Monthly Archives: February 2017

The Sisters Saint-Claire – Carlie Gibson/Tamsin Ainslie

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ISBN: 9781760291563

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Imprint: A & U Children

October 2016

RRP $19.99

I have mentioned before my penchant for books with mouse characters and this is no exception. A delightful and sweet story in rhyme about a family of little mice sisters who love to bake and love to shop at the Sunday market. It’s no fun being the ‘baby’ of the family sometimes as Cecile finds out when she is always left at home because she is too young to keep up.  Determined to prove to her parents and older sisters that being little is no bar to being talented, Cecile concocts a plan and bakes batch after batch of beautiful pies.

And indeed when her delicious delicacies win over the heart of the Queen herself there is such rejoicing in her family that there is no doubt she will never be left behind again.  “Great things can come from the smallest of us.”

This book is a charmer in every aspect: from its lovely textured hardcover to the winsome illustrations in pastel palettes surrounded by effective use of white space to the easy and flowing rhyme.

It would not only make a wonderful read for those emerging readers with a little more ability and confidence but a super read-aloud particularly for girls.

Highly recommended for young readers from around 6 and up.

 

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This is Banjo Paterson – Tania McCartney/Christina Booth

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NLA Publishing

February 2017

ISBN 9780642278982

RRP $24.99

 

Those of us of a certain age will most likely have grown up with the ballads of Andrew Barton Paterson. I was fortunate to share a love of the Banjo’s work with my father and would often perform his bush poetry as my ‘party piece’ for my parents’ friends.

Our younger readers may not be so familiar with the name but will most definitely know Waltzing Matilda and may even recognise The Man from Snowy River or Clancy of the Overflow. This wonderful and lively picture book will introduce the man behind the verse to a whole new generation.

Tania McCartney has a real gift for bringing the best of our Australian culture and icons to life for children and this book is further testament to her skill.  Her delightful re-tracing of Banjo’s childhood and later life is told simply but engagingly. The recurring dialogue (in an effective use of speech bubbles) underline the early beginnings of Banjo’s writing successes as the boy who loved to rhyme grows to a multi-talented man.

With a clever twist Christina Booth has provided charming illustrations which show the young Barty with his family, dogs and friends in a contemporary backyard setting to which young readers will instantly relate.

At the close of the book factual information and images are provided in a delightful newspaper facsimile brilliantly alluding to one of Banjo’s many talents – his journalistic writing. Selections of his poetry are also included and thorough teaching notes are also available from the publisher’s website.

On this, the anniversary of his birth in 1864, what better to honour the man who has become the human representation of the Australian bush and its many colourful characters, than sharing his story with the next generation of readers?

Highly recommended for primary aged children, as well as adult aficionados of the Bard from the Bush.

Happy birthday A.B – I believe you would be thrilled with this special tribute to your amazing life.

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A Monster Calls: Special Collector’s Edition (Movie Tie-in) –Patrick Ness {Siobhan Dowd}  . Illustrated by Jim Kay

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ISBN: 9781406365771
Imprint: Walker
November 1, 2016

Australian RRP: $34.99
New Zealand RRP: $37.99

I first fell in love with Patrick Ness’ writing with the much acclaimed and prize winning Chaos Walking trilogy. I had not read A Monster Calls until this gorgeous hardback edition, which marks the imminent release of the movie, arrived and I’ve fallen in love all over again.

What a master of flawless prose he is! and combined with the illustrative magic of Jim Kay (think the illustrated Harry Potter books) this is a book that a reader will return to again and again.

Author Siobhan Dowd had put forward an idea or concept for this novel but sadly succumbed to cancer before she could move forward with it. Her publishers thought it was such a valuable premise that they sought a writer who might do it justice. Patrick Ness was the perfect choice and created what is now considered a modern classic.

When young Conor realises that a nightmare has become real and there really is a monster in the garden and it has come for him, the reader is taken on an emotional journey that is moving, funny, profound and heartbreaking until the truth is revealed.

Conor’s recurring nightmare began when his mother’s treatments did and won’t end until he has accepted why the ancient and very wild monster has come for him and what he must do to send it back to its former slumber.

Along with the fully illustrated novel there are over one hundred pages of interviews, details, essays, stills and more from the movie, which promises to be every bit as powerful as the novel.

I read it in one sitting and savoured every moment. So many books arrive for review that they stack up in tottering piles and after review. I find them good homes either in our own library collection or passed on to those who could use them but this one is too beautiful to leave my shelves. It will be taken up and stroked for its aesthetic qualities and read for its marvellous writing and illustrations many times.

Highly recommended for Upper Primary and Secondary students as well as all adults who appreciate a truly remarkable read.

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