Monthly Archives: February 2016

Skite moment

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Ok, she modestly says…….so a certain author whose book I loved and reviewed accordingly has just messaged me and said that I am quoted on the back page of the new book (2nd in the series) and that he is sending me a signed copy – thank you so much Dc Green (have I mentioned that I would love to retire in Ulladulla?)

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Hello, Goodbye & Everything in Between – Jennifer E. Smith

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hellogoodbye

Hachette Australia


  • ISBN:
    9781472235565
  • Publication date:26 Apr 2016
  • Page count:256
  • Imprint:Headline

RRP $19.99

If, like me, you have often struggled to find a romance for tweens without graphic or inappropriate content, this is one to put on your list.

From the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First and The Geography of You and Me this is the thoroughly enjoyable story of Clare and Aidan – and a list.

These two seniors have been an item for the final years of high school and along with their best friends, Stella and Scotty, are about to embark on the thrilling but anxiety-making adventure of college.

The conflict lies in the fact that these two are bound for colleges on opposite sides of the country and their last night is one of very mixed emotions. Clare has made a list – that’s something she is very good at – and the pair re-visit their favourite haunts, the scenes of ‘firsts’, catch up with their friends and toss the problem of whether to break up or not back and forth. The very thought of being apart after their two years of being virtually inseparable is completely distressing for both and they postulate on whether it might be less painful to break up rather than let the relationship die away from long distance constraints.

Along with their own personal dilemma the night holds many other complications as tensions run high while they hang out with each other and others. Of all the events that impact on the pair probably the most confounding is that Stella and Scotty who have sniped at each other incessantly since kindergarten have suddenly become a couple. And it is this that influences their respective thoughts as much as anything else.

All in all this is a really engaging novel with very likeable characters for which the reader can really care. One cannot help but wish them the happiest of endings as they are such funny and endearing people.

Recommended for your romantically inclined readers from around 12 years up.

Clementine Rose and the Special Promise #11 – Jacqueline Harvey

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Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780857987860

Published: 04/01/2016

 

RRP $14.99

Clemmie Rose is such a favourite around here and as I well know with many little girls. This is the new volume so many of us were waiting for as finally a marriage proposal is in the air! However there are some other complications to mar such a happy announcement.

Clemmie’s best friend Sophie, whose parents own the local French bakery, has to return to France for a year so the family can help an aging grandparent. CR is devastated at the loss of her lifelong friend and even more so when the new occupants of the bakery appear with their rather vile and nasty young daughter, Sassy. Even the thought of having her own international penpal does not help when Sassy starts her petty meanness toward both Clemmie and Will, completely turning the pair against the thought of their parents becoming engaged.

The gentle humour of the series continues as Aunt Violet becomes mellower and the wonderful Digby remains the completely unflappable ex-butler even when faced with Sassy’s equally horrid mother and her snobbery. Lavender the teacup piglet and Pharaoh the Sphinx cat are of course back in the cast of characters and remain the oddest pair of best friends.

Grandparents’ Day at the school seems fraught with problems as Mrs Bottomley unwittingly falls for Sassy’s untruths and gives her the plum role of announcer.   Fortunately despite Sassy’s fibs it seems she does indeed have grandparents and those not quite as forgiving or malleable as her pretentious parents.

All in all another great read for girls six years old and up. I’m sure many of our girls who started out with Clemmie in the first story are still reading them – just so they can find out what happens next!

Royal Flying Doctor Service Series – George Ivanoff

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Oh George! These are just fabulous! How often have we looked for really engaging thoroughly Australian adventure stories that will work for both boys and girls? And with this new series you have totally nailed a gap in the collections of many – well done!

The stories are true to life and written in a very accessible way that will suit not-so-strong readers as well as those who are sailing competently through their literary quests. They revolve around the outstanding and unique work of the RFDS and the many patients, emergencies and emotional dramas this wonderful service supports.

LOVE the outstanding covers and the alliterative titles especially!

Each has some illustrations ably rendered by Maria Pena and the first ends with a brief history and explanation of the RFDS. As if this isn’t enough purchase of the books supports the tremendous work of one of our greatest institutions.

RRP $14.99

Royal Flying Doctor Service 1: Remote Rescue

ISBN: 9780857988768

Published: 01/02/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

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Ten year old Dawson is on a road trip with his dad and two sisters, one older and one younger. Their mum is held up with work for this family holiday to Uluru and intends to fly up from Adelaide to join them. In the meantime the travellers are heading for the famous Oodnadatta track exploring along the trek.

The adventure takes a serious turn for the worst when the family camp at Farina, a deserted ‘ghost’ town and the kids’ dad has a dreadful accident in an abandoned building, breaking his leg badly as well as sustaining a nasty bang to his head. Dawson and his older sister Samantha must set aside their usual sibling rivalry in order to secure help for their father and to keep their little sister Em calm. Fortunately they are assisted by a kindly pair of ‘grey nomads’ and experience first-hand the spirit of the outback and the invaluable help of the RFDS.

Royal Flying Doctor Service 2: Emergency Echo

ISBN: 9780857988782

Published: 01/02/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

emergencyecho

Twelve year old Alice lives in the outback mining town of Mount Magnet with her mum, two year old brother and their grandfather. Sadly the family lost Alice’s dad to a serious illness and times have been tough for the whole family. Luckily Alice has her best buddy Ben and their shared love of cricket to help with the sad moments.

 

But a cricket game is cut short when Alice becomes really ill and suffers awful stomach pains. With Ben and Grandpa to look out for her, it appears that Alice may have appendicitis and events move very quickly as the local medical team suspect the offending organ may have ruptured.

 

Alice’s first experience of a plane trip and going to Perth is certainly not what she could have imagined as she and Grandpa are rushed off in a RFDS plane for emergency surgery. The raging storm which accompanies their flight is certainly not going to ease any anxiety but Grandpa’s own appendicitis and RFDS story along with the kind Dr Helen who is their support person relating her family history with the RFDS help greatly.

 

 

Both of these stories were a delight to read and children will not only enjoy the adventure and drama but gain a real insight into remote  life in Australia and the work of the RFDS.

 

Two more titles are on the way: Medical Mission and Fast Flight so be sure to get all these on your order list.

 

Highly recommended from Year 4 to Year 7.

 

Check out George’s website here for more.

Friday Barnes: #4 No Rules – R. A. Spratt

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ISBN: 9780857987013

Published: 04/01/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

RRP – $15.99

The increasingly popular nerdy detective, Friday Barnes, makes her fourth appearance in this latest instalment filled with even more mayhem and mysteries.

To begin with Friday is rather surprisingly deported to Switzerland for lack of proper citizenship documents. Not surprisingly this is because her irritatingly vague but brilliant scientist parents failed to take care of such a trifle after her birth in Switzerland twelve years before.

While Friday spends three weeks productively in the Zurich airport transit lounge as the tangle of her actual citizenship is resolved, Highcrest Academy dissolves into utter chaos – of course!

The intrepid girl detective arrives back to find the school in an uproar of anarchy following the apparent mass dismissal of all the staff. With no teachers (no matter how incompetent) to supervise the students are running amok and it appears that Friday’s arch-nemesis but sometimes friend Ian Wainscott is responsible.

When the letters are shown to be a forgery and seemingly by the hand of Ian, he loses his scholarship place at the academy and is relegated to a nearby state school.

However that is far from the end of the catastrophes. How can a whole class set of maths text books disappear in just fifteen minutes? Who on earth would deliberately poison the students’ favourite beef stroganoff? And why would the most disliked boy in school have all his furniture removed? These and the arrival of a particularly unpleasant new Vice Principal are all problems which are simply grist to Friday’s mill.

It is no wonder this series is growing so rapidly in its readership as the favourite characters prove again and again how entertaining they are. Not least is Friday’s endearing personality which fluctuates between her sheer genius intelligence to bewildered gauche geek with the regularity of a pendulum.

Highly recommended for readers from around 8  years up who enjoy a fun mystery with some crazy antics.

Lift and Look – Dinosaurs/Space

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Dinosaurs (Lift and Look)

Published: 01-02-2016

ISBN: 9781408864067

Imprint: Bloomsbury Activity Books

RRP: $12.99

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Space (Lift and Look)

Published: 01-02-2016
ISBN: 9781408864074
Imprint: Bloomsbury Activity Books
RRP: $12.99

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These beautiful sturdy board books are just an absolute delight!

With large lift up flaps they are perfect for small hands and will withstand much loving re-reading.

Little ones can begin to learn the names of some favourite dinosaurs as they explore where they are hiding or share a trip to the moon and come home again for a lively space party.

Vibrantly colourful illustrations are matched perfectly with simple text in large clear font.

I predict these will be great favourites with any small humans in your reading circle. Keep a watch out for forthcoming titles School and Garden.

Highly recommended for babies to toddlers.

Rich & Rare – edited by Paul Collins

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ISBN: 978-1-925272-11-6
Publication date: October 2015
Extent: 512 pages
Format: B Format paperback
Price: AUD$24.95
Category: Genre fiction and poetry
Age guide: 11+

 

This is a sumptuous and luscious smorgasbord feast for any reader, gathering delicacies supplied from Australia’s best storytellers. Our ‘young and free’ creators include: Michael Gerard Bauer, Gary Crew, Justin D’Ath, Scot Gardner, Kerry Greenwood, Libby Hathorn, Leigh Hobbs, Sofie Laguna, Kirsty Murray, James Roy, Shaun Tan and Gabrielle Wang.

Ford St seems to have a monopoly on providing us with wonderful anthologies that are both fresh and contemporary. This is another that will provide fabulous reading for individuals and also for reading aloud. I have been advocating and supporting reading aloud to older students and this is a perfect volume for such a purpose. The diversity of the collection allows for students to be introduced to this impressive cast of writers, to sample a wide-ranging variety of genres and to explore the structure of successful short story writing and poetry.  Here they will find humour, horror, reality, fantasy and much more. There is something for everyone on this menu!

This was one of my outstanding ‘holiday’ reads as I spent time in the beautiful Blue Mountains with family as I could easily pick it up at any time and read one or two stories in moments of complete laziness. Perhaps my only ‘complaint’ is that some of the stories are so engaging that I was almost disappointed to reach the end so quickly. I think my favourite was the marvellous violin which springs to life after long disuse – you will see what I mean when you read it!

This collection sits easily on shelves for your upper primary to secondary students – only one story had a few ‘iffy’ moments but nothing graphic or disturbing.  Illustrated throughout the text is even more accessible for those reluctant readers.

Certainly if your English program includes exploring the short story genre this would be ideal for demonstrating to students how this can be achieved.

Oh and that cover is JUST divine!! 🙂

Highly recommended for both personal and classroom/library reading.

Teaching notes are available at the Ford St website – so you can easily plan to incorporate the book in your planning.

Curiosity House: #1 The Shrunken Head –  Lauren Oliver & H. C. Chester

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Hachette Children’s Books


ISBN:
 9781444777192

Publication date: 13 Oct 2015

Page count:

Imprint: Hodder & Stoughton

 

Welcome to Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders where mysteries, oddities, freaks, adventures and creepy stuff abound!

Orphans Philippa, Sam and Thomas have grown up in this strange and extraordinary place looked after by Mr Dumfrey, owner and proprietor of New York’s strangest house of wonders. Each of these children is gifted with a peculiar talent. Philippa is a mentalist, Sam is so strong he needs to take care opening doors and Thomas can fold himself up into amazingly small spaces. Together with assorted helpers and other ‘acts’ they all struggle to keep the Dime Museum open.

Then the arrival of a marvellous Amazonian shrunken head lifts the attendance of the strange museum but not without accompanying dramas of thefts, mysterious deaths and a creepy stranger stalking the children. The appearance of a fourth child, Max, a street urchin with an uncanny ability to throw knives so accurately they can split a hair completes the cast.

After the audacious theft of the shrunken head the four children are determined to retrieve and save their home despite some serious opposition. In the process they encounter murder and mayhem and a startling revelation about their pasts.

For readers who love the quirkiness of Lemony Snicket and similar books, this is a great read which moves along at a rattling pace with some wonderful characterisations and wonderfully spooky settings.

Highly recommended for readers around ten and up.