Astrid Spark, Fixologist, by Justin D'Ath

Despite the regular stream of people wanting Astrid to fix things, her parents try to keep her life as normal as possible. That means no media interviews and definitely no experiments.

Until Doctor Hu visits, seeking Astrid’s help in an experiment so important that even Astrid’s parents can’t say no. Doctor Hu wants Astrid to fix the hole in the ozone layer.

Doctor Hu’s plans involve a bagggoon – a contraption combining a balloon, an old volvo,lots of ginger beer, a pair of rubber gloves and a stack of hair dryers. When the time comes Astrid is accompanied by her friends Lucas and Kia Jane and a very rude galah, on the journey of a life time.

Astrid Spark, Fixologist, is the latest offering from the talented Justin D’Ath, with illustrations by Terry Denton, whose other credits include the Storymaze series and Andy Griffiths’ Just books.

Kids will love the silliness, the inventiveness and the sheer fun of this book.

Astrid Spark, Fixologist, by Justin D’Ath
Allen & Unwin, 2002

Studying Part Time Without Stress, by Teresa De Fazio

Studying part time means juggling all areas of your life – work, relationships, family life, social life and other interests, along with fitting in time to make a go of whatever course you are undertaking. For those returning or contemplating a return to study, it can be a daunting prospect.

Studying Part Time without Stress is a no-nonsense guide to coping with these competing demands and making the most of your time. It gives practical advice on ways to make the experience a rewarding one for yourself and for those around you.

As well as chapters on choosing what and how to study, there are sections devoted to identifying your learning style, effectively organising your time, writing assignments and more. For those who have been away from study for a length of time, there is clear advice on how to write notes, essays and reports, how to correctly reference these, and how to locate suitable resources.

Appendices to the book include a list of useful print and electronic resources, note taking short cuts, weekly study schedule templates, glossaries and more.

Theresa De Fazio is a teacher at the Centre for educational Development and Support at Victoria University. She is the author of Studying in Australia (1999) and managed to find time to write this book while teaching, conducting research for her doctoral thesis and looking after a young family. Studying Part Time Without Stress is aimed at students taking courses at all levels of college and university and will help you succeed in your study.

Studying Part Time Without Stress, by Teresa De Fazio
Allen & Unwin, 2002.

Facetime, by Winnie Salamon

When Esmerelda moves in with Charlotte she’s not sure if she’s done the right thing. The two don’t have much in common. Charlotte takes herself way too seriously and Esmerelda finds her intimidating and aloof.

Charlotte doesn’t hit it off with Esmerelda’s best friend Ned, either. Ned is a hardcore geek who wears flannies and Linux t-shirts and has no sense of style. He loves bad movies and trashy music. Esmerelda thinks he’s great.

When Ned suggests Esmerelda try internet chat rooms she meets and falls for Jack, an American geek who is both charming and mysterious, and who seems to like all the things Esmerelda likes. They share secrets, even passion – so much so that Jack decides to fly to Australia so they can meet.

Is love in a chat room the same as love in real life? Can Jack and Esmerelda sort out the teething problems of their relationship? And what of Ned – how will he feel about this intruder?

If you have ever sung along to 99 Luft balloons or Electric dreams or lip-synched with b-grade horror films, then Facetime is for you. If you haven’t, you will probably find yourself somewhere in this book anyway. Full of geeks and gnomes, and young people finding their way through life, along with inflatable underwear and loads of other weird stuff, this is a fun read for the 16 plus young person (of any age).

Author Winnie Salamon is a writer and freelance journalist who has written about everything from amputee fetishes to Posh Spice. This is her first novel.

This closet geek hopes it won’t be her last.

Facetime, by Winnie Salamon
Allen & Unwin, 2002.

Alan the Alien, by Penny Hall

It’s student exchange time – country kids coming to stay with city kids to experience city life. Clark doesn’t want anyone staying at his house, sharing his room and his things, but Mum thinks it’s a great idea, and signs the form.

When a visitor arrives at their front door the next day, he’s not what anyone expected. He looks kind of different. He tells Clark he’s come from another planet, but Clark isn’t so sure at first. He just wants this strange kid to go away and leave him alone.

But Alan the alien isn’t going away – he’s won a trip to visit Earth and he wants Alan to show him around. When he helps Clark defeat the bullies, Clark realises that having Alan to stay might not be so bad after all. Perhaps he and Alan can become friends.

Alan the Alien, by Penny Hall, is an orange level Tadpole book from Koala Books. Aimed at readers making the transition form picture books to novels, Tadpoles are highly illustrated books well pitched at young readers. The illustrations of Craig Smith complement Hall’s text, adding to the pacing and excitement of the story.

An earlier Tadpole written and illustrated by the duo, Fixing the Tiger was listed as the Children’s Book Council Notable Books. Other titles by Penny Hall include A Knight in Different Armour, Fantastic and Fabulous and Fraidy Cats.

Alan the Alien
is a fun read which will be enjoyed by 6 to 10 year old readers.

Alan the Alien, by Penny Hall, illustrated by Craig Smith
Koala Books, 2002.

Going Solo in Your Own Small Business, by John English

Do you dream of being your own boss? Of working at something you love, answering only to yourself? The dream of running a small business of their own is one thousands of Australian’s share, yet many lack the knowledge to make that dream a reality.

Going Solo in Your Own small Business, by John English, may be the book that brings you to make the leap from working for someone else to working for yourself in your own small business.

In this handy guide, English guides the reader through the process of deciding to go into a small business, to deciding what sort of business to set up, and through the many considerations and realities of the daily running of a solo business. There is advice on registering business names, gaining appropriate permits, utilising your own skills as well as those of others, paying taxes, managing money and much much more.

English presents his information in a manner so straightforward and practical it is akin to having a personal business advisor standing next to you. He continually challenges the readers to consider how his advice applies to their own situation.

John English has created and run several small businesses of his own. He is an associate Professor in the Faculty of Commerce at the University of Tasmania, a Certified Practising accountant and a business consultant. His previous books include How to Organise and Operate a Small Business in Australia and Australian Stockmarket Investor.

Going Solo in Your Own Business will help you turn your dream of independence into a reality.

Going Solo in Your Own Small Business
, by John English
Allen & Unwin, 2002

The Wonder Dog, by Pamela Freeman

When Luke’s parents ask him what he wants for his birthday, he asks for a puppy. He really wants a puppy to take for walks, to play with and to love. His friend Celia has a puppy and he wants one too. Luke’s parents aren’t so sure. They tell him that puppies are messy, expensive, dangerous and prone to digging up garden beds.

After this Luke knows he won’t get a puppy for his birthday so when he opens his present on his birthday, he is delighted to find a dog inside. Until he discovers it’s a Wonderdog – a robot.

Ruff looks and sounds like a real dog. Luke can take him for walks and throw sticks for him to fetch. He even barks like a real dog. But he’s a robot – he can’t be loyal to Luke and he can’t love.

Luke’s parents don’t understand the problem, but Celia does. She can see the difference between her dog, Digger and Luke’s Wonderdog. What will it take to convince Luke’s parents that a Wonderdog is just not the same as a real live one?

The Wonder Dog, by Pamela Freeman, is a funny tale of friendship, loyalty and love, part of the Orange level Tadpoles series from Koala Books. Well paced and with plenty of excellent illustrations by David Stanley, it will appeal to young readers just making the transition from picture books to chapter books.

Two of Ms Freeman’s earlier books, Victor’s Quest and Pole to Pole made the Children’s Book Council shortlist in their categories.

The Wonder Dog, by Pamela Freeman, illustrated by David Stanley
Koala Books, 2002.

Flytrap, by Meme McDonald and Boori Monty Pryor

Nancy is worried. Her Mum doesn’t seem interested, but Nancy has a real problem. She’s told her teacher she has a Venus fly trap at home, and her teacher wants her to bring it in to school to show the class – tomorrow. The problem is, Nancy doesn’t really have a venus fly trap. She just wanted to have one, wanted to be the special one in the class.

Now, Nancy is working out what she is going to tell Miss Susan. Maybe she can tell her it ate too many flies and got sick. Maybe she can tell her that the cat next door knocked it out of the window. Or maybe she could tell her the truth.

As Nancy worries about what she is going to do, she pesters her mother and her step-father One-Two-Three Gee. As she listens to their stories she begins to form an idea. Maybe she can tell the truth and feel special.

Flytrap, by Meme McDonald and Boori Monty Pryor is a playful and inspiring book about telling all sorts of stories – made-up stories, animal stories, family stories and Aboriginal stories. The different stories are interwoven to create a brand new story for little Nancy.

This is the fifth book McDonald and Pryor have written together. Previous books include Maybe Tomorrow and My Girragunndji, winner of the 1999 Children’s Book Council Award for Younger Readers.

Flytrap uses a wonderful combination of black and white photographs – taken by McDonald and posed by students at Clifton Hill Primary school – along with drawings by Harry Todd and paintings by Lillian Fourmile.

is an outstanding read for children aged 6 and up, and is suitable both for home reading and classroom sharing.

Flytrap, by Meme McDonald and Boori Monty Pryor
Allen & Unwin, 2002

The Australian Guide to Online Business, by Tony Stevenson

If your business does not have an online presence, then you are probably missing out on a range of opportunities to promote your business and increase your sales. If your business does not yet have a website you may be concerned about how to go about setting it up, maintaining it and why you even need a website.

The Australian Guide to Online Business is a comprehensive guide to setting up a business website, by internet maestro, Tony Stevenson.

Stevenson begins by discussing the reasons for having a website – from making direct sales, to simply outlining services and directing customers to your brick and mortar premises. The different kinds of website are clearly explained.

The book then goes on to explore how to go about setting up a website. Practicalities such as registering a domain name and finding a host are clearly explained, and readers are given advice about deciding who will design and maintain the website and how. The possibilities of using web design software as opposed to paying someone to do the designing are discussed.

In part three of the book, Stevenson explains how and why a website must be marketed. Getting and maintaining search engine rankings, using web rings and web directories, attracting customers, using mailing lists and a range of other marketing suggestions are explored, before the final section of the book discusses the maintenance issues associated with running a web site.

Stevenson does not paint the running of the website as an easy task, but shows how it can be done, and why it is such an essential part of any modern business. His book is packed with practical examples, screen shots, useful URLs and common sense information.

The Australian Guide to Online Business is an essential resource for any one considering setting up a web site, and for those businesses who believe that they don’t need one.

The Australian Guide to Online Business, by Tony Stevenson
Pearson Education, 2001

Cooper Riley, by Maureen Edwards

Cooper thinks it’s great when he and his mum move back to Kelasta, the town where his Dad grew up. Here he can play in the bush and make loads of new friends, especially with Danny. But now things are going wrong. Firstly, Danny has gone away with his parents, leaving Cooper with no one to talk to about his other problems – namely his lack of a computer, his Mum’s lack of a job, and the fact that every Friday he has to visit a witch.

The kids in his class have been assigned to visit various old people in the town, to offer help or companionship. Cooper has been matched with Winnie Smith, better known as Winnie the Witch. None of the other kids will go anywhere near her house. But Cooper has to, despite his attempts to get out of it. Winnie keeps her dead husband’s leg in her back room, and a ghost – or is it another victim – can be heard screaming in there. Then she’s out digging up hemlock in the dark, and filling sacks with who knows what. Cooper is sure he is going to be another of Winnie’s victims.

Cooper Riley, by Maureen Edwards, is a Quick Reads title from new Queensland publisher, Word Weavers Press. Quick Reads are aimed at reluctant readers, especially boys, and Cooper Riley meets its mark. Kids will love the hilarious story, the manageable length, and the excellent illustrations of the well-known Terry Denton. A great fun book for eight to twelve year olds.

Cooper Riley, by Maureen Edwards
Word Weavers Press, 2002.

Intergalactic Heroes, by James Moloney

Joe Spencer is crazy about Space Movies, and spends his days playing space games, especially when his friends Damien and Lizzie come to play. They have a space ship built out of carboard boxes and painted with silver spray paint, and unreal space costumes and together they fight to save the universe from imaginary space creatures. Of course, they never expect to meet any real aliens.

When they find a set of old walkie talkies they try to fix them up to use in their games. But when they jiggle the wires to try to get the walkie talkies working, something strange happens. Suddenly, they can hear voices talking to them. Voices belonging to aliens. Is this some clever trick being played on them or are there really aliens out there needing to be saved and wanting to destroy Earth? Together they must work to save their new alien friends and to save the Earth.

Intergalactic Heroes
, by James Moloney, with illustrations by Craig Smith, is a Quick Reads title from Word Weaver Press. Quick Reads are aimed at young reluctant readers, and especially at boys. Intergalatic Heroes meets this brief with face paced action, plenty of humour and enough illustrations to comfort the young reader making the transition from picture books to longer works. Intergalactic Heroes is a fun read for kids aged eight to ten.

Intergalactic Heroes, by James Moloney, illustrated by Craig Smith
A Quick Read from Word Weavers Press, 2002
ISBN 1-877073-01 6