Tag Archives: Humour

The Girl, the Dog and the Writer in Rome – Katrina Nannestad

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girldogwriter

Harper Collins

Imprint: ABC Books

October 2017

ISBN: 9780733338175

RRP: $16.99

Maybe it’s because spring is here (my favourite season) or maybe it is just the stars aligning but I have been so blessed to be sent so many absolutely delightful books to review lately. This is just gorgeous and I love it.

Young Freja is not your average child. She’s not used to people or social situations or even making conversation. It’s not because she’s an only child. It’s because for all of her ten years she has spent nine months of each year with her zoologist mother Clementine in the wildness of Arctic regions as Clem studies the wildlife. Freja revels in these annual expeditions and the beautiful discoveries her mother shares with her. It is only for three months of each year that she is forced to try to adapt to ‘civilisation’. Each Christmas period the pair returns to England where Clem lectures, raises funds and prepares for the next trip and Freja is endured by a parade of babysitters all of whom find her odd and ‘difficult’.

This year things are different. Clem tells Freja that she is ill and she must go to Switzerland alone for her treatment. There will be no trip until she is well.  Freja is devastated – not just because of the trip but the trauma of being separated from her mother, not to mention the horror of ‘babysitters’. Enter Tobias Appleby and Finnegan his large hairy dog. Clem explains to Freja that Tobias is an old and dear friend and he will take great care of her. And so he does, in a completely bewildering and eccentric way to which Freja immediately responds. Their bond develops quickly though not without hiccups.

Yes, we can make assumptions here however nothing will be revealed so early in this new series.

Of course, the most exciting thing is when Freja (in one of her confused and shy moments) expresses a desire to see Rome and of course! For Tobias that’s simple as can be and soon the three of them (Finnegan as well) are acclimatising to the Roman way of life. For Freja it is a revelation. She discovers hitherto unknown social graces in herself and finds friends – friends!

This is a wonderful story about family, friendship and identity and I look forward to the next in the series with anticipation.

Highly recommended for readers from around ten years upwards.

 

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Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow– Jessica Townsend

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nevermoor

Hachette

October 2017

9780734418074 | RRP $16.99

When you receive a proof copy of an upcoming debut novel about which the publisher says stuff like ‘sold by eight-way auction’ and ‘film rights pre-empted’ you can assume it’s going to be a cracker.

And it is that indeed. Written by Jessica Townsend (Sunshine Coast! Yay!) this is going to be a phenomenon and garner readers from young to old.

Morrigan is a cursed child. These children have been born on the Eventide of a new age and their curse is to die on the next Eventide of a new age.  For all her almost-eleven years Morrigan has lived with the cruel rejection of everyone around her including her family. But things are about to change for her in the most spectacular way. Finding herself at Bid Day where children who have completed prep school are sought after by education bidders, to be trained up in whatever calling, Morrigan is startled to receive bids of her own. Who on earth would bid on a cursed child?

Before this puzzle can progress further, Eventide is upon her and so is one of the bidders.  The flamboyant and charismatic Jupiter North appears at her home and after much debate with her family, whisks her away in the nick of time as they are chased by the Hunt of Dark and Shadow pursuing Morrigan, in expectation of her death.  Jupiter’s rescue takes Morrigan to Nevermoor where she is, for the first time in her life, made to feel welcome by many (but not all) and that she could have a purpose.

She is set to work to pass the trials required to become a member of the Wunder Society and this is a fraught experience for her in many ways, but always with the support of new friends.  Not all is well though. The mysterious Mr Jones (another of her initial bidders) keeps appearing at random, other trial contenders are contemptuous of her lack of skill and a nasty law enforcement agent is determined to oust her on grounds of being an illegal immigrant.

This is filled with humour, charm, love, despair, spookiness and good fun. Although it took me a week to get through it that was only because I was so tired each night I only managed a few chapters at a time. In holiday time it would have been consumed in one go.

 I have already been promoting it to my readers from around ten years up and even my big girls in Book Club are keen to get their hands on it.

Be warned – this is going to be a ‘must have’ and you would do well to make sure it’s on your shopping list.

Highly recommended for all readers from middle primary upwards!

Wolfie: an Unlikely Hero – Deborah Abela/Connah Brecon

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wolfie

Penguin Random House

ISBN 9780143781509

May 1, 2017

Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $24.99

One thing I’ve learned in my years of being a teacher-librarian is that all kids, big and little, love fractured fairy tales.

Wolfie is fed up with fairy tales promoting the nonsense that wolves are the bad guys. He’s determined to put the record straight. After all, he’s really a sweet creature and he is ready to prove himself so by rescuing a princess because that’s what heroes do!

What he hasn’t quite reckoned with is that annoying the book’s narrator is not likely to provide him with a satisfactory outcome and that gives the reader a load of laughs. Wolfie tries to rescue Rapunzel – but she has a screaming fit at the very sight of him and ends up rescuing herself (as all great princesses do!). With that disaster behind him he’s swooped up by a passing dragon and oh oh, this is certainly not the heroic ending Wolfie had imagined!

Deb Abela’s text is super funny and lots of interesting fonts give it real oomph. The illustrations are likewise very humorously done and discerning readers will get a real giggle out of some of the visual jokes.

A great addition to your collection for all those units on fairy tales – traditional or otherwise.

Highly recommended for readers from around six years upwards.

Little Lunch series – Danny Katz/Mitch Vane

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Walker Books

I said earlier today that I’m not that across kids’ TV but this is one show I’ve watched with Miss K and we both think it is very funny.  She, like other kids, because she thinks the antics of the kids and their interactions a real hoot and me, because I reckon over my years of teaching I’ve had all of those kids in my class at one time or another. I think the children’s acting is superb and poor Mrs Gonsha as she swings between kind and caring and completely frazzled is just hilarious.

So just to extend the fun, Danny Katz and Mitch Vane have transformed the episodes into these great books each containing three stories and illustrations. A lot can happen in just fifteen minutes! Read and find out now!

Triple the Trouble

1487923241151

ISBN: 9781925381825
Imprint: Black Dog Books
Release Date: May 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $12.99
New Zealand RRP: $14.99

Why is Debra-Jo so stressed out about a mysterious truck in the school grounds? Is it because she has to hide something small and crawly? And who on earth would imagine that Rory of all people would be put in charge of the class during a wet break? And then there’s Tamara starting a game of kiss-chasey just so she can kiss Battie? What the…?

Triple the Laughs

1497404269666

ISBN: 9781921977398
Imprint: Black Dog Books
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $12.99
New Zealand RRP: $14.99

Atticus is always so sweet and so nerdy and also really, really smart so why is throwing away his playlunch every day? It must have something to do with those weird smelly green things his YaYa is putting in his lunchbox. Battie, being batty as usual, is running around finding superhero things to do while dressed as his imaginary hero Stretcho (that is the weirdest superpower outfit I’ve ever seen and always makes me laugh!). Then Melanie, who never does anything wrong seemingly, is suddenly ‘Germblocked’ for no apparent reason.

These playlunch sized stories are perfect for kids wanting an engaging and amusing read in short bursts. The series is now up to fifteen so if you haven’t started collecting them yet, you should. They will fly off the shelves for your readers from around 8 upwards.

 

 

Supertato Run, Veggies, Run! – Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet

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Simon & Schuster

May 2017

ISBN 781471121036

RRP $14.99

Supertato just makes me laugh so much every time! With the corny veggie puns (see what I did there?) and the crazy antics of the produce section at night, these are sure-fire winners with younger readers. The big bold illustrations also help create the right atmosphere of fun!

As Supertato encourages the other vegetables to be fit – you know, healthy vegetables, right? – he comes up with the brilliant plan of a Sports Day.

Of course Evil Pea (and given that I detest peas I’m so glad he’s the wicked one) has plans to sabotage the race day and enters his friend Gloria, seemingly a watermelon but really a robotmelon!

Just as Evil Pea is convinced he’s won the day with Gloria scooping all the prizes, Supertato announces the final event – the swimming race. Crackle! Zap! And that’s the end of Gloria’s winning streak.  Naturally Supertato makes sure Evil Pea is suitably punished and returns him to the freezer in no uncertain terms.

These are always so humorous and ideal for read-alouds. Highly recommended for little readers from around 5 upwards or just to have a giggle as a bigger person!

Collins Modern Classics: The Bagthorpe Saga – Ordinary Jack – Helen Cresswell

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9780008211677

Harper Collins Australia

            ISBN: 9780008211677

           ISBN 10: 0008211671

           Imprint: HarperCollins – GB

           On Sale: 01/05/2017

           List Price: 14.99 AUD

First published in 1977 this is the introductory volume in a new modern classics series from Harper Collins. The Bagthorpes are, to say the least, one of the most eccentric families you will encounter in a book.  It’s very English and very funny with overtones of the even older Nancy Mitford books with a very middle to upper class family who are all pretty much bonkers.

Father, mother, grandparents, aunt and uncle, and a swag of children who are all pretty much above average – and then there’s Jack who is quite ordinary and in his own mind, inferior.

With the help of his Uncle Parker, who is easily one of the maddest in the family, Jack sets about to impress his family by becoming a prophet, seeing visions and making predictions.  As you can imagine this is quite disconcerting for the family and is not the easiest of deceptions to pull off successfully.

With a pyromaniac four year old cousin, an attractive but non-English speaking Danish au pair, a crusty old daily who is as useful as ‘a hedgehog’ according to Mr Bagthorpe and some crazy antics, this is a laugh a minute.

Suffice to say that in spite of its age, it is every bit as funny as any contemporary family story and will no doubt appeal to many readers who are looking for a simple humorous read.

Highly recommended for readers both boys and girls from around 8 years upwards.

Friday Barnes 7: Bitter Enemies – Rachel Spratt

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9780143784197

Penguin Random House

9780143784197

July 31, 2017

Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $15.99

 

Beginning of term at Highcrest Academy has never been so dreary and desolate. Melanie and Ian are both depressed and missing their quirky best friend Friday, who has been whisked off to Switzerland to be with her family and attend Europe’s most elite school.  Adding to their misery, the start of term assembly sees the announcement of the school’s anniversary celebrations and the return of four previous headmasters. Good grief! Surely one headmaster is enough for any mortal?

However, they have not reckoned on the surprise return of the school’s most dedicated nerdy sleuth who appears dramatically at the doors of the assembly hall ready to deal with anything that might just foul up the anniversary celebrations. And just as well, the students have been warned to be on their best behaviour but apparently no one told the former headmasters the same thing. You have no idea how much havoc can be created by embittered former educators – wait, perhaps you do!

As usual, Friday is on hand to solve the mysteries, explain the inexplicable and generally get everyone out of trouble although not without finding herself in a pickle at the same time.

Old and new characters make their appearances and really you have to love Mrs Cannon, the world’s laziest English teacher – I wonder what might happen if I tried that approach?

These are such fun to read and Friday’s idiosyncrasies are so goofy as to be endearing. The solid friendships are a great feature of this series, proving you don’t need to be pattern made to fit in.

There is also the pathos as we find out more about Friday’s ghastly family and oh oh, the shocker at the end – what will happen to Friday when…. Oops, never mind, you’ll find out.

These are always high in demand in my library and I know the readers are waiting on this new one impatiently.

Highly recommended for readers from around 8 years upwards.

 

The Cherry Pie Princess – Vivian French

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9781406368970

Walker Books

ISBN: 9781406368970
May 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $14.99

Vivian French has put her skills of lively and fun storytelling to work in this new book which stirs up lots of elements from favourite fairy tales. Readers will find a cranky king, a hysterical queen, seven princesses (six nasty and one not), a mean governess, dwarves, giants, fairy godmothers, a hideous hag, a talking cat and MOST importantly a librarian!

Princess Peony is the misfit in her family. She does not want the frilly dresses and expensive shoes her greedy sisters are always sniping about. She does not want to be cooped up in the palace. She certainly does not want to remain ignorant her entire life. When she and her sisters are taken to the local library, the older princesses are scathing and rude but Peony is fascinated and immediately wants to borrow her first book. However, whisked away by her governess and trying to speak up leads to trouble for the librarian Mr Longbeard as he replies to her. It’s not until four years later that Peony realises that her father has had the poor librarian locked up in the dungeons.

Rescuing Mr Longbeard – and the library – becomes Peony’s first mission but the arrival of a royal baby boy and the planned extravagant christening complicate matters. Everybody knows that you simply cannot leave the bad fairy, Hag, off the guest list but King Thoroughgood thinks he knows everything.

Peony not only rescues Mr Longbeard and another new friend from the dungeons but saves her baby brother from the wicked fairy just in time!

This is a great read for newly independent readers from around seven years up. Lots of fun with a resilient, quick witted and kind hearted girl in the hero’s role.

 

 

Exchange of Heart – Darren Groth

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9780143781578

Penguin Random House

9780143781578

July 31, 2017

Random House Australia Children’s

$19.99

If you were impressed with Groth’s 2014 novel Are You Seeing Me? you will be likewise taken with his new one and his ability to blend heartbreak and humour into one splendid story.

Munro Maddux has taken a desperate step in his grief and guilt over his little sister’s death. Evie was just 13 and had Down’s syndrome, and when she suddenly died of her supposedly low-risk heart defect Munro’s feelings of big brother inadequacies have completely undone him. Unable to rid himself of an inner voice his therapist has named the ‘Coyote’ and with his grades at school failing as well as his social interaction, he makes a huge decision to go on a student exchange to Brisbane.  It’s a long way from Canada to Queensland and Munro’s parents are not coping so well with his departure although they are trying to assuage their own grief with building a foundation in Evie’s honour.

Placed with a very understanding family, Munro with his Aussie ‘brother’ Rowan slowly begins to find his way in the social morass of Sussex High – not without some hiccups – but with an added bonus of a sympathetic Caro. But it is when he is placed at Fair Go for his community volunteering that his healing really begins. As the Life Partner for a disparate group of young people who reside in this assisted living facility for reasons Munro forms bonds that are destined to become unbreakable. Will it be enough to silence the Coyote forever?

Groth brings his wealth of experience as a special needs teacher and the parent of an autistic child to this novel breathing life into his characters at Fair Go with an astute awareness of their strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

There is a real tenderness in this novel which the reader feels palpably as we begin to unravel Munro’s real issue with his sister’s death and his growing attachment to his new life after Evie.

There is some swearing which might rule this out for some collections or restrict it to Senior but it is a beautifully written book full of emotion and empathy.

I highly recommend it for readers 15 upwards. Put in your pre-order now!

 

 

Laugh-out-loud Awesome Jokes for Kids – Rob Elliott

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ISBN: 9780062497963

ISBN 10: 0062497960

Imprint: HarperCollins

 14/02/2017

List Price: 3.99 AUD

 

Just a quickie as there’s not a great deal to say about a joke book except – well it’s full of jokes which your kids will love and will, no doubt, drive you completely bonkers!

Rob Elliott’s other collection have been best-sellers and judging by the way joke books suffer the most on our library shelves from their punishing  borrowing schedule, the appetite for them never diminishes with either boys or girls.

Riddles, puns, and knock knocks abound in this collection which will entertain your youngsters especially in these school holidays when parents can become slightly stressed.

What do pandas use to fight?

Their bear hands.

How does a farmer greet his cows?

With a milk shake.

 

You get the picture – now get the book! Your junior comedians will thank you – and you can always pack them off to the grandparent’s to practice their stand up routines!