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Archive for January, 2012

The Scariest Thing of All

By: Debi Gliori

Pip is a very small little rabbit. In fact he is the smallest rabbit in his whole family. The only thing about Pip that isn’t small is his list of things he is scared of. After one particularly exhausting day of adding things to his list, he falls asleep and when he wakes he hears the scariest sound of all and this causes him to run off into the dark woods. There Pip makes a discovery that changes everything.

This is a wonderful story of being scared and then not. It is about discovery, courage and seeing things as they are. Gliori has given us in this tale a story that is a little silly and easy to understand, with an outcome that can only be considered reassuring. Pip is a very little rabbit with a very big imagination and his story is accompanied by Gliori’s wonderfully detailed and layered illustrations that somehow seem more obvious as Pip’s perspective changes.

A great little story, recommended

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Published: 17 October 2011

Format: Hardback 32 pages

Categories: Overcoming Fear, Animal Stories

ISBN 13: 9780747599692

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page

A King’s Ransom

By: Jude Watson

Cahill’s Vs Vespers Bk 2

The hunt for the 39 clues is well and truly over but Dan and Amy Cahill are still into things way over their heads. Seven members of their extended family are being held hostage by a sinister organisation known as The Vespers. The Cahill’s want nothing more than to bring the hostages home safely but to do so means hopping through the increasingly difficult hoops set by the person known only as Vesper 1. They have stolen artwork, found an ancient book and now have to track down a long lost map. This search leads them on the path of Nazi’s and spies and in the process they find friends where they least expect to.

The action and adventure don’t really let up in this book. Amy and Dan are still mostly on the same page, though Dan is keeping something from Amy and at times she feels he is slipping away from her and she has no idea how to reach him. This fracture in their relationship adds another dimension to the already complex family dynamic. The different family members who now work together don’t always get on as they still retain their very distinctive family traits. Also the involvement of Evan, a complete outsider changes things a little, in a good way. The addition of a couple  of characters that we thought we’d seen the last of is a nice touch which in the process adds a whole other layer to the mystery of the Vespers and just what is going on.

This installment felt a little lagging in the middle but that could be because, for all that the story and challenge are different, we have been here before. However it picked up and by the end I have to say I was left wondering, as always, what was going to happen next. I am definitely looking forward to the next installment.

Publisher: Scholastic

Published: 05 January 2012

Format: Mixed media product 336 pages

Categories: Adventure, Family, Crime, Action

ISBN 13: 9780545298407

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

Trails of Treachery

By: Carolyn Keene

Part of the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series

George has decided to compete in the grueling La Ruta mountain bike race in Costa Rica. It is a three day even and Nancy and Bess are joining her as her support crew. Before the race even starts they learn that someone has been threatening top US cyclist Derek Woodhall. It seems some one doesn’t want him to win. There are a few suspects but who has a motive to take such deadly action?

A straight forward mystery story set against the backdrop of a grueling sporting event in an exotic location. The characters in this story stay fairly true to the original incarnations. Nancy is the driving investigative force, George the girl of action and Bess the loyal, brave friend who is more interested in enjoying life. The crime is interesting but in no way graphic in it’s description. If you are looking for a good mystery story for a middle grade reader then these are a pretty good choice. The original stories are still available in some places and it was a favourite of mine at that age.

Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks

Published: 21 August 2007

Format: Paperback 160 pages

Categories: Sports Crime

ISBN 13: 9781416935247

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie

Now I had this great idea to put in one post a bunch of trailers from a wide variety of my have Aussie authors…but then I struck a problem, there just aren’t that many clips out there.

So instead I will list for you just a few Aussie authors worth checking out, if you haven’t already, and leave it at that.

In no particular order and by all means not a comprehensive list, (the heat here today is over the old hundred mark and my brain is trying to pretend it is somewhere cool).

Michael Pryor

Marianne de Pierres

Jackie French

Anthony Eaton

Marcus Zusak

Michael Gerard Bauer

Wendy Harmer

Cath Crowley

Lili Wilkinson

Margo Lanagan

Lian Tanner

James Roy

Kate Forsyth

Andy Griffiths

Morris Gleitzman

And then of course once I started thinking about Aussie authors I wanted to add, the list kept getting longer and then I could find more clips but not necessarily trailers and so I will leave you with just a few and apologise to anyone I didn’t add by saying it’s only because my brain is sweating.


Other Booky News

This week saw The American Library Association (ALA) announce the top books, video and audiobooks for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

John Newbery Medal 

“Dead End in Norvelt,” written by Jack Gantos, is the 2012 Newbery Medal winner, for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature. The book is published by Farrar Straus Giroux.

Randolph Caldecott Medal 

“A Ball for Daisy,” illustrated and written by Chris Raschka, is the 2012 Caldecott Medal winner, for the most distinguished American picture book for children. The book is published by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Michael L. Printz Award

“Where Things Come Back,” written by John Corey Whaley, is the 2012 Printz Award winner, for excellence in literature written for young adults. The book is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

Of special note to Australians is “Jasper Jones,” written by Craig Silvey and published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc, is an honour book in this category.

Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences:

“Big Girl Small,” by Rachel DeWoskin, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

“In Zanesville,” by Jo Ann Beard, published by Little, Brown & Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

“The Lover’s Dictionary,” by David Levithan, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

“The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens,” by Brooke Hauser, published by Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

“The Night Circus,” by Erin Morgenstern, published by Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.

“Ready Player One,” by Ernest Cline, published by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.(ISBN: 9780307887436)

“Robopocalypse: A Novel,” by Daniel H. Wilson, published by Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.

“Salvage the Bones,” by Jesmyn Ward, published by Bloomsbury USA

“The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures,” by Caroline Preston, published by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

“The Talk-Funny Girl,” by Roland Merullo, published by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

Also a special mention must be given to Lili Wilkinson for her book Pink being listed as an honour book for the Stonewall Book Award -Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.

The complete list of winners and honour books can be found here.

A big congratulations to all winners and nominees.

Indie Awards Shortlist

The Indie Awards are the awards handed out by the independent booksellers from around Australia. There are several categories but the one we are particularly interested in her at TheKylieVerse is the children’s category. Here are the nominees:

The Jewel Fish of Karnak by Graeme Base

The Little Refugee by Anh and Suzanne Do (illustrated by Bruce Whatley)

The Coming of the Whirlpool: Ship Kings Book One by Andrew McGahan

The 13-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

Congrats to the nominees and good luck.

The Fault In Our Stars

I received a copy of this from the publisher.By: John Green

Hazel Grace Lancaster is 16 and has terminal cancer. To be sure she has received a cancer miracle that has prolonged her life but not taken away the cancer’s terminal nature. She hasn’t been to normal school in three years and her mother insists she gets some outside interaction by going to a Cancer Support Group It is at group one day that she meets Augustus Waters slips into her life. Gus is a friend of the only person she really gets along with at group, Isaac. Augustus intrigues her, like Hazel intrigues him. Hazel is drawn to his intelligence, humour and his good looks don’t hurt. They share with each other their favourite books and things go on from there.

Augustus makes it possible for Hazel to meet the author she most admires and together they share a wonderful romance from America to Holland and back again. The life of a cancer kid is filled with cancer perks and hard truths that both Hazel and Augustus are very aware of.

This book has been one of the most awaited YA books I’ve seen in my time as a specialist bookseller. John Green, without question, has a certain appeal, but now is not the time to talk about his social media prowess, now is for the book.

The story of Hazel and Augustus is one of tragic wonder. As individuals they are amazing and complex characters, whose reading history leaves mine for dust (that is to say their reading is a little more highbrow than mine was at that age). They are smart, articulate and fun, with no false expectations but still hopes, for their futures. They experience glorious moments of joy in amongst those of bleakness and never stop being themselves.

The Fault In Our Stars is a funny, powerful and heartbreaking work on those grand topics of life, love and death. You laugh along with, whilst feeling the frustration of, these incredible characters Green has put before us. Augustus and Hazel are the sort of characters who stay with you for a while after putting the book down, they are fun, sad and irreverent.

Other people can probably wax more lyrically than me about the wonders and depths of this book so I will keep my thoughts simple: it is a masterful piece of writing with characters and story deftly woven to draw you in and pull you along. I did lol and I did cry and it mattered not to me who noticed.

Highly recommended.

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Published: 11 January 2012

Format: Paperback 336 pages

Categories: Fiction, Friendship, Romance, Illness, Death

ISBN 13: 9780143567592

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

Looking For Alaska

By: John Green

Miles ‘Pudge’ Halter’s life is about to be shaken up. Until now his life has been pretty boring. Nothing interesting has ever happened to him and no-one will miss him when he is gone. Now he is about to enter the world of Culver Creek Boarding School, a place where his desire to find the Great Perhaps can finally begin.

At Culver his life gets switched upside down. He becomes roomies with the Colonel, a mad, smart and fiercely loyal guy. Down the hall lives Alaska Young – messed up, sexy, clever, funny and self-destructive. Pudge finds himself swept into the crazy vortex of life around her.

That was before. Then comes the after and in the drive to find answers Pudge knows things will never be the same.

You are slowly drawn into Pudge’s story before getting swept into the sometimes crazy, frantic and insane world of boarding school. The Colonel is a great counter to Pudge’s naivety and a fascinating character in his own right, whose depths we learn more about in a couple of wonderful scenes.

Alaska is the crazy and unpredictable cyclone who pulls people into her storm and flings them around in a manner that means they will never be unaffected after. Pudge’s infatuation with her is understandable. She is at heart though, a sad character in many ways and her actions, when examined bring that to light.

Through the innocence of Pudge we are introduced to the reality of life as a teenager; the things they do, say, feel and believe. This is an engaging story that, like Alaska, pulls you in, spins you around, throws you out and leaves you thinking about some of those tougher topics for a while afterwards. Green is a writer who is able to give voice to those ofttimes uncertain teen years, creating readable and relatable characters which make him a favourite author of many.

Highly recommended.

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Published: 31 March 2011

Format: Paperback 272 pages

Categories: Fiction, Friendship, Life

ISBN 13: 9780007424832 (blue cover) 9780142402511 (black cover)

Purchase: using above cover links or use Booktopia logo on side of page

A Couple of Days of John Green – Day 1

I finished The Fault in Our Stars and have yet to write the review partly due to time and partly because I want to do it justice. So in lead up to it today I will post a review for his first book Looking For Alaska and this little behind the scenes clip of the  TFIOS tour.

Oh and here is a interview with Green from The Age.

Operation Red Jericho

By: Joshua Mowll

The Guild Trilogy book 1

Doug and Becca MacKenzie find themselves on board The Expedient, a research vessel that is more than what it seems. They are there under the care of their uncle, the ships captain. Becca and Doug are desperate for any news on their missing parents but no-one seems interested in helping them. The siblings have a bad habit of not doing what they have been told and this gets them into loads of trouble. Before long they realise there is more going on than they could ever have guessed at. As they pursue their own leads into their parents whereabouts they find themselves pulled into a situation that could cost them their lives.

One of the most intriguing things about this book is it’s format. It is presented as an account of events that occurred in the 1920’s – the details having come to light nearly a century later and put forward for publishing by a descendent. To further this idea the book contains sketches from Doug’s sketchbooks and entries from Becca’s diaries. It also contains very detailed fold out supplements.

The story is somewhat interesting but unfortunately Doug and Becca are kind of irritating. If they weren’t there may not be the impetus to keep the story moving forward but still I found I didn’t much care for them and it’s hard to enjoy the book if you don’t care for the characters. I will say though that that is a very personal observation and others may enjoy their constant rebellion. If you are looking for something rather different to read or are looking for something filled with adventure and touched in history then this is certainly worth a look. There is plenty of action, payers of plots and loads of bad guys.

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd

Published: 05 September 2005

Format: Hardback 288 pages (Also available paperback this hardback ed is a nice presentation though)

Categories: Adventure

ISBN 13: 9781844286256

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page

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