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

Friday, 27 May 2022

Review: The Secret of Sapling Green

Sapling Green has a secret, one she hides away in pockets. This sweet and whimsical story slowly reveals the secret of Sapling Green, a quiet girl who hides in the library and 'wishes for someone to play with'. 

Only at home does Sapling remove her hands from her pockets to reveal her verdant secret — green thumbs. Literally. Sapling's magical gift surrounds her with lush greenery and here she feels confident and free to be her true self.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Meet The Illustrator: Natasha Hagarty

Natasha Hagarty

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Lots of wobbly, loose lines and gentle, whimsical characters

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
A jug of water and more than one of every art tool and piece of stationary because I’m perpetually losing everything!

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Most of my previous work is done in watercolour, but I am slowly venturing into a mix of watercolour, charcoal, ink, acrylic, collage and digital!

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
It changes on a daily basis! But today it’s Matt Ottley, Suzy Lee and Kim Minji 

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Junior Review: The Blood Traitor

Kiva had always been closed off, never wanting to be hurt or vulnerable. She had been scared of loving for years, but now she had grown to love her family’s worst enemy. And now that everything had fallen apart, Kiva would do anything to get that love back.

After the traumatic events at the palace, Kiva is longing to be able to contact her friends and family and find out if they are safe and if they would ever forgive her. 

But Kiva has more to worry about then her shattered heart. With all the kingdoms of Wenderall on the brink of war, Kiva must learn to adapt and overcome her conflicted emotions in order to save all the kingdoms from destruction.

This new start comes with a seemingly impossible quest. Untrusting allies and plotting enemies are forced to race each other toward a future that will either destroy Evalon or save all of Wenderall. 

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Review: A Whole Lot of Lemonade Jones

A Whole Lot of Lemonade Jones by Davina Bell and Karen Blair, is a collection of three short stories about a mischievous six-year-old girl.

Lemonade Jones lives with her mum, dad, and baby brother Walter. She has a big personality, and you can expect the unexpected when Lemonade arrives on the scene.

The three stories are about everyday events, with somewhat unforeseen results.

The First Day Back is about Lemonade's first day at a new school for grade one. Lemonade is confronted with a new teacher, old and new classmates, and a bunch of new rules that she isn't sure she agrees with.

In The Zoo That Comes to You, Lemonade puts her own unique spin on her birthday party. Being dissatisfied with the lack of exotic animals brought to her house for the celebrations, Lemonade finds a way to dress up the family dog and cat, and disguise a parrot to appear more like a bat. And when the pirate rat gets loose, chaos ensues.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Review: The Cult Of Romance

The Cult Of Romance is by turns a soap-opera, a tale of two cities, a portrait of a young woman straddling cultures and a searingly intimate interrogation of home, identity, love and belonging. It’s fresh and eminently readable. Laugh-out-loud funny and surprisingly tender.

Told in the first person with an authentic voice, this book explores many of the important issues that migrant families face… with the little twist that its protagonist looks on romance as a big fat cult that we’ve all brainwashed into. It’s a fabulous narrative idea and a great read.

Natalie Saab is your average Aussie born Lebanese feminist raised with an absent mother, a distant father and a suffocatingly hands-on Tayta (Grandma) who thinks the old ways of the homeland are the only ways to live.

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Review: Keeping Up With the Dachshunds

In a dog's world, which is not so different from a human's, there are things that a dog would really like to have.

Jet is such a dog. She wants to be just like the Dachshunds who are popular, and the trendsetters.

The Dachshunds have sparkly diamond collars, and stylish hair.

They also have fashionable shoes to wear, and squeaky rubber chickens to play with. Not to mention cool sunglasses and trendy cars.

Everything the Dachshunds have is cool and now and 'totally bow-wow!'

Jet does not have any of these things, and when she tries to keep up with the Dachshunds, she finds herself left behind.

Saturday, 21 May 2022

Giveaway: Pawsome Double Pack! - Paws and The Bravest Word

For a double whammy of wonderful, heartfelt middle grade fiction, look no further than these two 'pawsome' novels by, Kate Foster. 

The Bravest Word is a rescue story of love and trust between a boy and a dog while Paws, is a touching story about learning that friendship isn’t one size fits all and is often found where you least expect it.

Each address the sensitive topic of mental health and well-being, inspired by Foster's own health challenges and her irrepressible love of dogs!

For the chance to win this gorgeous double prize pack
, tell us in 25 words or less what is the bravest thing you have done?

Friday, 20 May 2022

Review: Mr Price's Pet Emporium

The days where you can walk into a shop and buy a pet are long gone, but in this Emporium, Mr Price is selling pets, and you would not believe the mischief he gets up to. 

He might seem like a trusty fella – but don't let his moustache, quiffed hair-do and side glances fool you, he is quite the crook!

The story begins with a young girl who is looking for the perfect pet - 'Lately I've been thinking that I'd really like to get a fluffy, fuzzy, cuddly-wuddly, friendly little pet'. She heads off to the pet emporium where Mr Price insists he can help her and shows her pet after pet... but every single one is not exactly what it is meant to be. 

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Guest Post: Sonny and Sandy Swinhart on Collaborative Partnerships

I (Sonny) had been living in Japan for somewhere around twenty years. I returned to the States periodically for business, travel and family visits. These visits were not as frequent as they should have been.

While I love my life in Japan, the downside has been losing touch with those who are important to me back home, in particular, members of my family. And I'm not the best about keeping in touch. 

When our father passed away one year ago, my sister and I decided that we should stay better connected. Living across the ocean from each other, we haven't made much opportunity to keep in touch more.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Review: Bush Magic

Bush Magic is the story of a rainy day turned into a joyous creative adventure starring Jarrah and her grandpa.

When their weekly bush adventure appears to be a dismal washout, Grandpa and Jarrah craft their way into an imaginative journey instead. Sailing away in a huge leaf, they encounter giant jellyfish and discover stranded bush animals. What else will they find? Will they be able to help the animals? An enjoyable expedition prevails.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Review: Kora Kerplunk’s Travelling Tongue

Kora Kerplunk is a wild child who loves being dirty and loves to play rough. But what she loves more than anything else is licking yucky stuff!!!!

Boogers and blackboards, windows and dirt,

Grey gum on the ground, and stains on her shirt.

But one day, sick of the disgusting things Kora licks, her tongue runs away, leaving Kora a farewell note. 

12 Curly Questions with author Rory H. Mather

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I had my first birthday in Tonga because I spent large chunks of my childhood living and travelling on sailboats my Dad had built. Wait, is that two things?

2. What is your nickname?
My friends call me Rory the Great. Haha, jokes. I don’t really have a nickname, but when I was a rifleman in the Army Reserves it was Hammer, which is a shortened form of my surname and very ironic because I’m very mild mannered.