SAM THE CAT

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 very happily in a tumbledown house with Jane and Ian. But when Jane and Ian bring home a baby boy, not only does he get all the attention – he even steals Sam’s name.

Having a son called Sam who loves cats, I was immediately drawn to the title and I know that kids will be too…and thanks to Andrew McLean’s wonderful illustrations, Sam is a particularly appealing kind of cat – one with a smiling face and intelligent looking expression.

Apart from the gorgeous illustrations and wonderful text, I love the way that Sam is a cat. Really, this is a book about adjusting to a new baby in the house, but it’s so cleverly done from the cat’s point of view that I can see small children relating to it and gaining understanding. Seeing as the main character is a cat, it’s totally non-confronting.

A child who’s not in this situation themselves will still be able to gain empathy for Sam and perhaps relate what he’s going through to children they know.

This is a gentle book with  illustrations that reach into the hearts and minds of small children and clearly reflect how it feels to have things that you have no control over changing within the family. Sam the Cat provides lots of room for discussion about families, pets and names.

Sam the Cat is a bit like my cat, Charlie

I really enjoyed this book, but I do have to confess an additional bias besides having a son called Sam.

I also have a cat called Charlie who bears a startling resemblance to Sam the Cat. Sam the Cat is written by Sam Bowring and illustrated by Andrew McLean. It is published by Working Title Press for readers aged 5+.

 

BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS! August Book Giveaway

This month, Boomerang Books are giving you more chances to win! Alongside our regular monthly giveaway and our Facebook-exclusive giveaway, to celebrate August being the month of the Children’s Book Council Australia’s Book Week, we have a special children’s prize pack to giveaway.

AUGUST MAJOR GIVEAWAY

This month’s prize pack is an eclectic mix set to capture your imagination, touch your heart and tickle your tastebuds. While Judith McNeil paints an unforgettable portrait of Australian life in the 1950s, Angela Valamanesh’s art inspires, and Ben O’Donoghue and Mary Taylor Simeti share recipes that plot you on the path to becoming the Masterchef of your household. The pack includes:

Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett SIGNED
Here is Plum Coyle, on the threshold of adolescence, striving to be new. Her fourteenth birthday is approaching: her old life and her old body will fall away, and she will become graceful, powerful, at ease. The strength in the objects she stores in a briefcase under her bed – a crystal lamb, a yoyo, an antique watch, a penny – will make sure of it.
Over the next couple of weeks, Plum’s life will change. Her beautiful neighbour Maureen will begin to show her how she might fly. The older brothers she adores – the charismatic Justin, the enigmatic Cydar – will court catastrophe in worlds that she barely knows exist. And her friends – her worst enemies – will tease and test, smelling weakness. They will try to lead her on and take her down.
Who ever forgets what happens when you’re fourteen?
Butterfly is a gripping, disquieting, beautifully observed novel that confirms Hartnett as one of Australia’s finest writers.

Outdoor by Ben O’Donoghue (Hardcover) SIGNED
In his first-ever cookbook, Ben brings the wide-sweeping world of barbecuing to your backyard via one of the most stunningly designed books around. No need to walk over hot coals to impress your BBQ guests, these divine recipes will leave a lasting taste in everyone’s mouth.
Try Grilled Lobsters from Norfolk, or Pork Loin With Bay And Balsamic from Italy or even a Thai-inspired dessert of Grilled Pineapple With Rum Ginger And Lemongrass Syrup. Yum! And while you grill, serve guests a Southern Cross Pimm’s barbecue-side. Fresh in every way, this cookbook is a summer staple.

Letters to Leonardo by Dee White
On his fifteenth birthday, Matt receives a card from his mother – the mother he grew up believing was deceased. Feeling betrayed by both his parents, Matt’s identity is in disarray and he begins writing letters to Leonardo da Vinci as a way to sort out the ‘mess’ in his head. Through the connections he makes between his own life and that of Leonardo, Matt unravels the mystery that his life has become and discovers his mother’s secrets and the reasons behind his abandonment.
A unique and powerful story about a fifteen year old boy who tries to deal with his mother’s mental illness by writing letters to Leonardo da Vinci. Ages 12+. 

A True History of the Hula Hoop by Judith Lanigan
A beguiling and utterly original debut novel about two women born centuries apart but joined by the spirit of adventure and a quest for true love.
Catherine is a hula-hooping performance artist, a talented and independent individual plying her trade on the international burlesque stage. Columbina meanwhile is a feisty female clown and a principal in a 16th-century Italian commedia dell’arte troupe.
As Catherine and Columbina struggle to make sense of an increasingly nonsensical world – and to assert their rights as performers and women during times of profound change – their lives, as if by magic, seem to interact.

No One’s Child by Judith McNeil
Judith takes you on a journey back to her childhood – as a ‘railway brat’, growing up in small towns along the tracks while her father worked on the lines. Judith’s life was one of hardship and poverty. The eldest of six children, she soon took on the role of provider and carer, while desperately craving affection from a mother too tired to give it and a father who resented her because she wasn’t a son. Yet there was still joy to be found: in the vibrant Gypsy camp, full of laughter and love in the eyes of Tom, the engine driver who believed in her and fed her thirst for knowledge and in the friendship of Billy, the boy who could see into her soul. No One’s Child is an unforgettable portrait of Australian life in the 1950s. With a vivid cast of characters and set against the backdrop of the ever-changing outback landscape, it will leave you marvelling at the indomitable spirit of one little girl who was determined to forge her own destiny.

Angela Valamanesha: About Being Here by Cath Kenneally (Hardcover)

Sicilian Food: Recipes from Italy’s Abundant Isle by Mary Taylor Simeti

Another Way To Love by Tim Costello and Rode Yule

To go into the draw to win these books, just complete the entry form here. Entries close August 31, 2009.

AUGUST FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY

As always, we have a great prize pack to give away to one of our Facebook Group members, which includes: Letters to Leonardo by Dee White, Shakespeare: The Most Famous Man In London by Tony Thompson, Third Transmission by Jack Heath, A Tale of Two Women by Christina Slade, Samurai Kids: Shaolin Tiger by Sandy Fussell, Another Way To Love by Tim Costello and Rode Yule.

Shakespeare Third Transmission A Tale of Two Women Shaolin Tiger

Boomerang Books is fast becoming one of Australia’s biggest book groups on Facebook, so what are you waiting for? Join Now!

BONUS AUGUST CHILDREN’S GIVEAWAY

Entering this bonus giveaway is easy enough. All you have to do is email me a review of the last children’s book you read. You could’ve read it last night, last year, or even back when you were a kid. The catch? It has to be in 20 words or less. When entering, mention which prize pack you’d like to be in the running for – picture book or fiction for ages 10+. Entries close August 31, 2009.

Section A: ‘Book Safari’-Themed Picture Books: The Little One: The Story of a Red-Tailed Monkey by Kaitie Afrika Litchfield, The Gorilla Book: Born To Be Wild by Dr Carla Litchfield, The Chimpanzee Book: Apes Like Us by Dr Carla Litchfield, The Penguin Book: Birds In Suits by Dr Mark Norman, The Antarctica Book: Living In The Freezer by Dr Mark Norman, The Great Barrier Reef Book: Solar Powered by Dr Mark Norman, When No-one’s Looking: On The Farm by Zana Fraillon and Lucia Masciullo, When No-one’s Looking: At the Zoo by Zana Fraillon and Lucia Masciullo.

The Little One The Chimpanzee Book Penguin Book At The Zoo

Section B: Fiction 10+

Samurai Kids: White Crane (SIGNED), Samurai Kids: Owl Ninja (SIGNED), Samurai Kids: Shaolin Tiger (SIGNED), Samurai Kids: Monkey Fist, Letters to Leonardo by Dee White, The Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures by Sam Bowring.

White Crane Owl Ninja Letters to Leonardo The Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures

A big thanks to our friends at Acorn Press, Black Dog Books, Exisle Publishing, Hardie Grant Egmont, Pan Macmillan, Picador, Penguin, Wakefield Press and Walker Books for supporting our giveaways this month.

New children’s book releases from Pan Macmillan – March 2009

Mascot Madness! (Schooling Around Book 3)
Andy Griffiths
9780330424868
$14.99 B-format paperback

The Mascot Madness! Test:

1. Northwest Southeast Central School have never beaten Northwest West Academy at their annual track and field challenge because A: they’re better at knitting than they are at sport. B: they are losers. C: Northwest West Academy will stop at nothing to win.

2. Mr Brainfright dresses up in a banana suit and dances around because A: he’s bored. B: he goes bananas. C: he thinks it will inspire the students of Northwest Southeast Central School and lead them to victory.

3. When Henry McThrottle attempts the triple jump, instead of a hop, step and a jump he does A: a burp, a dribble and a sneeze. B: a twirl, a spin and the splits. C: a stumble, a trip and a fall.

4. Mascot Madness is A: a new type of dance. B: when a mascot gets angry. C: a very funny book about running, jumping, throwing, winning, losing, cheating, chasing, biting and really hard squeezing.

The answers to these questions – and many more – are contained between the covers of this very funny book about running, jumping, throwing, winning, losing, cheating, chasing, biting and really hard squeezing.

The Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures
Sam Bowring
9780330424752
$14.99 B-format paperback

An imaginative and hilarious fantasy from an exciting new voice in children’s literature.

Twelve-year-old Zackary is the seventh son of the King and Queen of Solaris, and a most reluctant knight. He would rather put anchovies in the knights helmets or use his sword to cut sandwiches than learn courtly ways. In despair, the King and Queen assign him to the castle administrator, Barnabas, who sends him on an errand to the Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures, established by Zackary’s grandfather.

Mistaken for a job applicant, Zackary starts working at the zoo with the resident sorcerer, Acacia. Powerful magic is needed to control some of the extraordinary creatures in the zoo: from the Stymphalian birds of Greek mythology and the nine-headed hydra, to manticores from India and the squonks – Drufflefuster, Gobblesnocks, Snivelsnork and Grimelgrout. These are the ugliest, most endearing, little creatures that will be encountered in a children’s book in 2009.

But just as Zackary is settling in to his double life, a shadow is cast across the entire kingdom with the news that a strange creature is expected at the zoo-a creature which spreads evil and destruction in its path.

Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls 3: Best Friends and Drama Queens
Meg Cabot
9780230700147
$14.99 B-format paperback

The third fabulous book in bestselling author Meg Cabot’s funny and sassy series for tweens!

Allie is excited when Cheyenne joins her class-now she won’t have to be the “new girl” any more! But Cheyenne wears zip-up boots, likes boys, thinks imaginary games are for “big babies” and tells everyone what to do. Still, Allie won’t be bossed around – it’s time to teach the “new girl” some tough rules! Such as…

1) Friendly people don’t tell other people that their games are babyish;

2) Snowboots may not look as good as high-heeled zip-up boots, but they will never let you down; and

3) Friends are all you need.

A touch of magic

The magical world of Enid Blyton has been reimagined for a new generation with the ‘Enchanted World’ series (from February). Hardie Grant Egmont’s marketing manager, Natasha Besliev, says: ‘This is not just a new fairy series. The classic Blyton magic, solid storylines, well-rounded characters and strong elements of friendship are the perfect recipe for a new collectable series on which both parents and children can agree.’

A comic adventure story of a reluctant knight, a fantastical zoo, and a sorcerer’s assistant is The Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures by Sam Bowring (Pan, March). Also in March from The Five Mile Press is a companion to the bestselling Dragonology called Dragon Diary (Dougald A Steer).

A&U is ‘very excited’ to welcome Justine Larbalestier with the ‘hilarious, original, enchanting’ How to Ditch your Fairy—‘urban teenage humour at its best’.

Maryann Ballytyne from Black Dog Books says ‘We have the beginnings of a fantasy trilogy—“The Strangers of Paragor”. The first book is Arrival (March). The trilogy is written by an extremely talented young woman Charlotte McConaghy and is really pushing all the fantasy genre buttons.’