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

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year from KBR

Nicky Johnston

The team at KBR would like to take this opportunity to thank our readers for another incredible year. Without you, we could not be the success we are today--the #1 children's book review site on the web.

We are a 100% voluntary site, and it brings us much joy to share with you the best books, reviewed without compromise, every year.

We hope you will join us in 2017 for another 12 months of bookish delight, from board books to YA.

KBR will pause for two days for the drinking of bubbles and subsequent recovery time, then posts will begin again on 2 January. Traditionally, January is relatively quiet on KBR as Australia breaks for the long hot summer and school holidays, but watch for things to pick up again in February as school goes back!

Happy New Year!
pop! fizz!

Friday, 30 December 2016

Book List: Living and growing up in a digital world

You may be fully immersed in the digital world, or perhaps you've only dipped your toe into it, or maybe you are struggling to come to terms with the way young people engage online. Whichever resonates the most with you, these books are a chance to explore and better understand the ever-changing world of digital youth culture.

It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd, Yale University Press, $23.95, 9780300199000

Review: The Curious Guide to Things That Aren’t

This is a gorgeous book which, as the title says, is about things that 'aren’t'. That’s not to say they are things that don’t exist, because they absolutely do. It’s about things you can’t touch, smell, see, or contain.

The Curious Guide to Things That Aren’t is set out in alphabetical order with one thing for each letter of the alphabet. Each is introduced with clues like: it can make a liquid turn into a solid; when astronauts are up in space they don’t feel it at all; and it only has four letters, but is the most powerful force in the world.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Review: How Cities Work

Oh, heaven. I've been obsessed with Australian-in-New-York, James Gulliver Hancock's artwork for some time now. Here is a man determined to draw all the buildings in New York City. What's not to love?

I reviewed two of his previous [really for adults, but kids will love, too] books - All the Buildings in New York and Sydney right here. I love them. So, it was with hand-clapping glee that I learned about this newest incarnation--aimed directly at upper primary (elementary) kids.

Meet the Illustrator: Matt Glover

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Simple, fun and lazy.

What items are an essential part of your creative space? 
The only really essential thing, apart from my drawing materials, is solitude. No music, no talk back radio, no kids, nothing. Just the sounds of the world going by quietly in the background.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
The bulk of my work is digital, and I have enjoyed being able to experiment with just how much can be achieved in the digital environment. However, it’s hard to beat the feeling of a crisp new sketch book, a sharp 2B pencil, and a couple of hours of uninterrupted time to draw.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Review: Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact

The much-anticipated sequel to Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club is out – and it delivers.

For those who haven't read the first book, set in 1812 Regency London, it follows the orphaned Lady Helen Wrexhall, who was primped and preened and taught to be a lady of the highest manners by her Aunt, with the aim of attracting the most eminent suitor at her presentation ball.

Things don't go according to plan when the dark and mysterious Lord Carlston shows Helen she has Reclaimer powers to fight the dangerous energy-wielding Deceivers.

Review: What Do You Do with an Idea?

One day, an idea appears. A little egg with a golden crown, a boy stands intrigued.

Hmmm. What to do with an idea? Well, this one is a little strange and fragile-looking. Our lad decides he's not sure what to do with it. So he walks away.

But the idea follows.

And follows.

And over time, it grows.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Review: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Calpurnia Tate is whip smart, feisty and funny—very funny. Her life as an almost twelve-year-old on an 1899 Texan cotton farm might be different from today but Callie’s way of describing her six boisterous brothers, unfathomable Grandaddy and tiresome house chores had me snorting with delight.

Callie’s inquiring mind takes flight when her Grandaddy sets out to teach her the secrets of scientific discovery. With little more than a notebook for making observations, Callie learns the mystery and wonders of evolution in her backyard at a time when the concept of evolution was considered heresy.

12 Curly Questions with author Fred Holmes

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I always wanted to be an astronaut. I even applied to NASA, but was told I didn’t have the 'right stuff'. My problem was that I didn’t have a science or pilot background. Bummer! However, I made up for it by doing several films with NASA and got to know and work with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. I also got to attend two shuttle launches (amazing).

2. What is your nickname? 
The only nickname I ever had was Fast Freddy, given to me by my football coach in middle school, and so named because I was quick on my feet. I had to be. I was an undersized running back and if those big linemen ever caught me, I was dead.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Our Fave YA Reads of 2016

Our Fave YA Reads of 2016

So many great YA reads crossed our path this year. Here's some of our YA reviewers' faves. Linked titles lead to reviews, with more reviews coming soon.

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon
Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristof

The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis
Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (now available as audio book)

The Red Queen by Isobelle Carmody

Review: Star Wars: Galactic Atlas

The Star Wars Galactic Atlas is one of those books that straddles non-fiction and fiction, using imaginary worlds and creating old-style maps and charts to tell stories and offer a new perspective on the Star Wars universe for those who like to immerse themselves in that way.

You’ll be able to explore the desert planet of Tatooine and green planet of Naboo, follow the Empire as they attack the Rebels on Hoth, or join Luke Skywalker and Yoda as they trek the forests on Dagobah.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas from KBR

Jess Racklyeft

The whole team at KBR 
wishes you a Christmas that


We hope you find many a book 
in your Christmas stocking. 

From our homes in Australia to you--all around the world--
happy Christmas, dear and valued KBR peeps. 
Enjoy every precious festive moment.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Review: The Accidental Princess

Who could ignore a title like The Accidental Princess, especially when it is accompanied by such a gorgeous cover, and readers are promised that fans of The Magic Faraway Tree and the Narnia series won’t be able to resist it?

Open the pages and you won’t be disappointed, for what follows is a magical adventure with amazing creatures and fantastical places, all to be found just on the edge of reality, if only you could squeeze through the lilac hedge at the bottom of the garden to find it.

Luckily for us, this is just what Matilda and her sister, Iris, do. Lucky for the denizens of this enchanting world, too, as the girls come to their rescue from a dreadful evil that Matilda has inadvertently awakened.

Review: Baby Dance

It’s not often a book can be both a gentle bedtime story and an interactive dance inspiring activity, but that’s exactly what Baby Dance is.

This magical board book follows four Australian baby animals (including a rather cheeky cockatoo) as they dance and play the day away. Using simple language and delightful rhyme, Australian author Katrina Germein has created a fun, rhythmical story that is a joy to read and alluring to little ears. 

Friday, 23 December 2016

Review: The Outcasts (Brotherband #1)

The Outcasts is the first book in the Brotherband Series by John Flanagan, author of the highly successful Ranger’s Apprentice Series.

Skandia is a medieval world filled with warriors and pirates, battles and adventures, and a bunch of boys trying to find their place in the world.

The story centres on a group of misfit boys who, as part of their coming of age, must endure three months of tough physical training on land and sea to become warriors. Boys are grouped into Brotherbands for the training and all the strongest and most popular kids are chosen first, leaving a group of leftover outcasts to form their own Brotherband.

One Word with author Jacqueline Harvey

1. What is the best thing about being an author? 

2. What’s the worst thing?

3. How did writing the 14th book in the Alice-Miranda series make you feel? 

4. What do you hope it brings its readers? 

5. What else do you like to do? 

6. Who has influenced your writing the most? 

7. What has been your biggest career reward?

8. What is the most important contribution an author can make to the world? 

9. What’s your biggest writing goal?

10. What’s next?

Learn more about Jacquie's fabulous books 
at her website.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Review: Pig the Elf

Pig the Pug returns in a fantastic Christmas adventure that will have kids of all ages laughing out loud (and the adults too)! Many kids will already be familiar with Pig’s hilarious antics, and this story will definitely not disappoint fans!

Christmas eve has arrived and Pig can’t contain his excitement at the prospect of all the presents Santa is going to bring him! Earnest Trevor, writes his polite Christmas letter to Santa and dutifully puts himself to bed early, whilst naughty Pig writes a long list of Christmas demands and stays up late so he can get all the presents!

Meet the Illustrator: Suzanne Houghton

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Colourful, bright and full of fun.

What items are an essential part of your creative space? Along with my paint and pencils music is important to my creative space. I couldn’t survive, though, without my scanner and computer.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Inktense pencils would be my favourite but watercolour paint is a close second.

Name three artists whose work inspires you. Jackson Pollock, Alphonse Mucha, Franz Marc.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Review: The Heartless Troll

I actually ummed and ahhed over reviewing this book. I adore Oyvind Torseter's work, and have all of his books, but this one was a little outside both my comfort and 'like' zone.

Perhaps this is a good thing. I'm not sure.

Liking books is, of course, so subjective. As an author myself, I understand this well. It's not that I dislike The Heartless Troll. I guess it's just not my kind of book, and that's okay, because it will be someone else's kind of book.

Hence--herewith a review.

Review: Cheeky Monkey Manners Series - Listening / Taking Turns

Whether it be remembering to say please and I’m sorry, or learning to listen and take turns, the Cheeky Monkey Manners Series provides a wonderfully helpful and fun platform to teach young children manners.

In Lisa Kerr’s newest board books, Listening and Taking Turns, Cheeky Monkey is up to mischief again. He doesn’t mean to be cheeky, but he just can’t help himself.

In Taking Turns, Cheeky Monkey is most excited to have his friends over to play.

He loves showing off his new bubble blowing toy, his new skipping rope and even his favourite set of blocks but Cheeky Monkey needs to learn how to take turns, before all his friends leave. Luckily Mama suggests a great way to encourage Cheeky Monkey to share.

In Listening, Mama asks Cheeky Monkey to go to the shops to buy her some items but Cheeky Monkey hasn’t listened carefully and so he learns a lesson the hard way.

Young children will fall in love with Cheeky Monkey as they explore these new books about manners. Both the text and illustrations are fun and playful. A valuable addition to any household with young children, the Cheeky Monkey Manners Series is a great way of teaching and discussing the importance of learning manners.

Other titles in the series include Please, Excuse Me, Thank You and Sorry.

Title: Cheeky Monkey Manners series - Listening / Taking Turns
Author/Illustrator: Lisa Kerr
Publisher: The Five Mile Press, $9.95 (each)
Publication Date: 1 May 2016
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN: 9781760402679 / 9781760402662
For ages: 1+
Type: Board Book

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Review: JK Rowling's Wizarding World: A Pop-up Gallery of Curiosities

JK Rowling's Wizarding World: A Pop-up Gallery of Curiosities is a gift book for Harry Potter fans.

With a special cover (or case) that opens from the middle and has a magnetic closure, the 'pages' depict five scenes from the Harry Potter universe: Harry Potter's experience of the sorting hat, Newt Scamander's enchanted suitcase, the Whomping Willow at Hogwarts, the mischievous Niffler inside a bank vault in the Fantastic Beasts movie, and some Cornish Pixies creating havoc in Gilderoy Lockhart's classroom.

12 Curly Questions with author Carlie Gibson

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I can turn one eye inward toward my nose, and move it in and out. It’s creepy, and gives me a headache, so I reserve it for my very favourite people. And Halloween.

2. What is your nickname? 

3. What is your greatest fear?
The dark. I hate the feeling of not being able to see what’s around me. If I let it overtake me I feel completely panicked.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Review: The Bike Ride (A Maudie & Bear Story)

The Bike Ride is a cute, short story by Jan Ormerod about a little girl, Maudie, and her friend, Bear.

When Maudie decides she needs some exercise and Bear is keen for fresh air, a bike ride is suggested.

'Let’s go,' says Bear, but they’re delayed by Maudie who says she needs her sunglasses.

Then they need their hats, Maudie’s scarf, sunscreen, bug spray … I’m sure you get the idea. Each delay, or perhaps they’re distractions, results in a search as they fumble in boxes, try on a bunch of different hats, and muddle through bathroom cabinets until they find what they need.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Review: Yong

Yong’s father wants a better life for his family, but doing so means leaving them behind in China in the mid 1800s. As the oldest son, Yong thinks he should stay home and help his grandmother care for his brothers and sisters but his father doesn’t agree. So begins their journey to Australia during the great gold rush.

Janeen Brian takes us inside Yong’s heart and mind so we can share his anguish, his longing to rebel and his feelings of guilt. What is it like to bear the burden of your father’s expectations without being privy to his feelings? Is it always right to obey without question? When is it time to resist orders from authority?

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Review: The Family Hour in Australia

Did you know the platypus swims with its eyes closed? Were you aware a baby echidna is called a puggle? These facts and many more fill this delightful non-fiction picture book about Australian animals.

Written and illustrated by Tai Snaith, The Family Hour in Australia is a fun and informative picture book about a range of Australian animal families and the things they do each day. You will learn about the snacking habits of the numbat family and the sleeping patterns of the koala family, amongst many others.

One Word with author Jack Heath

1. What is the best thing about being an author?

2. What’s the worst thing?

3. How did writing The Fail Safe make you feel?

4. What do you hope it brings its readers?

5. What else do you like to do?

6. Who has influenced your writing the most?

7. What has been your biggest career reward?

8. What is the most important contribution an author can make to the world?

9. What’s your biggest writing goal?

10. What’s next?

Learn more about Jack's fabulous books 
at his website

Friday, 16 December 2016

Review: Twig

Welcome to the first picture book written and illustrated by Aura Parker. Parker has woven words and pictures together to create a story about new beginnings, acceptance and friendship. I love how Parker uses words together like '…a sprinkle of dirt' and how the detailed illustrations add to the text.

Twig highlights feelings of excitement, loneliness, acceptance, joy and confidence. This book will be a great addition to reading lists about the first day of school.

Review: Star Wars: The Original Trilogy: A Graphic Novel

Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, all in one enormous graphic novel!

This is a must have for Star Wars fans with the stories from all three movies told in comic book style. There are just over 200 pages, all in full colour, and you’ll find all the characters you know including Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewie, Princess Leia, and of course, Darth Vader and a host of others.

For anyone who knows the original movie trilogy well, you will even be able recognise their faces as a version of the actors who portrayed them.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Review: Hug this Book!

An addition to the latest craze of books about books--a truly glorious topic in its own right--the legendary Barney Saltzberg continues to delight young readers with a lolloping rhyming tale about all the glorious things you can do with a stack of pages bound with a spine (hint: SO MUCH!).

You can read a book to a hippo. That's right. You can read it in the bath, and can even read while being tickled.

You can also hug and kiss and smell a book (I'm guilty!), read it upside down, and wrap it up to keep it warm. Yes, books are like little people. They feel things, too.

Meet the Illustrator: Natasha Farrar

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
A mix of watery watercolour and not so watery watercolour.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
All the painting bits and pieces, 2B pencil, rubber within reaching distance, a giant cup of tea and my composer of the day playing from the speakers.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Freya Blackwood is big influence on me now, and May Gibbs and Alison Lester are illustrators who I loved as a child and still do.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Review: Alison Lester’s Wonderful World

Alison Lester’s picture books are known and loved by readers of all ages.

Alison started her drawing career as a horse-mad six-year-old, when she was given a book for Christmas called How to Draw Horses. However it was only after she left school that she learned many other art techniques and eventually started illustrating picture books.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Review: We Are Growing!

This book is about as interesting as watching grass grow...but that is VERY interesting when the characters are blades of grass and they are growing in all sorts of crazy directions!

Part of the new Elephant and Piggie Like to Read series (a spin off of Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie series) the book is introduced by Mo Willems as one of Elephant and Piggie's favourite books to read, and brings us a story with the same enthusiasm, sense of fun and wonderful friendships that we've come to expect from the Elephant and Piggie series.

12 Curly Questions with author Zanni Louise

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I used to have a pair of denim overalls I called my happy pants. Every time I put them on, I instantly felt happy. I swear they were better than exercise.

2. What is your nickname?
Zanni. My real name is Suzannah, although I feel like no one has called me that for a very long time. When I was a newborn, it was The Grub.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Losing a child.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words. Warm, with a twist of quirk and sprinkle of humour.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Review: Dinosaur vs. the Potty

A little while after reading (and loving!) Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, I was in a bookstore and I stumbled across Dinosaur vs. the Potty. It actually happened at the most opportune time as my daughter had just started to make progress with her toilet training - thank you universe!

Over this period, we had explored a number of picture books with a toilet training focus and found most of these books to be highly instructional, rather than integrating the topic through a traditional story line approach.

Instead, they usually addressed the reader, they had generic unnamed characters, bland illustrations, and focused on instructing the reader on the logistics of toileting - sitting (or standing if appropriate!), wiping, flushing and washing hands. While there is definitely a need and place for these sorts of books, I really loved Dinosaur vs. the Potty precisely because it was the exact opposite.

Review: Tomi Ungerer: A Treasury of 8 Books

Tomi Ungerer's timeless picture books come together in one beautifully-constructed boxset, making it a perfect gift for a newborn or young child to keep forever.

Printed on uncoated paper, which perfectly carries his superb colour palette, readers are treated to an introduction from Tomi, where he speaks about his journey into illustration and children's books.

As with many creators, he says that kids' books allow him to return to his childhood, and--even at the age of 84--he creates them for the child who still lives within.

Tomi has long created books with a focus on diversity--long before it was a buzzword let alone a hashtag. His clever, fable-like stories are illustrated with varying styles, including whimsical characters, strong, quirky shapes and block colour--the types of pictures that imprint themselves so quickly on the minds of the young.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Review: Otto the Book Bear

This divine picture book by Katie Cleminson captures everything I love about books. It is the story of Otto, a book bear, who lives ‘in a book on a shelf in a house’ and is ‘at his happiest when children read his book’.

But Otto has a special secret. When no-one is looking he can walk out of his book and go exploring!

All is well until one sad day when Otto finds himself left behind! He misses his comfy book and discovers that the big world outside his house is scary and overwhelming. Where will he go? Is he the only one of his kind? Will he ever find his book again?

Review: Rude Cakes

So whimsical, so charming and with enough quirky humour to keep Mo Willems on his toes, Rude Cakes really is a picture book in its own odd little class.

Essentially presenting a how to guide of rude behaviour, the main character shows poor manners to her party guests, is disrespectful to her boring parents, and gives exquisite examples of snatching, the likes of which can be found in most school yards, playgroups, and in fact my very own living room on pretty much a daily basis.

Combine this with the fact that all the characters are prettily decorated cakes, illustrated in lovely soft pastel colours, sees this book enchant its way into my heart, brushing my funny bone as it passes. I didn't think I could love it any more than I already did, but then Rude Cakes took quite an unexpected (but most excellent) turn.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Review: Never Tickle a Tiger

In Never Tickle a Tiger, Izzy the jiggling wriggler can’t stop moving. She paints with her pigtails, jiggles her jelly and plays with peas. When her class visits the zoo, things are no different. Izzy pokes the peacock and taps the tortoises.

Her teacher warns her not to tickle the tiger, but Izzy can’t help herself. She tickles that tiger and chaos unravels at the zoo. Izzy creates pandemonium, and she must find a way to fix it.

One word with author/illustrator Christina Booth

1. What is the best thing about being an author? 

2. What’s the worst thing? 

3. How did creating your picture book Too Many Sheep make you feel? 

4. What do you hope it brings its readers? 

5. What else do you like to do? 

6. Who has influenced your writing the most? 

7. What has been your biggest career reward?

8. What is the most important contribution an author/illustrator can make to the world?

9. What’s your biggest writing goal? 

10. What’s next? 

Christina works from her Launceston studio overlooking a lake and a variety of wildlife. She illustrates her own books and great stories for other authors. A number of her books have won awards including Kip (Windy Hollow Books), the story of a noisy rooster living in the city, which won an Honour Book Award in the 2010 CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Book of the Year Awards and Welcome Home (Ford Street Publishing), the story of a whale as she returns to her ancestors home, which won the Environmental Award for Children's Literature in 2014.

Too Many Sheep, is out now! Learn more about all of Christina's books at her website.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Review: The Scorpio Races

Set in Ireland in the remote fictional island of Thisby, eighteen-year-old Kate 'Puck' Connolly enters the famous, deadly and brutal annual horse race, The Scorpio Races. She's the first female to ever enter the race, against the wishes of her family and the townsfolk. The prize money will save her family, or what's left of it, from losing their home.

The races feature the deadly and feared capaill uisce, otherwise known as the water horses, that rise from the Scorpio Sea.

Review: Confessions of a Liar, Thief and Failed Sex God

The teachers in Neil’s Catholic boys school in the 1960s wield the strap with gusto but that’s the least of Neil’s worries. ‘I have this annoying problem that gives me a lot of trouble: a conscience.’

When a classmate is unfairly expelled, Neil’s need to appease his conscience leads him to a beautiful older woman. One thing leads to another and Neil faces a life or death decision but before that, a zillion things happen. 

A new teacher wields the strap to never-heard-of extremes, Neil’s best friend makes an irreversible choice when he is down and Neil’s brother is conscripted to fight in Vietnam. With grief, lust and guilt battling for supremacy, Confessions is packed with internal action as well as drama.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Review: A New York Year

A New York Year is the seventh addition to the outstanding A Kids' Year series of picture books. Again five children from diverse cultures share their experiences through the seasons.

Fabian was born in Puerto Rico. Madison’s forebears came from Ireland. Sofia’s Nonna came from Italy, Alexander’s Jewish ancestors came from Germany, and Jayla is African-American.

Meet the Illustrator: Amy Ruane

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Bright, bold, happy and detailed.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
My desk! It's a place in my home that’s just MY area. And I can't leave out my smooth Bristol board paper. It's a really great base for coloured pencils.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium? 
Can I have more than one? My favourites are Polychromo pencils and Copic marker.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
It has to be my 52-Week Illustration Challenge members because I see their work every day! I wish to give them all a shout out, as I find these guys have that something I aspire to. Anita Gadzińska , Markjohn Glass and Alfonso Lourido.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Review: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

Another gorgeous book by Mem Fox, this beautiful story travels the world introducing us to babies born in different places and circumstances.

The simple rhyming text make it delight to read aloud and little ones will soon be joining in the refrain -

And both of these babies, as everyone knows,
had ten little fingers and ten little toes.

Review: Shapes, Lines & Dots

Cartoonist Matt Glover has created a cartoon book filled with characters to draw, drawing activities to try, and tips to develop your skills.

More than one hundred characters are divided into categories: monsters, bugs and mini beasts, birds, cats, dogs, sea creatures, farm animals, wild animals, and people. Each one has step-by-step instructions. Some are cute (like the CT Monster) and all are easy to follow.

The categories each end with drawing activities designed to encourage mindfulness. For example: collecting shells and turning them into cartoon characters, exploring the pantry for food that comes from a farm and incorporating it into a cartoon, and finding a feather and using it for drawing inspiration.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Review: The Princess and the Christmas Rescue

Princess Eliza is a bit of a whizz, she creates wonderful inventions which her parents think are great, but the King and Queen are also concerned that she is too busy inventing things to make any friends. Of course it doesn't help that she lives in a castle in the middle of snowy nowhere without any visitors ever.