By: Shaun Tan
Summer is a time of fun, of holidays and of adventure. As this book is a Shaun Tan book there isn’t an intricate plot but honestly there doesn’t need to be. Tan’s books have an appeal all of their own which can be attributed to the flexibility of the story told mostly in pictures with limited text, thus leaving a whole lot up to the imagination. I think I’d say the plot revolves around using your imagination to while away the days, having an older brother make up the rules and be the one to save you when the days turn dark. The illustrations are, as always whimsical and amazing, conveying the width and breadth of what can be achieved when you walk away from technology and allow yourself free reign. An amazing book that left me wanting to explore it again.
Publisher: Arthur A Levine Books
Published: 29th April 2014
Key Words: Adventure, Family, Imagination
Format: Hard cover or paperback picture book
I’m not sure I really like doing best of lists because I am so sure I am going to miss something that I thought was really cool. I look at the books on my shelves to see if anything prods my memory. Using this method is very scattershot but does give me a couple of titles I had forgotten about. There is no real rhyme or reason to this list, they are simply the books that stayed with me the most or caught my attention for longer than others.
Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff (YA)
Acid by Emma Pass (YA)
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (8+)
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (9+)
Extra Time by Morris Gleitzman (8+)
Princess Betony and the Rule of Wishing by Pamela Freeman (5+)
Violet Mackerel’s Pocket Protest by Anna Branford (5+)
Noah Dreary by Aaron Blabey (picture book)
Journey by Aaron Becker (picture book)
All of these are worth more than a quick look.
Continue reading throughout the new year, I know there will be heaps of great books out in 2014.
This AFL football season Penguin books have come up with a way to integrate a parents love of the sport with learning for the very young.
Published: 26 June 2013
Format: Board book 18 pages
Categories: Numbers & Counting
ISBN 13: 9780143505792
You can choose from: AFL themed mini book box sets (with colours, shapes, numbers and words); My First Numbers; My First Words and even a short touch and feel book called Game Day.
Published: 21 August 2013
Format: Board book 10 pages
Categories: Activity Books, Novelty Books
ISBN 13: 9780143505846
Also included in this line are activity books for various ages: colouring books, sticker books and a Doodlepedia full of activities and football facts. If you have really little ones and are passionate about the AFL this is probably something for you.
Format: Paperback, 64 pages
By: Raymond E Feist
Pug is an orphan apprenticed to a Magician at Crydee, a frontier outpost. He never wanted to be a magician but he has a gift. When the peace of the Kingdom of the Isles is threatened by alien invaders Pug and his best friend Thomas are swept up into a conflict that will change the course of the entire kingdom. Pug’s destiny is to master the magic of two lands. Thomas is to inherit a powerful legacy that could destroy more than just himself if he can’t master it.
This is epic fantasy. It sweeps across worlds. There are heroes, dwarves, elves, magicians and mad kings. Pug’s arc is harsh as his journey takes him across two worlds, two very different cultures. He learns and he adapts. He was an orphan adopted into power, who grows beyond anything he could really have imagined. Thomas’s journey is that of finding his humanity. In Feist’s hands a simple war story sweeps across two incredibly designed worlds. He brings to life many characters that will stay with you. This is the first of many books set in the Kingdom and many characters who’s lives will draw you in.
So you may wonder at such a short review of such a long (600 – 800+ pages depending on which edition you have). So here it is. I love this book. I love this series. I am a huge Feist fan, have been since Magician was first put into my hands when I was 12. This was the first book I tried to read by torchlight under my bed covers. When my teacher gave it to me in class I was so embarrassed. He put it on my desk, this great big volume and said he though I might like it. Like I didn’t have enough problems being the smart bookish one in a country high school where students were far more interested in your sporting prowess.
I couldn’t bring myself to read it at first. When he asked how I was going I lied and said it was good. So I thought I’d better at least try to read it. The rest, as the cliche goes, is history. I totally loved it. I kept going out and buying Feist books. In fact I have gone through several copies of the very first book and really need to replace Silverthorn and Darkness at Sethanon. In reality his was probably the first epic fantasy I ever read, and I never looked back. This is one of the books that created a love of the genre in me. Sure it isn’t really a YA book but so what. I read it when I was 12, it is totally accessible and not one of those books who has themes or stylistics that would suggest it is better suited to older readers.
I highly recommend this book.
Also on the weekend I got to meet the man himself so I figure now is as good a time as any to throw this book into my Recommends and Old Favourites.
I won’t post a link because there are so many editions of this now.
By: David Melling
Douglas is helping Flossie find her best friend, as they search he realised everyone else seems to have a best friend and Douglas decides he would like one of his own. Feeling a little sad he he starts to think about it all and wonder why he doesn’t have one. Maybe though for Douglas the answer is right under his nose, even if it isn’t the answer he was expecting.
Hugless Douglas books are great. Douglas is just a wonderful character who has an incredible spirit, his stories are of family and friendship, they are warm and inviting. The illustrations a bright and welcoming. Together the whole package is a real joy to share with little ones.
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Published: 03 January 2013
Format: Hardback 32 pages
Categories: Animal Stories, Friendship
ISBN 13: 9781444908299
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page
By: Graeme Base
Jimmy and his mother live on a farm. It’s almost harvesting time and their harvester is broken. If they can’t think of a way to bring in the crop they may lose their farm. Despite the difficult time Jimmy shows kindness to a stranger and this simple act may be the thing that helps change their fortunes. Though who would have thought the answer would lie with elephants.
This is a magical and wonderful tale from the creator of Animalia and The Legend of the Golden Snail. Base has given us a truly inspirational tale. Jimmy is a great character with a generous heart. The art work as always is wonderfully detailed and incredibly imaginative. Base’s stories draw you in on all levels. What’s not to love about tiny elephants?
Published: 01 September 2012
Format: Hardback 40 pages
Categories: Animal stories
ISBN 13: 9781419704635
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page
Okay it is that time of the year again where anyone and everyone puts together lists of their top picks of the past year. I am going to be no different, I will, however, not be doing a top 10. What I have put here are the ones that really stood out, but truthfully I had many wonderful reading experiences this year just about gone, and I did limit this list to those books published in 2012.
Let me start with the youngest first and believe me there were so many really cool picture books this past year but here are a few that stood out.
The Snorgh and the Sailor : Will Buckingham and Thomas Docherty
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore : William Joyce
I Love You Little Monster : Andreae Giles and Jess Mikhail
Plant a Kiss : Amy Rosenthal and Peter H Reynolds
What Does Daddy Do? : Rachel Bright
Fiction 4 – 9 years.
Secret of the Swords : Frances Watts and Gregory Rogers
Hey Jack! series : by Sally Rippin
Billie B Brown series by Sally Rippin
Fiction 8 – 12
Floors : Patrick Carmen
Summer’s Dream : Cathy Cassidy
Dork Diaries series : Rachel Renee Russell
Young Adult Fiction
Stormdancer : Jay Kristoff
The Fault in Our Stars : John Green
Team Human : Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan