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Archive for March, 2011

Tricksters Choice

By: Tamora Pierce

Aly is the daughter of a spymaster and the Kings Champion. She can crack codes, translate, pick locks and pockets, read lips and isn’t bad with a knife. Aly simply doesn’t want to do what other girls her age are doing, marrying and having babies. When she finds out her mother is returning from the war front she chooses to run away rather than face both parents at the same time. Unfortunately things don’t go according to plan and she gets captured and sold into slavery.

In order to get back to her family Aly makes a deal with Kyprioth (the Trickster God). Keep the children of the family she serves alive through the summer and she gets to go home. This turns out to be far more dangerous and intriguing than Aly imagines as she is swept into a complex political situation that becomes a battle for survival, all while not revealing the truth of who she is.

I am unashamedly a fan of Tamora Pierce. Trickster’s Choice is a wonderful fantasy story with a strong, intelligent female protaganist. This is one of the reasons I love Pierce’s books. This one has plenty of politics, plotting, scheming, fighting and spying, with a little magic thrown in for good measure. The characters are engaging and varied fitting well into the story and society that has been created. I have no trouble recommending this to readers who enjoy fantasy but also those looking for great female characters.


Publisher: Scholastic

Published: 14 October 2008

Format: Paperback 422 pages

Categories: Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9780375814723

Purchase: here

The Emperor of Absurdia

By: Chris Riddell

Absurdia is a strange and wonderful land, a place where nothing is quite what it seems. Umbrellas are trees, meals are all mixed up and pillows are hills. it is all very odd.

Join the Little Emperor as he searches for his lost snuggly scarf and sets off on a dragon hunt.

A delightful story set in a strange and somehow appealing dreamscape. The story is fun to read and the illustrations are detailed, a little odd and bring a joyful smile to my face. I’m sure we all need something a little absurd in our lives from time to time. Oh and watch out for the Wardrobe Monster.


Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Published: 01 June 2007

Format: Paperback 32 pages

Categories: Picture Books

ISBN 13: 9781405090285

Purchase: here

Artemis Fowl

By: Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl is a prodigy, a genius. His mother is ill, his father is missing and Artemis has plans. Criminal plans and the money to fund his ventures. Now he has discovered a fairy civilization below ground and sees this as a brand new opportunity for exploitation. The thing is Artemis doesn’t know as much as he thinks he does. This isn’t going to be as easy as he thought and what he doesn’t know could hurt him. When he kidnaps Captain Holly Short of the Lower Elements Police, Artemis almost triggers a cross species war. All of this and he is only 12.

Boy billionaire, evil genius, what’s not to love. Throw in a determined fairy police officer, a technically brilliant but grumpy centaur and a dirt eating dwarf with a gas issue and you have a really fun read. Wonderful characters, plots and machinations.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Published: 07 March 2002

Format: Paperback 304 pages

Categories: Crime, Science Fiction, Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9780141312125

Purchase: here

Hover Car Racer

By Matthew Reilly

Jason Chaser is a hover car racer, that makes him part fighter pilot and part race car driver. Unexpectedly he finds himself invited to attend the International Race School, the place where racers either make it to the pro circuit or they crash and burn. It sounds awesome but Jason and his younger brother, Bug, find themselves outsiders. Not only are they younger but their car, The Argonaut, is much older.

As the year progresses it becomes obvious that someone doesn’t want them to succeed and now Jason finds himself not just racing for his place on the starting line but also for his life.

Jason Chaser is an underdog with a pure heart and a fighting spirit, he embodies the motto – ‘never give up, never say die’. This book moves at a high octane pace and keeps you cheering Jason on every step of the way. An entertaining and thoroughly engaging read. Highly recommended if you love your action fast and furious or even just a little bit of you is a secret rev-head.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

Published: 01 December 2005

Format: Paperback 448 pages

Categories: Action

ISBN 13: 9780330422307

Purchase: here

Little Honey Bear and The Smiley Moon

By: Gillian Lobel and Tim Warnes

Little Honey Bear is convinced the moon was smiling at him. Along with his friends Lily Long Ears and Teeny Tiny Mouse, he sets out to follow the shining silver moon path. They want to have tea with the moon. but as they go along the path gets steeper, the wind gets colder and then suddenly the path disappears. Where has the moon gone? What will the friends do?

A wonderful adventure shared between friends. The illustrations do a fantastic job of adding to the different moods of the little friends along the way. There is quite a bit of text which makes it perfect for those older picture book readers who are growing with their attention spans.


Publisher: Good Books

Published: 01 October 2006

Format: Hardback 28 pages

Categories: Fiction, Adventure, Animal Stories, Relationships

ISBN 13: 9781561485338

Purchase: here

Congratulations Shaun Tan

In addition to the recent win at the Oscars for ‘The Lost Thing’, it has just been announced that Shaun Tan is the recipient of the presitgious 2011 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

This award is the largest given out for children’s and young adult literature. What an incredible year Shaun is having.

The award jury had this to say about Shaun : “a masterly visual storyteller, pointing the way ahead to new possibilities for picture books. His pictorial worlds constitute a separate universe where nothing is self-evident and anything is possible. Memories of childhood and adolescence are fixed reference points, but the pictorial narrative is universal and touches everyone, regardless of age. Behind a wealth of minutely detailed pictures, where civilization is criticized and history depicted through symbolism, there is a palpable warmth. People are always present, and Shaun Tan portrays both our searching and our alienation. He combines brilliant, magical narrative skill with deep humanism.”

Further information about Shaun and the award can be found here.

Counting/Numbers Books

Hey Kylie, I’m trying to find a number picture book that goes past 10. I’d love an aussie one, but don’t like my chances. Any ideas? – Julia

Hi Julia, It seems there are a lot that go to ten and I couldn’t find any really that went above 21. I haven’t read these but here are a few suggestions and yes one is Australian. I’ll start with that one.

The Number One Aussie Counting Book, by Heath McKenzie

From ‘1 wonderful wombat’ to ‘21 baby crocs’, this is not just another counting book. It has lyrical prose to challenge the developing reader, and Heath McKenzie’s trademark funky Aussie animals.

Learning to read and count has never been so much fun.

  • Publisher: Black Dog Books
  • Published: 01 May 2008
  • Format: Paperback 32 pages
  • Categories: Numbers & Counting
  • ISBN 13: 9781742030098

This is available through the publisher or booktopia at the moment, (please feel free to use the link at the side of the page to get you there).

The Real Princess: A Mathemagical Tale, By Brenda Williams, Illustrated by Sophie Fatus

Features three princess, four horses, five dogs, six grooms, seven gardeners and various kinds of chances for young mathematicians to put their adding and subtracting to the test. This book introduces basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and includes a ‘Test Your Maths Skills’ section.

  • Publisher: Barefoot Books Ltd
  • Published: 01 August 2009
  • Format: Paperback 40 pages
  • Categories: Storybooks, Numbers & Counting Fiction
  • ISBN 13: 9781846863905

This is available at the bookdepository here

City By Numbers, By Stephen Johnson

This is a wordless picture book where the numbers 1 -21 are hidden in the realistic cityscape illustrations. Some of the numbers are more difficult to pick out than others.

  • Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
  • Published: 01 August 2003
  • Format: Paperback 28 pages
  • Categories: Numbers & Counting, Fiction, People & Places
  • ISBN 13: 9780140566369

This is available as the bookdepository here

I hope this information is useful.

RIP Diana Wynne Jones



It is a sad day when someone as talented as Diana Wynne Jones leaves us

. She was an incredible author and inspired so very many. Our warmest


wishes go out to those of you who knew her and feel her loss.

Vale DWJ.

You will be missed.


By: Norbert Landa and Tim Warnes

Bear and Rabbit are the best of friends. They do everything together. They live in their bear/rabbit house, cook in their bear/rabbit kitchen and spend summers in their bear/rabbit treehouse. Then one day they find a wonderful shiny thing. That’s when the problem starts, they can’t agree who the shiny thing belongs to. The shiny thing could be the end of a very special friendship. Is there any way to fix things.

A wonderful story of sharing and being sorry and is accompanied by lovely illustrations.


Publisher: Magi Publications

Published: 06 April 2009

Format: Paperback 32 pages

Categories: Storybooks

ISBN 13: 9781845068516

Purchase: here

The Neverending Story

By: Michael Ende

Bastian Balthazar Bux is unpopular, has no friends and his father is distant. Then one day he does the unthinkable, he steals a book – ‘The Neverending Story’. As he settles in to read it his story slowly entwines with that of The Childlike Empress and her chosen hero, Atreyu. Fantastica is dying and needs a different kind of hero though, can Bastian help without losing all he is.

Michael Ende created a thoroughly detailed and varied world. Not only is this a fantasy adventure but it is also a journey of self-discovery. Wonderful creatures, some familiar, others not so. Some are good, some bad and some characters you will never forget: brave and loyal Atreyu, Falkor the Luckdragon, Xayide the witch and Grograman the Many Colored Death.

As a child this book swept me up into it’s wonderful pages and I read and re-read it. I cried in parts and surely laughed. I loved this book and still do, it’s been read so often it is falling apart.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Published: 31 July 1997

Format: Paperback 444 pages

Categories: Classics Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9780140386332

Purchase: here

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