Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Selwood Boys - Battle Royale

The Selwood Boys - Battle Royale by Tony Wilson (ABC Books) HB  RRP $14.99   ISBN 978-0-733335-45-7

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

In this recent book in the series, Tony Wilson introduces AFL Royalty, the Selwood Boys and shares stories about the four future AFL stars growing up in the Selwood house.  There's madness, mayhem and sibling rough and tumble everyday - and lots of footy, of course! 

Meet the Selwood boys: there are the twins, Troy and Adam, strong and sporty and full of energy, then Joel, who is talented and itching to be a fair dinkum footy player, and finally little Scott, who just does his best to keep up and not be left behind. Joel dearly wants to be off the sidelines, and on the footy field to play with his big brothers. But Mum and Dad are making Joel wait, so he has to make do with being the boundary umpire for his brothers.
It'll be a battle royale that's bound to involve the whole family! The book targets ages 7 to12 years.  Battle Royale is a fantastic tale for all young readers, especially boys aged seven and up with a love for AFL footy. 

The book not only covers the code, but the themes of family, sportsmanship, friendship and bullying.  Battle Royal is perfect for teachers who are looking for a fun book to cover bullying.   This is the first book in a series of four so I can also recommend Book 2 - The Miracle Goal, with books 3 and 4 coming out very soon.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

The Miracle Goal

The Miracle Goal by Tony Wilson (ABC Books) HB RRP $14.99   ISBN 978-0-733335-46-4

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

The Miracle Goal is one of those books written from the heart.  It is based on the antics of the real life footy mad Selwood Boys, which makes it not only easy to read, but genuine and warm.  If you are an AFL fan and love footy, this is the book for you.  The book targets the 7 years plus age group and would also suit classroom teachers due to its broad range of topics so skillfully  covered.

Tony Wilson is a well-loved Australian author who inspires children to read and love books.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a book to ignite a love of reading in a child and who needs to find a book that suits a child’s interests.  Boys in particular will gravitate to this story, but girls will also soak it up.

The Miracle Goal is part of a series of books based upon the Selwood boys’ childhood growing up in Bendigo, Victoria and is based upon the funny things that happened to the boys.  The topics covered include footy, family, sibling rivalry, competitveness, pranks, school, friendship, fairness, twins and having a disability, so you get a lot of bang in one story.  There is madness, mayhem, mischief and mateship.

The sign of a good writer is the ease in which you can read and enjoy the story and this book does that.  The first few chapters introduce each boy and their individuality and little quirks.  Then the scene is set around footy and school by portraying all the characters to paint a vivid picture. I won’t give too much away as I think you need to read the book.

For some light hearted fun with learning along the way give ‘The Miracle Goal’ a whirl and remember to be the best that you can be. 

Friday, 2 December 2016

My Donkey Benjamin

My Donkey Benjamin by Hans Limmer and Lennart Osbeck (Scribble) HB RRP $24.95 ISBN 9781925321234

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Originally published in the late 1960s and currently in its 42nd edition, this is a new English tradition of a modernist picture book classic. Illustrated throughout with clear black and white photographs, My Donkey Benjamin is told from the point of view of blonde-haired Susanne whom everyone calls Susi. Benjamin, who Susi calls Ben, is small like her, a baby donkey found by the girl and her father alone among rocks on Rhodes, near the Mediterranean Sea. Angelika, Susi’s baby sister, squeals with delight when toddler Susi and her dad bring home the donkey.

The book’s photos show the interior of Susi’s house with its white-washed walls and pebble floor where Ben seems to be allowed to have free reign. Susie lies across Ben, washes his face from a tub, ties white bandages on his head, and romps through the house. When the two are outdoors, the reader can see the dozens of Mediterranean houses and the sea beyond. At night Susi and Ben fall asleep in a makeshift bed – indoors, of course.

One day, Ben disappears, and of course Susi goes in search of him, and then the two are lost. Of course the book ends happily, both greeted at home by Mum and Dad.

This is a beautiful and engaging picture book sure to be enjoyed by small children being read to by their mum or dad.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

My Pig Pauline

My Pig Pauline by Hans Limmer and David Crossley (Scribble) HB RRP $24.95 ISBN 978192532121241

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Author Hans Limmer was born in 1926 but in 1960 he emigrated with his family to Greece where he lived on the island of Rhodes where this hardback picture book is set. The story is of Angelika who lives on Rhodes with her parents and sister Susi (who owns Benjamin the donkey, another charming tale by Limmer). A blonde-haired toddler, Angelika loves roaming the Mediterranean island with her favourite doll, Hippi. When she adopts a piglet named Paulina she finds in a small sack near the road, the two have lots of fun together. We see Paulina’s small pen, the pig rolling in mud (Angelika muddy, too), and Angelika on a trike, pulling Paulina along in a cardboard box. The little girl also dresses her pig in striped underpants.

Illustrated by president of the Houston Centre for Photography, David Crossley, there are numerous engaging photos such as the small girl and her pig friend are nose to snout, the two are racing through a field of flowers and chubby-faced Angelika lifting Paulina up from the cobblestones.

However, when a farmer wants to take Paulina away, Angelika knows she has to save her best friend. Equipping herself with supplies, she sets off with her pig to run away where they can’t be found. On the way to who knows where, the two meet a cow and a straggly-coated goat before arriving at some woods. Deeper in the woods Angelika finds a small cave. Of course little girls can’t be lost forever…

Like its companion classic bestseller book, My Donkey Benjamin, this is a picture book with compelling, naturalist photographs, sure to entertain and amuse children aged 5 to 7 years.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Stripes in the forest

Stripes in the forest by Aleesah Darlison, illustrated by Shane McGrath (Big Sky Publishing) HB RRP $24.99 PB RRP $14.99
ISBN: HB 978-1-925275-70-4 PB 978-1-925275-71-1

Reviewed by Anita Howard

This is a powerful story about the last wild Thylacine, the Tasmanian tiger; which aligns with aspects of the Australian Curriculum and appropriate for infant children and older.

The story is told from the perspective of a female Thylacine: as she passes on her fears and hopes for her kind to her young ones as she first finds a mate, produces cubs and then watches them leave. She looks down at a human's camp and ponders why they capture and mutilate her fellow creatures.

Empathy for the Thylacine is created through the questions and thoughts that occupy the female’s Thylacine mind. Primary school children can be encouraged to consider how they would feel if they were this mother or a current creature close to extinction. The reader is left with an uplifting question 'I'm the last of my kind. Or am I?'

This story is accompanied by beautifully rendered landscapes and emotive and skilled illustrations of the animals. Included on the last page are facts related to the Thylacine.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

There’s a Magpie in My Soup

There’s a Magpie in My Soup by Sean Farrar, illustrated by Pat Kan (Big Sky Publishing) HB RRP $24.99 PB RRP $14.99
ISBN: HB 978-1-925275-67-4
           PB 978-1-925275-68-1

Reviewed by Anita Howard

This is a book of nonsense and anticipation that children will enjoy, filled with Australian animals in unexpected places such as a snake in a cake and a cockatoo in a loo.

The format for the book is two full spread pages, with the initial page introducing the animal and object and the following page a reaction between animal and object. These pairs are separated by an individual full spread page of text and illustration.

There are delightful rhyming phrases that children will enjoy repeating and I can imagine action accompanying the text.

The illustrative style of wash and quick, expressive pen work delightfully adds to the mischievousness of the text.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Barnaby and the lost Treasure of Bunnville

Barnaby and the lost Treasure of Bunnville by Robert Vescio, illustrated by Cheri Hughes (Big Sky Publishing)
HB RRP $24.99 PB RRP $14.99
ISBN: HB 978-1-925275-64-3 PB 978-1-925275-61-2

Reviewed by Anita Howard

A story about an eco-friendly rabbit and his desire grow a garden from his collection of seeds. Barnaby is a rabbit which has collected many seeds from his travels. He wishes to create a garden where he lives, in Bunnyville. But the mayor is only interested in monetary wealth and says no to Barnaby's request. Barnaby takes advantage of the mayor’s greed and tricks him and citizens of Bunnyville, using a fake treasure map into digging holes all over the open spaces around the town.

Barnaby drops one of his seeds into each hole. Over time, the seeds turn into trees and plants, bearing fruit and vegetables which he takes to the market to sell. Barnaby tells the mayor and people of Bunnyville that here is the wealth from the ground. Through Barnaby’s achievement, infant children and older will gain an insight into the wealth and value of the earth.

The illustrations are clear, bold and playful. The additional inclusion of the ladybug and her different antics, bring anticipation as you wonder what she will do on the next page.