Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406368239
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Families, Relationships, Rain, Home. This story of family and home replicates themes Graham has always used, ones which are persistently asked for by readers of all ages, ones picked up eagerly when seen in the library, classroom or shop. My now 35 year old son was not a reader, but when a book seller came to town and set up his display, my son ran to the Bob Graham books, recognising their familiarity, grabbing them with a please buy these for me look to his parents, and sitting down to read in the shop.
This will be just as eagerly sought by younger readers, as Francie and her mum and only just showing new baby sister drive home from Grandma's house in the teeming rain. They are caught between huge lorries plying the motorway, one of which pushes their little red car onto the verge. In the parking bay they take a rest from the incessant rain and traffic, and eat the lunch that grandma made for them. After drawing her family's names on the windows Francie asks her mum about her new baby sister. She is interested in what this new baby will be called. Mum tells her that no name has been chosen, but when an idea comes she will know. They go on their way, with the rain and then hail still making their journey difficult. At a service station, mum has an idea about a name, and so Francie is able to write that name on the car's window, just as she did with her own and her parents.
Bob Graham has the ability to make a small moment one of significance and portent. A child and her mother deciding on a new name for a baby sister is full of significance for this small family, with their father working away from home and grandma also living far away. It will not have been noticed by any other person but for this family, it is remarkable. And this is reflected in the beautiful drawings, as the sun comes out guiding their way back home.
Graham uses his masterful technique to bring the feeling of their journey to life, as they are squeezed between the many trucks on the highway, slowed by the rain, shown in large white lines across most of the pages. Their small car is diminished by the stream of trucks, but it stands out in the sea of grey, while the edges of the pages and the highway are tinged with blackberry bushes and small animals, bringing the countryside into view. Each page offers a perspective to think about: the highway signs pointing to home, the sweets found in the car pockets, mum kicking off her shoes to rest, the other people at the service station, the view of the oil rig out to sea, perhaps showing us where dad works. I love every page and all who pick up this book will too.
Text, 2016. ISBN 9781925355123
(Age: secondary) Recommended. Thriller, Dystopia, Survival, CLimate change, Virus. After sheltering a girl he finds on the beach, Finn must work out a way of surviving with another person who relies on him. But a group of enraged men comes searching for...
Ill. by Kenard Pak. Wide Eyed Editions, 2016. ISBN 9781847808493
(Age: Primary) Recommended. Theme: Language; Social Atlas.This is a language atlas that can be read - but it is also linked to a child-friendly free downloadable App that 'speaks' basic phrases in each of the languages that...
HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780062572196
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Afghanistan, Gender roles. The idea of Bacha Posh is very new to me in the context in which it is presented in this page turner of a book. Girls who dress as boys in some Muslim countries have done so to earn money for their...
Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406357127
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Coming hot on the heels of my review of Michael's Such stuff is this absolutely beautiful short story/novella which is both poignant and thrilling. And of course, now I also want to know the 'prompt' for this...
Ill. by Petr Horacek. Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406359633
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Animals. Poetry. A large format, hard-covered book filled with glorious illustrations of a vast variety of animals on our planet, accompanied by poems of varying styles and length, each of which talk...
Jefferson Hinkley Bk 3. Simon and Schuster, 2016. ISBN
(Age: 15+) Crime. Mystery. Horse racing. Jeff Hinkley is back, this time taking the reader on a ride to the US, behind the scenes in the American racing industry. Jeff Hinkley has been seconded by the US Federal...
Ill. by Nikki Dyson. Usborne, 2016. ISBN 9781474924481
This new release from Usborne, who are masters at putting together quality education resources, comes in perfect time for sharing with parents who are looking for something special for the Christmas stocking for that between group...
Ill. by Gwyneth Jones. EK Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925335248
It is one of the great mysteries of our times. Ever since washing machines were automated and readily available, pairs of socks have been forever separated, never to meet their match again. And Sarah's house is no different -...
Kaleidoscope, 2016. ISBN 9781922101501
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Short stories. Diversity. What an amazing collection! The editors have gathered together what they consider the best short stories for young adults in 2015 and they have certainly succeeded in their goal. The stories...
Walker, 2016. ISBN 9781406366969
(Age 4+) Highly recommended. One of my favourite authors, Anthony Browne, has done it again with another wonderful book starring Willy. This time Willy has a dark cloud that seems to be following him, not matter what he does to try and get rid of it. When...
Ill. by Cat Chapman. Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781921977787
(Age: 5-7) Recommended. Camping. Holidays. Everyone who has ever been camping will relate to this amusing and informative picture book that shows a family on holiday. The whole family, including grandparents and pets, set out on...
Ill. by Shane McGrath. Big Sky Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925275629
Themes: Grandparents, Family, Change, Australian Social History. For anyone who has had a Grandparent who lives in the country or on a farm or whose grandparents have a house that retains historical accoutrements, rather...
Little Hare, 2016. ISBN 9781742976914
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Award winning Indigenous artist, author and illustrator Bronwyn Bancroft celebrates the vibrant hues of the landscape, the earth, sea and sky in her new picture book Colours of Australia. How richly rewarding to...
Walker, 2016. ISBN 9781406352320
(Age: 6 months - 6) Highly recommended.
'No dreamer is ever too small, no dream is ever too big'.
Chris Haughton's Goodnight Everyone is a simply told bedtime story, starting with a small yawn, that grows bigger and bigger until all the...
Ottoline, book 4. Macmillan Children's Books, 2016. ISBN
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Ottoline and the Purple Fox is a dazzling new story from UK's Children's Laureate, Chris Riddell. It was the first that I had read about Ottoline, but I had no...
WeirDo Bk. 7. Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781760159092
(Age: 6-8, 8+ will also enjoy the simple humour!) Highly recommended. Themes: Humour, Family, Asian-Australian perspectives, Friendship, School, Identity. Anh Do does it again! He is a talented author, comedian, artist and...
Ill. by Guy Shield. Lola's Toy Box series. Hardie Grant,
2016. ISBN 9781760126858
(Age: 5-6) Young Lola's best friend is Buddy a learn-to-dress clown toy with zippers, poppers, buttons and buckles, together they go on amazing adventures to The Kingdom where toys are living things...
Allen and Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781925266412
(Age: Secondary-adult) Highly recommended. Crime fiction. Humour. Asylum seekers. England. Two widowed sisters, Harriet and Hester, live together in a small cottage in an equally small village in the south of England. When one night they see...
Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406369762
(Age: 8+) Humour. Detectives. This is the kind of book written for kids who like silly humour, impossible logic and exceptionally odd and quirky characters who like to solve problems (even if the problems don't really exist). Timmy Failure is a...
Ford St Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925272406
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Bushfire. Australian bush. Disasters. A cigarette casually thrown onto the dry grass is the spark which at first flickers but then the wind becomes its friend and helps the spark grow. It races across the dry...
Ford St, 2016.
Chasing the break. ISBN 9781925272482
Against the spin. ISBN 9781925272499
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Sports. School. With the upper primary reading group such a hard batch to satisfy with good books, it is great to see the republishing of...
Penguin, 2016. ISBN 9780670079131
Thirty years ago in 1986 an armoured armadillo avoiding an angry alligator appeared from the pen of one of Australia's most iconic illustrators. It was followed by beautiful blue butterflies basking by a babbling brook and a host of other creatures...
Text, 2016. ISBN 9781925498257
(Age: Capable senior students) Recommended. Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize 2016. His Bloody Project is clearly subtitled as a novel, which is a useful guide as the book has the authenticity of a historical investigation. It has also been...
Allen & Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781471133022
(Age: secondary) Recommended. English history, Tudors, Henry VIII, Status of women, Scottish history. When Katherine of Aragon comes to the Tudor court to marry Arthur, his younger sister, Margaret looks on with petulant disdain. This woman...
Ill. by Charles Santosa. Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781742761909
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Polar bears, Zoos, Cities, Death and grieving, New York, Friendship. Based on the true story of two polar bears at New York's Central Park Zoo, this emotional story will have all readers sniffling by the...
Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408870037
(Age: 5-7) Recommended. Themes: Space; Seek and Find. This is a simple 'Seek and Find' concept book with a Space theme. Each double page contains a simple factual paragraph and then humourous cartoon-style illustrations which are crowded with fun and...
Ill. by Andrew McLean. Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781925266863
(Ages: 5-9) Recommended. Bushfire, horses. This uplifting story is based on events that occurred during the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria. Fabish, a retired racehorse, now takes care of the flighty young horses....
Walker Studio, 2016. ISBN 9781406346763
(Age: All) Highly recommended. Aptly named An artist's alphabet, the stunning illustrations make this a stand-out picture book. Ranging from drawings of fabulous animals, beautiful flowers and stylish buildings the reader is taken through...
Candlewick Press, 2016. ISBN 9780763674670
(Age: 14+) Recommended. 17 year old Nora Lopez lives in New York during the terrible year of 1977. The heat is scorching and there is a killer on the loose. But that's not all Nora has to face - her family is spiralling out of control, with her...
New Frontier Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925059564
(Ages: 4-8) This is exactly what it says: a version of Little Red Riding Hood that ends happily! The story begins the same way as in most versions of the story, with Little Red Riding Hood setting out across the woods to take her...
Terry Deary Shakespeare Tales series. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Theatre. Another in Deary's retelling of Shakespeare's plays will help introduce this play to a new audience. One of his best loved plays, Twelfth night is often...
Five Mile Press, 2016. ISBN 9781760402075
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Fear of the dark. Anxiety. Friendship. Being afraid of the dark is tackled well in this Agatha's second outing for Anna Pignataro. Agatha wakes one cold wintry morning and dresses to go to kindergarten with her mother,...
Ill. by Lucia Masciullo. Harper Collins Children's Books/ABC Books,
2016. ISBN 9780733333712
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Themes: Humour, Boarding schools, Friendship. Continuing the rollicking series involving the wonderfully loving, kind and generous Olive and her classmates at Mrs...
Ill. by Jules Faber. The Kaboom Kid bk 7. Simon and
Schuster, 2016. ISBN 9781925368185
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Themes: Cricket, Friendship, Meeting Challenges. Davey Warner is an 11 year old cricket 'tragic'. Every moment of the day is an opportunity to think about cricket . ....
New Frontier Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925059748
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. What an amazing life Sage has! Her parents are hosts of a cooking show and travel around Australia with Sage. In this story, Sage and her parents are in Tasmania to visit and film Bettina and Babette's...
Ill. by Tamsin Ainslie. Allen & Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760291563
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Themes: Animals, Cooking, Family, Rhyme. The youngest mouse in the Saint-Claire house is a magnificent pastry baker and cook . . . but is too little to leave the house and go to the market to sell...
Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781681190433
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Halloween, Ghost and ghouls, Monsters, Humour, Board book. In the midnight hour, Vlad has called a meeting of the Fright Club, designed to get his friends run through their scariness for Halloween. His friends include...
Angus and Robertson, 2016. ISBN 9781460752555
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Classics, Australian children's literature, Environment. This beautifully presented compendium of May Gibbs' stories is a centenary edition of the first publication of the Gumnut Babies in 1916. Beloved all...
Ill. by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Humour. Skeletons. Bodies. Verse. Four silly skeletons named Fred, Sid, Belle and Bill live at the top of a very steep hill. Lucky for them their dear old Aunt June lives near the bottom of...
Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 9781876678456
Teacher reference. What a great resource for those charged with purchasing or recommending reading material for Upper Primary and Lower Secondary students. The Middle School aged reader can have specific interests or reading demands and keeping...