Griffin Silk, was born on an uncommon day, 29th February. His father thinks he’s likely to be an ‘uncommon boy’, but Griffin is not sure that would be a good thing. Maybe if he was common and ordinary, he wouldn’t have to worry about his secret. Griffin lives in a loving home with his father, many colourful sisters and his grandmother, Nell. Until now, all the children have had home schooling, but because his mother has gone away, as has his baby sister, Griffin must attend the local school. Griffin finds school challenging until he meets Princess Layla, who helps him discover the courage to share his secret.
Caroline Magerl’s beautiful cover art and internal sketches capture perfectly the tone of this story. The language is gentle, Griffin’s voice is strong. When tragedy strikes a family, each member is affected differently. Each looks for an answer to that which is so often unanswerable. The Naming of Tishkin Silk by Glenda Millard (ABC Books 2003) provides many opportunities for discussion and shared experiences. But most of all, it is a compelling read. 9-12 year old readers will enjoy this most, though there is much in this book to interest readers outside this age.
The Naming of Tiskin Silk, by Glenda Millard
ABC Books 2003
When Billy Gubbins is orphaned, he has the fortune to become an apprentice to the world famous Captain Cat. Billy becomes the Umbrella Kid, with a different secret-weapon umbrella for every occasion.
In this adventure, Super Villain Dr Daffodil is trheatening the city of Maxburd with his mutant plant-forms: flesh-eating fungi, kamikaze fruit and deadly carrot spears.
Captain Cat and the Umbrella Kid must find out the location of Dr Daffodil’s secret base and put a stop to his dastardly doings before the city is pulped by Dr Daffodil’s Bellicose Banana Beast.
Captain Cat and the Umbrella Kid – Fruit of Fury, by Paul Shaw, illustrated by Peter Sheehan
Kids’ television series, The Saddle Club, has attracted a great following, especially among girls in the 8-12 age group. Originally based on the books by Bonnie Bryant, the TV series has now produced its own spin-offs.
The Saddle Club Friendship Book features the stars of the television show, who share their opinions of freindship and their experiences of working together. The book also includes questionnaires, room for messages from friends, a section to include friends’ contact details, pages for thoughts, dreams, memories, secrets and more.
This is a great offering for primary aged girls and would make an excellent birthday or Christmas gift from friend to friend.
The Saddle Club Friendship Book
ABC Books, 2003
What does it take to be an Olympic gold medallist?
Brett Aitken’s first memory of riding is at the age of four, and it’s lucky he’s here to tell us about it. Scott McGrory remembers getting his first bike when he was six years old and winning his first race at age nine.
Brett and Scott share stories of the journey that lead to their Olympic gold medal. Both describe their win in the madison event at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games as the highlight of their careers.
This A4, magazine-style book is more than a biography of two outstanding sportsmen. It includes tips on choosing the right size and style bicycle, and how to maintain it. There are explanations of different clubs, races and events.
Cycle with Brett Aitken and Scott McGrory by Scott Aitken and Scott McGrory (Scholastic 2003) is the second title in Scholastic’s Living Legends series. It is pitched at younger readers wanting to know more about their sporting heroes and learn something of their sport. It would be ideal for the reader making the transition from graded readers to novels.
Cycle with Brett Aitken and Scott McGrory, by Scott Aitken and Scott McGrory
It is 1930 in Australia and Harold Lasseter has a story to tell. He claims to know of a fabulous gold reef in remote Central Australia. He tells his story convincingly and ignites the passion known as ‘gold fever’ in his listeners.
So begins the story of Lasseter’s reef. Lasseter claimed to have discovered the reef nearly 40 years earlier, and then mapped it with the help of a surveyor. An expedition (funded by establishing a company and selling shares) set off in July 1930, with Lasseter as its guide. They failed to find the reef. Does the reef exist, or is it just a legend?
Lasseter, the man, the legend, the gold by Kathryn England (Omnibus Books, 2003) is in A4 magazine format. It is pitched at upper primary aged readers and comes from the same series as the award-winning ‘Iron in the Blood’ by Alan Tucker. Lasseter, the man, the legend, the gold is rich in information, including abundant artifacts and photographs associated with the journey. Journal entries and letters are included. Analysis of Lasseter’s information suggests that legend outweighs fact, yet there are also those who firmly believe that one day someone will rediscover ‘Lasseter’s reef’. Such is the stuff of legends.
Lasseter the man, the legend, the gold by Kathryn England
Omnibus Books 2003
In Zoo ALbum, young readers can:
– Meet Bruce, the Andean Condor who was afraid to fly.
– Find out why South American people make kebabs out of Poison Arrow frogs.
– Find out what it means when a Sumatran Tiger “prustinates”
– And get to know the 4-metre Anaconda with a ticklish tummy.
This brilliantly designed book provides a colourful and personal introduction to an intriguing range of animals. A collection of stories about real-life zoo animals, with stunning illustrations by Karen Lloyd-Diviny, Zoo Album is, as the title suggests, akin to a photo album.
All the animals featured in the book live, or have lived, at Taronga Zoo in Sydney or Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo. The life-like illustrations capture intimate moments in the day to day lives of animals including Haoko the Gorilla, Kusomano, the Black Rhino, Spike the Echidna and more.
This delightful title is a must-have for every young animal lover and, of course, an invaluable addition to school libraries and classrooms.
Zoo Album, by Richard Morecroft & Alison Mackay, illustrated by Karen Lloyd-Diviny
ABC Books, 2003
There is only one thing Ashleigh Miller wants in her life: a horse of her own. And, one day, she will have one. First she needs a whole lot of money and a place to keep one. So, when Ashleigh’s parents tell her she can get a horse, she thinks all her dreams have come true – until she realises that she has to move to the country.
Saying goodbye to her best friend, Jenna, is hard. Finding a horse is too. And making new friends could be the hardest part of all. Ashleigh has to overcome the constant lack of funds, the anger of some of her fellow students at the riding school, and the trouble she seems to attract like a magnet, before she can really enjoy having a horse of her own.
Totally Horse Mad is a great new title from Kathy Helidoniotis and Banana Books. Kids who like horses and horse stories will love this one.
Totally Horse Mad, by Kathy Helidoniotis
Banana Books, 2003
The weather is starting to warm up and the sun is shining which can mean only one thing: barbecue season is here! What better way to entertain family and friends?
Australia’s favourite TV chef, Iain Hewitson, is determined to make this summer’s barbecues the best ever, with over 100 full-flavoured treats in his newest cook book offering, Huey’s Best Ever Barbecue Recipes.
Forget about bangers and chops: Huey wants you to be a little more daring. And you can be, with recipes for prawns, fish, vegetables and even kangaroo. The book is also liberally laced with hints and advice about marinades, sauces and salads to complement the barbecue.
This volume will prove a winner with those who love to entertain, but you don’t have to be a party-animal to get value from it – the recipes are just as suited to a casual family meal.
Huey’s Best Ever Barbecue Recipes, by Iain Hewitson
Allen & Unwin, 2003
For anyone with an interest in picture books – be it as reader, writer, reviewer or artist – Making Picture Booksmakes for highly enlightening and entertaining reading.
Libby Gleeson, herself the author of such outstanding titles as Shutting the Chooks In, The Great Bear and Big Dog, explores the process of making a picture book from initial idea to final production. Using examples from her own work and that of such talents as Armin Greder, Margaret Wild, Allan Baillie and Tohby Riddle she offers advice and insight invaluable for those who aspire to write or illustrate picture books, as well as to those already involved in their production. For those who simply love the picture book form, there is also lots to absorb.
Packed full of anecdotes, illustrations and examples, Making Picture Books is simply brilliant.
Making Picture Books, by Libby Gleeson
When Zac and Zelma Zipzap are given a pet flootle, they think he’s pretty cute. What they don’t realise is quite how clever Scuttle is.
When Gatch the Glangwoo tries to rip Zac’s security badge off, Scuttle has the solution. And, when it seems Gatch could be up to something more sinister, Scuttle has the answers too. Will the kids realise that Scuttle is more than just a cute pet?
Scuttle and the Zipzaps is a new Banana Split title from Banana Books. With two stories – Beware the Glangwoo and Scuttle Saves Fridgelon 5 – featuring Scuttle and his new ‘owners’, this is a great title for youngsters making the transition to big kids’ books.
The Banana Splits series is proving popular with young readers, librarians, teachers and parents because of its unique format and fun subject matter. Scuttle and the Zipzaps is no exception.
Scuttle and the Zipzaps, by Ged Maybury, illustrated by Louise Prout
Banana Books, 2003