Saturday 31 March 2012

91. Cloth from the Clouds by Mark Catchpool and illustrated by Alison Jay

Cloth From The Clouds by Michael Catchpool and illustrated by Alison Jay
Published April 2012 Walker Books

From the publisher:

The boy who spins cloth from the clouds is wise. He spins only enough cloth for a warm winter scarf, not one stitch more. But a greedy King sees the marvellous cloth and demands that the boy spin cloaks and gowns galore. Soon there are fewer clouds in the sky and finally the rain stops. Will it be possible to undo the damage done by greed?

I should start by saying that I am a bit biased towards Alison Jay, in that I love her work.
This book did not disappoint.

It’s a beautiful book about a boy who can spin cloth from cloud.  The cloth is so beautiful that the king wants all of his clothes made from this cloth. The boy warns the king that it is not wise to use too much of this cloth, but the king does not listen. So the boy spins and he spins, until there are no clouds left.

Friday 30 March 2012

90. The Wrong Boy by Suzy Zail

The Wrong Boy by Suzy Zail
Published March 2012 Black Dog Books

From the publisher:

Hanna is a talented pianist, and the protected second daughter of middle class Hungarian Jews. Relatively late in World War II the Budapest Jews were rounded up and sent to Auschwitz. Hanna and her mother and sister are separated from her father. Her mother becomes increasingly mentally ill until she too is taken away somewhere. Her sister Erika is slowly starving to death. Hanna is quite a naive 15-year-old but when presented with the opportunity to play piano for the camp commander, she is desperate to be chosen. She goes each day under guard to the commander's house and stands waiting in case the commander should want some music. Also living in the house is the commander's son, Karl. A handsome young man who seems completely disengaged from what is happening around him. Hanna hates him as he sits drawing in the music room. But the longer Hanna goes to the house, the more she realises there are other things going on. Secret things. Karl may not be the person she thinks he is. Before she knows it she has fallen in love with the wrong boy.

There is no denying that there have been many stories written about the holocaust for teenagers and children as well as for adults.  I am always interested in why the author has chosen to write a holocaust story, and in the case of Suzy Zail’s connection with the holocaust is that he father was an Auschwitz survivor.  He didn’t tell her until she was an adult, and he was dying.  He though the best way to deal with the horror was to build anew life and try to forget the past.  His daughter Suzy believes the only way to ensure it wouldn’t happen again is to keep talking about it.  And after reading this book I have to agree with her.

Thursday 29 March 2012

89. Sword Girl Book 1: The Secret of the Swords by Frances Watts

Sword Girl Book 1: The Secret of the Swords by Frances Watts
Published April 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:

Tommy, a kitchen girl at Flamant Castle, dreams of becoming a knight - and when she is made the Keeper of the Blades, caring for all the swords in the castle armoury, it seems like her dream might come true. But then Sir Walter's most valuable sword goes missing from the sword room. Will Tommy be able to find it before she is sent back to the kitchen in disgrace? 

I think this new series is going to be a winner.  Such a treat to read something a bit different for the beginning readers.  It has been marketed as a new series for girls who do not want the 'girly' pink books.  There is no pink, no fairies, unicorns or magic puppies.  What we do have though are a talking cat, a talking crocodile and talking swords.  

Wednesday 28 March 2012

88. Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan

Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan
Published April 2012 Walker Books

From the publisher:

When Daniel Lever is dragged to Leisure World Holiday Complex for some "time away" with his depressed dad, his expectations are low. Daniel is overweight, he hates sport, and his father has brought along his beloved tomato plant. But soon Daniel spots a girl swimming in the fake lake. Lexi is elegant and smart, but very mysterious. Why are her bruises getting worse each time she and Daniel meet? And is her watch really ticking backwards? A dark figure stalks the pair, and as British summer time approaches, Daniel has to act quickly. Their souls depend on it. 

Daniel's family is falling apart, and as he sees it, it is his fault.  His Dad, in his wisdom, thinks that a weeks holiday in the great outdoors is just what they need to get things back on track.  Just a few problems with this scenario.  Firstly the slightly overweight Dan does not really 'do' the outdoors.  Secondly, Dad in his depressed state is spending too much time with the bottle 'cutting loose', not the best state to be in for parenting.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

87. Starters by Lissa Price

Starters by Lissa Price
Published April 2012 Random House

From the publisher:

16-year-old Callie lost her parents when the 'genocide spore' wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first - the very young and very old. She and her little brother must go on the run, living as squatters, fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie. Hope comes in the form of the Body Bank run by a mysterious figure, known only as The Old Man. The Body Bank allows teenagers to rent out their bodies to 'Enders' - the elderly members of society - who want to be young again. But Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party in her body. She intends to commit murder . . .

Dystopian and utopian fiction is giving the paranormal genre a run for its money.  Since The Hunger Games was released in 2008 there have been many teenage fiction titles that look toward the future.

Monday 26 March 2012

86. Violet Mackerel's Personal Space by Anna Brandford

Violet Mackerel's Personal Space by Anna Brandford illustrated by Sarah Davies
Published April 2012 Walker Books

From the publisher:

Violet Mackerel has some good news and some not-so-good news. The good news is about Mum and Vincent! The not-so-good news is that they have to move house. Violet is trying to be brave, but sometimes leaving your personal space can be tricky. 

I hadn't planned on reading more than one book from a particular series this year, but here is a new Violet Mackerel...and I couldn't resist.

Sunday 25 March 2012

85. BZRK by Michael Grant

BZRK by Michael Grant
Published March 2012 Egmont

From the publisher:

A global war is raging.  You can't see it.  But it's happening all around you.  Inside you.  Down in the meat.  Welcome to the nano - the microscopic matrix where invisible armies will determine the future of mankind.  Here, the ultimate battle is for sanity.  Losing is not an option when a world of madness is at stake.

This is one of those books that crosses between teenage and adult fiction.  I have actually seen it for sale with the adult New Releases.  Michael Grant's 'Gone' series has been hugely popular with young teenagers, this book is aimed at older teenagers, not in the least because of the frequent use of the 'f' word and drug use.

This book is all about the world of nano technology.  A technology that is so advanced that these tiny machines can be introduced into a human brain and actually rewire it, so that the subject can be manipulated to do whatever the 'twitchers' wish.  The twitchers are the ones who control the bots from the macro, from all ages and from all walks of life these twitchers are essential players in this war.

Saturday 24 March 2012

84. Little Mouse by Alison Murray

Little Mouse by Alison Murray
Published March 2012 Hachette

From the publisher:

Little Mouse can waddle like a penguin, eat like a horse and splash like a whale. So why does her mother call her Little Mouse? Because, sometimes, it's nice to be quiet and cosy, especially when it's time to cuddle with your mum.

This little girl wonders why her mother could call her a little mouse, when she is so clearly anything but.  In the course of her day she is is adventurous and a bit wild and she has adventures that show her acting like everything from a lion to a penguin.  It is at nigh time though (when she gets into her penguin-ed patterned pyjamas) that she realises sometimes it is OK to be a cuddly little mouse.

Friday 23 March 2012

83. Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale

Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale
Published March 2012 by Simon & Schuster

From the publisher:
How can you face your future when your past it a lie?
When Rosie Kenning's mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington's disease, her whole world falls apart. Not only does Rosie desperately miss her mum, but now she has to face the fact that she could have inherited the fatal illness herself. Until she discovers that Trudie wasn't her biological mother at all ... Rosie is stunned. Can this be true? Is she grieving for a mother who wasn't even hers to lose? And if Trudie wasn't her mother, who is?

This is like a Jodi Picoult novels for teens. It’s full of drama and romance with a number of twists and turns thrown in along the way.  Just when you think you know where the story is going…it twists.

Thursday 22 March 2012

82. Star Fighters Book 1: Alien Attack by Max Chase

Star Fighters Book 1: Alien Attack by Max Chase
Published March 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:

An exciting new sci-fi, action-adventure series from the creators of Beast Quest. It is the year 5012 and the galaxy is at war. Only the brightest and most promising eleven-year-olds are accepted into the Intergalactic Force Academy, and only the very best cadets become...STAR FIGHTERS!
This book is the first in a new series that I think will be hugely popular with boys age 8+.  The book is set on the future, where all different life forms (alien and human) are working together to protect the Milky Way from aliens from other galaxies. Peri is a first year student at the Intergalactic Force Academy and his main job is to blast ‘space trash’ from the atmosphere.  One day however a metal sphere size of the earths' moon with large spikes sprouting from the hull starts dragging them its orbit.  as war breaks out, Peri and half-Martian Diesel must work together (with the help of stowaway Selene) must work together to find a way home.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

81. Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn

Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn
Published March 2012 Scholastic

From the publisher:

Daughters of a famed clairvoyant, the five Taylor sisters have moved to turn-of-the-twentieth-century Spirit Vale, where their mother makes a living talking to the dead. The future, however, is something even she cannot see clearly. The sisters are not meant to stay in Spirit Vale for long. All seem poised to move in different directions science, society, fame, even the spirit world but all of their destinies converge on board the Titanic. A transatlantic voyage that promises great wonders soon turns into a fight for survival that not everyone will win... or can they?

Yes, another Titanic book.  This one uses the Titanic as a back drop to the story, the majority of the story takes place between 1898 and 1914.  In the mid 1800s the Spiritualist movement was huge in the USA.  In fact around the time of the American civil war 10% of the population of the US claimed to be Spiritualists.  It was the 'mediums' (those who claim they can communicate with the dead) who were instrumental in the growth of the movement, and this book focuses on a family whose livelihood has been the life of one such clairvoyant family.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

80.The Ink Bridge by Neil Grant

The Ink Bridge by Neil Grant
Published March 2012 by Allen  Unwin

From the publisher:

A remarkable and gripping story about one refugee boy on a desperate journey from Afghanistan, and the Australian boy who befriends him.

The story starts in Afghanistan when Omar and his friend Zakir witness the destruction of one of the two Buddhas of Bamiyan by the Taliban.  The explosion kills Zakir, and in a rage, Omar attacks the Taliban soldiers only to be brutally attacked.  The attack left him alive, but with the Taliban seeking him out for revenge, Omar must find away to leave Afghanistan.

His journey is treacherous and he finds he has to trust the most untrustworthy people, but he does find his way to Australia.  It's here that we meet Hector.  Omar can't speak because of what the Taliban did to him, Hector can't speak because he is dealing with a trauma that isn't explained until the end of the book.  

Monday 19 March 2012

79. Spitting Image by James Roy

Spitting Image by James Roy
Published March 2012 Walker Books

From the publisher:

When Charlie's family car pulls up outside the zoo, he realises he's been tricked by his parents again. This isn't the zoo. It's a petting zoo! His younger sister, Abby, is going to love it, but Charlie is in for the most boring day of his life. It's going to be worse than school. Until the alpacas get loose and Charlie's stuck in the middle ... 

This is the latest in the Lightning Strikes series.  This series is written for reluctant readers and is a great introduction to some excellent Australian and New Zealand  authors.  While the books vary the genres and style of stories they all feature short chapters and humour.  They work well for reluctant readers because the stories all take place in a short space of time, so the readers doesn't have to keep track of complicated plot lines or remember which character is which and how they fit into the story.

Sunday 18 March 2012

78. Love Monster by Rachel Bright

Love Monster by Rachel Bright 
Published January 2012 Harper Collins

From the publisher:

It can be tough being the only funny-looking Monster in Cutesville, but this Monster is not one to hang around and feel sorry for himself, so he's off -- out into the big wide world to look for someone to love him. He looks high, he looks low and he looks everywhere in-between, but it's only when he's just about to give up that he finally finds what he is looking for!  

Some picture books are cute, some are fun, some have important messages in them, some are just for children and some seem to be written more for adults...and then you have a book like this one, which is all of those things.

Saturday 17 March 2012


Just a quick note to apologise for the missing content of yesterdays post.

It just proves that I can't update the posts from my phone!

I will endeavour to remember what I wrote and get something up there soon.

77. Erebos by Ursula Poznanski, translated by Judith Pattinson

Erebos by Ursula Poznanski translated by Judith Pattinson
Published March 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:

Nick is given a sinister but brilliant computer game called Erebos. The game is highly addictive but asks its players to carry out actions in the real world in order to keep playing online, actions which become more and more terrifyingly manipulative. As Nick loses friends and all sense of right and wrong in the real world, he gains power and advances further towards his online goal - to become one of the Inner Circle of Erebos. But what is virtual and what is reality? How far will Nick go to achieve his goal? And what does Erebos really want?

This book was originally published in Germany in 2010. I have a theory about translations, and that is, if someone thought it was worth translating, then it is probably worth reading.  This book just supports my theory.

Friday 16 March 2012

76. A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton

A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton
Published February 2012 Simon and Schuster

From the publisher:
Ari has finally learned the terrifying truth. She is a descendant of Medusa, cursed to become a monster designed to kill with a single touch. Haunted by the image of what she will become, Ari, with the help of the gorgeous Sebastian, is doing everything she can to learn more about Athena, the goddess who cursed her family and kidnapped young Violet. But the battle between good and evil is much bigger than she realises, and Ari is about to be pulled into a world more horrific than she could ever imagine. And now, as she prepares to face Athena, Ari must unleash the very thing she's most afraid of...herself. 

This book is the sequel to Darkness Become Her and while this book Beautiful Evil, could be read on its own, it makes a more interesting story if you have the background knowledge of the first book.

Thursday 15 March 2012

75. Living With Mum and Living With Dad by Melanie Walsh

Living With Mum and Living With Dad by Melanie Walsh
Published March 2012 Walker Books
From the publisher:

Mum and Dad don't live together any more, so sometimes this little girl lives with her mum and her cat, and sometimes she lives with her dad. She has two bedrooms and two sets of toys, but she takes her favourite toys with her wherever she goes.

A common story, with a new twist.  There have been other books about divorced/separated parents, but this one has the bonus of seeing both sides of the story on the same page.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

74. Dead, Actually by Kaz Delaney

Dead, Actually by Kaz Delaney
Published March 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:

Dead, Actually is a scathingly funny and sexy mystery set in the depths of Gold Coast society (is that an oxymoron?). Whatever. You're going to LOL and love it.

Some books come along that will change your life, and some books are to be read for pure entertainment.  I mean no disrespect to this book when I say it falls into the latter category.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

73. Six Little Chicks by Jez Alborough

Six Little Chicks by Jez Alborough
Published March 2012 Random House

From the publisher:
Busy Hen has five little chicks to look after while making sure number six – still an egg– stays warm. The last thing she needs is hairy, scary Fox sniffing about. She is frantic when the other birds warn her that her chicks are in danger, but her five little chicks are a lot braver than she realises!The rollicking rhythmic text is rammed with catchy refrains that beg to be shouted out. Children will love the repeated action words and thinking of new ways to act them out.

Jez Alborough is in my top 5 picture book authors. I don't think you can go past a rhyming text if you want a good book to read aloud, and Jez is the king of the rhyming picture book (in my humble opinion).

Monday 12 March 2012

72. The Reluctant Hallelujah by Gabrielle Williams

The Reluctant Hallelujah by Gabrielle Williams
Published February 2012

From the publisher:

When Dodie's parents go missing just as final year exams are about to start, she convinces herself they're fine. But when the least likely boy in class holds the key -- quite literally -- to the huge secret her parents have been hiding all these years, it's up to Dodie, her sister, the guy from school, and two guys she's never met before, to take on the challenge of a lifetime. So now Dodie's driving -- unlicensed -- to Sydney, and being chased by bad guys, the police, and one very handsome good guy.

I was looking forward to this book, because I really loved Gabrielle Williams'  first book Beatle Meets Destiny.  I can happily say I loved this book as much as her first book, but it was not at all what I expected.  

The blurb usually gives a good indication of what the book will be about.  In this case, everything the blurb tells you is absolutely true.  What it doesn't tell you is why they have to go to Sydney.  If you don't want to know, stop reading now...because I am going to tell you.

Sunday 11 March 2012

71. The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan
Published January 2012 Bloomsbury

From the publisher:

Armed with a suitcase and an old laundry bag filled with clothes, Kasienka and her mother leave Poland and head for the UK to find her father. Life is lonely for Kasienka. At home her mother's heart is breaking and at school Kasienka finds it impossible to make new friends. While the search continues, Kasienka is kept afloat by William, a boy she meets at the local pool who understands what it means to lose someone and who swims with Kasienka towards her new life.

This small hardback verse novel is just beautiful, to look at, and to read!

Kasienka's father left Poland for England and he never contacted his family again. After a number of years waiting to hear from him Kasienka's mother packs their things and they head to England to find him.

Saturday 10 March 2012

70. Three Summers by Judith Clarke

Three Summers by Judith Clarke
Published March 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:

The path of Ruth's life was shaped in one fateful moment when, as a baby, she was tossed clear from a car wreck. Her grandmother raised her, with a fierce hope that she would one day go to university and see every marvellous place in the world. When Ruth and her best friend Fee finish school, Fee chooses motherhood and marriage. Ruth knows that she must leave town, but that means leaving Tam Finn, the elusive yet entrancing boy so unlike any other she has ever met. An extraordinary story of friendship, longing and the saving grace of love.

This books starts in 1960, in rural smalltown Australia. Friends Ruth and Fee are finishing school and are about to embark on the rest of their lives. Fee, happy to marry her high school sweetheart and start a family is worlds away from Ruth, who has won a scholarship to Sydney University. The people in town think Ruth is making a mistake leaving town. Father Joseph thinks Sydney is depraved and full of sinners, other women in still think that an education for a woman is wasted. Ruth's Nan is the one person who always had faith in her and who encourages Ruth to leave despite any misgivings.

Friday 9 March 2012

69. The Kingdom of Silk Book 6: The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk by Glenda Millard

The Kingdom of Silk Book 6: The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk by Glenda Millard Published March 2012 ABC Books

From the publisher:

Flame-haired Saffron is the youngest of the five Silk sisters. Her family know that she has a talent for becoming Anne of Green Gables or Cleopatra, and that she loves reading myths and legends. But they don′t know about the firebirds that come to warn her of terrible headaches. And Saffron doesn′t know how to tell them.
In a big family, it′s easy to be overlooked. But when Saffron is sent to the city to see a specialist, she learns that her family′s love for her is deeper than she ever imagined. And that when you′re a Silk, miracles are never far from home...
If you have yet to enter the Kingdom of Silk, I will urge you now to go and find and then read the first five books about the Silk family. This book stands on its own as a story, but you will be doing yourself a disservice not to read the others.

Thursday 8 March 2012

68. Forget Me Not by Sue Lawson

Forget Me Not By Sue Lawson
Published March 2012 Walker Books

From the publisher:

"I am filled with the worst feeling. Everyone says it is the safest, most luxurious ship in the world, but something about it is extremely unsettling." Evelyn Gilmore does not share her brother Thomas’s excitement about travelling on the maiden voyage of the luxurious Titanic. For Evelyn the ship is taking her away from everything she knows and loves. For Thomas it is taking him to his new life. How could they know what the trip would bring?

As 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, I can tell you now that this will not be the only Titanic book I read this year (in fact I have 3 more on my pile right now!).

We follow the journey of Thomas and Eve Gilmore as they leave Southampton to start their new lives in New York.  Thomas is excited about the move, he is looking forward to the journey on the mighty Titanic and his new career as an apprentice jeweller when they reach their destination.  Eve does not want to leave England.  She doesn't want to leave her friends, and she has a deep sense of foreboding about the journey on the 'unsinkable' Titanic.  

Wednesday 7 March 2012

67. Eric! by Christopher Wormell

Eric! by Christopher Wormell
Published March 2012 Random House

From the publisher:

Eric is a little boy who sometimes gets things wrong. But Eric learns that while you can’t be good at everything, sometimes it takes a little time to find out what you are good at. And when a huge monster stomps down the mountain to Eric’s village, Eric just might have his chance to shine…

Eric is the boy from the village that everyone knows, because he is always doing things wrong. He is a twit, a nitwit, a dunce, a dummy and a dope.  That's what he is told on a regular basis.  When a monster STOMP, STOMP, STOMPs his way towards the village, the villagers flee in fear.  Shouting that the only person to save them would have to be a twit, nitwit, dunce, dummy and a dope...Eric thinks that maybe he is the hero for the job.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

66. The Horses Didn't Come Home by Pamela Rushby

The Horses Didn't Come Home by Pamela Rushby
Published March 2012 Harper Collins

From the publisher:

The last great cavalry charge in history took place at Beersheba in the Sinai Desert in 1917. It was Australian soldiers and horses that took part in, and won, this amazing, unexpected, unorthodox victory. The men proudly claimed it was their great-hearted horses that won the day. But in the end, the horses didn't come home...

There have been plenty of war stories written for children, there have even been a number of books about animals in war. This story is Australian, and possible not as well known as the story of the ANZACs at Gallipoli. But unlike the devastating outcome at Gallipoli, the cavalry charge at Beersheba in the Sinai Desert was a victory.

Monday 5 March 2012

65. Mort by Martin Chatterton

Mort by Martin Chatterton
Published March 2012 Random House

From the publisher:

Time flies when you're having fun . . . Even when you're Mortimer DeVere, the 10,000-year-old boy. But when unexpected and unwelcome visitors arrive on Mort's home turf, the spooky Unk Island, he and his sister Agnetha will have their hands full dealing with some of the stranger hobbies they've tried to keep secret from one another and the outside world. Today may just turn out to be one of the most eventful days in Mort's very long life!

I had read a review somewhere that said throughout his 10,000 years, Mort had encountered many famous people, Leonardo da Vinci, HG Wells, Enid Blyton and Ghengis Khan to name a few.  That makes sense I thought, 10,000 years is a long time to live and you're bound to cross paths with a few big names.  This however is not the case.  Mort didn't meet these people during the course of his life, he cloned them!  He and his sister Agnetha have cloned famous dead people.  Mort has stuck to scientific types like Leo (Da Vinci) and Oppenheimer, while Agnetha has 'collected' authors like Agatha Christie, Enid Blyton and William Shakespeare.

Sunday 4 March 2012

64. Demolition by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Brian Lovelock

Demolition by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Brian Lovelock
Published March 2012 Walker Books

From the publisher:

Swing the ball. Swing the ball. Thump and smash and whack. Bring the top floors tumbling down. Bang! Clang! Crack! Load the trucks. Load the trucks. Lift and shift and heap. Drive away the piles of junk. Whump! Whop! Beep! Busy workers and noisy machines demolish an old building and build a new playground.

I find that there are very few picture books just for boys. Lots for girls, lots of general interest, but not many that are real 'boys' books. I was a big fan of Roadworks (also by Sally Sutton), so I was excited to see Demolition hit the shelves.

Saturday 3 March 2012

63. International Rescue Book 1: Paw Prints inthe Snow by Sally Grindley

International Rescue Book 1: Paw Prints in the Snow by Sally Grindley
Published March 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:

Two children accompany their parents as they travel the world helping animals on the verge of extinction. As their parents work alongside international agencies, the children have their own thrilling adventures!

Joe and Aesha are spending part of their school holidays at the Lazovsky Reserve in Far Eastern Russia. Their mother a world famous veterinarian has been asked there to train some young vets on how to anaesthatize tigers. Joe wants to follow in his Fathers' footsteps by being a wildlife he has big hopes to photograph a tiger. Unfortunately the tigers numbers are small, and he may have more chance seeing a bus drive through the woods!

Friday 2 March 2012

62. The Messenger Bird by Rosanne Hawke

The Messenger Bird by Roseanne Hawke
Published February 2012 UQP

From the publisher:

Never before has Tamar felt so alone. Her older brother is dead, her mum's away and her dad's so wrapped up in restoring their ancient farmhouse he avoids talking about the things that really matter. Even friendly new neighbour Gavin can't get through to her, despite his eager attempts.

When Tamar discovers an old handwritten sheet of music and allows herself to play piano again, she meets gifted violinist Nathaniel who may just hold the key to her future. With no one else to turn to, Tamar is unwittingly drawn into a journey through time and music.

This book almost starts in the middle of the story.  What happened before this story begins? Tamar's older brother Trystan has been killed in a car accident on a rural road, and her mother, unable to cope with her grief has left her family to get help.  So we have a teenage girl and her father living in an old house, each struggling with their own grief, and neither talking about it.

Thursday 1 March 2012

61. Ted Gets Lost by Michael Wagner illustrated by Tom Jellett

Ted Gets Lost by Michael Wagner illustrated by Tom Jellett
Published January 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:
With only a day until Mum's birthday, finding the best present ever seems impossible. But nothing's impossible for Oliver's fully-equipped and superbly trained stuffed friend, Ted.

Finding treasure on a desert island – easy! But will Ted survive crash-landing on a whale's blowhole, swimming through a swarm of stingers and battling a blood-thirsty band of pirates? Or will the little guy end up marooned forever?

This book is quite unashamedly ridiculous...and that is why boys will love it.

Oliver has a teddy bear that comes alive when he is with Oliver, but returns to his floppy teddy bear state when his parents or his sister are around.  
The story begins with Ted and Oliver deliberating over what get mum for her birthday. When Ted receives a letter (in the form of an origami helicopter) from Papa Guru (the leader of all the world's teddies) they think their problem has been solved.  Papa tells Oliver about a treasure of jewels buried on a remote island, all there just waiting for someone to dig up.

Two months down

Here we are already in March!  60 books read, only 306 to go.

So far I have read some amazing books, with fantastic characters.  I have visited Afghanistan, New York and Africa.  I have learnt about ducks, spent time with an artistic silverback and fallen in love with Fearless.  So many books, and so much to learn.

I am only two months into my challenge, and I think I have already read my own personal 'book of the year'.  That's a big call, with 10 months and 306 books to go, but I think Wonder by RJ Palacio is it.  Most books I read, I enjoy, and move on to the next one.  Wonder is a book that isn't easy to forget, it will be a book that I recommend for years to come.

See below for some of my other favourites for February.