Gleebooks Education 

September 2010

Gleebooks Bookshop - Wednesday, September 01, 2010

No 36, September 2010

Kate Shepherd, Austral Ed

Greetings.  I hope you all had an enjoyable and well-deserved holiday break.  Here it’s been a very long. dark, cold and wet winter.  The rain has been wonderful but I need some sun!   The garden too is waiting for the sun.   All the wattles are out and the hardenbergia and so everything is brilliant yellow and purple against the lush green of many, many weeds. 

I am off to Brisbane at the end of September for the joint Conference of the School Library Association of Queensland and of the International Association of School Librarianship.  I have never been to an IASL Conference and thought I really should attend when it is being held in Australia.  It is often held in very attractive sounding exotic places but not so easy to get to.  The Conference lasts from 237th to Friday 1st October so if you are there do come and say hello and see the display.  I shall also be giving a short presentation.

Later in the year I shall be attending the second Biennial Hands on Literacy Conference in Singapore on Saturday November 13th.  It is unique in that it is being organized by the International School Libraries Network of Singapore (ISLN).  This is a group of school librarians who felt that they were not getting the Professional Development they were wanting and so set about organizing a day of professional development for themselves!  They were surprised that it attracted so many interested participants from round the world.   The Conference will focus on literacy development across the curriculum, through the strands of digital and traditional literacy, research and enquiry, early years, librarianship, visual literacy and the arts.  It will explore this concept in both practice and theory, from early years (3 years) to young adults (18 years).  For more information check out the website:

And then in May 2011, there is the ECIS Librarians’ Conference in Istanbul, appropriately called Librarians@ the Crossroads.  The ECIS Librarians’ Conference is always a highlight of the year.  I am really looking forward to catching up with many librarians who I haven’t seen for three years, not since the last one in Berlin!   It might seem a long time away but the call is out already for presentation proposals and this closes on 27th September.  Check out the website: 

For those of you who have been following our son Joel’s writing, the final book Haven in his fantasy quartet A Trial of Blood and Steel was published in July.  It is a wonderful read, complex but with very memorable characters.  This book reaches a most dramatic conclusion as massing armies set themselves for a battle for the city of Haven and for the survival serrin people.  I found myself completely absorbed in the strategies involved in this battle.  It is quite fascinating with reminders of the complexity of Napoleonic set battles and the added psychological tragedy of families being divided and fighting against each other.       
Sasha  Book 1  A Trial of Blood and Steel series by Joel Shepherd paperback $19.99
Petrodor Book 2  paperback $19.99
Tracato Book 3  trade paperback $32.99  and paperback $19.99
Haven Book 4  trade paperback $32.99

Chance of a Book Donation!

As many of you know, Joel has also written an adult science fiction series which is much enjoyed by sci fi enthusiasts both in the Senior School and the Middle school.  The series is the Cassandra Kresnov series and titles are Crossover, Breakaway and Killswitch.  Joel had some additional author’s copies he didn’t need and so we thought that we would donate one each of these books to any teacher or librarian who could pass on to me email address details of two librarians who are not already on the Austral Ed mailing list to receive the newsletter.  If you can pass on the details of six librarians then you would receive a set of all three books.   To cut down on the cost of postage, the three books would be sent out with the next school order.  It is always so difficult keeping up to date with new schools and new librarians and so this would really help us keep the mailing list up to date.

By the way if you have changed your email address, please let me know so that I can update my records.

The winners for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards for 2009 have just been announced and so these are listed later on in this newsletter with reviews for all the books which were shortlisted for the Awards.  There are also many other book reviews of at all levels, from early childhood to middle years.

Picture Books             

My Map Book by Sara Fanelli  pb $16.95
In this book, Sara Fanelli shows us a uniquely childlike perspective of her world drawn through maps.  There are maps of her bedroom, of her family and of her neighbourhood.  The map of her day shows the day divided chronologically into portions from morning till night but also includes a map showing how the school bus goes to school.  She is able to fit so much of her life and what she does into her maps.  There are maps of colours, and of her heart showing the things she loves most and of her face.  I am sure this book will enthuse children to also draw unique maps of their lives.  (4 – 9 years)

Mirror by Jeannie Baker  hardback $39.95
A wonderfully innovative and surprising new book from an extraordinary collage artist.  Inspired by a trip to Morocco, Jeannie Baker has told two stories in the one book.  The stories are actually two separate books and are designed to be read at the same time, one from the left and the other from the right.  Page by page we experience a day in the life of two boys and their families;  one in inner Sydney and the other in a remote village in Morocco.  The landscapes are very different and also their clothes and their houses but in the way the families care for each other and for their communities they are essentially the same.  The two families are essentially a mirror image of each other and there is a further link provided by the carpet sold by the family in Morocco and bought by the family in Australia.  The collage work is extraordinary and the images convey so much without the need for words.    (8 – 15 years)

Puggle by Catriona Hoy and Andrew Plant  hardback $24.95
This is a delightful and at the same time informative picture book about the extraordinary Australian echidna.  An echidna is an anteater which has spines on its back, lays eggs and feeds milk to its young which are called puggles!  Such a great name.  When this puggle’s mother is killed, he is taken to a wildlife sanctuary where Sue cares for him with other injured or orphaned animals and birds.  He grows from a hairless, blind, tiny creature to a full-grown echidna with long spines capable of eating thousands of termites. When able to look after himself, he is released back into the bush.    It was a great idea to make attractive and eye-catching end covers from simple brightly coloured sentences containing additional information about echidnas.   (4 – 7 years)

My dad thinks he’s funny by Katrina Germein illustrated by Tom Jellett hardback 24.99
The rather strange sense of humour in this book may not appeal to everyone but I guess it appeals to me because when I was a child I knew a number of people who liked to use similar sayings as the ones in this book.   For example, whenever the young boy puts lots of tomato sauce on his plate his Dad says “Would you like some dinner with that sauce?”  When he tells his Dad he thinks there is something in his eye, his Dad says “Yeah, an eyeball.”  When people say, “How are you feeling? Dad says “With my hands.”  I am sure some people will be groaning with these somewhat predictable puns but the illustrations by Tom Jellett are very lively and engaging and add to the idiosyncratic quirkish humour of the book.  In addition I think that children would enjoy discussing what is happening here with the use of language and would enjoy giving other examples from members of their families!      (5 – 8 years)


The Very Best of Aesop’s Fables by Margaret Clark illustrated by Charoltte Voake  pb $15.95
I have never really been a fan of Aesop’s fables but I love the way they are told in this collection.  The gentle whimsical illustrations of Charlotte Voake are beautifully appropriate for the stories.  Margaret Clark explains in the Foreword that she also didn’t like the fables as a child, being very put off by the look of the worthy children’s classics with a moral at the end of each story.  Here the emphasis is on the vitality of the story and no moral is given for as Margaret Clark explains “if children understand and enjoy the stories …. they will certainly appreciate the morals behind them. “  The stories are extremely well told and appear very funny and shrewd.  I am sure children will enjoy thinking about possible morals for the stories.    (5 – 11 years)

African Tales: A Barefoot Collection by Gcina Mhlophe and Rachel Griffin  hardback $34.99
This is an excellent collection of well-told lively stories from Africa published in 2009.  There are stories from eight countries: Namibia, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Senegal, Ghana, Sudan and Ethiopia.  The story called The Story of the Wise Mother from the Sudan is especially apt.  It is about true friendship and sharing, between a very poor man and the sultan’s only son.  There is a detailed map of Africa and general information and factual description of each country which is very helpful.  The illustrations use fabrics, bead and collage work and add to the liveliness and the appeal of the collection.  (7 – 12 years)

Indian Tales: A Barefoot Collection by ShenaazNnanji and Christopher Corr hardback $34.99 has a similar format.  The eight stories reflect very different regions of India: Gujarat, Punjab, Nagaland, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Kerala.   The stories are well told and the illustrations add vitiality and colour.  There are stories about magical spirits, sneaky robbers and brave heroines.  I especially liked the story of Five Men in a Cart from Andhra  Pradesh.  The five men slavishly follow their guru’s instruction to such an extent that they are completely unable to make any commonsense decisions and this makes for absurd situations and a very funny story.   (7 – 12 years)


Mates – Great Australian Yarns is a new Australian series of short very appealing stories for young readers by well-known Australian authors.  They have just been published by Omnibus books – the same publishers who published the popular Solo series.   This series is very lively both in text and the delightful colour illustrations by a variety of Australian illustrators.  The stories all have an Australian feel to them.  I wondered at first if they might be too Australian for some overseas International Schools.   However the stories are so lively and amusing that I don’t think that will be a problem.  If there are words such as frilled-neck lizard that children don’t understand they will quickly get the meaning from the illustrations.  So far there are eleven titles and I am sure there will be more to come.  One that I especially liked was:

Thorpey by Ruth Starke  pb $11.99
A goldfish is not exactly the most exciting present but Thorpey is a comet fish and loves to dart around his bowl.  But surprisingly he seems to be getting fatter and fatter and spends a lot of time on the bottom of the bowl.  It’s a mystery until they discover that little sister Annie has been feeding Thorpey fish flakes and any other food she happens to be eating.   It’s a fun story, which also is quite informative about keeping goldfish.  (6 – 8 years).

Other titles in the Mates – Great Australian Yarns series are:
Barnsey by Alayne Webster
Chook Shed Snake  by Phil Cummings
Crickey by Jane Carroll
Crooked Mick by Dave Luckett
Hanging Out by Catherine Bateson
The Heart of the Forest by Barry Jonsberg
How to Talk to a Frill Necked Lizard by James Moloney
The Smartest Dog of All by Ian Horrocks
The Wombat and the Grand Poohjam by Jackie French
Thorpey by Ruth Starke
You Turkeys by Michael Gerard Bauer.

Sarindi’s Dragon Kite  by Janine Fraser  pb $12.99
This is the third in the series about Sarindi and his family who live in Jogjakarta in Indonesia.  Sarindi has just turned twelve years old and is looking forward to going to the beach to fly his wonderful new kite when their house is rocked by an earthquake.  Sarindi and his family are lucky and are only slightly injured.  However when they go to the nearby village where their relatives live, they discover to their horror that only little Agi, Sarindi’s cousin, is still alive.  This is a moving and very believable story about the devastation cuased by an earthquake but it also describes how families and communities help each other in times of need and Sarindi’s family gradually begin to find happiness again.  (8 – 11 years)

The Mobile Phone Detective by James Moloney  pb $12.95
This is fun!  It is mystery in which mobile phone technology is the key – not that this would normally be of much interest to me but somehow James Moloney makes this mystery adventure tale very entertaining.  Renton is 13 years old and is travelling with his father in France when his father is kidnapped.  Renton doesn’t speak French but he manages to send incriminating photos to the French Police showing what has happened, where he is going and where his father is being held.  Mobile phones can truly do amazing things in the hands of smart kids!  One of the popular Aussie Chomps.    (8 – 12 years)


Wonderful Houses Around the World by Yoshio Komatsu  illustrated by Akira Nishiyama  hardback $27.95 pb $18.95
Yoshio Komatsu is a Japanese photographer who travels the world taking photographs of houses.  All the houses in this book are built of natural materials; earth, wood, thatch, bamboo and stone.  There are houses from China, Mongolia, India, Indonesia, Togo, Senegal Spain and Romania, Tunisia and Bolivia.  The houses are wonderful and the design of the book is also wonderful.  A photograph covering a double page spread shows us the house and often the family who lives there.  On these two pages, Komatsu also describes his impressions of the house and how he met the family living there.  On the next double page spread, illustrations show us the inside of the house; how it is constructed and how the house functions.  In Mongolia a yurt with a family of three children is shown while in China there is an amazing large round earthen building called a tulou where three hundred people live over four floors.  The illustrations give us a very good idea of how the people live and how the building functions.  (8 - 15 years)

Window on the World series hardback $29.95 each
What a wonderful new series of books.just published this year.  Titles are At Home, At School, Colour, Hello Daddy, Hello Baby, Let’s Play and Time to Eat.   Large photographs show how different children live from round the world.  There is so much to talk about and describe in each photograph.  The text is very simple showing what the children are doing and from which country.  In the title At School, a child from Ethiopia points to the alphabet, in Japan children are having lunch at heir desks, in Mali children are writing at their desks which are made of mud.  Such excellent photos and so much to discuss.  This is a very good introduction to children from around the world and how they live.  (5 – 8 years)

People Who Help Us (Acorn Plus series) hardback  $29.95
This is a very helpful book.  It covers a wide range of material with a simple text for young readers.  It looks at what is a community and how communities can be large or small.  It describes how different people can work in a community and that many work at selling goods or services.  It then goes on to describe different types of workers such health workers, people who keep us safe such as firefighters and police, teachers or coaches and also vets.  The examples given are of people from round the world.   Finally it emphasises the importance of working together and helping each other. It is excellent to find all this information in just the one book.  However the series  People in the Community also has individual books which go in to more detail about specific jobs if this is what you are wanting.   Titles looking at individual jobs are:
Police Officers
Vets            Price for these titles is $21.95 each       (6 – 8 years)

Similarly Being a Good Citizen (Acorn Plus series) gives a good overall view of the various aspects discussed in detail in the 7 books in the series called Citizenship hardback $29.95
The illustrations showing students in many situations enliven the straightforward text.  The text discusses what is a citizen, and how children can help at home, at school, and with friends.  If a more detailed series is needed then the following titles in the Citizenship series are available:
Being a Leader
Being Fair
Being Helpful
Being Honest
Being Responsible
Following Rules
Making Friends                Price for these titles is $21.95 each       (6 – 8 years)

Renoir and Me by Mila Boutan  pb $25.00
This is a fascinating look at the types of paintings created by Jean Renoir, the famous Impressionist painter.   The discussion centres round the warmth and intimacy of so many of Renoir’s paintings and how this was achieved by the artist.  His unique style is also contrasted with the work of some of the artists who painted in about the same period.  The text also gives some of the details of Renoir’s life and family.   (9 – 15 years)

Look! Really Smart Art by Gillian Wolfe  hardback $27.95
Gillian Wolfe has an ability to choose and focus in on particular paintings and to draw our attention to the unique ways in which the artists created them.  Her descriptions are simple but always make us look with appreciation and wonder.  In this book she focuses our attention on  the very different clever effects that artists can create. There is the 3D trick that Escher used to create an unbelievably life-like pair of hands that look as though the hands are three dimensional against a flat surface and the art of perspective which makes David Hockney’s  Going up Garroby Hill look as though the road curves down before going up the hill to disappear into the distance.  There are also examples of digital computer art by Akiyoshi Kitaoka and the pop style art of Roy Lichtenstein and many others.  (9 – 16 years)

Other titles by Gillian Wolfe in a similar format are:
Look! Zoom in on Art!  by Gillian Wolfe  pb $16.95
Look! Seeing the Light in Art  hardback $27.95  pb $16.95
Look ! Body Language in Art   pb $16.95  
Look! Drawing the Line in Art  hardback $27.95

Who’s in Charge?  How people and ideas make the world go round  Foreword by Andrew Marr  hardback $24.95
The world of politics is complicated and often seems very messy.  This book is excellent in that it sets out the various elements of political structure and ideas and gives simple, interesting explanations in a format that is lively and eye-catching but also makes the explanations easier to understand.  In fact I found it so interesting in its examples that I found myself reading many sections in full.  The book is divided into sections called Taking Charge, Take me to your Leader, The big Ideas, and People and Politics.  The book also includes discussion of the various political systems over the years and in various countries throughout the world.  It is an extremely informative and useful book.  (11 – 17 years) 

DK Eyewitness Economy by Johnny Acton and David Goldblatt  pb $19.95
This is an excellent introduction to the complex workings of the economy.  It gives straightforward explanations as to how money came to be used in societies round the world and how, from simple beginnings, complex institutions as banks, shares, trade, inflation, speculation etc have come about.  The emphasis is on how the world economy has developed and how it works now.   There is even a section on aid to developing countries and examples of which aid works best.    As usual with Eyewitness titles the design and use of photos and paintings is excellent.  The many graphs and diagrams also help understand some of the more complex terms.  A Timeline, Glossary, Index and CD clipart and a giant wall chart are also included.  (11 – 17 years)

What Goes on in my HEAD?  How your Brain works and why you do what you do by Robert Winston  hardback $29.95
Published just in 2010, this is another very interesting book from DK about the most complicated and mysterious part of the human body.  The book introduces the history of discoveries about the brain as well as discussing the various parts of the brain,  There are sections on how the brain and the body work together, how we think and this includes consciousness and our unique personalities, on our feelings and emotions and on the power of the brain, especially relating to language and memory.  The book has great design, thought-provoking text as well as some interesting tests and activities.  (11 – 16 years)

Farming and the Environment  (Food and Farming series)  hardback $38.00 each
Published in 2009, this book looks in particular at the use of water and the effects of water pollution, land clearance, soil erosion and sustainable farming and the effect of farming on the atmosphere.  Examples and photos of farming from round the world are given as well as a number of case studies.  There is a Glossary and an Index.   The full range of titles in the series is:
From Farm to Table
Farming and the Environment
Feeding the World
Farming in the Future    hardback $38.00 each

Protecting Ecosystems (World Heritage series) $31.99 each
The main interest of this series consists of the thirteen world heritage sites round the world which have been chosen because of their remarkable ecosystems.  Although some are well known such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and Yellowstone National Park, most are not well known (or not well known to me) and are located in countries such as Panama, Madagascar, Seychelles and Brazil.  A simple map of each world heritage ecosystem and photographs showing the area and descriptions provide a helpful introduction to these fascinating ecosystems.  Students can then do more research themselves for further information.  A timeline for each ecosystem is included as well as an Index.     The full range of titles in the series are:
Protecting Ancient Heritage
Protecting Ecosystems
Protecting Earth’s History
Protecting Human Masterpieces
Protecting the Human Story
Protecting Threatened Animals                                    ((9 – 13 years)

Sustainable Homes (Sustainable Futures series)  (published in 2009)  pb $24.95
Looks at sustainable homes round the world, including traditionally built houses using natural local materials and also homes using modern technology (some of which also use local natural materials.) The book also discusses the most efficient ways of heating and cooling homes in order to save energy and also the most efficient ways of using water.  There is a section on reducing waste and pollution and on recycling.  The last chapter discusses the importance of building sustainable communities, not just houses.  The book also looks at the impact our houses have on the environment and on our quality of life.     (10 – 15 years)
The full range of titles in the series is:
Conserving Fresh Water
Food for Life
Healthy Seas
Sustainable Homes
Waste, Recycling and Reuse      (10 – 15 years)

Professional Resources

Take a moment! 40 frameworks for reflective thinking  by Kath Murdoch   $32.95
This book has a very different appearance from the other books that Kath Murdoch has written.   It contains many practical activities to help teachers encourage students to “take a moment” and think about why, what and how they are learning.  It is a collection of the strategies and structures that Kath Murdoch has found useful in supporting reflective thinking.  It aims to help students become self-aware and engaged in their learning and has many tasks which are carefully designed to direct students’ reflective thinking in different ways.   It aims to make reflection part of the learning process and contains many frameworks and structure which teachers will find very helpful.



There is always controversy over Awards and this year there has been as much as usual.  These Australian CBC Awards are chosen by one judge from each of the Australian states.  Each judge reads a large number of books and they all come together to discuss the shortlist and also to decide upon the winners.  More information about the Awards and also on CBC Conferences is available at their website   Following is my short review of each title.  As you can see I don’t always agree with the judges.

Book of the Year: Older Readers  (NB Some of these books are for mature readers in secondary school)

Jarvis 24  by David Metzenthen  pb $19.95
Marc Jarvis is an engaging character. He is a worrier who finds getting organized difficult and is always losing things.  He is at a loss to know where to do his Work Experience and when he asks on a whim at a secondhand car dealership, he is surprised when he is accepted.  This opens up a very different world and in particular friendship with a girl who is full of surprises and is a highly focused athlete.  A convincing and entertaining story about new friendships and the complications of peoples’ lives,  (13 – 17 years)

Honour Books 
The Winds of Heaven  by Judith Clarke  pb $23.00
There was always a special allure that Clementine felt when she went to stay with her cousin Fan at her house in the country.  Fan and her life seemed so alive and exciting to the citysider Clementine.   Fan seemed to have so much potential but somehow her life seemed to contract and end in tragedy.  The story of these two cousins is set in the 1950s and told from the point of view of an older Clementine looking back over her life.  (13 years up)

A Small Free Kiss in the Dark  by Glenda Millard            pb $16.95
This book has received rave reviews but I fell uneasy about it.  It is set in Melbourne in some future time after a catastrophe.  There are homeless people everywhere and fierce competition for survival.  However Skip was homeless before and so he doesn’t notice much difference and when he befriends Old Billy, his life takes a turn for the better.  Skip is a pavement artist and they meet up with a girl Tia who is a dancer and is often depicted dancing in a red dress.   Tia also has a very young baby called Sixpence.   It seems to me that the book is in danger of romanticising art and creativity (and also the delights of babies) and this makes me feel uneasy.  I would like to know what you think.  (14 – 18 years)   

Shortlisted Books 
Stolen              by Lucy Christopher              pb $18.00
Sixteen-year old Gemma is kidnapped at Bangkok Airport, drugged and taken to an extremely isolated outback hideout which her kidnapper has set up to be her prison.  He is clearly delusional but in his own way he loves her and wants to protect her from the world and also to teach her to love the Australian outback as he does.  The details of the kidnapping are extremely implausible but the point of the story is the relationship between the kidnapper and the kidnapped as it develops and gradually changes.  The book is written in the first person in the form of a letter by Gemma to her captor.   (14 years up) 

Liar  by Justine Larbalestier            pb $22.99
I really enjoyed the first part of this book.  Micah Wilkins is an intriguing character and since she is an acknowledged compulsive liar, it is obviously very difficult to know exactly when she is telling the truth.  The story is set in New York City and the narrative is divided into short sections such as Before and After and Family History.  Her boyfriend Zach is murdered and she insists that she will tell us the truth about what happened.  However with such an unreliable narrator who says that she is telling the truth and then contradicts herself, it is always difficult to know.  What is surprising is that in spite of this, I found the book suspenseful.  At times the book is gruesome and it later develops a macabre element or perhaps the narrator is making it all up? It has been described as a suspenseful psychological thriller and it is intriguing.  (14 years up)

Loving Richard Fenyman  by Penny Tangey  pb $17.95
Cantherine is an outsider, a nerd as she says but at fifteen years old she is resigned to it as she loves science and maths and seems to think and behave differently from the other more popular kids at the school.  She writes letters to Richard Feynman who was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist because it gives her more of a focus and she describes her many frustrations, enthusiasms, lack of confidence and scorn at the behaviour of others.  Her character becomes more and more interesting as it reveals her inadequacies and at times her lack of understanding of her fellow students. Makes for humour and also frustration. How can she really not understand that Harry does like her and how can she be so harsh in her scathing comments about Felix?  She is bright but has difficulties in understanding and showing empathy to others.  It is at times very funny and is very interesting and revealing about the life and work of Richard Feynman!    (14 – 17 years)                       

Book of the Year: Younger Readers

Darius Bell and the Glitter Bell by Odo Hirsch  pb $15.95
Another quirky, whimsical and charming story from storyteller, Odo Hirsch.  Darius Bell lives with his family in a huge old house which was bequeathed to the family by the Town Council on the proviso that they present a special gift to the Council every 25 years.  Darius is certain that his father has neither the money nor the ideas to come up with a special gift that will satisfy the Council and so he is the one who searches and finally finds the beautiful Glitter pool. (10 – 13 years)

Honour Books
Running with Horses by Alison Lester  hardback $29.95
When Anna was ten years old, a war was raging in the world and she and her father and a friend have to flee on a dangerous journey across the snow-covered mountains taking with them four of the dancing horses from the riding school where her father worked and an old horse Zelda that Nina loves. The story is fictional but is inspired by the evacuation of the famous Lippizaner stallions of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna during the Second World War.  The illustrations are striking and it is perhaps best described as a picture book with a longer text. (8 – 12 years)

Pearl Verses the World  by Sally Murphy illus Heather Potter  pb $14.95
Pearl has always lived with her mother and her granny, making a family of three but now her granny cannot remember anyone and during this very sad time, Pearl feels that she has no friends.  Pearl loves to write and tell stories and her granny always encouraged this but she also taught her that a poem does not need to rhyme and this is how Pearl writes this story, in free verse.   (8 – 10 years)  

Shortlisted Books
Matty Forever by Elizabeth Fensham pb $14.95
When Bill and his mother shift to a new town, Bill is delighted to discover a wonderful new friend in Matty and her warm-hearted family who live next door.   But their friendship is complicated with the arrival on the scene of Isabelle and Bill has to work out what friendship really means.  (7 – 10 years)

The Whisperer  by Fiona McIntosh  pb $20.00
Griff can hear the thoughts of others and flees the circus where he works when the circus owner discovers his talent.  He flees with Tess who has a collection of magical creatures and as they escape he keeps hearing the voice of someone else who is also fleeing.  An exciting and engaging fantasy novel with enough magic to satisfy those who love the world of fantasy.   (9 – 13 years)

Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children by Jen Storer  hardback  $19.95
I don’t really understand what is so appealing about stories about mislaid or orphaned children who are treated dreadfully in orphanages and so I am not a good one to review this book.  In this story Tensy Farlow is different from the other children in that she doesn’t have a guardian angel so there is something very special about her.  The plot has a number for surprising twists and turns and at the orphanage there is suitably horrible matron called Matron Pluckrose who should satisfy those who love nasty characters.  (8 – 11 years)        

Book of the Year: Early Childhood (Picture Books)

Bear & Chook by the Sea by Lisa Shanahan illus Emma Quay  hardback  $28.99  pb $16.99
Bear and Chook are the best of friends so when Bear decides he just has to visit the sea, Chook goes too in spite of being very apprehensive about travelling so far.  They have a lovely time but when Bear gets dumped by a wave he can’t wait to get back to the comforts of home and having Chook to look after him.  An appealing and reassuring book about friendship.

Honour Books
Kip  by Christina Booth  hardback $24.95 pb $14.95
Kip was a rooster who loved to crow but no matter what time of the day he upset someone in the neighbourhood.  Lots of cock-a-doodle-doos make this a fun book to read aloud.

Clancy and Millie and the Very Fine House by Libby Gleeson illus Freya Blackwood                                                                            hardback $25.00
Clancy has to leave his old comfortable and familiar home and shifts to a new house which feels very big and strange. His feelings of strangeness are beautifully evoked by Freya Blackwood’s illustrations.  However when Millie from next door comes over to play in the leftover cardboard boxes, he is quickly happy and at ease again.  After all, it is family and friends that make a home. 

Shortlisted Books
The Wrong Book  by Nick Bland  pb $15.99
Poor Nicholas Ickle, a young boy who stands ready to make a grand beginning as he says “My name is Nicholas Ickle and this book is about ...”  but before he can go on, he is interrupted by an elephant, and then by two monsters, a queen and so on.  Each time, he protests with frustration that they are in the wrong book!   Very simple but very amusing as the text rises to a final crescendo as Nichols Ickle’s frustration grows.  It would be great fun to read aloud.  

The Terrible Plop by Ursula Dubosarsky illus Andrew Joyner hardback $24.95 
When the rabbits hear a terrible plop and flee in fright, all the other animals join the mad rush away.  Big Brown Bear is curious and wants to know more and so the smallest and slowest rabbit has to go back to see what made “the terrible plop” and he is the one who realizes that there was no need to be frightened!  The rhyme, rhythm and repletion ensure that the story would be a delight to read aloud.  The illustrations are lively, humorous and engaging. 

Fearless by Colin Thompson illus by Sarah Davis hardback $25.00
This is such a fun book.  When he was a puppy, Fearless seemed a good name for him but he grew up to be frightened of everything.  However one night, completely by accident, Fearless lived up to his name.  Wonderfully engaging illustrations show Fearless to be endearing, loving, and not very bright though a much loved part of the family.

Picture Book of the Year Award (These picture books may be for mature readers)

The Hero of Little Street by Gregory Rogers  hardback $30.00 
This is a delightfully expressive textless picture book.  The Boy is already a well-known character from two earlier picture books.   Escaping from some bullies, he finds himself in an Art Gallery and as he wanders past one of Vermeer’s famous paintings a little dog suddenly jumps out of the painting.  They explore together and then hop into another of Vermeer’s paintings and find themselves in the streets of Delft in the time of Vermeer.  More adventures follow.  There is so much to observe and so much action which is very easily followed in spite of the fact that there are no words.  Gregory Rogers has created some remarkable characters and a wonderful world through his vibrant and expressive illustrations.   (6 – 10 years)

Honour Books 
Isabella’s Garden by Glenda Millard illus by Rebecca Cool  hardback $27.95
Using a repeated refrain similar to the well-known verse “The Cow with the Crumbled Horn” Glenda Millard describes how the seeds in Isabella’s garden come to life from the dark soil, and with the help of the rain and the sun and how then the whole garden comes to life with flowers and birds and insects.  Bright naïve illustrations give the story charm and vitality.   (5 – 9 years)

Fox and Fine Feathers by Narelle Oliver pb $15.99
Beautifully illustrated in Narelle Oliver’s distinctive detailed style, this picture book depicts four native Australian forest birds, the nightjar, the lyrebird, the coucal and the Pitta.  These birds warn each other when there is danger.  In this case the danger comes from the European fox.  The nightjar has the ability to blend in and camouflage itself against the leaf litter of the forest floor and this is portrayed beautifully through Narelle Oliver’s detailed illustrations.  The book can be appreciated for the story and the beauty of its illustrations but also for the information it gives at the end of the book on the four native birds and also on the introduced European fox and on the forest setting of the book which is on the border of the NSW and Queensland.   (6 – 11 years) 

Shortlisted Books
Schumann the Shoeman  by John Danalis  illus by Stella Danalis            hardback $24.95
The story of a very creative shoemaker who was forced out of work in the city by a new factory and so he went to live in the forest where he made amazingly creative shoes for all the different animals and birds and insects who lived in the forest.    (5 – 8 years)

To the Top End: Our Trip Across Australia by Roland Harvey  hardback $24.99
A family trip with Uncle Kevin goes from Tasmania through some of Australia’s amazing outback places, all described and illustrated with Roland Harvey’s humour and vitality.  
(6 – 10 years)

Mr Chicken Goes to Paris            by Leigh Hobbs  hardback $24.99
When Mr Chicken goes to Paris to visit his friend Yvette, he has a wonderful time visiting all the sites and he is completely unaware that the French find his huge shape with the tiny black top hat on his head to be a most surprising spectacle.  This is made quite obvious by Leigh Hobbs in his amusing illustrations.  This is a most unusual picture book with a very wry sense of humour.  
(5 – 10 years)

Eve Pownall Award for Information Books

Australian Backyard Explorer by Peter Macinnis  pb $29.95
This is a fascinating book with a very different and detailed look at explorers in Australia.  Filled with interesting anecdotes and varied questions such as how did explorers calculate the height of mountains?  In the section on Journals and Notebooks, there are different entries made on the same day by James Cook and Joseph Banks showing a different perspective on their journey.  Filled with illustrations and paintings of the period and also many photos and journal extracts, there are also many interesting activities and projects that students can undertake in their own backyard.  Activities such as how to find water, collect plants, or make a shelter.   There are sections on measuring distance, mapping and navigating by the stars as well as the difficulty of finding water and of making it fit to drink and coping with disasters.    (10 years up)

Honour Books
Polar eyes: A Journey to Antarctica  by Tanya Patrick illus by Nicholas Hutcheson   hardback $24.95
This is book is based on the fascinating notebook that Tanya Patrick kept when she visited 
Antarctica while she was working as an editor for CSIRO for a month in 2007.  So many topics are covered – what clothing to take and why, survival training, the birds, and other animals of Antarctica, icebreakers and the different sorts of ice and icebergs.  The photos and illustrations add to the interest of this account,    (9 – 14 years)

Maralinga: The Anangu Story  by Yalata & Oak Communities with Christobel Mattingley hardback $35.00
This is a detailed account of the story of the Aboriginal Anangu people who lived for thousands of years in outback South Australia.  Much of the narrative is told by the Anangu people themselves today but there are also printed historical sources.  In the past Anangu land was used for nuclear weapons testing and the people had to leave.  They have only recently been able to return to live in their traditional lands.  The text is supported by many paintings both in the traditional dot style and others more figurative and also photographs.   (10 years up)

Shortlisted Books
Prehistoric Giants: The Megafauna of Australia by Danielle Clode  pb $24.95
Published by the Museum of Victoria this is a guide to the Australian megafauna of the Pleistocene – when humans shared the land with giant creatures.  Gives details of many of the fossil discoveries.and then lists the various megafauna such as giant goannas, giant wombats and koalas and many others.  As well as maps showing the fossil finds and possible distribution and photographs of fossil bones, there are beautiful paintings of these animals showing how they may have looked and lived. (11 years up) 

M is for Mates: Animals in Wartime from Ajax to Zep  pb $25.95 nett
A very large number of animals have served with the armed forces both overseas and at home.  Kids will find the accounts of animals from dogs to camels to birds fascinating.   Some animals served with their handlers, some were hidden from view and kept clandestinely but this book includes many fascinating accounts and many photos of all sorts of animals.   (8 – 12 years)

Lost! A True Tale from the Bush  by Stephanie Owen Reeder hardbaack $29.95
In 1864 three young children, Isaac 9 years old, Jane 7 and Frank nearly 4, got lost in the Australian bush and in trying to find their way home, they walked 100 kilometres and spent 9 long days and 8 very cold nights in the open.  Being lost in the bush is a particular Australian nightmare and this retelling gives a very believable description of the lost children and of the anxiety of the parents.  A search party was sent out immediately but was unable to track the children till some skilled Aboriginal trackers found the children close to death.  The story if retold well but the book is made so much more interesting by additional information about the daily life of the 1860s.  Beautiful watercolour paintings of the period by William Strutt and also many other illustrations and paintings document the book making it a fascinating and innovative way to tell this story.  (8 – 12 years) 

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