An ordinary boy in an ordinary world is followed around by tiny creatures, worries that eat at his confidence day by day. They grow stronger and have more and more impact. As each day progresses seemingly insignificant everyday moments have a severe and lasting impact:- he is the last one chosen for the team; he sits alone to eat his lunch; he is never part of the in-crowd. As further moments occur his feeling of hopeless, sadness and loneliness grows and easts away at his self confidence and self worth – as if he is loosing control. But this boy does learn that help is close by.
This wordless graphic novel is truly beautiful. The strong images are intricately detailed and allow the reader to peer into the this world silently and maybe tell their own story.
I adored devouring the words and the illustrations on the pages and both were read over and over again.
The 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: http://shauntan.net/books.html
KidGlovz 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.
Ickypedia A Dictionary Of Disgusting New Words Matt Kelly & Richard Higgins (Penguin)
… and now that I am back from Holidaze, it is time to add more new books.
So, if we begin by saying that the first word in this dictionary of disgusting new words is Achoospew – when you spew out your nose, and that the last word is Zzzend – to fall asleep before the end of something, like during a movie or reading a book or writing this senten and that there are other really icky words like Imburpanation – to attempt to belch like someone else or Pootiful – A beautiful poo. See also Spewtiul, then it is understandable that this book will be thoroughly poured over and consumed by readers (especially boys with a wicked sense of humour) who want the icky side of life and those who want to have some fun playing with words. There is also a short puzzle and quiz at the end and lots of zany visual pieces appropriately placed throughout the book.
The book also come with a Warning – Rated S for Stupid!
Created by Richard Higgins and Matt Kelly who are the comedy duo The Listies, this book is filled with all sorts of funniness in both text and illustrations for kids 9-12 years old. There will be many giggles and lots of sniggering as it is being consumed and probably many requests for more! Expect lots of independent made up words creeping into the reader’s conversations too!
Liberator Richard Harland (Allen&Unwin) I was so thrilled that I had this book to read on a recent long plane trip … I couldn’t put it down. The juggernaut Worldshaker has been renamed Liberator. Now the “Filthies” are in charge and the members of the Upper Decks who remained on board are living greatly endangered and victimised lives. For Col and Riff their world is rapidly changing. There is a saboteur on board and the revolution which enabled the lower decks to take control of the vessel is getting out of hand. The coal reserves which powers the mobile city are running dangerously low so the vessel has to port in Botany Bay to replenish supplies – and quickly too as the other Imperialist juggernauts are closing in to battle the overthrown vessel. This is the wonderful sequel to the steam punk fantasy novel Worldshaker.
Surface Tension Meg McKinlay (Walker Books) Another beautiful read. A town is flooded; it is drowned, to provide a water supply but no one in Cassie’s family sees the lever as it is flipped to drown the town. That was the day she was born. But years later during the drought when Cassie and her friend Liam are swimming in the new lake they discover the water is receding. Now parts of teh old flooded town are being revealed from the top of the water, first the tall tree, and then a roadway and sheds are revealed – soon parts of the flooded town are floating to the surface. Swimming on this side of the lake is very dangerous so it has been fenced, and locked … or is there some other reason why it has been forbidden. As the water continues to recede a mystery is revealed and there is more than a town bruied beneath the waters. What secrets lie beneath? A riveting read for both boys and girls.
Nanny Piggins and the Accidental Blast-Off R. A. Spratt (Random House) In space no one can hear you oink! This is the fourth Nanny Piggins book and this time she blasts off in to space, accidentally of course, and with the Green family children in tow (being with nanny the children will learn way much more than at school anyway). When the greatest aeronautical engineers are having trouble launching the Space Shuttle they call on Nanny Piggins after all no one knows more about being blasted that the world’s greatest flying pig. She also wrestles with a crocodile, bungy jumps of the roof using the elastic from Mr Green’s underpants, staples chicken wire over their chimney to keep out Santa, and heaps more. The Nanny Piggins books are great fun reads, perfect for giggling all the way through. Young readers will love the humour and the Pig who takes control.
Destination Abudai Prue Mason (Penguin) This is a terrific read – especially for teenage boys. Jaz who has lived in a small Aussie town all his life is suddenly living in the land of his Arabian father who he did not know existed. He now has a luxurious palace for home, and travels from the airport by private helicopter. There are people to assist Jaz whenever he needs. His father, who is a very powerful man, has welcomed Jazirut into the family, as his half sister and other family members, although Jaz wonders what is his real motive for bringing him here. Unfortunately his cousin, who also lives in the palace is not so accommodating and causes Jaz to be very suspicious, so suspicious, that Jaz, aided by his half sister, attempts to go back home to be with his dying grandfather. But Jaz’s father has other plans in store. Characters are wonderfully created and the story is full of action.
Mostly Sunny, with the Chance of Storms Marion Roberts (Allen&Unwin)
This is the second book about Sunny Hathaway who comes from a very blended family. Her father has remarried and Sunny now has a baby half-sister and her step-mother is not coping too well. Her mother and partner, soon to be husband, are moving with his children, (soon to be step-siblings Sunny calls the precookeds) to the house that her recently deceased grandmother lived in. And that’s only the start of the events that are about to cause consternation for Sunny. Who will live in the turret bedroom (sunny of course using her powers of reverse psychology? Who are her imaginary friends Bruce and Terry? Who is the boy who knits who breeds homing pigeons, who she meets on the bus and does not use computer or a telephone for keeping in touch – he sends Sunny letters instead. Who is the old gardener that lives on the grounds and what does he want to do with the pigeons? This is a fun read that warmly touches on some serious issues.
Two fiction titles, one for younger reades and the other for more mature readers but both great reads.
Alice-Miranda at School Jacqueline Harvey (Random House) Alice-Miranda is starting school, although a little younger than other students, at the prestigious Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies that her mother attended as did her mother. Of course the academy has changed a little since her parents went but still Alice Miranda (or is it Alic-Matilda) just loves being there. There are lots of problems at the academy – all of which are solved with a friendly hand from ALice-Miranda. The principal has not seen a student for ten year but that doesn’t stop her seeing Alice-Miranda, and when Alice Miranda finds there are no flowers in the gardens a simple call to father solves that. There is of course the obnoxious, meanest, most spoilt older student that Alice-Miranda must contend with and of course Alice-Miranda shines through. Great for young readers who want a solid strong and fun chapter book to read. I can’t wait to read more about Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones.
Letters to Leonardo Dee White (Walker Books) On Matt’s fifteenth birthday he really wants art lessons but his dad gives him a motorcycle book instead. He also opens a bundle of cards – and one is from his mother who has been dead for ten years. Matt is confused and angry. Who is his mother? How did she find him? Where is she? Why has she been ‘dead’ for most of Matt’s life and why did his father lie to him about his mother?
These are questions that start flooding into Matt’s mind and soon he sets about on a twisted course that will eventually lead him to a family discovery and a traumatic conclusion. Thoughout, Matt has a school project to deliver and he finds some similarities with Leonardo da Vinci, his project subject. Through the project, the discovery of his living mother, his investigations and the outcomes he chooses revealing the truth, Matt confronts the emotional journey that is entwined in his life. Investigating themes of mental illness (specifically Bipolar disorder), friendship, family, identity and loss this wonderfully written book for mature readers, which I couldn’t put down, has a surprising and tense conclusion.