Monthly Archives: April 2019

Nullaboo Hullabaloo – Fleur Ferris

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nullaboo

Penguin

9780143787143

May 7, 2019

Puffin

 

RRP: $14.99

 

We could all use some more fairy dust in our lives. Whether it’s because of the gloom and doom of daily news reports or if (like me packing up house) because of some personal issues. I maintain that a liberal sprinkling of fairy sparkle would be very beneficial for anyone.

Fleur Ferris has demonstrated so superbly her ability to write gripping YA fiction and has now turned her hand to fiction for younger readers with the same ease and expertise.

In a little country community young Gemma isn’t having a terrific time. First there’s the worry of her family being evicted from the farm they all love. Second, the all-too-perfect Nina got butterflies for her special science project topic while Gemma bombed out with March flies – really? March Flies?

But when Gemma captures not a fly nor even a feather in her bug catcher but a real live honest-to-goodness fairy, things in Nullaboo start to go completely crazy! Janomi the fairy isn’t meant to reveal herself to humans but she’s desperate for help after her grandfather, leader of their colony, was captured by the dreadful silver spiders. There’s more than a captured fairy leader at stake though when a secret government agency gets wind of the find and lead by an absolute nutter poses a real threat of extermination to the last fairy colony on Earth.

It’s up to Gemma, her family and the solidarity of their little community to save the day – and the fairies!

This seemingly effortless and straightforward narrative has much scope for discussion with current global topics such as environmental damage, conservation, tolerance, acceptance and embracing differences all able to correlate to the unfolding of events.  And aside from that it’s a jolly fun read!

Highly recommended for anyone who loves a great fairy story – and hopes for fairies in their garden!

fleur

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Alex Rider #12 : Secret Weapon – Anthony Horowitz

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alex

Walker Books

April 2019

ISBN: 9781406387476
Imprint: Walker

Australian RRP: $16.99
New Zealand RRP: $18.99

 

I’m pretty certain that I’m not the only one who’s so excited that Anthony has his Alex mojo back J – and with the talk of the forthcoming movie there are bound to be many more readers added to the fold of fans.

In this new volume, seven adventures are recounted – making them perfect read-alouds for book talks or encouraging reluctant readers. I’m finding at present that as many girls as boys are borrowing the series (especially since I bought the new editions with the stunning cover art!). Since this collection includes three brand new adventures it will have as much appeal to existing fans as to those new to the series.

Whether it’s playing the part of assassin unknowingly, having a routine dentist visit turn into something far more sinister or skiing down steep slopes in a frantic attempt to save himself and others, Alex the reluctant spy manages to come out on top, largely thanks to his uncle’s dedication to bringing him up with the skills he would need.

Anthony Horowitz does thrilling suspense so well – as we know not only from his books but also his plethora script writing ventures. I know I’m not alone in my addiction to Midsomer Murders and Foyle’s War!

As an introduction for the next generation of devotees or to add some excitement to your existing AR readers – this is a must have for your collection.

 

Watch the trailer here.

 

 

 

The ANZAC Billy – Claire Saxby/Mark Jackson & Heather Potter

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Walker Books

anzacbilly

ISBN: 9781925126815
Imprint: Black Dog Books

Release Date: April 1, 2019

Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99

As thousands of Australians and New Zealanders pay homage to those who have given to our countries in service, often with the ultimate sacrifice, this is not only a timely release for this time of year but for all time. If we as educators are to help our students to comprehend the devastation of war and to embrace a more peaceful way forward, there is no better way than to provide them with a glimpse of a child’s experience during such circumstances.

Children in the First World War were encouraged to send welcome Christmas packages to those serving in the war zones, as indeed they still are today. For one little boy, the filling of his father’s Christmas billy is an important mission and he along with his mother and grandmother make sure that every item packed lovingly into the vessel is chosen with real care.  But there are hundreds, indeed, thousands of such billies packed and sent. How will this particular one reach his Daddy? Well, perhaps it won’t – but it will reach a digger who will appreciate the true love that it contains and it this significant aspect that is arguably the most telling. Yes, this little boy misses his father and prays he is safe but if he can make one soldier’s Christmas brighter, it is the same he hopes for his own Dad.

We live in perilous times and our daily news is filled with horrendous acts of hate and violence. If we are to have any hope for a peaceful future we must – MUST – guide our children towards compassion and love for all.

The text is simple but powerful and the illustrations completely capture the sense of the period in history, particularly the colour palette echoes the pervading feel of both the times and the critical situation that was The Great War.

This is my choice for our Friday story telling session tomorrow in the library – with accompanying ANZAC biscuits of course.

Thank you to the creators for giving us another wonderful entrée for our young readers into an important understanding and potential for personal growth.

Highly recommended for sharing from Prep upwards.

 

Grace’s Mystery Seed – Juliet M Sampson/Karen Erasmus

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Graces-Mystery-Seed

Ford St Publishing

March 2019

$16.95

Have you ever had your children (or grandies) garden with you? I used to garden with my girls and now I have my beautiful granddaughter growing up here also loving planting and watching things grow. She especially loved planting radish seeds to spell her name and only having to wait a few days to see the results!

Juliet M Sampson has utterly captured the magic of that moment of watching the transformation of a seed into a thing of beauty and wonder.

Little Grace loves helping her favourite neighbour in her garden and especially feeding the pet parrot, Polly, his delicious stripy seeds. When Grace wonders aloud where these delicacies come from, Mrs Marino suggests planting one. Grace is enthralled and shares her excitement with her friends and family.

Grace’s joy when her sunflower blooms and does indeed seek the sun each day is truly super stuff to share with young readers (oh how I wish they could all experience this amazing transformation!). Of course, not only is Grace’s mystery seed the foundation of her joy in the flower, but the sunflower will keep on giving – seeds to her friends and to Polly.

I lament the fact that so many children no longer have this glorious joy and I’m personally so glad I have been able to share it with my own children and grandchildren.

Why not inspire your young readers to do likewise? I am planning now to start a seed or two in our library after the holidays and hand out some to kick off some young reader’s own nature journeys.

Highly recommended for readers from around five years upwards and check out the teaching notes here.  GROW your readers now!

Holiday Hiatus

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Normally, the school holidays are an opportunity to really power on with my reading and reviews. However, two days before the end of term I found out that my lease of six years is not being re-offered. This means I’m spending my holidays sorting, packing, house hunting and all the blah that goes with all of that. I’m hoping we’ve found a new house – which both my girl and I really like – but waiting final confirmation – and surrounded by boxes, paper, mess etc.  Will get back on track asap. Meanwhile, if you are also on your break – enjoy!!