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

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Review: You Can Never Run Out Of Love

You Can Never Run Out Of Love is an adorable and heartfelt story about love.

You can run out of many things. You can run out of biscuits, energy and even chocolate. Which would be the end of the world for some of us. But you can't run out of love.

The children from two families discover that you can also run out of socks, time, milk, glue and even ideas.

They discover that love cannot be found in a jar or a battery and learn that, 'You can never (no never, not ever) you can never run out of LOVE.'

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Review: Kids Like Us

If you're looking for an endearing summer read, look no further. Sixteen year-old Martin Dubois spends a summer in the French countryside where his filmmaker mother is shooting a movie.

Sounds perfect until you add in the fact that Martin, who has high functioning autism, attends a general-ed high school for the first time.

Fluent in French, Martin makes friends, whom he refers to and names after characters from his favourite book. He tries to socialise with his mother's actor friends, dabbles in cooking and stays connected with his best friend from LA. He finds peoples' motivations difficult to read and faces some challenges which test his resolve.

Tania's Picks: gorgeous picture books to round out 2017



What better way--truly, I ask you--to round out a challenging year than with some serious picture book eye-candy that will melt you from your eyelashes to your toes. These stand-out books are recent purchases of mine (with the odd gift thrown in).

Highly recommended--and of course, I highly recommend diving into a picture book daily, no matter if you're 3, 33 or 103.

Happy new year! May your 2018 be bookish in every possible way.

Tania
KBR Founder

Friday, 29 December 2017

Review: Dragonolia 14 Tales and Craft Projects for the Creative Adventurer

This intriguing, imaginative, ingenious and extremely quirky book is a must for dragon lovers of all ages. It contains fourteen stories, written in Victorian style, following the adventures of Sir Richard Barons, a nineteenth century dragon hunter. Intertwined in each tale is a related craft project.

Children may need adult help with the activities as sharp knives, glue guns and spray paint are involved. Having said that, the projects fire the imagination and some could be adapted for younger children to enjoy. I particularly like the Wizard’s Wand, the Dragon egg pendant and the Dragonhide pouch.

As mentioned, the text is written in Victorian style and lends itself very well to being read aloud to children. (I can almost hear Stephen Fry reading it!)

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Meet the Illustrator: Heidi Cooper Smith

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Whimsical semi-realism, often with an emphasis on humour.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
A mechanical pencil, kneadable and electric erasers, Daniel Smith watercolours, Holbein coloured pencils… and salt.  But I’d still like to keep all the other stuff I’ve accumulated!

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
I’ve been hooked on watercolour for a while, but I prefer seeing what other people can do with it.  I tend to use a combination of watercolour and coloured pencil.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Review: Mum at School

As a mum who is about to start the school adventure for the first time, this is my new favourite ‘starting school’ picture book.

It's fresh and funny, and it's different from the usual school story, with a hilarious twist and heaps of humour scattered throughout.

It all begins with the school drop-off. Mum is smiling and the star of the story, a young girl in red, is not. 

They enter the classroom, they meet the teachers, the other kids are nervous, the little girl is scared and then things go in the opposite direction to what you’d expect.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

12 Curly Questions with author Allison Tait

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
Between my blog, my website, and my podcast, it’s hard to imagine that there’s anything that people don’t know about me, but I do still have some secrets. For instance, I have a horrible weakness for Pascall Chocolate Eclairs. To the point where I can no longer trust myself with them in the house and must avoid the confectionery aisle at the supermarket entirely.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Review: The Girl Who Saved Christmas

At this time of year, there is a veritable sleigh-load of cheery Christmas kids’ books circulating the stores. Some witty and nuttier than fruitcake. Some suffused in meaning and wonder. Others, supreme tales destined to be classics. The Girl Who Saved Christmas is all these and more.
 
If you are ever in need of a little magic, if you ever find yourself questioning reason, if your festive spirit is ever waning, hope can be found with Matt Haig. This is invigorating storytelling for midgrade readers all the way through to 99-year-olds. Following on from Haig and Mould’s first collaboration, A Boy Called Christmas, this tale works so well at suspending belief and infusing hope, you’d be forgiven for feeling you’ve already met Father Christmas. Maybe you have. Haig takes what we have already been led to believe and crystallizes it into one big fat tangible beautiful believable Christmas miracle.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Review: The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker

This is a stunning musical journey into the land of The Nutcracker. With special press buttons throughout, children can follow the story and actually listen to excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous orchestral music.

This book is so beautifully and cleverly designed. It tells a classic tale but with gorgeous illustrations by Jessica Courtney-Tickle and “press here” buttons on each page that let children experience the magic of the music that brings this story to life.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Guest Post: Demet Divaroren on Word Charmers

My father-in-law organises his world in tables and formulas on excel spreadsheets. But when he watches Dynamo the Illusionist walk on water, his eyes glow like light bulbs. ‘It is real, no? Look, people are watching him on the bridge. Look at their faces! How he does it? Amazing,’ he concludes, his methodical mind bending in Dynamo’s hands.
           
This is the extraordinary power of magic. While its illusion transfixes the mind, real magic transforms our lives in many ways. 

We are all magicians who cast spells with twenty-six letters of the alphabet. Each day we charm them into words and sentences that alter our reality depending on our intention. Our words are like fire, pour in some love and they can spark up one’s soul. Fuel them with anger and they can light one up in flames. Pluck them from a creative space and they can set fire to one’s imagination.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Review: The Grumpy Shepherd

I reviewed this adorable book way back in 2013 when I fell in love with Obed, the irritable star of this tale.

After browsing endless Christmas volumes, I still find this nativity with a twist of humanity is my top-of-the-pile favourite.

As one of the most momentous events in all of history unfolds and the world is meant to be gazing in awe at the miracle of Christmas, Obed continues to be a downright grump.

I smile indulgently as he moans about the weather, trying not to recall my irritation at the hike in food prices.

When he wails about his lot in life, I roll my eyes. All he has to do was lift his head to notice the magic.

Review: Koalas Eat Gum Leaves

If you had to eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the year I think you would begin to feel like the koala in Laura Bunting's first book, Koalas Eat Gum Leaves. He just cannot face eating one more gum leaf.

Koala uses his binoculars to search for new bush tucker. 'Hello!' he spies an ice-cream through the lenses and his ice-cream adventure begins.

The words and the illustrations make a wonderful combination where less is more. Laura's minimal use of words speak volumes especially when supported by the glorious, whimsical illustrations by Philip Bunting. Philip wrote and illustrated the story Mopoke but this time he has collaborated with wife Laura creating an funny and enchanting story.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Review: The Dollmaker of Krakow

The living doll Karolina is a seamstress. She sews wishes into the doll’s clothes she makes in her Kingdom known as the Land of the Dolls. An invasion by rats that have threatened their Kingdom for years, forces her to set out for the human world, where along the way, she meets Fritz, a toy soldier.

Karolina awakes to find herself without Fritz, and in a Dollmaker’s shop in Krakow, Poland, in 1939, after being carried there by the wind, Dogoda. Her cracked cheek and tattered clothes have been restored to their initial beautiful state. 

Karolina carries magic with her. This secret magic is a powerful tool which she uses to transform and save lives, in a country invaded by the enemy, where children shipped to promised lands on trains, never return. Her gift later becomes a weapon against her.

Review: A Counting Adventure

If you've got a little one learning to count, take them on a colourful and whimsical adventure with this visually beautifully picture book.

Lily is bored and, for something to do, starts counting everything around her: her toes, her teeth, the stripes on her dress. 

She quickly runs out of things to count but soon spies a glorious array of Australian wildlife, perfect for counting.

A love of nature shines through in this delightful counting book. 

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Guest Post: Mark Carthew on Making Family Memories that Last

For as long as I can remember, our family has gathered every December to unpack our Christmas decorations and carefully dress the tree.

In the 90s, my wife and I had three hopeful and energetic children who would run down the hall screaming, ‘Is it time to put up the tree yet?’.

Interviews: A Very KBR Christmas!

It's been a another boom year for brilliant children's books.

All of us here at KBR absolutely adore sharing the brightest and best with you and now, just before we temporarily trade in our pencils and pens for gingerbread and fairy lights, here are few festive reflections from our dazzling team members.

You might want to settle down with a glass of Eggnog with this one; when it comes to books and Christmas, we have quite a bit to say!

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Review: Turtles All the Way Down

John Green’s long-awaited new young adult novel is sublime and I'm not just saying that because I'm a John Green fan. Turtles All the Way Down offers an honest and raw depiction of teen life and mental illness. It simmers in intensity on a regular basis.

What begins as a mystery unravels into a deeper and more complex reality. Aza is 16. Her wonderfully chatty and relentless best friend Daisy convinces her they have to solve the mystery of the missing billionaire, Russell Pickett, for a $100,000 reward. All because Aza played with Pickett’s son Davis when they were kids and he’s their ‘in’.

12 Curly Questions with author Janet A Holmes

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I see words and numbers in colour. I think lots of people do actually. But not many people talk about it. I think we assume it is the same for everyone.

2. What is your nickname? 
I’ve never had a real nickname.

3. What is your greatest fear? 
Rodents.

4. Describe your writing style in ten words. 
My style reflects a less-is-more approach to writing.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Review: First Test

The only female knight in the kingdom hid her gender to make it through training. Since the king has ordained that girls may train, there's no need for skulduggery ten years later when Kel dreams of becoming a knight.

But Keladry of Mendalen faces greater opposition than she ever imagined. Apart from being on probation for the first year, something no boy has ever had to face, her room is trashed on the first day and no senior page steps forward to sponsor her.

It's just as well Kel lived on the Yamani Islands for six years, where showing your emotions is equivalent to picking your nose. With Nealan her only ally, she needs a face like stone to survive all the boys throw at her.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Review: Boogie Bear

How can you possibly combine an adventure story, a scary monster story and love story, all in one hilarious picture book that weaves in important messages about difference and acceptance? Well somehow David Walliams and Tony Ross have managed it.

Polar bear is happy up at the North Pole, eating fish and sunning herself on an iceberg.  Until she dozes off and her piece of iceberg drifts far away from home, slowly melting, until "Splosh!" into the water she goes.  When she washes up on land, she encounters a hundred strange creatures. They are like her, but different.

Guest Post: A.L. Tait on Where Inspiration Comes From

A Question of Feeling:
 
Why would you write a book that no one can read?

That was the question I found myself asking one morning as I read a short newspaper article about The Voynich Manuscript, a 15th century illustrated codex, handwritten in an unknown language. 

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Take the storytime pledge

Australia's Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, has challenged the country to take his Storytime Pledge by sharing a book with a child in their life.

Read what Dr Finkel had to say about the importance of books and reading to the STEM industries here. You can also follow Australia's Chief Scientist on Facebook and Twitter for book recommendations.



Junior Review: Funny Kid Stand Up

This story is about Max. Max is the funny kid, or so he used to be, but he has lost all his 'funny.' It's terrible timing as the town talent show is on. Max loses his grandpa to kidnappers and goes on an adventurous journey meeting lots of new people.

Max is a funny kid, but doesn't always know it. He can be stubborn, annoying, silly and scared. Sometimes he looks on the bright-side and sometimes the dark.

I liked the surprises and exciting parts. It is a great book for anyone to enjoy. It's funny, exciting, awesome and nerve-wracking. There is a lot of suspense which kept me turning the pages. I couldn't put it down.

The writing is quite big with lots of pictures through the pages in a cartoon style. It is really easy to read so it would be good for some kids who may find reading a bit hard.

Review: 13 1/2 Incredible Things You Need To Know About Everything

13 1/2 Incredible Things You Need To Know About Everything is an intriguing and captivating book for the child that likes to ask questions about science, technology and history.

Do jellyfish grow old?
Will cracking your knuckles cause arthritis?
Why is a marathon not 40 km long?
Did the space program invent velcro?
Why do chameleons change colour?
Were there women samurai?
Can a T. rex be cloned?

This modern encyclopedia covers 80 topics from diamonds to volcanoes, dinosaurs to helicopters, fruit to cats, insects to whales, vikings to sports equipment and much more.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Announcement: Guess How Much I Love You Animated Special to Air on ABC Kids

Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare will bound back on to screens in time for Christmas with SLR Productions’ Guess How Much I Love You - The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare animated Christmas special The Long Journey Home premiering on ABC KIDS on Sunday, 17 December at 5:35 pm.

Review: The Book of Secrets


What would you do if you saw something terrible but knew no one would believe you? If you were forced to run from the only home you’d ever known? If you found yourself alone in the woods with a book you knew people were willing to kill for…?

Gabe has grown up in the Abbey. It is a quiet, predictable life of ritual and prayer. He is content with the only life he knows. Then, everything changes in an instant. He is given a book by a dying man with instructions to tell no one and take it to Aiden…

What is this book and why is it so valuable? Gabe is entranced by its glittering, jeweled cover and mesmerised by the stunning illustrations that are unlike anything he has seen before. But the book makes no sense. It is not in any language he knows, the random letters seem to be some sort of code.

17 Favourite YA Reads of 2017

As 2017 whizzes by,  here's a peek of some of our favourite YA reads of the year. This year our talented and widely-read team devoured some of the best YA fiction that was on offer. From science fiction, thriller, romance, LGBTQI and historical fiction, to dystopian, fantasy, social issues and mystery. We covered the lot!

There were so many books but here's a snapshot of some of our fave 17 of 2017. All the reviews can be found in the Young Adult Fiction tab.



Thursday, 14 December 2017

Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

This stunning new edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them features the extraordinary illustrations of Olivia Lomenech Gill. It is a high-quality hard cover book with shiny gold lettering on the front that is beautifully presented and laid out.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the classic book, a guide to all the magical creatures in the wizarding world. It is an approved textbook at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, written by Newt Scamander after years of travel and research into magical beasts across the world.

This special updated edition profiles six new beasts and contains a special forward by Newt Scamander himself.

Meet the Illustrator: Kim Siew

 Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Graphic, quirky and cute.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
My favourite Molotow GRAFX fineliner, sheets and sheets of paper, my computer, pot plants to keep me happy and a bottomless cup of coffee to keep me sane.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
I always love the surprises you get using paper collage, textured papers and pencil work.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
It is so very, very hard to limit it to three… but I always come back to Margaret Kilgallen, Jon Klassen and Noel McKenna.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Guest Post: Avril Sabine on World Building By Committee

Normally when I start a book, I tend to research, create characters and do world building as I need it. 

For Rosie's Rangers I wanted to create the world before I started writing the series. I had ideas for various novels in the series and even a few ideas about some of the characters, but that wasn't what I focused on. 

I wanted to know the history of the world, the way the different countries interacted with each other, what sort of technology they had and all about their societies. I wanted to know about their animals, their plants and their environment. That way, when I started to write my series there would be a completely formed world to drop my characters into. A world that would in part dictate what was possible and what resources would be available to my characters when they solved each problem they encountered.

Review: The Girl, the Dog and the Writer in Rome

The Girl, the Dog and the Writer in Rome is a treasure — a charming story about shy young Freja (the girl) who travels to Rome with clumsy Tobias Appleby (the writer) after her mother falls ill and leaves her in his care.

With her always hungry sidekick, Finnegan (the dog), Freja explores the ancient city, discovering the world and who she is. She learns to make friends, to embrace the things that make her unique and to be brave.

This is a lovely book that moves at a beautifully gentle pace. It’s filled with messages of love, hope and courage, but it’s also an adventure story. 

Filled with numerous mysteries, both big and small, I found the book hard to put down. I craved to know the truth, and I just couldn’t wait to uncover the answers to all the questions raised throughout the story.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Review: The Cranky Caterpillar

Art and music collide in this surreal and alluring picture book about a gloomy bowler-hatted caterpillar and an earnest girl, named Ezra.

British artist Richard Graham bases the caterpillar character on a one-off sculpture he created from recycled materials.

The Cranky Caterpillar lives inside an upright piano and is far from happy about it. Although he tries desperately to find a happy tune, he is doomed to life inside the piano, playing 'the same sad tune'.

12 Curly Questions with author Tamsin Janu

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I’m obsessed with green peas. I’ve been known to eat entire bowls filled with peas, only peas, for a meal. Strange but true.

2. What is your nickname? 
Tam. It used to be Tammy, but when I got to around 10 or 11 I decided Tammy was too babyish, and no one was allowed to call me that anymore.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Being stuck in an elevator or another small space, and not being able to get out.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Review: Nevermoor

Morrigan is cursed. Not only do the townspeople blame her for everything that goes wrong in their lives, they demand compensation. Luckily her father is extremely rich.

Morrigan lives in a loveless world where her freedom is measured by the potential damage her presence might cause. As a cursed child, she is also scheduled to die on her twelfth birthday but everything changes on Bid Day.

Not only do four sponsors vie to retain Morrigan as their apprentice, the sky clock cuts her expected lifespan short – by a whole year.

Of course, Morrigan can't die when the story is about her, but the setup is definitely a high-action way to start.

Review: Harry Potter: A History of Magic and Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic

If I could only choose a couple of books about the Harry Potter series to own, these would be right up there.

Released as the official books of a major exhibition at the British Library with the same name, Harry Potter: A History of Magic and Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic are a fascinating insight into the the world created by JK Rowling in her books.

Settle down for the long haul when you start to work your way through the 250 odd pages that is Harry Potter: A History of Magic. It's surely the ultimate companion to the Harry Potter series.

It's big and it's jam-packed with many manuscripts, objects, artworks and other items held by the British Library.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Review: Discovery Globe: Build-Your-Own Globe Kit

The Discovery Globe: Build-Your-Own Globe Kit introduces the world of geography to budding explorers. As the title suggests, it's a kit made up of a book and a DIYglobe.

The book offers a summary of different environments found around the world, and some key geography concepts, such as time zones and biomes, as well as sharing a little of the world's different cultures.

Also included are examples of natural wonders of the world (e.g. Mount Everest, Victoria Falls, Uluru), extreme weather (e.g. bushfires, tsunamis, volcanoes), and World Heritage sites such as Stonehenge, the Great Wall of China, and the Great Pyramid in Egypt.

Review: The World's Worst Pirate

Michelle Worthington has written an action-packed, amusing and memorable pirate story.

The World's Worst Pirate contains all the expected dangers for a pirate ship sailing the seven seas but it includes an unique twist.

Will, our unlikely hero, has a problem, he hates being a pirate especially as he gets sea sick.

Will's mother, who is the Captain of the aptly name ship the Jolly Fishcake, dreams of Will becoming a pirate captain. He dreams of being a chef in his own restaurant.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Book List: Cricket

Howzat! It's the word that can be heard shouted from the field in the middle of a professional cricket match, and across the suburbs as backyard cricket matches are played in summer. For the sports-mad cricketer in your family, here are some books to get them reading when they're not batting, bowling or fielding.

Aussies vs England: Game On! (Mighty Mitch #1) By Mitchell Starc, Scholastic Australia, $9.99, 9781742763194

Review: The Amazing Animal Atlas

Elegant, beautiful, colourful and informative, The Amazing Animal Atlas explores interesting animals from across the world. 

Categorised by habitats and regions, you’ll learn about ebony bears and musk oxen from the Arctic, colossal squid and crocodile icefish from Antarctica, the northern pika and red panda from Asia and so much more. 

Animals from every continent are featured and there are pages dedicated to underwater creatures as well. 

Ecosystems are discussed, there a maps on every page and a handy index at the back allows you to quickly find your favourite critters. The book has been very well designed.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Review: Weirdo #2

Anh Do's story about Weir, whose surname happens to be Do (get it? WeirDo?) is full of fun.

Weirdo's family is a little weird. His Dad can burp-sing, his Mum is obsessed with bargains and his grandad is a magician: he can make his false teeth disappear. Even Weir's pets are a bit odd.

When Bella invites Weir to her birthday party, he agonises in the supermarket over what to get her. It's definitely not the itchy bum cream...

Can Weir survive his little brother's cleaning phase? Will Bella ever see Weir for the nice guy he is? And what about Weir's amazing drawing skills?

Review: LEGO Absolutely Everything You Need To Know

LEGO Absolutely Everything You Need To Know is another fabulous and engaging publication from DK Books.

I grew up playing with LEGO. My son received his first LEGO DUPLO set for Christmas when he was only 9 months old and LEGO was a gift that kept giving until his early teenage years. I thought I knew a lot about LEGO. I was wrong.

This book kept me exclaiming 'Wow! I didn't know that.' For instance I didn't know that while LEGO was founded in 1932 they didn't manufacture LEGO bricks until 1955. Originally LEGO built toys made from wood and some of their early toys were a fire truck and a duck on wheels.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Review: Bring it On (Play Like a Girl #1)

The success of the AFL Women’s competition this year has encouraged a growing interest in AFL as a sport for girls. Young girls playing footy finally have role models. They can see a future in the sport and can imagine themselves playing for their favourite team.

The new Play Like a Girl series will appeal to any sport loving girl who has ever thought about giving footy a go themselves.

Sarah moves to a new town and on her first day makes friends with Hahn, who plays for the girls’ footy team. Sarah used to live near the beach and her passion has always been surfing, so even though she enjoys watching footy, she has never really thought about playing it herself.

Review: Ride High Pineapple

Everyone is talking about the film Wonder at the moment. Based on the best-selling book by RJ Palacio, it tells the story of 10-year-old Auggie, born with a terrible facial condition.

Ride High Pineapple tells a similar tale — of the heart-rending discrimination that comes with facial differences. But, for author Jenny Woolsey, it's a true story.

Born with the rare Crouzon Syndrome, which is characterised by a sunken face and bulging eyes, Jenny knows what it is like to live with daily prejudice and bullying. And she has had to watch her daughter and son, also born with Crouzon Syndrome, live with it.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Review: Busy Builders: Airport

What a fabulous book/craft/toy. Busy Builders: Airport really has it all.

The book part is just brilliant. Around 23 pages of facts and information that step you through the whole airport adventure from the moment you pick up your ticket to landing at your destination.

You’ll learn about body scan machines, baggage handling, preparing for flights, air traffic control, planes in the air and landings.

And all the information is simple and easy to read, so kids can easily follow and understand it.

If you’re heading off on your first big trip or the kids just love airplanes and airports, they will love the details and interesting facts.

Review: Computer Coding: Python Projects for Kids

Do you have a kid that loves nothing more than staring mindlessly at the computer or ipad screen? Have you ever thought about how you could direct that technology obsession into something more constructive? Then Python Projects for Kids might be the answer.

This is a step by step introduction to coding with Python that will have kids coding their own basic programs in no time.

I found the set up and program download reasonably straightforward (although not quite as easy as the book led me to believe).

I worked through the set up with my ten-year-old to help him get started and understand the basics. Then I left him to it…

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

December Young Adult Fiction New Releases

Hey YA readers, here's a round up of some wonderful December new releases (and a couple from end of November) to keep you busy this month. There's a mix of fun, thrilling, sad and action packed books - something for everyone. Enjoy!

Everless by Sara Holland, $19.99, Hachette, 978140835362

12 Curly Questions with author and illustrator Scott Edgar

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I have a secret super power: losing headphones. Doesn't matter how big or brightly coloured the headphones are, I just can’t find them. You need your headphones lost? Come to me. I’ll help you out.

2. What is your nickname? 
Hmmm, well, people call me Scod, I suppose. I mean it’s not much of a nickname - it just sounds like my actual name, Scott, really. In high school they used to call me Eddie Edgar, which was cool. Before that it was Egg carton, which was less cool.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Review: Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World Activity Book

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World Activity Book is an activity book with a difference. 

Along with mazes, colouring-in and puzzles, this activity book provides loads of easy to understand facts about some amazing women in history. 

Jane Austen, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart and more feature in this fun and educational book. 

The information is simple, interesting and short, so it doesn't dominate the pages.

Plenty of space is left for amazing activities, and some of them are rather different to the ones you might be used to in an activity book.

Review: The Ones That Disappeared

The Ones that Disappeared is another brilliant piece of work by the author the 2017 ABIA winner, The Bone Sparrow, which was also shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Zana Fraillon has drawn attention to the most concerning issue of modern day slavery, the worst in the world’s history. 

The spotlight brings into focus, those nameless, voiceless beings - trafficked people, mainly children, that disappear without a trace daily around the world. Slavery is today the ‘fastest growing criminal industry in the world, generating over $150 billion a year’.

Esra, Miran, and Isa are the initial voices of the story; voices filled with strength, optimism and hope, although they have witnessed the brutal and horrendous outcome of disobeying orders, or trying to escape slavery. 

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Review: Wilf the Mighty Worrier Battles a Pirate

When a book's opening lines are: 'Oi! What do you think you're doing? Close this book and put it back on the shelf right this minute,' I know I'm in for some fun.

When I don't close the book after a count to ten, and read 'Well, you're clearly a very naughty person. Why are you still here?' I can't help but smile. I have to find out what this story is all about.

Wilf the Worrier doesn't disappoint.

Wilf, his little sister Dot and his pet woodlouse, who is ten millimetres long and has fourteen legs, lives next door to the biddy boldly baddest, most evil man in the whole wide world: at least that's what Alan desperately wants to be.