Archive for March, 2012

SWF tickets now on sale

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Top of my list to see at this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival (tickets for the May 14 to 20 event are on sale now) are former head of MI5 and now novelist and Man Booker Prize judge Stella Rimington and former CIA interrogator Glenn Carle. I could never be a spy, but can’t get enough […]

The first rule of book club is…

Friday, March 30th, 2012

…bring a bottle of wine, apparently. I’m not sure what the rest of the rules are – this is my first ever book club – but everyone was very clear about the wine. Despite a lifetime of loving books and reading books and obsessing about books and occasionally fresking people about by thrusting books at […]

Phryne’s cocaine blues

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Phryne Fisher — socialite, aristocrat, flapper… and amateur detective. She’s a character is a series of mystery novels written by Melbourne author Kerry Greenwood. Years ago, I read Greenwood’s YA novels. I loved them, and so bought the first two of her famed Phryne Fisher mystery novels. Nine years later, I’ve finally gotten around to […]


Friday, March 30th, 2012

I was drawn to this book immediately because I love David Miller’s artwork. His colourful paper sculptures are amazing. And in Millie’s Special Something, David’s artwork works so well with Tania Cox’s simple cumulative text. Big, bad Reggie loves to scare Millie. It’s fun. But not for Millie. It’s frightening! Her friends each have a […]

Review – What’s the Matter, Aunty May?

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Our wee little man is a helpful lad. He loves to help his Aunty May clean her stunning house, teetering with priceless antiques and tidyness, by sweeping, polishing and washing up – antique cups and vases, naturellement. But alas, it seems our little one is a tad clumsy, a smidge over-eager, teensy bit of a […]


Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Jake’s Concert Horror is the latest in the adventures of an engaging character created by Ken Spillman. Jake’s previous adventures include Jake’s Gigantic List, Jake’s Monster Mess, Jake’s Great Game and Jake’s Balloon Blast. A school concert sounds like FUN. Jake could scamper across the stage in a monkey suit. He could CLASEH swords with […]

Spec Fic Awards

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Continuum is an annual spec fic convention held in Melbourne. Each year it hosts the Chronos Awards for excellence in speculative fiction by Victorian writers. This year’s Continuum 8 is also the National Science Fiction Convention for 2012. As such it will also host the Ditmar Awards, which are the Australian Science Fiction Achievement Awards […]

Interview – Dr Virginia Lowe of Create a Kids’ Book

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Who are you? Virginia Lowe – I do have a PhD, so I can call myself ‘Doctor’ – but I usually don’t. I am author of Stories, Pictures and Reality: Two Children Tell, about two children’s responses to books from birth, and of chapters in academic books on poetry, early literacy and Beatrix Potter. I […]

Review: Nest: The Art of Birds by Janine Burke

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

TITLE: Nest: The Art of Birds AUTHOR: Janine Burke PUBLISHER: Allen & Unwin (81 Alexander St. Crows Nest, NSW 2065, Australia) (March 2012) ISBN: 978 1 74237 829 9      182 pages. Reviewed by Ann Skea ( There are many good things about this book. Its central theme, as the author tells us, is that birds’ […]

Review: Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

TITLE: Waiting for Sunrise AUTHOR: William Boyd PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury (March 2012) ISBN: 9781408818589   353 pages. Reviewed by Ann Skea ( The Year is 1913, the setting Vienna. Lysander Ulrich Rief is a 28 year-old English actor. He is “a young, almost handsome man” and “almost a dandy” and he writes poetry. His surname, he says, is […]

Mid-month round-up – the Hungry edition

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

So this month, like most of Australia, I have been spending my spare time glued to the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It’s a page-turner in the traditional sense, and it’s very easy to see why this trilogy was quickly picked up for movie adaptation. The novels are set a post-apocalyptic America where the Haves live in […]


Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Queen of the Night is the follow up book to Leanne Hall’s award winning, This is  Shyness. The dark is dangerous. So is the past. So are your dreams. For six months Nia—Wildgirl—has tried to forget Wolfboy, the mysterious boy she spent one night with in Shyness—the boy who said he’d call her back but […]

Review – Show Day

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Author Penny Matthews takes us to the country in this lovely picture book on the iconic Australian Agricultural Show. Country or city kid alike, who doesn’t love Show Day? Lil wakes to a special day. It’s Show Day. She goes to check on Best Heifer – Princess Marigold (Goldie to the family) – then it’s […]

The Hunger Games Film

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

It’s hard to know how a review written at 3am while still on the deliriously sleep-deprived high of watching The Hunger Games film adaptation (this one) would differ from one written once I’ve had some time to process and some sleep (not this one). But I am going to say that the film was everything […]


Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Professor Fred Hollows is the latest book in New Frontier’s inspiring Aussie Heroes Series. According to the late Professor Fred Hollows “Three out of four people who are blind don’t have to be. They are blinded by poverty alone.” Popular author, Hazel Edwards takes us through the life of this inspiring man and his amazing […]

National Year of Reading – Publisher Profile – Hardie Grant Egmont

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

KBC warmly welcomes publicist Jennifer Kean with this insight into the world of Hardie Grant Egmont. We hope you enjoy this peek into the world of the people who make the books. What kind of books do you publish? At Hardie Grant Egmont (HGE) we publish a variety books – beautiful picture books, popular series […]

The Pirate’s (And Author’s) Dilemma

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Piracy is something all of us have a complex relationship with, none more so than those of us who work in the creative industries. Too often we poor, practically starving artists (where ‘starving’ means ‘working sh%tty, menial casual jobs in hospitality or retail in order to pursue our dreams) are the ones having our work […]


Monday, March 19th, 2012

After two years blogging for Boomerang Books at the Kids’ Book Caper’s blog, it’s time for me to say, “Goodbye”. I’ve had a blast, read shelves full of fabulous books and met many amazing creators. I’m going to be sad to leave, but I’ve realised recently that it’s time for me to spend more time […]

The multi-titled Horton Halfpott

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

It’s not often that you get a book with alternative titles these days. It used to be more common in the old days. Thus you would have Charles Dickens titling a novel Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy’s Progress, and Mary Shelley calling her gothic tale Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. But I recently read a […]

Alain de Botton

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

One would expect a certain amount of philosophical thinking to accompany a night as an audience member of one of the world’s foremost modern-day philosophers. Just perhaps not about what said philosophising ended up being about. Open-minded atheist Alain de Botton was here to talk about his latest bestselling book, the delightfully confusingly entitled Religion […]

Phryne Fisher … Fan

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

One of the most-requested books I knew least about when I moonlighted as a bookseller was the Phryne Fisher lady detective series by Karen Greenwood. I lost count of the number of women—it was always women—who bemoaned the fact that the series had, as I discovered from searching the database, the dreaded status of ‘out […]


Friday, March 16th, 2012

Raven Lucas – Missing is the first book in a new 3 part mystery series by popular Australian children’s author, Christine Harris. Raven Lucas appears to have everything. But something is missing form her life. Her father. He has disappeared, suddenly, mysteriously, with no words of goodbye. Has he simply left his family and didn’t […]

It’s not goodbye, it’s au revoir

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

It’s the end of an icon. The 2010 print set of the Encyclopædia Britannica will be the last one they make. After 244 years,  and with more than 7 million sets sold, the 2010 print edition will be the last set to grace the shelves as the iconic reference books move completely to the digital format. […]

Review – Shy The Platypus

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

It’s so lovely to see a classic Australian story brought to life for a new generation of children – and even more lovely to see it done using the exquisite collection of images from the National Library image collection. First published in 1944, this hard cover, dust-jacketed version with its aqua cover is beautifully-designed, with […]

My iPhone

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

A couple of months ago I finally decided to join everyone else in the 21st Century by getting myself a smart phone. Up until then, I had been using an old Motorola flip phone and I’d been reluctant to get rid of it simply because it felt a bit like using a Star Trek communicator. […]


Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Transfer Student takes the reader on a spellbinding journey into the lives of  popular earth-dwelling high school student Ashley, and Rhoe from the amazing planet Retha. When Ashley looks into a telescope, her life is changed forever. I think of my Aunt Jenny. I make my very first wish upon that beautiful, very hypnotic star. […]

Review – Kick It To Me

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Don’t you just love it when you learn something you didn’t know before? Don’t you love it even more when that something surprises and delights you? The origins of Australian Rules Football are laid bare in this beautiful book by footy fanatic and author of Side-by-Side (the Collingwood FC story), Neridah McMullen. Young Tom is […]

The Octonauts

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Explore! Rescue! Protect! No doubt this is a catchcry familiar to parents all over the world. The Octonauts television series (see my review over at Viewing Clutter) has been a HUGE hit with the kiddies, and both my daughters are obsessed with it. But guess what? It all started with books. After daughter #1 discovered […]

Farewell, my little pixels, iPad 3 is here

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Australians will be able to order the third generation iPad from today (or queue up for one on March 16 when it ships). They’ll do this because it offers retina-ish display (try a million more pixels than HDTV, at four times as many pixels per inch as the previous model) and a vastly improved camera […]


Monday, March 12th, 2012

Sam the Cat is a picture book written by Sam Bowring and illustrated by Andrew McLean. It’s based on a true story, and even though at the end you’re asking yourself, “Did that really happen?”, you know that it must have because the story is too bizarre for someone to make it up. Sam lives […]

Book-rooms, book-cases and cognitive biases

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Some of you may have noticed a bit of a book-room and book-accessory theme on this blog in the last few weeks. Well, it turns out that once you start noticing these things they just keep popping up everywhere. My recent browsing has been filled with fascinating little book-related asides such as: America’s smallest library […]


Friday, March 9th, 2012

All Monkeys Love Bananas by Sean E Avery is a truly unique picture book. Sean is a Western Australian Graphic designer, author, sculptor and illustrator whose artwork is featured both here and in the USA. Sean commenced work at the ripe young age of 12 with his own Sunday column in the local paper. He […]

Review – The Way Back Home

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Hello. My name is Tania and I’m an Oliver Jeffers addict. I’ve actually never laid eyes on The Way Back Home before, which is saying something because I have all book by Mr Jeffers. Somehow this one just kept escaping me. Maybe because every time I went to a shop to look for it, everyone […]


Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Tania McCartney has a wonderful new book published by the National Library of Australia. Australian Story, an illustrated timeline is a pictorial and textual delight. Did you know that Indigenous people arrived in Australia between 40,000 and 65,000 years ago? Or that Mount Gambier was the last volcano to erupt on the Australian mainland, or […]

Vampire Diaries

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Part Two of what is turning out to be a vampire-themed procrastination trilogy (quadrilogy if I decide to pull a Christopher Paolini) relates to a TV series based on books I’ve not yet read. I can’t ultimately recommend the books—yet—but I can wholly, embarrassingly gushingly recommend the show. I started watching Vampire Diaries on a […]

Review – With Nan

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

I started reading With Nan, and it started out very well. Then suddenly, it made me grin so wide, my teeth hurt. Through the book, goosebumps popped up on my skin, I giggled out loud and then on the last page, I went “Awwwwwwwwwww…” How many books have done that to you lately? Simon goes […]

Doctors, Daleks and drawings

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Sticking with my recent graphic novel theme (see “Moore’s Extraordinary Gentlemen” and “Moore extraordinary adventures”), I thought I’d write about Doctor Who comics. They’ve been around, in many different forms, for a long time. My experience with them has been minimal, but let me tell you about it anyway… I’ve got to admit that although […]

It’s time to snub Microsoft and Nine

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

How should Microsoft and Nine be punished for this week’s unbelievable Cudo book piracy scandal? Cudo, a daily deals site, offered Australians a $99 ereader package featuring 4000 free ebooks, many of which neither Cudo nor its Chinese business partner owned the rights for. It had sold 2317 e-readers, grossing $229,383, by the time the […]


Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Today, award-winning author, Sally Murphy is visiting Kids’ Book Capers to talk about the inspiration behind her latest book, Do Not Forget Australia. Ideas for stories can come from anywhere. In the past I’ve been inspired by a humorous word combination (Head Hog), a poem out of the blue (Pearl Verses the World) and a […]

Review – These are my Hands/These are my Feet

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

One of my daughter’s very favourite books, when she was little, was a bi-covered book – where flipping the story over and reading half from one end and half from the other was part of the fun. Memories therefore came flooding back when Judy Horacek’s new book arrived – a hard cover picture book for […]