Tag Archives: Australian landscapes

The Gum Family Finds a Home – Tania McCartney/Christina Booth

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Publisher:   National Library of Australia
Edition:   1st Edition
ISBN:   9780642279255
Publication Date:   01 August 2018

 

Tania McCartney is not only one of my very favourite author/illustrators but also one of my favourite humans. This impossibly talented woman is clever, stylish, generous, beautiful inside and out and passionate about our unique country. It took a while for this review copy to get to me but oh how worth the wait it was! And as with Tania’s other books this one doesn’t go to our library shelves or some other worthy recipient but remains firmly in my own collection.

 

A sweet family of koalas live, as they would do, in a gum tree but their home is not without its problems. High winds, busy buzzy bees, no shelter from rain and more all make for a sometimes difficult living environment and like many other families this one thinks perhaps they might look for something more congenial and comfortable. With their koala caravan hitched up they follow their black noses around some of Australia’s most glorious geological wonders in search of a dream home. Along the way they see some of the most spectacular scenery in the world but when all is said and done, they realise that their own home is special – and with just a few modifications might suit them best after all.

 

What a perfectly wonderful way to introduce kidlets to our amazing landscapes (some of which Miss No-Longer-Small and I will be privileged to see next holidays! Excitement!). I am just a little sorry I didn’t receive it in time to use it with Year 2 this term – but what the hey there’s always next term to follow up on their classroom unit! Particularly as there is a wealth of information at the end of the book about the various locations this will prove not only entertaining but enlightening.

 

Tania, you and Christina, are a dream team – and this is just beautiful as well as informative. And oh my! The end papers are just truly divine!!!! (my kiddos at school find my obsession with endpapers highly amusing).

 

Watch the beautiful Tania share this gorgeous book here.

Binge Reading Jackie French

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The upside of injuring both your legs badly at the same time is that you have a very legitimate excuse to stay in bed reading a lot. And fortunately my lovely friends at Harper Collins must have had some kind of premonition because the day before my accident I had received a plethora amazing books to review including the three here. Fortunately (with hindsight) I had not yet read Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies which meant I had the double delight of reading both the first and second in the series back to back (over the course of two days). The latest in the Matilda series Facing the Flame was consumed in one evening.  Aside from anything else I think the rate at which I devoured these speaks volumes for the sheer pleasure of them.

Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies

ISBN: 9781460753583

ISBN 10: 1460753585

Imprint: HarperCollins – AU

 27/03/2017

RRP $29.99 AUD

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A tale of espionage, love and passionate heroism.

Inspired by true events, this is the story of how society’s ‘lovely ladies’ won a war.

Young Sophie Higgs has grown up a privileged girl being the only child of the wealthiest man in NSW, Jeremiah Higgs the king of canned corned beef. But in the rigid society of Sydney, as in England, ‘trade’ is scorned and so despite her wealth, intelligence and beauty it would seem Sophie will always be second-class by the established standards. Until that is, in order to deflect Sophie from an unsuitable love affair, she is sent to England to the home of her father’s old army friend Earl of Shillings to be coached by his cousin Miss Lily and eventually be presented at court.

In England Sophie’s world is wonderfully and gloriously opened wide as she becomes the prized ‘pupil’ of the enigmatic Miss Lily and makes new friends, is sought after by new lovers and particularly held in esteem for her wit, courage and compassion. But the glittering world of the debutante is quickly extinguished by the outbreak of war and it is here that Sophie demonstrates her real abilities and character.

As with all of Jackie’s historical novels a completely captivating and richly detailed narrative is interwoven with actual historical fact to create a mesmerising offering.  I was hooked from the very first page and would have been extremely sorry to reach the end except for the fact that I had the next volume with which to continue. How fortunate are we to have such an exceptional writer to claim as our own? The breadth of her talents seems endless.

Highly recommended for readers of around mid-teens upwards. Find teaching notes here.

The Lily and the Rose

ISBN: 9781460753590

ISBN 10: 1460753593

Imprint: HarperCollins – AU

19/03/2018

RRP 29.99 AUD

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The Great War is over but that doesn’t necessarily equate to peace. Sophie Higgs is soon to come to this realisation as she re-establishes her life in Australia, taking over her late father’s business empire as an independent confident young woman. Alongside her, the circle of women who have become her ongoing support network in a society that is no longer defined by the old norms.

It is not only politics and world affairs that are clouded for Sophie. She is still torn between her love for Nigel, Earl of Shillings, the strange attraction of Dolphie the German aristocrat and in a new twist a stranger, John, who is trying to expiate his own war by carving crosses into rocks until he feels at peace.

A call for help from her old friend Hannelore sees Sophie becoming even more daring as she goes to wartorn Germany on a rescue mission from which she returns even more confused in her emotions.

Those thoughts remain until a crisis with Nigel’s health sees her racing to England via the unheard of method of flying with female pilots around the world to reach her beloved and at last the two are married with their whole future ahead of them. Or is it?

Jackie has left this tapestry with some small waving threads that will have every reader hanging out for the next instalment.  Again a superlative storyteller takes us on a magical, romantic and adventurous journey and my recommendations remain glowing for the mid-teens upwards.

 

 

Facing the Flame – #7 The Matilda Saga

ISBN: 9781460753200

ISBN 10: 1460753208

Imprint: HarperCollins – AU

20/11/2017

$29.99 AUD

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I didn’t need to re-read the last in the series to be utterly enthralled by this latest right from the get-go. In fact, this was a complete binge, read in one night because it was just too good and too gripping to put down.

Jed Kelly is the happiest she has ever been. She’s married to Sam, and pregnant with their first child. Her hearth and home are a haven. Young Scarlett is doing well at uni and carving out a newly independent life.

Then cracks start to appear. The dry weather is worsening with many old-timers predicting the worst of fires ever. The man she fears most re-appears in Jed’s life, intent with malice and revenge. A young girl blinded in an accident is creating issues at the River View facility. But Gibbers Creek is one tough and tight community where there is immense support for each and every one of their whole.

When the tiny spark finally escalates into the worst imaginable fire, the community is galvanised into action and though Jed passes through a frightening and dangerous episode and one could say her baby almost has a baptism of fire, the loyalty, intuition and the indomitable spirit of old Matilda resonates through the township and surrounds.

This is a cracking story filled with rich characters both old and new and imbued with all that we hold dear about Australian love of country and mateship.

Highly recommended for readers of around 14 upwards.  If you don’t have the complete series yet, this is one worth investing in for your collection particularly for Middle/Upper school and wide reading of Australian spirit/identity.

 

The Snow Wombat – Susannah Chambers – illustrated by Mark Jackson

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ISBN: 9781760113810

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Imprint: A & U Children

June 2016

 

RRP $24.99

Those of us in tropical Queensland rarely, if ever, get to experience the High Country under its wintery blanket of snow.  I was hoping to take Small there these holidays to visit friends, snow and wombats but alas! The expense of plane fares was too much for our budget.

At least we will be able to have a vicarious experience as we follow a joyful young wombat gambolling and rolling in a very snowy expanse.

Little ones will love the rhyming text (though I will be interested to see how many will predict that ‘bum’ will rhyme with ‘gums’!) which spreads over pages allowing plenty of opportunity to guess what is coming up next.

Although the terrain may be unfamiliar to many children they will readily identify this as an Australian landscape with recognisable road signs and vegetation and animals. The endpapers are a gorgeous map of Wombat’s meandering and are going to be absolutely fabulous for my new unit with Year 3 looking at fictional maps!

To my mind this is a must have both for those kids who live in this area (which it seems rarely features in children’s books) and also those who never get to put on a jumper!

An absolute cracker of a read aloud with beautiful text and illustrations as well, I highly recommend it for readers of Prep age up to around Year 3 (or beyond!).

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