Children's New Releases 

May 2018

Gleebooks Bookshop - Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Picture Books

Ocean Lullaby by Sally Odgers (ill) Lisa Stewart ($25, HB)
The fourth book in this Australian Lullaby series celebrates underwater animals and their young—portrayed in gentle rhyme just right to soothe little ones off to sleep. Stewart’s distinctive collage and mixed media art with soft accents is perfect for Odgers’ bedtime story. Shhh… . Lynndy

How the Finch Got His Colors by Annemarie Riley Guertin (ill) Helena Perez Garcia ($25, HB)

Based on a Belgian folktale, this is an origin story about how birds got their colours, most specifically how the Gouldian Finch became one of the most beautiful and colourful birds on the earth. The illustrations reflect the nature of the bird, and they are full of colour (of course), movement and expression. Birds seem to be the creature de jour in children’s picture books, but this book has a lot more than just novelty appeal. Highly recommended 3–8 year olds. Louise

A Year in the Wild by Helen Ahpornsiri ($25, HB)
This appealing book describes the passing of the seasons with beautiful pictures of flora and fauna. What sets it apart from other nature books is the manner of illustration—the book’s creator has done exquisite pressings of flowers and used them to create images of the creatures within the book. The text is both poetic and informative, and fun to read aloud. Highly recommended for ages 5–10 . Louise

Love Was Hiding by Jennifer Loakes (ill) Jess Racklyeft ($26, HB)

A heartwarming book as comforting as a hug, this shows from a child’s perspective a day’s worth of small unassuming acts mum does—all demonstrating and reinforcing the mother’s love for her child. Simple, charming, and ideal for Mother’s Day or any day. Lynndy


Wild Swans retold by Xanthe Gresham Knight
(ill) Charlotte Gastaut ($15, PB)

Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale is updated with a feminist slant in Knight’s adaptation. In this version the siblings’ stepmother is a healer, desperate to vanquish the plague besieging the kingdom. Eliza is sent to a foster family and her eleven brothers are transformed into swans and sent away for their own protection. Hearing of their parents’ death, teenaged Eliza seeks out her brothers, determined to reverse the spell and restore them to their human form. Knight’s retelling doesn’t rely on Eliza’s marriage but allows her to thrive and succeed in her own right. French artist Gastaut’s illustrations—colour-saturated and gloriously lush —make this an edition worth adding to your fairy tale collection. Lynndy

The Adventures of Robin Hood retold by Adrian Mitchell (ill) Emma Chichester Clark ($30, HB)
So pleased to see this book reissued! Emma Chichester Clark’s illustrations bring the stories of Robin Hood to life, and Adrian Mitchell’s lively narrative is broken into eleven short stories. Whether Robin Hood was a real life person or not is immaterial, the stories capture the time and place beautifully, with all the fun and drama of Sherwood Forest. Louise


Whether you love trivia, or are fascinated by the products of human ingenuity, How Things Are Made will surely capture your interest. Informative and relevant, it offers a behind-the-scenes look at the production of everyday objects of all kinds, from guitars, sunscreen, and seismographs to running shoes, jet engines and chocolate. Alphabetically arranged, the forty-seven items are explored step by step, and manufacturing processes are shown via illustrations and simple diagrams. Sidebars with interesting anecdotes about many familiar objects are included, some unpacking ‘known’ history—eg did you know that Edison didn’t really invent the light bulb? Or that the first barcode was on a pack of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum? Fact fans of 11 to adult will find plenty to absorb them in this revised and updated edition. Lynndy

Birds and Their Feathers by Britta Teckentrup ($27, HB)
Louise and I absolutely love Britta Teckentrup’s books, poring over each new one and recommending her for various age ranges. Following her meditative picture book The Egg is her next avian melding of art, nature and picture book—Birds and Their Feathers. Through her delicately precise illustrations she illuminates the structure and purpose of feathers, as well as almost any other attribute you might think of. Although the target age range is 6–10 year-olds, there’ll be many adults unable to resist the quiet beauty of this book. Lynndy


The Party: And Other Stories: A Fox & Chick Book by Sergio Ruzzier ($25, HB)
Straddling the stage between picture book and novel, with slightly more complex language than in early readers, this collection of three stories is almost like a graphic novel with its illustrated panels, double-page spreads and dialogue in word balloons. The friendship between artistic, calm Fox and hyperactive Chick is sometimes strained, as we see in this droll little collection of stories. Chick asks to use Fox’s bathroom—and throws a party in it; then he challenges Fox’s vulpine authenticity based on Fox’s diet—which would normally include chickens; and finally Chick’s restlessness results in a non-portrait. Importantly, they accept each other’s foibles, and the stories are told with a gentleness that is repeated in the pen, ink and watercolour illustrations. Lynndy


Kat Wolfe Investigates by Lauren St John ($15, PB)
If you’re looking for a mystery leavened with humour and a menagerie of animals, St John’s latest book is a splendid start. Kat Wolfe and her veterinarian mother move from London to coastal Dorset and are immediately thrust into a very different lifestyle. Wanting independence, 12-year-old Kat sets up a pet-sitting agency which she hopes will complement her mother’s clinic. Her first client vanishes; another client is the victim of a conspiracy; and a promising friendship with Harper Lamb, the only client her own age, is skewed by Harper’s confinement with two broken legs. Village life is not what Kat expected! With persistence, and Harper’s computer expertise, the two girls solve a longstanding mystery as well as the life-threatening one at hand. Great escapism with more than a hint of danger, this volume sets the pace for the next thrilling mystery adventure in the Wolfe and Lamb Mysteries. Lynndy


The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge by Clare Strahan ($20, PB)
‘Vanessa Partridge, cello-playing good girl, spends every summer holiday at Shearwater. This year, her brother is bringing his best mate, Darith—the object of many, many fantasies Van will never say aloud. Or will she? This summer feels different...and so does Van. But her first taste of independence comes with a bitter tang of regret, and when her sense of self is shattered, Van wrestles with ideas of consent and desire, and what it means to want and be wanted. Can someone with sensible plaits and a soft spot for Plato also have secret, lustful fantasies? And if she does, is there anything wrong with that? The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge is a heartbreaking and joyful coming-of-age novel about sex, love, family and finding your voice.’ Sympathetically written, Strahan’s new novel, with a 16-year-old overthinker heroine covers environmentalism, betrayal, stepfamilies, and fractured and manipulative relationships amidst enormous change, with none of it feeling crammed or false. A strong narrative with universal appeal and nary a word out of place, it’s bound to enjoy longevity. Lynndy

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