Monday 30 April 2012

121. Ophelia Wild, Secret Spy by Elena de Roo illustrated by Tracy Duncan

Ophelia Wild, Secret Spy by Elena de Roo illustrated by Tracy Duncan
Published April 2012 Walker Books

From the publisher:
Feisty Ophelia Wild decides to set up her own detective agency, with its headquarters in her tree house. Along with her assistant, Albert, she foils bullies, solves a meat-pie mystery, and cracks the case of the disappearing dentures.

This is the second book by New Zealand author, Elena de Roo.  It's a fun quick read about the exploits of feisty Ophelia Wild.  It's also a story told in verse.  Unlike many other verse novels this one is told in rhyming verse.  At first I wasn't sure about that, as a fan of verse novels, it was strange to read one that read (to me) like a picture book.  After I got into the swing of the rhythm and the rhyme of the story, I felt that this type of verse just added to the quirky charm of the story.

Sunday 29 April 2012

120. Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep by David Melling

Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep by David Melling
Published April 2012 Hachette Australia

From the publisher:

Douglas is very excited about Rabbit's sleepover, but he collects so many friends along the way that soon it's a big squash in Rabbit's small burrow! Can Douglas think of a way for them all to get some sleep.

This book made me laugh out loud from the beginning, when Douglas climbs a tree to see where he is, and it was very, very bendy.  This is where the laughs really start, as Douglas has fallen on a bush nearly squashing a sheep.  Little sheep knows the way to Rabbit’s, so Douglas invites him along too.  As he’s walking away Douglas comments that his bag feels much heavier now, and we can see that there are 9 sheep stuck to his back!

Saturday 28 April 2012

119. Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Published April 2012 Corgi (Random House)

From the publisher:
After being 'grounded for life', Jack is facing a summer of doing nothing. But who's got time to die of boredom when there are so many more interesting ways to die in this town? 

He might crash in his Dad's homemade plane, or catch the disease that makes you dance yourself to death, or fall foul of the motorcycle gang that wants to burn the town to the ground. Old people seem to be dying faster than Miss Walker can write their obituaries, and Jack is starting to worry that it might not just be the rats that are eating the rat poison . . .

Dead End is Jack Gantos's hilarious blend of the entirely true and the wildly fictional, from one of the most darkly amusing imaginations writing today.

I don't usually read reviews of books before I read them , but as this book won the Newbery Medal I already had.  What I found was a 50/50 spilt of people who loved it and hated it, often the way with award winners I think, so with an open mind,  I read it myself.

Friday 27 April 2012

118. Where's the Meerkat? Illustrated by Paul Moran, Steve Wiltshire and Simon Ecob

Where's the Meerkat? Illustrated by Paul Moran, Steve Wiltshire and Simon Ecob
Published July 2012 Hardie Grant Egmont

From the publisher:
Join this fantastic, fun-loving family of meerkats as they go on an incredible round-the-world adventure. Whether they're visiting Paris or the Pyramids, the Great Wall of China or the Great Barrier Reef, there are ten cheeky critters to spot in every picture.

This week we have had penguins, now it's time for the meerkats.

Every body knows Where's Wally.  They have been around for years and are still as popular as ever.  Now there is a new title to take out the prize for favourite 'look and find' book...because everyone loves meerkats!

Thursday 26 April 2012

117. Penguin Pandemonium by Jeanne Willis illustrated by Nathan Reed

Penguin Pandemonium by Jeanne Willis illustrated by Nathan Reed
Published March 2012 

From the publisher:

Rory the rockhopper penguin loves showing off, but with few visitors to the zoo, life has become a little dull. If things don′t improve the zoo might have to close. So when the keepers install PENGUINCAM Rory grabs his chance with both flippers, organising a dazzling penguin talent show to pull in the crowds...
An unforgettably funny story about a little bird with big dreams.

Jeanne Willis is one of my favourite picture book authors.  In fact Tadpole's Promise would have to be one of my favourite picture books of all time, but I hadn't ever read any of her novels.

This is a young novel, that looks as though it's going to be a series.  Next to Meerkat's I think that everyone loves to see the penguins at the zoo, they are very funny to watch with their sliding around and splashing.  At the beginning of the book there is a Meet The Penguins section where each of the penguin characters are introduced.  There are four types of penguins in the book, Rockhopper, Fairy, Emperor and Chinstrap...oh and the famous flying penguin (except he is a goose!)  As well as the characters names there is information about each of the different types, giving their size, favourite food, favourite party trick and a 'flipper fact'.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

116. Archie's Letter: An ANZAC Day Story by Martin Flanagan and illustrated by Ainsley Walters

Archie's Letter: An ANZAC Day Story by Martin Flanagan illustrated by Ainsley Walters
Published April 2012 One Day Hill

From the publisher:

On Anzac Day 2010, a 96-year-old man in Hobart, a returned soldier from World War II, wrote a letter to the local paper thanking the people who were going to that morning's dawn service. Who was this man? Why did he write this letter? Archie's Letter tells the story of an ordinary man who went off to fight in World War II. His experiences included surviving the Burma Railway, where he was under the command of Australian war hero, Weary Dunlop. Archie's Letter also tells how he dealt with his wartime experiences; how, at the age of 91, he agreed to meet a group of elderly Japanese women interested in world peace; how he could never forget the young men who were with him during the war and who didn't come back.

As my readers come from all over the world, I will begin by explaining what ANZAC Day (April 25th) is, the day that we remember all of those who have fought and died in war.  For more information, please click on the National War Memorial  link below.

Australian War memorial

This is a non fiction title, my first for the year.  

I saved this book for ANZAC day because I thought that today's post should be a special one.  There are a number of books published for children about ANZAC day, but I chose this one because of the story behind the story.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

115. Splat the Cat and the Duck With No Quack (I Can Read) by Rob Scotton with interior illustrations by Robert Eberz

Splat the Cat and the Duck With No Quack (I Can Read) by Rob Scotton with interior illustrations by Robert Eberz
Published March 2012 Harper Collins

From the publisher:
A duck with no quack? Who has ever heard of that? Certainly not Splat—and he decides to investigate. Beginning readers will love the zany wordplay in this Splat book!

Splat is one of many characters that have made their way from picture book to easy readers.  Fans of the Splat picture books will love this early reader, and those few people that have never come across Splat in the picture book format will love him too.

Monday 23 April 2012

114. Floors by Patrick Carman

Floors by Patrick Carman
Published April 2012 Chicken House

From the publisher:
Welcome to the strangest hotel in the world! There's no place on earth like the Whippet Hotel. Every floor has its surprises and secrets. Guests are either mad or mysterious. And ducks are everywhere. If anyone knows the Whippet, it's Leo, the caretaker's son. But when he finds four strange boxes that lead him to hidden floors, he realises something extraordinary is going on. As the hotel begins to fall apart, Leo is on the ride of his life, without ever having to step outside.

The owner and creator of the Whippet hotel has gone missing, he's been gone for 100 days. Things are not the same without him there, and Leo and his Father's job is made difficult by the very cranky Ms Spark who is now in charge.  Until the day that Leo finds a purple wooden box with his name on it, inside is a message:

Floor and three and one half!
Strike the purple ball in the kitchen by the hall.
Three times fast. Duck!
And bring the ball.  You'll need it

Sunday 22 April 2012

113. Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett

Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett
Published March 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:

Three children have been sent to live in the countryside, safe from the war in London. When they find two boys hiding in a castle, the past and future come together to make an extraordinary adventure. 

Sonya Hartnett is an amazing writer of literary fiction for children, she is the winner of the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world's largest prize for children's and youth literature.  

It goes without saying then, that when you pick up a new Sonya Hartnett novel, you know you are in for a treat. Picking up The Children of the King was like going back in time, not only is the story set in England during WW2, but it is a cloth (feels like it anyway) covered hardback that feels like a book published in the 1940s.  

Saturday 21 April 2012

112. Jonathan and Martha by Petr Horacek

Jonathan and Martha by Petr Horacek
Published April 2012 Phaidon

From the publisher:

Jonathan and Martha are two lonely worms that live on opposite sides of a tree.
One day, a big juicy pear lands on the ground between them. Jonathan nibbles from the left, and Martha nibbles from the right ... and soon they are caught in a tangle!

This is the story of two worms, Jonathan and Martha who live on different sides of a tree.  One day they are both enjoying a juicy pear that falls from the tree.  Jonathan nibbled from the left and Martha from the right, they nibbled and nibbled until they meet in the middle.  Their meeting is not a pleasant one as they fight and tussle until they find themselves literally tangled together.  So, now they have to be together and find that they quite like it, until a big black bird comes a long and pecks off their tails, leaving Jonathan and Martha free…only to find that even though they are separate, they still want to be together (without tails?!).

Friday 20 April 2012

111. The Big Waves (Aussie Nibbles) by Raewyn Caisley illustrated by Elise Hurst

The Big Waves by Raewyn Caisley illustrated by Elise Hurst
Published February 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:

Sandy's beach holiday at Perfect Bay is perfect! The waves are just the right size. But when Sandy is dumped by a BIG wave, her holiday isn't perfect anymore . . .

Most children (and adults) who grow up in Australia have spent some part of their summer holidays at the beach, so most people will be able to identify with this story.  One of the things people will remember about their fun at the beach is the one time that you get ‘dumped’ by a big wave, it’s hard to forget, and this is what happens to Sandy.

Thursday 19 April 2012

110. Just Doomed by Andy Griffiths illustrated by Terry Denton

Just Doomed by Andy Griffiths illustrated by Terry Denton
Published April 2012 Pan Macmillan

From the publisher:

Take the DOOMED TEST and find out. YES / NO Have you ever broken a mirror, walked under a ladder or opened an umbrella inside? Do you often find yourself feeling that everything is about to go horribly, terribly and utterly wrong? Have you ever lost or destroyed a valuable item that didn't belong to you? Have you just accidentally enraged a very large and bad-tempered bully? Are you 120 years old or over? SCORE: One point for each 'yes' answer 3-5 You are definitely DOOMED! You will love this book. 1-2 You are fairly DOOMED! You will love this book. 0 You are DOOMED, you just don't realise it.

Now is probably the time that I admit to never having read an Andy Griffiths book.  I have read some parts of some of them, but not one in it’s entirety…until now.  The main reason being, that for my many years in children’s books, Andy Griffiths has always been a ‘no questions asked, firm favourite’, his books are not something I had to read in order to figure out who I would recommend these books for.  Andy Griffiths is like a literary Rock Star, kids love him, and they always know well in advance when his next book is coming out, and the books fly off the shelves.  As I have said before, this is my year of trying new things, broadening my horizons and now I am getting into the head space of a 10 year old boy!

Wednesday 18 April 2012

109. Owl Know How by Cat Rabbit illustrated by Isobel Knowles

Owl Know How by Cat Rabbit and Isobel Knowles
Published April 2012 Thames and Hudson

From the publisher:

Owl Know How is about solving problems, big problems that can only be solved by owls Enter the magical world of Cloud Town and meet Cornelia Rabbit and her bestfriend Orvi. With help from their friends they save the town from falling into the treetops by working together and using ‘owl know how’.

Before you even open this book, you know you are going to be in for a treat, not only is the cover gorgeous, the book 'feels' lovely too, like the old fabric covered hardbacks.  Then when you open it up, the endpapers are also stunning, only three colours of paper collage of trees and owls.  There is also a pattern in the back of the book, so you can create your own owl.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

108. Revived by Cat Patrick

Revived by Cat Patrick
Published April 2012 Hardie Grant Egmont

From the publisher:

Daisy has died five times. She's a test subject for a government super drug called Revive, which brings people back from the dead. Each time she is revived, Daisy has to move cities and change her identity to avoid suspicion. Daisy has always gotten a thrill out of cheating death, but her latest move has come with unexpected complications: a new best friend, and a very cute new crush who is taking a special interest in her... As Daisy's attachment to her new home grows, she discovers secrets that could tear her world apart. And the more she learns, the more she feels like a lowly pawn in a sinister game. When the stakes are life and death, someone is going to get hurt.

Now, I should tell you that I usually have some kind of plan with my reading, I work out on advance what I will read, make sure I have a decent mix of age ranges, genres, try and keep within a month of publication...blah blah blah....that plane went out the window when this book came skipped the queue.  I just had to read it straight away.  Why?  Because Cat;s book Forgotten from last year was an absolute highlight for me, so I couldn't wait to  get started on this.

Monday 16 April 2012

107. Precious and the Monkeys by Alexander MCall Smith

Precious and the Monkeys by Alexander McCall Smith
Published April 2012 Polygon

From the publisher:

Well before Precious Ramotswe founded her No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, as a seven-year-old girl she was already solving mysteries. Here, in this delightful, enchanting tale for children, we find out just who has been stealing her schoolfriends’ snacks and how the young Precious became the crafty and intuitive private investigator we all know and love!

I am so happy to see another young that isn't about fairies, puppies or magic bunnies.  A seven year old reader will have no idea who Precious Ramotswe is, and that is fine, you don't need to know who she is to enjoy this book.

Sunday 15 April 2012

106. Losing It by Julia Lawrinson

Losing It by Julia Lawrinson
Published March 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:

To avoid Losing It in the bushes with some random guy in a heavy-metal T-shirt after too many tequila shots, four best friends make a bet: to lose it before schoolies week - and preferably in a romantic, sober way that they won't regret.

There is no illusion as to what this book is going to be about.  It's on the cover (heart shaped sperm) and in the title and on the blurb.

This book is about sex.  That may put a lot of people off, mainly those selecting for school libraries.  
I must admit that I wasn't convinced I would like this book, I feared that a story of four teenage girls embarking on The Great Virginity Challenge might be too much for me to take.  Too tacky or too confronting, but it wasn't what I expected at all.

Don't get me wrong, this book has sex, masturbation, drinking, swearing, lying to parents...all of those confronting elements, but it's actually a thoughtful and funny look into the lives of four very different girls.

The idea was simple, none of the girls wanted to lose their virginity in some drunken fumbling during Schoolies week, so they would all try to lose it at some point during their last year of high school.  There is to be absolute secrecy, they are not to discuss their progress, and the results are to be written up in a diary style confession...and there we have the basis of this book. The book is told in 6 parts.  the introduction, then Zoe's story, Abby's story, Mala's story, Bree's story and then the ending where they all reveal whether or not they did indeed lose their virginity.  Each girl is different, Zoe lives with her Mum and has a reasonable amount of freedom, Abby's family is very religious, Mala's family are super protective and Bree is super smart, athletic and gorgeous.  While the girls have been friends for 6 years, it's not until they take part in this challenge that they really get to know themselves and each other.

The book is funny, and at times makes you cringe, but the characters are strong and intelligent and each girl comes away from the experiences with a clarity about what they want, and what they don't want for themselves.  I won't tell you anything about what happens to each of the characters, but be assured that nothing nasty happens to them (aside from the occasional heartbreak).  There is also a very comical link between all of the stories that we as the readers are made aware of, but the characters know nothing about!

So it's a book about sex, and the way on which the girls have chosen to tackle the issue of their virginity may not sit well with some adult readers, but I suggest that you read the book before making any judgement.  

Who will like this book: Girls age 15+
Read it if you like: Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

Saturday 14 April 2012

105. Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen
Published March 2012 Hachette

From the publisher:

Wahoo Cray has grown up with a zoo in his backyard - alligators, snakes, rats, monkeys, parrots, but it's his dad who's the unpredictable critter. When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called 'Expedition Survival', Wahoo figures he'll have to do a bit of wrangling himself to keep his dad from killing the show's inept star Derek Badger, who insists on using real wild animals for his stunts. And Wahoo's acquired a shadow named Tuna, a girl who's sporting a shiner courtesy of her old man and needs a place to hide out. They've only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties promptly get lost themselves. And Tuna's dad shows up with a gun...It's anyone's guess who will actually survive 'Expedition Survival!'

If you are a fan of Bear Grylls, then wait until you meet Derek Badger!  Derek Badger is the start of TVs ….and he is a cross between the afore mentioned Mr Grylls and Steve Irwin.  He has faced all manner of wild animals and hostile situations…or has he.

Derek may seem like the all action hero, but when he comes to the Florida Everglades and turns up on Wahoo’s doorstep looking for an animal wrangler on his new show, we get to see what really goes on behind the scenes of this  TV show.

Friday 13 April 2012

104. The Slice (Lightning Strikes Series) by Rose Quilter

The Slice Lightning Strikesby Rose Quilter
Published April 2012 Walker Books

From the publisher:

Marco s stomach rumbles. He remembers the cold piece of pizza leftover from last night. But Andy and Joey are starving too. They all hold on to the pizza box. It s decided that the last person holding the box, gets the slice. They’ve got nothing else to do this summer.

Here we have another funny fast read from the Lightning Strikes series.

As it says in the blurb, Marco is hungry, and with only one piece of pizza left, he and his friends set themselves a challenge.  Each person puts one hand on the pizza box and the last person holding the box, gets the pizza.  That might not seem like such a challenge, especially as when it started they were sitting in Marco’s lounge room.  Things start to get tricky when Nonna gets involved.

Thursday 12 April 2012

103. Opal Moonbaby by Maudie Smith

Opal Moonbaby by Maudie Smith
Published March 2012 Hachette Australia

From the publisher:

Martha's decided friends are stupid. Especially if they're anything like Colette and Chloe. She never wants another friend. Ever. But it's the first day of the summer holidays, and there's not that much to do... until she spots a strange little furry creature who leads her to Opal Moonbaby. Opal's been sent down from her planet on a mission: to work out what on earth people are (and my goodness - people are strange) and to make a friend.

This book starts with a bang, quite literally.  Early one morning the half asleep milkman ends up driving his milk float into a tree to avoid hitting a girl with beams of light coming from her violet eyes and her flying cat.  That is how we meet Opal Moonbaby.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

102. Other Brother by Simon French

Other Brother by Simon French
Published April 2012 Walker Books

From the publisher:

Kieran wants to be part of the in-group at school. He wants to be on the football team. He wants to fit in. But then his cousin Bon turns up. Bon doesn't know anything about fitting in he looks different, he wears the wrong clothes, and he says weird things. Kieran just wants to ignore Bon, but soon he is forced to make a choice. Which is more important being popular, or doing the right thing? 

When I read the blurb for this book I immediately thought of one of my favourite books of all time, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.  After reading it, I would say that in some regards it’s very similar, but in others, it is quite different.

Kieran’s best friend has moved away and he’s a little lost without him.  All he wants to do is to play soccer and have friends again, so he tries to befriend the most popular boys, Mason and Lucas, at school.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

101. Falling Fast by Sophie McKenzie

Falling Fast by Sophie McKenzie
Published April 2012 Simon & Schuster

From the publisher:
This is life, not a rehearsal...When River auditions for a part in an inter-school performance of Romeo and Juliet, she finds herself smitten by Flynn, the boy playing Romeo. River believes in romantic love, and she can't wait to experience it. But Flynn comes from a damaged family - is he even capable of giving River what she wants? The path of true love never did run smooth...                            

In some ways this is your regular 'girl meets boy from the wrong side of the tracks' love story, but there's something a bit darker about it.
River falls for Flynn from the first time she meets him.  Flynn keeps his cards very close to his chest, so River is unsure if he knows she exists, let alone 'fancy her'.
As Flynn lets his guard down, and his feelings for River come to light we slowly learn why he is such an angry young man.  He come from a struggling family, he works three jobs to try and help his mother make ends meet.  His father, who no longer lives with them is a drunk who was nothing but trouble, and Flynn has become the protector of the women (his mother and the sisters) in his family.

Monday 9 April 2012

100. Millie's Special Something by Tania Cox and David Miller

Millie's Special Something by Tania Cox and David Miller
Published March 2012 Working Title Press

From the publisher:

Big, bad Reggie loves to scare Millie. It's fun. But not for Millie. It's frightening! Her friends each have a special something to make them feel brave. So why doesn't she? Or does she?

Millie has had enough of being picked on by Reggie,  But what can she do? She can't swoop like Lea, stomp like Dan or roar like Gus.  She has beautiful feathers, but they're not good for flying...maybe they can be of use in some other way.

Sunday 8 April 2012

99. Ghost Club Book 1: The New Kid by Deborah Abela

Ghost Club Book 1: The New Kid by Deborah Abela
Published March 2012 Random House

From the publisher:

Angeline and Edgar might be kids, but they're also two of Ghost Club's youngest ghost-catchers. Got a problem with a ghost, poltergeist or ghoul? Can't sleep because of all the rattling chains and cackling laughter? Angeline and Edgar are the experts to call.So it's entirely logical that when new kid Dylan joins Ghost Club, Angeline and Edgar are the perfect candidates to introduce him to everything he needs to know, from which ghost-catching gadget will do the trick to when to run like crazy to avoid being splattered with ectoplasm.The trouble is, Dylan's not quite sure he wants to be a ghost-catcher . . .

If you work in a school library how many times do you get students coming up to you saying "I want a scary book"?  Usually the student is about 8 and they probably don't want an actual scary book, but more a book that looks scary.  Maybe one with ghosts?  Well now you have something to give them.

Saturday 7 April 2012

98. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Published April 2012 Usborne

From the publisher:

11-year-old Caitlin has Asperger's syndrome, and has always had her older brother, Devon, to explain the confusing things around her. But when Devon is killed in a tragic school shooting, Caitlin has to try and make sense of the world without him. With her dad spending most of his time crying in the shower, and her life at school becoming increasingly difficult, it doesn't seem like things will ever get better again. 

This book is set in the aftermath of a school shooting.  A shooting that took place in a small community where two students and one teacher died.  The entire community is affected by this tragedy, but in this book we get a close up look at how one family copes. Devon was one of the victims, and we follow his Dad and his sister on their road to recovery.  Caitlin also has Asperger's syndrome, so she is dealing with her own grief, but also trying to understand the feelings of all of those around her.

Friday 6 April 2012

97. 10 Futures by Michael Pryor

10 Futures by Michael Pryor
Published April 2012 Random House

From the publisher:
Sam and Tara. Best friends in a future when artificial intelligence organises our lives, and micropets are the latest craze. Best friends when rationing means cold showers and no Internet. Best friends when genetic matching makes asking a girl on a date a minefield of epic proportions. 

But will they still be best friends in a future when plague wipes out most of humanity? Or a future when the Inquisitor asks Sam to choose one betrayal over another?

This book is actually a collection of short stories.  Each short story has the same two main characters, Sam and Tara. Each story takes place at at different time in the future, from 2020 - 2120.  None on the stories are connected, we don't see 16 year old Tara and Sam in 2020 and then 96 year old Tara and Sam in 2100, each future is a stand alone story and Tara and Sam are always the same age.  Hope that's clear?!  It will be when you start reading it.

Thursday 5 April 2012

96. Sam the Cat by Sam Bowring illustrated by Andrew McLean

Sam the Cat by Sam Bowring and illustrated by Andrew McLean
Published February 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:

Sam lives very happily in a tumbledown house with Jane and Ian. But when Jane and Ian bring home a baby boy, not only does the baby get all the attention – he even steals Sam's name!

This is a funny picture book, with at least one page that made me laugh-out-loud (the page when the cat hears the owners talking about changing his name).  It's even funnier when you realise that this is actually a true story.

This is the story of how the author's parents, Ian and Jan,  struggled to come up with a name for their new son.  The only name they really loved was Sam, but that was the cats name.  "I know!" they thought, lets call the baby Sam and give the cat a new name...Jack.  Needless to say 'Jack' wasn't impressed with his new name, and he leaves the house in disgust.  The next part of the story, 'Jack's' adventure in the real world is entirely fictional (but the real cat did indeed run away) and not very pleasant, but then one day Ian spots 'Jack' while on his way to work and takes him back home again.  Where Jack realises that having people who love you and feed you far outweighs the indignity of having your name changed without permission.

Who will like this book: Boys and girls age 5+
Read it if you like: Scallywag by Jeanette Rowe

Wednesday 4 April 2012

95. DC Super Friends #1: Brain Freeze by JE Bright illustrated by Loston Wallace & David Tanguay

DC Super Friends #1: Brain Freeze by JE Bright  illustrated by Loston Wallace & David Tanguay
Published April 2012 Hardie Grant Egmont

From the publisher:

The city of Metropolis shivers when it feels Mr. Freeze's icy touch. But never fear: BATMAN, SUPERMAN, and the rest of the DC Super Friends will melt this coldhearted villain's frosty plans! 

There is really not too much to say about this book, except that I think it and the others in the series will be very popular with young boys.

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Big day for children's books in Australia

The busiest day of the year for me.

Today was the announcement of the CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) shortlist for 2012.  This is a selection of the best children’s books published in 2011. The shortlist is comprised of six books in the following categories, Younger Reader, Picture Book, Early Childhood, Older Reader, Eve Pownall Award for Information Books and the Crichton Award, which is for new illustrators.  While the shortlist is announced today, the winners are not announced until Friday 17th August, giving schools and libraries plenty of time to get the books and read them before Book Week (Aug 18-24) that takes place the week after the winners are announced. 
While you would think because of the awards these books will be everywhere and easy to get, that is not the case.  Because these books are shortlisted every school and library in Australia will want copies of them, that is 1000’s of schools and libraries.  That's one problem, then we have the issue of those books being published in 2011, some more that 16 months ago, and that means that they may have to be reprinted…all of this adds up to what might be a long wait for some of the books.  On the flip side, because they were published in 2011, many libraries may already have copies on their shelves.

Here are some links you may find interesting.:
CBCA website: for info about the organisation
CBCA  Awards FAQ page: answers the questions of the process involved in choosing the shortlist and the criteria. 
Notable book list: the long list, from which the final books were selected.

Here are the shortlisted titles for 2012:

Book of the Year: Older Readers
Intended for mature readers

Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel  by Michael Gerard Bauer 
Straight Line To My Heart by Bill Condon 
Golden Day, The by Ursula Dubosarsky 
Dead I Know, The by Scot Gardner 
Ship Kings Book 1: Coming of the Whirlpool, The by Andrew McGahan  

When We Were Two by Robert Newton 
Book of the Year: Younger Readers
Intended for independent younger readers

Crow Country by Kate Constable
(Outcasts Book 1) by John Flanagan
Nanberry: Black Brother White
 by Jackie French Age12+
Truth About Verity Sparks, The
by Susan Green
Golden Door, The  
by Emily Rodda
 by Emily Rodda
Book of the Year: Early Childhood
Intended for children in the pre-reading to early reading stages

Runaway Hug, The by Nick Bland illustrated by Freya Blackwood
Come Down, Cat!
 by Sonia Hartnett illustrated by Lucia Masciullo
That’s Not a Daffodil!
by Elizabeth Honey
Last Viking, The
  by Norman Jorgensen illustrated by James Foley
No Bears
 by Meg McKinlay and  illustrated by Leila Rudge
Rudie Nudie
  by Emma Quay
Picture Book of the Year
Intended for an audience ranging from birth to 18 years(Some books may be for mature readers.)

Look, a Book! by Libby Gleeson and illustrated Freya Blackwood   
Dream of the Thylacine by Margaret Wild illustrated by Ron Brooks
For All Creatures by Glenda Millard illustrated by Rebecca Cool
Bus Called Heaven, A
  by Bob Graham
No Bears
 by Meg McKinlay and illustrated by Leila Rudge
 by Jackie French and illustrated by Bruce Whatley
Eve Pownall Award for Information Books

Intended for an audience ranging from birth to 18 years
(Some books may be for mature readers.)

Little Refugee, The  by Anh Do illustrated by Bruce Whatley
One Small Island by Coral Tulloch illustrated by Alison Lester
Surrealism For Kids
 by the Queensland Art Gallery
Bilby Secrets
 by Edel Wignell and illustrated by Mark Jackson
Fromelles: Australia’s Bloodiest Day at War
 by Carole Wilkinson
Playground: Listening to Stories from Country
 by Nadia Wheatley illustrated by Ken Searle
Crichton Award for New Illustrators
The Crichton Award aims to recognise and encourage new talent in the field of Australian children's book illustration
Ben and Duck by Sarah Acton
Squish Rabbit
  by Katherine Battersby
Song For Lorkie, A
  by Jennifer Castle and illutsrated by Dean Bowen
York’s Universe
  by Heidi Goh
Mozzie and Midgie
 by Doug MacLeod and illustrated by Sandy Okalyi
Grumpy Little King
 by Michael Streich
While I don’t always agree with the choices, I understand the process involved and the difficulty the judges face narrowing their selection down to 6 books in each category, when they have 100s to read and choose from.

My aim this year was to only read books published from 2012, but  I may have to make an exception to my own rule, as there are a number of the shortlisted titles I have not read, and reading them is something I have to do.  As I only have time this year to read books that I will be writing about, you may see some of these books cropping up here n the next few months.