Sunday, April 29, 2012

Call of the Selkie by Jean Bennett

Another beautifully written book out of New Zealand, this one by Jean Bennett,  deals with young boy who befriends and rescues a seal cub whom he names Selkie. Things at home are pretty traumatic for teenager  Ryan. His mum and dad are going through difficult times and he isn't coping too well with their constant quarrelling. One day in a secluded bay after escaping from  the animosity of the house which is slowing suffocating him, Ryan comes across a seal and her pup. Each day he finds a quiet  liberation  by observing these two animals go about their lives. Then his mum leaves home for an indeterminable amount of time and a unscrupulous fisherman, Kelly,  invades the bay intent on getting his hands on very marketable and rare seal skins. Ryan finds himself racing against time to save Selkie. If you enjoy Colin Thiele books, then this book would most likely be your cup of tea.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Simple Truth About Love by Bradley Trevor Greive

If you enjoyed Greive's The Blue Day Book, you will most like enjoy this little book too. In fact, there are quite a number of his books in our little classroom library now. They are great for lifting the spirits and can be read within one of two quiet reading sessions. The black and white photos along with the quirky texts will bring a smile to your face.

Stopwatch by Sally Morgan Ambelin, Blaze & Ezekiel Kwaymullina

A stopwatch has sixty thin black lines, each one marking off the seconds in a minute. However Tom's stopwatch is special and each line is a gateway to a different world. There are therefore sixty worlds in all which he can explore. In this book Bilby misses his friend Mother Bird, so the stopwatch takes Tom and Bilby to the Land of Leevan to cheer him up. Soon, the two discover a kind family of Beeres and Tom joins them on their quest to find an adventure. But when they stumble onto another human visitor, the joyful land is in danger. Could it be the evil Illian and can Tom save Leevan in time?

Lucky Garfield by Jim Davis

New to the fun stuff shelves is this entertaining little book about Garfield. It's just perfect for a light-hearted read. So if you want a break from your challenging novel, why not pick this up and have a chuckle? The key to Garfield's personality is not that he is and old grouch and extremely slothful, but his determination to be as lazy as possible.  Whether he is face-planting into his food, or annoying Odie he will bring a smile to your face.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Incredible Steam-Driven Adventures of Riverboat Bill by Cliff Green

This book is by famous author, Cliff Green, who wrote the big seller, Picnic at Hanging Rock. It has a large cast of characters, is set primarily of the Murray River and moves quickly through from one adventure to another. Riverboat Bill has lost his ferry, is destitute and, has just been unceremoniously thrown off another riverboat called The Sentinel skippered by the ruthless Barnacle Blowall. A young lad, Dave, rescues him from the river and together they restore an old steamer called  the Mystery. The steamer comes with its very own bunyip who turns out to be a fire-making bunyip who is quickly exploited to power the boat.  Harry, an Australian-Chinese cook leaves his miserably job in a cafe  to join the crew along with Fred Clinker an engine driver who is  desperate to escape his domineering wife. All is progressing reasonably smoothly, apart from them having an illegal bunyip on board, when a bush ranger, Black Ben commandeers the steamer to use for his own dastardly deeds and gain. I must admit I had to push my through this book as it was just a bit convoluted and ridiculous and is not really my cup of tea. However, it does have an interesting ending and some children may well enjoy this riverside rigmarole.

Caesar the Anzac Dog by Patricia Stroud

This beautiful and thought-provoking book by New Zealand author, Patricia Shroud, tracks the training and work done by Caesar a Red Cross rescue dog. The book tracks his farewell from New Zealand, his time on the HMNZ 43 Transport ship, to the training  camp in Egypt, and to his final destination on the battlefields of the Somme in France. The book gives great insight into the way in which animals such as horses and dogs were used in World War 1. The are beautiful, sepia  illustrations throughout the book, even one showing the dugout kennels which were like bomb shelters used to protect the dogs from enemy artillery. Other keys characters are his handler and ambulance driver, Tom,  and nurse, Kath Butcher who pampered Caesar whenever she had the opportunity. It is a very moving book which pays tribute not only to Caesar but to all other four legged helpers on the battlefields. 

Graffiti by Dirk Strasser

This small novel is set in Melbourne, Australia and is all about Steven, who comes to the city by train to see his orthodontist. New to the streets of Melbourne, he becomes disorientated and finds himself encircled by a gang of youths who are quick to see that he is lost. Steven then finds himself enmeshed in some kind of fantasy world, wherein graffiti artists have been abducted into a strange world which exists on the other side of the walls around the city. They can  only be rescued by reaching in through their individual tags which embellish the walls and which only disorientated people have the ability to see. Author, Dirk Strasser has written many novels for teenage students and is well-known for his fantasy novels  Zenith and Equinox which have been published in both Australia and Germany.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Twice Upon a Time by John Pinkney

Sara and her sister Ella have been  full time boarders at St Ann's College ever since their parents died in a car crash and their grandmother had become too frail to adequately care for them. Ella is a sad little girl who is finding school difficult and who is about to be moved to the new junior campus. Sara has been sleepwalking and is also very concerned for the welfare of her younger sibling, and is desperately trying to shield her from the unorthodox disciplinary measures of the junior headmistress, Miss Sharp. One day Sara discovers a strange wooden door  beneath the school at the end of a maze of tunnels. This door offers Sara some optimism for the future, but that which is on the other side is not always the happy life Sara discovered the first time she passed through it. The book looks at the possibility of parallel universes and is a hard book to put down. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Millie and the Night Heron by Catherine Bateson

Millie Childe has a somewhat unusual family, her mum's an artist, her dad's a scientist living in London, and then there is her adopted aunt Sheri and her son Mitchell.  She loves her family, their house meetings, the curry cook-ups, and even the Saturday clean-ups but all this changes when Sheri meets Brendan Trotter and moves out. Her mum decides it is time for a change and they move to a new town and  Millie finds the adjustment a difficult one. The girls at her new school have a pecking order and are only interested in the latest brands and boyfriends. School camp enables her to make a few friends with similar interests and things are improving until Millie meets her mum's new boyfriend. This book is quality Australian teenage fiction at its best. For more information on author Catherine Bateson, click on this link to visit her website: