Random House Australia
Once upon a time, in the 1960s, there was a young cub reporter who worked for the Bucks Free Press covering such scintillating happenings as village fairs and other local events. Despite the rigours of such journalism, Sir Terry Pratchett began writing short stories for young readers which were also published in the newspaper.
This rather unostentatious beginning was to lead to the magical, fantastical world of Pratchett as we know it.
Sir Terry has trawled back over these stories from his youth and selected some for this volume – mostly exactly as they were written originally, with only a little tweaking here and there.
Of particular interest I think are Tales of the Carpet People and Another Tale of the Carpet People which of course later developed into Terry’s first novel.
Dragons and wizards, a lake monster, an adventurous tortoise called Hercules and pointy hats and magic spells a-plenty come together in a humorous romp through the young Pratchett’s imagination.
Whether you are a diehard fan or more selective of the many offerings penned by this master storyteller or even if – surely not! – you have never read a Terry Pratchett book, this is a terrific anthology which would sit well on shelves from primary to lower secondary or home. [Beautiful hardcover concealed by attractive dustjacket!]
“..that naive young lad on the motorbike and the grown-up me with my black hat and beard are the same person – and all we both ever wanted to do was write for people old enough to understand.
And to imagine…”
Clicking on his image will take you to a 2008 article where Sir Terry discusses his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Billy is a Dragon. Nick Falk. Illustrated by Tony Flowers
Random House Australia March 2014
Billy is a Dragon: First Bite
Billy is a Dragon 2: Werewolves Beware!
Following their great success with the Saurus Street series, Falk and Flowers have again teamed up with this new series about nine year old Billy Fincher. Billy is pretty much your average boy who loves his bulldog Bertha and has problems with the school bully. That is, until, he is bitten by lizard at the local shop and suddenly finds strange things start happening.
“His fingernails turn into claws, his skin becomes green and he starts breathing fire. His teeth grow enormous, his eyes become red and his school clothes pop off at the seams.”
While being a dragon certainly has its advantages, particularly when it comes to giving the school bully his come-uppance, Billy finds it’s not all plain sailing (flying?) being so different. To start with, his parents are none too happy about having a fire-breathing dragon for a son and think he should he be put in a zoo.
Miss Small, who as it happens, is a nine year old dragon devotee, with a nine year old boyfriend called Billy – was poised on the edge of her seat clamouring for more after the first couple of pages read aloud. Following the same appealing format as the Saurus Street series, these are fabulous for newly independent readers with quirky fonts to emphasise onomatopoeias and whacky drawings to accompany the text.
Girls and boys alike will thoroughly enjoy Billy’s adventures as he deals with shapeshifting lessons, werewolves, hungry teachers and more. Look out for more to come – these ones will be hugely popular with the 7 and up readers.