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Archive for April, 2012

Big Nate The Boy with the Biggest Head in the World

By: Lincoln Peirce

Nate Wright truly believes he has a great destiny. It is a shame he has a strange dad and a perfect sister. Also it doesn’t help that he’s not so good at school. He especially hates tests. Then he gets a fortune from a fortune cookie that says ‘Today you will surpass all others.’ This excites Nate and he is determined to see that this happens so others can recognise his greatness. He tries one thing after another including trying to speed eat green beans, but so many things go terribly wrong. Instead of a great day it is turning out to be terrible. Sometimes fortunes don’t work the way we think they will.

This is a very silly and funny book reminiscent of the Wimpy Kid books (which it may have inspired), and makes it a good choice for those that have read all of those books and are looking for something else to read. Nate however, seems somewhat naughtier or unluckier (or both) than Greg. There is something appealing about Nate for all that disaster seems to follow him. I know I am repeating myself but this is a lot of silly fun.

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Published: 01 April 2010

Format: Paperback 256 pages

Categories: Fiction, Humour, School Stories

ISBN 13: 9780007355167

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

Rudie Nudie

By: Emma Quay

This is not really a book that lends itself to synopsis. Suffice to say it is a delightful little romp that happily celebrates the freedom of children and those fun carefree moments between bath time and bed time. Any parent knows that young children get a kick and a giggle out of running around ‘nudie rudie’, and Quay captures this wonderfully with her fun rhyming text and simple, fun and incredibly joyous illustrations.

Publisher: ABC Books

Published: 01 November 2011

Format: Hardback 24 pages

Categories: Humour, Bathtime

ISBN 13: 9780733323355

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

ABIA Short List

The ABIA short lists were announced last week and the relevant categories for us here at TheVerse are as follows:

Book of the Year for Younger Children (age range: 0 to 8 years) 2012

Christmas Wombat, by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley, published by Angus & Robertson, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Rudie Nudie, by Emma Quay, Published by ABC Kids, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Australia

One Small Island, by Alison Lester, published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group Australia

Look! A Book! by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood, published by Little Hare, an imprint of Hardie Grant Egmont

The Big Book of Billie, by Sally Rippin, published by Hardie Grant Egmont

Book of the Year for Older Children (age range 8 to14 years) 2012

Coming of the Whirlpool: Ship Kings 1, by Andrew McGahan, published by Allen & Unwin Children’s

Brotherband 1: The Outcasts, by John Flanagan, published by Random House Australia

The Travel Book (Not for Parents Edition), published by Lonely Planet Publications

Shift, by Em Bailey, published by Hardie Grant Egmont

The 13-Storey Treehouse, by Andy Griffiths, published by Pan Macmillan Australia

Of course it goes without saying that a big congrats goes out to all short listed authors from all categories and good luck.

Hunting For Dragons

By: Bruce Whatley

Every weekend the main character hunts for dragons. It is something fun to do. I’ll bet you didn’t know that dragons can be anywhere, you just need to know how to look for them. They can be in bedrooms, dining rooms, outside and even in workshops.

This is a fun little story with simple text and clever illustrations. It is a great book to encourage the imagination as dragons are to be discovered in the shapes all around us. How many dragons can you find in a day?

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 01 December 2010

Format: Hardback 32 pages

Categories: Imagination

ISBN 13: 9781741693300

Purchase: use Booktopia logo on the side of the page


My Monster Dumper Truck

By: Steve Smallman

Illustrated By: Joelle Dreidemy

Two friends are playing outside and one kid decides he is going to drive a dumper truck when he grows up. This starts a fun game of vehicular oneup-manship. Which is better; the dumper truck, a monster crane, a steamroller, a motorbike, a rocket ship or a supersonic plane?

This is a fun book about cars, trucks and rockets. The two little boys have wonderful imaginations as they try to get the better of each other. The text is simple rhyming text and the illustrations are fun, bold and bright. A great choice for the younger child interested in vehicles of many types. It comes complete with cut out and fold out pages. It is likely to bring a smile to the face.

Publisher: Koala Book Company

Published: 01 July 2011

Format: Paperback 24 pages

Categories: Trucks, Transport, Humour

ISBN 13: 9781742760162

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

What’s the Matter, Aunty May?

By: Peter Friend

Illustrated By: Andrew Joyner

A little boy has a question of his Aunt May. He would like to know why she shouted and screamed ‘enough is enough’? He wants to know what the matter is because he was only trying to help out. Why can’t she see the bright side, surely it doesn’t matter if a vase got broken, or the floor got flooded, or a little red ink got spilled.

This is a funny picture book and I’m not sure who will get more out of it, adults or children. Truly they will probably both snort with a little laughter as they find it amusing for different reasons. Or maybe it is just me who gets a little frustrated when the kids try to help… surely that’s not it. The text is simple and rhymes which is always appealing to young listeners. The illustrations show perfectly both sides of the situation, the chaos and exasperation. This is worth a look even if only for the tired, half-pained laugh it will illicit.

Publisher: Little Hare

Published: 01 March 2012

Format: Hardback 24 pages

Categories: Family, Humour

ISBN 13: 9781921714535

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


By: HM Castor

Hal is a young royal, raised in a troubled house under siege by usurpers and foreigners. As he grows he becomes a gifted warrior, who whilst not born to be king, believes that fate has chosen him to lead his people. Hal is plagued by his family’s violent past which colours the way he deals with friends, peers and women. As he rises to power his method of rule turns vicious, coming to include tools such as murder, rapacious cruelty and the selfish creation of his own religion. Hal becomes known as Henry the Eighth.

This is an interesting take on the life and times of such an infamous royal. If you like history and are looking for an historical fiction then this may be worth a look. Hal was not a nice guy and though he is reputed as being a very charismatic man it somehow didn’t come across to me. Historically the story is rather abbreviated, understandably so for the target audience but still it felt a little dry to me. Then again real or fiction I struggle to enjoy stories if I find nothing likable about the characters. One for fans of historical fiction.

Publisher: Puffin

Published: 08 November 2011

Format: Paperback 396 pages

Categories: Historical

ISBN 13: 9780143567288

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page

Happy Birthday in Dragon Wood

By: Timothy Knapman

Illustrated By: Gwen Millward

Dragon has to play football but he needs a friend, lucky he has the Benjamin to help him out. Benjamin tells Dragon and his teammates all about the sport and how to play it but he can’t stay for the match because he has to get back for something called a birthday party. All that talk of cakes, ice cream and blowing out candles doesn’t sound like fun to Dragon…but maybe things won’t be so bad.

Friendship, football and birthdays feature prominently in this picture book. The story is interesting and fun. The illustrations are cute and somehow bring a smile to your face. If you are looking for a soccer or dragon book then this one will fit your needs.

Publisher: Puffin Books

Published: 05 January 2012

Format: Paperback 32 pages

Categories: Birthdays, Dragons

ISBN 13: 9780141502373

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

Mother Knows Best!

By: Jill Murphy

Bradley gets up and starts his day with questions and they don’t stop. ‘Can we?’ ‘Can I?’ ‘Why not?’ Gradually Mum gets worn down by his constant need for answers. Is there any way she will be able to convince Bradley that she knows best?

A fun little book for any time, perhaps especially for Mother’s Day. I certainly know as a mother that the story speaks to me, perhaps more than it would my kids. It’s possible though, that reading this will give you just a few moments peace. There is plenty of text in the story, so better suited for 3-4 year olds, or any child with a good attention span. Then again it is the sort of story that lends itself to being read out loud with loads of expression and I’m sure you will know just how to pitch Mum’s building exasperation to make it fun and believable. An silly little read.

Publisher: Puffin Books

Published: 01 March 2012

Format: Paperback 32 pages

Categories: Family, Mothers

ISBN 13: 9780141501703

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

The Catastrophic History of You and Me

By: Jess Rothenberg

Brie is 15 when she dies, literally of a broken heart. For Brie though this is not the end. After her funeral she winds up in a strange version of an afterlife. It seems she isn’t quite ready to move on. There she meets Patrick, a guy who reminds her of a Top Gun era ‘Maverick’. Patrick helps Brie understand a few things about the afterlife and he shows her how to get back to see how her friends and family are doing. Things aren’t how she expected, there are problems at home and she has revenge on her heart for Jacob, the boy she believes is responsible for her state of being dead. She is sure Jacob was seeing someone else and when she thinks she knows who that person is she feels doubly betrayed. Things are not what Brie believes, in her old life or her afterlife. When it all comes it’s climax will it be possible for Brie to put things right for the living and figure out what Patrick means to her in the afterlife?

A funny and touching story. Brie seems like any other teen; boyfriend, best friends, extra curricular activities, then tragedy strikes. She is a likeable character whose arc takes her through the five stages of grief, the bulk of the book is cleverly broken into sections dealing with each of these. At times she is a little frustrating and her choices illicit a sigh, but you go with them because they are totally understandable. Fortunately she is not left alone to deal with the afterlife. Patrick is a character full of cheeky charm, even while he keeps his own secret carefully guarded.

This is a well balanced book as it deals with some much more serious issues under the surface of death and revenge. These ideas of consequences, perspective and the deftly and lightly touched upon topic of sexuality, are woven into an entertaining, funny and touching read. If you are looking for something a little different with touches of revenge and romance, then definitely give this a look.

Publisher: Puffin Books

Published: 02 February 2012

Format: Paperback 400 pages

Categories: Life, Death, Revenge, Romance

ISBN 13: 9780141334479

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page

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