Sam isn’t keen on going on school camp. For eight days he and a group of boys he doesn’t particularly like are going to trek through the bush, over mountains and even into caves, on a survival camp that is supposed to be a physical and personal challenge.Sam’s friends are in a different group and he has nothing in common with the ones he’s with.
The camp has all the challenges Sam expects – no toilets or showers, gruelling walks, not enough decent food – and plenty that he doesn’t. As well as dealing with these, he must also deal with the memories evoked by the camp – memories of happier times, camping in the bush with his grandfather before he died. The camp will reveal many things he didn’t know before, about himself and about the people around him.
The Cave is much more than a story about a school camp. It is an exploration of modern male youth culture. Violence, bullying, drugs and sex mingle with more positive elements such as mateship and loyalty. As Sam learns, so does the reader.
Susanne Gervay has a style which allows readers inside the minds and emotions of her teen characters to reach understanding of the complexities of their lives. Teen readers will learn and grow, but there is much here for older readers as well.
The Cave, by Susanne Gervay
Angus and Robertson (An imprint of Harper Collins), 2002.
How would it be if farts came out coloured blue, so that everyone could see – in the middle of assembly? And how would it be if a boy swallowed fish eyes and blue vein cheese and pigs’ hearts and lambs brains and then vomited all over the floor at McDonald’s? What about a boy with a collection of boogie, all labelled and nicely displayed? Sound a bit gross? Well, that’s the idea.
So Gross, by J. A. Mawter, is a collection of stories sure to make the most with it adult say “ewwww” very loudly, but equally sure to make young readers laugh out loud. From booger collections to blue farts and techni-coloured vomit, and lots more, kids aged 8 to 12 will find plenty to laugh about and share with their friends.
Each story in So Gross is several chapters long, so that kids can satisfy themselves with a well-developed read in each sitting. This format makes the bok ideal for reluctant readers (especially boys), who will love both the subject matter and the sense of achievement with actually finishing each story.
A fun book.
So Gross, by J.A. Mawter
Angus & Robertson (an imprint of Harper Collins), 2001
It’s pretty hard to belive that Mum hasn’t always been a Mum. She was little once too.
The world was much different when Mum was little. CD players and computer games weren’t even invented, there were no plastic takeaway containers and lollies were much bigger.
When Mum Was Little is a fun picture book from talented author/illustrator Mini Goss. Kids will love seeing how different the world was in the sixties and seventies, while Mum and Dad will love the trip down memory lane. Everyone will love the psychedelic illustrations and laugh at the clothing and hairstyles of Mum and her family ‘back then’.
As well as being great for at home reading, When Mum Was Little would make a great addition to classroom libraries and wonderful learning tool for studies of the past (NOT ancient history!).
When Mum Was Little, by Mini Goss
Black Dog Books, 2001
Ned Kelly was only 25 years old when he died. Yet within his short life he came to prominence as a thief, a bank robber and murderer. In the one hundred and twenty two years since his death, he has been portrayed in books, films and in art. Why has he remained such a prominent figure in Australia’s history?
Black Snake: The Daring of Ned Kelly offers insight into the life of the outlaw and the chain of events which led to his hanging. In clear, easy to understand language, author Carole Wilkinson recounts Kelly’s life from birth to his final moments. She details his criminal activities and his life on the run, his family connections and his friendships, giving the reader a detailed idea of the man and his motives.
Each chapter opens with a fictionalised recount from one of the characters present at the various events in Ned’s life, and the text is supported by archival photographs, press clippings and quotes from correspondence and other documents.
This is not a glorification of a criminal career – it is instead a historical exploration of the man who was Ned Kelly, and an exploration of why he chose to lead the life he did. Wilkinson challenges the reader to make their own decision whther Kelly was a villain or a hero, a rebel or simply misunderstood.
Author Carole Wilkinson was born in England and came to Australia as a teenager. Writing about history is her passion. Her other titles include the Ramose series, set in Ancient Egypt.
Black Snake: The Daring of Ned Kelly, by Carole Wilkinson
Black Dog Books, 2002
Ever read a book narrated by an elephant? What about a DEAD elephant? Well, here is your chance, because Circus Bezerkus, the latest funny offering from Jonathan Harlen, is in fact narrated by the ghost of a circus elephant.
Before his death, Rajah (the elephant) was very close to one Marvin Gumbo, son of the owner of Circus Bezerkus, and the only boy in the world who can kiss his own bottom.
When Rajah dies, he finds himself a ghost, who must work to save Marvin and the whole circus from an untimely demise at the hands of another ghost, that of Dancing Dan, the incredible lion-tamer, who lost his head when he rollerskated over the tail of one of his own lions.
Full of silliness and circus stereotypes, this is a book which will have kids aged 8 to 12 laughing aloud. Adults will enjoy it too.
Jonathan Harlen was born in New Zealand and now lives in New South Wales with his wife and three children. His many books include Brain Scam and The Cockcroach War. Circus Bezerkus is set to be a similar success.
Circus Bezerkus, by Jonathan Harlen
Allen and Unwin, 2002
Ramose, once Prince of Egypt and heir to the throne, has been living for over a year as a tradesman, traveller and fugitive. The royal court believes he is dead, after his tutor and nanny uncovered a murder plot and faked his death in order to keep him safe.
Now he and his friends, Karoya, a slave girl and Hapu, an apprentice painter, are stranded in the desert, fighting for their lives and desperately trying to return to thebes and the royal palace. The dangers are many: as well as their human enemies, they must overcome dehydration, being lost in the desert and even scorpions.
When Ramose learns his father is dying, his determination strengthens. He must see his father before he dies, and be in the palace in time to claim his place as the new Pharoah. Can he succeed?
Ramose: Sting of the Scorpion is the third title in this intriguing series by history-loving author Carole Wilkinson. Based on a real prince, this is the fictitious story of what may have happened to the real Ramose. Young history lovers, especially those with an interest in Ancient Egypt will enjoy journeying with Ramose and his friends throughout this intriguing land.
Ramose: Sting of the Scorpion, by Carole Wilkinson
Black Dog Books, 2001
“You can’t see it.” Dad cleared his throat. He was standing in front of Ali’s class, about to give a little talk. “It isn’t like measles or mumps. It’s not like when you break your leg. And it’s definitely not catching, like when you get a cold.”
Ali is used to her brother Max. She knows how to cope with his tantrums, how to chase him, how to calm him down. What she doesn’t like is when he gets into her stuff, and when he stops her family from doing ‘normal’ family stuff. Now Max is starting at her school, and Ali is not looking forward to it.
Dolphins Dance is the story of one family’s experiences with autism. As Max struggles to communicate and to grow, so too do Ali, her parents and her other brother, Jake. Can Ali help Max and also find happiness herself?
Author Jutta Goetze provdes an intimate insight into the struggle that confronts Ali, and leads the reader to a better understanding of autism. This would be an excellent class read, especially in schools where students are affected by this condition, but is also a wonderful home read, with its gentle lessons of tolerance and empathy.
Dolphins Dance, by Jutta Goetze
Black Dog Books, 2000.
Prince Ramose, once the spoilt son of the Pharoah, is in exile. His father and all the royal court think he is dead. Ramose is determined to rejoin his father and claim his rightful position. But when he is captured by Tomb-Robbers and made to conspire in stripping ancient tombs of their riches, the situation seems hopeless.
Ramose and the Tomb Raiders is the second book in the Ramose series by Carole Wilkinson. Ramose continues his journey with his unlikely friends, the apprentice painter, Hapu and the slave girl, Karoya. Along the way they make more surprising firends and meet up with old enemies.
Wilkinson combines her knowledge of Egyptian history with her creative flair to produce a book which will delight young readers aged 10 to 13, especially those with an interest in the time of the Pharoahs and the Pyramids.
The series is well suited both to private reading and to classroom or library collections.
Ramose and the Tomb Robbers, by Carole Wilkinson
Black Dog Books, 2001
Prince Ramose is the spoilt son of the Pharoah, and his heir. He lives a life of luxury with servants waiting to please and cosset him. Until the day that somebody tries to kill him. The actions of his loyal nanny and tutor save him, but now Ramose must hide, living the life of a tradesman, until such time as he can claim his righttful place.
How does a Prince, used to a life of luxury, adapt to the hard work and simple life of a tradesman? And who can he trust?
As Ramose learns the realities of life in Egypt, he also makes friends – and enemies. Returning to his former life will not be simple – if it is even possible.
Ramose: Prince in Exile is the first in an exciting series set in ancient Engypt, following the adventures of Ramose as he tries to regain his rightful position. Author Carole Wilkinson captures the history of the time with insight into the cultural system, the landscape and, of course, the Pyramids, the most intriguing remnant of the ancient world.
This book will delight young readers, especially those with an interest in Ancient Egypt and is as suitable for home reading as it is for classrooms or school libraries.
Carole Wilkinson is an English-born Australian writer with a deep interest in history, which is reflected in her writing.
Ramose: Prince in Exile is suitable for readers aged 9 to 13.
Ramose: Prince in Exile, by Carole Wilkinson
Black Dog Books, 2001.
Did you know that the Tasmanian Tiger was wiped out within fifty years of white settlement in Australia? That there about 800 Red Pandas in captivity but only about 500 left in the wild? That over the last 400 years, 611 species have been documented as becoming extinct? Author Rick Wilkisnon does, so he set out to explore what was being done to preserve some of the many species now threatened with extinction.
In Endangered: Working to Save Animals at Risk, Wilkinson outlines the work of zoos and wildlife organistations, explaining their role in conserving and building up stocks of rare animals. By providing case studies of both well-and lesser-known endangered species and detailing what is being done to help them, Wilkinson aims to increase awareness of these animals’ plight and the reasons they are in danger of becoming extinct.
Supported with stunning photographs of leopards, frogs, pygmy possums, tree kangaroos, gibbons and more and with clear, detailed text,this is an excellent resource for classroom and library use but is also interesting enough to be suitable for private reading by children aged 8 to 12.
Endangered: Working to Save Animals at Risk, by Rick Wilkinson
Allen & Unwin, 2002