Tag Archives: Books

Pages & Co #3: Tilly and the Map of Stories – Anna James

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Harper Collins Australia

October 2020

  • ISBN: 9780008229948
  • ISBN 10: 0008229945
  • Imprint: HarperCollins – GB
  • List Price: 19.99 AUD

This series is so utterly charming and original that it has been such pleasure to read and review each of them. Tilly and Oskar continue their adventures with the ongoing quest to thwart the horrible Underwoods who have usurped the British Underlibrary. Book wandering has been prohibited and stories at large are under very real threat of being lost for all time.

Tilly has some clues gathered from story friends and others which she strongly believes might provide a sort of map to the Archivists – the legendary protectors of all stories and imagination. With her mother’s help Tilly and Oskar are off to America to meet up with Orlando and Jorge, her mum’s old friends and the best lead for the first signpost in Tilly’s possession. But the plan goes quickly awry when the pair find that even in America the Underwoods’ influence is infiltrating every layer of story.

It takes all their resourcefulness and courage to navigate their way through the intricate maze that their clues reveal but Tilly and Oskar are determined to not only save the world of stories but their very dear fictional friends. They are not unused to danger but this adventure, with its meandering journey, ultimately presents them with their biggest challenge yet. Can these two intrepid bookwanderers save story and imagination from complete annilhilation?

As with the first two books there are moments of real humour woven into the tension of the plot and readers will particularly find the appearance and help of William Shakespeare himself to be highly amusing.

I absolutely adore this series and have recommended it to many young readers who have all enjoyed it equally. If you’re late to the party I’d suggest you put all three on your orders list for the new year.

Highly recommended for readers from around 8 years upwards.

Pages & Co [Book 2]: Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales – Anna James

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Harper Collins

September 2019

ISBN: 9780008229900

ISBN 10: 0008229902

Imprint: HarperCollins – GB

List Price: 19.99 AUD

Once more Tilly and Oskar are plunged into a whirl of adventure and mystery as their book-wandering travels continue. Their world and their families are in a state of flux as the British Underlibrary becomes embroiled in turmoil. The new Librarian Melville Underwood is decidedly sinister and unscrupulous and there is a veil of mystery about his long absence in the fairy tale world and the continued unknown whereabouts of his sister Decima.

When Tilly and Oskar visit Paris (and discover that Oskar is also a book-wanderer) they bravely venture into the fairy tale world and are dismayed by the instability of the stories there – large black abysses appearing in plots, various versions of the same story overlapping randomly and characters becoming lost. All this appears to be the work of some dark force and it seems that Tilly and Oskar are the ones to solve the problem and restore order.

This series is proving to be quite a delight with its fresh approach to plot and characters. Book lovers both young and old will relish the concept of becoming truly ‘present’ in the stories they read and will readily identify with Tilly’s favourites as well as being very cognizant of the ever-present dangers and villainous characters lurking in odd places. There are tense moments when ‘happy ever after’ seems elusive and there is no doubt that the evil characters are ruthless but Tilly and Oskar have proven their mettle already and will not rest until the fairy tale world is safe again.

My first readers to try out this series have been completely taken with it and I know they will be enthusiastically lining up for this second instalment. I highly recommend it for your kiddos from around Year 4 upwards.

The Bookworm – Debi Gliori

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Bloomsbury

 

ISBN: 9781408893036
Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

 

9781408893036

 

 

What could delight a teacher-librarian’s heart more than a book about a bookworm? Little Max really really wants a pet of his own but his parents are not very keen. They reject his suggestion of a puppy or a kitten because they chew things or they smell stinky and they certainly scoff at his request for a dragon because they don’t exist.

So Max finds his own pet. Not your average pet of course, this is a strange and lumpy worm who it appears just love to be stroked and to listen to stories at bedtime.

But Max’s worm starts to grow and seems to be quite unusual. Its lumpy back develops into spikes and it begins to breathe smoke. It also along the way chews stuff and can be a bit stinky!

Of course Max’s new pet is really a dragon and eventually is big enough to fly away on its own but it does still love to visit and hear a good story so Max in content. Besides he has a new pet on which to focus – he’s taken up his parents’ suggestion of a goldfish but why does that fish have such sharp teeth?

Debi Gliori’s books are always a joy to read and share and this is no exception.

This is a delightful uncomplicated read and children will readily embrace it and I have no doubt, will be able to discuss very animatedly their own ideal pet – whether one they have or one they want.

Highly recommended for readers from around four years upwards.

Hooray for Book Week!

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We wear ourselves out getting ready for it – with planning over months and are thoroughly but satisfyingly over it by the time it’s done and yet we wait impatiently for the next year’s theme so we can do it all over again!

Our preparations have been underway for weeks and our library looks super, our costumes are ready, the activities, quizzes and competitions sorted and we are ready to rock and roll.

So it’s seems fitting as I try to catch up with so many reviews that I present some of this year’s picture books that feature stories, reading, writing and books – here we go!

It’s a Story, Rory! – Frances Watts & David Legge

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Harper Collins

July 2018

ISBN: 9780733335938

ISBN 10: 0733335934

Imprint: ABC Books – AU

List Price: 24.99 AUD

Like so many of my colleagues Parsley Rabbit’s Book about Books remains a staple in the first few weeks of the year as we introduce our littlest library users to the wonders that lay in front of them. Now we have a further addition to our program that will delight and inform young readers. In my opinion this is perfect to use as we introduce our Year 1s to narrative writing. It presents all the necessary structure of a story in a manner that is both entertaining and humorous.

Our clever narrator takes Rory and Millie on an adventure through – well, an adventure! Readers discover the purpose and role of characters, plot, setting, description and genres whilst being thoroughly engaged in the developing storyline. With humour, witty dialogue and fabulous illustrations beginning writers will be well equipped to undertake their own narrative journeys.

Highly recommended for readers from six years upwards.

The Magic Bookshop – Natalie Jane Prior/Cheryl Orsini

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Harper Collins

September 2018

The Fairy Dancers is simply stunning … making it the perfect keepsake gift book’ – Children’s Books Daily

ISBN: 9780733338328

ISBN 10: 0733338321

Imprint: ABC Books – AU

List Price: 19.99 AUD

When Ben spends a rainy afternoon at his grandfather’s bookshop he expects to enjoy some biscuits and reading but certainly has no idea that he will be whisked away on adventures that are both wildly exciting and seemingly unknown to Granddad. Discovering a tiger, spending time in a lighthouse, becoming part of a magician’s act this collection of short stories illustrate perfectly the worlds inside books which only require the reader’s imagination.

If you are looking to enthuse younger readers and light up their own imaginative writing this is a perfect choice for a read-aloud. For children who are ready to move beyond easier picture books and ready to tackle something a little more challenging it will be an engaging read with lots of fun moments.

Recommended for readers from around 7 years upwards.

 

Sebastian and the Special Stack of Stories – Kelly Hibbert/Sue deGennaro

sebastian-and-the-special-stack-of-stories

Harper Collins

June 2018

ISBN: 9781460753460

ISBN 10: 1460753461

Imprint: HarperCollins – AU

List Price: 24.99 AUD

When you are the smallest of all in a house full of kids and it’s time for some stories, the best place to be is cuddled up close to Mum. This rollicking rhyming book which is chockfull of some terrific onomatopoeia will have little ones bouncing along as its read.

Sebastian is the tiniest with several big brothers with whom to contend but he can carry the stack of books all the way to the sofa while the bigger boys all jostle and scramble for their favoured spot. There’s not much room left when Sebastian finally gets there except for that one tiny spot right next to Mum’s lap and what better place to be?

A fabulous read-aloud for little ones from as young as 2 years old.

It’s Not Scribble to Me – Kate Ritche/Jedda Robard

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A great companion book to the one above as it’s also rhyming and full of wonderful language that will delight the little listener. As parents we’ve probably all experienced those random scribbles that seem to appear on furniture, floors and walls – if we’ve been lucky they’ve been done with something washable! – as grown-ups it’s sometimes easy to feel a little frustrated with the resulting artistic efforts.

But this book reminds us that these early efforts from our little people truly are the beginnings of their imaginative expression and while it’s unlikely any of us are going to advocate such decorative house-styling or even endorse it we can all probably find some ways to allow these early creative moments free rein which will satisfy both sides of the equation.

A delightful picture book which will no doubt lead to many hours of ‘not scribble’ I highly recommend it for readers from 2 or 3 years upwards.

My Storee – Paul Russell and Aska

my-storee

EK Books

November 2018

9781925335774

RRP $24.99

This is for all the children out there who have wonderful stories to tell but are constantly reminded in one way or another of their ‘inadequacies’ to write them down. My girl Miss K is not dyslexic (well she could be but it’s not part of her official verification) but has struggled with language difficulties all her life. At 14 she is now beginning to read and write more confidently albeit still at about a Year 1 or 2 level. As a Year 1 teacher my children ‘wrote’ every day from day one (before the days of official Prep you understand) – their stories consisted of drawings usually at first but soon with attempted text approximations and moved on through invented spelling and so on as their confidence grew. They were never ever made to be feel inadequate but their efforts always recognised as worthy of sharing.

This is a book that should be shared over and over again with children and parents both. We need to start rejecting the negative restrictions and pressures put upon our children to be perfect and never ever make a mistake. Some of us spend half of each day encouraging our students to take risks and just express themselves in a way that will be positively received.

Highly recommended for children, parents and teachers from around six years upwards.

 

Just because you can’t spell doesn’t mean you can’t write

 

 

Pages & Co : Tilly and the  Bookwanderers –Anna James

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Harper Collins

ISBN: 9780008229887

ISBN 10: 0008229880

Imprint: HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks

On Sale: 18/09/2018

List Price: 9.99 AUD

Ever since Tilly’s mum disappeared when she was tiny, her home has been with her Grandma and Grandpa in their house/bookshop Pages & Co. Inevitably, given that circumstance, Tilly is the ultimate bookworm and constantly loses herself deep in a book, particularly her favourite ones like Anne of Green Gables. She wouldn’t be the only person in the world to do so but the day she happens to encounter Anne herself in the middle of the bookshop would definitely set her aside from the mainstream of readers. It is, after all, one thing to imagine ourselves as part of our favourite book and another altogether to have the characters come out from the book and then lead one inside their story. It seems however that Tilly is a bookwanderer, like her mother and grandparents and many others before her. It might sound thrilling and exciting and definitely is, but can also be dangerous and downright fatal at times as Tilly, and her friend Oskar find out when they both find themselves on the Hispaniola being threatened by Long John Silver.  Particularly it’s sinister when a strange character named Enoch Chalk keeps re-appearing both in real life and in fictional as if he’s stalking Tilly.

This is a superbly original story with a delightful cast of characters and some ingenious plot twists. As a debut novel it is certainly an appetizer for more from this author.  It is imaginative and beautifully written with some great imagery.

Highly recommended for readers from around ten years upwards.

“Our stories are how we will be remembered- so we’ve got to make sure ours are worth telling.”