Belinda Murrell

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Yesterday I was delighted to hear Belinda speak to a very interested gathering at Black Cat Books & Cafe, in Paddington (Qld) and equally chuffed to meet her, after a very kind introduction by Zoe Bechara,  publicist for Random House.  Zoe and I have often corresponded over the reviews I have done for RH and it was a joy to put a face to a name at last.

Belinda thoroughly engaged her audience talking about her various books – my favourites being the ‘time slip’ series of which The Sequin Star is the latest. Younger listeners were thrilled to hear more about Lulu Bell’s latest adventures with a sneak peek of the upcoming Christmas title’s proposed cover.  One shy small person who had come dressed in her pyjamas with very apt bunny slippers a la Lulu Bell and the Pyjama Party, the newest title in the series, was awarded a very special prize!

Therefore, I was rather pleased that due to the busy-ness of this past term that I had not yet written a review of The Sequin Star – and also had just received the two newest Lulu Bell titles and can post the reviews to follow up such a lovely afternoon.

Do take time to look at Belinda’s website – with trailers and background information.

http://www.belindamurrell.com.au/

Also – read samplers here at Random House Books.

The Sequin Star

ISBN: 9780857982056

Published: 01/05/2014

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

Extent: 288 pages

RRP $16.99

Teacher  notes here

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When I reviewed The River Charm, I recall making the comment that Belinda’s other books in this series were NEVER in the library long enough for me to read any but their popularity with the girls had certainly given me the indication of their worth.

The Sequin Star continues with this wonderful combination of present and past with the story of Claire, a Sydney girl.  When Claire’s much loved grandmother is taken ill after a fall, Claire finds a strange battered gaudy sequinned star amongst some treasures and inadvertently slips it into her pocket. In a moment of crisis, the star is the talisman which whisks her back to the 1930s and the Great Depression and readers are treated to [seemingly] firsthand accounts of exciting historical events such as the opening of the Harbour Bridge, and the mighty Phar Lap’s success as well as more sobering facts such as evictions and susso camps.  As a Sydney girl myself, I found much of this fascinating and some of it revealing of new aspects to my home city’s history. I was also reminded of my having the honour to be introduced to the Big Fella, Jack Lang himself, when in his 90s he came to my girls’ school for some event. (My grandmother was horrified, being a strong Liberal supporter!)

Claire’s return to the past puts her into the often precarious life of a travelling circus – hard work, prejudices, run aways, beautiful costumes, ‘family’ of unrelated people and some true friends – which include her grandparents as their younger selves. Giving her an insight and previously unknown information about her family history Claire discovers much more than just her own heritage, learning much about the injustices and inequities of this period in Australia’s history, as well as the staunchness of some who gave of themselves to right wrongs.

As with Belinda’s others of this series, the reading is accessible and vibrant, not to mention thoroughly absorbing for those interested in novels with more substance than vampire teenagers and love sick angst. These are highly recommended for girls from Upper Primary to Lower Secondary, and even reluctant readers would enjoy the pace of the stories.

 

Lulu Bell and the Tiger Cub

ISBN: 9780857983015

Published: 02/06/2014

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

Extent: 96 pages

-RRP $9.99

 

Lulu Bell and the Sleep Over

ISBN: 9780857983039

Published: 02/06/2014

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

Extent: 96 pages

– RRP $9.99

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These two new titles in Belinda’s Lulu Bell series are my first experience and I just know they are going to be a huge hit with Little Miss 9 who would love to be Lulu Bell and growing up in a vet hospital!

A Year 3 excursion to the zoo is a very exciting event for Lulu Bell and her friends – albeit she is so used to animals! After all, the zoo vet is a great friend of Lulu’s dad and she, Molly and other friends will be getting special attention (much like Miss 9’s experience in March as a ‘birthday girl’ at her beloved Australia Zoo!). When the poor tiger cub runs into problems and needs to have treatment at the zoo’s hospital, Lulu and Molly are right there to watch Berani’s operation.

All little girls love sleepovers (raising three, now grown up, daughters gives me personal insight into this!). Lulu Bell and her friends are very excited about their own pyjama party, planning all the usual games, fun, treats and stories. However, when you live in a vet hospital, you never quite know what other excitements might arise – such as an orphaned wallaby arriving or a new litter of puppies needing help. Pyjamas or not, Lulu, Sam and Molly are only too ready to help Dad out with his cases and in the process, as with the other Lulu books, offer readers some inside knowledge and facts presented in a very palatable and engaging manner.

These books are adorable – really adorable. The characters are (yes, I know this sounds lame) wholesome and fun. The adventures are perfect for the age group and I can easily see newly independent reading girls eating them up. Belinda is definitely on another winner here!

Highly recommended for little girls aged 6 to probably about 9/10.

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One response »

  1. Pingback: Belinda Murrell – reviews

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