The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy & Me, by Michael Gerard Bauer

It all started with The Pain. He officially came into my life exactly nine weeks and one day before my Year Ten Graduation Dance.
It was a Friday.
The thirteenth of the month.
Notice anything there?

Maggie Butt is not happy. She started the year determined that everything would go well – but with the end in sight, things seem to be going fro ad to worse. Not only has she failed to make any friends, but she doesn’t have a date for the graduation dance and her marks in English (her favourite subject) are plummeting. But that’s the worst of it. Her mother seems to be letting her new boyfriend – The Pain – into both her own life, and Maggie’s, whether Maggie likes it or not.

The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy & Me is a funny novel about many of the difficulties of being a teenager – romance, friendship, self-image and family. Maggie has a lot going on with her parents’ divorce having led to her changing schools and not fitting in at the new one. Her mother’s blossoming relationship with a new boyfriend also causes disruption – not the least of which is his ability to scare off the only boy who’s ever shown an interest.

There are lots of laughs to be had but there are also more serious moments.

The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy & Me, by Michael Gerard Bauer
Omnibus Books, 2016
ISBN 9781742991504

Eric Vale Off the Rails, by Michael Gerard Bauer

I get to the door of the Principal’s office. It’s open. Principal Porter is behind his desk. Sitting in front of him are my mum, my dad and my little sister Katie. She’s the only one who seems happy to see me.

Eric Vale is in trouble. Really big trouble. As usual, it isn’t really his fault – his mate Chewie is convinced their relief teacher is an alien, and of course Eric has to help him prove it one way or another.

Eric Vale, Off the Rails is the third story featuring the likeable but always-in-trouble Eric Vale and won’t disappoint fans of the first two, or readers new to the series. The book is fast paced, action paced and complemented throughout by comic style illustrations, as well as instalments in Eric’s own stories, written in his journal throughout the book, and influenced by what is happening in his real life.

Perfect for reluctant readers, the series will appeal to early and middle primary aged readers.

 

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Eric Vale, Off the Rails, by Michael Gerard Bauer, illustrated by Joe Bauer
Omnibus Books, 2013
ISBN 9781862919945

Available from good bookstores or online.

Eric Vale: Super Male, by Michael Gerard Bauer & Joe Bauer (ill.)

Superheroes!!!!!
I couldn’t believe it. Was it possible? Could it actually be happening? Were we about to do a study unit on…SOMETHING GOOD? It just didn’t seem right. Last year with Mrs McGurk in Year Four we only ever id units on topics like ‘The Least Interesting Stuff in the Known Universe’. But SUPERHEROES rocked. Superheroes were one of my most favourite-est things in the whole world! I knew heaps of stuff about superheroes! … I was excited. SUPER excited!

Eric Vale is excited. The new class theme is Superheroes, and it’s one subject he might actually be able to excel in. But with a killer beast on the loose, a mutant teddy bear out to ruin his reputation, and the dreaded Oogliy-Boogily Man lying in wait at the school fete, Eric might be in for a super fail.

Eric Vale: Super Male is the second on the funny Eric Vale series from award winning author and funnyman Michael Gerard Bauer. Eric is a good kid who gets himself into lots of silly scrapes, mainly through his daydreaming and over active imagination, and young readers will relate to many of his insecurities. The text is complemented by cartoon style illustrations by Bauer’s son, Joe.

WIth lots of text support from good sized font and the l=illustrations, Eric Vale: Super Male is great for struggling readers, but will equally appeal to readers of all abilities for its humour and story.

A super read.

 

Eric Vale: Super Male, by Michael Gerard Bauer, illustrated by Joe Bauer
Omnibus, 2013
ISBN 9781862919938

Available from good bookstores or online.

Eric Vale Epic Fail, by Michael Gerard Bauer

Then Martin turned to the kids around him.
‘Don’t you get it? Eric Vale – Epic Fail. Ahahahahahah!’
Meredith Murdoch and Bobby Quan got it first. And then it started to spread like it was contagious. All around the room kids with big grins were turning to kids with big frowns and saying, ‘Eric Vale – Epic Fial. See? Hahahahahahahaha!’
It was like I was one of those YouTube clips and I was going mega-viral!

Eric Vale is a bit of a daydreamer, and sometimes that daydreaming gets him into trouble. But when it leads to him hearing his teacher say ‘Eric Vale’ when what he actually said was ‘epic fail’, his life becomes almost unbearable. Soon everyone is calling him Epic Fail, and it seems he just can’t stop doing silly things that remind him – and everyone else- of the nickname. It’s a seemingly endless cycle of epic fails.

Eric Vale – Epic Fail is the hilarious first installment in a new series from Michael Gerard Bauer. Eric is a likable, funny protagonist, whose heart is in the right place, in spite of his propensity to muck things up. His classmates too are lots of fun, especially his best mate Chewy, who looks on the bright side of everything, but inadvertently contributes to some of Eric’s woes.

The text is well supported by the grey scale illustrations by Bauer’s talented son Joe with a mix of comic-style cells, single illustrations and humorous embellishments. Readers will also enjoy Eric’s own stories, which he enjoys writing but which also contribute to his landing in trouble.

Laugh out loud funny, but with nice messages about difference, and friendship, and even bullying, this is another sure-fire hit from one of Australia’s best.

Eric Vale - Epic Fail

Eric Vale – Epic Fail, by Michael Gerard Bauer, illustrated by Joe Bauer
Omnibus, 2012
ISBN 9781862919921

Available from good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel, by Michael Gerard Bauer

That’s right, Ishmael and the Fab Five are back in another thrilling adventure as he makes his way through Year 11 and 12. There are shocks, laughs and even romances. Without giving too much away- it can be said that the story involves feminism, debating, a very… interesting band and a thrilling game of volleyball.

There’s no easy way to put this, so I’ll just say it straight out. It’s time I faced up to the truth.

My name is Ishmael Leseur. I am seventeen years old. I have Ishmael Leseur’s syndrome. There is no cure.

That’s right, Ishmael and the Fab Five are back in another thrilling adventure as he makes his way through Year 11 and 12. There are shocks, laughs and even romances. Without giving too much away- it can be said that the story involves feminism, debating, a very… interesting band and a thrilling game of volleyball.

For those who have read the first two Ishmael stories, this is a really satisfying conclusion to the series. And to those who haven’t – you don’t know what you’re missing. You could read this one by itself, but do yourself a favour and go back and read the first two.

Teenagers, join Ishmael’s adventures in this 10/10 novel by Michael Gerard Bauer.

Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel

Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel, by Michael Gerard Bauer
Omnibus Books, 2011
ISBN 9781862919174

You can buy this book in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Just a Dog, by Michael Gerard Bauer

The day my dad said Mister Mosely was ‘just a dog’, my mum punched him.
Not a punch like the one Dad gave Uncle Gavin that that time when Uncle Gavin’s tooth came out and there was all the blood and everything. But not a girl punch or a mucking-around punch either/ Mum really meant it. You could tell by the way she scrunched her face right up and made her eyes go small.
‘Don’t you say that! Don’t you dare say that!’

Misster Mosely is special. He doesn’t have a pedigree, but he is just the right dog for Corey and his family and, from the time Corey chooses him from a litter of his Uncle Gavin’s dog’s puppies, he becomes part of the family. He is loyal and funny and, from time to time, downright silly. Every member of the family – Mum, Dad, Corey, his little sister Amelia and even new baby Grace – has a special bond with Mister Mosely. And sometimes it seems that it is Mister Mosely who holds the whole family together.

Just a Dog is a delightful tale of one dog and his family. On the surface it is a collection of stories from different phases of his life, but it is also the story of a family going through the highs and lows of family life. As Corey watches his parents’ struggle, and wonders whether life will ever be the same again, he has the constant presence of Mister Mosely as a comforting force.

From award-winning author Michael Gerard Bauer, Just a Dog is suitable for middle and upper primary aged readers.

Wonderful.

Just a Dog

Just a Dog, by Michael Gerard Bauer
Omnibus, 2010
ISBN 9781862918870

This book can be purchased from any good book store, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

You Turkeys, by Michael Gerard Bauer

Our backyard was Dad’s pride and joy. He loved the flowers in their chip bark beds and the row of little ball-shaped shrubs. He loved the neat compost heap and the square of bright green lawn with its dead-straight edges.
Then the scrub-turkeys came, and they loved our backyard too.

Jake’s dad is not happy when two scrub turkeys try to set up home in his beautiful garden. He chases them off, but when they come back the next day – and the next – his efforts to get rid of them become increasingly desperate. Jake’s little sister, Anna, says Daddy should share his yard, but Dad has other ideas.

You Turkeys! is a funny addition to the Mates series, a full colour illustrated chapter book for lower primary aged readers. Whilst the story is high in humour, and complemented by quirky illustrations, it also gives a gentle message about conservation and wildlife.

Aimed at beginning readers transitioning to chapter books, You Turkeys! is suitable for school or private reading.

You Turkeys! (Mates)

You Turkeys! (Mates), by Michael Gerard Bauer, illustrated by Nahum Ziersch
Omnibus, 2010
ISBN 978186291816

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond.

Dinosaur Knights, by Michael Gerard Bauer

Tens of millions of years before the earliest humans would tread the same earth, a giant theropod lowered its snout to the forest floor and sniffed.
It was almost time.
A second, more urgent, need now joined the bitter hunger already clawing away in its stomach. The big dinosaur arched its neck skyward and stared with unblinking eyes through the edges of the forest to the flood plain below. Soon a small parcel of air laced with promise of warm flesh and brittle bone streamed through its nostrils.

Dinosaur Knights brings together the past, the even further past and the near future. An ambitious team of scientists, backed by private interests, hope to transport a live dinosaur to the future by stretching time. A sceptical investigative journalist has been flown in from Australia to record the anticipated culmination of years of research. The viewpoint changes constantly as the reader experiences life in the different time zones. In the future, the journalist seeks to understand the motivation for wanting a live dinosaur. In the middle ages, twin boys of complementary natures (one a would-be warrior, the other a would-be healer) struggle to save their father from a corrupt official. And in the prehistoric past, a carnivore dinosaur hunts. Tension escalates as a thread is pulled through all three times.

Knights, dinosaurs and modern science are an unusual combination given their existences didn’t ever overlap. Or did they? Bauer postulates a scientific ‘what if?’ and creates a film scene-like story where the impossible happens. The short chapters and scene-shifting from time period to time period keeps the pace a-cracking. Symbols at the start of each chapter make it clear which period is hosting the action. Then it changes when the dinosaur is stranded in the middle ages and the chapter headings cue the viewpoint character/s. Quotes from Einstein accompany each of the three parts. Along the way, morals and ethics are examined – in an age appropriate way – and provide ample opportunity for discussion. In the future, the scientist and the journalist both investigate in their own way. In the middle ages, two boys suffer for the politicking of others in the castle and in the time of the dinosaurs, the therapod seeks to survive. A thrilling story which lasts beyond the final words. Recommended for upper primary readers.

Dinosaur Knights

Dinosaur Knights, Michael Gerard Bauer
Omnibus Books 2009
ISBN: 9781862917958

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs, by Michael Gerard Bauer

Ishmael Leseur.
That’s me. It’s also the name of a frightening but as yet virtually unknown medical condition. And if you’re thinking it’s pretty stupid writing your own name down so you can remember it, then you’ve obviously never suffered from Ishmael Leseur’s Syndrome. (Which I guess is hardly surprising, since I’m the world’s only known case.)

The summer break over, Ishmael Leseur is back at school and reunited with his friends Scobie, Prindabel, Bill and the Razzman for another big year. Maybe this year they’ll win the debating competition after a narrow miss last year. But first they have to navigate Miss Tarango’s poetry lessons and the school bully Barry Bagsley. There’s also the small matter of Ishmael’s crush on Kelly Faulkner. Unable to put a sensible sentence together in her presence, Ishmael thinks he has no chance, but Razza is determined to give him a helping hand.

Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs is a funny sequel to the highly successful Don’t Call Me Ishmael, though it stands alone enough for any reader who missed the first. Ishmael is a likeable main character and a wry first person narrator and his friends and their flaws create humour in all sorts of situations.

There are plenty of laugh out loud moments mixed with dashes of reality and some issues of substance. Most of all though it’s a feel good book, and the world needs plenty of those.

Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs, by Michael Gerard Bauer
Omnibus, 2007

Don't Call Me Ishmael, by Michael Gerard Bauer

There’s no easy way to put this, so I’ll just say it straight out. It’s time I faced up to the truth. I’m fourteen years old and I have Ishmael Leseur’s Syndrome.
There is no cure.

So begins this delightful account of a boy’s journey through year nine. Ishmael Leseur – yes, he does have the same name as the disease because, the reader quickly learns, his name and the consequences of having such a name, ARE the disease. You see, Ishmael is being bullied, and the bully’s focus is on Ishmael’s name. From the moment that Barry Bagsley says “Ishmael? What kind of wussy-crap name is that?” Ishmael’s life changes.. He says: I learnt to make myself as small a target as possible. I became an expert at this. I became virtually invisible to Barry Bagsley and his mates. Sometimes I could barely see myself.

All this changes in year nine, when a new boy, James Scobie, joins the class. James is different. Very different. And he is paired with Ishmael in class. Soon the pair have struck up a friendship, and together with their collection of other year nine misfits, they learn to take on not just Barry Bagsley, but also anything else life throws at them.

This is a humorous book which will have readers laughing out loud, and while it also has some frightening and emotional moments, it is this humour which keeps the novel moving along and stops the reader from wanting to put it down.

Michael Gerard Bauer’s first book, The Running Man, won the CBCA’s Book of the Year award. Don’t Call Me Ishmael is similar in the quality of its writing, but is a very different book in most other aspects, being a lighter read. This is a good thing as it gives Bauer a chance to show the breadth of his talents. Teen readers will love Ishmael and his friends and this book is sure to win accolades, too.

Don’t Call Me Ishmael, by Michael Gerard Bauer
Scholastic, 2006