My life and other stuff I made up by Tristan Bancks
Ill. by Gus Gordon. Random House Australia Children's Books, 2014. ISBN 9780857983190
My life and other stuff that went wrong by Tristan Bancks
Ill. by Gus Gordon. Random House Australia Children's Books, 2014. ISBN 9780857980373.
(Age: Primary) Recomended. Tom Weekly is of indeterminate age and lives in an iPadless world of adventure, weird adults and relatives, friends that at times seem barely worthy of the name and an unrequited passion for Stella Hollings. His sister is mean, his mother all unknowing and his gran can never resist a catfight. Tom creates his world with his own imagination and whatever tools happen to be handy such as a cardboard box or a texta.
Tom creates his own adventures and his own tall stories, and he can be an unreliable narrator, but the general havoc he can create, ably assisted by best mate Jack, brings out my inner ten year old. As well as sharing his stories, Tom has many other interesting asides which will hold the attention of his intended boy audience. For instance in the would you rather game... 'eat dog poo or cat vomit?'
The stories are generally funny and sometimes macabre in a Simpsons treehouse of horror way and Bancks often leaves it up to the readers imagination as to what happened next. Tristan Bancks has plenty of nice lines for the adult reader (and this book does beg to be read out loud). 'My nan is a frail biscuit of a woman' precedes a wonderful tale of Tom's nan going into training to climb Mt. Everest.
There is the surreal tale of the birthmark, very evocative of a South Park episode with the birthmark reaping its revenge on a kid who dares laugh at Tom. There is the curious tale of the dog kisser and I believe that poo, vomit and bed wetting may be mentioned.
I often recommend to my students that they read a book about the opposite sex in order to learn how the other half thinks. Reading this book reminds me that primary school boys may often be in a world all of their own making. I have no doubt that this comic creation will entice and encourage many boys to read and enjoy Tom Weekly's world.
Age of Legends, bk 1. Atom, 2014. ISBN 9780751547818.
(Age: 14+) Horror. Fantasy. Twin sisters Moria and Ashyn live in a village next to the Forest of the Dead, where exiled criminals are sent to die. They have powers as Keeper and Seeker to quiet the souls of the dead. When their...
Ill. by Mark Cleary. Albert Whitman & Co., 2014. ISBN
Boba the Baboon had come to take a photo of the tallest animals in the world and the giraffes wanted to make the photo perfect. They prinked and they preened and lined up ready for Boba. But when the photo was...
Puffin, 2014. ISBN 9780143307594.
(Audience: young adult) Recommended. Themes: teenage identity, family drama and coming of age. A story of 14 year old Quincy Jordan who is struggling to find out who she really is and whether she wants to be the person people think she 'should' be....
Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781742839950.
(Age: 7-11) This activity book is aimed at primary school children and has lots of things that could be done either with Mum or with other adults. There is a Contents page that gives a good overview of the activities and projects. It is organised...
Allen and Unwin, 2014. 9781743316399.
(Age: Young adult) Themes: country life, romance, mystery. Country girl Zoe wakes up in hospital after a farming accident and tries to piece her life back together after everything seems to be different. She can't work out why her boyfriend and best...
Lothian Children's Books, 2014. ISBN 9780734414441.
(Age: Pre-school - 5). A small book, perfect for the hands of small children, Love you, Mum celebrates the love of a young animal or bird for its mother. It is written with the second and fourth lines rhyming and this makes for an...
Hardie Grant Egmont, 2014. ISBN 9781742976792.
This is a romance story with Cinderella references, and is not particularly cerebral - akin to a Mills and Boon Romance.The main character, a 19 year old Australian named Lucinda, but known as 'Cinda', is on a backpacking/painting holiday in...
Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781921931680.
Boy vs Beast : Rock Mutant is the next book in this series aimed at boys aged 7+ . It is a short novel aimed at independent readers. Like the other books, it introduces the main character Kai and his desire to be a Border Captain - fans of the...
Allen & Unwin 2014. ISBN: 9781743315101.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. A wonderfully descriptive novel, Afterworld incorporates ideas from many religions and cultures in the formation of its after-death land. With themes of humanity, mortality and love this novel is easily...
Scholastic, 2014. ISBN: 9781742836362.
This delightful rhyming book uses a collection of hopping bunnies, avidly involved in a myriad of different pursuits, as the focus for counting. Their activities include egg and spoon races, listening at school, working in the vegie patch, choosing...
Random House, 2014. ISBN 9780857983077.
(Age: 8+) Billy is a Dragon: Werewolves Beware is the second book in this series but can be read independently of the first. It is a quick moving, fun adventure based around Billy who has become a were dragon.
Billy is learning to shift...
Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781743620410.
(Age: 3-5) Easter, Rhyming story, Read aloud. Five animals, a fox, pig, chicken, kitten, and a kid goat set out to find eggs at Easter time. Using the same rhyming sequences and refrain as We're going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen...
Egmont, 2013. ISBN: 9781405268363.
As a graphic novel of almost 290 pages, this tome was a tad overwhelming to receive and review as I have obviously never really been a massive fan of 'comics'! This was perhaps not the best choice for me but, nevertheless, one I chose to read as a large...
Random House, 2013.
Horse Crazy & Horse Shy ISBN 9780857980632.
Horse Sense & Horse Power ISBN 9780857980649.
Trail Mates & Dude Ranch ISBN 9780857980656.
Horse Play & Horse Show ISBN...
Scholastic, 2014. ISBN: 9781742838182.
Highly recommended for all readers aged 0-60+. In this gentle, beautifully illustrated Australian tale, each baby animal in the bush spends time with its mother, demonstrating how it loves her. With carefully worded, sparse text, and perfectly...
Penguin, 2104. ISBN: 9780141350868.
Themes: Good vs Evil; Witchcraft/Magic; Coming-of Age. The author uses the Shakespearean quote from Hamlet, 'There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so', as an opening epigraph. This book is about witches - White or Black. The...
Magabala, 2013. ISBN: 9781922142139.
The second title in the Ubbys Underdogs Trilogy, this book continues the story of Ubby, a tough aboriginal girl and her gang as they try to find the Chinese girl Sai Fong. Containing an assortment of over twenty characters, some of whom are...
My Australian story. Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781743622056.
Recommended for 12 years and above. The 39th Battalion which faced the Japanese on New Guinea's Kokoda Track in 1942 were militia, meaning that they were civilian reservists, rather than regular army. Poorly trained, ill...
Omnibus Books, 2014.
One woolly wombat. ISBN 9781742990477.
Hide and seek. ISBN: 9781742990491
Best of friends. ISBN 9781742990484.
At the beach. ISBN 9781742990507.
(Age: 4-7) Highly recommended. Early reader. Australian animals. Counting....
Harper Collins Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780732294557.
Black Warrior completes the series starring Roxy Ran following on from White Ninja and Red Samurai and is probably best read with at least some knowledge of the content of these books. As with the rest of the series the focus is...
Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2014. ISBN 9781408838822.
(Age: Pre-school - 6) Recommended. Monsters. Humour. Fear. The little monster believes that he should be called Scary not Sweet, because he likes to stomp around, get covered in mud and become very stinky. He also loves to cook bug...
Walker, 2013. ISBN 9781406348880.
Knights of the Round Table, amassed under the famed King Arthur's rule, were legendary as being the finest and fiercest Knights of the Kingdom of Britain.
Worthy Knights, to this day, wear a silken belt. Why? The answer lies with the tale of the...
Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9780545624626.
(Age: 8+) The Lego Movie: The Official Handbook introduces fans to the characters in the movie, using comics and text to engage its readers. It is not a novel or story but a variety of texts that introduce us to the Lego world -...
Text, 2014. ISBN 9781922182227.
(Age: 14+) War is something which many teenagers have little experience of. High school students in Australia are required to study historical events relating to that violent three-letter word. It is a distant concept for many young people in this society,...
Ill. by Craig Smith. Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743317235.
The banner across the top of the cover of this book says, 'The iconic song about the Vietnam War that helped change a nation' and indeed, anyone who has heard the original with the haunting voice of John Schuman as the...
Ill. by Leigh Hedstrom. Wombat Books, 2014. ISBN 9781921632594.
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Alzheimer's. Death. Grandparents. In this heart wrenching but uplifting story, a young girl visits her Grandma in her nursing home with her family. While her young brother plays antics and makes the...
Hachette Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780734414908.
Pre-school children and parents will enjoy this Australianised version of the old and familiar story of the Five Little Ducks who go out to play but fail to return.
In this case the five little platypuses go out over a puddle,...
The Murder Notebooks 4. Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408815533.
(Age: 13+) Murder. Assassination. Thriller. After the horrible events in Butterfly grave, the third in the Murder notebook series, Rose is keen to get on with her life. She makes a break with Joshua, her...
A&C Black, 2014. ISBN: 9781472904720.
Recommended for 9-11 year olds and any teenager who needs a reality check about their parents, or parents who need to laugh a little at their life.
What parent would not want their child to read this book! Not only is it easy to read, the...
Macmillan Children's Books, 2014. ISBN 9781447263005.
Recommended for readers 11 years +. Themes: Fantasy, Adventure. The Finisher revolves around the life of a 14 year old girl named Vega Jane, and her life in the small village of Wormwood. Life in Wormwood is portrayed as bleak...
Ill. by Tony Flowers. Random House Australia, 2014. ISBN
(Ages: 9-11) Recommended. Billy is an ordinary, nearly 10 year-old boy to whom something amazing happens with hilarious consequences. It starts with a trip to Benny's Pet Shop, and an irresistible desire to pat a...
Ill. by Nahum Ziersch. Random House Australia, 2014. ISBN
(Age: 9-11) In the world of Rugby League Billy Slater is a star. The Melbourne Storm player who has played over 250 games is in the best place to act as mentor to junior players, the role he plays in this new...
Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781742831695.
The Easter Egg Express tells the story of Ellie and Erin, the Easter bilbies in charge of delivering Easter Eggs. They are quite excited until they realise just how many eggs they must deliver! What will they do?
The Easter Egg...
Scholastic 2014. ISBN 9781743623824.
(Age: 9+) Captain America - The Winter Soldier is the book of the film and I love having these on the shelf in my classroom library. Previous experience has seen children watching the movie and then devouring the book. This will be no...
Allen & Unwin, 2014 ISBN 9781743316542.
I had mixed feelings about this book. While it demonstrated how wonderful good friends can be in helping you to achieve your dreams, I had some nagging doubts about using fashion and magazines as the basis for it.
The main characters are...