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May 24 2018

When the mountains roared by Jess Butterworth

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9781510102118
(Ages 9-12) Highly recommended. Themes: Grief. Fear. Wildlife conservation. India - Family life.
Jess Butterworth drew inspiration for When the mountains roared from her own family stories, her grandparents' travels to India in the 1960s and her own childhood experiences living with them at the foot of the Himalayas. She descriptively captures the sensory experiences, the diverse sights and sounds, cityscapes and countryside and wildlife encounters. Her understandings of the Indian way of life resonate here. The imprint of the leopard, from the roaring white silhouette and the rich yellow and brown markings of the covers that continue as bold chapter headings, set the scene for her message of wildlife conservation.
Coping with the death of her mother, Ruby is overcome by her fears, afraid of the dark, of travelling by car, going to sleep and not waking up in the morning. She lives with her father and grandmother in Western Australia in a rural hotel which has fallen into disrepair and her father has borrowed money from loan sharks to save the property. Desperate to escape from their problems they abandon their home, take only a few possessions, their collie dog Polly, and drive through the night to Perth. Along the way they collect a baby joey which Nan hides in her luggage.
Nan's afraid of flying so they board a cruise ship bound for India. Their tiring journey finally brings them to the bottom of the Himachal Pradesh and a haunted mountain. Life for the family is confronting, their new hotel needs a large amount of work, with the owners involved in wildlife poaching. Ruby captures photos of the beautiful world around the hotel; she is an observer, listening to secret conversations and trailing her father's employers. There are moments of fun and laughter, the colourful Holi festival, caring for Joey, watching Bollywood films, making friends with Praveen and dancing to Bollywood music with Dad and Nan.
Ruby's bravery in tracking the poachers, searching for the elusive leopard, attests to her strength of character, overcoming her fears and grief. With her Grandma and loyal friend Praveen they embark on a treacherous journey into the mountains, each show courage in the face of danger. The resolution brings both closure and hope for the future, the author concluding with a heartfelt message about the need to conserve and protect native wildlife and the risk of invasive species taking over the natural environment.
When the mountains roared is a beautifully crafted story, where each of the main characters comes to terms with the loss of a loved one, and is an emotive journey amongst the beauty and splendour of the Himalayan foothills. Share this with a middle primary class, explore the detailed and descriptive narrative, the insightful poignant journey Ruby undertakes, then research the endangered wildlife and the impact of the poaching trade.
Rhyllis Bignell


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May 24 2018

The price guide to the occult by Leslye Walton

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Candlewick Press 2018. ISBN 9780763691103
(Age: 14+) Recommended for people with an interest in mental health and magic. TW: This novel contains self-harm. This is certainly a novel that would be difficult to walk past, The price guide to the occult is both loud and distracting with neon yellow on black surrounded by red-edged pages.
The novel follows a cursed family of Blackburn women, all of whom are destined to have a three-day romance in which a child is conceived and denied by a man descended from the original eight of Anathema Island. Together with the curse of heartbreak, each daughter is 'gifted' with a burden of magical talent, some stronger than others. Fern Blackburn, the eighth daughter, received the gift of always getting what she wanted. However, the one loophole in her gift was never being able to have Quinn Sweeny, the love of her life and the father of her daughter, Nor. Fern's obsession with possessing Quinn is all encompassing, and she will stop at nothing to secure his love - even if that means sacrificing their daughter.
Nor is only a teenager. Her only worries should be grades and boys. But she is also a Blackburn woman... with a secret. Fear of her mother has made her tame and afraid of her own powers, for indeed she is the first since the matriarch, Rona, to possess more than one. When Fern returns, Nor's fear only grows until she is unable to keep her power in check. A storm is brewing, and only one Blackburn woman will prevail.
The price guide to the occult was engrossing. Despite the many references to self-harm and the gruesome murders Fern commits, it was an enlightening exploration of the relationship between a neglectful mother and her child. Similar in ways to Practical magic and Little shop of horrors, it was certainly an enjoyable read. Recommended for ages fourteen and up with an interest in mental health and magic.
Kayla Gaskell, 22


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May 24 2018

Missing Marvin by Sue deGennaro

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Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742769509
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Bullying. Practical jokes. Feelings. When Marvin finds his friends' jokes are just too much, he goes missing, so it is up to the friends to find him, reassure him, and for Marvin to say how he feels when they tease.
Marvin and his friends work for Baggage Handlers United and get along very well. They all do the baggage handling work that is required, and while Marvin really likes his work, his friends feel the need to play practical jokes on their workmates to fill the time.
Barry, Shelley and Ivan sometimes place balloons on the luggage causing it to rise out of reach, sometimes they put fish in the water cooler, and sometimes have a bucket of water placed on a door so that when Marvin opens the door, he gets covered in water. He becomes less and less amused with their pranks, and begins to think that they only seem to be targeting him. And one day when he is wet all over, he goes home and stays at home for several days. Meanwhile his friends begin to notice that he has not returned to work, and play the jokes on each other. They come to see that they are not so funny after all, and when Marvin returns the next day, they are able to tell each other how they feel.
All is resolved and each of the friends is happy. Each has been able to understand the other and Marvin has been able to tell them how he feels when they plays jokes.
I do love Australian author and illustrator, Sue deGennaro's work (Milly loves ants, Peas and quiet, Reindeer's Christmas surprise and The vegetable ark come to mind) with her soft illustrations, full of humour and not a little pathos when needed. Kids will laugh out loud at the looks on the faces of the animals she chooses to use as her protagonists and scan the backgrounds of each page to glean more jokes.
I can easily imagine this book being read out loud and an astute teacher using the interest in the story to discuss gently how people feel when they are on the receiving end of a joke, or point out the similarities between making a joke and bullying. And I do like the double meaning of the title.
Fran Knight


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May 24 2018

Spot goes to the swimming pool by Eric Hill

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Puffin Books, 2018. ISBN 9780241327074
(Age 1-4) Highly recommended. Board book. Themes: Swimming. Fear. A delightful way to introduce the idea of swimming at a swimming pool to very young children, this board book is sure to be a hit with its intended audience. Spot is a bit nervous about the water, thinking that it could be cold but Mum encourages him to try it out and with her help and encouragement is soon letting go of the side of the pool and splashing around in his safe rubber ring.
The bright colours bring to life the poolside, water and swimming accessories. The wonderful expressions on the faces of Spot, his mother and friend Steve are delightful and leave the reader appreciating the joys of a mother who is patient and loving and helpful friends. The pages are sturdy and should stand up for heavy use by little hands, as this is sure to become a firm favourite.
Spot has been a favourite of children for many years and Spot goes to the swimming pool will be a lovely way to introduce a new generation to this lovely little dog and then perhaps follow up with some of the many books that Eric Hill has written about him.
Pat Pledger


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May 24 2018

Best buds under frogs by Leslie Patricelli

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Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763651046
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Themes: Friendship. School. Moving from the city to Pine Lake where she must catch a bus to school, Lily is apprehensive, and barfing on the first day does not endear her to the group of friends who had assembled around her. But Darby takes her on, and soon the two are best of friends, with sleepovers and catching the bus together.
So begins this amusing story of fitting in, of starting a new school in year four, of finding someone who will be your best friend. Darby and Lily set up a club, the Rizzlerunk Club, named after the sea captain who ran aground in the lake, his head mysteriously becoming attached to a giant octopus and climbing into the old boat shed on the shore near Darby's home. Fun and mayhem follows the girls, as they contend with the remarks from the others in their class and are somewhat baffled when they take on the club the two have created for themselves.
Darby's stories are all about ghosts and ghouls and Lily is even more apprehensive the first time she goes to her house and meets her family, a large group of people who all look like Darby, even down to the glasses they all wear. They are all pleased that Lily is Darby's new friend, who they think is much better that Darby's former fiend, Jill, who has moved away. But alarm bells ring when she unexpectedly moves back to the lake, bringing with her her own sense of the funny and dramatic which embroiled Darby in many mishaps in the previous year.
Patricelli's first novel for mid-primary people is most successful, pitched at their concerns, fitting in, finding friends and coping with family issues. She has included funny little illustrations, many of which can be found through the text.
Fran Knight


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May 24 2018

The Lily and the Rose by Jackie French

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HarperCollins, 2017. ISBN 9781460753590
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. The Great War is over but that doesn't necessarily equate to peace. Sophie Higgs is soon to come to this realisation as she re-establishes her life in Australia, taking over her late father's business empire as an independent confident young woman. Alongside her is the circle of women who have become her ongoing support network in a society that is no longer defined by the old norms.
It is not only politics and world affairs that are clouded for Sophie. She is still torn between her love for Nigel, Earl of Shillings, the strange attraction of Dolphie the German aristocrat, and in a new twist, a stranger, John, who is trying to expiate his own war by carving crosses into rocks until he feels at peace.
A call for help from her old friend Hannelore sees Sophie becoming even more daring as she goes to wartorn Germany on a rescue mission from which she returns even more confused in her emotions.
Those thoughts remain until a crisis with Nigel's health sees her racing to England via the unheard of method of flying with female pilots around the world to reach her beloved and at last the two are married with their whole future ahead of them. Or is it?
Jackie has left this tapestry with some small waving threads that will have every reader hanging out for the next instalment. Again a superlative storyteller takes us on a magical, romantic and adventurous journey and my recommendations remain glowing for the mid-teens upwards.
Sue Warren


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May 22 2018

The old man by Sarah V and Claude K Dubois

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Gecko Press, 2018. ISBN 9781776571918
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Compassion. Homelessness. Paris. Age. This gem of understatement stopped me in my tracks and I'm sure it will for everyone as they read of the plight of one homeless old man.
A young girl wakes and gets ready to go to school. Nearby an old man also wakes and struggles to rise from the pavement where he has spent the night. He is cold, wet and hungry and walks to keep warm, rummaging in a bin for food. He is tired and so puts down his blanket to sleep until someone tells him to move on. He heads for the shelter for warmth and food, and when one of the volunteers asks his name, he cannot remember. He climbs aboard a bus and finds warmth, falling asleep in his seat until more passengers get on, complaining of his smell and he must move again.
Finding a spot in the park, he covers himself with his blanket and it is here that a young girl approaches, offering him her sandwich.
This tiny act makes him feel warm inside, he has an idea of who he is, of being part of the world he lives in and he can smile.
The spare prose burrows its way into the readers' imaginations as we see this old man, learning a little of his life as the story proceeds. What we learn of him makes him not just a homeless man, a smelly man, someone whose feet hurt or whose blanket is wet. He is given a context and the kind act of the young girl makes us realise that he is part of all of our worlds. The compassion the young girl shows contrasts heavily with how he is perceived by all the adults who pass him by, or ask him to move on, or simply ignore him.
The innocence of the child shows us all how we should all respond, without rancor, prejudice or bitterness.
The loneliness of the old man is beautifully detailed by the wonderful watercolour pencil illustrations, showing the lack of colour and warmth in his world. The images are soft and redolent of the life this man lives on the streets, and like the text, compel us to show more compassion to those we see living in such a way.
First published in Paris in 2017, this has been republished in Australia by Gecko Press.
Fran Knight


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May 22 2018

The disturbed girl's dictionary by Nonieqa Ramos

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Lerner Publishing Group, 2018. ISBN 9781512439762
(Age: 14+) Recommended.
Macy Cashmere is a teenager living in the ghetto trying to survive life the best she can. Her father is in prison, her mother entertains a constant stream of male 'guests' and her little brother has been taken away by Child Protection Services. She battles constant hunger, poverty and the need for her family to be together again like it was before her father went to prison.
At school she has only two friends (Alma and George) who she is fiercely protective of and is constantly in trouble for not conforming and thus considered a 'disturbed' student. Despite this, school is really her constant in life. Her way of keeping track of her life is by her entries in her dictionary which is not really a diary as we know it but more of a memory keeper.
Macy's only true constant in her life and the one she holds onto dearly is her friendship with Alma. Alma is a shining star, kind to her peers, a good student and a loving sister to her young siblings. When Alma starts to drift away, Macy tries to find out why she isn't talking to her and what has happened in Alma's life to make her drift away from the friendship.
This story is raw, full of language and themes not suited to a younger audience. It is exactly how you would imagine life in the ghetto to be and the daily struggles of those who live there and those who try to help those who live there. Don't expect happy endings but rather an insight into who Macy is, why she does what she does and how she copes with the actions of those who mean something to her.
Themes in this book are: poverty, neglect, hardship, friendship and sexual promiscuity. I would recommend this book to students 14+.
Gerri Mills


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May 22 2018

The long class goodnight by Sammy J

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Five Mile Press, 2018. ISBN 9781760409531
(Age: 9-12) Recommended.
Sammy J, comedian, musician and author takes us on a whirlwind ride in his debut novel The long class goodnight. Imagine if the school bell doesn't ring at the end of the first day and the students of Mount Willow Secondary are forced to stay overnight. What a night it becomes!
Justin Monaghetti learns he comes from a long line of losers at breakfast on his first day of high school. Armed with a pair of 'German-made,' reinforced wedgie-proof underpants he sets out to break the family's losing streak. All Justin wants to do is survive, find a chess club and make some friends. Unfortunately Principal, Dr Featherstone, runs a tightly controlled school, every rule must be followed; they are outlined in the Mount Willow Secondary School Handbook. For Justin there are more lows than highs, he endures being bullied, meets with the principal, barely survives a gym lesson and he's given detention. He meets Eliza who is cunningly planning to escape at the end of day one by creatively following the school rules and has a chance encounter with the school gardener also helps Justin in understanding how to survive at school. To avoid detention and keep Eliza from escaping, Justin uses his lucky pawn to stop the school clock. No-one is allowed to go home, staff, students and principal. What happens next is an afternoon and night filled with crazy antics, desperately hungry students, cunning escapes and laugh-out-loud scenes, this is a rollercoaster ride of hilarity and drama!
The long class goodnight is a fast-paced funny story, just right for middle grade readers who will sympathise with Justin's determination to make his own destiny. Read aloud to a class, this novel explores friendships, dealing with bullies, developing resilience and unique ways to solve problems.
Rhyllis Bignell


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May 22 2018

Found in Melbourne, a counting adventure by Joanne O'Callaghan

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Ill. by Kori Song. Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760523411
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Melbourne. Numbers. Also published in Simplified Chinese, this book about Melbourne reflects the visitor's eye looking at a new place, using a map to find their way around, visiting the iconic places that make up that city. Two mid-years children navigate their way past many known landmarks in Melbourne. Carrying an umbrella (it is Melbourne, after all) they begin with the one and only, Luna Park. Setting off for the Concert Hall there are two people on the stage, and three trams are spied along St Kilda Road. Each page is illustrated with a place in Melbourne, and two rhyming lines describe the scene beginning with a number; starting with one for Luna Park, then going sequentially up to 12, Twelve fancy cakes at the Hopetoun Tea Rooms is reached. Thereafter the numbers increase to 100 for the butterflies at Melbourne Zoo, 1000 triangles at Federation Square and 1,000,000 stories in the State Library of Victoria. Melbourne is showcased in this remarkable book for younger readers as the two visitors stroll around the city. They take the tram, walk, ride a bike, take the Puffing Billy, visit the MCG, Art Gallery, Zoo and Concert Hall. Each of the illustrations takes in a view of the place visited, giving an array of detail sure to catch the readers' eyes.
The illustrator, Kori, lives in Hong Kong while the author, Joanne once lived there, now residing in Melbourne. The two share their love of Melbourne in this book, bringing a Chinese perspective to the city and its attractions. At the end of the book, a double page has a thumbnail image of each of the illustrations with a paragraph of information about each of the places depicted in the book.
This would be a most useful book to have in the library for leisure reading, work about cities and tourism and along with the Chinese edition, a worthwhile pair of books to use to promote language study.
Fran Knight


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May 22 2018

I am Sasha by Anita Selzer

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Penguin Books, 2018. ISBN 9780143785743
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Themes: Holocaust. Identity. Survival. Resilience. Born in Poland before the Second World War, Sasha lived on his own with his mother after his father's early death. This sadness was not the only difficulty that he would face. The advent of the Second World War added another level of challenge to their lives as Jewish citizens. Family and friends were in constant states of fear as the juggernaut of the German advance came ever closer to their lives in Poland. Sasha's mother Larissa is incredibly strong and resourceful as she seeks to protect her young son from the horrors of war and the anti-Semitic response displayed by soldiers and fellow citizens. Eventually she has a plan to protect her young son from detection as a Jew - she convinces him to dress and masquerade as a girl, so that he cannot be exposed 'with his pants down'. Suffering the indignity of giving up his identity, Sasha must learn to hide his true self in order to survive. Family and the resistance movement provide some additional support, but there is always hunger, threat and inescapable fear. This is an amazing story based on the real-life survival of Sasha and his mother, written by his daughter. The sadness that so many died in horrific circumstances pervades this story of survival.
This is an awesome story for those who do not want the terrible truths of our global past to be swept under the carpet. What happens when humans act inhumanely towards one another is always horrible, and remembering should help to prevent a repeat of the actions or at the least to provide an opportunity to examine one's own prejudices. Although the horrors of World War II are not hidden, there is not too much detail to make the story too graphic for a younger reader.
Highly recommended for age 13+
Carolyn Hull


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May 22 2018

Uncle Gobb and the Green Heads by Michael Rosen

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408851340
(Age: 7-9)
Uncle Gobb is that really annoying relative who's overstayed his welcome. Poor Malc and his mother have to endure his constant roaring, his interfering ways and his opinions about everything from learning history, to poetry and education. Uncle Gobb and the Green Heads is the second over-the-top story that sees Malcolm, his peculiar Uncle Gobb, their family and friends off to America. Malc's dad lives there and he really wants to reconnect. Along the way Uncle Gobb's genie 'Doctor Roop the Doop' and Malcolm's genie who streams out of his nose provide comedic moments and varying levels of assistance. Both protagonists have ulterior motives for travelling.
At school, Malc suffers episodes of Blurting Out and Big Trouble; with his best friend Crackersnacker they endure History and provide creative answers for the Timeline Book. Brenda the Mender offers the family her millions of air miles so they can travel overseas. More bamboozling and confuzling action follows, as Malcolm and his best friend, his mother, Uncle Gobb and the Weasels, Aunty Brenda the Mender leave to fly to America. While Malcolm is planning to get rid of Uncle Gobb, his relative also has an epic plan to get rid of his nephew.
This is definitely a lighthearted story, where questioning an adult's actions and motives aren't priorities. What a convoluted plot, with stream of consciousness asides, absolute silliness, jokes, fun chapter headings, and fact-filled text boxes interspersed with Layton's bold cartoons. This book is suitable for the younger reader who enjoys this humourous style of writing and silly characters doing crazy things.
Rhyllis Bignell


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May 17 2018

Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2018. ISBN 9781760127152
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Highly recommended. Themes: Romance. LGBT. Young adult. Contemporary drama. Australia. High school. Sydney, Australia, in 2016, is set for all to see in this brilliant new age novel by Erin Gough. This story was loosely based on a hoax that the author and two other students created in their senior year of high school, however their series of 'pranks' were not political like the novel but more mischievous.
For senior student prefect at Rosemead Grammar, Harriet Price, life was forever changed when she ran into Will Everhart, the social justice trooper at an after school hours' detention. Through a concerning comment both girls witnessed their PE teacher make that goes unnoticed, the girls united and the odd duo was born. They formulate a feminist plan during the detention where they combined Will's art skills and Harriet's literature abilities to create a cartoon to be submitted to the school newspaper under the pseudonym Amelia Westlake, calling out Coach Hadley's obscene remarks. After the girls get a taste of victory they decide to start calling out more problems within Rosemead Grammar, and get to know each other better. We watch their relationship blossom, while they try to overcome their fears, decipher what they want from this hoax and re-evaluate their current situations. But with not being entirely careful with their plans, having the principal on their tails, and risking their education, how will they pull through? This emotional but well written journey of the two girls gives the LGBTQ+ youth a solid platform to relate to.
Emily V. (Student)


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May 17 2018

Alma and how she got her name by Juana Martinez-Neal

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Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763693558
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Ancestors. Family. Names. Upset over her very long name, Alma questions her father about why she has been given a name that doesn't fit on her page. He then explains, showing her where each of her names comes from and why she has been given that name. He takes a photo album from the bookshelf and shows Alma some of the reasons she has her names: Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Cabdela.
Sofia is for her grandmother, a woman who taught her father how to read. Esperanza is for her great grandmother, a woman who loved to travel and could not, following her son's voyages on her map. Jose is for his father who taught him to paint and how to to really see people. Each name has a tale to tell, as Alma comes to see the importance of her names and her naming. Each name shows a different aspect of her family and her forebears, and she can see how she gets some of her characteristics, handed down from generations of people who came before her.
Each page is built up with graphite images, enhanced with coloured pencil and print transfers, all done on handmade textured paper. The paper, not quite white, suits the idea of generations coming before, of continuity, of family. I love the repeated stripey trousers that Alma wears, paralleled with one of her ancestors, and the predominance of paintings and books which litter the pages underlining again the continuity of interests and skills which make up her family.
The author's story of her own name follows in an afterword, stressing again the ideas behind the picture book. A wonderful book to use when talking of families and their similarities.
Fran Knight


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May 17 2018

The Paris seamstress by Natasha Lester

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9780733640001
(Age: 16+) Recommended.
In 1940, young Parisian Estella Bissette finds herself unwittingly drawn to help a dying man, and becomes the courier of secret plans to the French resistance. She passes them to a dark mysterious stranger, a spy, in an encounter that will change the course of her life. Because of her actions, she has to leave France, and finds herself on the last ship to New York, an escape route available to her due to American birth papers that her mother has kept secret and only now reveals. Estella has to leave her mother behind and set sail to start a new life in a foreign land. She wants to carve a career for herself as seamstress and designer with the help of her friends Sam, a cutter at a fashion house, and Janie, an adventurous Australian model.
In 2015, young Australian Fabienne Bissette attends the New York exhibition of her grandmother's fashion line Stella Designs. She also has a chance encounter with a two people she feels strongly attracted to. Somehow the lives of Estella and Fabienne are intermeshed with secrets that people have kept buried until it is almost too late.
The story is one of dark secrets and family shame, but also of drive and achievement by strong female characters, set in the context of a burgeoning fashion industry in America during the war and post-war years. The historical background has clearly been thoroughly researched and author Natasha Lester, previously a marketing executive for L'Oreal, shows her inside experience of the fashion world and her knowledge of fashion history. Also, her intimate knowledge of those iconic cities, Paris and New York, shines throughout the novel. Less detail is provided about the third city in the story, Sydney, but it is refreshing to read a historical novel set in Europe and America with Australian characters leading the story.
The novel maintained my interest throughout with its mix of romance, war history, fashion world, and mystery. It would appeal to readers of historical fiction, but especially to those interested in fashion.
Helen Eddy


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May 17 2018

Trouble at school by Chris Higgins, illustrated by Emily McKenzie

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408868850
(Age: 6+) Recommended.
Themes: School stories. Friendship. Problem children.
Chris Higgins brings best friends Bella and Magda back in Trouble at school an amusing story about first days, dealing with a new teacher and difficult classmates.
Before the start of term, perfectionist Bella sets her school bag in order and prepares her new uniform, she even organises her younger brother Sid. Unfortunately when they stop to pick up Magda she ends up with her friend's breakfast spilled all over her. To make matters worse, Bella stays and helps in Sid's class for the whole morning and Mr. Smart, her teacher, is not impressed. He's all about neatness, order and discipline. As Bella's first day continues there's more issues, some caused by Magda and some by troublemakers Claudia Cleverley and her friend Hetty Snoop.
Magda's view of life, her fun and cheekiness help Bella to gain confidence. There's the banter with the dinner ladies, Magda's always wanting something exciting and the creative way they sort out Claudia and Hetty. Miss Pringle the arty relief teacher brings a totally different energy to the girls' class. Her unique teaching style provides an opportunity for Bella, Magda and their classmate Tom to express themselves. Emily McKenzie's comic illustrations are fun and add humour to the story especially with the cow painting reveal!
Trouble at school is just right for a young reader beginning their chapter book journey; with themes of friendship, developing confidence, problem solving and growing in independence.
Rhyllis Bignell


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May 17 2018

Oma's buttons by Tania Ingram and Jennifer Harrison

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Penguin Viking, 2018. ISBN 9780143786573
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Buttons. Memories. Grandparents. Family life. Sharing. While playing hide and seek at Oma's place, Ruthie comes across a small tin under her grandmother's bed.
Asking what the buttons are for, Oma tells her that each of the buttons reminds her of someone she loves. The first button is her mother's, and Ruthie cannot understand how a button can remind her of a person. But Oma explains that this button is from her apron and every Sunday morning the two would make strudels for the family, until the whole house smelled of cinnamon, so reminding Oma of the importance of family. A brown button is from her father and reminds her of him taking her to the beach and learning to swim, a safe, comfortable man who taught her many things. A blue button is from her husband's suit, who taught her that love never dies while another is from the first jumper she knitted for her daughter, who taught her about caring and laughter.
Finally Ruthie finds a small button at the bottom of the box and holding it up is told by Oma that this was from her coat, a warm snuggly coat, and she gives it to Ruthie to keep for her. But Ruthie loses the button, and Oma finds a way of giving Ruthie an even more precious button to remind her of her grandmother.
Redolent with love and family, this will be sighed over by many readers as they learn of the ties that bind families together over generations.
The photographic style illustrations suit the sentiment of the story well.
Fran Knight


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May 17 2018

Fearless Frederic by Felice Arena

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Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780143786757
(Age: 9-14) Recommended.
Themes: Courage. Paris. Floods. Friendship. Adventure.
Frederic's father would like him to develop his boxing and sparring skills. Who knows where this will lead? But Frederic is not sure. Does he just lack the fighting instinct and the bravery needed, or is his desire to work with horses a stronger influence? Sadly, a tragic event leads Frederic into circumstances where bravery is tested. And the floods of Paris in 1910 create a scenario where friendship is found amidst the flooded streets and the new trio of young heroes work together to fight against the dilemma of disaster that the flood has brought. They also give Frederic support as courage is needed to deal with the past and the responsibility of fighting for justice.
This book's adventurous drama will be enjoyed by young readers, and its historical setting of the Paris streets will intrigue those with an interest in the past and European culture. Young readers aged 9-14 years will enjoy this story as it is action-packed without being crowded with detail. Younger readers will enjoy the exploits, and older readers (especially Francophiles) will connect to the references to French literature and culture. Regardless of the age of the reader, they will recognise the naive quality of the trusty trio and the hint of humour in their risky endeavours.
Carolyn Hull


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May 15 2018

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

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Pan MacMillan, 2018. ISBN 9781760555504
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Fantasy. The Queen is dead, the people have been enslaved, and princess Theodosia might as well be too. Confined to a pretty jail and watched constantly by three men, her shadows, since the castle was taken ten years before, Theodosia is now the obedient Lady Thora, and bears plenty of reminders to remain so. With every move of the resistance comes fresh pain and the familiar itch of skin knitting itself back together. She is an expert at surviving. When Ampelio is captured, everything changes. The man is familiar, and while Thora tries to ignore them, Theodosia's memories return. This man, who speaks hastily in Astrean, a language which has long since been forbidden, is her father. Unable to stay quiet, Thora mis-steps, speaking out in Ampelio's defence. The Kaiser, being a cruel man, rewards this disobedience not with a whip, as Thora expects, but with charging her with the execution. As the life floods from Ampelio she must decide whether surviving in this alien world is enough.
As the spark of rebellion grows into a flame, Thora/Theodosia is joined by three renegades who have replaced her shadows. Of the three, one is a childhood friend, Blaise, who is determined to see her safely away. But Theodosia is not finished. She can't leave without any retribution. Quickly, a plan is hatched to kill the Kaiser's right-hand man, the Theyn, and Prinz Sören. But will Theodosia be able to commit such cold acts when these are people she has been raised to admire? Can she, a young woman, rid Astrea of it's invaders?
While slow in places, the novel is overall a fun read. Recommended for fans of adventure fantasy twelve and up.
Kayla Gaskell, 22


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May 15 2018

Growing up Aboriginal in Australia edited by Anita Heiss

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Black Inc, 2018. ISBN 9781863959810
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended.
This is a collection of short stories that can easily be picked up and read whenever there is a spare moment - they are life stories drawn from around Australia, from different walks of life, but all with a heart-felt story to share about what it is like to grow up Aboriginal in Australia. There are stories from people you will probably recognise - Deborah Cheetham, Adam Goodes, Miranda Tapsell, as well as stories from 'ordinary' people not encountered before. Some titles may draw you in - 'This is Nat, she's Abo', 'White bread dreaming', 'Black bum', 'Nobody puts Baby Spice in a corner' - but each story selected brings its reward, a deeper understanding of personal experiences, often extreme hardships and suffering, but also of strong family connections, love and good humour. Somehow despite the hardships, the voices of these writers have a strength and resilience that draws respect and empathy. There are sad stories though, of people lost, but they are still remembered with love as special people not to be forgotten. All in all, it is a wonderful collection of inspiring stories of people who have survived adversity and kept their spirit.
I recommend this book for every school library.
Helen Eddy


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May 15 2018

Rory Branagan detective by Andrew Clover and Ralph Lazar

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HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780008265830
(Age: 8+) "Hello. I am Rory Branagan. I am actually a detective.
People always say, 'How do you become a detective?'
And I say, 'Ahhhh... you don't just FIND YOURSELF suddenly sneaking up on baddies, or diving out of the way as they shoot, or hurtling from an open plane towards the ground! You have to want it.'
And what made ME want it? I needed to find out what happened to my dad... "(Publisher)
What a highly entertaining book to read. Children 8 years and up will find this a highly entertaining read and will be proud of themselves for reading such a lengthy novel with it having in excess of 300 pages! Don't be put off by this - there are large illustrations interspersed between the text with some pages only containing a sentence. Rory and Cassidy are strong lead characters and have many likeable traits. This is the first book in a series of seven and the authors have successfully mixed crime with humour. Themes such as suspense, mystery, determination and friendship are developed throughout the book. It would make a fantastic read aloud and one that would be enjoyed by boys and girls alike. A welcome addition to the collection.
Kathryn Schumacher


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May 15 2018

Car, car, truck, jeep by Katrina Charman

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Ill. by Nick Sharratt. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408864968
(Age: 3-5) Recommended. Themes: Cars. Rhyming story. Sing along. Read aloud, Nursery rhyme. Machines. Sung to the tune of 'Baa baa black sheep', this funny story will delight its younger readers, listeners and singers. In bright primary colours every possible form of wheeled transport is shown and included in the rhyming couplets, starting with
"Car, car, truck, jeep
Have you any fuel?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three tanks full"
children will quickly learn the rhyming sequence and participate in the sing along, predicting the rhyming words at the end of each pair of lines. There is a tank full for the red bus, one for the train and one for the jet plane. From there, mum and the kids go down the lane past the tractor, then see a motorbike weaving its way amongst the traffic, they pass another train, see a hovercraft, then a helicopter, a truck, a yellow taxi, a dumper truck, police car and ambulance, until finally they are amongst a lot of traffic all headed home, tired out by the day's work.
Each page will have children hunting out the things described in the verse, commenting on what each does or sounds like, participating in the rhyming lines and making appropriate sounds. A whole heap of fun for younger readers and teachers alike, along the way discussing with them what they can expect to see on the road and how useful each of these machines is to our lives.
This may even lead to discussions about road rules and safety on the road and in these machines.
Fran Knight


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May 15 2018

Wild asparagus, wild strawberries by Barbara Santich

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Wakefield Press, 2018. ISBN 9781743055335
(Age: Adult) Recommended.
Food writer and historian Barbara Santich recounts her experience as a young mother of twins, moving to France with her husband in the 1970s and then immersing themselves in French village life. Brave enough to do as a young idealistic but penniless couple, but even braver with two babies in tow! The book provides fascinating insight into French provincial life, the trips to the local market, and the experiments with traditional cuisine – rabbit, mutton, fish soup, quail, partridge. For those who would like to try, there are recipes for pot-au-feu and other iconic dishes. I'm going to try the Potato gratin, one of the recipes from the time where the family had to subsist on 30 kilos of potatoes when their money transfer failed to turn up from Australia. Wild asparagus and wild strawberries are just some of the foraged treats, wine from the local 'cave', meat cooked over the burning grape vine clippings, and cherry clafoutis - it all sounds wonderful. It is a lovely recollection of a way of life that sadly is changing, but it is reassuring to know that there is still a shepherd leading his flock to pasture somewhere above the village of Nizas.
This book is a pleasure to read, and for the cooks among us, there is an index to the recipes at the end.
Helen Eddy


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May 15 2018

The super life of Ben Braver by Marcus Emerson

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Allen & Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760631680
(Age: 8-10)
Themes: Boarding schools. Heroes. Bullying. Courage
Marcus Emerson, author of the popular 'Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja' introduces us to a new sarcastic superhero sixth-grader Ben Braver. After a boring summer hanging out in the basement watching the sixties Batman shows in his basement, Ben's life changes when he goes out in search of a peanut butter cup. Confronted by the school bully Dexter Dunn, Ben's special superpowers are unleashed. This manifestation hospitalises Ben and on waking up he's sent to Kepler Academy a unique school for kids with superpowers. When he gets there he finds most of the time is spent learning to control a super power, not develop it. This is a commitment as he has to have no contact with his parents while he's away.
Ben's diary is hilarious with plenty of asides, funny one-liners, jokes and comments directed at the reader. He expresses his fears and anxieties, unsure of how he fits in with the other academy students. Penny who can control small animals, and fire-belching Noah become great friends, they investigate the mystery of the ghost in Ben's dorm room and help Ben come to understand his powers. School life is filled with exciting classes, eccentric teachers, encounters with the school goat and midnight adventures. Bullies Dexter and Vic's evil trick at the Talent Show brings Ben to a crossroads, as he decides whether to return home or dig deep and learn to be resilient.
Emerson's cartoons add to the comedy and fun of this superhero story, there's his eccentric teachers, silly antics and mysterious meetings in the wood. The super life of Ben Braver includes plenty of 80's references suited to adult readers sharing this story with their pre-teens, or teachers reading to classes. Marcus Emerson's middle grade novel begins slowly and builds up the pace, leaving us with questions unanswered, Emerson will bring his superhero Ben back in a second and third instalment.
Rhyllis Bignell


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May 15 2018

Lessons of a LAC by Lynn Jenkins and Kirrili Lonergan

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EK Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925335828
In one village on one side of the mountains live the LACs - Little Anxious Children who constantly look for danger and who only have negative self-talk; in another village on the other side of the mountains live their enemies the Calmsters who can take life as it comes because of their positive self-talk. The two sides are constantly battling because when one wins, the other shrinks.
One day Loppy the LAC decides to climb the mountain and spy on the Calmsters but his anxiety goes through the roof when he spies a Calmster looking back. And not only looking back, but coming to meet him! Who will win the impending battle? Does there have to be a winner and a loser?
Anxiety amongst children in on the increase. According to a recent national survey of the mental health and wellbeing of Australian children and adolescents, approximately 278,000 Australian children aged between 4 and 17 struggle with clinical symptoms of Anxiety. (For a summary see kidsfirst children's services). Therefore books which shine a light on this condition which affects 1 in 7 of those between 4 and 17 and which can be used as a starting point to help the child manage the symptoms are both important and welcome, particularly as mindfulness and mental health are gaining traction in school curricula. While there are almost as many causes of anxiety as there are children affected by it, such as not being perfect - Perfect Petunias by Lyn Jenkins, helping children turn their self-talk around, as Curly did for Loppy, is a critical starting point.
Not only do such explicit statements give the anxious child prompts for the new words, but they also acknowledge that anxiety is real and that there are others who are anxious too. While climbing that internal mountain as Loppy did can be hard, knowing that there are others who also battle can be reassuring. While teachers are not clinical psychologists like the author, having tools like the Loppy books in the mindfulness collection and using them not only to help the Loppies move forward but also to help the Calmsters learn that some of their friends may be like Loppy so deserve and need understanding rather than ridicule can be a starting point in achieving harmony in the classroom.
Teachers' notes which extend the story into practical applications are available.
Barbara Braxton


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May 10 2018

Mun Mun by Jesse Andrews

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Allen & Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760523596
(Age: 14+) Recommended.
In the world of Yewess, your size is directionally proportional to your wealth. Warner and his sister Prayer are littlepoor, the poorest you can get. They face the dangers that bigger people just don't have to think about. They don’t think about getting squashed by a bigger person's boot or being mauled by animals that would seem small to anyone else but littlepoor. Warner and Prayer set out to scale up, but they don't really know where to start. They face feats that are way bigger than them, and they both make and lose friends along the way. After trying plan after plan, they soon realize how hard their journey is going to be in a world that is literally built against them. What will they sacrifice? Will they get consumed trying to scale up? Or will they focus on what makes them happy?
This story explores the topics of the economy and the social classes of Yewess in a way that is humorous and funny. The author has also created characters that are unique and yet easy to relate to, and their journey will keep you on your toes guessing what will happen next. Warner is a tough character both physically and mentally, his hands-on approach to things doesn't always work out for him. While Prayer is a determined and strong-willed girl who will do anything to prove she is capable. The narration of this book is interesting and unusual, but it doesn't distract from Warner and Prayer's serious journey.  Overall this is an entertaining story about a world not too different to ours, just bigger. I would recommend this young adult book to readers from ages 14 and above.
Kayla Raphael


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May 10 2018

Piecing me together by Renee Watson

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781681191058
(Age: Young Adult) For Jade, a young black woman living in New York who attends a school that offers specific help to students, particularly financial help for those who need it, the final years of high school are pivotal to her future. She has to travel a long distance to attend school and because of the straitened circumstances of her family's life, often has little to eat. Taking the opportunity to learn Spanish opens her mind to the meaning of words, and she embraces the opportunity to think about her world in a new way. We see the chapter headings as pertinent to the novel in that they reflect Jade's thoughts and her joy in incorporating her new knowledge into her life e.g. Chapter 10, presentar, to introduce.
To find out who she is and what possibilities exist for her in the future, she feels driven to seek answers from her everyday experience. This is limited, as her family struggles to have enough to eat, she has to travel a long distance by public transport to get to the school, and her mother needs to work long hours to support them, desperate to keep Jade in school to enable a better future for her. Fortunately, the school institutes a program that offers mentorships by women not too much older than the girls, and this is the door that offers hope.
We are gradually made aware of her family's poverty, yet, despite this her mother is determined that their life be one that is grounded in love and kindness. Watson's intention is to enable us to recognise immediately that Jade's family is decent, good and desperately clinging to the hope that Jade will be able to find a path to a more hopeful future. Her turning point arises when she decides to speak out about what is wrong with the program, suggesting that what girls like her need is not just what has been planned but what she has come to understand needs to be done.
Watson's writing is intensely powerful, without guile, and her narrator's voice is a call that does not excite agitation or a call for violent upheaval, structuring characters and plot that foregrounds the need for a rational and calm approach to the education of all minorities, one that will enable them to able to choose and thrive in the world, taking their place fairly and justly alongside all others.
This challenging book is exciting and uplifting in the hope it offers, setting a challenge for people who do not realise the level of poverty in which some people, impoverished by education and financial background, colour or race, manage to live, in big third-world cities such as New York.
The narrative fits perfectly into its niche, occurring in the present, modern world that foregrounds the claim for equality but too often falls short of this high ideal. It is suitable, and indeed highly recommended, for adolescents and adult reading, its clarity of issue never suppressing the wonderfully told narrative that captivates us to the last page. The characters are deftly drawn and match their circumstances, and the place, New York City, comes alive through the vivid construction of place by its writer. It is a compelling book precisely because it advocates change through ways that do not frighten people, rather calling for the recognition of the humanity of all and the need for us all to be equal, in all ways.
Elizabeth Bondar


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May 10 2018

My Australia by Julie Murphy

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Ill. by Garry Flaming. NLA Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9780642279163
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. "My Australia is a poetic journey across the Australian landscape. Celebrating both the ancient and modern Australia, the book invites readers to travel across the delights of our continent - from dry deserts to lush rainforests, from high mountains to stormy seashores, from winding rivers to fertile swamplands - all the magical places that are my Australia." (Publisher)
This is a beautifully illustrated book about Australia, it touches on all of the unique areas that can be found in Australia in a simply written story. At the end of the book there is a section that gives information on the diverse range of habitats that can be found within Australia.
This book could be used as a starting point to introduce the topic of different habitats within Australia.
I highly recommend this book for 4+.
Karen Colliver


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May 10 2018

How to win a Nobel Prize by Barry Marshall and Lorna Hendry

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Piccolo Nero, 2018. ISBN 9781760640064
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Themes: Science - History. Nobel Prizes. Science experiments. Imagine travelling through time to meet eleven famous scientists who have won Nobel Prizes. Young scientist Mary loves to undertake science experiments at home and desires to win this prestigious award when she grows up. Her curiosity leads to a fortuitous discovery at her mother's workplace, where she stumbles across a secret meeting of past winners. When Mary threatens to reveal that these scientists travel through time to meet and discuss science and peace, Dr Barry Marshall offers her a special arrangement. With a special golden orb in hand, they can journey back in time to meet eleven Nobel Prize winners.
Time travelling is an art and it takes Dr Marshall several tries before he connects with adult Albert Einstein who discusses his theory of relativity and his research leading up to his win in 1921. Mary and Barry then journey back in time to meet the Curie family whose experiments with polonium and uranium led to the development of X-ray machines able to take internal pictures of the human body. They meet Alexander Fleming and learn of his discovery of penicillin, Marconi's invention of Morse Code and wireless telegraphy and Gertrude Elion's lifetime work on developing drugs to treat cancer patients.
Between each chapter is further factual information about the scientists and a safe science experiment to try. Mary visits both male and female scientists, from across the globe who have worked both from a young age and into their later life in pursuit of their passion. How to win a Nobel Prize is an interesting scientific adventure story suited to readers from ages 9 to 12.
Rhyllis Bignell


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May 10 2018

The Popeye murder by Sandra Winter-Dewhirst

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A Rebecca Keith mystery, book 1. Wakefield Press, 2018. ISBN 9781743055236
(Age: Adult) Recommended. Themes: Mystery. Food. Adelaide. Rebecca Keith is a food editor and is invited to many restaurants and dinners as part of her job. When one of the Adelaide's top chefs is murdered and turns up on The Popeye, a boat with a restaurant, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. Using her inside knowledge of the food industry and the people who work there, she is able to come up with clues as she covers the murder for her newspaper. Then another person is murdered and she finds herself in mortal danger.
The background for the novel, Adelaide and South Australian restaurants and wineries, many real, make for an interesting read. South Australians will revel in the familiar places that the author describes and will enjoy the description of the Australian Food Festival. Others will be intrigued by the references and may want to visit Adelaide for its food and wine culture after reading the novel.
Winter-Dewhirst also deftly describes how a journalist writes an article for the local newspaper and this adds to the enjoyment of the novel. A slight romance with Detective Inspector Gary Jarvie livens the story. However it is the macabre and different murders that hold the reader's attention in this easy to read murder mystery.
The Popeye murder would fall into the 'cosy' murder genre and fans of Kerry Greenwood and Agatha Christie are likely to enjoy it.
Pat Pledger


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May 10 2018

Head, shoulders, knees and toes ill. by Matt Shanks

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Scholastic Australia, 2018. ISBN 9781760276942
(Age: 3+) Recommended. This book is the traditional song of 'Head, shoulders, knees and toes' with a slight variation. It is a fun variation including tail, scales, claws and paws. The illustrations add to the fun of the book.
All of the characters are joining in and having fun in this book, and this encourages the person reading the book to also do the actions.
This book can be used to build up body awareness, and identifying particular features of face and body.
I would recommend this book for 3+
Karen Colliver


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May 08 2018

Dad by my side by Soosh

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Lothian Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9780734418739
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Themes: Fathers. Daughters. Relationships. Family. Love. The most beautiful watercolour illustrations demonstrate from page one the loving relationship between a father and his daughter. Dad is depicted as a very large person indeed, with his slightly too small shirt and pants, thongs and very curly beard and hair. He dotes on his daughter; they do everything together, sharing their days as they play games, read, talk, cook and try new things. But not only this, he stops his work to listen to her, he comforts her when she is sad and gives her lots of cuddles. When he goes away they are both sad, but he rings often to sing her to sleep. He makes marks on the door frame to show how much she has grown, learns from her just as much as she learns from him.
The highly humorous illustrations will tickle the readers as they spy the large man attempting to do everything his daughter wants him to do. Seeing him crawling under the table, or keeping watch as she sleeps, ready to take on the monsters that may lie under her bed will delight and endear the story to the readers, exposing some of the fears they may have. Each image underlines the bond between the two and reiterates what a happy household is like where things are shared, where the child is supported, where Dad is part of the meld.
A lovely story to read out loud, to give to children to learn to read for themselves, for children to see how much of the story relies upon the illustrations, and how much the illustrations tell the reader.
The text and images speak for themselves and make the word from the author at the end seem rather superfluous.
The endpapers recreate some of the images used in the book.
Fran Knight


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May 08 2018

The Fandom by Anna Day

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Chicken House, 2018. ISBN 9781910655672
(Age: Older teens - YA) Note on book: Not suitable for younger readers. Anyone in any fandom's greatest dream is to be transported into the canon world of their favourite story and live out the events as the main character. Maybe except for fans of The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones and now The Gallows Dance. The story follows four teens who were transported from Comic-Con to the canon world of The Gallows Dance, where regular humans are looked down upon and discriminated against. Of course, then it all goes wrong; they accidentally kill the main character and Violet, our main character, takes her place in the story. The Fandom is full of tropes and cliches, but is comforting in the sense that you can anticipate what happens next. The comfortably cliched style is reminiscent of novels like The Medoran Chronicles by Lynette Noni and is pleasant to read and follow along to; however, if you like suspense and surprise, you might feel the book falls short. The only problem I had with the tropes and cliches (without giving too much away) was the death-revival trope, as it doesn't allow for emotional payoff.
Although friendship is meant to be a large theme within the story, there doesn't seem to be much true friendship displayed throughout the book, something which disappointed me. The action moves quickly once the world is established, and though you know what's going to happen as the story follows canon, the writing describes it beautifully and of course, nothing ever really goes to plan. The twists and turns keep you on your toes as you read. The teens and the audience get a glimpse at how large and deep a story's universe is and how much effort goes into creating such a detailed, captivating world.
Day gives a satirical look at discrimination and oppression, emphasising everyone's humanity and the futility of social constructs. The main character Violet is a massive fangirl and a brave but reluctant hero, whose sarcasm and wit bring a spark to the book. The story was compelling and complex, with witty twists and turns.
I would recommend this book to people who want something comfortable and easy to read, but captivating nonetheless.
Stephanie Lam


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May 08 2018

These are animals by Daniel Egneus

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408889909
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Animals. Humour. Read aloud. Movement. Sound. What a lovely way to introduce animals to young readers. A vibrant, colourful display of animals around the world is presented with verve and movement, noises and sounds for little kids to enjoy, join in, make the noises and move around copying the the traits of the animals shown.
Neatly divided into areas: woodland animals, polar, grassland, night time, rainforest and ocean, each section shows a range of animals that survive in this particular habitat. Grassland animals depicts, for example, giraffes, elephants, zebras and lions, encouraging children to make the noises of the elephant and lion, copying the expressions on their faces. Some readers may even question why these animals live in this particular part of the world, eliciting all sorts of information from the adults. Night time animals too, depicts bats, owls and wolves and children will laugh with delight trying out the noises that the owl and wolf make, while blinking like the owl or hanging upside down like a bat. Each page is brim full of ideas for younger children to take to heart: moving, making noises, stretching, jumping, howling, squawking and swinging through the trees.
This is a delightfully colour filled book of sound and movement to introduce younger readers to the range of animals that exist around us.
Fran Knight


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May 08 2018

A royal murder by Sandra Winter-Dewhirst

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A Rebecca Keith mystery book 2. Wakefield Press, 2018. ISBN 9781743055243
(Age: Adult) Recommended. Themes: Mystery. Murder. Adelaide. During the Women's Australian Open golf tournament in Adelaide, Rebecca Keith discovers a silk duffle bag containing the body of one of the golfers. She then embarks on an investigation of the murder, cavorting through some of Adelaide's best restaurants and eateries, not to forget the delights of Kangaroo Island and the Barossa Valley.
Like the first in the series, The Pop Eye murder, this is an easy to read, lighthearted murder mystery, with the food and wine topping the bill for interest. South Australians will once again delight in recognising favourite restaurants and the fabulous Adelaide parklands as Rebecca follows clues to the murders, and other readers will enjoy the atmosphere and setting. It is heart-warming to see the close friendship of Rebecca and her two friends, Penny and Lisa. There are quite a few laughs to be had as they travel around South Australia.
The background to the murders is also unusual with Chinese triads, top women professional golfers and property developers on the suspect list. This keeps the reader involved following the clues while enjoying a gourmet food and wine trail. Details about the process of getting news articles published and a slow moving romance with the police officer Gary, also round out what is an entertaining read.
Pat Pledger


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May 08 2018

The case of the missing hippo by Laura James

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Ill. by Emily Fox. Fabio: The world's greatest flamingo detective series, book 1. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408889312
(Age: 6-9) Highly recommended. Themes: Detective story. Animal tale. This is a 'classic' detective story involving the great Flamingo Detective, Fabio. He is an intelligent flamingo, with a very tall giraffe co-worker (who is not quite as clever, but he is very tall!) and Fabio is exceptionally good at solving the problem of the missing hippo. Putting together the clues and bringing the case to a satisfactory conclusion (in a Hercule Poirot revelatory and flamboyant style), is detailed very simply for a young reader, but without underestimating their desire for a good story. This is an interesting mystery - it is after all fairly difficult to hide a hippo! Young readers will love the story, and animal characters add a touch of humour.
Illustrations are scattered through the pages, done in a simple, but amusing, cartoon style, and intensely vivid pink and green pages are also randomly included. This colour explosion adds a burst of interest for even the most reluctant reader.
Highly recommended for independent readers aged 6-9, and could still appeal to an older reluctant reader as they will recognise the subtle (or not so subtle) humour.
Carolyn Hull


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May 08 2018

A pet called Nibbles by Zanni Louise

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Ill. by Gillian Flint. Tiggy and the magic paintbrush. Five Mile, 2018. ISBN 9781760680411
(Age: 5-6) Themes: Magic. Pet Day. School. Tiggy does not have a pet for pet day, but she does have a secret magic paintbrush in her sock. She creates a magic pet - a small dragon, called Nibbles. This solves her problem, but not everything goes smoothly for Nibbles - after all he is only pocket-sized. Illustrations by Gillian Flint are a mix of colour and black and white and are in an appealing cartoon-style.
This is an easy to read book suited for those who would like to transition to independent readers, rather than picture books. It is not an early chapter book - there is only one chapter, but is well-suited to those aged 5-6.
Carolyn Hull


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May 03 2018

I do not like books anymore by Daisy Hirst

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Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406369137
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Books and reading. Learning to read. Cooperation. Natalie and Alphonse love to read together. Dad reads them picture books, Mum reads them scary stories, Grandma tells them stories about the terrible shrew. And they love all of them, and often make them up, retelling stories that they know.
Natalie is impatient to learn to read and to read a story all by herself, even able to read it to Alphonse. But given a book to read, she finds it unintelligible, and in desperation, throws it away. The writing is a lot of squiggles, looking a lot like birds' feet, with nothing in it that she recognises. Miss Bimble tells her that it will take practice, and Mum and Dad tell her to be patient. She sticks at it all week until she can read her cat book, but when Alphonse offers her another book to read to him, she finds it a lot like before, lots of squiggles. She gives up saying that her toy elephant needs to be cared for. Alphonse asks her to tell him a story and in so doing, encourages her to illustrate it and getting Dad to write the words, she finds that she can retell it after all.
A charming story of trying different methods to help children learn to read, the story will resonate with children who are in that stage where writing is a bit of a jumble. But perseverance and help from others leads to the children learning to read.
Fran Knight


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May 03 2018

Bronte's big sister problem by Mary Van Reyk

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Surf Riders Club. Lothian Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9780734417923
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Bronte is in Year 8 and really idolises her sister Carrie, who is 17. Before their older brother, Oscar, left for University, the three siblings had such a close friendship and now it feels like there is a rift between them. Lately, Carrie has been secretive and boy-obsessed and is trying to set Bronte up with Daniel; but won't listen to her sister saying that she is not interested. She also wants Bronte to do whatever she does and sulks if Bronte won't do what she wants. Bronte is feeling so lost without her sister, but her friends are encouraging and interested in the same things as she is so she has to make choices.
Bronte is in the Surf Rider Club, a group of 5 girls, (Ava, Janani, Alex, Molly and herself) who love catching waves and hanging out at the beach. When a surf competition comes to their local beach, the Surf Riders Club are keen to enter. The problem is, Carrie makes Bronte promise she will go to see a DJ with her that day. Bronte feels like she doesn't get a choice. All of the stress of it is interfering with Bronte's practising for the upcoming comps.
In the second book of this series, Bronte works through her feelings and eventually learns to talk about them to her sister. Her brother Oscar is a big help in this, though his character came across as a little too text book eg "I'm sorry, this must feel very overwhelming for you... " In saying that, this story will teach young girls to be a little more assertive, and that is a definite win.
I'd recommend this for girls of Year 4 and up who are interested in surfing, are having relationship issues within families and those with a good conceptual understanding.
Clare Thompson


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May 03 2018

Hubert Wilkins: Forgotten hero by Elizabeth Corfe

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Era Publications, 2011. ISBN 9781741205114
(Age: Upper primary) Hubert Wilkins is probably not well known to Australian students although he was born in South Australia in 1888 and was quite famous in the 1920s. This biography written for upper primary age students highlights Wilkins' pioneering work studying weather in polar regions and the significance of his use of technology, exploration and leadership.
Early chapters of the book describe the young man's farm experience and the hardship caused by drought. Understanding the weather became a motivating force in his life. He became a film maker, learnt to fly and experienced the Arctic climate first hand. Each new adventure gave Hubert the skills and understanding to undertake new missions such as the study of Australia's Aboriginal people, the Inuit of Canada and Russia. The First World War battle field tested his courage and willingness to undertake difficult challenges.
Through short paragraphs and appropriate vocabulary the author presents the life of a forgotten hero whose discoveries were ahead of his time. Each page is illustrated with interesting photographs, maps and illustrations. Important background information (e.g. drought, the first movies, life in the trenches) is highlighted in brief side panels. The book's conclusion includes a timeline and glossary.
Paul Pledger


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May 03 2018

My grandfather's war by Glynn Harper

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Ill. by Jenny Cooper. EK Books, 2018. ISBN 9781775592990
My grandfather's war tells us of a more recent conflict, the Vietnam War, a war where those who served are now the grandparents of its target audience, our primary school students.
At a time when the world had almost emerged into a new era following World War II, the USA and the USSR were the new superpowers and the common catch-cry promoted by prime ministers and politicians was "All the way with LBJ", Australian and New Zealand joined forces with the USA in this new conflict to stop the "Yellow Peril" of China moving south and overtaking nations just as Japan had tried to do between 1941 and 1945. Among the 65 000 troops of both nations committed between 1963 and 1975 was Robert, Sarah's grandfather who now lives with her family and who is "sometimes very sad."
Possibly a natio, drafted because a marble with his birthdate on it dropped into a bucket, old enough to die for his country but too young to vote for those who sent him, Robert, like so many others of his age whose fathers and grandfathers had served, thought that this was his turn and his duty and that the war "would be exciting". But this was a war unlike those fought by the conservative, traditional decision-makers - this was one fought in jungles and villages where the enemy could be anywhere and anyone; one where chemicals were used almost as much as bullets; one where the soldiers were not welcomed as liberators but as invaders; and one which the soldiers themselves knew they could not win. It was also the first war that was taken directly into the lounge rooms of those at home as television became more widespread, affordable and accessible.
And the reality of the images shown clashed with the ideality of those watching them, a "make-love-not-war" generation who, naive to the ways of politics and its big-picture perspective of power and prestige, were more concerned for the individual civilians whose lives were being destroyed and demanded that the troops be withdrawn. Huge marches were held throughout the USA, New Zealand and Australia and politicians, recognising that the protesters were old enough to vote and held their futures in their hands, began the withdrawal.
But this was not the triumphant homecoming like those of the servicemen before them. Robert came home to a hostile nation who held him and his fellow soldiers personally responsible for the atrocities they had seen on their screens. There were no welcome home marches, no public thanks, no acknowledgement of heroes and heroism, and Robert, like so many of those he fought with, slipped back into society almost as though he was in disgrace. While the official statistics record 578 killed and 3187 wounded across the two countries, the stats for those who continued to suffer from their physical and mental wounds and those who died because of them, often at their own hands, are much more difficult to discover. Like most returned servicemen, Robert did not talk about his experiences, not wanting to inflict the horror on his family and friends and believing that unless you were there you wouldn't understand; and without the acknowledgement and support of the nation he was supposedly saving and seeing his mates continue to battle the impact of both the conflict and the chemicals, he sank into that deep depression that Sarah sees as his sadness but which is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Disturbed by his sadness but told never to talk to her grandfather about the war, Sarah is curious and turns to the library for help. But with her questions unanswered there, she finally plucks up the courage to ask him and then she learns Grandad's story - a story that could be told to our students by any number of grandfathers, and one that will raise so many memories as the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Khe Sanh approaches, and perhaps prompt other Sarahs to talk to their grandfathers.
Few picture books about the Vietnam War have been written for young readers, and yet it is a period of our history that is perhaps having the greatest impact on our nation and its families in current times. Apart from the personal impact on families as grandfathers, particularly, continue to struggle with their demons, it opened the gates to Asian immigration in an unprecedented way, changing and shaping our nation permanently.
Together, Harper and Cooper have created a sensitive, personal and accessible story that needs to be shared, its origins explored and understanding generated.
Lest We Forget.
Barbara Braxton


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May 02 2018

Sorry Day by Coral Vass and Dub Lefler

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NLA Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9780642279033
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Themes: Aboriginal themes, Sorry Day, Aboriginal history, Reconciliation, Apology, Kevin Rudd. Two stories coincide in this beautifully illustrated picture book telling of National Sorry Day celebrated on May 26. The momentous day of February 13, 2008 is the setting of this tale as Maggie and her mother stand amongst the crowd eagerly waiting for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to say sorry to Aboriginal families for what was done to them in the twentieth century taking away their children as a matter of government policy.
In the crowd Maggie loses sight of her mother, and in this way the book parallels the plight of those children forcibly removed. But all is well for Maggie and she is restored to her mother, just in time to hear the Prime Minister utter the words that so many have longed to hear for generations.
This is a deceptively simple story, sparsely told, one that shadows the Stolen Generation in its words and illustrations. Without over telling the tale, students are acquainted with the bare bones: that children were taken - enough to ignite many discussions and stories in the classroom as part of the Australian Curriculum.
The illustrations accompanying the text parallel the words with subtle sincerity. The sepia wash double pages show what happened in the past, reflecting the lifestyle of the groups living in fear of the men in authority coming for their children. In between these pages subdued colours show Maggie and her mother waiting in the crowd, excited by the momentous happenings on that day.
Each double page reflects the difference between Maggie and her mother celebrating with their families and the children of the past being taken. One page has legs hiding Maggie as she loses sight of mum, while the next shows the legs of the authorities rounding up the children. Readers will enjoy recognising these parallels and marvel at the skill of the illustrator, Dub Leffler, a descendant of the people of south west Queensland, the Bigambul and the Mandambarji, underscoring the events of each day
With a foreword by Lee Joachim, Chair of Rumablara Aboriginal Cooperative, a double page spread giving an outline of Sorry Day and its history, and photos on the last pages, the book offers an insight into the celebration of Sorry Day and why it was established, making it a must read for any library and classroom to initiate discussion, inform, delight and educate.
The front cover is stunning, with the colours of the Aboriginal flag subtly forming the background, the young girl focussed on looking ahead and the grasses in one corner offering a link to the past, and I love the fold out page towards the end where all the themes come together, everyone looking forward together. Teacher notes are available on the NLA website.
Fran Knight


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May 02 2018

Turtle Trackers by Samantha Wheeler

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UQP, 2018. ISBN 9780702259951
(Age: 9-12) Recommended. Ten year old Isaac lives with his widowed mother in a caravan park in seaside Queensland. They are the park caretakers and the huge workload impacts on their lives, ensuring Isaac has very little free time during his holidays. His passion is for the migrating turtle species who arrive on the nearby beaches every year to lay their eggs. These eggs are at risk from marauding dogs, visiting tourists and feral wildlife. Isaac wants to be an official turtle tracker, someone who watches over the turtles and their nests, but his commitments in the caravan park make it impossible for him to fulfil his dream.
To add to the pressure, visiting travel blogger Eddie Eastwood is visiting the caravan park with his unleashed, mischievous dog Bella and it looks as though a poor review will be forthcoming . . . bad news for his Mum and her future employment with the owners of the park, the local council.
Isaac has a strong environmental passion which is evident in the story and the author uses his voice to educate about the importance of protecting turtles and the impact of pollution on the turtle population. Only one in a thousand hatchlings will survive to generate new eggs so it is important to be aware of the necessity of protecting the turtle's future.
Although this book has a strong message to tell, the story entertains and keeps the reader interested in Isaac and his hopes and dreams.
For the reader that wants to learn more about turtles, the author provides further information and links at the end of the novel.
Turtle Trackers reminds me of another of Samantha Wheeler's books Mister Cassowary, which gives an insight into the prehistoric like cassowary, while telling an interesting story about a boy and his family's past.
The bright primary colours on the jacket are appealing and clearly identify the book's focus.
I recommend this novel to 9 to 12 year olds.
Jane Moore


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May 02 2018

Being Fishkill by Ruth Lehrer

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Candlewick Books, 2018. ISBN 9780763684426
(Age: Mature14+) Being Fishkill focusses on 12-year-old Carmel Fishkill who is named after a highway exit sign her mother, Keely, glimpsed while giving birth in the back seat of a car. Her life is complex and she decides that starting seventh grade in a new school is an opportunity to reshape her image, now that her abusive grandfather is dead, and her drug-addicted mother has vanished. Starting with a name reversal, Carmel becomes the tough girl, Fishkill, but her plan is thrown off course when the more precocious but equally tough Duck-Duck Farina befriends her.
The novel is dark, with moments of lightness, as Fishkill quietly 'fights' to establish an identity that is not based on her dysfunctional family. This narrative is about a search for connections and also enters the realm of the first stages of exploring sexual identity.
For me, as a reader, Fishkill and Duck-Duck seemed much older than their 12 years, and that caused a block in the plausibility of their characters.
There are flashbacks to a disrupted and disturbing life with her mother and grandfather. This is countered with Duck-Duck's mother, Molly. who welcomes her into the home.
There are many twists and turns in this novel which would keep the reader engaged. Emotions and experiences are intense and at times confronting.
I would recommend this for more mature readers of 14 years and up.
Maree Samuel


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May 02 2018

Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn

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John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. ISBN 9780544947306
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Philip K. Dick Award (2017). Themes: Dystopian fiction, Science fiction, Murder, Birth control. Years after an environmental disaster has devastated the world, killing millions, the Coast Road in the US has developed a thriving culture, where birth control is mandatory and people must earn a banner if they want to have a child. In Haven, Enid has not only earned a banner but is an Investigator, helping to solve problems and mediate when necessary. When there is a suspected murder in another town she is sent to investigate and uncovers more than she was anticipating.
Bannerless is a sometimes bleak and very different take on a dystopian future, with less emphasis on solving a crime but exploring a society that allowed it to happen. Through a series of flashbacks the reader follows the progress of Enid as she grows from a restless young woman roaming the roads with Dak to a responsible member of her community trusted to obey the laws that allow it to flourish and to enforce them if necessary. People live together in small groups, grow their own food and look after each other, putting the needs of the community before individual needs. Cities no longer exist and much of the technological knowledge that ruled the world before its downfall has disappeared. The Coast Road people managed to salvage what knowledge they thought was most important, birth control being one of the major needs.
Vaughan, better known for her Kitty series, featuring a werewolf, shows off her writing ability in Bannerless, bringing alive a different and unique take on a dystopian future. Its themes of birth control, self sufficiency, sharing and group living, as well as the ethics surrounding the murder of a loner, make it a fascinating and memorable read.
Pat Pledger


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May 02 2018

Fantastically great women who made History by Kate Pankhurst

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Bloomsbury, 2018, ISBN 9781408878897
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Subjects: Women - History, Women - Biography. Fantastically Great Women Who Made History looks at the lives, discoveries and achievements of many important women from Hatshepsut in Ancient Egypt to Russian astronaut Valentin Tereshkova. Kate Pankhurst's has an engaging and unique presentation design, interweaving fun and interesting factual information with stylish cartoon characters, bold coloured text boxes and visually engaging fonts and sizes.
'To make history you need to be brave, bold and believe in yourself - just like the women in this book.' The book begins with Harriet Tubman who helped many runaway slaves escape through the Underground Railroad between 1850 and 1860 in Maryland. Flora Drummond fought for women's equality and for the right to vote in Edwardian England, as did the author's relative Emmeline Pankhurst. Chinese Qiu Jin wrote poems, articles and gave speeches about the unfair treatment of Chinese women, in the late 1800's. She was passionate about the cruel practice of feet binding and encouraged her students to secretly rebel against the old-fashioned government rulers. English inventor Ada Lovelace designed a flying machine in 1828 when she was just twelve, and later worked with Charles Babbage on his Difference Engine.
Pankhurst travels through history, focussing on inspirational women, some famous and others who have made important contributions to women's rights, people's lives and living conditions across the arts, literature, music and world issues. Pankhurst concludes with a challenge 'How will you make history?' Fantastically Great Women who made History is an excellent resource suited to Humanities and Social Sciences from Year 2-Year 9 reflecting on women's influences in the shaping of Australia and the world.
Rhyllis Bignell


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May 02 2018

Wildcat Run by Sonya Spreen Bates

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Ill. by Kasia Charko. Orca Book Publishers, 2018. ISBN 9781554698301
(Age: 6+) Tommy, Jake and Lexie are on the slopes. The cousins have been skiing for a week, but Jake's Dad twisted his knee on the last run and had agreed they could do one more run, provided they stick to the easy levels. Tommy is Jake's little brother, though he's improved a lot, he is less confident than Jake and Lexie. Once they're on the chair lift, it doesn't take much for Lexie to convince her the boys to try Wildcat Run.
The ski trail itself was an old logger's run, unlike its namesake, there haven't been wild cats on the mountain for years . . . until now. What are those tracks? What can they hear near the stream? Jake, Lexie and Tommy are suddenly in a race for their life down the hill, except Lexie has an accident and the trio has to think a bit more laterally.
In this easy read novel, with Jake as the narrator, the reader experiences Jake's ability to lead his cousins to safety, showing survival skills and all the while has a low literacy need. Readers as young as six will easily follow the storyline, so it would also be good as an introduction to narratives or as a read-aloud at bedtime for younger readers. I especially enjoyed the interspersed thought commentary Jake uses to help him problem-solve. For example, " I am a downhill racer, going for another practice run . . . this time I'll get a personal best".
At times the book is similar to Secret Seven or Famous Five where the children have to use logic and smarts to survive a situation. It is also part of a series, where the characters refer back to other adventures they've shared. Those who enjoy adventure will love this quick read.
Clare Thompson


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May 02 2018

Bird builds a nest by Martin Jenkins

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A Science Storybook about Forces. Ill. by Richard Jones. Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406355130
(Ages: 3-7) Highly recommended. Themes: Forces, Push and Pull. In the front matter we are given a brief introduction to forces: "This is a book about forces. A force is something that makes an object move, stop moving or change direction. We can apply a force by pushing or pulling". The collage-like illustrations using earthy colours are beautiful, depicting flowers and trees from the endpapers and throughout. The narrative story itself is distinguished from the information by different and larger type. The story can be read alone but it also works very well when read alongside the informative text. The explanations are clear and easy for even the smallest children to understand. We are introduced to Bird and follow her through the day as she builds her nest in preparation for laying her eggs. First, she is hungry so she needs to pull a worm out of the ground. The small text reads, "Bird is getting ready to pull the worm. When you pull something, you are applying a force towards you".
The illustrations support the explanation perfectly and allow young children to tell the story using pictures alone (we see bird straining to pull a large, strong worm and struggling to pick up heavy and long twigs). It is made clear that some things are possible for Bird based on her size and strength ("Bird can carry: this quite large twig or two medium-sized twigs or three or four small twigs") and some tasks are not possible or difficult (it shows Bird exerting force on the actual nest that she is building as she moves around it pushing it with her body). These are things that children can actually relate to (pushing things with their body, the ability to pick up things of different weights, sizes and strengths). The book also touches on gravity and might lead to discussions about how things can be a similar size but different weights (she can carry many feathers and dried grass at once because they are very light).
This is a really clever introduction to forces for those beginning to understand the world around them and developing their scientific vocabulary. The conversational tone is gentle and calm. At the end of the book, there is an idea for an easy experiment using a ball of clay and a ping-pong ball, which will be suitable for classrooms and homes alike.
Nicole Nelson


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May 01 2018

P is for Pearl by Eliza Henry Jones

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HarperCollins, 2018. IBSN 9781460754931
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Recommended. Themes: Teen romance. Grief. Friendship. Mental illness. Family. In a small coastal country town lives 17-year-old Gwendolyn P. Pearson, a young lady who is still struggling with the sudden death of her young brother and her mother that occurred several years ago. She lives with her stepmother, older stepbrother, Tyrone, younger half-sister, Evie, and her dad who refuses to talk about her mother, and is too distant to ever hold a proper conversation with her. After an incident at the cafe where Gwen works with her best friend Loretta, Gwen is left flooded with memories of her mother's and brother's death. She tries to piece scattered memories of her mother together and grasp onto the fading memories of her brother and this leaves Gwen unsettled and full of sleepless nights. She tries to gain clarity by running along the beach but all she can do is remember the stories her mother told her, about mermaids existing and the white caps in the water being mermaids. Now whenever she sees the whitecaps she longs to believe it's her brother and mother waiting to see her again one day even though that is too good to be true. However, when two new city kids, Ben and his twin sister Amber, move into town things within their high school change causing minor disturbances, revelations and possible romance.
P is for Pearl is a slow paced novel; the type of book you can pick up, read a few chapters of, put down and read another book then come back to it, remembering where you left off. This novel would suit slow but persistent readers, that enjoy semi depressing novels. Similar books to P is for Pearl would be Girl in pieces by Kathleen Glasgow and Small spaces by Sarah Epstein.
Emily V. (Student)


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May 01 2018

Can I touch your hair? by Irene Latham and Charles Waters

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Carolrhoda Books, 2018. ISBN 9781512404425
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. This book is a collection of poems written by Irene who is white and Charles who is black. These poems delve into the differences related to race, mistakes, friendship even hair.
Can I touch your hair? is written like a school project with two students who don't know each other having to work together on a poem project. By the end of the book they start to look beyond their differences and look at what they have in common.
It could be used as a teaching tool for a poetry project helping people to get to know each other, to encourage people to look at others' points of view on everyday things like hair, shoes, beach and church.
I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it for 10+.
Karen Colliver


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May 01 2018

Paris Syndrome by Lisa Walker

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HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9781460755242
(Age: Adolescent) This seemingly light-hearted story, as adolescent fiction, touches on important aspects of the decisions of young people who are becoming aware of themselves and their role in the world. Covering fantasy, dreams, sexual awakening and love, Walker takes us into the lives of a young woman, Happy (Happiness) Glass, who is obsessed with all things French. The "Paris Syndrome" dominates her life, and when all things French are part of her city's celebrations, she finds herself caught up in more than she had expected.
Lisa Walker captures the angst of adolescence in a well-constructed and believable narrative, with adults in that world offering gentle support and wise guidance for the young woman. Happy faces more than just the light-hearted world of adolescence as she seeks to enjoy life at the same time as she is faced with the risks of letting down her guard, revealing who she really is to someone who may or may not like her for this. Wisdom is there in plenty, from wonderfully crafted interactions with older family and friends, particularly Professor Tanaka, whose wisdom and kindness enable Happy to come to terms with herself. This is a good text both for adolescent reading, and for those who work with adolescents.
Elizabeth Bondar


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May 01 2018

My trip to the supermarket: Activity and sticker book by Samantha Meredith

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Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2018. ISBN 9781408883686
(Age: 4+) Recommended. "Work your way around the supermarket and discover all the amazing things you can buy! Find your way through the maze of aisles to the checkout counter, count how many loaves of bread are in the baker 's basket, help the shop assistant stack the empty shelves and much more." (Publisher)
This activity book has a selection of activities to maintain interest. The stickers are bright and of a variety of sizes to match the page they are designed for.
It could be used to talk about shopping and the sorts of things you get when you go to the supermarket.
I recommend this book for 4+.
Karen Colliver


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