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Archive for March, 2012

Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals Short List

The shortlists have just been announced for the Carnegie Medal and the Kate Greenaway Award. A huge congrats to all authors who made the list and good luck.

The Carnegie Medal Short List

David Almond MY NAME IS MINA
Hodder (9+)
ISBN: 9780340997253

Doubleday (8+)
ISBN: 9780385618007

Walker (9+)
ISBN: 9781406331493

Andersen (12+)
ISBN: 9781849392488

Andy Mulligan TRASH
David Fickling (12+)
ISBN: 9780385619011

Walker (9+)
ISBN: 9781406311525

Orion (10+)
ISBN: 9781444001839

Puffin (12+)
ISBN: 9780141335889

For more details about the books or medal please go here.

The Kate Greenaway Medal Short List

Emily Gravett WOLF WON’T BITE
Macmillan (4+)
ISBN: 9780230704251

Walker Books (4+)
ISBN: 9781406324600

Jim Kay (text by Patrick Ness) A MONSTER CALLS
Walker Books (9+)
ISBN: 9781406311525

Dave McKean (Text by David Almond) SLOG’S DAD
Walker Books (8+)
ISBN: 9781406322903

Macmillan (4+)
ISBN: 9780230529229

Rob Ryan (Text by Carol Anne Duffy) THE GIFT
Barefoot Books (6+)
ISBN: 9781846863547

Walker Books (4+)
ISBN: 9781406316896

Vicky White (Text by Martin Jenkins) CAN WE SAVE THE TIGER?
Walker Books (6+)
ISBN: 9781406319095

For more details about the books or medal please go here.

The Children of the King

I received my copy as an ARC from the publisher.By: Sonya Hartnett

Cecily, Jeremy and their mother have left war time London for the safety of the countryside. Once there they are joined by evacuaa May. Cecily and May are able to play and keep each other entertained even though May isn’t quite what Cecily expected. While exploring the ruins of Snow Castle they meet two strange boys. From that moment on past and present join together and the two girls learn about the mysterious possible history of the old castle.

This is the sort of book that is a little difficult to review simply because I don’t want to give too much away. Suffice to say timelines blend through the device of Uncle Peregrin’s story. Cecily is a kind of selfish girl who’s moods and attitudes allow for May’s character to be a lovely counter to her. Jeremy’s arc is a little different as he is a 14 year old boy who is annoyed at being forced to hide from the war that has driven him from the city. All of the arcs – the girls, Jeremy and the story told by Uncle Peregrin, blend together to create a really interesting piece of historical fiction. It is nicely written, delicately balanced, with snippets of wisdom to be mined should you choose.

Will definitely suit a child with an interest in history or even just a well crafted story. This is the sort of book I want to share with my kids.

Publisher: Penguin Australia

Published: 21st March 2012

Format: Hardcover, 276 pages

Categories: History, War, Family

ISBN: 9780670076130

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page



I received this book as an ARC from the publisher.By: Russell Hoban

Illustrations By: Alexis Deacon

Sixteen Face John is, or was, a shaman, it has been a while since he has done anything particularly shaman-like. The problem now is he and his wife are expecting their first child, a ‘soonchild’ and she won’t come out. John remembers something – that the World Songs are the music that inspires unborn children to leave the womb. With this in mind John sets out to find these World Songs in a Big Dream Trip. On this incredible journey John shifts shapes and sizes, meets up with ancestors and animal spirits. he also faces demons, death, his own past and mortality. Will John return from his dream trip with the World Songs and will that be enough to bring Soonchild into the world?

A rather different kind of read. Dark and surreal, John’s journey takes him from his modern distractions to his true path, where he needs to find the ways to let go of the past and confront his fears and failures. This is a mesmerising story that is an interesting trip through a different type of world. Elements may be familiar to some if you have a little knowledge of particular cultures. As a novel it has gloomy edges, deeper concepts and more than a few nuggets of wisdom. This story is paired with Alexis Deacon’s mystical and darkly intriguing images. Definitely worth a look if you are looking for something with a bit of substance, that may very well leave you thinking. Probably best suited to the younger end of the YA range due to format and style though some of the themes are fairly grown-up.

A fascinating read.

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd

Published: 01 March 2012

Format: Hardback 144 pages

Categories: Adventure, Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9781406329919

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

The Cassowary’s Egg

By: Garry Fleming

Carla the Cassowary has gone away and left her partner Calvin in charge of minding their egg. Calvin does a wonderful job until the day a lisping goanna comes along. After a while the wily goanna tricks Calvin into getting off the nest and quick as a flash he steals the egg for his dinner. Oh no what is Calvin going to do. Is he going to be able to get his egg back before Carla comes home?

A silly little story about a couple of Australian animals that rarely get featured in children’s picture books. There is plenty of rhyming text for a 4-5 year old. The illustrations are detailed and appealing.

Publisher: Borghesi & Adams

Published: 01 April 2007

Format: Paperback 24 pages

Categories: Australian Animals

ISBN 13: 9780977572069

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

Willow the Wombat

By: Natalie Jane Parker

It is raining and Willow the wombat is bored, his mum won’t let him play outside in the rain. Then he remembers the old chest in the cellar. When he opens it he discovers loads of interesting things including; flying overalls and his grandfather’s journal. With nothing else to do Willow starts to read the journal and quickly gets swept up into Grandpa’s amazing adventures.

A wonderfully fun story. The adventures happen at quite a pace. There is plenty of text, which makes it a good choice for the 4-5 year old who is not yet reading by themselves. The illustrations are detailed and glorious. The other good thing about this is it is full of a variety of Australian animals.

Publisher: Borghesi & Adams

Published: 01 March 2011

Format: Paperback 24 pages

Categories: Animal Stories, Adventure

ISBN 13: 9781921756665

Purchase: here or try Booktopia link on side of page


Mr Bear Branches and the Cloud Conundrum

By: Terri Rose Baynton

Lintfrey Longfellow and Mr Bear Branches were the very best of friends and spent a lot of time talking. Their favourite thing to do was watch the clouds. Lintfrey would love nothing more than to sit amongst the clouds, but Mr Bear tells him clouds aren’t for sitting on. This makes Lintfrey sad and Mr Bear sets out to find a solution to his friends cloud conundrum.

This story is cute as are the illustrations, however I will say there is very little colour and the pictures are simplistic (but still appealing). There is quite a lot of text and some rather large words and concepts mentioned, such as conundrum and quantum physics. This story does hold a certain appeal but probably not for the very young or those with short attention spans. The overarching themes of friendship and doing something great for a friend are universal ones and ones worth looking at.

Publisher: ABC Books

Published: 01 March 2012

Format: Hardback 24 pages

Categories: Animal Stories, Weather

ISBN 13: 9780733329210

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of page

Bureau of Mysteries

By: HJ Harper

Illustrated By: Nahum Ziersch

George Feather spends his days cleaning chimneys, that is until the day he finds out about the Bureau of Mysteries, a group of investigators and inventors who live at the Brass Castle Hotel. After rescuing them Geroge is invited to help them stop the villains of the Clockwork Octopus Society. The Society has started creating havoc in the city and it is up to George and his new partner Imp to follow the evidence and crack the codes left behind by their suspects. This is a whole lot different to George’s life as a chimney sweep and George has to quickly adjust to being chased my mechanical insects, evil ghosts and mutated nurse sharks. With all that is going on whill they Bureau be able to discover who the mastermind behind the Clockwork Octopus Society and save the city?

An entertaining story that put me in mind of the Encyclopedia Brown books I read as a kid. It is a chapter book but within that it contains four stories, with each of the villains having their own mini story. The Bureau members are quirky, George is enthusiastic and appealing. The real hook for this book though is the code aspect. Through the stories many different codes are used and you are expected to work out the codes before moving on. With the variety of codes used an interested reader could have plenty of fun even once the book is finished.

Publisher: Random House Australia

Published: 1st February 2012

Format: Paperback 276 pages

Categories: Mystery, Adventure, Fantasy

ISBN: 9781742752143

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on the side of the page

Love Monster

By: Rachel Bright

Everybody loves cute, fluffy things or at least they do in Monster’s world. When Monster is feeling sad because nobody loves him, he sets off to find someone who will. He looks high and low, inside and outside. Eventually Monster was ready to give up, but sometimes when you least expect it, the best things happen.

This is a wonderful picture book about finding love in the most unexpected places. Monster may be a monster but as a reader you are definitely on his side. The text is fun, the illustrations are simple and appealing. This is a warm and fuzzy read.

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Published: 05 January 2012

Format: Paperback 32 pages

Categories: Picture Books, Monsters, Love

ISBN 13: 9780007445462

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on the side of the page

Goodnight Little One

By: Margaret Wise Brown

Illustrated By: Rebecca Elliott

It is time to close your eyes and go to sleep. Not just for you but for little donkey, the silly sheep, little monkey and others.

This is an adorable picture book from the author of children’s classics Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny. This book is perfect for those times you need a story to gently lull, or quietly persuade, a small child to sleep.  Something like that is never a bad thing. Most suited to the very young.

Publisher: Parragon Book Service Ltd

Published: 03 March 2012

Format: Hardback

Categories: Bedtime, Animals

ISBN 13: 9781445465838

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page


By: Lili Wilkinson

Penny Drummond lives with her dad and aspires to be a prize winning journalist. Before she gets there she has to hone her skills on her school newspaper. She is focussed, in control and desperately for the story that will give her that big break. Then she discovers a boy at her school is posting anonymous messages on loveshyforum.com and blogs about his terrible problem of not being able to even talk to girls, let alone the girl of his dreams.

Penny believes this could be the story she has been looking for, so she sets out to track him down and fix him up. Things don’t go as smoothly as Penny expects, especially when she finds out just who the boy is. Along the way she discovers all is not as perfect in her life as she assumed.

Penny is a strange character. At times she is annoying, when she is all knowing and superior in her attitude to everyone. Somehow though it is not that off putting. Sure I wanted to slap her upside the head a couple of times but mostly I was pulled into the story and how she grows as a person. Penny has cut herself off from friends and it is nice to see how others get into her life. The people around her are well developed and balance out the story nicely. I enjoyed this, there were parts that on their own may not have worked but when woven together created a rather entertaining story.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Published: 01 April 2012

Format: Paperback 324 pages

Categories: School, Friendship, Relationships

ISBN 13: 9781742376233

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page

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