October 1, 2018
For almost forty years the Hippopotamus has entertained children with its antics and now there’s a super new Christmas book to kick off another generation of young fans.
The family of the house in question are busy preparing for Christmas with many activities with which young readers will readily identify – decorating, baking, dancing and general frivolity. All the while the Hippopotamus continues its own preparations – with a few mishaps such as sitting on its Xmas tree inadvertently!
Watch little eyes light up as they explore the details of each illustration and enjoy the chortles of the Hippo’s Christmas. And they will just love the Hippo’s sparkly appearance on the front cover!
Hazel Edwards and Deborah Niland have given Australian children (and adults) an iconic character who has provided all with some memorable adventures over the years. Let’s hope they continue to do so for many more to come!
Highly recommended for little readers from around 2 years upwards!
ISBN 10: 0008264082
Imprint: HarperCollins – GB
Sometimes I surprise myself. When I started reading this two nights ago I got halfway through and thought how enjoyable it is and that it reminds me so much of the marvellous Ronald Searle and his Nigel Molesworth books (albeit with far less anarchy), which I absolutely adored as a kid. Then lo and behold I finish the book last night and find two pages where Lauren Child thanks the friend who introduced her to the aforementioned and how they inspired the style of the book!
Hubert Horatio is one of the most highly intelligent children you will ever come across. He is also extremely gifted in many skills (let’s ignore such as tree-climbing and ikebana) but he is not in the least precocious. He is well-mannered, thoughtful, caring and above all, responsible which is extremely fortunate because his fabulously wealthy parents are complete twits who wouldn’t know responsible behaviour if they fell over it.
This first in the series comprehensively introduces us not only to HH but his extended family (on both sides) and also his secret place –the almost vacant lot next door where he is building a magnificent tree-house and having currant bun fights with his nemesis. But disaster is about to befall – the long-standing ‘For Sale’ sign on the collapsed house and yard has been replaced with a bold ‘Sold’. What will happen to Horatio’s special place now? Especially as he not yet save the wherewithal to buy the place himself – drama could be in store!
This is great fun and beautifully presented with, of course Lauren Child’s distinctive illustrations – busy woman!
Highly recommended for readers from around seven years upwards.
Penguin Random House
October 30, 2018
There is not much more embarrassing than being an adult of a certain age in public and snort laughing as you read the newest Wimpy Kid book, attracting strange looks from wary observers. But it does seem to happen to me every time and this is no exception.
Fans of the hapless Greg Heffley have been waiting for the newest book to arrive and won’t be disappointed in the manic mayhem of a neighbourhood in full-blown snowed-in battle mode.
“Snow days” are a rather foreign concept for Australian kids but many could probably related to other weather events impeding their attendance at school. And like most kids (and teachers) an unexpected holiday is to be relished. The severity of the winter weather has already been quite a trial for Greg with lost gloves, melted boots, unploughed sidewalks and bossy Safety Patrol girls combining to make the daily slog to school a complete nightmare. So when the weather becomes even worse and the cold snap enforces a school close-down, Greg is pretty jubilant until that is both his mother and the other neighbourhood kids all seem to conspire to make the unexpected luxury of ‘free time’ into an endless round of chores and full on snow warfare. Greg and Rowley attempt to best their rivals in a series of side-splitting moments that certainly all the WK fans will relish.
Will the pair eventually triumph over their opposition? Will the snow ever thaw? Will Greg ever be able to escape the endless round of household tasks? So many questions to be answered! And the fans will undoubtedly enjoy discovering the results.
As always a high recommendation for kids with a sense of the absurd looking for a light read.
Check out some Meltdown activities here.
Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
This book answers all the big questions, like: do sausage dogs eat sausages? Why has my cat done a poo-poo behind my wardrobe? And, how can I persuade my parents to get me a pet?
If you have some reluctant readers in your pack this would be a perfect book with which to tempt them! For a start, there’s no need to start at the beginning and keep on until the end. This is the sort of book that can be picked up and dipped into at random, choosing the choicest most chortle-provoking snippets.
It could be said that there are numerous facts strewn about throughout the text but they are far outweighed by the total hilarity of some of the passages. For example:
Generally speaking, the only thing a hamster will attack is a sunflower seed, but if you are unlucky enough to get a BAD-TEMPERED hamster, you’ll find that dressing up as a bird of prey and swooping around the utility room should make it run back into its little house. Hamsters can growl though. Search for ‘angry hamster’ online.
As well as James’ very humorous writing the comic illustrations by Rob Jones break up the text with the result that this is a great book for those who are daunted by scads of print – the ‘chunks’ are very well dispersed among the plethora of cartoon-style line drawings.
Anything to do with animals, especially in humorous situations or the focus on the freaky aspects always seems to go down a treat with kids – just look at the popularity of some TV shows on this subject! – so to my mind there is no doubt that this would be a real tempter for those kids that just roll their eyes at the thought of reading a whole book.
Recommended for kids from around eight years upwards though capable younger readers would also enjoy it.
Penguin Random House
October 15, 2018
Here’s another super choice for the kid who loves humour – and again, very timely with Christmas rushing in upon us.
The cream of our Australian children’s writers have contributed a wealth of funny stories: Deborah Abela, Tristan Bancks, Adrian Beck, Jacqueline Harvey, Paul Jennings, Alex Miles, Oliver Phommavanh, Sally Rippin, R.A. Spratt and Matt Stanton are all crowd pleasers at any time.
Oliver P’s poem about writing a poem, Rhyme Time!, made me laugh aloud – definitely going to use that the next time I do a library unit that features poetry to ward off the inevitable groans. Jacqueline Harvey’s Pet Sit Pandemonium: Operation Snowball is also a cracker – the image of Puss with poor Pavarotti clamped in his jaws balefully glaring had me falling about. And of course, Nanny Piggins is a guaranteed chortle-inducer and Pigerella, R. A. Spratt’s contribution, is no exception.
From football loving pigs to a principal with a rat phobia, from vegetarian bikini-wearing hippos to a crazed vacuum cleaner, this compilation will have something for every reader.
The book also includes the first publication of the winning entry in the Kids’ WB competition by Ella Wallace.
Royalties from the sales of this book go directly to Dymock’s Children’s Charities with all the authors as well as James Foley, illustrator, thrilled to be part of the project donating their talents and work.
So buying this book will not only give the kids you love some pleasure but also help to provide some for children in less fortunate circumstances.
Highly recommended for kids who love to laugh, from around eight years upwards.
Penguin Random House
October 29, 2018
So, you say, what could be better than a new Morris Gleitzman book? A bumper book with three books in one plus a bonus brand new story – that’s what!
Give Peas a Chance, Pizza Cake and Snot Chocolate line up for what can only be described as laughter exploding out of every page. Whether it’s on the sporting field as rival kindy histories flare into full on rages or a dog daring to go where no other dog has gone before, there will be a steady flow of snorts and guffaws. And just to kickstart the fun readers will love Zac’s circular day and talking appliances, not to mention Woody the mouse with his starring role.
Without a doubt the stand out for me would have to be Saving Ms Fosdyke – I’m thinking I might need to get an agent if I’m going to get traded to another school, even an underprivileged one, for $50 million!
Morris’ books have long been solid favourites with the middle to upper primary crowd and with Christmas coming up this super edition chockful of hilarity would make a great stocking stuffer.
Described by the publisher as an ‘explosion of fun and pure joy’ this is a delightfully riotous and exuberant picture book full of colour and humour. The Rawa Community School is on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert and the children there helped to write the text along with Alison and Jane and provided all the cut-out illustrations. What an experience it must have been for all as these two celebrated authors worked alongside the middle school students drawing out all their creativity and their own Martu cultural knowledge.
Some very crazy looking monsters emerge from Dora Lake giving the children a little scare before going completely bonkers all around the place, even to school which completely disrupts a good day’s learning!
Loaded with rhyme, rhythm and some wonderful onomatopoeia cleverly highlighted in large colourful fonts, this will be a real hit with little ones either to read by themselves or as an enthusiastic read-aloud.
Highly recommended for little readers from around toddlers upwards!
Penguin Random House
October 1, 2018
Well regarded author of adult books Elliot Perlman has ably proven that he can turn his hand just as easily to writing for children with this first book for younger readers. It is delightfully whimsical and carries a literary flavour of its Amsterdam setting within its text with an enviable ease (very reminiscent of Annie M. G. Schmidt’s beautiful classics).
Catvinkle is a much pampered only pet of a charming barber in Amsterdam. She is exceedingly beautiful and certainly talented in some ways but also very definitely selfish and rather casual with the truth. When her owner Mr Sabatini brings home a rather forlorn and neglected Dalmation named Ula, Catvinkle is extremely unimpressed to say the least. An intruder into her cosy parlour and water bowl and a dog to boot is the last thing with which she wants to contend. It will completely ruin her social standing in Kittens Anonymous for one thing!
Ula’s sweet nature and compliant personality win Catvinkle over slowly (of course her delicious musky smell which acts intoxicatingly on the cat helps) but it also endears her to others as she breaks down barriers between not only cats and dogs but dogs and dogs!
The subtle themes of anti-racism, anti-bullying, acceptance, tolerance, friendship and loyalty are delivered in a wonderfully funny story where cats who baby-shoe dance, fly with tail propellers and llamas who play backgammon are quite the norm.
Readers from around eight years upwards will delight in this magical story of animals whose lives seem to mirror those of humans.
Penguin Random House
September 3, 2018
Classic Morris Gleitzman! And pure unadulterated joy! In these parlous times when politicians behave without regard for those they are sworn to represent this could not be more timely or indeed, pointed.
Ludo is a helper. A year after losing his mother his desire to help and his commitment to the values of being a true Scout remain firmly fixed in place. When his father wins a seat as an independent MP and the pair move to Canberra Ludo begins to see that politics, the people embedded in the system and the nation’s capital are all far from being the selfless ideal he had in his mind. His zeal for helping the homeless people in the capital quickly escalates into a mission with much wider implications. Along the way he is able to recruit like-minded allies, not least of all, his dad.
Ludo is a very likeable protagonist and never becomes priggish which could so easily have happened with a lesser creator. His warmth and compassionate nature are a lodestone throughout the narrative which readily endears him to the reader.
With Morris’ usual deft touch the gravity of some nasty situations is liberally leavened with a good dash of humour as well as some moments of real poignancy. Quirky characters as well as unsavoury ones are sprinkled throughout making this an engaging read with some very important underlying themes.
Not only do I believe this would be a novel which could be used to great effect with students but I do think it should be mandatory reading for every single elected member – perhaps it could be a requirement of their introduction or even better, preselection process?
Highly recommended for either independent reading or read-aloud for children from about eight years upwards. Kudos to Morris for a fantastic and apt new book!
Ford Street Publishing
DC, you have completely smashed it with this thrilling conclusion to the trilogy – darker, edgier and gripping! I’ve watched with such joy as the Dead Gang monster misfits have grown from their funky beginnings to truly kickass warriors united in their mission to save not themselves but their world and all the myriad creatures who inhabit it.
The gang continues their mission of dragon egg rescue after their narrow escapes from Dr Franken’s torturous facility and amidst ongoing attack from all sides. The loss of Zorg and Jaakie are a real blow but they manage to keep their spirits high. Stoker, the vampire-formerly-known-as-Prince-Robert heads for the Isle of Giants with a human girl acquired for her mechanical ability, Roa and the enigmatic and cranky Erica, royal ogre bodyguard and the giant skunk aniwye (not the friendliest of creatures). Their goal is to protect Empress Kalthazar until the rest of the Dead Gang arrive with help.
The remainder of the group escape with the dragon egg they have acquired by a narrow margin and are completely taken aback when the egg hatches and little fin-flapping Karamas immediately becomes an important addition to their team. An encounter with the living giant heart of Monstro City, disarming ancient nuclear weapons, deflecting rogue ogres and taming clone Prince Robbie are almost all in a day’s work for this mob. However their encounter with the fearsome and treacherous Cyborg Warlord is almost a disaster for them all.
Will the gang survive intact to effect the rescue and revitalisation of the great Kalthazar? Will they be able to save not only themselves but Monstro City and, indeed, the entire world? More to the point – will Bruce, gnarly sexy spider-dude avoid being munched by a prospective bride and will PT EVER tell Greta just how he feels about her?
It’s like a mash-up of Tolkien, teen horror movies and Kotter’s sweat hogs on steroids! The addition of some excellent illustrations really enhance the narrative with the truly warped visualisations of the chief characters along with a nicely detailed map.
Again there are plenty of laughs throughout the tensely dramatic plot as well as moments of poignancy and important themes of loyalty, friendship, honour and resilience.
I have loved this series immensely and while I was of the understanding that this was to be a trilogy I won’t be disappointed to meet the characters again as they age to what one can only imagine to be an equally crazy adulthood!
Get onto it if you haven’t already! Your readers from around ten years upwards who relish a little bit of scariness along with a whole lot of great humour will love it.