Author Archives: Sue Warren

About Sue Warren

Teacher-librarian http://about.me/suewarren https://www.pinterest.com/losangz/

Release – Patrick Ness

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Walker Books

ISBN: 9781406331172
Imprint: Walker
May 4, 2017
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99
Oh my,oh my! Another one of my favourite writers! Ever since the Chaos Walking Trilogy first came to my notice I have been a fervent admirer of Patrick Ness’ writing and of course with the film of A Monster Calls soon to be released, his work is even more resonant with readers at present.

On one Saturday small town teenager Adam finds his world falling to pieces but at the same time he is being released from its confines. The son of a fundamentalist preacher, Adam’s homosexuality has become the ‘elephant in the room’ with his family with who he is constantly at loggerheads. In just twenty four hours everything turns around for him while at the same time the ghost of a recently murdered girl arises from the nearby lake seeking retribution and her own release. As is common with Ness’ writing the parallel narratives – one all too earthly and one very much mystical reality – weave in and out around the residents of Adam’s town.

Adam’s struggle with resolving his feelings about his first love and finding the joy with his new one form a large portion of his twenty-four hours but there is also the imminent loss of his long time female friend as she plans to move away, the revelation that his ‘perfect’ big brother has impregnated a girl who is not even his ‘girlfriend’ and the horrible unwanted advances of his creepy boss to deal with.

John Green describes Ness’ writing as ‘insanely beautiful’ and I have to agree. If you have never read any of his work – you should!

Given the central theme of Adam’s sexuality being prominent in this plot, this is not a book for every school library but for many it will be a turning point as a coming –of- age novel that validates being true to oneself and finding inner strength.

Highly recommended for older readers from around 15 years upwards.

 

Toto: the Dog-gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz – Michael Morpurgo. Illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

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Harper Collins

          ISBN: 9780008134594

          ISBN 10: 0008134596

         Imprint: HarperCollins – GB

         On Sale: 21/08/2017

         List Price: 19.99 AUD

When I had my sixth birthday my older sister gave me an illustrated copy of The Wizard of Oz and I immediately fell in love with the story. This poor book (which I still have) was re-read many times and is now looking a little shabby but is still treasured deeply.

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How absolutely marvelous to have one of our greatest modern storytellers bring a fresh new take on this now ‘antique’ tale – first published in 1900 by L. Frank Baum. MM has conceived a wondrous version which re-tells the story from the point of view of Toto, Dorothy’s courageous little dog.

Now an old Papa dog, Toto delights in telling the young pups stories and of course the favourite is the story of his and Dorothy’s adventures in the Land of Oz. Most of the pups get bored with the endless reminiscences but not the youngest who laps them up especially the Oz story no matter how many times he hears them.

Toto’s voice is completely as one might imagine from a little Kansas country dog and this re-tell keeps closely to the original story which is especially satisfying.  MM also keeps closely to the language style of the original while still making it accessible to modern readers.

Colourful and contemporary styled illustrations give this book a really attractive and vibrant look which will thoroughly engage young readers for what might be their first introduction to the Oz stories.  They will definitely love the ‘emerald’ foiled highlights on the cover!

Much as I love my original even after so many years this was simply a joy to read – as indeed are all Morpurgo books!

Highly recommended for readers from around 8 years upwards!

Super Blog Sale

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Given that I need to raise some extra funds to tide us over till my new contract starts, I’m selling off books that I have reviewed recently or about to. Selling them all for $5 each – will combine postage if needed – or local pick up if wanted.

Here’s the first lot and will keep posting as available:

 

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The High Note (Girl vs Boy Band #2) – Harmony Jones

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Allen & Unwin

ISBN:9781408878279

Publisher:Bloomsbury UK

Imprint:Bloomsbury Child

May 2017

RRP: $14.99

 

Popstar fans who enjoyed the first instalment of this series will love this one even more. The Brit boys are back in California ready to rock and roll with their band Abbey Road. Following the departure of Aiden, who was just not the team player, Lark’s crush Teddy has been installed as the third member. However, this is not without some issues as Teddy is not just focused on his music but really wants to do well in school. Stylists, choreographers, publicity and the impending tour all impact on this. Lark feels for him – as the other boys are all for it, being a little older and not quite as academically minded.

Lark’s own songwriting and performing step up as she gains in confidence. Certainly her flying visit to Nashville to see her dad help with this as she is a special guest of Holly Rose and is able to share the stage at the Grand Ole Opry – plus helps out the famous Hatfields with a song lyric, reaping some useful kudos and royalties along with it.

Continuing on with the themes of loyalty, friendship, self-belief and the usual teenage anxieties, Harmony Jones presents a sweet and wholesome fun read for ‘tweens’ who are not quite ready for more mature reads.

This will definitely satisfy some readers who are fascinated with their music and their pop idols.

Recommended for girls from around ten years up.

 

 

Transitional Problems

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When you are ‘moving’ between schools/libraries after 18 months and have to pack up all your resources and ‘props’.

And the stuffed full car is unpacked and two new stacks of boxes etc in the garage – not to mention a ‘whomping willow’ which will become a Magic Faraway Tree parked next to 3 garbage bags and one tub of soft toy reading buddies in the lounge room!

 

HP’s potions bottles now relocated to the top of the kitchen cupboards – OK so any visitors may suspect some hocus pocus with their food or drink!

New School!!

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I am wildly excited to announce that I will be starting at a new school and library next term. And not only that but a school where the Principal fully supports and values the work of the library and teacher-librarian. I am stoked!! Stay posted for mega excitement!

In the meantime, I have some downtime (holidays and hopefully some relief teaching to ch-ching some $$) and hope to tackle my enormous pile of review books!!

 

Hooray for Enid!!

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This just came through on an email from School Magazine.

Ooooh, after our amazing Pottermania event I’m now imagining an EB celebration!!

Does ANYONE know when the Magic Faraway Tree movie is being released btw?

August marks the 120th birthday of children’s author Enid Blyton. Among her best-loved series are ‘The Famous Five’, ‘The Secret Seven’ and ‘The Faraway Tree’. Take a fascinating tour of Enid Blyton book cover art from the 1940s to the present day.

Watch a short video of Enid Blyton at home with her family in 1946.

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The Eureka Key (Secrets of the Seven) – Sarah L. Thomson

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Bloomsbury

Published: 04-04-2017

ISBN: 9781681190617

Imprint: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Series: Secrets of the Seven

If you’ve ever watched Nic Cage in the National Treasure movies (and who hasn’t?) I would liken this to those – except for youngsters.

While I think our Australian readers will be at a slight disadvantage not knowing a great deal if anything about the Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin or Benedict Arnold, I think they will still enjoy the adventure and the tricky puzzles.

Sam Solomon is a clever boy with a penchant for all things cryptic. He also has a real talent for mischief which does not endear him to his middle school teachers. When Sam unexpectedly wins a trip exploring the breadth of the United States, including national landmarks and amazing natural wonders, he is wildly excited.

From the outset Sam is truly baffled by the experience when it turns out that it is just Sam and a very nerdy girl of the same age who were the winners. Accompanied by a strange woman, Evangeline, and an almost silent boy named Theo, the American Dream Contest seems more like a nightmare.  It turns out Sam and Martina were the only contestants capable of solving the complex puzzles of the competition and this is exactly what is required to track down the hidden historical artefacts, concealed by the Founding Fathers to protect Benjamin Franklin’s greatest invention – a powerful weapon.

Naturally it is not just the ‘good guys’ trying to locate the ‘keys’ and the children soon themselves embroiled in a dangerous treasure hunt caught between opposite ideologies.

This is an exciting read with a great pace – creative thinkers will particularly enjoy it.

Recommended for readers from around 10 upwards.

Pottermania

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Our school finishes this term at the end of next week and as the official anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone falls in our holidays, we decided that the library should celebrate for the last two weeks of term.

We wanted our displays to be as interactive as possible so created a Potions class, Charms class, Gringotts bank, SPEW – free the house elves campaign, Quibblers and Daily Prophets to read, a Guess Who game and more. I thank my amazing tech Vilma for her assistance with this (she is just as big a HP fan as I am!).  Hope you enjoy our photos from the past week.  Most popular are Charms class – with many students practising their wand movements, having their tea leaves ‘read’ (You will have veggies with your dinner tonight” “You will have a bath and put your pyjamas on” etc” and counting the gold in Gringotts Bank!

 

The World’s Worst Children #2 – David Walliams/illustrated by Tony Ross

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Harper-Collins Australia

June 2017

ISBN: 9780008259679

ISBN 10: 0008259674

Imprint: HarperCollins – GB

RRP  $22.99 AUD

One thing is an absolute given in our library. David Walliams’ books are rarely re-shelved. They are snatched up from the returns trolley with the speed of a striking mongoose or tussled over in the actual returns line up.

Walliams has a legion of followers and has fast become the contemporary Roald Dahl with his knack of preposterous stories and outrageous characters.

This follow up to the first World’s Worst Children brings his readers ten more particularly horrid kids and will produce as much laughter as the previous.

Imagine having a baby so huge and so hungry that it will eat anything and everything – and by everything, I mean the cat, his parents, helicopters – yes, ANYTHING! Or perhaps you’d rather meet Gruesome Griselda who prefers to stand out from the other girls at her exclusive school, the well-groomed polite ones, by being exceedingly grubby and rude. Then there’s Cruel Clarissa who seems to be just perfect particularly with her passion for all things pink but is really a very calculating kitty tormentor.

These are but a few of the beastly children to whom readers will flock.

With super colourful illustrations jam-packed throughout and some of the most creative use of font/type I have ever seen, there is no doubt that this one is also destined never to be shelved. If I only I could be bribed. I could make a fortune for holding out for the highest bidder as the first borrower – sigh.

Highly recommended for subversive boys and girls from around 7 years old upwards.