Thursday, March 28, 2013

To the Rescue by Kirsten Hall & Martha Doty

Theresa is lucky enough to have this horse due to its malfunctioning at the Horse Riding Academy. You see, Theresa is the only person who can control this horse with a mind of its own and so her parents buy it for the lucky girl after academy owner, Rita, finally gives up. Things are going along just fine until one day,whilst out and about, Sheriff detours from their regular route and Theresa can't control him. Whatever is going on? This is a fairly predictable story but I am sure horse lovers will enjoy it. Once again, illustrations by Martha Doty add greatly to the miniature book in the Horseshoe Canyon series.

Lost in the Canyon by Kirsten Hall & Martha Doty

Mazzy, Thana's horse, is the Houdini of the horse world, and is forever sneaking away after figuring out how to unlock his stall. But, still she loves him and they spend a lot of time together. One day Thana ventures out to play a game of It with her friends. Suddenly, she is alone and in unfamiliar territory. The illustrations by Martha Doty are the best aspect of this book in the Horeshoe Canyon series.

From Midnight to Daybreak by Kirsten Hall & Martha Dory

Eight year old Amy is desperate to own a horse and she has her eye on the family's black Arabian stallion. No matter how many hints she drops, she isn't having any success as her father believes the horse to be too headstrong for such a young girl. Amy's birthday is coming up so she is putting the pressure on her parents. The big day comes, she receives an amazing cake, her hopes are high, but it seems she is not going to get a birthday present she so desperately wants.  Then, the following morning, her parents wake her early to an unexpected surprise. The illustrations by Marta Doty will not disappoint and appear on each double page of text. This is a relatively short and simple, but not "babyish" text for a middle or upper primary student needing a break from a longer novel.The title is a beautiful play on words and very apt for the book.

The Star of the Show by Kirsten Hall and Martha Doty

This is one of four little hardback books in the Horseshoe Canyon series. It is an easy read with a simple plot , but enjoyable all the same. Tyler helps his best friend with his Palomino called Star and is just learning the ropes of horse-riding. William has been practising for the annual rodeo competition and Tyler is intrigued with the barrel race. One day, whilst practising,  William breaks his foot, and suddenly Tyler finds he has the opportunity to compete. The beautiful oil painting-style illustrations by Martha Doty support the text well. The text would be suitable for grade 3-6 readers.

Monday, March 11, 2013

I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont and David Catrow

I Like Myself is a book about self-acceptance. Its racy rhyming-couplet text and loud, zany illustrations really is an ode to self-esteem written to encourage kids to appreciate their own special qualities. The central character, a little girl, really knows what is important in life. Illustrator, David Catrow's watercolour, ink and pencil illustrations add further humour to the funny verse. Even with her fuzzy, unruly hair and her stink breath, like her loyal dog, readers will love her. It's a very silly book that kids will love to have read to them  over and over again. I purchased this book for my grandson, Archie.

"Inside, outside, upside down,
from head to toe and all around,
I like it all! It all is me!
And me is all I want to be.

And I don't care in any way
what someone else may think or say"

Mrs Bottle Burps by Robyn Archer and Victoria Roberts

This wacky book puts a whole new spin on Jerusalem artichokes, especially the parboiled, pan-fried variety. You see, Mrs Bottle Burps keeps a garden of the more exotic fruits and vegetables such as, pawpaws, mangoes, custard apples and fresh limes, asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes; the other more mundane ones, she prefers to buy from the fruit and veg shop. She loves to cook, she loves to party and, she loves a dash of brandy now and then. Now, one evening after eating an exquisite dinner she prepared complete with Jerusalem artichokes, she finds herself wanting to burp, but quite unable to do so. The following day her friends rally around and it is decided that garlic might be the necessary cure-all. What happens after that is simple ludicrous.

The illustrations by Victoria Roberts are really out there, detailed and colourful they add to the eccentricity of the characters and to the overall bizarre nature of this book. Roberts is also well-known for her cartoons which have appeared in the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Cleo and other papers and magazines.  She is also a serious artist. Her website is worth a visit:

There is also a song about this extraordinary lady put out by author, Robyn Archer, who is also a singer, an actress, a musician and a composer.'s+(Absolutely+Blurtingly+Beautiful+World-Beating)+Burp

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Complete Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs

The Complete Father Christmas by Raymond Biggs would have to be one of my all time favourites. If this book doesn't bring a smile to your face, well ,you would have to be a real sour puss. The book contains two stories, told in cartoon strip format, the first called Father Christmas, and the second, Father Christmas goes on Holiday. It's a very grumpy Father Christmas, not really looking forward to his hectic job on Christmas Eve. "Blooming Christmas here again.:"   Later on, it's "Blooming snow," as he looks out his bedroom window in despair. He hates "the blooming cold," the "blooming chimneys, " the "blooming soot," the "blooming aerials," and the "blooming cookers."  Then, after finally delivering all the presents he can relax and check out his presents. What's he received? He unwraps a "blooming awful tie from Auntie Elsie, horrible socks from Cousin Violet.," but... thankfully, good old Fred has come through with a bottle of Cognac. Click on the video below to watch an adaption of the book. 

The second story tells of his holiday in France, and sends up the French culture. As soon as people discover his identity it is time for him to move on to Scotland. After experiencing the oddities of this culture and after being recognised yet again he moves on to glitzy Las Vegas. Will he make his fortune here?  Both stories are very funny and provide real chuckles. 

Snow Lion by David McPhail

Snow Lion by David McPhail, published in 1982, deals with a lion who isn't coping too well with the hot conditions in his jungle. So he ventures up into the mountains where he finds snow, a substance he has never seen before. Eager to share his discovery he carries a sample back to the jungle. However, when he returns home and opens his bag, to his great depair, his cold fluffy stuff has disappeared. What could be happening? His friends are starting to think he must be delusional. This quaint little hard back is a delightful read for infant children. David McPhail has written and illustrated over 200 books and lives in Massachusetts.
Author/illustrator David McPhail

Wild and Woolly by Nan Hunt & Noela Hills

Wild and Woolly by Nan Hunt is a very off-beat little book about Mr Martin, who just can't get to sleep. His wife suggest he try the age old solution of counting sheep. Instead of nodding off to sleep Mr Martin begins the arduous task of buying sheep from an auction, rounding them up and generally coping with the workload a big flock brings. He is getting anything but a good night's sleep. "He almost went to sleep pondering the problem but he was a persistent man so he stayed awake." All of the  illustrations by Noela Hills are double page spreads and are very striking and detailed. This hardback edition is signed by Nan Hunt and Noela Hills as well as other Australian authors who were at the launching of this book in 1983. It is a beautiful addition to the Little Library of Rescued Books.