Robert Hillman has yearned for years to visit an island described by his father – a green island where he will be loved by sarong-wearing women, and be expected to do little more than write. So, at sixteen, he boards a ship bound for Ceylon, wearing a green suit and with a typewriter and a suitcase full of books.
With no money in his pocket and no visa in his passport, Hillman finds himself not in Ceylon, but in Athens. With no money and no job, he travels through Istanbul, Tehran and Kuwait. He finds work washing dishes, teaching English and even as a maitre de at a ritzy hotel. But most of the time there is no work, and Robert is forced to hitch rides, beg and barter his possessions to survive. Finally he ends up in a prison on the border of Pakistan, where he finally begins to see and accept who he is and to find the acceptance he has long craved.
Intertwined with the travel tale are tales of Hillman’s childhood and of his family, particularly his father’s tale of struggle and sorrow. These stories show the reader where the young Hillman has come from and glimpse where he is going.
The author, Robert Hillman, was born in 1948 and grew up in rural Victoria. After many years of teaching, he now works as a full-time writer, living in Warburton, Victoria.
The Boy in the Green Suit is an unforgettable tale.
The Boy in the Green Suit, by Robert Hillman
Mannie is lost. She knows where she is, but she doesn’t really know who she is. She’s searching for something she doesn’t yet know and it’s tearing her apart. So she’s leaving home. Riding her brother’s bike and wearing her mother’s red dress she’s heading to the city and, from there, she wants to leave the country. But first she has some things to do.
Life hasn’t been easy for Manny and, as she drifts through the city, she has to face some truths about herself and her family. She discovering things she hadn’t intended to.
How to Make a Bird is a quirky tale of longing and self-discovery, by talented author Martine Murray. Murray is developing a unique style, which transfers well between her works for different age groups. All of her books have an air of sensitivity and a dreamlike quality which make them absorbing. How to Make a Bird is another winner.
How to Make a Bird, by Martine Murray
Allen & Unwin, 2003
Jess’s father is lost somewhere out at sea. She can bear the waiting no longer and so sets out to find him. After a terrible night and day tossed by a storm, Jess finds herself in a graveyard of ships – all wrecked by the giant Pigtails the Pirate. She also finds her father, locked in a cage where he is forced to play music for the pirate.
Using her sharp thinking, Jess frees her father and they almost escape. When Pigtails sees them however, he flies into a rage and seizes Jess’s father. Jess must think fast if she is going to rescue her father and get them both home safely.
There is a retrospective feel to the story and the illustrations of this picture book: it has a feel of a classic fairy tale, with the giant pirate a blundering bully, and the scenes of the tiny Jess and her father trying to escape the eerie shipyard.
Pigtails the Pirate is likely to appeal to a slightly older picture book audience, owing to the length of its text.
Pigtails the Pirate, by David Elliot
Red Fox, 2003
The Chief soothsayer of Quentaris has prophesied a disaster: “I see a disc of changing colours, passing from hand to hand. I see murder, misery and mayhem.” Some scoff at the Soothsayer’s words, but elsewhere in the city, young diver Junko Pardner has just found a strange disc in the pouch of his diving suit.
Junko needs money, and is determined to sell the disc in the market. But the market is full of fighting Blues and Greens, and in the hustle and bustle, the disc is lost.
In the market a young fighter picks up a shiny disc and suddenly finds himself unbeatable. When he loses it, the young thief who pockets it finds herself a brilliant cheat. The mysterious disc continues its journey through the city, pursued by those who have heard about it and want it. Where will it end up?
The Revognase is a title in the Quentaris Chronicles, a series set in the one magical city but written by different authors. This interesting concept seems set to pay off, with the difference in authors producing different views of the same place.
The Revognase is likely appeal both to fantasy fans and to new readers of the genre. Great reading.
The Revognase, by Lucy Sussex
In Quentaris, the mystical city, young Tab Vidler lives the orphan’s life, sweeping the streets and hefting dung, as amember of the dung brigade. But Tab has dreams. In her spare moments she sneaks off to the playhouses of the city, secretly watching rehearsals and dreaming of the lives portrayed on the stage.
A chance meeting with a stranger, Azt Marossa, is the start of a strange chain of events. Soon, Tab finds herself helping him to escape from the Archon’s guards and avoid the sword fighters of the opposing Duelph and Nibhellin factions.
Marossa has her posing as the rightful heir to the throne of Quentaris, the missing child of the Perfect princess, who fled Quentaris long ago.
Will Azt change her life?
The Perfect Princess is one of the innovative Quentaris Chronicles. This series is unusual in that each title is written by a different author.
The Perfect Princess is an exciting, well written fantasy, which will satisfy those already fans of the genre, but will also cater for youngsters who may be new to fantsay. A great read.
The Perfect Princess, by Jenny Pausacker
Recycling is both a popular and an important topic for classroom study. The 32 page topic book, Recyclingis an excellent resource for lessons on this theme.
From explaining what recycling is, why and how it is done, to exploring how different materials are recycled, the book gives a comprehensive coverage of the subject. The addition of loads of itnernet references, tables and pictures, means that the book could be used as the basis for a unit of work, either as a teacher reference or as a class text.
An outstanding resource.
Recycling, by Margaret Metz
Watts Publishing, 2002
Milli is clever. She can take a thing that is nothing and turn it into something. She finds things that have been forgotten or discarded, gives them a bit of a wiggle, and transforms them into amazing things. But the other villagers don’t ever want anything amazing. What they do want are practical things. They have no time for anything different. So Milli spends her days making what the villagers need – sensible shoes and boots.
Every day is the same for Milli, until the day two strangers come to town. Jack and the Dancing Cat find Milli in her shop and she suggests they need new boots. They have no money to pay, but offer to give her dancing lessons in exchange.
So, Milli has dancing lessons and soon learns tap, jazz, ballet, the two step and more. And Milli is so inspired that she can’t make plain boots for Jack and the Cat. Instead she makes wonderful shoes, with clothes to match. That’s not all – she also makes things for herself. Soon her house and shop are so spectatcular people come from far and wide to see it.
Milli’s life will never be the same again.
Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat is a whimsical tale with an important message about setting your imagination free and celebrating the joy of being yourself. King’s illustrations, as whimsical as the text, will delight young readers.
Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat, by Stephen Michael King
Allen & Unwin, 2003
Cat and Fish come from different worlds – he from the land, she from the sea. But when they meet in the park one night they like each other’s looks.
Cat shows Fish his world and teaches her how to climb, how to shelter from rain, and how to keep warm. But Fish misses the sea, so Cat takes her back and meets her friends. Eventually, they reach a decision. They will live where the land meets the sea – at least until their next adventure.
The story of Cat and Fish is whimsical and charming, but the true delight in this book is the stunning illustrations of Neil Curtis. Using pen and ink, Curtis creates engraving style pictures in stunning black and white.Parents and children alike will love the uniqueness of Curtis’s style.
Cat and Fish, by Neil Curtis & Joan Grant
If you have ever dreamt of writing for film or television, then this book will set you on the right track. Author Dr Lisa Dethridge, herself an experienced screenwriter, shares her knowledge in this comprehensive and accessible text.
Dethridge shares insights into the industry, basics such as setting out a screenplay, story structures, dialogue, characterisation and much more.
With practical examples and loads of advice, this is the book to turn to if you are interested in this career path.
Writing Your Screenplay, by Lisa Dethridge
Allen & Unwin, 2003