Future Father’s Day Fun – More Picture Books for the Family

The ties and monogramed mugs might already be tucked away but here a ute-full of picture books littlies will love sharing with dad, any day of the year. After you’ve checked out Romi’s Father’s Day round up, check out these, sometimes cheeky, titles too.

Funniest Dad in the World by Ed Allen and Louis Shea

This is an outrageous take on one-up-man-ship. Explosively colourful illustrations collaborate with a text that increasingly becomes more and more hilarious and unbelievable as various animal youngsters try to ‘out describe’ just how funny their dad is. Winners get to construct the super cool shiny Funniest Dad in the World trophy included in the back. Pre-schoolers will get a thrill out of second-guessing the riotous attempts at bragging rights. Top marks for Dad’s Day.

Scholastic Australia August 2017

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Review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

9780571315048This is only my second Kazuo Ishiguro book following on from Never Let Me Go. For me, coming off a novel about cloning, I had no expectations about where he would go next. Much has been made about this novel being a “departure” for Ishiguro but I would argue that he has gone back to something far more traditional.

This novel is seeped in myth and legend. Ogre’s are referred to and a strange spell seems to hang over the land. There are mysterious warriors and a renowned Knight of the Roundtable. There are superstitions and folklore to be obeyed and to be wary of. And there’s a journey a couple must embark upon…. (Psst…and there’s a dragon).

We meet the main characters of the novel, Axl and Beatrice, as they go about their daily lives in their village. The narration of the story is at first quite unsettling but you get used to it as the novel progresses. Events are told in a kind of immediate past tense. Rather than the traditional past tense of a story being told after a significant amount of time has lapsed everything is told almost in the direct afterwards of the events occurring.

I wouldn’t call this a fantasy novel, instead this is a novel about legends. The mythical creatures referred to are more often than not off page. Which means that their existences is always questionable. And when they do finally appear on the page there is still sufficient question marks around them.

When you get down to the nuts and bolts of this story it is the classic journey. A journey into a great unknown. A journey into memory and love. It is a post-Arthurian tale that is perfectly apt for this post-9/11 world where the peace and harmony has been built on tenuous foundations. Don’t get caught up in the debate about whether this is a departure or a fantasy. This is classic storytelling told by a complete master.

Buy the book here…

How To Train Your Dragon Series – like Asterix goes to Hogwarts.

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Review – How To Train Your Dragon Series

I began reading the HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON series to my six-year-old daughter two years ago after watching the Dreamworks’ DVD. Apart from character names the books bear little resemblance to the movie but that hasn’t stopped us reading all the books in the series so far. We read them together up until book ten last year. This year having recently turned eight she read book eleven by herself (I read it after her!).

The series follows the adventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third who we meet as an 11-year-old (and who is 13 in book 11). Hiccup is learning how to be a Viking, which he is not very good at. His training involves having a dragon as your obedient companion which he must train for hunting and other essential Viking activities such as being a pirate. Hiccup also has to deal with the fact that he is the heir to the Hooligan Tribe as his father, Stoick the Vast, is the chief which puts considerably pressure on Hiccup to be the best possible Viking.

The adventures Hiccup has are truly fantastic and a deeper, larger mystery slowly emerges over the course of the books as bits and pieces Hiccup picks up along the way slowly come together. Cowell combines well-balanced humour (silly and clever) with truly great original stories that even I am addicted to. Hiccup must overcome the odds in a number of different ways usually with the help of his two best friends; Fishlegs, an even more unlikely Viking and Camicazi, a girl from a neighbouring tribe who is the best burglar in the archipelago in which the Vikings inhabit. The best way I can think of to describe the series is that it is like Asterix goes to Hogwarts.

The books are great for reading aloud for a 5-7 year old and suitable for an 8-12 year old reader, boy or girl. And despite the movie baring no resemblance to the books it is pretty good too!

The series in order:

  1. How to Train Your Dragon
  2. How to Be a Pirate
  3. How to Speak Dragonese
  4. How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse
  5. How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale
  6. A Hero’s Guide to Deadly Dragons
  7. How to Ride a Dragon’s Storm
  8. How to Break a Dragon’s Heart
  9. How to Steal a Dragon’s Sword
  10. How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel
  11. How to Betray a Dragon’s Hero