Unless you were in some kind of mystical retreat with no access to outside communication, you could not have missed one of the summer’s biggest cinema releases, Penguin Bloom, based on the real-life story of Sam Bloom. Sam’s story, and that of her family, her life-threatening injury and subsequent inspirational journey was beautifully translated to film and many young people would have seen this during the holidays.
This media tie-in edition for younger readers will give both the kids who saw the movie, as well as those who missed it, the chance to explore the story from the perspective of Noah, oldest of the Bloom children. Noah’s voice is authentic and will immediately resonate with other children as he describes the aftermath of his mother’s devastating injury, sustained when she fell from a balcony during a family holiday in Thailand. The complete turn-around in their circumstances and family life put immense pressure on the Blooms and while Sam struggled to come to terms with her new physical limitations, Noah has secretly blamed himself for the accident. The exploration of the emotions is often raw and terribly moving but the fortitude and determination of this young family to repair their lives to be the very best they can be, is truly admirable. All this healing springs essentially from the family’s adoption of an orphaned magpie they name Penguin. When Penguin becomes Sam’s constant companion, she is able to pull herself through the overwhelming depression that engulfs her and begin a new acceptance of her condition as well as the resolution to transform herself, despite any impediments.
This is a beautiful and very special story and one which will provide young people with inspiration in adversity, and imbue within them Sam’s own attitude of “Never, ever give up.”
Highly recommended for readers from around 10 years upwards.
ISBN: 9781406365771 Imprint: Walker
November 1, 2016
Australian RRP: $34.99 New Zealand RRP: $37.99
I first fell in love with Patrick Ness’ writing with the much acclaimed and prize winning Chaos Walking trilogy. I had not read A Monster Calls until this gorgeous hardback edition, which marks the imminent release of the movie, arrived and I’ve fallen in love all over again.
What a master of flawless prose he is! and combined with the illustrative magic of Jim Kay (think the illustrated Harry Potter books) this is a book that a reader will return to again and again.
Author Siobhan Dowd had put forward an idea or concept for this novel but sadly succumbed to cancer before she could move forward with it. Her publishers thought it was such a valuable premise that they sought a writer who might do it justice. Patrick Ness was the perfect choice and created what is now considered a modern classic.
When young Conor realises that a nightmare has become real and there really is a monster in the garden and it has come for him, the reader is taken on an emotional journey that is moving, funny, profound and heartbreaking until the truth is revealed.
Conor’s recurring nightmare began when his mother’s treatments did and won’t end until he has accepted why the ancient and very wild monster has come for him and what he must do to send it back to its former slumber.
Along with the fully illustrated novel there are over one hundred pages of interviews, details, essays, stills and more from the movie, which promises to be every bit as powerful as the novel.
I read it in one sitting and savoured every moment. So many books arrive for review that they stack up in tottering piles and after review. I find them good homes either in our own library collection or passed on to those who could use them but this one is too beautiful to leave my shelves. It will be taken up and stroked for its aesthetic qualities and read for its marvellous writing and illustrations many times.
Highly recommended for Upper Primary and Secondary students as well as all adults who appreciate a truly remarkable read.
Many readers will have enjoyed the very funny film trailer for ‘Home’ over the Christmas break and some will be familiar with the book on which it was based The True Meaning of Smekday. Now a sequel, Smek for President, once again takes readers along for a ride that is packed with hilarity, quirkiness and extraordinary adventures.
J.Lo that odd bumbling and rather endearing alien is determined to clear his name with his race, the Boovs. As usual his plans are thrown into disarray and Captain Smek, the supreme HighBoov sees the capture of J.Lo as the perfect strategy to regain his waning control and power. Luckily, J.Lo’s best buddy Tip is not the sort of girl to abandon a friend in dire need.
Rex’ ability to combine SciFi and Adventure into brilliant comic stories is very impressive. The stories roll along with a fast pace and even unravelling the intricacies of Boovishly spoken English is uncomplicated for the reader.
For readers who are looking forward to the film these may be a great ‘hook’ into reading – simply for the pure fun of it.
Highly recommended for readers of around 10 and up.