most realistic. Michael, the protagonist, is trying to convince someone to stop committing suicide, but Michael makes a mistake and the girl rips out her Core, the only thing stopping her from dying in the game, and jumps…

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Children's Week: Review: Fantastic Mr Fox


We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

I like listening to audio books because they make a picture of the book in your head. 

With this audio book from the library, I could read along with the book while I listened but sometimes I like just listening without the book too. I like the voices they do for the characters.

Children's Week: Review: The Extraordinary Mr Qwerty

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

One of the newest additions to our bookshelf is The Extraordinary Mr Qwerty by Karla Strambini. This book is a beautiful celebration of creativity and individuality. Mr Qwerty worries that other people will think his ideas are strange, so he keeps them under his hat, but ideas can’t stay hidden for long.

Strambini’s detailed black and white illustrations with a dash of colour are simply spectacular. I often find my 6 year old son, James, reading this book or browsing through the illustrations, so I asked him what he thought of it.


I think the Mr Qwerty book is really good because Mr Qwerty has lots of ideas.

Mr Qwerty is the main character and he likes to invent things. Mr Qwerty feels alone because he thinks people will think his ideas are strange. I don’t think his ideas are strange, they are really cool!

He hides his ideas under his hat, so the people can’t see them. Then his idea escapes and it helps to make everybody’s ideas come true.

The pictures are great. They are mostly black and white but some bits are colour. Everyone is wearing a hat and there are lots of birds too.

- This review by James, aged 6, the son of Melissa from Honey Bee Books.


Title: The Extraordinary Mr Qwerty
Author/Illustrator: Karla Strambini
Publisher: Walker Books, $29.99 RRP
Publication Date: 1 August 2013
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781921720703
For ages: 5+
Type: Picture Book

Children's Week: Book List: Horses

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews and articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here

This fabulous horse Book List has been provided by Ella, age 13, daughter of KBR Founder and author Tania McCartney www.taniamccartney.com.

The Canterwood Crest series by Jessica Burkhart (Aladdin, $9.99, ages 9 - 13)