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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?

Non Fiction Picture books

Maralinga: the Anangu Story Yalata & Oak Valley Communities with Christobel Mattingley (Allen & Unwin)
This book, created through extensive research and community consultation, tells the story (in detailed words, photographs and traditional art) of the history of the Maralinga lands in South Australia – all from an indigenous perspective. It tells of growing up, life before and after atomic testing, the coming of the railway, the food, the mission, the bomb and its impact, and the expulsion and return to the land. Also has map, glossary adn sources listed.
This is an important work told by the elders for all peoples.

100 Years of Petrol Power: 1900-2000 John Nicholson (Allen & Unwin)
This is the final title in the series Transport Trade and Travel in Australia. All of these books, suitable for those in upper primary and above, are thoroughly researched and are accompanied by detailed illustrated throughout. This title focuses on petrol power looking at Australia’s reliance on the petrol and diesel, the development of transportation powered by these. It looks at the internal combustion engine and also poses the questions … what next?
These books are terrific nonfiction titles for kids to investigate.

Something About Water Penny Matthews & Tom Jellett (Omnibus)
Here is a terrific book, perfect for children investigating water, recycling, and saving the planet. The text has simple explanations about water, its importance to the environment and of course about human interaction and reliance on water. There are simple but informative explanations of the water cycle, pollution, and an investigation of what we can do. End matter also contains other text and web references.
Told through the eyes of an inquisitive boy and with comic strip illustrations and school project style pages makes this easy for children to follow and fun to read.

These non fiction reads would be are most deifinitely worth investigating with your readers who want to know!


These two new titles have dragons within – one is also from Deltora! Dragonlovers will enjoy!

Belmont and the Dragon: The Forest Of Doom And Gloom Mike Zarb & Robin Gold (Random House)
There’s a princess to be rescued, a contact wearing SNAD (sensitive new age dragon) a witch, pink pixies … and uniting them all in medieval metropolis of Old York is Belmont, the boy who escapes from the orphanage to be a knight.
Just perfect for younger readers, and especially boys, this new series is filled with craziness and chaos and animation-like illustrations.

Secrets of Deltora Emily Rodda & Mark McBride (Scholastic)
A new addition to the Deltora collection of books is this large book filled with new information (and new art work) on Deltora’s many creatures, Deltora’s dangers, and places of interest including information about the seven gem territories – all told from the perspective of Doran the Dragonslayer. This is the definitive guide (and it actually looks like a travel guide too) to the land of Deltora!