Sunday, May 12, 2013
I was reasonably keen when I saw this book up for grabs in an op shop having visited Versailles only two years ago. It is very simplistic but a great introduction to young students to Louis XIII though to Louis XVI and also to the grandeur of Versailles and the revolutionary climate which existed in France, most notably in the capital city, Paris, in the 17th and early 18th century. There are stunning photographs of The Hall of Mirrors, the king's bedchamber, and the Letto Fountain among others. There are also many painting depicted, such as The Ballroom (circa 1688)and Ferdinand Elle's Madame de Maintenon with her Niece. The book is very staid in its prose delivery but is notable for the spectacular images which dominate the book. Maybe it needs a little injection of the "horrible histories" approach.
I only purchased this book on the account that I enjoyed Klassen's very witty picture book I Want My Hat Back so much. This particular picture book, written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen, was released in Australia in April this year, and it will not disappoint. Basically, it is about a boy, Laszlo, confronting his fear of the dark. In this new take on an old theme, the dark is the foil of the main protagonist, the scared little boy. The dark is adept at hiding, has many guises, is unpredictable, and hides in the dark. Klassen's illustrations capably contrast the light and the dark, and also cleverly portray the different hues and moods of the day using overlapping panels of muted colours. There are also pages which are nearly totally black, save the details we see in the beam of Laszlo's torch.
I am looking forward to sharing this book with Archie, my grandson, when he is old enough to understand it.
Click on the link below to see the trailer promoting the book..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgiRc3CytPM
This is the first book by Betty Ren Wright novel I have read and I am sure it will appeal to some of the upper primary girls. Teenager Sarah is more than happy in her new house in the suburbs, especially her large bedroom dominated by a beautiful fireplace, just perfect for sleep overs with her best friend Lutie. After living in small dinghy inner city dwellings, this house is a welcome change and all the family are enjoying their time there. However, six months on her father has been laid off and now her Aunt Margaret, the invalid owner of the house, has moved back in, into Sarah's room. Ever since Margaret's arrival the atmosphere in the house has changed dramatically. Whenever Sarah is left to look after Margaret alone in the house strange things happen, the room will become suddenly chilly, ornaments move around the room by themselves, and then there's the eerie singing. The image in an old painting is slowly changing and Sarah starts to fear for her life and that of her great aunt. Her mother believes she is just imagining it all and Sarah has no-one to turn to. The plot is uncomplicated and there is enough suspense to keep the reader turning the pages.
Monday, April 29, 2013
I actually purchased this book for my grandson who is three months old and just starting to be interested in brightly-coloured picture books. It is a board book and is 25.5cm by 25.5cm which makes it a good-sized book to share with babies. The apple on the front is a shiny padded plastic, and upon opening the book you are greeted by a white, woolly sheep and a furry-maned lion. Adults will be enticed to touch the textured joys as much as their infants. There is a mirror hidden under a square on the shapes page and the frog has a very interesting texture. One of my favourites is the corrugated roof on the house. The big, hungry caterpillar is hidden under a cocoon flap and a beautiful butterfly makes a spectacular last double page spread. The book of course features artwork from The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other Eric Carle picture books, having first concepts such as animal sounds, colours, numbers band shapes along with some basic words. I can't wait to share it with little Archie.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Do you like a dark and dastardly story? Want to scare your toddler? The three robbers in their large black capes will do just that, well initially at any rate. The threesome, toting a blunderbuss, a pepper-blower and a huge red axe, are out to reek havoc on their victims and to cash up as quickly as possible. One day, after much plundering, they are confronted by little orphan, Tiffany on her way to live with her wicked aunt. Now strangely enough, the villains carry her away to their cave and upon her suggestion and without reservation, decide they can do a lot better with their loot. It is a rather ridiculous story but the beautiful silhouettes and artwork compel you to read this book and to appreciate it for this; the appalling plot is soon forgiven. I just love the awesome weapon, the pepper-blower!
Saturday, April 13, 2013
In this second book by Ange Sage in the Araminta Spook series, it's Sir Horace's five-hundredth birthday and Araminta wants to give him a surprise party. Only problem is that there is considerable angst in the spooky household at this particular point in time as Uncle Drac has had a nasty fall from his bat turret, and it seems he has inadvertently squashed his favourite bat, Big Bat. So someone has to do the bat manure run out to the local mushroom farm in his place. Araminta is one of the volunteers along with her "wizzard" friend Wanda. Whilst exploring the beach area, they discover a grotto and inside it an amazing medieval sword which would make the perfect present for the aging ghostly suit of armour, Sir Horace. Only problem is they can't quite locate the entrance. Amazingly enough, when they return home they find that there is a secret entrance from their house, how convenient! Anyway, it is not long after this discovery, that the two friends find themselves trapped in a very unenviable position and face the prospect of being drowned. Can the Edmund ghost do anything to help them? The amazing ink work illustrations by Jimmy Pickering are really what make this book, which is pretty much what I said about the first book in the series.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Spud, a blue heeler, is born into city life in the times when owning a blue heeler was all the rage. However, she soon finds herself in the pound after her antics become too much for the family. Fortunately, one day an old farmer sees an advertisement in the paper and gives her a new lease of life as a cattle dog on his property where she enjoys the company of his other dogs Pup and Chester. Then, due to sad circumstances, Spud's fortune changes again and he finds himself with a new master, a cruel man with no real interest in her welfare. His down-trodden wife and young daughter do their best to protect Spud from the vicious outbursts of the man, but it is not long before she is roaming the surrounding country fending for herself. Parts of this book could be confronting for a young reader, as it deals with the realities of country life. Nevertheless it is a pacy read with never a dull moment. If you enjoy novels about dogs, this one will not disappoint.
|The one and only illustration in the novel|
John Heffernan has a great website which is worth a visit at:
There are two other books in this series: Chips and Pup.