Children's New Releases 

May 2017

Gleebooks Bookshop - Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Rock Pool Secrets by Narelle Oliver
Narelle Oliver was one of our best nature illustrators—a master of linocut and woodblock printing, and a creator of memorable and beautiful picture books. Her latest book Rock Pool Secrets has been published posthumously, and it is a triumph of illustration and design—beautifully produced on sturdy stock, with lots of interesting die-cut flaps to lift, and wonderfully rich colours to visually fall into. It’s highly informative in both text and image, and you are immersed in each page as you explore the rocks and the pools, and discover all their inhabitants, the crabs, the fish, the seaweed. This is an enchanting book, great to read aloud, with lots to discover with each reading, and I highly recommend it. ($24, HB) Louise

Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
Starting with a small ink blot, which is turned into an eye, and then another eye, Corinna Luyken takes the reader on a visual journey through The Book of Mistakes, as the images grow and transform with each page. Using the negative space, a very limited palette, and a satisfyingly circular story, she has created an entertaining, whimsical example of how mistakes are part of the artistic process. This is a highly original book. ($30, HB) Louise


Find the Dots & See the Stripes by Andy Mansfield
Recommended for age 6+, these two books are ideal for encouraging lateral thinking and logic. Highly interactive, they’ve even baffled a few adults who anticipated straightforward intelligent play. In both books, each page invites you to find a particular dot or stripe by manipulating the featured cut-paper patterns, and this is where the ingenious design is revealed. Nothing is simple. Each puzzle relies on a different approach: the order in which you fold, twist or lift the tabs; the angle at which you hold the book, or your visual discernment. Andy Mansfield’s latest feats of paper engineering, in bold exhilarating colours, truly are ingenious! ($25, HB) Lynndy

Lands of Long Ago: Spot the Mistake by A J Wood & Mike Jolley (ill) Frances Castle
This book is full of mistakes. Deliberately so. Another offering from the splendidly impressive publisher Wide-Eyed Editions, this is ideal for anachronism-spotters. Twenty objects wreak havoc with the historical authenticity in each of a variety of ancient civilisations: can you spot them? Hmm, that ancient Roman with a mobile phone must surely be one; likewise the guy from ancient China, in fluorescent-bright sneakers. Now it’s your turn. (Psst, the answers are in the back of the book!) Fun and informative. ($25, HB) Lynndy 


Neurocomic by Hana Ros & (ill) Matteo Farinella
Welcome to your brain! It’s neuroscience for all in this entertaining comic-format adventure from two neuroscientists who demystify the extraordinary wonders of the human brain, ‘the most complex organic structure in the universe.’ The physical landscape and function of the brain are explored via a surreal voyage including neuron forests, guitar-playing sea slugs, expressive art and humour. Best of all, you needn’t be a scientist to understand it. From the stunning cover design incorporating axons and dendrites in decorative silver and gold, through the weird journey explaining what makes you ‘you’, this is utterly captivating! ($25, HB) Lynndy


Too Many Friends by Kathryn Apel
Tahnee is friends with everyone in her second grade class—no small achievement considering all the idiosyncrasies of twenty-two individuals. The arrival of a new classmate who is withdrawn and solitary highlights one difficulty of friendship when Tahnee is caught between maintaining existing relationships and including the new girl, despite resistance from her best friend. The party for Tahnee’s seventh birthday magnifies everyone’s foibles, and sparks Tahnee’s secret quest to balance out their disparate personalities by reinforcing class friendships and making everyone feel both important and appreciated. Just as in Apel’s previous books, this novel in free verse allows us to recognise various character types, and share hurt, loneliness and exclusion through the microcosm of Tahnee’s world. Inspired by Apel’s own experience as a teacher, Too Many Friends is realistic—a finely nuanced story that gently reminds us of the positive effects of openhearted kindness and compassion. A welcome addition to our Australian fiction, it is credible and uplifting with nary a trace of didacticism. ($14.95, PB) Lynndy


The Revelation of Louisa May by Michaela MacColl
One doesn’t have to be a fan of Louisa May Alcott to enjoy this book—but if not, you will probably want to read her books after this. Michaela MacColl’s books are fictionalised accounts of episodes in the lives of well-known people, in this case the teenaged Louisa May. With excellent research and a real sense of the time and place, these books will transport you. The Alcott family were well known in Concord, Mass. because of the extremely idealistic beliefs of their father Branson Alcott (he was part of the Transcendentalist movement, which meant he didn’t want his family to wear wool, and more reasonably silk and cotton as they were produced from the toil of slaves). Their cohort included the likes of Henry David Thoreau, and Emerson, and they were part of the Abolitionist Underground Railway. At the opening of the book, the Alcotts discover a runaway slave who they hide, but unfortunately a slave catcher is hot on his heels. There is enough truth in the book to keep it real, but plenty of romance and interaction within the family to keep it light—an excellent vehicle for learning history. The author’s note about the Louisa May Alcott and her family is really fascinating, and is sending me back to our classics shelves, to find the many Alcott books I haven’t yet read. ($31, HB) Louise

Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell
A new YA fantasy series bursting with tricks, traps, magic and a talking squirrel cat! What more could a voracious reader want? Great narrative: yes. Intriguing characters: definitely. Unanticipated plot: yes! As I neared the end of this book I found myself slowing down, reading other books, all as a way of procrastinating because I didn’t want to finish without the next volume on hand. ‘What would you give up for magic?
When you’re an elite initiate approaching your sixteenth birthday, you’d better be ready to prove your worth as a mage. Either that or work some kind of miracle. But Kellen isn’t counting on either.’ His younger sister has surpassed him already and he knows he needs some tricks to avoid total disgrace and life as a common servant. ‘He just has to find the right tricks. So when Ferius Parfax, a sassy, straight-talking wanderer arrives in town, Kellen is drawn to her strength and worldliness. She is an unpredictable exile who lives by her wits and the three decks of cards she carries’, not the magic that pervades Kellen’s life, yet the essential skills she shares with Kellen prove more valuable than magic when his family is betrayed and the kingdom threatened. Humorous, compelling fantasy with twists, action aplenty, and a witty presence that has me longing for the follow-up. ($20, PB) Lynndy

Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology (ed) Danielle Binks
As the publishers have been fiercely protective of the contents of this much-anticipated collection, all I know at the time of writing is this tantalising blurb: ‘The YA event of the year. Bestsellers. Award-winners. Superstars. This anthology has them all. With brilliantly entertaining short stories from beloved young adult authors Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson and Danielle Binks, this all-new collection will show the world exactly how much there is to love about Aussie YA.’ Oh, and that I am definitely eager to read these original works. Roll on, May! ($25, PB) Lynndy

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