Children's New Releases 

April 2019

Gleebooks Bookshop - Friday, March 29, 2019

We have the dear little Selecta wooden books back in stock. Small and square, made in Germany with a colourful picture on each wooden page, these fit perfectly in a baby’s hand. At $27.95 each they are expensive, but they will last forever and can be handed down through generations. There’s a Farm book, and an Animals book.  Louise


When I first became interested in dinosaurs, as a very young child, I was a little disappointed to find that they only seemed to be three colours: grey, green and brown. I wish I could have read this enjoyable book way back then. An exciting story of dinosaur rescue on the way to help a crew of builder dinosaurs, whose truck has broken down on a level crossing! Will they arrive in time to stop the train heading towards them? Bold, colourful pictures capture all the action. Lots of noisy words are repeated for young readers to practise. My favourite illustration shows the happy dinosaurs back at rescue headquarters—with Tyrannosaurus Rex about to enjoy a meal of fresh fruit, chocolate chip cookies and orange juice! Yum. This sturdy board book is the perfect way to introduce preschoolers to new words and… new dinosaurs in every colour of the rainbow!  Stephen


One Tree by Christopher Cheng (ill) Bruce Whatley ($25, HB)  
Grandfather used to live happily in a farm on a mountain, nearest the tallest tree. Now he lives with his family in a small apartment in a crowded city, and he is silent and sad. When his grandson, the narrator, takes home a tiny tree he’s rescued from a footpath, Grandfather is at first dismissive, but gradually becomes involved in helping his grandson grow the tree. This is a wonderfully life affirming book. Not only do we follow the grandfather’s life, with its obvious changes, but we can see that renewal and regeneration are possible, for both people and their environments. There are many notable things about this book; it is a book that acknowledges the old ways while being realistic, but not negative, about  modern life. It shows there are always possibilities for change, and that can be brought about with the smallest start. And it emphasises how lucky we are if we have elders in our life, and how important it is to listen to them. Christopher Cheng’s Chinese heritage informs the whole book, and it’s a privilege for us to be included in it as readers. His narrative is accessible, and refreshingly not didactic or preachy, it’s a very good story, albeit one with a strong message. Bruce Whatley’s illustrations are wonderful. He is a prolific and versatile illustrator, and he has really outdone himself with this book. In the dedication he thanks the author for trusting him ‘to play around with a new technique for this very personal narrative’. This new technique has the appearance of linocut pictures, although it has been achieved digitally. The palette is muted and limited at the start of the book, and becomes more varied by the end. Not only do the pictures extend the text, but they deepen it, and it’s the technique that gives it the extra layer of interest and meaning. The book has also been very nicely designed, with its bright red spine, lime green endpapers, and judicious use of white space as borders for each picture. This is an outstanding book that will surely stand the test of time. Louise (From review published in longer form in Books + Publishing.)

Found by Jeff Newman (ill) Larry Day ($27, HB)  
This wordless picture book is a very fine example of the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. A little girl finds a dog in the rain outside her apartment, and the dog, as lost dogs can do, firmly places himself into her life. But we know as adults, for someone to find something, someone else has lost it—and the story develops, concluding in a most heartwarming way. It’s vital to start, and finish this book by reading the endpapers, and although the mainly black and white drawings are spare and elegant, the illustrations are full of narrative details and visual cues. This is a book that is so rich in feeling, and yet so restrained in its delivery, I read it a few times before I felt its full impact. An outstanding book for 4–10 year olds.  Louise

Cats & Robbers by Russell Ayto ($13, PB)  
A UK Librarians’ Choice, this catalogue of mishaps has shades of the ingenious foils so memorable in the movie Home Alone. Fun abounds in an action-packed caper featuring three hapless robbers, two very clever cats, and one robbery gone awry. Masked, and armed with their thievery list, the robbers head off to steal the loot from the big old house on the hill… but the resident cats are ready with booby traps to prevent the villains sneaking and creeping their way to the prized safe. Who will prevail—the robbers or the cunning kitties? ‘A funny, high-energy picture book with a fun surprise twist at the end.’  Lynndy


Yahoo Creek, an Australian Mystery by Tohby Riddle ($30, HB)  
Tohby Riddle’s latest book is a collection of extracts from colonial newspapers, each one describing sightings of a mysterious hairy man, a yeti, a bigfoot, or in Australian parlance, a Yahoo. These sightings were real, sometimes quite overt but more often shadowy, and mysterious. This is a picture book that draws one in, not only by the intriguing subject, but by the shadowy, sensitive illustrations; exquisite landscapes, delicate foliage and birdlife, surrounding a large, hairy, and mainly undefined Yahoo. There are human beings too, also foggy and undefined, beings that seem as ghostly as the Yahoo who is watching them. Despite the undeniable mystery and eeriness in this book, it’s been created with a light touch, and a sensitivity not often found books about legendary beings. A beautiful book, for 5–adults.  Louise


The Little Woman Wanted Noise by Val Teal (ill) Robert Lawson ($30, HB)  
When I was 9 years old, I lived on my grandparents’ dairy farm in Victoria. It was often noisy but not nearly as noisy as the farm that the little woman of this story lives in. This was author Val Teal’s (1902–1997) first book, published in 1943. It tells the story of a little woman who lives in the city and is surrounded by noise every day: cars, buses, trucks rattle down her street. A carpenter, a shoemaker and a printer all live in houses next door to her and make a constant racket. She enjoys all the noise. One day, a cousin writes to tell the little woman that she is going to live in Australia and has left her a ‘pleasant, peaceful’ farm, way out in the countryside. The little woman moves in and finds the farm beautiful but it is TOO quiet and peaceful…she can’t relax. She decides to buy lots of animals to make the farm noisy. The rest of the story is an animal noises book with each animal adding a new sound: cows, ducks, dogs, roosters, pigs—and not just animals. The little woman also buys a ‘rattlety-bang’ car with a loud horn. She lets lots of VERY noisy, young boys play in the farm as well. Surrounded by constant noise once again, the little woman is content. The other treat for readers are the innovative, hilarious, marvellously detailed, black-and-white drawings on every page by artist Robert Lawson. Just stunning.  Stephen


The Othering by Marina Cilona ($16, PB)  
‘The second Rosie and Fry decide to poke Roy with a stick in the rain, their quiet life on the island of Greensley is transformed into an adventure.’ This beginning of the cover blurb immediately tantalised me, as did the entire novel in an impressive debut by a local Sydney author. It’s multilayered: an energetic blend of quest and intrigue, corruption and secrets, plus a strong resonance with white colonisation and treatment of indigenous Australians. Proud descendants of the original pirate clans that conquered the archipelago, 15-year-old Rosie and her 6-year-old brother Fry share a close bond that expands to include friendship with Roy, the youth they encounter in the park. Roy is a Pelago—one of the native people typically shunned by the white population, and soon Rosie and Fry are swept up in the mystery of Roy’s late mother and her connections to the island’s most influential family. Following Roy’s cryptic clues draws the three friends inexorably to revelations of secret medical experiments on the Pelagoes, a hidden community, environmental desecration, and the discovery of a missing boy who becomes an unlikely ally. The principal characters are credible—teenaged Rosie, frustrated by her wayward hair and her friends’ initial attitude to her relationship with Roy, driven by curiosity just like her investigative journalist mother; spirited Fry, sizzling with eagerness to be involved in Roy’s search; and Roy himself, mature, protective and determined. The social dilemma of the Pelago culture, so important to Roy and the narrative, has contemporary relevance—‘They’re expected to maintain some kind of tribal Pelago-ness, but we live in a modern world.’ I thoroughly enjoyed The Othering, which after some tricky plot twists ends in a denouement that left me wanting more. Readers of 11+ are sure to find plenty to absorb their interest.  Lynndy


Latest in the Klutz range of craft and activity packs are these Mini Eraser Kits ($17, boxed). Choose your design: Aliens, Sweets, Cuties or Animals, and embark on creating 15 erasers. Each kit is complete with all you need, including instruction booklet, clay, eyes and tools. Bringing extra pizzazz are the individual clays—neon for Aliens, pastel for Sweets, glow in the dark for Animals, and Cuties comes with glitter to zhuzh up your unicorns and other fantastical creatures. Fun and functional, for 8+ Lynndy 


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