Archive for January, 2012

Foz’s Key to Starveldt

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

In 2010, first-time author Foz Meadows saw the publication of her urban fantasy novel, Solace & Grief. It got great reviews and much interest. (See my previous posts: “Books with bite” and “Authors with bite”) Then, in 2011, the sequel was published. But writing a sequel is no easy task. Just ask Foz. Actually, don’t […]

Great Expectations – 2012 and Australian non-fiction

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

It’s only Tuesday, but it’s been a good week so far for Australian non-fiction and for those of us looking to get our hands on some great new books to read. First off, the shortlist for the 2012 Indie Awards has been announced and it has highlight four of Australia’s best non-fiction books released in […]

Review – What Animals Really Like

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Mr Herbert Timberteeth, a pedantic conducting/ song-composing beaver, is launching a new song. The animals are lined up, at the ready, prepped for their part in the song… the audience is hushed, the red curtain double page spread opens… and the song begins. A-one, a-two… We are lions and we like to prowl. We are […]

Elisabeth Sladen’s life

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

I’m not normally a biography sort of person. Many years ago, when I was an acting student, I read Laurence Olivier’s On Acting (which is a sort-of quasi autobiography focusing on his acting career) and I wasn’t riveted. So reading an autobiography was not really high on my list… until Elisabeth Sladen died. Ms Sladen […]

HOPSCOTCH – Golden Scarab by Ian Trevaskis

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Golden Scarab is the second action packed adventure in the Hopescotch series by Ian Trevaskis. A game of hopscotch and a simple chant is all it takes to transport Hannah and Jake into an ancient world of treachery and danger. After a hazardous adventure in book 1, Hopscotch, The Medusa Stone, Hannah and Jake are […]

Review – Children’s Book of Sport

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

It’s Australia Day and we’re a nation of sport-lovers. Want to know the score? This is what you need. DK’s remarkable and very visual stylings bring sport alive in this encyclopedic hardcover book. Starting with Team Sports, the astonishing photos begin with a double-page photo of a mid-play NFL tackle, followed by football (soccer or […]


Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Today I’m pleased to welcome Clancy Tucker who has dropped in as part of a blog tour to talk about his new book, Gunnedah Hero. This intriguing book for kids brings together the lives of two characters who lived 100 years apart, and introduces the reader to the life of pioneering Australians. Today, Clancy will […]

From A to the Z list – celeb autobiographies

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

I read a lot of non-fiction but, I have to admit, I’ve love to occasionally dip into low down and salacious celebrity gossip. I don’t usually bother with gossip magazines but go straight for the concentrated form and hit their  autobiographies. And the best bit is, you never run out of reading material. A complete […]

National Year of Reading 2012 – get involved!

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

When I first heard about the National Year of Reading initiative organised for 2012, I was ecstatic. Literacy is dear to my heart and is a major reason I review and blog on children’s books for both Kids’ Book Capers and Kids Book Review. When I first friended and partnered Kids Book Review with NYR12 […]

More NYR12

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

In my last post I introduced the National Year of Reading (NYR12) and interviewed NYR12 National Ambassador Hazel Edwards (see “The National Year of Reading”). Today I’ve got two more Ambassadors for you — ACT Ambassador Tania McCartney and NSW Ambassador Susanne Gervay. How did you become involved with the National Year of Reading? Tania: […]

The National Year of Reading

Friday, January 20th, 2012

2012 is the National Year of Reading in Australia. It is a collaborative initiative, involving public libraries, government, community groups, media and commercial partners. There are heaps of activities planned for the coming year. And it all gets officially launched on 14 February. But what’s it all about? Well here it is, straight from the […]


Friday, January 20th, 2012

Vulture’s Gate is a compelling novel for teen readers by Kirsty Murray set in the future. It has a spellbinding plot, and strong themes that reflect on our modern day world and the repercussions of how we currently interact with our environment. Kirsty Murray depicts a frightening but very real world in which girls are […]

A New Way to Discover Books Online – There it is!

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

MEDIA RELEASE: A NEW WAY TO DISCOVER BOOKS ONLINE Australian online bookstore Boomerang Books has partnered with 3D search technology firm ( to offer an innovative new way to discover books online. Adelaide-based has patented a 3D search tool that displays large collections of visual data in a way that leverages our ability […]

Review – The Mellops

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

I first fell in love with the Mellops last Christmas, with their festive adventure Christmas Eve at the Mellops. Although I knew and adored Tomi Ungerer’s work well, I had never heard of this adorable little piglet family. It was with much happiness, then, that I recently threw myself into two more adventures – The […]

Future Postbox

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

There have been a few letter-writing projects touted in recent times, especially the ‘write a letter to your 16-year-old self’, so I’m wary of pointing anyone towards another incarnation of this idea. Except that, well, this one’s really well done. Oh, and it’s not age-specific. Future Postbox—yep, even the name conjures up equal measures of […]


Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

FIVE HUNDRED YEARS INTO THE FUTURE the world is a different place. The Melt has sunk most of the coastal cities and Newperth is divided into the haves, the ‘Centrals’; the have-nots, the Bankers; and the fringe dwellers, the ‘Ferals’. Rosie Black is a courageous but vulnerable 16 year-old who lives in a futuristic world […]

Innovative Vox worth a look

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

I so wanted to love the Kobo Vox, but it hasn’t quite won me over. As a colour ereading device, it’s got a lot going for it. The market is, I reckon, ripe for a 7″ colour ereader like the Kindle Fire, which is not available here in Australia, or the occasionally rumoured iPad Nano, […]

Review – Grandpa Green

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

When you spend an inordinate amount of time and energy seeking something out, it somehow becomes more precious, more desirable. Whatever you can’t have, you want more. For some reason, tracking down a copy of Grandpa Green by one of my favourite authors, Lane Smith, has eluded me for around six months. I’m not sure […]

Mid-month round-up – the strange edition

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Strange World – John Long’s Hung Like an Argentine Duck The truth is stranger than fiction and Dr John Long has (literally) dug up some of the weirdest evidence and facts from the evolution of sex for this book; he’s the discoverer of the Gogo Fish, a 380-million-year-old fossilised armoured shark-like fish replete with a […]


Friday, January 13th, 2012

Grandpa talks about his war adventures all the time. And Harry loves listening. His father was a soldier too, in a different war. But Harry never knew his dad, and his mother won’t talk about him. In finding out why, Harry discovers a deeper truth, one that will change his life forever. Some wards don’t […]

Review – First Time books by Child’s Play

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Child’s Play have been producing brightly-coloured, highly-educational books for tots for a long time now. Their enormous range often features ‘sets’ of books that enlighten, educate and delight young kids, from classic fairytales through ‘how-to’ books and more traditional picture books. The ‘First Time’ series of books for kids aged 2 – 5 is a […]

The Taliban Shuffle

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

The Taliban Shuffle, Kim Barker’s memoir about her time as a foreign correspondent, is dedicated to the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, ‘who are still waiting for the punchline’. It’s an interesting dedication and one I, having read the book in its entirety, both do and don’t understand. That elusive, edge-of-mind understanding perhaps sums up […]

The joy of books… and ebooks.

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

After a long and very enjoyable holiday break spent devouring both ebooks and paper books, I’m coming into 2012 refreshed and well-read. I’m finding demolishing books even easier than normal, as now I can take a stack of them with me wherever I go on my tiny red (well, pink) Sony Ereader. I’ve had the […]

Blog, blog, bog

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Bog instead of Blog! If I could have a dollar for every time I’ve made that typo. One missing letter and you have a potential catastrophe (albeit a rather amusing one). Mostly it happens on Twitter. I’ll quickly post a link to a bog instead of a blog. I did it this morning. I wrote […]

HAL JUNIOR – The Secret Signal

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Hal checked nobody was watching, then scooped up the earphones and placed them on his head. “Tiger One…docking successful. The board is green. I repeat, the board is green.” He could hardly believe it. He was listening to the pilot of a real spceship! Hal Junior, The Secret Signal is the first book in new […]

Migrants and carousels

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

I read LOTS of picture books! My youngest is not quite three and she loves picture books. She’ll spend ages flipping through pages and pointing things out to me. But most of all, she loves it when we sit down together, and I read them to her. So we do it every day. You know, […]

Review – Every Minute in Australia by Yvette Poshoglian

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

There’s many a fact book on the Australian market – and there’s a reason for this. Kids love them. I mean, who doesn’t? Isn’t fact stranger and sometimes more mind-boggling than fiction? We may be a young country with a small populace but there’s a heck of a lot going on here at any given […]

Gaiman’s Graveyard Book

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

In December last year I went to see Neil Gaiman speaking at the Athenaeum Theatre in a double-bill with Tom Stoppard (see “Stoppard and Gaiman, with a dash of Palmer”). In the week leading up to the event, I realised that I had not read any Gaiman since Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? at […]


Friday, January 6th, 2012

Scholastic has just released a number of books for the young fact lover and for those young readers who like a book that makes them laugh. WEE ON A JELLYFISH STING and other fibs that simply aren’t true It’s amazing how many half-baked notions, crazy rumours from the internet and recycled must old myths get […]

The Lost Art Of Sleep

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Speaking of good books I haven’t quite been able to bring myself to finish…Michael McGirr’s The Lost Art of Sleep is another casualty in the polygamy disaster. It’s not that it’s not a good read—it is. It’s just that I’ve needed something with a bit stronger pull of late—something that shoves the rest of the […]

Review – Me . . . Jane

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Young Jane had a stuffed toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. She adored him and took him everywhere with her, especially to the great outdoors, where she loved immersing herself in nature. In fact, Jane also immersed herself in books about nature, and learned all she could about animals and plants. Jane had a favourite tree which […]


Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Lily gets her wings and Lily has a secret are the first two books in the Lily, The Littlest Angel series written by Elizabeth Pulford with illustrations by Aki Fukuoka LILY GETS HER WINGS In book one, Lily gets her wings, Lily dreams of earning her wings so she can attend Amelia’s Angel Academy, but […]

I will…

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

The clock has ticked and the calendar page has been turned — we’ve made it to 2012! Did you make a New Year’s Resolution? Have you broken it yet? New Year’s Resolutions are a funny thing. People make them in all sincerity, steadfastly intending to abide by their decisions, and then the new year begins […]

Monogamy v Polygamy

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Monogamy and polygamy aren’t, admittedly, terms that are often applied to how many books we have on the go at any one time, but it’s the best way I can explain my reading relationship. Although I’d like to say I always have a bunch of books on the go, in truth I’m a pretty vanilla […]

Review – Box Boy

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Even the cover makes you want to open this book and dive inside, just like a real life box. If it does this to an adult, imagine what it does to box-obsessed children (and isn’t that all of them?). Box Boy likes to collect things. He collects all sorts of things. Especially boxes. He likes […]

Word Freak

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

I realise it’s a little odd to recommend a book that I’ve wholly, never-to-be-repealed abandoned after more than eight months of fits-and-starts attempts to read it. But in the case of Word Freak (and to borrow the trusty break-up cliché) I think it’s not the book, but rather me. Word Freak is Wall Street Journal […]