Children's New Releases 

November 2017

Gleebooks Bookshop - Wednesday, November 01, 2017
This final Gleaner of 2017 is the last before we switch to a bimonthly magazine, but for those who yearn for more news about children’s literature and related matters, we have good news: soon Louise and I will activate our blog, titled And a Big Ball of String. It will include frequent updates, reviews, giveaways and guest pieces. We hope you will support this new Gleebooks direction as loyally as you have our stores. In keeping with our independent bookshop status,our November page will focus on some gems that may otherwise be overlooked in the seasonal frenzy and amid piles of more actively promoted books. Thank you to all our customers. We wish you a happy Christmas, safe holidays, and a new year crammed with books from your local Australian bookshop. Lynndy


Bim Bam Boom by Frederic Stehr ($17, BD)
In this toddler-centric story with minimal text a winsome gathering of avian friends create music with kitchen utensils, until the onomatopoeic crescendo has Mama diverting their fervour. Sweet, and oh so relatable. Lynndy

This & That by Mem Fox (ill) Judy Horacek ($15, BD)
Now into board book, this rhyming tale is of two mice on a great storytelling adventure. ‘A story of THIS and a story of THAT’ is a bedtime read-aloud perfect for helping children appreciate story sequences. Lynndy


Now by Antoinette Portis ($25, HB)
This book is a celebration of the here and now. A little girl goes through her day enjoying the breeze, a leaf, a leaf, a cloud, claiming each one is her favourite. Vivid colours, artfully simple brush strokes, and a marvellous use of the white page all go to creating a nearly perfect picture book. Forget the worthy, didactic books about mindfulness, this is a brilliant example of being happily present no matter what you’re doing. Very highly recommended for ages 3+. Louise

Maurice the Unbeastly by Amy Dixon (ill) Karl James Mountford ($25, HB)
While there’s now an abundance of books about individuality and the importance of being true to yourself, Dixon’s droll touch paired with Mountford’s soulfully earnest illustrations render this one utterly beguiling. To the despair of his appropriately monstrous parents, Maurice is a ‘ridiculously photogenic’ polite vegetarian with a ‘melodious voice’, which is why they despatch him to the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts, in the hope that he will become truly beastly. However Maurice’s school achievements are not what anyone anticipated… With humour that will appeal to adults as well, Maurice the Unbeastly is sure to charm ages 4+. Lynndy


Little Eli: Egg, Cards, Pencil by Laura Bellini ($25, HB)
Here is an example of something you just have to see for yourself, as no description does true justice to the exquisite beauty of these three wordless picture books in a presentation box. Little Eli the dragonfly yearns to build the tallest towers he possibly can, and starts with a pack of cards, a box of eggs and a set of pencils. Each of the three books is devoted to one of these materials, and Italian artist Bellini shows in incremental details Eli’s progress—and lack thereof. Eli meets all challenges with determination and undaunted imagination. A treasure for all ages, child to adult. Lynndy


Explanatorium of Nature ($45, HB)
Definitely not just for children, but for any nature enthusiast! With macro and electron microscope images, this great treasury is a comprehensive look at Nature: how it works, why we need ecosystems, and how every aspect—flora and fauna—plays an essential part in our world. Never-before-seen cross-sections and detailed information will keep readers of 9-adult awe-stricken and engrossed. Very highly recommended! Lynndy

Fish Dream of Trees and Other Curious Verses
by Frantz Wittkamp (ill) Axel Scheffler ($30, HB)

This is a very attractive book of verse for children by German poet Frantz Wittkamp, adapted by UK poet Roger McGough, and richly illustrated by Axel Scheffler. The poems of all sorts of creatures are humorous and touching, and the pictures beautifully illustrate and extend the verses. Fun to read aloud to the very young, and good for newly independent readers to enjoy by themselves. Louise

Faunaverse: Australian Wildlife in Poetry
by Alexander Dudley & Jane Sullivan ($24.95, PB)

An exposition of 23 Australian native animals in comic verse, accompanied by zoologist/photographer Dudley’s superb photography, this is a splendid crossover: a picture book illuminating our fauna and habitats. Entertaining and informative, it’s also a great introduction to some of our cherished wildlife. Lynndy

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming & Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids & Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris, (ill) Lane Smith ($30, HB)
With an eloquent title like this, there’s little more to be said, other than pointing out that the interplay of art and text creates a humour greater than the sum of its parts, providing a wittily frivolous book reminiscent of Ogden Nash and guaranteed to convert even the most poetry-averse. There are even misnumbered pages, the code to which is within the rhymes. (Oh, and if Chris Nash’s name is familiar, it could be from the many TV shows on which he is a scriptwriter eg. How I Met Your Mother.) Lynndy


Crafty Gifts by Jane Bull ($17, HB)
Jane Bull writes the best craft and sewing books for children, with good, clear instructions, bright and appealing pictures, and really fun ideas. This latest book is no exception, this time a book full of gift ideas for children to make. There are some excellent ideas, including craft jars, button charms for the Christmas tree, and DIY gingerbread packs. I really like all the wrapping ideas too, how to use brown paper to full effect, and how to make simple printed paper and tags. This would be a delightful pre-Christmas gift for anyone over 8, and there are lots of things for boys and girls to enjoy making, and receiving. Louise

Build the Dragon by Dugald Steer (ill) Jonathan Woodward & Douglas Carrel ($25, BX)
This interactive kit contains 46 precut pieces to build a beautiful European dragon with motorised wings and movable jaws, plus a book with everything you need to know about dragons from around the world, from myths and legends to anatomy, behaviour and
powers. Irresistible! Lynndy

Build Your Own Discovery Globe by Leon Gray (ill) Sarah Edmonds ($35, BX)
With a kit for making your own 47cm spinning globe and an illustrated book packed with information you have an enticing gift for a curious child of 8+. The sturdy card globe features icons with everything from natural wonders to famous faces; and the enclosed book links to the model globe, covering themes including the Earth’s biomes, animals and World Heritage sites. In all, it’s a fascinating introduction to the world, its people and places.  Lynndy


Have Sword, Will Travel
by Garth Nix & Sean Williams ($15, PB)

What do you do when you discover a very opinionated, vengeful sword with memory lapses, that insists on knighting you and dragging you off on quests? In Odo’s case, whatever Biter—the sword—tells you. Luckily his best friend Eleanor, far brighter and more ambitious (she always wanted to be a knight), accompanies Odo on this wild adventure to save their village—otherwise bandits, enchantment, dragons, duels and traitors might completely overwhelm a humble country lad. If you’re looking for adventure, magic, action and humour, look no further. Sheer good fun! Lynndy


Satellite by Nick Lake ($17, PB)

Award winner Nick Lake’s books are always original; this latest is accurately described as ‘epic, original, thrilling, with real science and heartbreaking beauty’. Leo, and twins Libra and Orion, have been brought up from birth by scientists on a space station and after 16 years of seeing Earth remotely they are about to go ‘home’ to their families. Can a place you’ve known solely through vidscreens be home? How do you adapt from zero gravity to feeling beached, where every movement requires conscious effort and pain? Why are the three teenagers isolated from other people, and especially the public, and why do people who come in contact with them subsequently vanish? The transition is convincing to a breathtaking degree; the scientific and medical aspects and pure wonder have a filmic immediacy, and the fate of Leo and the twins is heartwrenching. Even if you aren’t usually a sci-fi fan, read it for the humanity and thought-provoking narrative. Stunning, simply beautiful (and one for conspiracy theorists). I loved it. Lynndy

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