If you are under twelve (or have kids under that age) and haven’t heard of Elizabeth Honey, then you’ve been missing out. Honey is one of Australia’s funniest and best author/illustrators. Her work includes picture books, novels and poetry for a range of ages, all with her whimsical illustrations and unique humour.
In Honey Bunch, three of Honey’s bestselling children’s novels are brought together in one volume. This should be enough Honey to keep any fan satisfied and to get any reader new to Honey’s books hooked.
In 45 & 47 Stella street and Everything That Happened, strangers move in to Henni’s neighbourhood. But these aren’t any old strangers – they’re strange strangers. They keep to themselves and actively discourage the neighbours from getting to know them. Henni and her friends think something is wrong.
In Don’t Pat the Wombat, grade six gets to go on school camp. Everything would be great, if it weren’t for the grumpy teacher known as The Bomb, and his tendency to pick on Jonah. Mark and his friends are not impressed.
In What Do You Think, Feezal, the final story in the book, Bean moves to Sydney with her parents. She lives in a luxury penthouse on the top of a magnificent building and has everything a girl could want – well, almost everything. What bean really wants is a dog and some time with her parents. Will she get either?
Honey Bunch is suitable for eight to twelve year old readers.
Honey Bunch, by Elizabeth Honey
Allen & Unwin, 2002
When two men on opposing sides meet on the battle fields in World War I, neither can predict the ways their paths will cross in the future. Jack Kelly, a captain in the Australian army, shows compassion towards his prisoner Paul Mann, a German officer, forming an unusual bond. When the two meet again after the war, it is in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua. The friendship they quickly forge will last a lifetime.
In Papua both are working towards new beginnings, in search of freedom and financial security. Both want to leave behind the memories of the war and find stability for their families. But post-war life has as many lows as it does highs – both men have enemies who wouldlove tosee them fail. Only together will they overcome the odds.
Papua is a compelling story of love, loyalty and family overcoming greed and treachery, fro the author of the bestselling Curlew trilogy. For those with an interest in the jungle paradise of Papua New Guinea, both past and present, the story and characters will strike a chord.
Papua, by Peter Watt
Macmillan Australia, 2002
Rowan is the weakest child in the village. While the other children of Rin are brave and strong, Rowan has many fears. He is given the job of tending the bukshah herd, a job with no real challenge attached. But when the stream that flows through the village dries up, it is Rowan who has the power to to solve the problem.
Along with six of the strongest and bravest villagers, Rowan must climb the mountain that overshadows the village and find a way to restore the water supply.
On the mountain each of the seven must face his or her deepest fear. Only one will have the courage and the wits to reach the top and overcome the final challenge.
Rowan of Rin is a timeless fantasy story for younger children and would make an ideal introduction to the genre. Awarded the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award, the title has been reprinted several times since its first release in 1993 – a testament to its popularity.
Rowan of Rin, by Emily Rodda
Omnibus Books, 1993
It is 1835 and Dorothea Newell is shipwrecked on an island off the coast of Western Australia. A single white woman in the company of sealers, desperadoes and outsiders, she must do what she can to survive until the chief sealer agrees to take her to the mainland.
To protect her younger sister, whose husband has tried to trade her to Anderson the sealer, Dorothea becomes Anderson’s woman. Even this does not guarantee her safety, or her aim of returning to civilisation.
Skins, winner of the 2001 Australian/Vogel Literary award is a fictionalised account of the story of Dorothea Newell (later known as Dolly Pettit). Based on real people and events, the story explores an intriguing part of Western Australia’s history. Few readers would have previous knowledge of the life of the sealers and whalers in the early years of the colony.
Skins is set in harsh conditions and involves hardened characters, so large parts of the novel seem very dark. For much of the tale there seems little hope of much good happening in the lives of these characters. With perseverance on the part of the reader there is some light, although this is certainly not meant to be a feel-good novel. What it does provide is an insight both into characters coping with dire situations and into a genuine part of Australia’s past.
Skins, by Sarah Hay
Allen and Unwin, 2002
When he announced his resignation as Deputy Prime Minister in June 1999, Tim Fischer began his withdrawal from Federal Parliament and from the political arena. After 28 years in politics, he had come to the decision that his family needed him more than the National Party or the Australian public did.
In the decades preceding that resignation, Tim Fischer had grown from a fresh-faced state politician, to the confident, hat-wearing leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister. He had weathered the highs and lows of life in politics and put his stamp on the nation’s history.
The Boy From Boree Creek explores Fischer’s life from his birth in 1946 until this resignation. Author Peter Rees attempts to capture both the private and the public persona, showing how he ran his campaigns, how he built a public image for himself and how he influenced policy making, and yet more intimately, how he coped with the pressures and constraints of the political life.
Readers with an interest in Australian politics will find plenty of interest in this book, as will all who enjoy Australian biographies.
The Boy From Boree Creek, by Peter Rees
Allen & Unwin, 2002
One night, Harry’s bed grows feet and takes him out for a walk in the city. He meets a boy called Luke, riding on an elephant. Together the pair have wild and wierd adventures.
Harry likes being friends with Luke, but maybe Luke needs more than a friend – perhaps what he needs is a family, especially now that his Auntie Kate has flown off to live in the outback.
Can Harry and his family make evryone’s dreams come true?
Harry and Luke is a fun novel for 7 to 9 year old children. Part of the new Hotshots series from Hodder, this simple fantasy is suitable for kids making the transition into novel format books.
Glynn Parry is better known for his young adult novels, including Scooterboy and Monster Man. He lives in Western Australia with his wife and three children.
Harry and Luke, by Glynn Parry
Hodder Headline Australia, 2002
It is the year 2373 and a group of gifted students are travelling from Earth to a space camp on the planet Phoenixia. The trip is meant to be focussed on learning, but for the students it is also a chance for something different and maybe even some adventure. None of them forsee just how much adventure is awaiting them.
On the surface, Phoenixia is a beautiful, peaceful planet. Unfortunately for the visiting teens, that is about to change. Phoenixia is rich in resources, it seems, resources that others are prepared to go any length to harness. The students must work together to overcome those who would destroy Phoenixia and all on its surface.
Space Camp is an action-packed, fun read with themes including self-discovery and conservation. It will appeal to readers aged 11 to 14, especially those with an interest in light science fiction.
Brigid Lowry and Sam Field are a mother-son team. This is their first collaboration.
Space Camp, by Brigid Lowry and Sam Field
Allen and Unwin, 2002
When Drew unwittingly becomes the owner of a monster visible to nobody but himself, the possibilities excite him. He’ll have lots of fun playing tricks on everyone – his parents, his teachers, his friends – and especially his enemies.
The fun, however, doesn’t last long, and Drew finds he is really the owner of a pet nightmare. The monster, Queeg, gets into all kinds of mischief, and because he is invisible, Drew takes the blame. Surely there is some way he can get rid of the monster. He just has to figure out what it is.
Little Monster is a clever story that will have eight to ten year old readers laughing along. Allan Baillie is one of Australia’s top children’s writers. His other titles include Rebel, Adrift and Little Brother.
Little Monster, by Allan Baillie
Omnibus Books, 1991
In a world of the future, vastly different from our own, teenagers Leila and Andre live with their parents and their much-loved baby sister Bonnie. Their world has been shaped by the destructive forces of wars years before. Those who have survived have built new lives based on peace.
But sometimes peace is only an illusion. When Morwena is wiped out by a violent strike, only the children survive,saved from death only to have to confront new terrors. Chaos reigns as survivors try to find loved ones, food and water are short, and no one is able to trust anyone else.
Alone in this grim world, Leila tries to find her brother and sister. First though she has to contend with her own fears and dreadful evil forces – Alrica, the wolf woman, Rattus, the ferl and the Grim organisation.Can she survive and be reunited with her loved ones? Is there life for these scattered chidlren from Morwena?
Children of Morwena is Helene Smith’s third novel for young people. Her earlier titles are Operation Clancy and Leaping the Tingles. She lives in Australind, just outside of the Western Australian city of Bunbury.
Children of Morwena is a inspirational story of how love can survive the toughness of life.
Children of Morwena, by Helene Smith
Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2002
In Hitler’s Germany, two men who have never met have vastly different experiences. One, who has lived a life of poverty, deprivation and petty crime, finds his fortunes much improved when he finds work in the army. Finally there is food enough, clothes and shelter. The other man, a Jew, has been reduced from a prosperous businessman and respected community member to an outcast struggling for survival.
When the paths of these two strangers crosses, something happens which will impact on the descendants of both men.
After the war the children of both lead different lives in different countries, but when their paths and those of their children cross once again in Australia, the truth begins to emerge. Is it possible to undo the past, to forgive a theft of unimaginable depths?
The Prosperous Thief is a story of the Jewish Holocaust and of it’s legacy, as the decendants of those involved live in its shadow. It is also a story about the concepts of justice and revenge. A quality read.
Andrea Goldsmith worked as a speech pathologist both in Australia and overseas. Her previous books include Gracious Living, Facing the Music and Under the Knife.
The Prosperous Thief, by Andrea Goldsmith
Allen & Unwin, 2002