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

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Guest Post: One More Page Podcast

Join us and Liz Ledden, one of the founding members of One More Page Podcast, for an illuminating Q & A session on her brilliant new venture with fellow Kids' Lit enthusiasts, Kate Simpson and Nat Amoore. 

What is One More Page all about and who is it for?
One More Page is a fortnightly podcast for lovers of kids’ books. We like to think it has broad appeal across age groups – it can be listened to by the whole family. It’s for teachers, librarians and book industry professionals, children’s writers, parents and grandparents; essentially anyone who reads, loves, borrows or buys kids’ books.

It’s a segment-based podcast, with book reviews, an interview with an author, illustrator or someone involved in the children’s book industry, plus competitions and a kids-led segment called Kids Capers. Our focus is generally picture books through to middle grade novels.

Bookish Places: Red Dog Memorial Statue

The Kids' Book Review Bookish Places posts are a chance to celebrate museums, galleries and other places with a connection to children's literature and reading. The posts are compiled by KBR's Consultant Librarian, Sarah Steed, our intrepid traveller and hunter-gatherer of amazing places!

In outback Western Australia, in the Pilbara district 1,500 kilometres north of Perth, is a special statue. It's in memory of Red Dog.

Red Dog was a kelpie, known as the Pilbara Wanderer, who became famous for his travels in the 1970s. His story was documented in a novel called Red Dog by British author Louis de Bernieres, and later in a film of the same name (released in 2011).

Photo: Anthony B Loveridge (used under CC BY-SA 3.0)
The Red Dog Memorial Statue is located on the Dampier Highway, just outside Dampier. You will see it as you enter the town, and there's a parking area so visitors can stop safely to see the statue and take photos.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Review: Love Ya Work!

This impressive collection by award-winning author, activist and humanitarian Clancy Tucker, features unpublished short stories and personal anecdotes from his journey through life ‘on the run’. It includes some bush poems that have appeared in previous publications such as Gunnedah Hero.

The stories provoke laughter and tears. They are diverse and full of atmosphere, and draw you into the settings so well-described I felt I was reliving the times. They contain romance, family conflict and resolution, love, and life-changing random acts of kindness by, and to, strangers and others, such as in The Five Dollar Circus.

Many of the true stories are taken from Clancy’s own life experiences, as are the anecdotes that he relays with such confidence and strength of memory, which shows the impact those experiences have had on him. Other stories are simply stories. Each has a specific theme that reflects the human and inhuman side of life.

12 Curly Questions with author/illustrator Daniel Gray-Barnett

 1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
My family and close friends know, but a lot of people don’t know that I’m a triplet.

2. What is your nickname? 
Most people call me Little Dan (my other half is Big Dan!). I’m also known as Commander One (according to my nephew).

3. What is your greatest fear?
Getting to the end of my life and not being proud of my life and how I lived it. To end your life unfulfilled and with regret would be a terrible thing.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Review: Please Ignore Vera Dietz

'Mmmm'. That's the sound I made after reading the last page of a contemporary YA novel with a difference. With guts. With characters that have depth and issues that resonate.

Vera Dietz is seventeen and trying to process the unusual circumstances surrounding the death of her former best (and lifelong) friend, Charlie. Vera's life is consumed by her memories and disappointment towards Charlie as a degree of urgency slowly builds for her to solve the mystery of his death almost nine months later. Only she can clear his name.

Vera is cynical with a sharp wit unafraid to speak her mind. She also makes sure she flies under the radar at school so no one finds out about her mum's past, and tries her best to be ignored.

No matter how intelligent she is, everyone knows high school can be torture. Especially when the school's 'Detentionheads' have her in their sights and stop at nothing to spread vicious lies about her.

Review: Clover's Big Ideas

Clover is small, and her Mumma wants her to stay put and be safe. But Clover is a curious little lamb, and she wants the other lambs to see that being small doesn’t mean she can’t do big things.

The other lambs ignore poor Clover and dismiss her for her size, but when they get into trouble with the bull in the next paddock, it's little Clover who comes to their rescue with her big and brilliant ideas.

This is a heart-warming picture book that shows kids that being small — being different — doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your dreams. 

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Review: Fabish the Horse that Braved a Bushfire

Bushfires are the terror of our dry Australian summers. The price of survival in extreme conditions is to abandon the land.

But what happens to the livestock?

On 7 February 2009, the Black Saturday bushfires decimated Victoria's countryside.

Fabish, a retired race horse was watching over his assigned yearlings in a paddock far from the stables on that day.

Review: Where's Jane?

Where's Jane? is Where's Wally? Regency style! It shares some of the works of Jane Austen and offers interactive puzzles for readers.

Five Jane Austen novels are featured: Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, and Mansfield Park.

There are illustrated plot summaries, outlining the main characters and key events of the stories. For each story, a list of characters with accompanying portraits are given for readers to find on the following pages.

Double-page spreads depict detailed illustrations of the story's events. They include a cross section of a house and the activity in all its rooms, a ballroom, and decorative gardens.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Event: The Gruffalo Live on Stage

I love that many classic children’s books are being reimagined for the stage. What better way to introduce kids to the theatre than with a story they already know and love.

The Gruffalo is, unsurprisingly, a well loved book in my house, so when I heard The Gruffalo stage show was coming to town there was no question that we would be going.

This was my third theatre outing with Mr Three, the first being to I’m Going on a Bear Hunt, and the second to The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This was the first time I felt like he knew what to expect and was actually excited about going to the theatre.

Review: Natural History Collector: Hunt, Discover, Learn!

Many of us have brought a shell home from the beach or picked up a colourful rock to keep. These objects remind us of special times in our life.

Sometimes these keepsakes create a spark of interest and maybe a compulsion that you need more of these special objects. Have you ever conisdered that this might make you a collector?

Natural History Collector: Hunt, Discover, Learn! by Mike Sanchez, an educator at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, has created a informative book for would-be natural history collectors of rocks, animal tracks, seashells, fossils, insects and plants.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Audiobook Review: His Dark Materials

As a mother of two small children (and another on the way!) who works four days a week, I just don’t find as much time to read as I used to.  Audiobooks have become my treasured companions during this busy time of life, particularly those in digital format.

With the simple act of plugging earphones into my phone, digital audiobooks have allowed me to continue to ‘read’ as I drive to work (listening through the Bluetooth in my car), hang out washing, cook dinner, load the dishwasher or wait for swimming lessons to finish – all those never ending and often quite mindless daily tasks. In fact, I look forward to these tasks when I have such entertainment while I’m doing them.

Review: Witchfairy

Witchfairy, another book from Latvia, translated by Laura Watkinson, is about Rosemary, a fairy with a difference.

Rosemary doesn’t want to be sweet and nice, stay clean and quiet. For her birthday she wants roller skates instead of a wand. Her mother is aghast at the idea, forcing Rosemary to choose to leave home, and live in the witch wood.

Where the witches live, Rosemary can get dirty, shout, play and do crazy, childish things without reprimand or restriction. She discovers witches aren’t nasty and cruel; that they love adventure, the unusual, and freedom. That’s what Rosemary loves too.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Review: Be Brave Little Penguin

From the creators of Giraffes Can’t Dance comes this story in rhyming verse, of a little penguin named Pip-Pip who is frightened of the sea. Ridiculed for his feelings of fear, he becomes sad and isolated from the other young penguins that enjoy endless frolics and games in the chilly waters.

His mum encourages him to have a go. She assures him that everyone has fears that they must try to overcome slowly. Pip-Pip’s negative ‘what ifs’ are replaced by his mum’s positive ones, and he gives it a try.

This is a stunning book full of warmth, tenderness and love between a mother and child, as together they face and solve the fears that many youngsters experience when trying new things for the first time; things that appear threatening or too hard for them.

Meet the Illustrator: Peter Carnavas

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Light, usually colourful, simple, often with lots of white space.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
I always need music on when I’m illustrating.  Over the years that service has been provided by my record player, ipod, radio, and sometimes myself, as my guitar is always within reach.  Playing music is a useful little time-filler when I’m stuck on something.  The rest is quite standard - pencils, pens, brushes, paints, lightbox.  And my dog sleeps in an old armchair beside me.  That helps. 

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Review: What Do Animals Do All Day?

Have you ever thought about what animals do during the day? Do they dig tunnels, hunt or cut down trees?

Readers will discover some of  the animals that do these actions in the book What Do Animals Do All Day? by Wendy Hunt.

Hunt's book describes the jobs of over 100 animals in 14 habitats like the savannah, mangroves and the North Pole.

This book gives little children a chance to explore animals in a unique way. It depicts eight animals from each habitat and what their jobs are. On the plains the prairie dog acts as a news reporter and in the deep ocean the viper fish is fly fisherman.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Review: Moon

Moon is a tender story that wraps its pages gently around the relationship between a father and son, spreading the message about the importance of our relationships with family and providing a way we can remain close, even when we are far apart. 

It is always difficult to say goodbye, especially when one of your parents must travel away for work and you don't really have an understanding of how long they will be gone for. By making the moon a central presence in this book we travel across the land and sea as Max and his Dad find a way to connect despite the distance.

12 Curly Questions with author Lisa Nicol

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
Well everyone knows I’m a kitchen dancer so that’s not going to impress anyone. But no one knows I’m a mirror dancer. That’s so embarrassing I would never tell anyone!

2. What is your nickname? 
An old friend - whose nickname is Gigi Hairplop - calls me Lady Lisa. While not as good as Gigi Hairplop, Lady Lisa at least sounds a bit royal no? Sometimes I feel royal, too. And sometimes I feel like Larry Loser. One of the pitfalls of being a writer.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Review: Laugh Your Head Off Again and Again

 Kids will love these crazy, unbelievable, zany stories as much as the previous Laugh Your Head Off, and Laugh Your Head off Again.

This third, absurdly funny collection of nine stories by children’s favourite authors, entertain with amusing, sometimes ridiculous, always inventive, side-splitting tales.

There is a wide variety of subjects and themes found here. The book opens with Andy Griffiths’ ultimate shower experience gone wrong. Gruesome but imaginative is a different take on the story of the three pigs by R. A. Spratt. John Marsden presents a Choose Your Own Adventure with Captain Cook, and Alex Ratt reveals the humiliation, digs and puns that come with having the surname Chicken.

Review: Ironheart

I must confess, I'd been waiting with anticipation for the sequel to Valentine and Jodi McAlister didn't disappoint.

The story continues in a small Australian country town where this dark fairy war is set. Pearl has multiple worries and threats to worry about but tackles them with her usual non-defeatist personality.

Her best friend has stonewalled her, a suspicious possibly fake cousin has come to town and people think Pearl's a murderer. The Unseelie fairies and their killers are after Finn, Pearl has a phobia of deep water and her feelings for Finn affect every decision she makes. Add to the mix the Seelies who hate Pearl.

What I loved most is how Pearl Linford's character arc has developed from distracted teen schoolgirl to kick ass heroine. She's strong, fearless, meets challenges head on and won't stop at anything to get what she wants.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Review: Peas and Quiet

Pip the Pea loves to cook and sing even though she can't carry a tune. Pop the Pea loves to sleep, snoring and snuffling and snorting the time away.

Although they are best of best friends, sometimes Pip and Pop do drive each other mad, and one day after Pip refuses to stop her awful singing, Pop decides to leave their pea pod home altogether. And Pip? Well Pip is not in the least bit sorry to see him go!

Pip can sing as loudly and sqwarkily as she likes, and she sets about baking up a storm, singing all the while. But eventually Pip finds there is no one to share her baking with, and that she is after all a little bit sorry that Pop has gone.

Review: Marvellous Miss May: Queen of the Circus

There’s something really special about reading a book about someone who actually lived.

Something that pulls you into the story and makes you think about how the world has changed and what it would have been like to live in the past.

And that’s exactly what Marvellous Miss May: Queen of the Circus does. 

It invites you into history and let’s you experience the life of a young circus performer through a spellbinding and fascinating tale.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Review: I Want To Be In A Scary Story

I've been loving the wave of interactive picture books that have been released over the last few years. I take such delight in leading young readers, be it visitors to the library or my own children, through a story that requires them to respond to questions from the characters, follow requests or instructions, and converse animatedly with what is the brilliantly simple combination of an inanimate illustration and their own stimulated imaginations.

While I have read many (many, many!) picture books that directly address the reader(s) and ask for verbal or physical interaction, I haven't come across one quite like I Want to be in a Scary Story. This picture books is unique in the sense that it is the narrator and the character of the story that are interacting, while the reader remains a passive, though still highly engaged, participant.

Review: Erik The Lone Wolf

Eric The Lone Wolf is the first picture book written and illustrated by Sarah Finan.

Finan has crafted a story that is captivating. It's about a young wolf cub, Eric, who is trying to test his abilities and independence but is confined by his family's rule of sticking together because mountains can be dangerous.

One day Eric sneaks away from his family so he can have fun, alone.

As a lone wolf, Eric can climb as high as he wants or ski as fast as he likes. But while skiing too fast he sees a danger sign and cannot stop in time before he falls into a crevasse.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Review: The Stick Book: Loads of Things You Can Make or Do With a Stick

A stick must be one of the best loved toys of all time. It can be anything you want it to be. A wand, a sword, a boat, a snake, the list is endless. Best of all, it’s natural and it’s free.

Every time I look at this book I want to rush outside and look for sticks to play with. I’m sure it will inspire children and adults to feel the same. 

Although the book is aimed at children 8 to 11 years, I think it’s perfect for any age group, as younger children can be assisted and encouraged by adults or older children to create wonderful, imaginative, fun treasures too. I’ve seen the fabulous stick dens my three year old grandson and his friends make at pre-school.

The book is divided into eight sections: Adventure sticks, Magic sticks, Creative sticks, Stick games, Sunny sticks, Musical sticks, Watery sticks and Woodcraft & wildlife. 

Review: Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars

Molly's mum is different. She collects herbs at all sorts of strange hours, makes weird potions and brings the wonderful plant world to vibrant, but unexpected life.

Molly wishes her mum was more like Ellen's normal mum and that they lived in a normal house, especially when a potion transforms Molly's world in the worst possible way.

Molly has knowledge to make everything right but has she got the courage to try?

And what about Pim, the one boy at her school who is different in his own way? Should Molly follow her instincts and enlist his help? Would that break the power of her friendship with Ellen?

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Review: Missing Pinky

This sweet book with its delightful illustrations addresses the attachment many children have for their blanky. It makes them feel safe when they are afraid, warm and cuddly when they aren’t well, and it’s a companion when they are alone.

Pinky is Lucy’s blanky, made with love by her grandmother. It has a specific feel to it, its own smell, and like all much-loved blankies, isn’t washed very often as Lucy hates being parted from it.

When blanky goes missing, it’s the ultimate tragedy for Lucy. She searches everywhere, even in places that blanky can’t be. Her feeling of loss is heartbreaking as loved ones try to replace her Pinky with another. But Lucy just wants Pinky back.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Review: How to Say I Love You in Five Languages

If you have considered introducing other languages to your child, here is an ideal starting block. Regardless of the child’s mother tongue, this beautifully illustrated board book will teach them the simple expression I love you, in five languages including English. 

It is a way to awaken in children, an interest in the many cultures that make up our richly diverse population.

Review: 101 Games to Play Before you Grow Up

101 Games to Play Before you Grow Up is a marvellous collection of fun and entertaining games for kids (and adults).

What I love most about this book is that the games are simple and require minimal equipment, so you can pick up the book, choose a game and just start playing. 

I also love that most of the games are classics, like hide-and-seek and rock, paper, scissors. These are games you will remember from your own childhood, and you’ll delight in being able to play them again (with or without kids in tow!).

The book is also very well organised. The games are divided into categories, such as paper and pencil games, outdoor games and card games. 

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

12 Curly Questions with author Penni Russon

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
When I was a child, I broke the glass window of a caravan that was abandoned in a field, by throwing a brick through it. It was a pure anarchic act, that I instantly regretted but could not take back. I lay awake at night listening for the ghost of the caravan to find me in my sleep, until I confessed to my parents. My mother told me the man from the caravan was not dead as I’d thought, but lived in a psychiatric hospital (in retrospect that makes sense; the caravan was filled with a strange collection of things and had the air of belonging to an unresolved life rather than the dead). She said she would take me to him so I could apologise, and I was even more terrified! But she never did.

Event: Library Lovers Day

Tomorrow, 14 February, is Library Lovers Day! What would your love letter to a library say?
Library Lovers Day is a chance for everyone to connect or reconnect with the library and share the library love. Share your #librarylove on social media and tell your local library, and the world, why you love libraries, or drop into your library and tell them in person -- your librarians will really appreciate it.
Did you know?
  • There is one public library service point for every 15,000 people in Australia, and more than seven out of ten public libraries are open for more than 30 hours per week.
  • More than 171 million items were lent to 8.6 million members of Australia’s public libraries and there were more than 112 million customer visits annually, that equates to more than 9 million visits per month.
  • There are 203 university libraries, used by around one million staff and students every year.
  • There are more than 9,000 school libraries and some 12 million people visit our National, State and Territory libraries every year.
  • Behind the scenes, 2,000-plus special libraries provide services for business users, lawyers, health professionals, government officials and other information consumers.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Announcement: New Meet The Illustrator Coordinator Heidi Cooper Smith

Swings and roundabouts often describe life and here at KBR, the thrill rides never stop. We value each and every ounce of effort, not to mention each carefully contemplated word, our team members contribute so when one of them leaves, it is not without sadness.

The illustrious Sally Fawcett farewells KBR this month. Her Meet the Illustrator contributions have been a consistent source of enlightenment and entertainment and we shall miss her cool and colourful presence. Thank you for introducing us to so many sparkling illustrators, Sally!

Thankfully our Ferris wheel keeps on turning and we are equally as delighted to announce our new Meet the Illustrator Coodinator, author illustrator, Heidi Cooper Smith.

Review: The Rainbow

The Rainbow is a beautiful exploration of colour and how different colours relate to the Australian outback.

The land bakes red. 

The dawn glows gold. 

The hills fade violet.

This is a concept-type picture book with few words, but the words Moriarty chooses to describe the features of the land are dazzling.

And the accompanying illustrations pull you into wild country, where kangaroos, echidnas and emus roam free.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Review: The War I Finally Won

Ada is a child whose twisted foot had been the cause of her mother’s complete lack of love for her. Shut away from the world due to her disability for years, when her little brother Jamie is sent away to escape the bombing, Ada contrives a plan to go with him.

Susan Smith is forced to care for the children. Jamie is open to everything including being loved. It’s Ada that knows nothing about anything at all, especially loving or being loved.

While experiencing her own grief and loss, Susan comes to love the children who are now orphans instead of evacuees. When Lady Thorton arranges for Ada to have surgery on her foot, suddenly, while war rages around them, Ada’s life is re-formed. But she is a work in progress. She moves slowly from the ignorant, disabled child, to a bright, energetic girl, with a thirst for knowledge and obvious potential.

Review: Statistical Physics for Babies

Chris Ferrie introduced babies to the ABCs of Mathematics, now he has added a new concept to the Baby University series, Statistical Physics for Babies

Ferrie's Statistical Physics for Babies uses simple language and pictures to introduce the topic of entropy and the second law of thermodynamics.

He uses balls (atoms) in the diagrams and explains the concept of entropy by moving the balls from the left side to the right side.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Review: One House for All

Raven, Crayfish and Horse are three close friends. They are moving into the next phase of their lives, and want to build families of their own, while maintaining their close relationship. They decide to design a house that can accommodate their singular needs. This is no easy task as Raven lives high in trees, Crayfish deep in water, and Horse needs grassy areas.

How is it possible to live together when their needs are so different?

This story is about friendship, growing up, and change. The players are quirky characters who present strong messages. These filter through a deceptively simple story that reflects on how opposites attract, and how the strangest people can become the best of friends.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Junior Review: Hollow City

Hollow City is the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children which is an excellent read but I think Hollow City is much better. 

Ransom Riggs has really outdone himself this time! Join all the peculiar children and other surprises on an exciting and moving miracle adventure to save Miss Peregrine, while fighting off hollows and wights.

Reading this book really improved my reading skills because of Ransom Riggs’s incredible choice of words. 

I got extremely involved in this book which I absolutely love. I recommend this book to boys and girls aged 10-14 and who love action-packed adventure stories with a little bit of love and romance.

Title: Hollow City                                                  
Author: Ransom Riggs                                       
Publisher: Quirk Books, $19.99
Publication Date: 14th January 2014
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781594747359
For Ages: 10 - 14
Type: Middle Fiction

Review: Who Saw Turtle?

Wonder, happiness, warmth. These are the things you feel as you read Who Saw Turtle? by Ros Moriarty.

It’s a beautifully simple story about Turtle and her journey across the ocean to a sandy beach to lay her eggs. 

As she swims through the sea, all manner of beautiful sea beasts watch her important migratory path…

The octopus with the dangly, stretchy tentacles saw Turtle. 

The fish with the glittery, shimmery scales saw Turtle. 

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Review: Have Sword Will Travel

You know that feeling you get when everything seems just plain weird? That happens a lot in this book.

For a start, the river that flows past Odo and Eleanor's village is down to an inexplicable trickle. Then Odo pulls a sword out of the mud when he is searching for eels. It's not that he found a sword that is odd: that might happen. Maybe.

But this enchanted sword talks. In fact it shouts. A lot. And refuses to listen to reason. Apart from being bossy, Biter is also forgetful, demanding and hard to ignore.

Odo is happy in his quiet village. He might even be content as the miller's son for the rest of his life. But finding Biter changes everything. According to the sword, Odo  is destined to be a knight whether he wants to or not.

Meet the Illustrator: Erica Webb

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Constantly evolving, fun, playful and thoughtful.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
I am a very messy worker! My desk is strewn with everything I need and the rest stacked in drawers nearby. It’s organised chaos. Essentials are my 3B pencil, 0.1 Unipin fineliner, watercolour paints and pencils, my Wacom Intuos Pro and favourite eraser and pencil sharpener. And coffee, water and rotating snacks, of course!

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Review: The Endsister

Olly and Dave Outhwaite are happy in their small cottage in the Australian countryside, although their living quarters are tight, and so is money. 

Else the eldest plays violin. Clancy is deeply connected to the natural world around him. Twins Oscar and Finn are inseparable with personal identity beginning to be an issue for them. The youngest is four year old Sibbi. Wild and free, they all seem contented to drift through life without change.

When they inherit a house in London from their aunt, they see an opportunity for new beginnings, additional space, and moving forward with more comfort than they had.

Outhwaite House on Mortlake Road has two long-term inhabitants, Almost Annie and Hardly Alice; two ghosts that haven’t been able to move on. 

Review: Scythe

Powerful. Gripping. Eye-opening.

That is Scythe.

In a future world where death has been cured and an AI called the Thunderhead controls everything (and hasn’t turned evil), utopia has been achieved.

If you are hurt, nanites inside you dull the pain and heal you. If you accidentally die, drones will take you to a revival centre. When you reach a physical age you no longer wish to be, you can reset your body. 

The Thunderhead provides for everyone, protects everyone, protects the earth. It is all powerful and in complete control… except when it comes to the Scythedom.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Junior Review: Bad Mermaids

Beattie and the twins, Zelda and Mimi, are mermaids. Beattie is enjoying a nice summer on the beach with her new legs, when she gets a letter. There are bad mermaids on the loose and Beattie is the only mermaid in the lagoon who can stop them! Zelda and Mimi too, of course. 
Join Beattie and her friends on an epic journey through the lagoon, trying to catch the mysterious Swan and not get eaten by piranhas on the way.
I thought that the best part of the book was when Beattie figured out the secret identity of The Swan which wasn’t who I expected it to be. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book. 

I really enjoyed this lovely tale about some fish in the sea, and I recommend this intriguing book for girls aged 9 – 13.

Title: Bad Mermaids
Author: Sibeal Pounder
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, $11.99
Publication Date: 1June 2017
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781408877128
For Ages: 9 - 13
Type: Fiction

12 Curly Questions with author Erika Geraerts

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I get mild social anxiety around large groups of people for long periods of time.

2. What is your nickname? 

3. What is your greatest fear? 
That we’ll all stop communicating.

Monday, 5 February 2018

January/February Young Adult Fiction New Releases

What an exciting start to the year it's already been in the world of YA particularly #LoveOzYA publishing. Here's a glimpse of brilliant new books published in Jan and Feb and all we can say is ... wow! There's anticipated sequels, new series, stories about grit and determination. Conversations are being had about relevant and life affirming issues, and real insights are provided about the plight of asylum seekers in Australia. Start reading!

Between Us by Clare Atkins, $19.99, 9781760640217, Black Inc Books. #LoveOzYA

Review: D-Bot Squad Mega Hatch (#7) and Dino Corp (#8)

Junior fiction lovers rejoice! Books seven and eight of the super popular D-Bot Squad series are here. And they are awesome!

Louise Park and Susannah McFarlane, who combine to become Mac Park for this great kids series, have delivered an action packed conclusion to the D-Bot Squad adventure. 

If you’ve never heard of this series before, it’s well worth a look. It follows the story of dinosaur-enthusiast Hunter Marks, who is chosen to join the super-secret D-Bot Squad to capture dinosaurs that have escaped from a top-secret facility. 

To aid him in his quest, he has high-tech gizmos and gadgets, including all the supplies he needs to build robot dinosaurs — D-bots — so he can track the escapees and teleport them back to safety.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Review: Letters From New York: Making Pictures with the A-B-C

Letters From New York: Making Pictures with the A-B-C is a like a literacy scavenger hunt and a travel guide, all rolled into one book.

Maree Coote (whose book Spellbound won the 2017 Bologna Ragazzi Award) has taken iconic New York places and people, and integrated the alphabet with them.

A yellow taxi, for example, is depicted using a 'B' for the front and back of the car, 'a' for the wheels, and 'A' for windows.

In fact, each picture uses the letters that spell out its name. So all the letters in the words 'NYC taxi cab' can be found in the picture of it.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Review: The Year of the Dog

Charles Hope, author of The Year of the Dog, has given us a charming and moving story of hope, friendship, wanting to belong and be loved. Hope has woven the animals and personality traits from the Chinese Zodiac into the story giving it a deeper meaning.

Dog lives at The Home for Lost & Unloved Animals. While the name of Dog's home might suggest that the residents of this shelter are lost and unloved, the name signifies the lack of a loving family to live with. These 12 animals do however experience loving friendships and kindness. Each time an animal is chosen by a family to go home with them '...Dog's heart leapt and sang...' she felt love.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Review: Rome: City Trails

Secrets, stories and other cool stuff’ is what you’ll find in this terrific Lonely Planet Kids guide to City Trails in Rome. There are 19 trails to follow on this journey of discovery for young readers (and older ones too!).
Mario and Amelia are the tour guides who set out on adventures along the trails walking in the ‘footsteps of the Ancient Romans’. Parades of triumphs are celebrated. Rivers, fountains, natural surroundings, statues (with odd parts missing), and lots of architecture are looked at.

Each area is explored and historical information is shared with light-heartedness and lots of humour (very much like the Horrible Histories). There are countless incredible statistics associated with the sights of each guided trail. These are supported by a mixture of illustrations and pictures that fill each double spread.

Review: The List

If you love dystopian tales, you HAVE to read The List by Patricia Forde. Gripping, powerful and action-packed, you won't be able to put it down. And when you do finish it, you won’t be able to get it out of your head.

Set in a future world where global warming has destroyed most of the Earth, the last survivors live in (or around) a small township run by a man who foresaw the inevitable and made preparations. 

But to live within the safety of John Noa’s sanctuary, you must follow his rules. And one of these rules is that you must speak List. 

A language with far less words than existed in the past, the purpose of List is to control the new society and prevent them from making the same mistakes as their ancestors.