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The Turners (series)


Mick Elliott (Lothian)

This series of three titles is superb. It’s freaky. It’s page turning. It’s fun! The titles are wonderful reads, surely to appeal to a wide range of readers, filled with great humour and a solid storyline flowing through all the books. The Turners will be lapped up by kids who want a good solid read that is not overbearing but thoroughly engaging.

I so did enjoy reading these.


The Turners (#1) A thirteenth birthday party is always rather special but for Leo Lenox, the star of this series, it becomes something rather special and very memorable. This is when Leo discovers that he is a TURNER. Most Turners (and they are all over the world) can only turn at nighttime but Leo Turns during the daylight hours and this causes much concern for his father and older sister, both who are also Turners.

While scanning library bookshelves Leo suddenly feels a prickling sensation in the base of his spine. As the itch grows and Leo’s frantic scratching provides no resolution. Then when the itch becomes a twinge and when he feels a lump that turns into something long and grey lashing from side to side, Leo knows that something is not quite right. Suddenly Leo realises he has grown a tail and he has an immediate desire to eat flesh. Leo has become a Komodo dragon … Leo has Turned.

In Camp Freakout (#2) Leo insists on attending school camp without his family around and here there is trouble brewing. Leo’s shape shifting secret is about to be discovered as he gets entwined in an epic battle with a deranged scientist, his crazy assistant, the school bullies and just a few more characters, who want to expose Leo and the rest of the Turners all over the globe.

And finally in Fully Doomed (#3) it’s not just at school, or at camp that Leo finds himself embroiled in all sorts of chaos. This time chaos stretches from one end of the globe to the other and he has a simple task. This time he has to save ALL the Turners scattered all over the world from a deranged scientist – yes him who has been causing the problems from the start – who wants to expose the worldwide Turners for what they are. This crazy person wants to make all Turners Turn-blocked so they remain in their Turned state – permanently!

Integral to all the titles is the fast moving plot and the well-crafted characters including Leo’s friends (some who are also Turners), the crazy villainous henchman and his sidekicks (in their various guises), and Abbie his sister who isn’t such a terrible sister after all.


Giggling Gertie & Dramatic Don










(Sally Rippin Presents: the Super Moopers series)

Fiona Harris, Sally Rippin & Scott Edgar, FiveMile Press

SuperMoopers is a new series, presented by Sally Rippin, for younger readers – perfect for those who are transitioning from picture books to text based titles. The titles are a solid format, with strong card covers and pages which are adorned with full coloured illustrations. The text is short and well spaced with a generous allowance of uncluttered space.

It is super finding these transitional titles for those voracious young readers. Adults will not be bored with exploring these titles with their readers, and those readers will be giggling and excited reading them.

Everyone in Moopertown is different. Everyone is individual. Everyone in Moopertown has their own special quirkiness, although everyone’s difference is not always appreciated. Giggling Gertie giggles at everything, even the things that are not funny which happens when the choir is struggling to prepare for the arrival of the Baron, and to Dramatic Don, everything is a drama and some of the residents of Moopertown find it annoying … at least for a while. Moopertown is a community and the differences are what make them Super!

… also available now, Nervous Nellie and Musical Marcus.

Two Lovely Creations

I adored devouring the words and the illustrations on the pages and both were read over and over again.

the-singing-bonesThe Singing Bones – Inspired by Grimms’ Fairy Tales Shaun Tan (Allen&Unwin)
Shaun Tan creates amazing works and they never fail to please and this has once again continued with Shaun’s latest creation – The Singing Bones. For this title Shaun has created and photographed 75 clay figurine sculptures – one for each of the fairy tales that he has chosen to feature. Growing out of the 50 sculptures that were originally created as the illustrations for  Grimms Märchen (Grimm Tales), Philip Pullman’s retelling of fifty classic Grimm’s fairy tales but only available in German,  The Singing Bones also includes new sculptures created just for this title.

Each full page photograph of the sculpture is accompanied by a short fragment from the tale. The title includes well known tales such as the Frog King, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and Rumpelstiltskin, as well as lesser known tales like Mother Holle, Strong Hans, and The Lettuce Donkey, all of which will send inquisitive readers searching for the original full length tale which are easily available from the public domain. Children will be encouraged to create their own fairy tale sculptures or craft their own tales based on these or other sculptures.

With forward by Phillip Pullman, an introduction by leading fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes and afterword from Shaun, this is a glorious work that will be savoured for years to come.

‘These little figures of clay, with their simplified features, their single attributes, are perfect realisations of the strangeness of the characters they represent.’ – Philip Pullman.

More details about the creation of this work on Shaun’s website at:


kidglovzKidGlovz Julie Hunt & Dale Newman (Allen&Unwin)

There is a town in the mountains not far from here where people lock their pianos on the night of the full moon, It makes no difference – the keys move up and down and the air is filled with music ….

… and so begins – and ends – this beautiful book.

This a graphic tale beautifully told and illustrated, telling the story of a musical genius, KidGlovz who is imprisoned by his uncle Dr Spin, only leaving the apartment when a concert is to be performed. While in his 6th floor room, he is visited by Shoestring, a child of very different talents who is not all he seems. He helps KidGlovz to escape and embark on a perilous journey into a mysterious and none to safe world where he will find out more about is extraordinary talent, where he comes from and more about his gloves and the music that is so much a part of his world.

Close examination of the illustrations as well as rereading of the text opens up more of this fantastic world where friendship and freedom are explored. Just delightful.






Back to it – nearly!

It hasn’t just been a holiday break. There has been much speaking overseas and work going on as well …  but the reviews of great new Australian kids books will pop up again this week.



Picture Book Month & The Last King of Angkor Wat

November is Picture Book Month – an international celebration of the wonders and joys of Picture Books. More about Picture Book Month can be seen at the website where celebrated Picture Book Creators from around the world contribute short essays about the joyous of picture Books.

And in celebration of this month this blog will be featuring new picture books that have crossed my desk over the past few months.

To begin here is:

the-last-king-of-angkor-watThe Last King of Angkor Wat Graeme Base (Viking)

From the creator of Animalia, and the Eleventh Hour and My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch and a host of other stunningly luscious creations come his latest creation The Last King of Angkor Wat and this book doesn’t fail to be a visual and literary delight.

Tiger, Gibbon, Water Buffalo and Gecko are sitting amongst the ruins of ancient Angkor Wat. They were looking at the old stone carvings of the kings and parades, feasts and battles when they began to argue about their qualities and who of the four of them would have made the best king. Elephant mysteriously appears from amongst the stone carvings and sets them a challenge to go to the temple at the top of the hill. A race begins with each eventually making it to the top of the hill while exhibiting a kingly strength. There they are greeted again by Elephant. He praises their achievements but also tells them of their failings in demonstrating all the strengths of a great king. The four return to the temple and are once again surrounded by the carvings but now they see the scenes showing the life of an ancient Elephant King.

This luscious book is a work to be read and examined over and over again. The art is intricate and rich, requiring multiple viewings. The jungles and temples of Angor Wat, and the animals throughout the book are masterly created. Typical of many of his books there are the revealing decorative borders that require their own examination around the heavily illustrated double page spreads.

A glorious creation.

… and don’t forget to have a look at the Picture Book Month website and


Younger Fiction

These books are perfect for the younger readers, fast paced, fun but with lots of illustrations.

the-ugg-boot-warThe Ugg Boot War (Mates) Kylie Fornasier & Tom Jellett (Scholastic)

There are people who love wearing Ugg boots and there are people who have wearing Ugg boots and for those families with Ugg boot lovers and haters this book is a great read.

Dad wears his Ugg boots and loves them. Jake hates the ugg boots and that dad wears them … and out in public too! The Uggs even have stains! Jake wishes his dad could be like other proper shoe wearing dads! So jake plots to ways to releases his dad form his Uggs.

This titles in this series are printed on thick paper and fully illustrated and the titles in the Mates series are  perfect for the younger readers just moving to fiction titles


the-testThe Test (EJ Spy School #1), Susannah McFarlane, (Scholastic)

EJ12 is Emma Jacks the super spy from the Shine agency. The EJ12 titles in this series are perfectly crafted for younger girls but for very young girls moving from picture books to books with large font and illustrations – the new EJ Spy School series is the perfect start.

Emma Jacks loves being at school, but she doesn’t like tests. And on the second day of the term starts with a Maths Test – a special maths test with one of the questions being a secret code. Her success at the maths text leads Emma to receive a very special invitation – an invitation to SHINE – a secret agency that shops bad things happening! but first Emma has to go through training.

There is also the EJ Spy School website with games, and sample chapters and lots more.


skateboard-starsSkateboard Stars (Double Trouble #2) Felicity Carter & Louis Shea (Schoalstic)

Boys will love the double trouble series – books about two identical boys who do lots of pranks. they are Master pranksters have twice the fun (but get in double the trouble!).

Tommy and Cooper are the done trouble identical prankster twins and there all-time favourite skateboard star, Jed Michaels, is holding an awesome skate competition at the local skate park where ONE winner will get to go on the TV show. All the local skaters are there wanting to go on the show – including Stinky Sam the local tough kid. Now the pranksters have to skate to beat everyone else and do so well that they win. but how can they both be the champion skateboard star and get on the show?