Sybilla, daughter of a knight, has spent the past three years living in the Duke of Normandy’s castle. Here she and her cousin learn the skills required of a noblewoman. Their settled life is disrupted when war threatens and Sybilla is sent home to her mother. She sets off on her journey, little prepared for the challenges she will face.
Susan Geason takes a detailed look at history, bringing political and domestic details to life through the eyes of an adolescent girl. This story is appealing and fast moving. It will appeal to upper-primary readers. One small quibble is that the girl on the front cover looked thoroughly modern despite the internal descriptions of the restrictive veils that were worn in public.
Flight of the Falcon by Susan Geason
Little Hare 2006 isbn:1921049367
Two new adventures with Jessie and her pony Magic.
After the Storm
A storm has come and gone in the night. Jessie and her pony Magic have a job to do. They ride around the fence line, making sure broken branches haven’t damaged the fence. In this second book of Pony Tales, Jessie finds a bird’s nest, blown from a tree during the storm. Nearby is a tiny bird, too young to be on its own. Jessie wants to carry it home in her riding helmet, but knows she mustn’t ride without her helmet. It’s a long tiring walk home, carrying the bird and leading Magic, but Mum knows just how to help.
There’s always plenty to do around the farm, especially now there’s a new baby on the way. When a water pipe bursts in the yard, it’s one more job for Jessie’s dad in an already busy day. Jessie decides to help out. She and her pony, Magic will move the sheep from one paddock, up the track a bit, and into another paddock. Jessie has often helped Dad and is sure she’ll be able to manage on her own. She successfully moves most of the sheep, but a few stragglers refuse to do what they should.
Aussie Pony Tales (No 2) by Sheryn Dee from ABC Books, gives us the next two adventures of Jessie and her pony Magic. These stories, written for 5-8 year olds, show what it’s like to live on Jessie’s farm. The distinctive bright cover is very similar to that of the first book, suggesting the next of these engaging story twins will be easy to spot.
Aussie Pony Tales (No 2), by Sheryn Dee
ABC Books 2003
Two pony stories for the price of one:
The Best Day
Jessie wakes early on her seventh birthday. She can hardly believe that the pony outside the window is really hers. It seems to take a lifetime until she can have her first ride on her very own pony. Jessie and her pony walk around the horse paddock, getting used to each other. The pony must also become familiar with all the sights and sounds of the farm, including Max, the dog.
Sleepy Lizard It’s a beautiful Spring day and Jessie is planning to spend all day riding Magic, her pony. After helping Dad with some of the farm chores, finally Jessie can saddle Magic and begin. They ride around the horse paddock for a while then through an open gate, ready for their first adventure. Jessie spots a lizard on the track and dismounts for a closer look. She strays into the bush and loses sight of Magic and the track. The adventure has a happy ending, but Jessie learns some new rules that will help to keep her safe.
These pony stories are full of details and instructions sure to delight the young horse-lover. The joy of owning a horse is clearly communicated, but the writer is careful to include the responsibilities too. The reader making the transition to first chapter books will find these stories a manageable length, with detailed black and white illustrations on most pages. Cover art and numbering suggest there will be more of these stories and they are sure to develop a following in their intended 5-8 year old readership.
Aussie Pony Tales (No 1), by Sheryn Dee
ABC Books, 2003
Hazel Green is back, ready for another adventure and another problem to solve. This time, Hazels’ favourite baker, Mr Volio, is told that he has to leave his shop. Someone had brought the premises and the new landlord is not renewing his lease. If Mr Volio goes, so too do Chocolate Dippers, Strawberry Combers and Caramel Crunchers. Worst of all though, there would be no Mr Volio.
Hazel Green and her friends must figure out why Mr Volio is being asked to leave and then what can be done to keep him in his bakery. To do that, Hazel must think smart.
This is the fourth story about Hazel Green and her friends by award winning author, Odo Hirsch. Hirsch uses a delightful mix of humour, narrative and feeling to create stories that kids love. Another winner.
Think Smart, Hazel Green, by Odo Hirsch
Allen & Unwin, 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