Tag Archives: Australian stories

Mrs Whitlam – Bruce Pascoe

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Magabala Books

Author: Bruce Pascoe

Published: Jun 2016

ISBN: 9781925360240

Ages: Middle primary, Upper primary, Young Adult

 

I am very quickly becoming very enamoured of Bruce Pascoe’s writing for young people (not to mention for adults). He is really deft at making his young adult characters believable and contemporary without relying on current vernacular or props to make them so.

 

Marnie is horse mad but from a family that precludes her from owning one of her own. But a woman in her town who has sadly lost her daughter gives Marnie not only the horse but all its tack. Unfortunately, even owning her own horse and being a competent rider doesn’t quite cut it with the other teens at pony club. Their attitude towards an Aboriginal girl in their midst is far from welcoming particularly when she is riding a Clydesdale called Mrs Whitlam.

 

However Marnie has a strong family and her own inner strength. When she and Maggie (aka Mrs Whitlam) rescue a child from the surf and seals a growing friendship with George Costa, the Golden Boy of the school, she becomes a heroine and her acceptance in a worthy circle of friends is confirmed.

 

This is an evocative text which illustrates the sometimes sly racist attitudes in Australian towns but is never ‘preachy’ which makes it all the more powerful.

Marnie and Maggie make a formidable duo and not least of all because of their individual strengths and loyalty.
Highly recommended for readers in Upper  Primary to Lower Secondary.

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Lulu Bell collections – Belinda Murrell

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Lulu Bell’s Amazing Animal Adventures – Belinda Murrell – illustrated by Serena Geddes

ISBN: 9781925324358

Published: 01/02/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $19.99

 

Lulu Bell and the Birthday Unicorn
Lulu Bell and the Cubby Fort
Lulu Bell and the Tiger Cub
Lulu Bell and the Pyjama Party

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Lulu Bell’s Fantastic Holiday Fun – Belinda Murrell – illustrated by Serena Geddes

 

 

ISBN: 9781925324372

Published: 01/02/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $19.99

 

 

Lulu Bell and the Koala Joey
Lulu Bell and the Sea Turtle
Lulu Bell and the Pirate Fun
Lulu Bell and the Circus Pup

 

 

Regular readers of this blog will already know how well loved the Lulu Bell books are in this house. They are far and away Small’s favourites. David Attenborough may reign supreme for her viewing but it is Lulu Bell who wins outright when it comes to our nightly reading time.

 

In fact as I did not have the complete collection, having not reviewed earlier ones, the missing titles were one of the gifts in her Santa sack. She just adores them. And why wouldn’t she? She and Lulu Bell are about the same age and they both just are passionate about animals. In fact Small wishes she too lived in an animal hospital! (Mind you our growing menagerie must come close to having as many occupants!)

 

Each bind-up comprises four favourite titles from this successful series and whether you are introducing these to newly independent readers or ‘topping up’ your series collection they will be highly prized additions to your shelves.

 

Lulu Bell lives with her parents and younger brother and sister in a beachside town where normal daily life with family and friends becomes an adventure. With a dad who is the local vet and living next door to the surgery, animals abound both at home and also on holidays.  Lulu and her friends are just regular kids and their exploits, problems and solutions all resonate easily with young readers.

 

I was very surprised to find that in my new library there was only one title on our shelves – soon fixed that problem! I know they will be a huge hit with our little girls.

 

For more information on this series as well as Belinda’s other outstanding titles check out her website.

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Lucky visitors to the Newcastle literary festival were blessed to be able meet both Belinda and Serena there. I was positively peeved that we missed out!  Hope they bring this to Bris Vegas sometime!

Ugly – Robert Hoge

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ISBN: 9780733634338

Publication date: 11 Aug 2015

Page count: 160

Imprint: Hachette Australia

RRP $16.99

It has taken me a while to get to review this Younger Readers’ version of Robert Hoge’s successful memoir. My Year 8 students have been working on an English task which was to research and write a feature article about an inspirational hero and one of my young ladies had chosen Robert because she had started reading his memoir. I had just received this review copy so handed it to her in case she might find it helpful as well.  Not only does the book come with her recommendation, she was so delighted that Robert responded to her email to him and she has been able to ask him questions directly. What a generous human! Thank you Robert – you provided this wonderful young girl with an amazing learning experience!

Today I spent a very pleasant hour or so reading this funny and moving, honest and courageous recollection of growing up as the ‘ugly’ kid

Robert’s story is by now pretty well known to many adults who have either learned about his life via the book or the media but this new edition will bring his inspirational story to a whole new readership.

When Robert was born with severe physical problems including a large facial tumour, his family’s life changed in many respects but not in the most important aspect. They were still a loving, supportive unit who when faced with a challenge rose to it with an admirable and enviable ease.

But let’s not make light of this. This is an incredible story – of not only a wonderful human being but an exceptional family.

Do yourself a favour and read it. Better still put this on your shelves! The Younger Reader version is eminently suitable for readers of around 10 and up.

Check out Robert’s website here and teaching notes here