National Library of Australia
I adore this series! In Heritage Heroes, Reeder not only takes her readers on adventures but provides rich fodder for hunters of history. Each volume has explored the (often unknown) achievements of young Australian people of the past in a fictionalised narrative which is lavishly interspersed with reproduced primary documents and photographs, ephemera, information on related topics such as animals, significant events and people and more.
Each volume is so sublimely presented that it becomes a tactile delight and the joy is not just in the reading but in the holding in one’s hands.
In this latest, the fifth, we are treated to the discovery of opals at what is now Coober Pedy by 14 year old Will Hutchison who accompanied his father, two other men and six camels on an expedition into outback South Australia in a time of pretty basic equipment and the dangers of extreme drought.
When Will decides to go with his father on the trip for the New Colorado Prospecting Syndicate he has no idea what dangers and hardships lay ahead. Their determination to find gold is undaunted by these although Will struggles to stay positive. Just when the situation appears to be at its most dire and unsuccessful with the company resolved to return to Adelaide, it is Will who literally stumbles onto the Stuart Range opal field which remains one of the most valuable in Australia and certainly a location which is totally unique with so many of the dwellings being underground.
With the addition of ‘what happened next’ information, biographical notes, glossary and references for exploring further some of the many related topics this is treasure worth the delving.
What a marvellous new addition to this award-winning series this is. Highly recommended for readers from Upper Primary to Secondary not to mention any adults interested in Australian history.
Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Series: The Adventures of Pug
This is the fourth in this hugely funny series for newly independent readers and just as hilarious as the earlier ones. Pug and his owner, Lady Miranda, seem to encounter all kinds of mischief and mishaps whenever and wherever they venture out. So a holiday at the seaside would be no different of course. Pug is none too fond of the water and quite frankly is absolutely terrified of the thought of getting on a boat but when the Lady Mayor’s chain is whisked away by a piratical parrot it seems there is no choice but to become a sea-going pug.
Local bully boys seem determined to beat Lady Miranda and her friends at rescuing the stolen treasure and even dare to scupper their ship but they don’t reckon on Pug’s resilience and his ability to turn the worse situation into an advantage.
Loads of laughs with some very entertaining illustrations abound and this is perfect fodder for readers from around six years upwards. I have a couple of the previous books tucked into my ‘relief teacher’ bag of supplies and they never fail to engage as a read-aloud for kids as old as ten. However, I know a little girl who is an enthusiastic reader who might really like this particular one so it’s off to her it goes!
||Bloomsbury Children’s Books
RRP : $14.99 AU $16.99 NZ
Readers return to the wacky world of Maudlin Towers with Mildew and Sponge as they attempt to save their mouldering school from closure, due to its pecuniary troubles. Ever since the funds for the renovations disappeared in time (see the first book) there seems to be no solution to the threat of closure. That is until Mildew and Sponge realise the possibility of the legendary Captain Greenbeard, fearsome pirate (and as it turns out, Mildew’s ancestor) having buried his treasure nearby.
It is rather unfortunate however that it’s not just the bumbling pair hunting treasure. Due to Kenningworth’s big mouth and newspaper coverage the school is taken over by pirates from Greenbeard’s crew who are also after the treasure.
As usual despite their ineptitude Mildew and Sponge manage by dint of accident rather than brilliance to save the day. These are hilarious stories which are sort of a mash up of Molesworth and comic horror which many readers will find a really enjoyable read.
Recommended for able readers (given the word play throughout etc) from around ten years upwards.
Walker Books Australia
Release Date: November 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99\
This one had slipped through the cracks but certainly not by intention! I love Bob Graham’s books and this one is no exception.
It is the story of the travels of one Irish poesy ring from the time it left the hand of its teary owner as she rode across the downs in 1830 flinging it away until it fetches up in a New York pawnbroker’s shop in 1967.
Demonstrating yet again that he has the ability to create a seemingly simple picture book which actually takes the reader across time and space to deliver a beautiful and poignant message, Bob has created yet another to-be-classic.
Aside from the ring’s own journey what a beautiful way to explore the passing of time, the changing of landscapes and the shifting of circumstances to young children. And how many readers will be thrilled to think about the possibility of hidden forgotten treasures not to mention wondering if the ring – with its inscription of “love never dies” will fulfil its destiny of belonging to someone much loved.
In a broader sense this could well explore the idea that we all wind up where we are meant to be – no matter how long it takes.