Wishbone, by Janeen Brian

Henry wanted a dog…a little rough-and-tumble dog with feathery ears…Or a happy-go-lucky dog that splashed in puddles…Or a roly-poly dog that loved to have its tummy tickled.

All Henry wants is a dog, but Henry’s mum says that it isn’t possible. So Henry has to content himself with playing with the dog next door, Wagger. One day Wagger presents Henry with a bone, and soon Henry has an idea. He plants the bone just like his mum plants her bean seeds – and makes a wish.

When a little dog turns up on Henry’s back doorstep he learns that sometimes wishes do come true.

Wishbone is a cute doggy story filled with both the real dogs and those of Henry’s imagination, brought to life in the watercolour illustrations by Kilmeny Niland..

Youngsters will love the dogs and the whimsy of this story, and, of course, the happy ending.

Very cute.

Wishbone, by Janeen Brian and Kilmeny Niland
ABC Books, 2002

The Anniversary Legends Series, Books 1-7, by Michael Panckridge

“So what’s in store for us this year, Travis?” asked Bryce.
“Well, it’s about toughness. Being strong. Having guts. Determination. It’s going to be right out of your league, Flavel. And yours too,” he said, looking at Rat. I was waiting for his predictions for me and Bubba.

Last year’s Legends competition was close – with Mitchell Grady winning narrowly over school bully Travis Fisk. But this year things are going to be even tougher. It’s the seventieth year of the Legends competition, and with different sports and special golden trophies at stake, the competition is really going to be fierce. Mitchell wants desperately to win back to back championships, but Travis is determined that it is his turn to win. And with his Dad on his side, changing the rules at every step, it might just be achievable.

The Anniversary Legends series follows on from where The Legends left off, with Mitchell and his friends and foes back for another year at Sandhurst School. Whilst the formula for the books is similar, there is enough difference here to prevent the series becoming repetitive. A new character, Karla, is introduced and two of the books are narrated by Luci, giving a girls’ perspective. There are also some new sports – with Rugby and a Wilderness skills contest, as well as Netball each being the subject of a Legends contest, and snow sports and skateboarding both featuring alongside other sports.

Whilst an adult reader may be a little frustrated at the apparent lack of caring or awareness of injustices and even cheating, child readers seem to overlook and even accept it – making this reviewer wonder if it as unrealistic as she first thought.

This is an excellent series for sports-mad 9 to 12 year olds, and is likely to be an assets in engaging reluctant readers.

Race at the Rock, Offside Upfront, Goal Attack and Pack Down, all 2004
Out of Bounds, In the Zone and Go the Distance, all 2005

By Michael Panckridge, published by Black Dog Books

Taking Care of Business, by Peter Corris

The character of Cliff Hardy has dominated Australian crime fiction since 1980, in a career catalogued in 26 books. This new offering sees Hardy in a different literary form – the short story – but he is still the same likeable rogue detective.

Hardy’s clients range from a highly strung corporate whisteblower to a computer genius and his local florist. The cases are varied – invloving missing people, missing paintings, missing money. Yet two things bind the collection together – a common theme of money and a common quality of writing.

For fans of Peter Corris, the change to the shorter form is refreshing – showing another side of his talents, and for those who’ve not read previous books, this is a good introduction the character of Cliff Hardy. The form is not actually new to Corris and some of the stories have been previously published, but for many readers this will be a new side of Corris’ work.

Taking Care of Business is superb crime fiction.

Taking Care of Business, by Peter Corris
Allen & Unwin, 2004

Resplendent Perceptions, by Renee Buckingham

The beauty of Heron Island – one of the many islands dotted along Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef – have been captured in this new offering from Melbourne-based photgrapher Renee Buckingham.

Titled Resplendent Perceptions, this is a small format, full-colour offering from a talented photographer. The photos recreate different aspects of the beautiful island, with shots taken at different times of day and using a range of different photographic techniques, including the use of coloured gels which provide alternate perspectives on scenes which have been photographed multiple times.

This would make a great souvenir for those who have visited the island and also a nice gift for overseas or interstate friends who have not had the opportunity to visit the reef.

Purchasing details are avaialable on the photographer’s website Rab Photgraphics.

Resplendent Perceptions – Heron Island, by Renee Buckingham
Rab Photographics, 2004

Mr Moo, by Margaret Wild

Mr Moo has a nice house and good neighbours. Mostly, he’s content, but sometimes he wishes for a special friend to share things with. Then along comes Jimmy Johnson, who is off to see the world. When he takes Mr Moo’s unfinished row boat for a row and it sinks, however, he changes his plans. He will stay and help Mr Moo fix the boat.

Mr Moo takes Jimmy home to stay and soon the pair have the kind of special bond that Mr Moo has dreamed off.

Mr Moo is a bright picture book combining the writing talents of the renowned Margaret Wild with the illustrative skills of Jonathan Bentley. Published in a hardback edition in 2002, it has just been released in paperback format.

Kids will love the anthropomorphic Mr Moo (a cow) and Jimmy (who is a duck) as well as the minor characters and bright surrounds of Mr Moo’s home. They will also like the uncomplicated story – perfect for the littlies.

Mr Moo, by Margaret Wild and Jonathan Bentley
ABC 2004, first published 2002

Isle of the Dead, by Emily Rodda

The third installment of the third and final series of Deltora Quest adventures rolls on, with Lief, Barda and Jasmine out to find the third of the Four Sisters, evil creations of the Shadow Lord which have been poisoning the land of Deltora.

This time the friends must fight even harder to achieve their goal. It seems the Shadow Lord is following their movements and is determined to put a stop to their quest. It will take all of their strength and courage to reach their goal and destroy the third sister. When the three are separated, Lief and Barda must gamble for their freedom, whilst Jasmine calls on some of their old friends to help her to find them.

As with the earlier titles, this is a story sure to appeal to young fantasy readers. With plenty of action and mystery, there are also codes to crack and the familiarity of friends from previous titles in the series. Fans will be left waiting eagerly for the next installment to be published.

Isle of the Dead, by Emily Rodda
Scholastic, 2004