Gleebooks Education 

October 2015

Gleebooks Bookshop - Thursday, October 15, 2015

Book News

from Kate Shepherd and Mandy Clarke, Austral Ed  No 51, October 2015


Greetings from Kate, Mandy, Maija and Elissa.

While all our overseas teachers and librarians will be settled into their new school year by now, our Australian schools have their eyes on the finishing line as the final term for the year is now underway. As many of you will be aware, the winners and honours have been announced for the CBCA Awards and you’ll find the complete list of Winners, Honour Books and Shortlist attached. We have read and reviewed as many of the books as possible. Also attached is an updated list for the PYP Learner Profile.

From Kate: In Adelaide, we are finally into spring and it is very welcome! After what seemed to us a long and cold winter, the wattle trees are brilliant yellow, and the blossom trees are a mass of pink and white. It is lovely to have native trees and also deciduous trees from so many places all flowering together at this time of year.

From Mandy, Maija and Elissa: Yes, the blossoms are out over here on the east coast as well, although I think they’re in a bit of shock as the days are ranging from cool and wet to very warm at 30 degrees.

There are lots of lovely new and recent books in the newsletter below, many of them Australian, so enjoy!

Do contact Kate ( you have changed email addresses or know of any new teachers who would like to receive the newsletter and lists.
And please send any orders and enquires to Maija and Elissa in Sydney at

Picture Books


Pamela Allen The Man with Messy Hair hardback 9780670078677 $24.99

Pamela Allen’s books are becoming quirkier as she gets older! Children will love this zany story about a man whose hair is so unruly that he can’t see where he’s walking, and people point and stare and shout about his messy hair. One day, while dozing in the sun on the park bench after lunch, a bird lays a big egg in his hair, mistaking it for a nest. Carefully, the man carries the egg around in his hair until it hatches and the mother bird returns for her young. From that day on he brushes his hair and ties it up, striding to work and enjoying his view of the world and the polite greetings of those he passes. Australian. (3-5 year olds) MC


Graeme Base Eye to Eye hardback 9780670078592  $26.99

A new picture book from Graeme Base – what a treat! A curious young boy and his teddy bear set off on a series of imaginative adventures, flying high over mountains where they see eye to eye with an eagle, diving deep into the ocean where they see eye to eye with a whale, and climbing out on a limb to look into the eye of a chameleon. A simple line of text on the left-hand page is balanced on the right by a boxed illustration of the eye of each creature, followed by a gorgeous double-page illustration. At the back of the book there are thumbnail drawings accompanied by just a few lines of information about each animal. Australian. (3-6 year olds) MC


Katie Cotton & Stephen Walton (illus) Counting Lions: Portraits from the Wild hardback 9781847807212  $27.95

Poetic text accompanies absolutely stunning, detailed, charcoal illustrations of various animals: one lion, two gorillas, three giraffes and so on through to ten  zebras. At the back of the book beside thumbnails of each of the drawings, there is information about the animals, their habitats, and their Protection Status. The book could be used with very young children as a simple counting book, but is so much more. Delightful! (3 – 10 year olds) MC


Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers (illus) The Day the Crayons Came Home  hardback 9780008124434  $24.99

This is a delightful companion to their first collaboration, The Day the Crayons Quit, in which Duncan soothed the hurt feelings of his crayons after receiving an avalanche of complaints from the different colours. In this episode, Duncan and his crayons are happily colouring together in his room when a stack of postcards arrive. The cards, displayed over the following pages, have been sent from various locations in the house by mistreated and abandoned crayons begging to be rescued: Maroon, lost on the couch, was sat on by Dad and broken in half; Yellow and Orange, left outside in the sun, have melted together; Tan has been eaten by the dog and puked back up on the rug, while Glow In The Dark is still in the basement after last Halloween. There are several hilarious cards from Neon Red, abandoned poolside after last holidays and now making its way home. Feeling chastened, Duncan rescues them all and builds a special box to accommodate them, no matter what shape they’re now in. Great fun and highly recommended. (5 – 8 year olds) MC

Also available:

The Day the Crayons Quit hardback 9780007513758  $24.99, pb 9780007513765  $14.99 (reviewed by Kate in September 2013 Book News)


Jackie French & Bruce Whatley (illus) Wombat Wins hardback 9780732299576  $24.99

She eats. She sleeps. She eats. She is bored. When a fridge-raid fails to turn up any carrots, Mothball the wombat follows the small humans, convinced they’re racing to the carrots, and unwittingly finds herself competing in the school sports day. Fans of the wombat will be delighted! Australian. (3-6 year olds) MC

Other Wombat books:

Diary of a Wombat hardback 9780207199950  $24.95, pb 9780207198366  $14.99, board book 9780732286620 $14.99 (Honour Book 2003 CBCA awards)

Baby Wombat’s Week pb 9780732286958  $14.99, board book 9780732293185  $14.99 (Winner 2010 ABIA awards)

Christmas Wombat pb 9780732291723  $14.99

Wombat Goes to School hardback 9780732295493  $24.99, pb 9780732299033 $14.99 (due Jan 2016)


Sandy Fussell & Tull Suwannakit (illus) Sad, the Dog hardback 9781921529641  $24.95

This is a sweet picture book about a sad puppy, an unwanted Christmas gift. Although his owners, Mr and Mrs Cripps, feed and wash him, they offer him no love, only scolding. One day they pack everything up and drive off in a big truck, leaving the dog behind. Abandoned and hungry, he howls through the night, and cowers from the family who move in the next day. The young boy Jack is delighted to find his new home comes with a puppy, and soon makes the dog a soft bed to sleep in, gives him food and water, scratches his neck and names him Lucky. Together they dig for buried treasure, build a pirate ship out of boxes, and Jack makes paper aeroplanes for him to chase, and Lucky is the happiest dog in the world. Australian. (3-5 year olds) MC


JiHyeon Lee Pool  hardback 9781452142944  $27.95 (wordless picture book)

I’ve been looking forward to seeing a copy of Pool since I read about it in a children’s lit blog that was most enthusiastic about it. It is a wordless picture book, portrait shaped and illustrated by hand (as opposed to digitally) with colour pencils and oil pastels. It tells the story of an apparently shy and retiring little boy going for a dip in a crowded pool. It is of course far more than that, the little boy dives deep and finds another lone swimmer in the depths of the pool, and together they embark on a marvellous adventure, with extraordinary creatures and benign monsters. The early pictures are rather quiet and restrained, evolving into an imaginative riot of colour and detail, and then returning to a quiet, nearly empty pool (but we know what awaits beneath the surface!). This is Lee’s first book, which is remarkable: it’s a standout in a genre that already has many examples of beautiful illustration. South Korean. (4-7 year olds)  LP


Chihiro Maruyama & Hiro Kamigaki/IC4Design (illus) Pierre the Maze Detective: The Search for the Stolen Maze Stone hardback 9781780675633  $29.99

Although I’ve yet to explore the entire story, I am captivated by the concept, the art, and the complexity of this oversized picture puzzle book. Opposite the page listing instructions and contents, we embark on the story, which introduces Pierre, Opera City’s specialist maze detective, nonchalantly sipping tea and awaiting a new challenge. Each turn of the page launches us into an intricate new scene with more of the story, mysterious letters, clues, mazes, objects to find, location-specific challenges, and snippets from the Opera City Times – the newspaper reporting on Pierre’s case. Take time out from the urgency of the storyline to pore over the subplots within the highly detailed pictures. The title hints at more Pierre adventures to follow: I can’t wait! Utterly engrossing and would be great for visual literacy. Japanese. (6 year olds to adults). LB



Cerberus Jones The Four-Fingered Man: Book 1 The Gateway series pb 9781760120283 $14.95

Cerberus Jones is actually a pseudonym for three authors: Chris Morphew (author of the excellent Phoenix Files series), Rowan McAuley (author of a number of books in the popular Go Girl! series) and David Harding (author of a number of books in the RSPCA’s Animal Tales series). I rarely find ‘team writing’ very satisfying, but having read the first 4 books in this series I can say they work a treat! Amelia’s parents decide to accept an offer to reopen a run-down, creepy old hotel in a seaside country town. Amelia befriends Charlie, son of the housekeeper Mary, and with no mobile or tv reception they have plenty of time to explore. It isn’t long before they discover that some of the hotel guests are intergalactic travellers, arriving through the Gateway at the bottom of a dark stairwell in the corner of the caretaker’s cottage. It’s even more surprising to discover that Mum, Dad and Mary are all in on the secret! Pacey adventure with a touch of sci-fi, and black and white illustrations scattered throughout. Australian. (9-12 year olds) MC

Also in the series:

The Warriors of Brin-Hask: Book 2 The Gateway pb 9781760120290 $14.95

The Midnight Mercenary: Book 3 The Gateway pb 9781760120306 $14.95

The Ancient Starship: Book 4 The Gateway pb 9781760120313 $14.95


Meg McKinlay & Nicholas Schafer (illus) Bella & the Wandering House pb 9781925162301  $12.99

Daughter of two very busy, although not very observant parents, Bella has a close relationship with her Grandad, so it’s with him that Bella discusses her concerns the day her house seems to be oriented differently. Grandad loves strange. He invents. He listens, and he doesn’t dismiss Bella’s ‘wild imagination’. With the aid of one of Grandad’s contraptions Bella is able to keep a close watch on the house, especially when it sets out on its nightly perambulations. When even her parents can no longer ignore these unexpected journeys, Bella and Grandad solve the mystery. This winsomely quirky story is poignant and full of heart. Australian. (7-10 year olds) LB


Sarah J Maas Queen of Shadows: Book 4 Throne of Glass series pb 9781408858615  $15.99

This series just keeps on getting better and better! This latest book in the Throne of Glass series is packed with more action, romance and mystery than ever before. Celaena Sardothien (alias Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen) will take you on a wild ride right from page one….. just don’t forget to breathe! Celaena has returned to Rifthold to reclaim her throne, fight for her people and exact revenge on those who tore her life apart. As far as epic fantasy heroines go, I’m putting Celaena up there with the best. (14+ year olds) HL

Also in this series:

Throne of Glass: Book 1 pb 9781408832332  $15.99

Crown of Midnight: Book 2 pb 9781408834947  $15.99

Heir of Fire: Book 3  pb 9781408839126  $15.99


Danny Parker & Guy Shield (illus) The Patchwork Picnic: Book 1 Lola’s Toybox series

The old wooden box Lola finds in the shed is just perfect for keeping her toys in. It’s also perfect for hiding from her brother Nick. But when Lola and her favourite toy, Buddy the clown, climb out of the box they are no longer in her bedroom. And buddy can talk! They have arrived in one of the many lands of the Kingdom, the place where toys come when they’re not being played with, and are just in time to join the teddy bears’ picnic. But before they begin, there’s serious business to be tended to as these are troubled times in the Kingdom. I really liked this series as the storylines are a little more complex than many early chapter books. There are black and white line drawings throughout and a map of the Kingdom at the end. Australian (5-7 or 8 year olds) MC

Also in the series:

On the Story Sea: Book 2 Lola’s Toybox pb 9781760124373 $12.95

Treasure Trove: 3 Lola's Toybox pb 9781760124380 $12.95

Plastic Palace, The: 4 Lola's Toybox pb 9781760124397 $12.95


Joel Shepherd The Cassandra Kresnov series

For all those who have followed with interest the writing career of Kate’s son Joel Shepherd, another three books have been published in the Cassandra Kresnov series. These books have been popular with senior students as they are action-packed science fiction novels with a fascinating heroine who is an android. She was originally trained to kill but is continually being challenged by questions of her humanity. In this series, while fighting on another world, she becomes involved with three young street children. She brings them back to Callay and discovers maternal feelings she did not know she possessed. This brings a whole new dimension to her life as a soldier and combat tactician, and now as a mother. The characters are lively, fun and there is lots of technology with political intrigue and fast action. Australian. (15 years up)  KS
Titles are:
Crossover: Book 1   pb 9781591024439 $32.00

Breakaway: Book 2 pb 9781591025405 $31.00

Killswitch: Book 3  pb 9781591025986 $31.00

23 Years on Fire: Book 4 pb 9781616148096  $31.00

Operation Shield: Book 5 pb 9781616148959  $31.00

Originator: Book 6 pb 9781616149925  $32.00 

 For true fans, check out his new e-book Renegade in the series The Spiral Wars. (E-book only)


Scott Westerfeld, Margot Lanagan & Deborah Biancotti Zeroes: Book 1 Zeroes Trilogy pb 9781925266955  $19.99

At just under 500 pages this is a fat and juicy beginning to a new fantasy series crammed with unpredictable suspense and drama. Oh, and superpowers. Superpowers that are enhanced abilities in the six teenagers who as a group are powerful enough to take on criminals: drug runners, Russian mobsters, and assorted minor offenders. Told from the viewpoints of each of the six, this first instalment showcases their particular skills. Scam has an omniscient voice, an entity of its own, getting him into and out of trouble. Crash can command electronic networks, although she prefers not to. Blind Flicker can ‘see’ through others’ eyes. Anon’s power has its tragic side – being completely forgettable has estranged him from his family. Wealthy Nate perceives people’s true nature, and can manipulate them accordingly. Into this fractured group comes Kelsie, who can enhance crowd emotions. Uniting to extricate Scam from his latest disaster, the group discover they’ve greater control over their gifts when they collaborate. Unfortunately for their targets, this control also magnifies the teens’ power. Standby action! (And a bit of romance). Australian and US authors. (14+ year olds). LB


Fiction in brief:

The Red Queen: Book 7 Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody pb 9780670076406  $32.99. Due late Nov2015. The final book in the series! Australian. (Fantasy 14 year olds to adults)

Theophilus Grey & the Demon Thief  by Catherine Jinks  hardback 9781760113605 $19.99. Spies, spells and secrets set in London in 1750, where superstition clashes with the Age of Enlightenment. Australian. (11-14 year olds)

Old School: Book 10 Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney  hardback 9780670079087 $17.99, pb 9780143309000 $14.99. Both due 3 Nov2015.

Phyllis Wong & the Waking of the Wizard: Book 3 Phyllis Wong series by Geoffrey McSkimming  pb 9781760113384  $15.99. Very entertaining series about Phyllis Wong – sleuth, magician and occasional time-traveller. Australian. (10-13 year olds)

Shadow of the Master: Book 1 Star of Deltora by Emily Rodda  pb 9781742990620  $9.99. A new fantasy adventure series set in the world of Del, about Britta and her ambitions to become a trader, sailing the nine seas. Will her determination be a match for the forces, seen and unseen, that wish her ill? Australian. (9-12 year olds)

The Marvels by Brian Selznick  hardback 9780545448680  $34.99. Another gorgeous part-graphic-novel, part-text from the author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret hardback 9780439813785 $29.99 and Wonderstruck hardback 9780545027892 $34.99 (10 year olds – adults)

Kizmet series by Frank Woodley. New detective series by an Australian comedian, about Kizmet, her cheeky currawong Gretchen, and the bumbling Detective Spencer. Lots of fun with great illustrations by the author. Australian. (9-11 year olds)

Kizmet & the Case of the Smashed Violin: Book 1 pb 9780143308553  $9.99

Kizmet & the Case of the Tassie Tiger: Book 2 pb 9780143308546  $9.99



Brian Moses (ed) & Kristina Swarner (illus) Poems about Festivals  hardback 9780750291842  $27.99

This is a beautifully illustrated collection of 15 short poems about various celebrations and festivals around the world, such as Mothers Day, Pancake Day, Eid-ul-Fitr, Diwali, Chinese New Year, Halloween, Christmas, and Children’s Day in Japan. At the end of the book there is a short biography of each of the poets, and under the heading ‘Further Information’ you’ll find suggestions about how teachers can use the book with their students. (6-10 year olds) MC

Other books in this series edited by Brian Moses:

Poems about Seasons illus by Ellie Jenkins, hardback 9780750291811 $27.99

Poems about Animals illus by Natalia Moore, hardback 9780750291781 $27.99

Poems about the Seaside illus by Marcela Calderon, hardback 9780750291750 $27.99


 Non Fiction

Peter Gouldthorpe The White Mouse: The Story of Nancy Wake hardback 9781742990910 $26.99

With so many books being published on both the World wars, it is very good to see this new picture book telling the story of the bravery of the extraordinary young Australian woman, Nancy Wake. Her story is well known among my generation but not perhaps among young people of today. She was a very independent young woman and in 1934, at the age of just 22, was working as a journalist in Paris. When war came, she became involved with the French Resistance helping soldiers and refugees escape into Spain. Later when she also had to escape, she joined the Special Operations in the UK and after training, parachuted back into France to join up with the French Resistance to help sabotage German convoys, as well as bridges, roads and railway lines to help the Allied Forces advance after D-Day. Her amazing story of courage and determination is told in considerable detail in this informative picture book. The illustrations have the look of an earlier period with their use of cross-hatching and vividly portray many of the dangerous situations Nancy was involved in. Nancy Wake became the most decorated Australian woman in any war. Australian (9 – 15 years) KS


Steve Jenkins & Robin Page  I See a Kookaburra!: Discovering Animal Habitats Around the World hardback 9780618507641 $22.99                                                                                

 Six habitats in different parts of the world are shown in this book: a desert in the American Southwest, tide pool on the southern coast of England,  jungle in the Amazon River basin of South America, savanna in central Africa, forest in eastern Australia, and a pond in the American Midwest. Each habitat includes eight of the animals that live there, and they are camouflaged in their surroundings in the gorgeous collage illustrations. Some are very hard to spot, with just a nose or ears poking out from behind a tree, but if you turn the page you’ll see each animal in full, accompanied by a little bit of descriptive text. There are a number of pages at the end of the book with information about each habitat and, in more detail, each of the animals. You’ll also find a map, and a short list of suggested further reading. As a picture book with appealing illustrations and its simple invitation to search and find, this would appeal to children as young as 5, but the fascinating and detailed information at the end of the book is more suitable for older children. (5 – 10 years) MC


Deborah Kespert Genius! The Most Astounding Inventions of All Time  hardback 9780500650431  $29.99

This handsome, retro-style book is divided into 5 sections: Pioneers, Communication, Technology, Transport and Into Space. It takes a look at 20 inventions ranging from the Archimedes Screw through to the Internet, introducing each with brief background information about the inventor, the time, the big idea and the challenges faced. The following pages go into more detail, accompanied by photographs and drawings, and there are sidebars with incidental facts and some activities such as how to make a water screw, a potato print, do mirror writing, make a string telephone and a code wheel. Timelines at various points throughout help to show the bigger picture, and there is a Glossary and Index at the end.  This book is bound to whet the appetites of curious young readers who will be inspired to find out more about the inventions that interest them most. (9-12 year olds) MC


Yvonne Mes & Sandra Eterovic (illus) Meet Sidney Nolan  hardback 9780857985897  $24.99

Another excellent addition to the Meet…. series, picture books introducing young readers to the extraordinary men and women who have shaped Australia’s history. Sidney Nolan was one of Australia’s most renowned artists, most famous for his iconic Ned Kelly paintings. As a young man, bored by his day job, he enrolled in evening art classes and frequented the library, reading poetry, philosophy and gaining inspiration from modernist European artists like Picasso and Matisse. After an unsuccessful attempt to stow-away on a ship to London, Sidney approached John Reed, an art-loving lawyer, to pay for his passage. Reed declined, but was impressed by his paintings and invited Sidney to a life-changing dinner at Heide, a haven for artists, poets, writers and musicians. In 1944 Sidney changed his name and went on the run to avoid conscription in WWII, and it was during this time of rebellion, inspired by his childhood hero, that the Ned Kelly paintings were born. A Timeline rounds off the book. Australian. (6 – 8 or 9 year olds) MC

Kristin Weidenbach & James Gulliver Hancock (illus) Meet Banjo Paterson hardback 9780857980083 $24.99

Another excellent addition to the Meet…. series, picture books introducing young readers to the extraordinary men and women who have shaped Australia’s history. Banjo Paterson loved life in the outback, especially horses. When he grew up and worked as a lawyer in Sydney, he really missed the bush and, sitting in his dingy city office, he longed to go back. He started writing poetry, Mulga Bill and The Man from Ironbark, but it was his book of poems about The Man from Snowy River and other outback characters that brought him to fame. The book sold out within a week, creating an Australian record. Then came Waltzing Matilda which, when put to music, travelled by word of mouth around the whole country. As with all of the books in the Meet…  series, it is illustrated throughout, with a timeline at the end. Australian. (6-8 or 9 year olds) MC

Books in this series:

Meet the ANZACS  by Claire Saxby & Max Berry (ill) hardback 9780857981929  $24.99, pb 9780857981936  $16.99

Meet Weary Dunlop by Claire Saxby & Jeremy Lord (ill)  hardback 9780857985361  $24.99

Meet Banjo Paterson by Kritstin Weidenbach & James Gulliver Hancock (ill)  hardback 9780857980083 $24.99

Meet Nancy Bird Walton by Grace Atwood & Harry Slaghekke (ill) hardback 9780857983879 $16.99

Meet Captain Cook by Rae Murdie & Chris Nixon (ill) pb 9780857980182 $16.99

Meet Ned Kelly by Janeen Brian & Matt Adams (ill) pb 9781742757193  $16.99

Meet Mary MacKillop by Sally Murphy & Sonia Martinez (ill)  hardback 9781742757216 $19.99,  pb 9781742757223  $16.99

Meet Douglas Mawson by Mike Dumbleton & Snip Green (illus)

 hardback 9780857981950  $24.99, pb 9780857981967  $16.99

Meet Sidney Nolan by Yvonne Mes & Sandra Eterovic (illus)hardback 9780857985897  $24.99


Kate Shepherd and Mandy Clarke



KS Kate Shepherd

MC Mandy Clarke

LP Louise Pfanner

LB Lynndy Bennett

HL Hannah Leh


If you would like to order any of the books reviewed in this newsletter or in the accompanying lists, send orders to Austral Ed by email: 


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All prices are in Australian dollars and include GST of 10% which is not applicable to overseas schools.   


For additional lists of recommended books and newsletters from Austral Ed, visit our website


For further suggestions visit the gleebooks website

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