Children's New Releases 

May 2019

Gleebooks Bookshop - Tuesday, May 07, 2019

When’s My Birthday? by Julie Fogliano (ill) Christian Robinson ($17, PB)
With mixed media illustrations and playful text perfect for reading aloud, children will delight in When’s My Birthday?—a story of anticipation about an upcoming and long-awaited birthday party. The excitement of planning party treats and games, wishing for gifts and the seemingly endless wait will resonate with young children. Perfect for ages 3 to 5. Naomi

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka (ill) Lane Smith ($18, PB)
This hilarious picture book broke every rule of straightforward story narrative and book design. More than twenty-five years after it was first published, it still makes me laugh. A grumpy narrator, Jack—from Jack and the Beanstalk—attempts to lead the reader through a collection of very strange reworkings of classic children’s stories. He is constantly interrupted by the noisy, complaining Little Red Hen. The book soon descends into bedlam as each story appears. Several characters are squashed by the Table of Contents and the book begins again. In the fractured classics The Ugly Duckling grows up to be a REALLY Ugly Duck. The Frog Prince is simply a large frog who gives the disgusted princess a slimy kiss. In The Princess and the Pea, the pea under the twenty mattresses is replaced by a bowling ball. Little Red Riding Hood is now Little Red Running Shorts—both she and the Wolf wander off in disgust mid-story when Jack reveals the ending. Stories break in upon each other regularly, with Jack using each new story to distract the Giant from eating him. The Stinky Cheese Man himself is a work of art: made of awful smelling cheese with two olives for eyes and a slice of bacon for a mouth. He is cooked in an oven, comes to life, runs away and likes to scare people and animals with his awful smell… until he meets his fate. Steve


Around the World Craft & Design Book by Lonely Planet Kids ($15, PB)
This new craft book from Lonely Planet is full of inspiration from around the world. Simple, clear illustrations of craft ideas are illustrated by photos and drawings, with an interesting back- ground to each project. Not all projects can realistically be made, the carved love spoons from Wales for example. But there is a history of the custom of giving spoons, and the meaning of the carved symbols, and a space or designing your own. Some projects, like the flower garlands from Hawaii are readily accessible, and some a bit more advanced, eg. hand-shaped amulets from North Africa and the Middle East. I’ve used this book with 6 to 10 year olds, and we all enjoyed it. Louise

Wellknown YA authors including Lauren Oliver, Sara Zarr and Tom Pollock reveal their experiences of mental illness—their own or that of someone close—in an anthology both raw and full of impact. Conditions such as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, PTSD, ADHD, eating disorders, self-mutilation, neurodiversity and depression are candidly discussed, as are tips for recognising various illnesses, and possible strategies. For teens this is a valuable resource to raise awareness of and destigmatise mental health problems, as well as to illuminate these illnesses, reassure anyone similarly suffering, and to jumpstart conversations and the search for personal coping mechanisms. ‘Perhaps most importantly, the collection’s overarching sentiment points toward acceptance and the idea that treatment is a journey.’ Put this in the hands of anyone of 14+ dealing with or curious about mental health. Lynndy

Love Your Body by Jessica Sanders (ill) Carol Rossetti ($25, HB)
Tania and I were extremely impressed by this: the concept, the backstory, and especially the book, which promotes body positivity and self-acceptance in girls aged 6 and upwards (adults included). In picture book format Love Your Body depicts all sorts of body types, normalising ethnic and physical diversity, as well as perceived imperfections such as stretch marks, skin irregularities and cellulite. The focus is on our bodies as amazing physical instruments that allow us to move, to carry, to play or communicate, and to function in the world. Sanders encourages self-care in various forms from eating well to wholesome attitudes, and stresses appreciation of our bodies rather than wasting energy trying to conform to external and unrealistic norms. Showing a range of body sizes and girls with different degrees of mobility, Brazilian feminist artist Rossetti perfectly complements debut Australian author Sanders’ passionate message of education and self-empowerment. As a representation of fundamental values, quietly subverting destructive messages, this deserves to have a similar impact to that of the popular Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls ilk. Very highly recommended! Lynndy

Life: The First Four Billion Years by Martin Jenkins, (ill) Grahame Baker-Smith ($30, HB)
It’s hard to believe this covetable oversize tome is only $30, so stunning is the presentation. The publishers’ blurb describes the content, however it’s a book you really must see in person. ‘Discover the greatest story ever told: the story of life on our planet, from the big bang to the dinosaurs and beyond. Before humans took their first steps, there were billions of years of vibrant and varied life on earth. Discover the fascinating story of our planet, from the formation of the universe to the first mammals, and all the incredible life that flourished in-between. Martin Jenkins navigates through millions of years of prehistory in enthralling and accessible style. With gorgeous art from the Kate Greenaway Medal-winning illustrator Grahame Baker Smith, this is a captivating journey through the life of our planet before we called it ours.’ Lynndy   


This Is Home: Essential Australian Poems for Children ($35, HB) (ed) Jackie French (ill) Tania McCartney 
This collection of traditional and contemporary poems chosen by Jackie French is perfect for reading aloud, or for quiet reflection. Beautifully illustrated, and written by some of  Australia’s best loved authors these poems celebrate environment, diversity and life in urban and rural Australia. There is a genre-based index of suggestions guiding the reader to poetry classical and modern, indigenous and inspirational, and even poetry for those who resist poetry—with the comment ‘I bet you do not find these boring.’  Naomi


Sweeping Up the Heart by Kevin Henkes ($31, HB)
Kevin Henkes is a most elegant writer and illustrator of story books and picture books—restrained and insightful, whether he’s writing about children, or mice, or toys on a windowsill. In his latest book, Sweeping Up the Heart, 12 year old Amelia is disappointed that her widowed father doesn’t pick up on her hints for a week’s holiday in Florida. Amelia does have other resources however—the wonderful Mrs O’Brien, the housekeeper, and a talent for making ceramics. It’s at the pottery studio that she meets Casey, nephew of the ceramics teacher, and the two 12 year olds become friends. Kevin Henkes captures the isolation of childhood, and the depth of feeling that children can experience. He is always an ally to his child characters, while keeping the adult’s perspective in mind. Because he doesn’t descend into the all too prevalent King of the Kids attitude, his books remain in print, and never fail to enrich the reader. I loved this book, and recommend it to 9 to 13 year olds, and adults as well. Louise


Aurora Rising: Aurora Cycle_0.1 by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Science fiction isn’t my first choice of genre, however the literary pedigree of these Australian authors had me desperately snatching any free moment to read this opener of their newest series, so ensnared was I from the very first of its almost 500 pages. Had Tyler Jones not charmed his way into an illicit solo mission the night before his final space academy exam, undoubtedly he would have fulfilled all predictions and topped his year, then chosen his own crew from other elite graduates. Instead, out in interdimensional space he rescued 17-year-old Auri from her cryopod in a damaged craft before returning to the academy—too late to sit his exam. With recruiting his ideal squad out of the question, Tyler’s first mission is in the company of predominantly academy misfits—all of whom are immune to his Goldenboy status—plus the girl he freed from certain death, a girl two hundred years out of time and completely ignorant of C24th life. Before long it becomes evident that Tyler’s Squad 312 has on board a girl who is unknowingly a key to both the past and the future of the space colonies. Strap yourself in for a thrilling cosmic quest with a brilliant cast of characters human and alien, plenty of snarky humour, and warp speed action. Aurora Rising is an epic journey for readers of 13+.  Volume two can’t come too soon for this ardent devotee. ($20, PB)  Lynndy


William (13) is enjoying Taran Matharu’s Summoner series as he likes the ‘mix of medieval and modern, and the Demonology guide at the end of each book’.
Eilis (8) is engrossed in the Harry Potter series
Orlando (12)—Bombmaker by Claire McFall. ‘A real page-turner!’
Dito (9)— The Legend of Zelda by Akira Himekawa: a graphic novel series based on the game. Full of fun and adventure!

As members of the Children’s Book Council of Australia we were involved in the recent Anticipate! Appreciate! Applause! conference that was a prelude to the announcement of the 2019 shortlist for the CBCA annual awards. Gleestaffer Tania spoke on her choice of nonfiction contenders, garnering praise for her intelligent presentation that was well received. Brava Tania!

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