Tuesday 31 January 2012

31. Tales of the Blue Jade Book 1: The Ghost of Ping Ling by Peter Cooper

Tales of the Blue Jade Book 1: The Ghost of Ping Ling by Peter Cooper
Published February 2012 Scholastic

From the publisher:
A fire in a temple, an orphan running for his life. But is Dillen running away from, or towards, his destiny? A mysterious Easterner has sent Dillen on a simple quest: find the sorcerer Hallegat and serve him well. But for Dillen, things will never be simple again.
Sometimes the best reading experiences come from books about which you have no expectation.  This is one of those books.  It arrived on the shelf last week, and I knew nothing about it except that the author was from South Australia, and this was his first book. I took it home, and I couldn't put it down, and for someone who doesn't read fantasy, that is saying something!

Monday 30 January 2012

30. Chicken Big by Keith Graves

Chicken Big by KeithGraves
Published February 2012 Scholastic

From the publisher:
The farm is tiny. The coop is itsy-bitsy. The chickens are very small. But the egg is humungous, and so is the huge yellow fellow who pops out! This feathered giant is so big, the flock is sure he's no chicken. The big guy has an equally big heart, however, and longs to be accepted as one of the chickens. Little by little, his kindness and brave rescue of the flock's eggs prove to the silly chickens that he is really one of them.

For me, the best books, amd the ones I remember, are the ones that make me laugh, cry or 'feel something'.  This book made me laugh out loud.  If you have been reading this blog, then you will know I have a leaning towards the slightly ridiculous when it comes to picture books, and this one is just that.

Sunday 29 January 2012

29. My Australian Story: Sydney Harbour Bridge by Vashti Farrer

My Australian Story: Sydney Harbour Bridge by Vashti Ferrer
Published February 2012 Scholastic

From the publisher:

'I said to Mum that the sky-workers must have really good heads for heights, but she said, Either that, or they have a family to feed and will do anything for a job that pays.' It is 1932 and Sydney has hit hard times but the construction of a bridge that will reach across the harbour is setting spirits soaring. Both Alice and Billy tell the story of building the spectacular Harbour Bridge which will link the north shore to the working class suburbs of the south and unify a separated city.

The My Australian Story series of books (the series was originally called My Story) look back on Australia's history from the point of view of a child or children writing diaries about what they see going on around them.

This book is set during the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge with work starting in 1923, with the demolition of houses and businesses to make way for the northern approach to it's opening 1932.  During this time the world is hit by the Depression, so the book is just as much about the hardships faced for families at this time, as it is about the building of the bridge.

Saturday 28 January 2012

28. Raven Lucas Book 1: Missing by Christine Harris

Raven Lucas Book 1: Missing by Christine Harris
Published February 2012 Scholastic

From the publisher:

Raven Lucas appears to have everything. But something is missing from her life: her father. He has disappeared, suddenly, mysteriously, with no words of goodbye. Has he simply left his family and didn't have the courage to explain why? Is he dead, either by his own hand or another's? Has he been kidnapped? But why has there been no ransom demand? Raven is determined to find out what happened to him. Even if it kills her. And it just might.     

 Again, I am happy to see another mystery/thriller on the bookshelves.  The book starts of running, as Raven is following a strange man into a clothing store, for a reason that has yet to be explained, only to find it isn't the person she thought it was.  Her father, who has been missing for 3 days. 

Friday 27 January 2012

27. Animal Rescue Book 1: Elephant Alert by Jackie French

Animal Rescue Book 1: Elephant Alert by Jackie French
Published February 2012 Scholastic

From the publisher:
Leo thinks he's an ordinary kid, but he isn't-he can talk to animals and his best friend's a guinea pig! Mozz knows she's anything but ordinary. She's cool and clever, lives in a mansion with her mad scientist grandmother, and she soars through the sky in a rocket-the SkyTiger-saving wild animals around the world! Together, with the SkyTiger ready to take off, Leo and Mozz make an unstoppable animal rescue force. When Mozz convinces Leo to help her save the Puloa Gajah (Elephant Island) elephants from an incoming tsunami, she knows they're in with a fighting chance. But when the elephants won't listen to Leo's warnings, Leo and the animals find they're all in danger!

I was really looking forward to reading this book, the first in a new series, because it seemed like something really different for Jackie French to write. 

Thursday 26 January 2012

26. My Rhinoceros by Jon Agee

My Rhinoceros by Jon Agee
Published Feb 2012 Scholastic

From the publisher:
If you should ever get a rhinoceros for a pet, you're in for a surprise. It won't chase a ball. Or a stick. Or a frisbee. In fact, according to the experts, a rhinoceros does only two things: pop balloons and poke holes in kites. But don't be discouraged. As you'll discover in Jon Agee's hilarious picture book, rhinoceroses can do more-so much more-than that!

Wednesday 25 January 2012

25. Ashtown Burials Book 1: Dragon's Tooth by N.D Wilson

Ashtown Burials Book 1: Dragon's Tooth by N.D Wilson
Published February 2012 Random House

From the publisher:
For two years, Cyrus and Antigone Smith have run a sagging roadside motel with their older brother, Daniel. Nothing ever seems to happen. Then a strange old man with bone tattoos arrives, demanding a specific room.Less than 24 hours later, the old man is dead. The motel has burned, and Daniel is missing. And Cyrus and Antigone are kneeling in a crowded hall, swearing an oath to an order of explorers who have long served as caretakers of the world's secrets, keepers of powerful relics from lost civilizations, and jailers to unkillable criminals who have terrorized the world for millennia.
This is a book that moves quickly. We meet Cyrus and Antigone at the Archer motel, where surprisingly someone actually wants a room.  William Skelton is the man who checks-in, and William Skelton is the man who changes their lives. Next thing we know, he has handed Cyrus a set of keys, bad  men show up, William is killed, Dan (their older brother) has gone missing and the motel burns down.  Now they are being taken to a place called Ashtown by a lawyer named Horace who tells them this is where their Father was from.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

24. Going Underground by Susan Vaught

Going Underground by Susan Vaught
Published December 2011 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:Del is a good kid who's been caught in horrible circumstances. At seventeen, he's trying to put his life together after an incident in his past that made him a social outcast-and a felon. As a result, he can't get into college; the only job he can find is digging graves; and when he finally meets a girl he might fall in love with, there's a sea of complications that threatens to bring the world crashing down around him again.
But what has Del done? In flashbacks to Del's fourteenth year, we slowly learn the truth: his girlfriend texted him a revealing photo of herself, a teacher confiscated his phone, and soon the police were involved.

I try not to give away too many details about the books I read, as I don't want to spoil it for the readers.  In this case I am going to give away more, because of the content, it's not going to be a book for everyone (although maybe it should be). 

Monday 23 January 2012

23. Crouching Tiger by Ying Chang Compestine and Yan Nascimbene

Crouching Tiger by Ying Chang Compestine and Yan Nascimbene

Published January 2012 Walker

From the publisher:

A Chinese-American boy gains a new understanding of his Chinese grandfather in this celebratory story of family, martial arts, and the Chinese New Year.
Vinson is an American boy, who is also Chinese, although his connection with Chinese traditions is not strong, that is until his Grandfather visits. The most interesting Chinese tradition to Vinson is Kung Fu, and when he sees his Grandfather practicing 'slow dancing' (tai chi) in the backyard, he thinks maybe he can learn something from his Grandfather after all. Tai chi was, unfortunately, a little lacking in the excitement department for Vinson.

Sunday 22 January 2012

22. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Published January 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:

Despite the tumour-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
I will admit that this is the first John Green book I have read.  Years ago I started reading Looking For Alaska (and I didn't finish it), I also borrowed An Abundance of Katherines and then Will Grayson, Will Grayson which he wrote with David Levithan (and I didn't even start those).  I have only heard good things, and it's just been limited time that has stopped me... so this year I have no excuses, I have to make time...and when you have a review from Markus Zusak on the inside cover, saying that this is John Green at his best, I was happy to be starting with this one.

There is little doubt that someone is going to die in this book, it's right there on the blurb, and if someone's going to die, then it's a book that will make me cry.  What surprised me though is that it was also a book that made me laugh. 

Saturday 21 January 2012

21. Wild Child by Jeanne Willis and Lorna Freytag

Wild Child by Jeanne Willis and Lorna Freytag
Published January 2012 Walker

From the publisher:
Meet Wild Child! She’s spirited and curious. She’s fearless and free. She lives alone in a mystical, prehistoric world – the last child in a dramatic landscape, where anything could happen. Follow her through her day as she explores her world from the foot of the mountain to the heart of the wood; while she runs with the rabbits and swims with the fish – but beware of the grown-ups and sensible shoes! Join the magic and unleash the wild child in YOU!

I love Jeanne Willis, and she has written some of my favourite picture books of all time.  I am in two minds about this book.  I really like the text, it rhymes well and has great rhythm, which can be hard to get right.  I am undecided about the illustrations, I think it's just a personal thing, as I prefer traditional illustrations in picture books, as opposed to photographic style.

Friday 20 January 2012

20. Outpost by Allan Baille

Outpost by Allan Baille
Published January 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:

Life on the remote moon Ord is dangerous. Random eruptions in the ice, extreme cold, loneliness and loss: it's all Dece knows. Until one day he sees a mysterious object caught in the rings of the nearby gas planet, Cotal. With no choice but to investigate, what he will find is so extraordinary that it is almost beyond understanding.

This book is interesting because it doesn't tell you what year it is set in, we just know that people are living on other planets, although some still live on Home (Earth).  We also don't know how old the characters are.  The beginning sets the scene as to why these people are on the planet Ord, and how there Dreaming Sea (a frozen ocean) is linked to the orbit of Cotal, as the Earth is to our Moon. Only, because the Dreaming Sea is frozen, it doesn't produce tides, but massive and dangerous frozen geysers, that shoot out of the sea and have already taken the life of one of their team.

Thursday 19 January 2012

19. What You Wish For: A Book For Darfur by Various Authors

What You Wish For: A Book For Darfur by Various Authors
Published December 2011 Penguin

From the publisher:

WHAT YOU WISH FOR: A BOOK FOR DARFUR has brought together a potent roster of international talent.  Each story and poem has its own affecting power and celebrates the simple wishes-home, family, safety and love, things we all wish for-of the Darfuri refugees this collection honors with incredible grace, beauty and oft-times humor. What You Wish For is a collection poised to leave an indelible mark.

I am generally speaking not a fan of short story collections, but this one has been put together for a good cause, so I gave it a go.  This collection is written by different authors, so it stands to reason that you will probably not like all stories equally.  That's the good thing about short story collections, if you're not enjoying the story you can skip it and move onto the next on (not that I did, I read them all).  I didn't hate any of the stories, but I certainly like some more than others.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

18. Violet Mackerel's Natural Habitat by Anna Branford illustrated by Sarah Davis

Violet Mackerel's Natural Habitat by Anna Branford and illustrated by Sarah Davis
Published November 2011 Walker

From the publisher:

VIOLET MACKEREL has a new theory. It is the THEORY of HELPING small THINGS.
VIOLET MACKEREL quite likes helping. She PARTICULARLY likes to help SMALL THINGS. So when Violet makes friends with a tiny ladybird called SMALL GLORIA, she wants to give her a HELPING HAND. But sometimes it’s hard to know the best way to help a SMALL THING – especially when it’s not in its NATURAL HABITAT.

This is the third book about Violet Mackerel, and if you haven't come accross her yet, I will tell you that she is charming.  The books are only available in hardback, but that adds to their charm also, and while a few years ago children were put off by hardcovers, that no longer seems to be the case.
Violet is a thinker, and in this book her new thought is The Theory of Helping Small Things whereby if you help something small, that small thing may find a way of helping you.  In an attempt to help her older sister with her Natural Science project, Violet heads out to the garden where she knows some particular Small Things live.  She finds a ladybird, who she names Small Gloria, but unfortunately it takes more than good intentions to keep Small Gloria alive.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

17. Grandpa Green by Lane Smith

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
Published November 2011 Roaring Book Press

From the publisher:
Grandpa Green wasn't always a gardener. He was a farmboy and a kid with chickenpox and a soldier and, most of all, an artist. In this captivating new picture book, readers follow Grandpa Green's great-grandson into a garden he created, a fantastic world where memories are handed down in the fanciful shapes of topiary trees and imagination recreates things forgotten.

I am a Lane Smith fan,  he has illustrated many books (receiving a Caldicott Honor award for The Stinky Cheese Man) and especially with the the release of It's a Book (which spent 6 monthe on the New York Times bestseller list) earlier last year, everyone should recognise his name. 

Monday 16 January 2012

16. Sister, Missing by Sophie McKenzie

Sister, Missing by Sophie McKenzie
Published January 2012 Simon & Schuster

From the publisher:

It's two years after the events of Girl, Missing and life is not getting any easier for sixteen-year-old Lauren, as exam pressure and a recent family tragedy take their toll. Lauren's birth mother takes Lauren and her two sisters on holiday in the hope that some time together will help, but a few days into the holiday one of the sisters disappears, under circumstances very similar to those in which Lauren was taken years before. Can Lauren save her sister, and stop the nightmare happening all over again?

I guess you would call this book a sequel, as it follows on from Girl, Missing. It could be read as a stand alone novel, but I think you would enjoy this book more if you had read the earlier one.

Sunday 15 January 2012

15. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Published January 2012 by Simon and Schuster

From the publisher:

It's 1996 and very few high school students have ever used the internet. Facebook will not be invented until several years in the future. Emma just got a computer and an America Online CD. She and her best friend Josh power it up and log on - and discover themselves on Facebook in 2011. Everybody wonders what they'll be like fifteen years in the future. Josh and Emma are about to find out.

I should probably state for the record that I have an on and off again relationship with Facebook.  I find most of in incredibly mundane, but I do find myself sucked in, wasting hours looking up people I haven't seen for 15 years, and don't particularly want to in the real world, but I can't help myself.  So imagine you could login to Facebook and see yourself and your friends in 15 years.

Saturday 14 January 2012

14. Banana Skin Chaos by Lilli L'Arronge

Banana Skin Chaos by Lilli L'Arronge
Published Aug ust 2011 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:

A little boy is about to throw a banana skin on the ground when his sister warns him of the disasters that will follow in this brilliant picture book of actions and consequences.
As each page is turned, the story develops increasingly astonishing detail. Soon a quiet, ordinary town becomes somewhere with more than a little chaos.

Here we have another story that begins with the end papers.  We see the banana being grown, packed, shipped, trucked and sold to the mother of the boy who is the centre of our story.

Friday 13 January 2012

13. The Best Day of My Life by Deborah Ellis

The Best Day of My Life by Deborah Ellis
Published February 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:

Even though Valli spends her days picking coal and fighting with her cousins, life in the coal town of Jharia, India, is the only life she knows. The only sight that fills her with terror is the monsters who live on the other side of the train tracks - the lepers. When Valli discovers that that her 'aunt' is a stranger who was paid money to take Valli off her own family's hands, she leaves Jharia and begins a series of adventures that takes her to Kolkata, the city of the gods. Valli finds that she really doesn't need much to live and is very resourceful. But a chance encounter with a doctor reveals that she has leprosy. Unable to bear the thought that she is one of the monsters she has always feared, Valli rejects help and begins an uncertain life on the street.

From reading the description you would be justified in think that this was a quite a harrowing novel, especially for children, but in true Deborah Ellis style, it isn't.  We are never told how old Valli is, and that's because she doesn't know how old she is herself, but at one point someone suggests she is about 9 or 10.  After running away to Kolkata and being thrown out by the woman she was left with, Valli has a conversation with a man who tells her how lucky she is to be on such an adventure, and so she begins her life 'borrowing' everything she needs, and the passing those things on to people who need then when she no longer does.

Thursday 12 January 2012

12. Cold Hands, Warm Heart by Jill Wolfson

Cold Hands, Warm Heart by Jill Wolfson
Published January 2012 Walker

From the publisher
Fourteen-year-old Amanda is a competitive gymnast, sleek-muscled and in perfect health. Fifteen-year-old Dani was born with her heart on the wrong side of her body; she's been in and out of hospital all her life. The two girls don't know each other – and never will. Yet their lives are about to collide. Amanda suffers a haematoma – a blood clot – during a gymnastics competition, and dies. The donation of her heart means renewed life for Dani and several other donor recipients. A fascinating and unputdownable story on an important and topical issue.

I thought that this book would make me cry...but it didn't.  Maybe it's beacuse Amanda dies within the first few pages, so we don't get to know her.  

Wednesday 11 January 2012

11. The Flint Heart By Katherine and John Patterson, illustrated by John Rocco

The Flint Heart by Katherine and John Patterson, illustrated by John Rocco
Published October2011Walker Books

From the publisher:
An ambitious Stone Age man demands a talisman that will harden his heart, allowing him to take control of his tribe. Against better judgment, the tribe’s magic man creates the Flint Heart, but the cruelty of it causes the destruction of the tribe. Thousands of years later, the talisman re-emerges to corrupt first a boy’s father, an innocent fairy creature, and a familial badger. Can Charles and his sister Unity, who have consulted with fairies such as the mysterious Zagabog, wisest creature in the universe, find a way to rescue humans, fairies and animals alike from the dark influence of the Flint Heart? This humorous, hearty and utterly delightful reworking of a 1910 story by Eden Phillpotts, is perfect for an entire family to savour together or an adventurous youngster to devour.

The Flint Heart starts it's life with a Stone Age man Phutt, who made life a misery for those around him. On is death the Flint Heart is buried deep in the Dartmoor earth, only to be dug up thousands of years later by a lovely mild mannered farmer, Billy Jago.  Two of Billy's children, Charles and Unity seek the help of the fairies, and while they manage to take the Flint Heart from their father, it then falls in to the hands of a Jacky Toad and then a badger who wants to be king.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

10. VIII by H.M Castor

VIII by H.M Castor
Published November 2011 Penguin

VIII is the story of Hal: a young, handsome, gifted warrior, who believes he has been chosen to lead his people. But he is plagued by the ghosts of his family's violent past and, once he rises to power, he turns to murder and rapacious cruelty. He is Henry VIII.

The story starts with Hal (as he is referred to in the book) at age 7 and then age 10 when he became Prince of Wales after the death of his brother, and then we move on to Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon at age 17.  I did expect there to be more of Henry as a boy and young man, but when you are married at 17, your childhood is somewhat limited. The relationship between Henry and his father is the focus of the first part of the novel, and the author uses this relationship to show the change in Henry, from a loving young boy, to the ruthless king he became.

Monday 9 January 2012

9. Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman

Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman
Published September 2011 Viking

From the publisher:

In this deceptively simple picture book, author-illustrator Deborah Freedman has created an irresistible character that springs to life and wreaks havoc in a farmyard with a pot of blue paint. The innocent chicken just wants to help, but things get worse and worse—and bluer and bluer—the more she tries. Playing with colors and perspective, and using minimal text, this richly layered story reveals new things to see and laugh about with each reading.

I really like picture books that start the story with the end papers, and Blue Chicken does just that.   We get a glimpse through a window of a wet day, with a grey sky and a grey barn.  Then the title page draws back and we are in a room, set up with a desk on which sits an unfinished painting of the view out of the window, the barn yet to be painted.  Before we even get to the fist page we see a curious chick pop it's head out of the painting.  Chaos then unfolds, as the chicken spills a pot of blue paint onto the unfinished painting, only to disturb all of the animals, who are not happy about being blue! 

Sunday 8 January 2012

8. Seizure (Virals Book 2) by Kathy Reichs

Seizure (Virals Book 2) by Kathy Reichs
Published November 2011 Random House

From the publisher:

Ever since Tory Brennan and her friends rescued Cooper, a kidnapped wolf pup with a rare strain of canine parvovirus, they’ve turned from regular kids into a crime solving pack! But now the very place that brought them together—the Loggerhead Island Research Institute—is out of funding and will have to shut down. That is, unless the Virals can figure out a way to save it! So when Tory learns of an old Charleston legend about a famous she-pirate, Anne Bonney, whose fortune was never found, she can’t believe her luck—buried treasure is exactly what she needs to save the Institute on Loggerhead! Trouble is, she and her friends aren’t the only ones looking for it. And this time, the Virals’ special powers may not be enough to dig them out of trouble…

For those of you who read Kathy Reichs' adult novels, or are a fan of the TV show Bones, the name Brennan will be familiar to you.  In Kathy Reichs' series for teenage readers we meet Tory, Temperance Brennan's neice.

Saturday 7 January 2012

7. The Tunnels of Tarcoola by Jennifer Walsh

The Tunnels of Tarcoola by Jennifer Walsh
Published January 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:
A network of tunnels leading under the park, a secret exit to an abandoned mansion, a hidden box of documents...all very mysterious, but it's just a game, right?

When shadowy figures start watching every move they make, Kitty, David, Andrea and Martin know they've stumbled onto more than a forgotten piece of history. They need to find all the answers fast, before someone beats them to it.

I am not a huge fantasy reader, so for many years I have been hoping that another genre would stand up and take centre stage.  It looks like the good old fashioned mystery might just do it.  I grew up on Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew and Enid Blyton, and I turned into a 'reader' so they couldn't have been all bad, so, bring on the mystery I say!

Friday 6 January 2012

6. Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst

Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst
Published December 2011 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:

Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire...fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil. That is until one night she encounters a unicorn and he stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops. Her family doesn't believe her (because obviously unicorns don't exist), but when Pearl reveals she can now withstand the sun, they are thrilled. She can be enrolled in high school, make friends and then lure these tasty snacks to her family!

I promise that I won't be choosing every book I read this year based on the cover...but that is one of the reasons I picked up this book.  I have pretty much had my fill of vampire novels, but this one tickled my fancy as it didn't seem to have as much drama and angst as many others out there.  It still has some of the drama involving cliques, bullies, budding romance, mafia style vampire families and let's not forget...prom.

There are a number of 80's movie references when Antoinette is getting Pearl ready to start school which I thought a bit odd.  I am not sure if many teenage readers are big John Hughes fans?  There are a number of more recent High School movies to draw from, the only explanation I could think of was that Antoinette was made into a vampire in the 80s, and that's why Molly Ringwald is still her inspiration.  It didn't take anything away from the story, so it doesn't really matter, and being a Molly fan myselfit only added to its charm.

What I really liked was the humour, maybe it's because of the elusive unicorn, or maybe it's told with just the slightest bit of tongue in cheek.  Pearl is a good strong character who has to make a tough decision, and she makes it, not because of a boy, but because her newly found soul leaves her with no choice.

Who will like this book: Girls Age 14+
Read it if you like: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Thursday 5 January 2012

5. The High Street by Alice Melvin

The High Street by Alice Melvin
Published November 2011, Thames and Hudson

From the publisher

Sally is on the High Street. She has a list of 10 items she needs to buy including a Persian rug and a stripy jug. Following Sally from the sweet shop to the florist, readers can open the flaps of the book to see what’s going on inside each of the shops she visits.

 Should those wild animals be upstairs in the pet shop? Will the plates fall off the wall in Mr Kumar’s China Shop? Can Sally find everything on her list?

This is a book I picked up at the library based on nothing but the cover!  No matter how the saying goes, many people are drawn to a book beacuse of its cover. I was very fortunate to find that the inside did not dissapoint. There is a lovely rhythmic text and each page with the shop front illustration, opens out so we can see inside. My favourite shop is Ms Yoshiko's antuque shop, as she lives upatiars.  I wouldn't call this a 'lift the flap' book because the whole page opens up.  I know many libraries steer clear of lift the flap books because they will get damaged too easily, but I think this one should be ok.

Wednesday 4 January 2012

4. My Bear Griz by Suzanne McGinness

My Bear Griz by Suzanne McGuinness
Published November 2011, Walker Books

From the publisher:

Billy has a bear called Griz. A Grizzly Bear. And the two friends have all kinds of wonderful adventures together. They go exploring, play hide and seek, eat peanut butter and honey sandwiches, share secrets and tell jokes. Griz is the best friend a boy could possibly have - whether he's a Grizzly Bear or a teddy bear…

This is a very simple picture book that celebrates imagination.  The text is simple and the slightly larger than normal format is perfect to capture the great big grizzly bear.

Who will like this book: Boys and Girls Age 3+
Read it if you like: Oliver Jeffers

Tuesday 3 January 2012

3. The Windvale Sprites by Mackenzie Crook

Windvale Sprites by Mackenzie Crook
Published November 2011, Faber

From the publisher:

When a storm sweeps through the country, Asa wakes up the next day to find that his town is almost unrecognisable - trees have fallen down, roofs have collapsed and debris lies everywhere. But amongst the debris in his back garden Asa makes an astounding discovery - the body of a small winged creature. A creature that looks very much like a fairy. Do fairies exist? Asa is determined to find out. He embarks on a mission that will lead him to the lost journals of local eccentric Benjamin Tooth who, two hundred years earlier, claimed to have discovered the existence of fairies. What Asa reads in those journals takes him on a secret trip to Windvale Moor, where he discovers even more than he'd hoped to...

I am generally not a big fantasy reader, but I am a sucker for a good cover, and I will admit that it was the cover that made me want to pick up this book.  It's a hardback with gorgeous raised gold text on the cover.  As I am going to be reading so many books this year, I will be trying to broaden my reading and read a bit of everything, so I read this.

Monday 2 January 2012

2. The Third Gift by Linda Sue Park and Bagram Ibatoulline

The Third Gift by Linda Sue Park & Bagram Ibatoulline
Published November 2011, UQP

From the publisher:

A boy is learning his father’s craft, recognising the trees that release valuable resin and gathering the round drops, which look almost like pearls. Or tears.
Today is a proud turning point for the boy. They have found a ‘tear’ of unusual size, big enough to fill his two hands. And in the marketplace, three strangers have their own surprising reason for wishing to buy the day’s harvest.
From an award-winning author and illustrator comes a moving tale of ordinary people involved in an extraordinary event providing a window into a time some two thousand years ago.

Sunday 1 January 2012

1. Girls Don't Fly by Kristen Chandler

Ok, here we are, my first book!

Girls Don't Fly by Kristen Chandler

Published November 2011, Penguin
From the publisher:

Myra is used to keeping her feet firmly on the ground. She's got four younger brothers, overworked parents, and a pregnant older sister, and if Myra wasn't there to take care of everyone, they'd probably fall apart. But when her boyfriend unceremoniously dumps her, Myra feels like she's lost her footing. Suddenly she's doing things she never would have a few months earlier: jumping around in a chicken suit for a part-time job, competing against her ex-boyfriend for a scholarship to study birds in the Galápagos, and falling for a guy who's encouraging her to leap from her old life . . .and fly.

This is the first book by Kristen Chandler that I had read, and I enjoyed it enough that I will go out and find her first novel Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me.