I’ve come a long way to get you. You’re special. More than you realise. A lot of people have been suffering for a long time so you might have a chance to live. Some have even died for it.
Saria has grown up in the secluded valley, Ma Lee her only companion and the old Dreamer Gaardi the only visitor. But that changes when Dariand arrives to take her away. Only now does Saria start to understand how special she is – the last of her kind and the final child of the Darklands. In a dying world, she is the last hope for her people. But how can she fulfil this hope when nobody understands just what it is she must do?
Nightpeople is an outstanding beginning to a new fantasy trilogy from award-winning West Australian author Anthony Eaton. Set in a sparse desert, quarantined because it has been contaminated many years ago by the mysterious Nightpeople, the story explores a future, which although it is fantasy, is frighteningly believable. The landscape, too, will be eerily familiar to many Australian readers.
This is fantasy at its best – a well-woven, absorbing tale with characters that are likeable yet flawed enough to make the story real.
Nightpeople, by Anthony Eaton
One morning in the farmyard, Piglet lost her mama.
“Oinkkkkkk!” cried Piglet.
When Piglet loses her mama, the other animals want to help. Duck offers to give her a cuddle, Donkey offers to play chasey and Cat suggests they snooze in the sun. But Piglet wants her mama and won’t be consoled until she finds her. When she does, she will do all those things with Mama.
Piglet and Mama is a delightful story for preschool children about the bond between mother and baby. The images of an increasingly despondent Piglet searching for her Mama culminate in a bleak – but not too dark for young readers – moment, when Piglet covers her eyes and gives one last oinkkkkk, a sound which is echoed by Mama’s response as the pair are reunited and proceed to joyfully do all the things the other farmyard mothers have suggested – a gentle cuddle, a a delighted game of chasey and so on, before settling down for a content snooze in the sun.
Stephen Michael Kings gorgeous illustrations – watercolours outlined in black ink – are gentle yet joyful, with the golden glow of Piglet and Mama’s cuddle especially endearing.
Piglet and Mama, by Margaret Wild and Stephen Michael King
Working Title Press, 2004, reprinted 2005
This is getting a little weird, thought Squeak. Taking his mother’s hand carefully off the handle, he touched it once with his own finger. The door swung open.
A little man in a green coat burst out of the door. He was one of the strangest-looking people Squeak had ever seen. There were bits of plants, leaves and branches in his hair, on his coat and spilling out of his pockets.
Squeak Evans would be a normal kid – if only he could talk. He has never been able to use his voice and his parents have taken him to see every kind of doctor they can think of. Squeak has almost given up, until they take him to see Doctor Von Schprecken, the world’s only Sniffular-bio-herbologist. The Doctor’s treatment is unorthodox – to say the least – but it might just work. It could even help Squeak audition for the Junior Rock Eisteddfod .
Squeak – The Boy With No Voice is the second title on the Travel Kids series from author/storyteller/comedian Tim Levy. As well as a fun story, the book also has plenty of extras, including a guide to overcome travel sickness, games to play while travelling, and even a page to spill food scraps on.
This fun series is sure to appeal to kids and with the summer holidays fast approaching would make a good Christmas present ready for those long drives and plane trips.
Squeak – The Boy With No Voice, by Tim Levy
Random House, 2005