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

Friday, 22 February 2019

Review: Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs

Go find a pirate hat and come along with Flinn on an exciting adventure in  Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto.

While reading this book you will fall into a fabulously paced story, that promises to entertain.

Flinn and his friends discover a blubbering Captain Stubble in the art supplies cupboard. As they promise to help him, they fall into the pirate world.

They pursue the stolen ship, Acorn, across the seas and discover that the pirates are dinosaurs. Flinn uses his cutlass in the battle to reclaim Stubble's ship.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Look What I'm Reading! Anouska Jones

Anouska Jones is the Publisher at EK Books, the children's picture book imprint of Exisle Publishing. She has nearly 25 years’ experience in book publishing and in that time has worked in every genre from self-help to military history, from cookery to travel. Anouska is also an author and occasional reviewer.

Which children’s book are you currently reading?
Jane Doe and the Cradle of All Worlds

Can you tell us in two sentences what the book is about?
Quoting straight from the publisher’s blurb (because I know how much time and effort goes into writing these!):

‘When a fierce quake strikes the remote island of Bluehaven, and her father disappears, Jane Doe is thrown headfirst into an epic quest to bring him home. But this ain’t no ordinary rescue mission — her father is lost in a place between worlds; a dangerous labyrinth of shifting rooms, infernal booby traps and secret gateways.’

Meet the Illustrator: Tom Parker

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less. Fantasy, animal-inspired oddities. (I think that’s enough!)

What items are an essential part of your creative space? 2B pencil starts EVERYTHING I do. Ink pens, scanner, a Mac (with Photoshop) and Ugee digital pad. But mostly the 2B pencil!

Do you have a favourite artistic medium? Currently, yes. I draw everything in detailed pencil, scan it and colour it digitally with a mix of layers of acrylic or watercolour backgrounds and textures. So it’s a real mix of things and no single medium, but it’s how I’ve done a lot of my work recently.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Review: Mallee Sky

As drought continues to plague most of the country, Mallee Sky is a timely and powerful portrayal of its devastating impact on the landscape and the people who inhabit it.

The illustrator follows the author as she swings between the landscape and the intimacy of first person, connecting the reader to the countryside and life there.

Review: Calm Mindfulness for Kids

I love everything about this book. From the content to the design to the layout, everything between the covers is thoughtful, insightful and helpful.

Calm Mindfulness for Kids is a fantastic collection of activities that help kids to relax, be calm and be more aware of themselves and individual moments throughout their day.

Wynne Kinder, an experienced teacher, provides information and advice about the art of mindfulness and how it can help kids. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Review: The Deep 1: Dragon Rider

Welcome to the world of The Deep. If you have not already entered this oceanic world, here is a fun place to begin. This junior novel, Dragon Rider, is based on the award-winning TV series The Deep, which is based upon the extraordinary graphic novels created by Tom Taylor and James Brouwer.

Dragon Rider is the first book in a new series of 'never-seen-on-screen' stories, set in the the world of The Deep. In this exciting adventure, readers will follow 12-year-old, Ant Nekton, his sister, Fontaine, and their parents, Will and Kaiko, as these underwater scientific explorers try to discover what is causing the release of magma and poisonous gasses. Along the way, they work together to deal with unexpected complications, including the emergence of an ancient sea creature.

10 Quirky Questions with author Bren MacDibble


1. What's your hidden talent?
I can smell rain coming. This isn't a very useful talent in Australia.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Review: Girls Can Do Anything!

An empowering and uplifting book with a wonderful message that girls can do anything.

With rhythm, rhyme and the perfect amount of repetition, Girls Can Do Anything tells of many things that girls can do if they want to. Some possibilities explored include mountain climbing, making messes, winning medals and saving animals. The story regularly refers to the reader making it engaging and interactive, this, combined with the repeated mantra, ‘I’m a GIRL! I’m FANTASTIC! I’m strong, brave and proud!’ gives great self-worth.

Review: Louisiana's Way Home

Louisiana’s face on the jacket of Kate DiCamilo’s latest book is a fascinating portrait on reflection. It invites you on a journey you will eagerly travel until the startling end.

The deep-thinking Louisiana Elefante is now 12 years old. She has been taught by her Granny to be wily and resilient, to live by imposing on people, also borrowing and sometimes stealing.

There is nothing taught and nothing told when they leave in the night. Granny simply states that the day of reckoning has arrived.  

They leave behind Buddy the one-eyed dog, Archie the cat, Louisiana’s best friends Raymie Clarke and Beverly Tapinski, and set off in the old car in the direction of the Florida-Georgia State line.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Young Adult Fiction February New Releases


It's already mid-February and with anticipated sequels, the TBR piles are gloriously stacking up. What to read first? Here's a snapshot of our pick of Feb YA new releases.


Misrule - Valentine: Book 3 by Jodi McAlister, Penguin, $19.99, 9780143793465, #LoveOzYA

Review: The House on the Mountain

There’s a house on the mountain where a loving family lives, surrounded by beautiful bushland.

It’s summer and it’s very, very hot. The air is still and the grass is dry. 

Fire is coming.

The House on the Mountain is a heartbreaking and poignant picture book about the Black Saturday bushfires that spread through Victoria, Australia in February 2009. 

It is the experience of three young children and their family, who watch, wait and prepare as the fire creeps steadily closer.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Review: Bear Moves

How many dances do you know?

Bear knows heaps of them, and he loves to move!

When the dancing mood hits him, which appears to be quite often, Bear gets his groove on, and in a rather hilarious way.

Bear can breakdance, do the limbo, and the foxtrot.

He's also pretty good at belly dancing, the quickstep, and the Running Man.

Bear Moves shows him in action.