Friday 31 August 2012

244. Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
Published August 2012 Text Publishing

From the publisher:
When Georges moves into a Brooklyn apartment building, he meets Safer, a twelve-year-old coffee-drinking loner and self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer's first spy club recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: how far is too far to go for your only friend?

This is the second Rebecca Stead book that I have read.  I loved When You Reach Me, but I always have trouble explaining the story to people, I feel that the same may be said for this one, so I apologise if I seem to ramble!

Thursday 30 August 2012

243. Olivia and the Fairy Princesses by Ian Falconer

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses by Ian Falconer
Published September 2012 Simon & Schuster

From the publisher:
In her newest hilarious endeavour, Olivia embarks upon a quest for identity and individuality. It seems there are far too many pink and sparkly princesses around these days and Olivia has had quite enough! She needs to stand out. And so, in typical 'Olivia' style, she sets about creating a whole array of fantastically dressed princesses… and shows us that everyone can be individual and special.

Olivia has always been an individual…that’s why we love her!  In this book Olivia starts to question her identity and her individuality.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

242. The Secret Hen House Theatre by Helen Peters

The Secret Hen House Theatre by Helen Peters
Published July 2012 Allen & Unwin (Noisy Crow)

From the publisher:

Since the death of her mother, Hannah's family life has been chaotic.
Ignored by their dad, who's absorbed as much by his grief as by the challenges of running their hopelessly dilapidated farm, Hannah and her brothers and sisters are left to fend for themselves. While the younger kids run riot round the farm, Hannah decides she wants to do something special, something that connects her to her theatre-loving mum. She's going to write and put on a play in the overgrown hen house she's found in a remote corner of the farm. Then the farm is threatened with demolition, and Hannah - with her best friend - have to find a way to save it. Perhaps one of the props they're using in the play is valuable after all...

I know, I know. Did you think I could possibly find any more books where a parent has died? Well I have, and this one is a little gem.

Tuesday 28 August 2012

241. Star by Catherine Bateson

Star by Catherine Bateson
Published August 2012 Scholastic

From the publisher:
Star lives with her mum and her mum's old university friend, Charlie, who has broken up with his wife. Star doesn't always like Charlie she certainly doesn't like his two kids, Talia and Gabe. So when Star's mum, Nell, begins to fall in love with Charlie and he moves in properly, Star isn't sure how she feels about it. Charlie hates the way his kids just want to eat Maccas and have mobile phones, so he proposes a complete change of lifestyle. Star discovers that moving to the country doesn't solve her friendship problems maybe Charlie has an innovative solution to that as well. After a Japanese Hamani viewing of the new backyard's plum tree, Star finds a friend who shares some of her interests. At the same time she realises that being a step-sister to Talia and Gabe might not be such a bad thing after all.

I seem to be reading a lot of books about one parent families, where one of the parents have died. In this case the story is about Star and her mother getting on with life with their Dad/husband gone.

Monday 27 August 2012

240. Unforgotten by Tohby Riddle

Unforgotten by Tohby Riddle
Published September 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:
Nobody knows where they come from.
But they come.
Impossible birds of the big sky
and the long night...

So begins this timely and timeless story, told in magnificent images and words by master storyteller, Tohby Riddle. A triumph of quiet beauty.

Here is a book that will probably divide readers. It would be classed as a picture book, except that it is 128 pages long, and has a few carefully chosen words, it is really a beautifully illustrated poem, and the text is printed in full, at the back of the book.

Sunday 26 August 2012

239. The 26-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton

The 26-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton
Published September 2012 Pan Macmillan Australia

From the publisher:

Join Andy and Terry in their newly expanded treehouse, which now features 13 brand-new storeys, including a dodgem car rink, a skate ramp, a mud-fighting arena, an anti-gravity chamber, an ice-cream parlour with 78 flavours run by an ice-cream serving robot called Edward Scooperhands and the Maze of Doom – a maze so complicated that nobody who has gone in has ever come out again... well, not yet, anyway.
Well, what are you waiting for? Come on up!
The follow on from the extremely popular 13 stores treehouse (which I didn't read!). The premise of this book is that Andy Griffiths and his illustrator Terry Denton live in a treehouse, in the last book it was a 13 storey treehouse, but they've extended.  Being a 26 storey treehouse, you can imagine that it's not your average treehouse.  This one has a shark tank, ice rink (with ice skating penguins), ice cream parlor with 78 flavours and a robot server called Edward Scooperhands as well as an anti gravity chamber to name a couple of their additions.

Saturday 25 August 2012

238. Louis Beside Himself by Anna Fienberg

Louis Beside Himself by Anna Fienberg
Published August 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher

Louis's best mates, Singo and Hassan, are into basketball and skateboarding, and his dad is into arm-wrestling. Dad wants to build Louis up with wrestling moves like the Walls of Jericho or the Five Star Frog Splash, but Louis is better at flexing words than flexing his muscles.This summer Louis is put to the test, starting with the Phenomenon.

As soon as I started this book, I though that it may prove very popular with young male readers...there is loungeroom wrestling and noxious flatulence in the first few pages!  A little way further into the book, I was happy to realise that there's a bit more too this story than smelly boy stuff.

Friday 24 August 2012

237. The Beginners Guide to Revenge by Marianne Musgrove

The Beginners Guide To Revenge by Marianne Musgrove
Published August 2012 Random House (Woolshed Press)

From the publisher:

As a soldier's daughter, Romola's been to six schools in eight years, always having to make new friends ... and now enemies. Meanwhile, Sebastian's mum is about to make the biggest mistake of their lives, unless Sebastian can find his dad in time to stop her. Thrown together by chance, these two thirteen-year-olds set out to even the score. But once that big old ball of revenge starts rolling down the hill, there's not an awful lot they can do to stop it ... or is there?

Here is another book told in alternate chapters.  There’s 13 year old Romola, whose father is a soldier, currently fighting in the Middle East and 13 year old Sebastian whose parents are separated and he hasn’t seen his Dad in 18 months.  Romola, as the daughter of a soldier, has moved around a lot, she has been to six schools in eight years, and she has trouble making friends.  She wants friends, but she has little problem that means she can only be herself, and sometimes ‘being herself’ is too much for other people to take.

Thursday 23 August 2012

236. A Hare, A Hound & Shy Mousey Brown by Julia Hubery and illustrated by Jonathan Bentley

A Hare, A Hound & Shy Mousey Brown by Julia Hubery and illustrated by Jonathan Bentley
Published August 2012 Hardie Grant Egmont (Little Hare)

From the publisher:
There's a hare in the air, there's a hound on the ground, and watching them both is shy Mousey Brown … And so begins an enchanting adventure, complete with danger, silliness, bravery and romance. Mouse is tiny but bold, Hound is vast and menacing, Hare doesn't have a clue and, between them, someone has to come out on top.

Here’s another cover that I just love.  One of the reasons I like it so much, is that it doesn’t give too much away about the story, but it makes me want to read it and find out what this hare hound and mouse get up to. The word rollicking gets used a lot, but there is no other word for this story, it is a rollicking good read.  It is told in rhyme and it reads really well, as I have said in the past, if you were planning to read it to a group, read it through first. 

Wednesday 22 August 2012

235. Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
Published June 2012 Random House

From the publisher:

 LA has been devastated by a massive earthquake and the city is full of chaos and shattered lives. Mia Price has a connection to the storm that caused the earthquake but doesn't know why - who should she turn to for answers? The religious FOLLOWERS prophesise the end of the world and claim to have the answers that Mia is seeking.The mysterious and beautiful Jeremy warns her away from them but he's hiding a more sinister truth. In the end, Mia is to discover that she is part of a power much larger than she could ever have imagined. When the final disaster strikes, she must unleash the full horror of her strength to save them all.

A few years ago we were inundated with ‘end of the world’ movies, like Armageddon, The Day After, Deep Impact, Day After Tomorrow to name a few.  All of a sudden we seem to be seeing the same trend in teenage fiction.  They have always been around, Z for Zachariah a classic that is still popular today, the trend in more recent post apocalyptic titles seems to be disasters due to environmental factors.  That leads me to today’s title, Struck.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

234. Ivy and Bean Book 8: No News Is Good News by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

Ivy and Bean Book 8: No News Is Good News by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall
Published August 2012 Chronicle Books

From the publisher:
Ivy and Bean need some money. Ten dollars, to be exact. Never mind what for. Okay, it's for low-fat Bellideloon cheese in a special just-for-you serving size. Don't ask why. How are Ivy and Bean going to make then dollars! Hey, maybe they should write a newspaper about Pancake Court and sell it. Great idea! And easy, too. All they have to do is snoop around the neighbourhood. Wow. It's very interesting what you can find out. It's even more interesting when the neighbours read about it in the newspaper.

Ivy and Bean is a New York Times best selling series, and this is the first book I have read in the series.  The series is aimed at confident younger readers, who don't want a thick novel, and still like to have some pictures.

Monday 20 August 2012

233. Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid

Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid
Published July 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:

Hephzibah. You've no idea what it's like having a freak for a sister.
Rebecca. Born first, prettier, Hephzi's always been the more popular one.
The Father. When he was busy with his bottle we were usually safe. Usually.
The Mother. Her specialist subject was misery and lessons of painful silence . . .
Hephzibah and Rebecca are twins. One beautiful, one disfigured.
Trapped with their loveless parents, they dream of a normal life.But when one twin tragically dies, the other must find a way to escape. Because if she doesn't, she'll end up like her sister.
This is a book that I struggle to say is good, because while the storytelling is great, the storyline is horrific. Maybe horrific is too harsh, maybe I am a sensitive reader.  What I can say is that this is a story that will stay with you.

Sunday 19 August 2012

232. A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean

A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean
Published August 2012 Harper Collins

From the publisher:

When Cally Fisher sees her dead mother, real as anything, no one believes her. So Cally stops talking - what′s the point if no one is listening?
The only other living soul who sees Cally′s mum is a mysterious wolfhound who always seems to be there when her mum appears. But without a voice, how will Cally convince anyone that her mum is still with them, and how will she ever persuade her Dad that the huge silver-grey dog is their last link with her?
An outstandingly assured debut novel from a sparkling new talent.

There's a quote from Cathy Cassidy on the front of this book 'Heartbreakingly beautiful...I loved it',  I could just leave it at that, because those are my thoughts precisely.  Once again I am in awe of another first time author. What amazes me is that these authors have been out there living their lives doing other things, in the case of Sarah Lean, teacher/gardener/stencil maker to name a few, and then out pops a beautiful story like this one!

Saturday 18 August 2012

231. Pookie Aleera is Not My Boyfriend by Steven Herrick

Pookie Aleera is Not My Boyfriend by Steven Herrick
Published July 2012 UQP

From the publisher:
Award-winning author Steven Herrick’s latest book is a heart-warming tale about friendship, grief and the importance of baked goods.

In a country town, in a school just like yours, the kids in Class 6A tell their stories.

There’s Mick, school captain and sometime trouble-maker, who wants to make the school a better place, while his younger brother Jacob just wants to fly. There’s shy and lonely Laura who hopes to finally fit in with a circle of friends, while Pete struggles to deal with his grandpa’s sudden death. Popular Selina obsesses over class comedian Cameron, while Cameron obsesses over Anzac biscuits and Pookie Aleera – whoever that is!

For new teacher Ms Arthur, it’s another world, but for Mr Korsky, the school groundskeeper, he’s seen it all before.

Sitting down with a new Steve Herrick is like being a fly on the wall in an Australian classroom and school yard.  Herrick has a real knack of capturing the unique voices of each individual character.   This is a novel told in verse, and each chapter (poem) is told by a different student or staff member.  I know that there are still people out there that just don't like verse novels, but I really think you're missing out, as Steve Herrick tells such a great Australian story with humour, honesty and heart.

Friday 17 August 2012

230. Girl V The World: Waiting For It by Chrissie Keighery

Girl V The World: Waiting For It by Chrissie Keighery
Published August 2012 Hardie Grant Egmont

From the publisher:
There's something wrong with Hazel Atherton she just knows it. She's not a kid anymore, but she's not grown-up either. Hazel hasn't even kissed a boy and she's not sure she ever will. Although that doesn't stop her from thinking about Leo in the year above... Hazel wishes she could talk to her mum about it - but these days her mum is too busy hanging out with her new boyfriend. Does anyone understand what's going on with Hazel?

When I was a young girl of 11 or so, the book that was being passed around at school was Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? by Judy Blume. In fact I am not sure anyone ever actually borrowed it from the library, we just used to crowd around it and read it at lunchtime.  This book, is the first in a new series called, Girl V The World, and they have been marketed for those ‘in between ‘ readers.  They’re not little girls anymore, but they’re not quite teenagers yet either. 

Thursday 16 August 2012

229. Good News, Bad News by Jeff Mack

Good News, Bad News by Jeff Mack
Published August 2012 Hardie Grant (Chronicle)

From the publisher:
Good news, Rabbit and Mouse are going on a picnic. Bad news, it is starting to rain. Good news, Rabbit has an umbrella. Bad news, the stormy winds blow the umbrella (and Mouse!) into a tree. So begins this clever story about two friends with very different dispositions. 

There are so many worthwhile picture books coming out this month that I may have to waive my self imposed 'one picture book a week' rule.  Here's another one, surprise surprise no people get eaten in this one, so maybe my tastes are maturing!

Wednesday 15 August 2012

228. A Brighter Fear by Kerry Drewery

A Brighter Fear by Kerry Drewery
Published August 2012 Harper Collins

From the publisher:

This is the story of Lina, a teenage girl from Baghdad. It starts in 2003, as the bombs begin to fall on the city.
In it, Lina fights to survive, to find a life for herself amid the chaos of war, to find what happened to her mother in the years before the war, when she was taken away by the secret police. She also falls in love, with the one person she should never have fallen in love with.
It is many things. It is a love story, both for a country and for a person. It is about an amazing girl, growing up in the worst circumstances imaginable. It contains a necklace, that was lost but might still be found. And that is all we can say, without ruining this extraordinary and beautiful modern fairy tale...

Unlike yesterdays book, this is not a true story. This book has been marketed as a 'beautiful contemporary fairy tale' and 'an impossible love', neither of these descriptions ring true for me.  It's the story of Lina, a Christian girl living in Baghdad, she lives with her father, her mother missing presumed dead.  Her life changes on the day the first bombs are dropped.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

227. On Two Feet and Wings by Abbas Kazerooni

On Two Feet and Wings by Abbas Kazerooni
Published August 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:
This amazing true story of a boy fleeing Tehran on his own during the Iran-Iraq War provides a powerful child's-eye view of political tumult, separation, survival, dreams and triumphs in a moving memoir that chronicles extraordinary times in an ordinary boy's life.

If you didn't know that this was a true story you would think that it was a great story, but hope that this kind of thing never happens. Well it is a true story, amazing as it is, and it is one that will stay with you long after you have read the last page.

Monday 13 August 2012

226. Azzi In Between by Sarah Garland

Azzi In Between by Sarah Garland
Published August 2012 Walker (France Lincoln)

From the publisher:
A haunting story of a family's flight from danger to a new life in a new country. Azzi and her parents are in danger. They have to leave their home and escape to another country on a frightening journey by car and boat. In the new country they must learn to speak a new language, find a new home and Azzi must start a new school. With a kind helper at the school, Azzi begins to learn English and understand that she is not the only one who has had to flee her home. She makes a new friend, and with courage and resourcefulness, begins to adapt to her new life. But Grandma has been left behind and Azzi misses her more than anything. Will Azzi ever see her grandma again? Drawing on her own experience of working among refugee families, renowned author and illustrator Sarah Garland tells, with tenderness and humour, an exciting adventure story to be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Endorsed by Amnesty International.

This is the first of three books I will be sharing this week that all deal with children and war. I am not sure where this picture book fits.  The story is told in a comic strip style, but it probably wouldn't be considered a graphic novel because of it's format (hardback and picture book sized).  

Sunday 12 August 2012

225. Every Thing Left Unsaid by Jessica Davidson

Every Thing Left Unsaid by Jessica Davidson
Published August 2012 Pan Macmillan

From the publisher:

Tai and Juliet have been best friends forever – since they met at kindy and decided to get married in first grade.
They understand each other in the way that only best friends can.
They love music, beach walks, energy drinks and, they are slowly discovering, each other.
As they begin to dream of adventures beyond the HSC – a future free of homework, curfews and parents, a life together – their plans are suddenly and dramatically derailed.
For Tai is sick.
And not everything you wish for can come true.
A poignant story of first love, hope, grief, family, and the twistedness of life.

I have had my two animals eating people picture books already this month and now I have my second dying teenager.  While I didn't need tissues with the early one The Probability of Miracles I did get a bit teary with this one.

Saturday 11 August 2012

224. Phyllis Wong and the Forgotten Secrets of Mr Okyto by Geoffrey McSkimming

Phyllis Wong and the Forgotten Secrets of Mr Okyto by Geoffrey McSkimming
Published August 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:

Conjuring is in Phyllis Wong's veins. It was passed down from her great-grandfather who, before his mysterious disappearance, was one of the world's most brilliant and successful magicians. Now Phyllis lives in what was his grand old home, converted into a number of apartments, in the middle of the city with her father and her loyal dog Daisy.When a series of incomprehensible robberies takes place in the city, Phyllis realises there is much more to the crimes than meets the eye. It may be baffling her friend Chief Inspector Inglis, but Phyllis is determined to find out more. Who is this thief? What does he want? And how is he achieving the impossible?

I have never read anything from the Cairo Jim series, so I didn't really know what to expect with this book.  I love a mystery, and I love a little bit of illusion too, this book is a combination of both of those things, so I was hoping for the best.  

Friday 10 August 2012

223. Survive by Alex Morel

Survive by Alex Morel
Published August 2012 Hardie Grant Egmont

From the publisher:
Jane is running away from everything. From the facility she's been living in, from her pain, from her guilt, from life. She boards a plane to Montclair, New Jersey, though her destination does not matter - she doesn't plan to be alive when the plane lands. Jane has planned the perfect suicide. She'll fall asleep on the plane and never wake up. But as she's reaching for her pills in the tiny bathroom, the plane hits turbulence. Another jolt, the engine's down. The plane crashes into the cold, remote mountains of Montana, and Jane and a boy named Paul are the only two survivors. It took a brush with death to make Jane realise that she didn't want to die. But now there is snow, mountains, cliffs, little food and no water standing between life and death. And suddenly it's not just Jane. There is another person in the equation and she needs to get them both to safety. She needs them both to survive.

When we meet the main character of Jane Solis, she is leaving the institution  where she has been living for the last year. Jane is at Life House because she  had an 'incident', a suicide attempt. One year later, she has been doing all the right things, giving all the right answers because she wants the chance to leave and visit home for Christmas.  Jane's plan is not to spend time with her mother, but to end it all by overdosing on the flight.

Thursday 9 August 2012

222. The Unexpected Crocodile by Kim Kane and illustrated by Sara Acton

The Unexpected Crocodile by Kim Kane and illustrated by Sara Acton
Published August 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publishers:
Peggy's family is hosting a barbecue for their neighbours, the Dawson's. Peggy isn't too sure about those Dawson boys. But she's delighted when an unexpected crocodile invites himself to tea...with unexpected consequences!

This is the second of my favourite 'animal eating people' picture books for this month.  Unlike the lion in In the Lion, the crocodile in this story is a little more discerning when it come to who he puts in his mouth! This book is a little bit odd, and I do have to wonder of it's not written more for adults than children, adults who have played host to annoying guests at dinner parties! Odd does not equal bad, in fact for me, it's the odd books that stand out and stay in my memory.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

221. After by Morris Gleitzman

After by Morris Gleitzman
Published August 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:
In the fourth part of Felix's story, continuing his adventures in World War Two, he faces perhaps his greatest challenge - to find hope when he's lost almost everything, including his parents. As Europe goes through the final agonizing stages of the war, Felix struggles to reconcile hatred and healing. He's helped by a new friend, but if he should lose her as well...

This book crept up on me.  I had no idea we were going to have another book about Felix.  Technically this is the fourth book in the series about Felix.  Once and Then were set at the beginning and during WW2 and Now was a bit different, as it was set in the present day.  After goes back to Felix as a13 year old boy, and his time during the last months of the War.  The best thing about all of the books in this series, is that  they have been written in a way that means they can be read as stand alone novels.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

220. Wolf Springs Chronicles Book 1: Unleashed by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

Wolf Springs Chronicles Book 1: Unleashed by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
Published August 2012 Random House (Corgi Children)

From the publisher:
Who do you run with? It's always tough being the new kid in town. And even worse when you have to live with your grandfather in the middle of the forest. But when Katelyn starts at Wolf Springs High she realizes that her new life might not be so bad. There's the enigmatic Trick, who is always there to protect her. And Cordelia Fenner and her irresistible cousin seem extra friendly. Katelyn suspects that there is more to the Fenner Family than meets the eye. But why is she so drawn to them? And in a town full of secrets, who can she trust?

If you lean more towards Team Jacob than Team Edward, then this may be the book for you. 

Monday 6 August 2012

219. Welcome Home, Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke illustrated by Lauren Tobia

Welcome Home, Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke illustrated by Lauren Tobia
Published August 2012 Walker

From the publisher:
Anna Hibiscus is back home after visiting her grandma in Canada. But it seems that so much has changed while she was away! Double and Trouble have learned to run and Grandad seems to have grown older. One of the chickens has laid its eggs and eventually they hatch - all except one, which Anna looks after. Finally one morning that egg hatches too and a white ball of fluff appears. Anna names her chick Snow White, and the two are inseparable. But Snow White wreaks havoc wherever she goes, and Anna has a hard time keeping her out of trouble. Anna also has a surprise visitor - someone from Canada has come all that way to see her!

Another book about Anna Hibiscus in the Racing Read series.   I like this book for a number of reasons.  It’s a great choice for readers who are moving from early chapter books, and gaining more confidence.  There are still some illustrations scattered throughout the book, but there are larger chunks of text.  The other thing I like is the glimpse into everyday African life.  It’s not a book about ‘African Life’ it’s a book about a little girl called Anna, who just happens to live in Africa.

Sunday 5 August 2012

218. The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
Published July 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:
Sixteen-year-old Campbell doesn't believe in miracles. She's spent the last seven years in and out of hospitals, so she's pretty sceptical.

But Campbell's mum and sister won't give up. They've heard rumours of a place in Maine where magical things happen: fish raining from the sky, purple dandelions, everlasting sunsets. A place named Promise. Yes, really. 

So they head to Promise for a holiday by the sea, where Cam meets mysterious neighbour Asher, a crazy donkey called James and a puppy who's a survivor.  In Promise Cam learns to believe in true love, in herself, and maybe even in miracles.

Firstly I will say that on the title page of the book it gives a few lines about the author, and YES apparently, Wendy Wunder is her real name.  A name like that just begs to be put on the front of a book.  This is a book about a teenager with cancer, a teenager dying of cancer, there have been a number of books with the same subject matter, but they all manage to tackle it slightly differently.  I usually need to have my tissues with me when I start a book  like this, but I didn't feel the need when I started this one.  It has it's moments, but it's really quite a quirky upbeat story about living life, not about dying.

Saturday 4 August 2012

217. The Great Dog Disaster by Katie Davies

The Great Dog Disaster by Katie Davies
Published August 2012 Simon & Schuster

From the publisher:
Suzanne's Great-Great-Aunt Deidra has left her dog to Suzanne's Mum in her will. Suzanne is over-the-moon about having a dog again, after her old dog Barney was 'sent away to a farm' by her Dad. But when Beatrice the Newfoundland arrives, she is a BIG disappointment. She's smelly and old and miserable and doesn't like walks, or catching sticks, or any of the things that dogs are meant to like. So Anna and Suzanne devise a plan to turn Beatrice into a proper dog - but if they don't pull it off soon, Suzanne's Dad will send Beatrice away too...

Animal books are everywhere.  The thing I like about this animal book, is that it’s not too sweet and cutesy. Most animal books have super cute lovable creatures on the front that make you go…aaahhhh.  On the front of this book we have a big brown dog, with a plastic cone around his head.  That tells me this isn’t going to be the run of the mill animal story.

Friday 3 August 2012

216. Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm illustrated by Molly Bang

Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm illustrated by Molly Bang
Published August 2012 Scholastic

From the publisher:
On land or in the deep blue sea, we are all connected-and we are all a part of a grand living landscape. Packed with clear, simple science this informative, joyous book will help children understand and celebrate the astonishing role our oceans play in human life.

This is a real WOW book.  It is one of a relatively new trend of narrative non fiction titles.  This book looks at how the sun provides  light, and how this light is turned into life in our oceans.

Thursday 2 August 2012

215. In the Lion by James Foley

In The Lion by James Foley
Published August 2012 Walker

From the publisher:

A playful picture book in need of a hero.
In the city there’s a zoo. And in the zoo there’s a lion. And in the lion there’s …

I have started to think that perhaps I have a problem.  My two favourite picture books at the moment involve animals eating people. I will start with this one, In The Lion.  I think that the title and the cover give a fair indication of where this book is headed, without even opening the book.

Front and back endpapers:

Wednesday 1 August 2012

214. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Published July 2012 Harper Collins

From the publisher:

Ginny Blackstone spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny's backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how the adventure was supposed to end.
Now a mysterious boy has contacted Ginny from London, saying he's found her bag. Finally she can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a whole new one, and Ginny must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.

This book is the sequel to 13 Little Blue Envelopes, which came out 5 years ago.  For those of us who read and loved that book, we get to find out what was in that last blue envelope, the one that was stolen in Greece.  If you haven't read the first book, I really don't think it matters.  To be honest, after 5 years I had very little memory of the details in the story, just a recollection of the plot, so I read this book as a stand alone title, and it seems to work as one.

7 months down...

It has been a cold and wet winter here...the only upside to all of the rain, is that it's perfect reading weather.  I love winter...just as long as I don't actually have to go outside!

So, 213 books, that's quite a pile.  The funny thing is, that even though I have read 213 books this year (more in fact if I include all of the picture books I haven't written about!), there are just so many more that I still want to read (and that doesn't even include the adult titles I am missing out on this year!).  I still have books in my pile from July...but as I see the new books for August coming in I get so excited and I want to jump straight into them...the poor July releases still sitting there patiently waiting for me to come back to them.  Even if I could dedicate all of my waking hours to reading, I still don't think I would be able to read everything I wanted to!

Leaving July behind, let's see what I am looking forward to in August: