Wishing all the lovely peeps who either read my blog regularly or pop in occasionally a wonderful and safe festive season. The Kid and I are now both on holidays after a pretty monumental year all round and are thankful to have some time to recharge. I am about to start my best and last job ever in the New Year as Head of Library at a wonderful school and the Kid goes into year 9.
The Kid gave up horse riding but started Navy Cadets and is loving it – especially after the weekend break-up camp she just had! Winning the Best Costume on Friday’s fun night for her Morticia was just one highlight with canoeing and water park play as well as her first formal navy dinner. Next year she wants to have a go at drama classes as well so suffice to say that in the past four years her self-confidence has soared. She read her first ever novel – and got the Overall Academic Award at the end of school celebration.
We’re off to NSW tomorrow to spend Christmas with family – please help us pray for everyone’s safety in the terrible fires not only in the Blue Mtns where we will be but all over our beautiful country.
I’m taking books with me (of course!) but won’t be posting reviews until we get back at the end of the month at least.
Thanks for visiting this last blog post of this decade – and I look forward to bringing you more reviews next year!
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
Australian RRP: $26.99
New Zealand RRP: $28.99
I’d like to introduce you to Tedward who has been my constant companion for 62 years and 2 months. He was given to me for my first Christmas when I was two months old. He no longer has much left of his German mohair fur, his tummy growl has not worked for many many years but his glass eyes still twinkle with the light of love.
In many respects Tedward is very like Nop in their shabbiness and rather unkempt appearance but poor Nop is not loved nor does he have a true friend.
Nop has lived in the Dumporeum for a long time, ignored and passed over by the crafters around him and those who select other refurbished toys to take home, despite the new bowtie he has given himself. But Nop is not going to let this determine his fate. Using all his ingenuity and courage he creates his own wonderful hot air balloon and takes off into a new life, one in which he discovers a special friend.
Caroline’s newest book is another gentle and beautifully illustrated offering in which the values of self-belief and acceptance are strongly but subtly underlined. Nop may have been unwanted and ignored in the Dumporeum but as the special bear-friend of a wise orang-utan becomes highly regarded and well loved.
Another sumptuous treasure of a book from this talented writer/illustrator!
Highly recommended for readers of all ages from littlies upwards.
Thank you Caroline for allowing me to use this delightful rough from Nop’s illustrative process! Stay posted for a Q&A with this amazing artist coming up in the New Year!
||Bloomsbury Children’s Books
If you or your readers haven’t caught onto this series yet I would urge you to do so. While we all know it’s important to have narratives which deal with significant issues or concepts, it’s equally important to just have a chuckle in my opinion – and Maudlin Towers certainly does this ‘par excellence’.
Very reminiscent of Ronald Searle’s fabulous St Trinian’s and his collaboration with Geoffrey Willans on the Molesworth series, Maudlin Towers and it’s chief characters Mildew and Sponge are dim-witted inept students in an outstandingly chaotic school which always seems to be running into adventures of the strangest ilk.
In this new adventure the school is inundated by some rather odd girls and their teacher while at the same time Mildew and Sponge witness what they at first believe to be a meteor crashing to earth. As the story unravels it becomes apparent that the ‘meteor’ is in fact a space ship and its occupants have dispersed – coincidence? I think not. When a second space vehicle arrives complete with large scary but hilarious mechanical spiders the pace quickens and predictably further rumbustifcations ensue.
I cannot say I detect any deep meaningful concepts (except perhaps to not always be mentally consumed by the thought of biscuits!) but it is all raging good fun wonderfully written and illustrated by Priestley.
Do your kiddos a favour and get some humour into their bookshelves – indeed why not buy all three if you have not already done so!
Highly recommended for readers from around 8 years upwards.
ISBN 10: 0008347921
Imprint: HarperCollins – GB
List Price: 19.99 AUD
And the master has done it again! Morpurgo has drawn on Jonathon Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels as his inspiration for this latest exploration of human nature, political unrest and compassion.
Omar has fled war-torn Afghanistan with his mother in a race for survival. A long and dangerous journey sees them at last reach the sea and a boat for England but a storm at sea wreaks havoc and Omar finds himself washed up on a small island – and even stranger, surrounded by hundreds of tiny people.
It is Lilliput and the inhabitants believe that Omar is the descendant of Gulliver their revered saviour who visited them three hundred years earlier. Omar’s sojourn on the island helps him to recover from terror, to develop compassion and wisdom, discover skills and strengths and eventually prepares him for a risky journey to England to try and find what remains of his family.
With much skill Morpurgo draws parallels between a three hundred year old text considered seditious and subversive in its time with its criticism of power and politics and the present day where our humanity struggles against those who are determined to destroy and oppress.
MM is one of my most favourite authors and never fails to astonish me. Who else could suspend my disbelief to the point where a tiny pair of Lilliputians helping to narrate a tale would seem so normal?
This is another fine tale for readers from around ten years upwards and in fact would make a splendid read-aloud or class novel for upper primary/lower secondary to engender discussions and commentary.
Of course, highly recommended – loved it!