Let’s get this straight – ghosts are everywhere. And they’re dangerous. This is why my family has hunted them for thousands of years.
Anton is a reluctant ghost hunter. He and his father are a two-man team, carrying out their family legacy. But his dad doesn’t have the sight, which means it’s Anton who has to do theg host hunting. He’d rather be at university, but his father has talked him in to giving it a try during his gap year. And it doesn’t seem to be going too badly until Anton meets a Rogue – a freakish, almost-solid kind of ghost that can do a lot of harm. A lot. Coupled with the appearance in his life of Rani, a fellow ghost hunter, recently arrived from England, and Anton suddenly as a lot on his hands.
Gap Year in Ghost Town is a high-action spec-fic novel set in contemporary Melbourne. This setting is a departure for author Michael Pryor, whose previous work has been set in the past or in steam-punk versions of it, or fictional places. The novelty of a ghost story set in the contemporary world is appealing, and Melbourne, for those who know it, is an apt choice, with the ghosts inhabiting both well known landmarks and lesser known buildings.
Anton is a likable, believable narrator, who is self-deprecating but also self-aware, knowing his strengths and sharing his fears. The ghosts and the plot that surrounds them are intirguing, and readers will left hoping that there are further adventures to come.
Gap Year in Ghost Town, by Michael Pryor
Allen & Unwin, 2017
He was so slow that Amy had plenty of time to talk about the things that had happened that day.
Amy’s family is the speediest family in the world. They do everything fast: shopping, eating, walking. There is never any time to talk or play or laugh. Until Amy brings home a sloth she finds in the park. Because the sloth does everything slowly, the family are forced to go slower too. And things begin to change.
The Sloth Who Came to Stay is a humorous tale with an important reminder for readers of all age about the value of taking time to enjoy conversations, experiences and more. With text by the marvelous icon of Australian chidlren’s literature, Margaret Wild, and digital illustrations from debut illustrator Vivienne To, this is a delight.
The Sloth Who Came to Stay, by Margaret Wild & Vivienne To
Allen & Unwin, 2017
Australia is full of the most amazing animals. Many of them are found nowhere else in the world. From gliding and dancing animals to slithering and hopping ones – all are unique!
Australian animals are as amazing as they are unique. From marsupials including kangaroos and wombats, to big birds such as the emu, to poisonous critters like the irukandji jellyfish, each animal has something special which will amaze young readers.
A is for Australian Animals, combines facts about these animals with deatiled, delightful illustrations. There is one or more animal for every letter of the alphabet, with each given a page or spread containing several facts about the animal against illustrations bringing both the animal and its environemnt to life.
Combining Lessac’s gouache illustration style with a range of facts, A is for Australian Animals is both visually and mentally engaging.
Suitable for schools and home enjoyment.
A is for Australian Animals: A Factastic Tour, by Frane Lessac
Walker Books, 2017
as he settled each paw
was lazy old sleepyhead,
It’s a peaceful, sunnny morning, and Scarface Claw has settled down for a rest. But with a sudden shudder and sway his resting place – Tom’s van – is hurrying away, down the driveway and along the highway, with Scarface clinging on to the roof. om is so intent on getting where he needs to be that he doesn’t notice the efforts of boys on a school bus, or Peter the plumber, or any of the townspeople. It is up to Constable Chrissie, with her sirens and light to put a stop to the van, and get the cat home.
Scarface Claw Hold Tight! is a wonderful new addition tot he Hairy Maclary and Friends series. As with other stories, the adventure stands alone, though fans will be delighted to see favourite characters, including the tough cat Scarface Claw, Tom and even Miss Plum all feature.
Text is in rhyming verse which scans welll and withstands the repeated readings which chidlren will demand, and the illustrations featuring the detailed water colour and ink outlines which Dodd does so well.
Scarface Claw Hold Tight! by Lynley Dodd
Pufin Imprint, Penguin Books, 2017
But then one day disaster struck –
the one thing Rodney feared.
While working at his drawing desk
his pen just …
Rodney loves nothing more than drawing. He does it night and day. But when his pen – his favourite, perfect pen named Penny – suddenly disappears, Rodney is frantic. he searches in vain, getting more and more upset until he totally loses it – at which time his pen magically reappears. What Rodney doesn’t know, but eagle-eyed viewers will, is that the pen is never lost – it is tucked safely behind his ear, viewable in some illustrations, depending on the angle – until he ‘loses it’ and his vigorous actions dislodge the pen.
Rodney Loses It is a humorous picture book, written in rhyming text which scans well and is a delight to read aloud. The digital illustrations show Rodney as a simple, but very expressive rabbit, with his eyes, ears and whiskers all used to show his emotions with delightful effect.
Sure to be loved by kids and adults alike.
Rodney Loses It, by Michael Gerard Bauer & Chrissie Krebs
He twisted his head from side to side enjoying the wintry scene. He looked up to admire the falling snow, but then he made a ghastly gasp.
I couldn’t see anything even when I squinted. Nothing.
i turned. Our snowman had turned a very bright pink!
Stuck inside on a snowy day in the Blue Mountains, Krystal is bored. When her father end her out on a fool’s errand, Krystal decides to build a snowman. her friend Jasper helps but, when the snowman comes to life, he has a very odd problem: he has turned pink. Krystal and Jasper must figure out what is causing the problem, and how to fix it.
The Pink Snowman is a short chapter book posing a humorous, unexpected problem. Complemented with black and white line drawings with pink highlights, this is an entertaining read.
The Pink Snowman, by Alan Horsfield
Big Sky Publishing, 2017
I wish I could laugh too but I can’t because I’m supposed to be the serious one. the one who toes the line and never takes risks; who wears her school dress below the knees and keeps a Bible in the drawer next other bed. Ma raised me that way.
May Callaghan has been raised to be a good girl. Her mother is a devout Catholic, and she thinks May will do the right thing; say her prayers, live devoutly, then marry well. But seventeen year old May has a secret boyfriend. Sam is a star footballer, and the way he makes May feel leaves her questioning what her mother has taught her. Fed up life in her small town, may lies to her parents and sneaks to Melbourne to visit Sam. there her eyes are opened to a whole other world: including a liberal thinking shared household heavily immersed in the anti-war movement.
With her parents struggling through problems of their own, and Sam called up for service in Vietnam, May finds herself very alone facing the biggest challenge of her life.
Set in the midst of the Vietnam War, Hello, Goodbye is a moving coming of age story. Whilst May’s relationship with Sam, and her journey through an unplanned pregnancy, are central to the story, subplots involving issues of the impact of war, conscription, family relationships, women’s rights and more are skilfully entwined.
A powerful, emotional read.
Hello, Goodbye, by Emily Brewin
Allen & Unwin, 2017
Oh! You again. Well, you’ll notice I’m back to being little, old, non-froggy, normal me. So, no point reading on because this book is very, very boring.
The little monster character from Do Not Open this Book is back, and back to his normal self, but he really doesn’t wanting readers opening the book, or turning pages. He tries everything to stop the pages being turned, finally revealing why: the wizard who turned him into a frog last book has fixed him – but if the end of the book is reached, he will be naked.
This laugh out loud, interactive book will delight young readers, and will be requested over and over again. With text by Andy Lee (best known as one half of Hamish and Handy) and digital illustrations from Heath McKenzie, Do Not Open This Book Again is good fun.
Do Not Open This Book Again, by Andy Lee & Heath McKenzie
Lake Press, 2017
In a high tree fork, a grey ball unfurls. Tall as a toddler, a dozy young koala sniffs at leaves. … Climb, little Koala,
it’s dinner time.
Following the adventures of one young koala as it becomes time for him to separate from his mother and find his own way in the world, Koala is a wonderful blend of narrative and fact. Koala must overcome hunger, predators, natural disasters, and even other koalas before, finally, he finds a new home where he can live safely.
Part of the wonderful nature Storybooks series, Koala uses narrative non-fiction to trace the life of a fictional koala, grounded in fact, and supported on each spread by additional facts. The text is lyrical, making it accessible and a joy to read, and the illustrations, by one of Australia’s best-loved illustrators, Julie Vivas, are superb.
A must have for Australian homes and classrooms, Koala is also sure to be enjoyed by overseas audiences.
Koala, by Claire Saxby & Julie Vivas
Walker Books, 2017
I just ate my friend.
He was a good friend, but now he’s gone.
What if I never find another friend again?
A glum yellow character is lonely: because he just ate his only friend. Now he is regretting his actions, and is searching for a new friend. But the other creatures he finds are too big or too small, or even too frightening. When he does finally find a suitable friend, the tables are turned, in an unexpected ending which makes even adults laugh out loud.
With a potential message about belonging and the importance of impulse control, this hilarious offering is mostly just good fun. the whimsical digital illustrations feature dark, night-time backgrounds and a cast of deceptively simply rendered characters (which might be described as monsters or beasts) in a range of shapes and sizes.
Suitable for children AND adults, I Just Ate My Friend is a wodnerful debut for Heid McKinnon.
I Just Ate My Friend , by Heidi McKinnon
Allen & Unwin, 2017