Vampire Slugs On Callisto, by Jackie French

Sam loves living on Callisto. She and her Dad have been there almost a year, leaving behind the discomforts of Earth, where lots of nasty things can happen. On Callisto everyone gets along, there is no crime and there is always plenty of wonderful food to eat.

Then with the annual Harvest Festival approaching, something strange happens. Little slugs appear on the fruit trees. One day they’re tiny, the next they’ve doubled in size. What’s worse, they’re eating everything in sight – all the trees, all the fruit, even Dad’s pineapple pizza.

What worries Sam the most is that no one is doing anything about them. The adults are too busy preparing for the Harvest Festival to do anything about the slugs. It’s up to Sam and her pingleflug step-cousin Broc to do something about them and save Callisto from destruction.

Vampire Slugs on Callisto is the third book about this delightful planet from award-winning author Jackie French. Although they form a series, each book stands alone and is filled with humour, adventure, and yummy food.

The first Callisto title, Cafe on Callisto, won the Aurealis Award in 2001

Vampire Slugs on Callisto, by Jackie French
Koala Books, 2003

The Black House, by Jackie French

When Barney’s Dad gets funding to conduct his special research, it means a move to the country. The house they move to is huge – and comes complete with a high-grade secruity system and a strange caretaker with a propensity to seem like a prison warder.

The new town might be pretty small, but the people are friendly and Barney quickly makes friends. Dad’s pretty happy with the set up for his research project too. So Barney figures he’d better keep quiet about his reservations. He doesn’t know what is going on, but the house is definitely concealing a secret. There are strange shudders at night, slime seeping through the walls, and other goings-on. Barney’s dreams are filled with wild images that seem real. Still, Barney is totally unprepared for what he finds out – and its ramifications for him. He will soon be the boy who talks to the alien.

The Black House, a new title for bestselling author Jackie French, is a lively combination of mystery, adventure and light humour. A Blue level title in Koala’s Tadpoles series, it is suitable for 9 to 12 year old readers.

The Black House, by Jackie French
Koala Books, 2003

Not Nits, by Lucy Treloar

Gus loves insects. He has a whole shelf full of bugs in jars – he feeds them, gives them names and adores them. When anyone accidentally kills or releases one he is devastated.

So, when Gus find a whole colony of bugs living in his hair, he thinks it’s pretty cool. No way is he going to let Mum kill them with nit shampoo. That would be cruel. But just as Gus is determined to save the nits, Mum is determined to beat them. This is a battle of wills that can have only one winner.

Not Nits is a hilarious story about insects and parents. A Red level Tadpole title from Koala Books, this junior novel is suitable for children aged seven and up, but will appeal to older children too, especially those with reading difficulties requiring easier reads.

Not Nits, by Lucy Treloar, illustrated by John Yahyeh
Koala Books, 2003

Warts 'n' All, by Anne Morgan

“Oh no!” Marti has a wart growing on her nose. Her mother says she is too busy to take her to the Doctor to get it frozen off. She’ll have to wait until Tuesday. Marti can’t wait that long – she has to figure out a way to get rid of the wart herself.

In the midst of her efforts, Marti discovers another problem. A new family has moved in next door. There’s a boy about her age who keeps hanging around. He offers to help her get rid of her wart – but can she trust him? Something strange is going on in his back yard and, if she’s not careful, Marti might get caught up in it too.

Warts ‘n’ All is a fast-paced humorous story with a clever twist. An orange level Tadpole from Koala Books, the book is ideal for readers making their early transition from picture books to chapter books, but has enough interest to appeal to much older students, especially those with reading difficulties.

Humorous fun.

Warts ‘n’ All, by Anne Morgan, illustrated by Judith Rossell
Koala Books, 2003

Knight Protector, by Sally Odgers

Simon Knight isn’t too happy about running in the cross country. But when he falls into a hedge he’s not sure he likes the alternative either. It seems that this alternative involves a ride on Traveller, the horse who once before transported him to the strange land of Braveria.

Simon soon finds himself back in Braveria where, as Sir Simon, he is once again called on to help the King. Someone, it seems, is out to cause mischief to the King’s daughter. Who better to protect her than Simon? Along the way he must contend with dragons – some fearsome and others simply annoying – clinging damsels and meddlesome knights, as well as the princess herself, who isn’t so sure she needs looking after. Poor Simon!

Knight Protector is the second book in the Reluctant Knight trilogy by superb children’s author, Sally Odgers. With a winning mix of fantasy, danger and downright silliness, these books are sure to appeal to young fantasy readers aged 8 to 12. Although reading the two in order will enhance enjoyment, each is self-contained.

Sally Odgers is an award-winning Tasmanian writer who continues to show her versatilty with excellent offerings in a range of genres for different age groups. Knight Protector is no exception.

Knight Protector, by Sally Odgers
Koala Books, 2003

Alan the Alien, by Penny Hall

It’s student exchange time – country kids coming to stay with city kids to experience city life. Clark doesn’t want anyone staying at his house, sharing his room and his things, but Mum thinks it’s a great idea, and signs the form.

When a visitor arrives at their front door the next day, he’s not what anyone expected. He looks kind of different. He tells Clark he’s come from another planet, but Clark isn’t so sure at first. He just wants this strange kid to go away and leave him alone.

But Alan the alien isn’t going away – he’s won a trip to visit Earth and he wants Alan to show him around. When he helps Clark defeat the bullies, Clark realises that having Alan to stay might not be so bad after all. Perhaps he and Alan can become friends.

Alan the Alien, by Penny Hall, is an orange level Tadpole book from Koala Books. Aimed at readers making the transition form picture books to novels, Tadpoles are highly illustrated books well pitched at young readers. The illustrations of Craig Smith complement Hall’s text, adding to the pacing and excitement of the story.

An earlier Tadpole written and illustrated by the duo, Fixing the Tiger was listed as the Children’s Book Council Notable Books. Other titles by Penny Hall include A Knight in Different Armour, Fantastic and Fabulous and Fraidy Cats.

Alan the Alien
is a fun read which will be enjoyed by 6 to 10 year old readers.

Alan the Alien, by Penny Hall, illustrated by Craig Smith
Koala Books, 2002.

The Thunder Egg Thief, by Sue Cason

Nick’s Mum needs a break, so Dad suggests a weekend in the country. With the caravan behind, Nick, his parents and his sister Emily, head off for a quiet weekend at Mount Perilous, which Nick thinks looks just like a sleeping dinosaur. When they stop for petrol at a nearby service station, the attendant – Sal – tells Nick to watch out for the perilosaurus. Apparently it’s their nesting season.

When the family go fossicking, Emily finds a beautiful fossil. Nick is jealous – he tries desperately to find one too. What he finds, however, is a thunder egg. His Dad tells him that this will be beautiful cut in two so that the coloured stripes inside the rock will be visible. Nick thinks the rock looks just like a dinosaur egg. But what would happen if the dinosaur wanted her egg back? He hears wailing and strange cries echoing through the bush and knows there’s only one thing to do.

The Thunder Egg Thief, by Sue Cason is an adventure tale which will appeal to kids with an interest in dinosaurs or fantasy. Well complemented with illustrations by Lloyd Foye, the story will be accessible to children taking their first steps from picture books towards novels.

The Thunder Egg Thief is one of six new Orange level Tadpole books from Koala Books, and is suitable for home collections, libraries and class room use. Tadpoles books provide graded reading opportunities for emergent readers, allowing teachers and parents to match children and books according to their reading level.

The Thunder Egg Thief, by Sue Cason, illustrated by Lloyd Foye
Koala Books, 2002.

Space Pirates on Callisto, by Jackie French

Sam’s friend Cherry is bored. It is school holidays and nothing exciting is happening. That’s because nothing exciting ever seems to happen on Callisto. Everyone there is so nice to everyone else. And that’s the way Sam like sit – she’s had enough adventures in her life. But Cherry wants more. She wants to have adventures like her hero Hildegard has in the adventures novels she reads.

In the absence of such adventures, Cherry and Sam decide to go camping, and it is while they are camping that Cherry’s big chance for adventure arrives.

Space pirates land on Callisto, looking for the Golden Queen, a treasure they believe is here on Callisto. The pirates are mean, and what’s worse, they have taken Sam and Cherry hostage – refusing to release them until they have the Golden Queen. Sam and Cherry have no idea what this Golden Queen is. They are at the mercy of the two pirates, their two-headed dog Snarkle, and the goodness of their fellow residents of Callisto, who say they will hand the Golden Queen over, just as soon as it’s ready.

Space Pirates on Callisto is Jackie French’s second book about the fabulous world of Callisto, where the most important decision to be made is whether to have your pineapple pizza with or without the onions. Kids will love this hilarious world filled with chocolate peanut muffins, giant hamburgers and incredible fresh produce.

Space Pirates on Callisto is a Blue Level Tadpole for independent readers, from Koala Books. Jackie French’s earlier title Café on Callisto was the winner of the Aurealis Award for Children’s Short Fiction (2001).

Space Pirates on Callisto, by Jackie French, illustrated by Sarah Baron
Koala Books, 2002