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Archive for April, 2011

Burn Bright

By: Marianne de Pierres

Night Creatures series book 1

Retra is a Seal – one from the sealed community. She may be marked as an outcast and determined to escape but she doesn’t really want to go to Ixion, she has no real desire to party and seek pleasure like the rest of those who choose to go. She just wants to find her brother Joel and he left for Ixion two years ago. There are more things going on though than Retra could possibly have guessed at. Firstly there is the Pirate Ruzalia, who raids the boats, pulling certain people off them, no-one seems to know why. 

Then Retra has to survive Ixion and to do that she has to put aside all she has ever learnt and blend in, she needs to start having fun. If she can’t do this she will be withdrawn early and no-one can say exactly what that means. Except perhaps the Ripers, who are the Guardians of Ixion but are they really looking out for everyone or is something much darker going on. Ixion may be a place of pleasure but under the surface there are dark secrets that Retra stumbles upon as she searches for her brother. Retra can’t stay uninvolved, she knows too much.

This is an intricately and darkly woven dance. The layers are well blended, the story compelling. You move silently with Retra as she discovers herself, her strength, and the secrets most seem unwilling to uncover. As she grows from Retra to Naife you know you you have to keep reading to find out what happens next. Retra is accompanied by an eclectic mix of characters that blend well to create the diverse micro-culture that is Ixion.

Publisher: Random House Australia

Published: 01/03/11

Format: Paperback

Categories: Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9781864719888

Purchase: Booktopia

Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot

By: Anna Bradford

Illustrated By: Sarah Davis

Violet Mackerel goes with her Mum, sister and brother to the markets every Saturday, where her Mother has a stall. Violet thinks she would quite like to own the pale blue china bird she sees at the market every week. For Violet this is not a silly wish but the start of a very important idea. She knows this because she has a theory which says when you are having a very important idea you generally find something small and special on the ground. When she was thinking about the bird she finds a red button. Now though she needs a plot, but to get the bird it can’t just be any plot, it has to be a brilliant one.

Violet is a totally charming little girl. She is smart and she tries. If her plot doesn’t work she tries some more. This a a beautiful story of determination, working for what you want and generosity. There is a nice balance between the text and illustrations, which enhance the story without distracting you from it. A wonderful and heartwarming tale that I really look forward to sharing with my girls.

Publisher: Walker Books Australia

Published: 01 November 2010

Format: Hardback 112 pages

Categories: Family

ISBN 13: 9781921529177

Purchase: here

The Bridge – Book Trailer

The Bridge by Jane Higgins was the winner of the 2010 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing. It is a post-apocalypic action novel that is due for release in August 2011.

Text have this to say about the book : The City is divided. The bridges gated. In Southside, the hostiles live in squalor and desperation, waiting for a chance to overrun the residents of Cityside. (It)  is a gritty adventure set in a future world where fear of outsiders pervades everything. A heart-stopping novel about friendship, identity and courage from an exciting new voice in young-adult fiction.

The Text Prize

Every year there are opportunities for unpublished authors to get their work seen by publishing houses The Text Prize is one such competition that is specifically for Young Adult and Children’s Writing. It is run annually  with the aim to discovering an outstanding unpublished manuscript for younger readers and targets Australia and New Zealand writers.

The Publisher at Text, Michael Heyward, hopes this award “will unearth some brilliant new writing for young readers, which we can take to the world as we have done for many adult writers on our list”.

You don’t need to be unpublished to enter and you can submit works of fiction or non-fiction. The competition is judged by a panel of editors from Text Publishing, the winner will be announced at the Australian Booksellers Association Conference to be held in Melbourne on 24–25 July 2011. The winner will receive a publishing contract with Text and a $10,000 advance against royalties.

Details can be found at Text Publishing.

The winner of the 2010 Text Prize was  post-apocalyptic action novel The Bridge by Jane Higgins. This is Shyness by Leanne Hall won in 2009 and the inaugural prize (2008) was won by The Billionaires Curse by Richard Newsome.

Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident

By: Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl has steadfastly held on to the belief that his father is missing and not dead, even though it’s been two years. He is in the middle of playing mental games with the school councillor when the call from his bodygurad – Butler, comes through. Contact has been made from Russia, the last place his father was known to be alive.

On his way to Russia, the last place his father was known to be alive, Artemis is waylaid by Captain Holly Short of the Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance squad. Someone has been smuggling contraband and Artemis is her primary suspect. Artemis agrees to help the LEPRecons find the smuggler if they will help him rescue his father. Sometimes situations require the most unlikely of alliances to be formed. The big question though is are Holly and Artemis capable of working together with all that’s gone between them, or are both missions doomed to failure. And who is the pixie mastermind behind the smuggling operation?

A return to the world of Artemis Fowl, whose mind is complex and brilliant, though maybe not as brilliant as he always thinks. Aided and guarded by the stoic Butler while banging heads with the LEPRecons, Artemis’s schemings are always a pleasure to read. The characters are fun, I am partial to the dynamic between Artemis and Foaly, this book also sees the welcome return of Mulch Diggums. An enjoyable and layered adventure.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Published: 06 April 2006

Format: Paperback 320 pages

Categories: Adventure, Science Fiction, Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9780141321325

Purchase: here

The Gruffalo

By: Julia Donaldson

Illustrated By: Axel Scheffler

While a little mouse was taking a little stroll through the woods, he comes face to face with a fox, an owl and a snake. Mouse is clever though and is able to see a trick when it is in front of him so he invents the Gruffalo, a big, scary monster. What happens though when he finds out the Gruffalo is real and also wants to eat him?

This is a charming story about a very smart little mouse. There is enough text to keep the kindy/pre-primary reader interested and the story is simple and entertaining enough for younger readers. The illustrations are detailed and fun, presenting the story in a wonderfully visual way. It is easy to see why this book is a perennial favourite.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Published: 27 August 1999

Format: Paperback 32 pages

Categories: Picture Books Fiction General

ISBN 13: 9780333710937

Purchase: here

Mummy and Me

By: Emma Chichester Clark

Humber and his Mum do loads of fun stuff together; they play, garden, cook and read. Then one day Mum says she is too busy. Humber wants to help but Mum need to do these things alone and asks him to find something to do by himself. Then Humber comes up with an awesome idea, but will he get it ready by the time Mum is able to play?

This is an adorable story that is immediately recognisable as a slice of family life. It is funny, joyful and very heartwarming. The illustrations and text are simple and engaging. A perfect book to read when you can get your child to sit still long enough for you to enjoy one of those wonderful shared moments.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Published: 05 March 2009

Format: Paperback 32 pages

Categories: Picture Books

ISBN 13: 9780007273232

Purchase: here

The Alchemyst

By: Michael Scott

Nicholas Flamel and his wife Perenelle are not the lovely old couple running a simple book store like they appear to be. They are the Guardians of The Book of Abraham the Mage, also known as the Codex. Nicolas and Perry were born nearly 700 years ago and are still alive because the Codex contains the secret to the elixir of eternal life. This is not the only secret the book contains and should it fall into the wrong hands, like those of Dr John Dee, the world could be destroyed.

Sophie and Josh Newman stumble into the truth when they try to help the couple and this starts them down a path that brings them into contact with gods, goddesses, immortals and creatures out of mythology and legend. Sophie and Josh could be the twins of prophecy with their pure silver and gold auras. Their abilities need to be awakened and they need to be trained and it all needs to happen in a very short period of time. Each step is it’s own hurdle and could cost them their lives.

An intricately woven fantasy taking two modern teenagers and thrusting them into a hidden world of historical figures and myth. Scott blends the mythologies seemlessly into one story, making it not so much about branches as an overall battle between those on the side of the humans and those that aren’t. The characters are well developed and the world described with a detailed eye that vividly brings it to life. This layered story draws you in, and is paired with cracking action sequences. A great read that leaves you wondering who they will meet next and what is going to happen.

Publisher: Transworld Publ. Ltd. UK 

Published: 01 May 2008

Format: Paperback 375 pages

Categories: Fiction

ISBN 13: 9780552559164 

Purchase: here

The Discovery of America

By:Geronimo Stilton

Graphic Novel #1

The Pirate Cats have discovered a way to travel back in time and they are determined to change history. Professor Volt is a famous scientist who is able to track the activities of the Pirate Cats and knows when they are up to something. Using a time machine he invented he is able to send the Stilton’s – Geronimo, Thea, Trap, Benjamin and his friend Pandora back to stop the evil plots of the Bandit Cats.This time the Cats have set out to change the course of history by messing with the discovery of America. Will Geronimo and his family be able to stop the Bandit Cats in time for Columbus to discover America like he is supposed too?

A different incarnation of the Geronimo books as this story is in graphic novel form. The story is still engaging and has little bits of actual history thrown in. It may be a little more difficult to read for younger readers with all the small panels. That may though make it a good choice for a child that can read but isn’t keen on reading novels, as it does introduce them to the characters from the novels and they will hopefully follow them into the other format.

Publisher: Papercutz

Published: 11 September 2009

Format: Hardback 56 pages

Categories: Adventure Crime Graphic Novels Cartoons

ISBN 13: 9781597071581

Purchase: here

Kisses For Daddy

By: Frances Watts and David Legge

It is time for Baby Bear to have a bath and go to bed, but he is grumbly. He gives his Mummy a kiss but won’t give Daddy one. Daddy Bear takes him to his bath and gets him ready for bed, all while trying to get his goodnight kiss. Baby Bear still won’t kiss Daddy though. Will Daddy ever get his kiss from Baby Bear?

A wonderful, heartwarming story all about going to bed and bedtime kisses. the text is easy to understand, it’s tone is friendly and playful. The illustrations are warm and engaging – perfectly capturing the fun and loving tine of the story. This book has been a CBCA Honour Book and is one of my favourites.

Publisher: Little Hare Books

Published: 01 May 2008

Format: Hardback 24 pages

Categories: Fiction Family Family Issues

ISBN 13: 9781921272431 

Purchase: here

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