Henrietta the Great Go-getter, by Martine Murray

We’ve got an EMERGENCY DILEMMA to attend to. We absolutely have to find a home for the Rietta because it’s lost and its spots are fading…

This is the second book featuring Henrietta P. Hoppenbeek, a delightful first-person narrator who takes young readers along on her adventures to the imaginary Wide Wide Long Cool Coast of the Lost Socks, the land of which Henrietta is the future Queen. She travels with her best friend Olive Higgie (who has been known to eat pickles) and her baby brother Albert (who dribbles and dribbles, and also does other disgusting things like pooing his nappy), sailing in the bathtub to take the msierable Rietta home.

The hard cover format of this little offering, coupled with the illustrations – a combination of child-like sketches and collage – and design elements such as text which wanders over the pages, makes it visually appealing, and the whimsical text make it sure to appeal to readers of all ages, though it is primarily aimed at younger children.

Henrietta: The Great Go-getter

Henrietta the Great Go-getter, by Martine Murray
Allen & Unwin, 2006

You can buy this book online at Fishpond

The Slightly Bruised Glory of Cedar B. Hartley, by Martine Murray

It was Kite who showed me how to become an acrobat. But it was me who showed Kite that we could make a circus, Life’s great like that. It’s like a big game where you have to join forces because, let’s face it, you can’t be good at everything.

Cedar and her almost-boyfriend Kite have a circus and, if she does say so herself, they are pretty good. So when Kite turns up at training with the news that he and his dad are leaving town to join a professional circus, Cedar is devastated. What’s the point of going on?

Then her long-lost Aunt Squeezy turns up to stay and introduces Cedar to Inisiya, a refugee. When Cedar learns Inisiya’s story, she realises her own problems are not so bad, and resurrects the circus at the local community centre, sharing her skills with other children.

Then Kite suggests that Cedar come and audition for the real circus and, once again, Cedar’s life is turned upside down. Should she follow her dream or should she stay with her family and new friends?

This is the second book told in Cedar’s quirky first person voice. Cedar, who aims to be infamous, is starting to grow up in this volume, and has lessons to learn about friendship, family, love and community. While there are plenty of humorous moments and Cedar’s narration is both endearing and entertaining, there are also serious themes being explored.

Fans of the first book will love the second, but readers new to the series will love this one so much they’ll want to go back and read the first.

The Slightly Bruised Glory of Cedar B. Hartey, by Martine Murray
Allen & Unwin, 2005

Henrietta, by Martine Murray

I am Heniretta P. Hoppenbeek the First, future Queen of the Wide Wide Long Cool Coast of the Lost Socks, and the only person in the even Wider World to have visited the Island of the Rietta.
Don’t forget that, because when I do become Queen, you may just want to ask me for a sunny part of the kingdom to lie about in with your dog. You never know.

This captivating little offering is filled with whimsy and imagination. Henrietta shares her views on life in a delightful monologue that is very much stream of conciousness – jumping from topic to topic as it meanders through Henrietta’s world.

The format of the book is a perfect complement to its content – published as a small hardback with a lovely pink spine and marker ribbon. Murray’s childish illustrations, in pinks and browns, and the use of various font sizes and styles, all add to the story.

In spite of its whimsy, the story does touch on some serious parts of a child’s life – loss of a pet, sibling rivalry, firendship and more – giving Hernietta’s special insight into each.

Fans of Clarice Bean will find Henrietta just as appealing.

Henrietta, by Martine Murray
Allen & Unwin, 2004

How to Make a Bird, by Martine Murray

Mannie is lost. She knows where she is, but she doesn’t really know who she is. She’s searching for something she doesn’t yet know and it’s tearing her apart. So she’s leaving home. Riding her brother’s bike and wearing her mother’s red dress she’s heading to the city and, from there, she wants to leave the country. But first she has some things to do.

Life hasn’t been easy for Manny and, as she drifts through the city, she has to face some truths about herself and her family. She discovering things she hadn’t intended to.

How to Make a Bird is a quirky tale of longing and self-discovery, by talented author Martine Murray. Murray is developing a unique style, which transfers well between her works for different age groups. All of her books have an air of sensitivity and a dreamlike quality which make them absorbing. How to Make a Bird is another winner.

How to Make a Bird, by Martine Murray
Allen & Unwin, 2003

A Moose Called Mouse, by Martine Murray

This is Mouse. Mouse is a moose. He’s not a mouse or a louse or an anything else. He’s a moose I call Mouse.

In A Mouse Called Moose, author/illustrator Martine Murray captures a gentle friendship between a girl and her friend the moose. Together they discover the magic of the night and of its transformation into day, as well as the joys of simple friendship.

This is peaceful story, perfect for a bedtime tale or for any quiet time. It is also suitable for sharing at kindergartens or playgroups. Murray’s simple illustrations are a perfect calming complement to the tale, with their child-like simplicity and muted colours.

Murray is a young author and illustrator who hails from Victoria. She has studied at the Victoria College of the Arts and spent time with the circus. Her first novel for children The Slightly True Story of Cedar B.Hartley has been well received in Australia and has sold to publishers in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and Denmark.

A Moose Called Mouse is a treasure.

A Moose Called Mouse, by Martine Murray
Allen & Unwin, 2002

The Slightly True Story of Cedar B. Hartley, by Martine Murray

Cedar avoids the main swell of action in her street, and drifts instead towards the puddles. In Cedar’s puddle there’s Cedar, who’d really like to be called Lana Munroe since it has a famous kind of ring to it, her friend Caramella Zito, who lives opposite and Ricci, a fifty year old Yugoslavian lady.

But suddenly, things seem to change. Maybe it’s because her dog Stinky disappears, or maybe it started back when her brother Barnaby ran away. Either way, things change. Cedar meets a boy called Kite, who swings from trees and does hand springs.

Now her puddle is bigger and more complicated. As well as Kite, there’s his father Ruben, who used to be in the circus, his friend Oscar, who wobbles, and his mother, who has run off with a man called Howard.

There are also new experiences – learning balances and tumbles with Kite, attending Oscar’s birthday party, trying to run away. And, when Ricci’s dog needs an operation, Cedar finds herself organising a circus to raise the money needed.

Told in the delightful first-person narrative of Cedar herself, The Slightly True Story of Cedar B. Hartley (who planned to live an unusual life) is an outstanding debut novel from Australian author Martine Murray. Young Cedar’s take on life provides both humour and insight.

Martine Murray is the talented author and illustrator of the acclaimed picture books A Moose Called Mouse and A Dog Called Bear. She has studied art, writing, acrobatics and dance and live sin Melbourne. She says that this book is “about belonging exactly as you are, without having to tone down or change.”

The Slightly True Story of Cedar Blue Hartley (who planned to live an unusual life), by Martine Murray.
Allen and Unwin, 2002.