Lester and Clyde's Catastrophic Adventure, by James Reece

Two frog friends, Lester and Clyde, live together in a beautiful pond. Although they are very different – with Lester being mischievous, and Clyde wise – what ties them together is their friendship. They look out for each other.

When summer comes, the pair are faced with new perils – as their pond dries up in the summer heat, they have to avoid predators – birds and lizards, looking for a feed and, most frightening, a feral cat which stalks them.

The pair decide to take turns keeping watch, but one morning Lester wakes to find Clyde gone and footprints nearby. He worries that he’ll never see his old friend again.

This is the third picture book sharing the adventures of the loveable Lester and Clyde and the talents of their creator, James Reece. Reece’s rhyming verse is cute and the story has a delightful message, but it is the illustrations which make these books particularly special. The froggy features of the stars and the detials of their environment are delightful.

A tresure.

Lester and Clyde’s Catastrophic Adventure, by James Reece
Scholastic, 2003

The Castlemaine Murders, by Kerry Greenwood

For those who expect fictional sleuths to be either slightly alcoholic, but charming, old men, or tweed wearing women, Phyrne Fisher comes as somewhat of a surprise. Miss Fisher is a sassy, liberated woman in post world war one Australia, who seems to have a penchant for being caught up in murder cases which she never fails to solve.

In her latest adventure, The Castelmaine Murders, Phryne meets with a mummified bullet-studded corpse in the ghost train at Luna Park. Unable to leave the mystery alone, Phryne heads off to Castelmaine, determined to solve the case.

As always, solving a mystery is a dangerous past time, and Phryne soon finds herself in a spot of bother. Perhaps her Chinese lover Lin Chung will need to act as her knight in shining armour.

The Castlemaine Murders, by Kerry Greenwood
Allen & Unwin, 2003