Sunday 30 September 2012

274. Pea's Book of Best Friends by Susie Day

Pea's Book of Best Friends by Susie Day
Published September 2012 Random House

From the publisher:
Meet eleven-year-old Pea and her definitely not ordinary life . . . When Pea’s dizzy but dazzling single mum becomes Marina Cove, author of the bestselling Mermaid Girls books, everything changes. It’s time to leave their tiny flat in Tenby for a proper house in London, and a whole new life . . . Pea likes the red front door, and the attic bedroom all to herself. She even likes her hideous new school uniform, in a masochistic Malory Towers sort of way. But there’s an empty chair beside her in every lesson, and no one seems to want to fill it. In the absence of volunteers, Pea is going to have to acquire herself a best friend . . .

Sisters Pea (11), Tinkerbell (7) and Clover (14) are excited at the prospect of moving to London, to a big house.  The fantasy is one thing, but the reality is something different.  Yes the new house is big, but they don’t have enough furniture and because they have this big new house, they have to be careful about money again.  In the …house they call it being Well-Behaved and that means no chocolate biscuits, too tight shoes and borrowed coats.

Saturday 29 September 2012

273. Maddy West and the Tongue Taker by Brian Falkner and illustrated by Donovan Bixley

Maddy West and the Tongue Taker by Brian Falkner illustrated by Donovan Bixley

Published October 2012 Walker

From the publisher:

Maddy West can speak every language in the world. When she is asked to translate some ancient scrolls, Maddy is excited. But the scrolls hide many secrets. Secrets that send Maddy on a wild adventure with a stowaway ninja, a mysterious monkey, a Bulgarian wrestler and a fiendish witch. And soon Maddy finds herself in deadly peril. Does Maddy have what it takes to save herself and her new friends?

Imagine being able to speak every language in the world?  Even languages that people haven’t spoken in thousands of years.  Imagine if you didn’t even have to learn these languages…you just knew them!

Friday 28 September 2012

272. Zoo Story: Stop! There's a Snake in Your Suitcase by Adam Frost and illustrated by Mark Chambers

Zoo Story: Stop! There's a Snake in Your Suitcase by Adam Frost and illustrated by Mark Chambers
Published September 2012 Bloomsbury

From the publisher:
The Nightingale family live on a barge on the canal near London Zoo, and Mum is a vet. When Tom and Sophie find a bag of snakes dumped at the gates of the zoo, a great and exciting adventure begins. Soon they are finding out about the trade in illegal animals and learning how to care for these wonderful creatures. The snakes are carefully housed in the zoo and, just as they are about to be introduced to the many visitors to the reptile house, a desperate race begins to collect some precious antivenin.The first book in a new series of pacy adventure stories with two courageous children and lots and lots of fascinating animal facts.

Animal books are most definitely the big thing right now.  i have read more animal stories this year than I have in years.  This book has been published in conjunction with the ZSL London Zoo (Zoological Society of London), and that is the setting for this reptilian tale.

Thursday 27 September 2012

271. This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers

This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jefffers
Published September 2012 Harper Collins

From the publisher:

"Wilfred owned a moose. He hadn′t always owned a moose. The moose came to him a while ago and he knew, just KNEW that it was meant to be his. He called it Marcel."
Most of the time Marcel is very obedient, abiding by Wilbur′s book of extensive rules on how to be a good pet. But sometimes he doesn′t quite seem to be listening, plus he has a tendency to wander off wherever he pleases when they go out walking. But Wilfred is still very proud to have a pet like Marcel.
Until one day, deep in the woods, someone else seems to recognise Marcel! Is Marcel really Wilfred′s pet after all?

I am a bit of an Oliver Jeffers groupie, well a lot of one actually, and while I was planning on only featuring one book by any given author this year, I couldn't let this one go by, and it's hardly my fault if an author manages to publish more than one book a year.  So here it is.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

270. Ransomwood by Sherryl Jordan

Ransomwood by Sherryl Jordan
Published August 2012 Scholastic

From the publisher:
With her uncle threatening to marry her off to his odious widowed brother, Gwenifer is almost relieved to be sent away to escort the magistrate's old, blind mother to Ransomwood, where the tears of the statue of the Holy Mother are said to have healing qualities. She and Harry, the village halfwit, who is escaping a sentence of hanging for being in charge of an ox that trampled a child almost to death, embark on a perilous journey ... each of them looking for a different kind of healing.

There have been many times this year when I have raved about an author, saying they are my favourite.  In my top ten novels of ALL TIME, two of them are written by New Zealand authors.  One, Changeover by Margaret Mahy, and the Juniper Game by today’s author, Sherryl Jordan.  I have been waiting a long while for a new book from this author, and I have actually been saving it for a day when I know I can really enjoy it.  Does that make me weird?!?

Tuesday 25 September 2012

269. Miss Understood by James Roy

Miss Understood by James Roy
Published September 2012 Random House (Woolshed Press)

From the publisher:
Lizzie doesn't mean to do the wrong thing . . . she's just misunderstood. When ten-year-old Lizzie accidentally sets fire to a cardboard effigy of her school principal, she's asked to leave Our Lady of the Sacred Wimple College. It wasn't her fault, honest! But no one will listen to the truth, so from now on Lizzie will be home-schooled by her mother in her family's dining room. No friends, no playground, and nothing but homework. Lizzie has to prove that she's matured enough to be allowed back into Sacred Wimple. She tries. She volunteers at a charity shop. She writes an essay about an inspirational person. She attempts to cheer up her dad, who's being sued after writing a mean restaurant review. And when she finds a man living in the empty display home next door, she vows to help him . . .

At the beginning of the book Lizzie is in trouble.  She is in the principle’s office, because of the bad thing that she did.  The bad thing involved stamping out a burning effigy of the principle.  Yes that sounds bad…but Lizzie is simply misunderstood, because it wasn’t as bad as it seemed.  Unfortunately for Lizzie, there have been a number of misunderstandings, like the time she ‘rescued’ the Preps from drowning at a swimming carnival or the time she was locked in the control room at the local power station.  This time, the good people at Our Lady of the Sacred Wimple College have no choice but to expel Lizzie.  Leaving your school and your friends is bad enough, but Lizzie isn’t going to another school, her mother is going to home school her!

Monday 24 September 2012

268. Boys Only: How to Survive (almost) Anything by Martin Oliver

Boys Only: How to Survive (almost) Anything by Martin Oliver
Published September 2012 Buster Books

From the publisher:
Inspired by the best-selling The Boys' Book, Boys Only is an illustrated graphic-novel-style handbook for boys with a sense of adventure. From how to avoid escape from quicksand to how to survive being blasted into space, and from what to do when you are lost in the desert to how to beat your friends in a trial of strength, there's hours of fun for boys to enjoy.

If my memory serves me well (and most of the time it does) there has already been a book with this title.  The difference with this edition is that this one is in a graphic novel format, a perfect presentation for this fun and action filled title.

Sunday 23 September 2012

267. One Year In Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath

One Year In Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath
Published September 2012 Random House

From the publisher:
Readers rejoice--Primrose Squarp is back! The wise and curious heroine of the Newbery Honor Book Everything on a Waffle is facing another adventure-filled year in Coal Harbor. Even though her parents, once lost at sea, are home, there's a whole slew of problems and mysteries to keep Primrose--and eager fans--busy. There's Uncle Jack and Kate Bowzer, who may (or may not) be in love. There's Ked, a foster child who becomes Primrose's friend. And there's the new development on the outskirts of town that threatens the Coal Harbor Primrose knows and treasures. 

This is the companion novel to Everything on a Waffle, which I read many many years ago.  I loved the first book, however I couldn’t really remember the specifics of the story, only the general plot and feel of the book.  The best thing about this new book is that you don’t have to have read Everything on a Waffle.  There are references to the year before when her parents were missing, presumed dead, by everyone in town, except for Primrose, but this books works well as a stand alone novel.

Saturday 22 September 2012

266. My Totally Awesome Story by Pat Flynn and illustrated by Peter Carnavas

My Totally Awesome Story by Pat Flynn and illustrated by Peter Carnavas
Published August 2012 UQp

From the publisher:
My Totally Awesome Story is a school-based comedy about a fearless boy named Duane. As he fills in his writing workbook with his wicked stories and cartoons, Duane hilariously details his run-ins with the deputy principal, his misadventures with his best mate Meatball, his crush on hot chick Jackie, as well as his dreams to jump over 100 cars on his motorbike. A self-confessed legend, Duane will have kids laughing out loud to the very last page!

I am always a little wary of books that look like they are trying to be something else.  What do I mean by that?  Well, when I first looked at this book, I thought OK, it’s written in diary form, there are illustrations on every page, it’s set in a school, it’s funny…Diary of a Wimpy Kid sprang to mind.  That’s not a bad thing.  I think I have sold more Diary of a Wimpy Kid books than any other book…EVER, and yes that includes Harry Potter, and if kids are reading it, I am all for it (FYI: there’s a new Wimpy Kid due in November!). Once I started reading this one though, I realised that it’s not actually a diary, but a journal/workbook for English class.

Friday 21 September 2012

265. Dads, Geeks and Blue Haired Freaks by Ellie Phillips

Dads, Geeks and Blue Haired Freaks by Ellie Phillips
Published September 2012 Hardie Grant (Electric Monkey)

From the publisher:
This title deals with one girl's search to find her father, using the Internet, some boys and quite a lot of hairspray. Sadie Nathanson spends her life trying to survive the excruciating embarrassment of simply existing. It's hard enough being a bit of a shrinking violet within a loud and outspoken extended family, but the unexpected card from 'Dad' on her 15th birthday is the last straw. As 'Dad' was an Internet sperm-donor, it doesn't take a genius to work out that this is a bad joke.

Think, Mamma Mia. If Mamma Mia were set in London, and there was no singing, but a lot of fancy hairstyles instead.  After receiving a birthday card form her Dad, Sadie decides it is time she finds out who this sperm donor actually is.  She knows the card wasn’t really from her Dad, most likely it was just a mean trick by her ex-best friend Shonna, but it is just the push she needs to begin her crusade.

Thursday 20 September 2012

264. Same, But Little Bit Diff'rent by Kylie Dunstan

Same, But Little Bit Diff'rent by Kylie Dunstan
Published August 2012 Windy Hollow Books

'Right up the very top of Australia there is a special place. My friend Normie comes from there, and he says, 'Things are different to what you might see in the city. Same, but little bit diffrent ' Told in the stunning collage artwork for which Kylie Dunstan is acclaimed, the story is related by a child living in a southern city and her friend Normie, who lives in the top end. As they compare notes about their lives, activities and interests, they discover how very much they have in common, despite their contrasting environments. 

For a long time now in schools there has been a focus on how 'we're all the same'. In many ways that is of course true, but with our schools bursting with multicultural uniqueness , there are also a lot of differences.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

263. Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield

Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield
Published August 2012 Text Publishing

From the publisher:
 Seventeen-year-old Friday Brown is on the run - running to escape memories of her mother and of the family curse. And of a grandfather who'd like her to stay. She's lost, alone and afraid.

I must be one of the only people in Australia who hasn't read Vicki Wakefield's book All I Ever Wanted.  It slipped past me last year, and of course, this year I am limited to books published in 2012.  It is on my ever growing list on books I have to catch up on though!

Tuesday 18 September 2012

262. A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle
Published September 2012 Scholastic

From the publisher:
12-year-old Mary's beloved grandmother is near the end of her life. Letting go is hard-until Granny's long-dead mammy appears. Her ghost has returned to help her dying daughter say goodbye to the ones she loves. But first she needs to take them all on a road trip to the past.
one of them is dead,
one is dying, 
one of them driving, 
one of them just beginning.

I must admit when I started reading this book , I expected an actual road trip. and I do so love a road trip book.  There's even a map in the front of the book showing you the journey.  While there is a road trip in this book, towards the end, the main journey the women go on is an emotional one, down memory lane.

Monday 17 September 2012

261. Lightning Strikes: Wreck the Halls by Meg McKinlay

Lightning Strikes: Wreck the Halls by Meg McKinlay
Published September 2012 Walker Books

From the publisher:
A hilarious new Lightning Strikes story featuring characters from Going for Broke and The Big Dig.
$500 prize money! Yes! This Christmas decorating comp is too easy. Decorations? No sweat. Strategy? Who needs it? What on earth could go wrong?

I joked at the beginning of September that Christmas decorations would be in the shops soon, well this isn’t Christmas decorations, but it is ABOUT Christmas decorations.  Here in Australia not too many people go ‘all out’ decorating their houses and front yards for Christmas, but in certain streets where they do, you can tell that there may be some degree of competition occurring, and the house that doesn’t participate tends to really stand out.

Sunday 16 September 2012

260. Sky High by Germano Zullo illustrated by Albertine

Sky High by Germano Zullo illustrated by Albertine
Published September 2012 Chronicle Books

From the publisher:
In this charming illustrated tale, two competing neighbours begin embellishing their houses, only to find themselves caught up in a race to build the tallest, most decadent skyscraper featuring solid gold doors, diamond-encrusted pillars, grand ballrooms, expensive paintings, live tigers, and indoor swimming pools—with consequences inevitable, and not. Kids will love spotting the funny details hidden in this witty take on an age-old moral, while their parents—particularly any who've ever undertaken a remodel—will chuckle with recognition.

A couple of days ago I talked about a book that was slightly taller than most novels, well this picture book is most definitely taller than a normal picture book, it’s actually 36.8cm tall, so that really does mean it probably won’t fit on your library shelf!  Again, I will say, don’t let the size put you off, when you have a closer look you will see that this book HAD to be the size that it is, otherwise it wouldn’t have been quite so special.

Saturday 15 September 2012

259. The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand
Published August 2012 Simon & Schuster Books for Younger Readers

From the publisher:
At the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, you will definitely learn your lesson. A dark, timeless, and heartfelt novel for fans of Coraline "and The Mysterious Benedict Society." Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster--lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does too.) But then Lawrence goes missing. And he's not the only one. Victoria soon discovers that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is not what it appears to be. Kids go in but come out...different. Or they don't' come out at all.  If anyone can sort this out, it's Victoria--even if it means getting a little messy.

This year I have tried not to read too many reviews before choosing the books I read, as I didn't want anything or anyone to cloud my opinion of the book. I have made an exception for this book, as I read about it on the Book Smugglers blog and knew I had to read it too!

Friday 14 September 2012

258. Lulu Walks the Dog by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Lane Smith

Lulu Walks the Dog by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Lane Smith
Published September 2012 Simon & Schuster

From the publisher:
The stubbornly hilarious Lulu has decided it’s time to buckle down and earn some cash. How else can she save up enough money to buy the very special thing that she is ALWAYS and FOREVER going to want? After some failed attempts at lucrative gigs (baking cookies, spying, reading to old people), dog walking seems like a sensible choice. But Brutus, Pookie, and Cordelia are not interested in making the job easy, and the infuriatingly helpful neighborhood goody-goody, Fleischman, has Lulu at the end of her rope. And with three wild dogs at the other end, Lulu’s patience is severely tested. Will she ever make a friend—or the money she needs?
In this standalone sequel to Lulu and the Brontosaurus, industry legends Judith Viorst and Lane Smith once again prove that even the loudest, rudest, and most obstinate of girls can win us over.

One of the first things you will notice about this book is it's size.  It is a little larger than a 'regular' novel, and because of this I know that some people get put off straight away because it is too tall to fit on the shelf!  This is true, but it's not a good reason to miss out on such a great story, so find a way to make it fit, because the kids will love it!

Thursday 13 September 2012

257. The Fishing Trip by Beatrice Rodriguez

The Fishing Trip by Beatrice Rodriguez
Published September 2012 Gecko Press

From the publisher:
Chicken, Fox and their soon-to-hatch egg are a happy family, but there is nothing to eat. Chicken leaves the island to catch some food. But the ocean is a dangerous place: she must battle toothy birds and a giant, hungry sea monster. Will Chicken's new family survive? When she finally gets home with her bounty, she discovers a worrying scene. Perhaps the real danger is inside her house

This is the third book about the unlikely pair, the chicken and the fox.  The first two being, The Chicken Thief and The Treasure Thief.  The books are wordless, but the storyline is very clear.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

256. The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer

The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer
Published September 2012 Scholastic

From the publisher:
Abby Goodwin is sure her sister Maya isn't a murderer. But her parents don't agree. Her friends don't agree. And the cops definitely don't agree. Maya is a drop-out, a stoner, a girl who's obsessed with her tutor, Jefferson Andrews...until he ends up dead. Maya runs away, and leaves Abby following the trail of clues. Each piece of evidence points to Maya, but it also appears that Jefferson had secrets of his own. And enemies. Like his brother, who Abby becomes involved with...until he falls under suspicion.

I do so love a good murder mystery / thriller, and in the world of teenage fiction they are difficult to come by.  This book has all of the elements of a great who-dunit. There is of course a murder, the body of the most popular boy in High School is found in the low palms by the river.  As the story unfolds we learn that this 'all round American good guy' was far from that, and he had plenty of enemies, so...plenty of suspects to choose from!

Tuesday 11 September 2012

255. The Infinity Ring Book 1: A Mutiny In Time by James Dashner

The Infinity Ring Book 1: A Mutiny In Time by James Dashner
Published September 2012 Scholastic

From the publisher:
When best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste stumble upon the secret of time travel-a hand-held device known as the Infinity Ring-they're swept up in a centuries-long secret war for the fate of mankind. Recruited by the Hystorians, a secret society that dates back to Aristotle, the kids learn that history has gone disastrously off course. Now it's up to Dak, Sera, and teenage Hystorian-in-training Riq to travel back in time to fix the Great Breaks...and to save Dak's missing parents while they're at it. First stop: Spain, 1492, where a sailor named Christopher Columbus is about to be thrown overboard in a deadly mutiny!

This book may have a familiar look about it to you?  That may be because is a new series by Scholastic, in a similar vein to the 39 Clues series.  This is the first, in what will be a series of 7 books that also includes a guide (located in a secret compartment at the front of the book) as well as a computer game.  As I read a copy of this from work, I couldn't open the compartment to find out what is in the guide (it's sealed), but I did download the game onto my iPhone...for research purposes of course! I will elaborate on that at the end.

Monday 10 September 2012

254. Clementine Rose and the Surprise Visitor by Jacqueline Harvey

Clementine Rose and the Surprise Visitor by Jacqueline Harvey
Published September 2012 Random House

From the publisher:
Clementine Rose was delivered not in the usual way, at a hospital, but in the back of a minivan, in a basket of dinner rolls.

So begins the story of a lovely little girl who lives in Penberthy Floss in a large ramshackle house with her mother, Lady Clarissa, Digby Pertwhistle the butler and a very sweet little teacup pig called Lavender.

When her scary Aunt Violet arrives unexpectedly, the household is thrown into disarray. What is it that Aunt Violet really wants and what is she carrying in her mysterious black bag?

What a treat to have a new series by the talented Jacqueline Harvey.  This new series is pitched at a slightly younger age group than Alice-Miranda books.  Clementine is going to be a character that young readers will love, and adults will love too.  I don't think anyone could resist this well dressed little five year old who tries so hard to be good, but often finds herself in a pickle.

Sunday 9 September 2012

253. Into That Forest by Louis Nowra

Into That Forest by Louis Nowra
Published September 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:
Written by one of Australia's foremost literary talents, this is an unforgettable and heartbreaking novel.  From the opening sentence, Hannah's storytelling voice carries the reader swiftly along, as we see the two little girls learning to hunt with the tigers, being nurtured and trained by the tigers, adopting the language of coughs, barks and tail signals, coming to love and rely on the tigers as a family.

This is one of those books that the children's publisher at Allen & Unwin raved about, the SA rep raved about, and a copy was sent to us, saying we MUST read this book.  It is one of those books that you can't say too much about, because you don't want to take anything away from the readers experience of reading the book with no preconceived notions.

Saturday 8 September 2012

252. Omega Squad Book 1: Time Thieves by Charlie Carter

Omega Squad Book 1: Time Thieves by Charlie Carter
Published September 2012 Pan Macmillan

From the publisher:

Thirteen-year-old Napoleon Augustus Smythe (Battle Boy 005) is now Battle Agent 005.
Along with BA004 (a super smart boy but a real smarty pants too), BA009 (a girl with attitude and no time for a smarty pants) and super soldier TEX, he is a member of the Omega Squad, an elite team of Time Troopers sent back into history for Operation Battle Book.
Professor Perdu, their mission controller, is worried. Someone is stealing the TIME and ENERGY bundles from the Battle Books. But who is behind these attacks? And why?
Omega Squad is sent on a series of Master Missions to investigate these clandestine forces who seek to use Operation Battle Book for evil ends.

While not obvious by the cover, or the blurb, this first book in the new Omega Squad series, is actually a continuation of the Battle Boy Series.  I haven’t read a Battle Boy book, and I must admit, that reading this book felt a bit like I had started reading in the middle of a series.  So I think it really is the next step for those who have read Battle Boy, but want something a bit more challenging.  It’s not really the start of a new series.

Friday 7 September 2012

251. The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers

The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
Published September 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:
Women are dying in their millions. Some blame scientists, some see the hand of God. 
As she watches her world collapsing, Jessie Lamb decides she wants to make her life count. 
Would you let your daughter die if it would save the human race? The Testament of Jessie Lamb is the story of one daughter's heroism and one father's love.

This book is a bit of a change for me this year. It is technically categorised as Contemporary fiction (an adult genre), but I think it’s a good cross over read for teenage readers.  It was even longlisted for the Man Booker prize, a list I never expected to read from at all this year.

Thursday 6 September 2012

250. Mr McGee and the Elephants by Pamela Allen

Mr McGee and the Elephants by Pamela Allen
Published August 2012 Viking 

From the publisher:

Here's another adventure of Mr McGee, this time with elephants, one, two and three.
A chance to perform and share the fun, so come and join in everyone. 
From the one-and-only Pamela Allen comes a new adventure in the life of loveable Mr McGee. With its jaunty rhyme and lively illustrations, this is Pam at her classic best.

After the interesting picture book we had earlier his year from Pamela Allen, I was a bit wary of a new one.  This one though, features the ever popular Mr McGee, so I didn’t need to be too worried.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

249. White Ninja by Tiffany Hall

White Ninja by Tiffany Hall
Published September 2012 Harper Collins

From the publisher:

Roxy Ran is an ordinary thirteen-year-old girl who doesn′t know anything about her ninja powers until a confrontation with the school bully unleashes them.
When new boy Jackson Axe introduces Roxy to the world of martial arts, she learns about the legend of the White Warrior and the powers that are trapped in the Tiger Scrolls. The White Warrior is hunted by both the ninja and samurai clans, and now Jackson and Roxy must find the Tiger Scrolls and unleash the powers of the White Warrior before the samurai do.
And in order to survive, Roxy must unleash her inner ninja.

I will admit that I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed this book.  I guess that’s the bonus you get when you don’t have any expectations.  Some of you may recognise the name (I am sorry that I didn’t ) Tiffany Hall, as she was a personal trainer on the TV show Biggest Loser, she has also written books on health and cooking. She has a background in martial arts, so it makes it clear why she has chosen to write this book.  The other thing you notice (well I did) on the cover, is the comment from John Marsden “Dazzlingly different…Tiffany Hall is the new voice in children’s fiction”.  Getting that on the cover of your book is a big deal.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

248. Who's In My Family? All About Our Families by Robie H Harris illustrated by Nadin Bernard Westcott

Who's In My Family? All About Our Families by Robie H Harris illustrated by Nadin Bernard Westcott
Published September 2012 Candlewick Press

From the publisher:
Join Nellie and Gus and their parents for a day at the zoo, where they see all kinds of children and families - both animal and human! To top off their day, Nellie and Gus invite friends and relatives for a big dinner at home. The warm, humorous, family-filled illustrations; friendly conversations between the two siblings and matter-of-fact text will help young children feel that whoever is in their family, it is perfectly normal and totally wonderful. 

One of the things at the forefront of my mind whenever I read a book these days, is the Australian Curriculum.  Not that every book has to have a purpose, other than sheer enjoyment, but certain books just jump out at me when I can see their usefulness.  This is one of those books.

Monday 3 September 2012

247. Mission Fox: Go Goanna by Justin D'Ath

Mission Fox: Go Goanna by Justin D'Ath
Published August 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:
The goanna's claws clung to Jordan's arm and its big, scaly tail dropped over his face.

Harry and Jordan are taking Myrtle to the school's Pet Olympics. But after they stop to perform a Mission Fox rescue on the way, nothing goes to plan.

Can Mission Fox cope with a large runaway goanna, a very cross principal and a tall tree with a small, scared boy in it?

It looks like their scaly-est mission yet . . .

If you know the Extreme Adventure Series by Justin D'Ath, then you may already be familiar with  the characters in this book.  Harry and Jordan are the younger twin brothers of Sam Fox who features in the Extreme Adventures books.

Sunday 2 September 2012

246. The Terrible Thing That Happened To Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

The Terrible Thing That Happened To Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Published August 2012 Random House (Doubleday)

From the publisher:
There's nothing unusual about the Brockets. Boring, respectable and fiercely proud of it, Alistair and Eleanor Brocket turn up their noses at anyone strange or different. But from the moment Barnaby Brocket comes into the world, it's clear he's anything but normal. To the horror and shame of his parents, Barnaby appears to defy the laws of gravity - and floats. Little Barnaby is a lonely child - after all, it's hard to make friends when you're three feet in the air. Desperate to please his parents, he does his best to stop floating, but he just can't do it. Then, one fateful day, Barnaby's mother decides enough is enough. She never asked for a weird, abnormal, floating child. She's sick and tired of the newspapers prying and the neighbours gossiping. Barnaby has to go . . . Betrayed, frightened and alone, Barnaby floats into the path of a very special hot air balloon. And so begins a magical journey around the world; from South America to New York, Canada to Ireland, and even a trip into space, Barnaby meets a cast of truly extraordinary new friends and realises that nothing can make you happier than just being yourself.

The name John Boyne is familiar to most people, as he wrote the extremely popular Boy In the Striped Pyjamas.  A couple of years ago he wrote a book called Noah Barleywater Runs Away, which was very different to The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas.  This one is different again.  I love the idea of the story (and I am partial to the cover by Oliver Jeffers), but after reading it, and I am confused as to who the story was written for.

Saturday 1 September 2012

245. Aussie Bites: The Forever House by Sofie Laguna illustrated by Anna Pignataro

 Aussie Bites: The Forever House by Sofie Laguna illustrated by Anna Pignataro
Published August 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:
Fenella can only dream of having a cat of her own. But then an unwanted stray makes his home in her old cubby, the Forever House . . .

This book has two strong themes that will resonate with most younger readers.  Firstly, who hasn't wanted a pet at some time in their life, and haven't been allowed to have one and secondly who hasn't had a falling out with their very best friend?

8 months down...

The first day of Spring…YAY!  I think there may even be the promise of ACTUAL sun sometime this weekend.

244 books down and only 122 to go.  That also means there’s only 122 days left in the year, hasn’t it just sped by!  Christmas decorations will be in the shops before we know it.

Here's a sneak peek at the exciting titles September has in store.