Tag Archives: Mitch Vane

Series-ly Super Stocking Stuffers

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superstocking

We all know that there are many of our children who absolutely eat up their favourite series. And what a way to keep them hooked on reading!

I’ve had a stack of new episodes come in recently so thought I would run through them all for your stocking filling information.

Not in any particular order (more like how I grabbed them from the various piles!):

Rangers’ Apprentice The Early Years 2 : The Battle of Hackham Heath

rangers

Penguin

ISBN 9781742759326

October 31, 2016

Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $18.99

 

I’m actually only halfway through this but definitely need to put it top of the list.  Like so many others I love this series and was worried when the ‘final’ was published that we would have no more of the adventures.  Whew! Thank goodness John decided to provide us all with more of our fix with The Early Years.

 

Readers are discovering how Halt becomes the most successful of the rangers, despite the fact that he has not had the arduous long official apprenticeship and training of others. We are also privy to the growing romantic attachment between Halt and the beautiful Lady Rosalind.

More importantly we follow Halt’s dangerous and stealthy mission to track down and report on Morgarath’s mountain hideout and his recruitment of fearsome beings known as Wargals to form a new army. Araluen’s peace is not an easy one but more an anxious lull and it is up to Halt to learn exactly what the kingdom faces.  At the same time there is tension around the Queen’s much-anticipated pregnancy and Crowley is charged with keeping her safe as she undertakes a dangerous journey to ensure the baby’s delivery.

 

As always the reader is fully engaged in the world of the Rangers and their commitment to the kingdom.

 

I’m quite disappointed that the girls at my current college don’t seem to care for the series (though hoping to promote it next year) as I have always found that both boys and girls relish this fantasy fiction and eagerly wait for more instalments.

Highly recommended for adventure lovers from around 10 years upwards.

 

Dork Diaries: Frenemies Forever –  Rachel Renee Russell

dork-diaries-frenemies-forever-9781471158018_lg

Simon & Schuster

Simon & Schuster Children’s UK |

ISBN 9781471158018 |

November 2016

RRP

AU$ 19.99

NZ$ 22.99

 

On the other hand this is a series that our girls go crazy for! This is the 11th instalment and the troubles for Queen of the Dorks, Nikki Maxwell just keep rolling on.

 

The very exciting news is that Nikki has been accepted (as part of the ‘school transfer’ program at her own school) to spend a week at prestigious North Hampton Hills. This is the way cool school – very ‘preppy’ and she is suitably thrilled to be spending her week there.

 

Except for one teeny problem, her arch-nemesis Mackenzie started at the school just recently and she will have to deal with her on a daily basis.

 

But that issues pales into insignificance when the ruling queen bee of NHH, Tiffany, decides to make things very unpleasant indeed.

 

Ouch! It seems as though Nikki and Mackenzie may need to sign a truce to deal with this horrible girl and survive her week of preppy school life.

 

Girls from 10 years upwards just adore this series and no doubt will pounce on this latest one as well.

 

 

Double Down: Diary of a Wimpy Kid #11 – Jeff Kinney

wimpy
Penguin Australia

9780143309338

November 1, 2016

Puffin (AU YR)

 

Without a doubt one of the most popular series for kids, this one appeals to both boys and girls and I know in my libraries, the copies become as dog-eared and tatty as can be as they are read and re-read. It is a continual mission keeping copies up to scratch!

 

I could pretend I’m all highbrow and find them beneath my reading contempt but the truth is they make me laugh out loud (have had some weird looks given me when reading them in public and snorting into my coffee).

 

Poor old Greg is the ultimate in anti-heroes. His mum (always good value) is on a mission. She thinks Greg is spending far too much time on (video) games and that his brain will soon turn to jelly and dribble out of his ears.  She thinks it’s high time that he begins to explore his ‘creative side’.  Oh dear.

 

Add some Halloween into the mix with scary things coming at Greg from all angles and there’s a recipe for hilarity right there.

 

When Greg comes up with a plan to quell his mother’s nagging – and possibly become rich and famous – by making his own movie, you just know it’s going to be a complete disaster!

 

Boys and girls from around 8 years upwards will go crazy for this latest.

 

How to Beat Genghis Khan in an Arm Wrestle – Nick Falk/Tony Flowers

genghis

Penguin Australia

ISBN 9780143780342

August 29, 2016

Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $14.99

 

This is the second in the latest crazy series from this equally crazy pair of creators. (Having seen them in action earlier this year, I can definitely verify their madness!)

Sid has spent literally hours working on his own comic – we all know his drawings skills are legendary – and when Zac, the biggest bully ever, steals it Sid is determined to get it back.  The problem is that Zac will only return it if Sid beats him in an arm wrestle.

 

Time to call in reinforcements in the shape of Sid’s neighbour Professor Skeletron who uses his super-powers to calculate that Sid’s chances of beating Zac are pretty abysmal but with his usual cunning skills comes up with a plan. All they need is a Time Rescrambler so that Sid can ‘rewind’ and take on Zac ten times, eventually winning.

 

Sounds simple – until the rewind button jams and the pair, along with Sid’s little sister, find themselves in their new predicament – back in the time of the Mongol Empire’s most feared leader, Genghis Khan. Worse – the mighty Khan gets his hand on their gadget.

 

Hilarity ensues as usual. Recommended for girls and boys from around 8 years upwards.

 

Danny Best #2 Never Wrong – Jen Storer/Mitch Vane

dannybest

Harper Collins

ISBN: 9780733333347

ISBN 10: 0733333346

Imprint: ABC Books – AU

On Sale: 01/11/2016

List Price: 17.99 AUD

Here’s my recommendation for this second in the Danny Best series. I read it aloud to a very tough Year 4 class while doing a relief teaching day and it was the ONLY time during the day that they were all quiet with no shenanigans happening.

Given the format (similar to those above) with little text, interesting fonts and ‘inserts’ along with wickedly funny illustrations as well as the raucously funny scenarios in the short stories, this is a real winner.

Danny’s meddling with his mum’s folk art sculpture, his subsequent ‘mending’ of it and his big sister’s ultimate triumph over him is a killer. But the obstacle course is wildly funny as well.  My feral 4s even jumped in to answer the quiz questions at the end of each story.

 

All in all, a great success for the day but also for your readers so why not grab both #1 and #2 to pop into someone’s parcel?

Christmas in Australia – John Williamson/Mitch Vane

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On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me…………………

xmasinaus

Published:24/09/2014

Format:Hardback, 32 pages

RRP:$19.99

ISBN-13:9780670077724

ISBN-10:0670077720

Origin:Australia

Publisher:Penguin Aus.

Imprint:Viking

First of all, let me start with my favourite John Williamson story. A long time ago, probably around 1987 or so, I was the leader of a very enthusiastic Brownie Pack in Brisbane and the Save the Koala campaign was kicking in. These little girls and I were committed to highlighting the plight of the koala and were planning a presentation for our usual Christmas activity of presenting at our local nursing home and other functions. In those days before my teacher-librarian research skills (indeed teaching skills) were even thought of and certainly before the ease of internet research, I was struggling to find the sheet music & lyrics for John’s Goodbye Blinky Bill song. The music teacher at my local primary school said she knew John and had a contact address for him so I duly wrote and explained my dilemma.  This wonderful and generous human responded with not only an autographed copy of the sheet music but the 45 record (yes! It was that long ago!) also autographed, with a lovely handwritten note telling me to keep up the good work with these little Australians.

About seven years later, I was teaching in my first post in the South Burnett and John came to Kingaroy – I took my daughter, Mum and stepfather to the concert and after the show, John came out the front of the hall and chatted, signed posters etc and proved himself what I had already known – a top bloke!

After all that it gives me the greatest pleasure to review this book as my ‘2nd day of Christmas’ offering on Just So Stories.

Many people will already know the Christmas Photo song but this concept of putting the lyrics into a picture book format with the superb illustrations of Mitch Vane was an inspiration!

This is quintessentially Australian Christmas time: cricket and camping, family, food and fun, Santa in a ute and nicknames all around as one Aussie family tries to get everybody into the annual photo. Mitch Vane’s illustrations are perfectly suited to the rambunctiousness of the whole production with much detail for observant readers to discover and compare with their own experiences.

A terrific book for exploring family traditions at this festive time of year!

By the way, if you enter the ISBN of the book at John Williamson’s website, you can download the mp3 of the song for free (which sadly wouldn’t embed here!)

Enjoy the magic of our absolutely incomparable Aussie ‘bush’ troubadour and share with your family. Don’t forget to make sure everyone is in the Xmas Day photo!!!