Get a New Life, by Kaye Fallick

Some people long to change their lives. Others have the courage to make those changes. Others still have change thrust upon them and have to accept it, like it or not. Whichever category you fall into, this comprehensive guide will help to you make changes, or simply to make the most of the changes already happening to you.

Get a New Life, written by the publisher of Your Life magazine is a comprehensive guide to managing change. From an opening section exploring what change is and how to plan for change, the book goes on to examine different kinds of change in three subsequent sections devoted to changing yourself, changing your working life and making a sea-change. Each section includes numerous case studies and anecdotes, showing how individuals have coped with and implemented change in their own lives, as well as plenty of practical suggestions, from managing finances, to avoiding pitfalls. There are checklists and questions to ask yourself and valuable lists of resources including websites, organisations and books.

The emphasis of the books is on taking charge and working out what works best for you, the reader, rather than a bible dictating how it should be done. This is a great read for anyone who feels they are missing something in their life or who is facing any sort of change.

Get a New Life, by Kaye Fallick
Allen & Unwin, 2004

Cry the Night, by Glenn Miller

Reviewed by Molly Martin

A little boy punished by being put into a sack and suspended from a beam in a cellar at the hands of an unbalanced mother is later a youngster made to stand in a darkened cellar for hours on end.

The body of ten-year-old girl, an extended, fruitless search, and a missing six-year-old set in motion a twenty-year odyssey. The town of Traviston, Australia is forever changed in 1981 with the murder of Sarah Nielson and the disappearance of her little sister Rebecca. The only thing left behind were Rebecca’s panties and her dress. Residents who once trusted their neighbours now became suspicious of those living nearby. Children were kept safe at home behind closed doors, or in some cases the family packed and moved to get away from the horror.

On a pleasant day many years after the brutal murder; teenager Sally Smith is happy to accept a ride from an elderly man who has known her family for years. For Sally her ride with a trusted old friend turns into a nightmare from which escape seems impossible. When sixteen-year-old Kirsty and her five-year-old friend Sam set out for a walk on the cattle property where Kirsty is spending her school holiday with the family of her mother’s close friend she knows nothing of the hidden dangers lurking not so far away. A secret place, youngsters filled with a sense of adventure, and a cave filled with bodies all are part of this tale of child abuse, horror and alarm.

Cry the Night is a psychological thriller, set in the austere Australian wilderness, where young bushwalkers are pitted at night against the relentless unadulterated evil stalking them across remarkably arduous terrain.

Twenty years of secrets buried in the hidden backcountry wilds of Australia lie shielded by a lunatic. At an inaccessible creek on the brim of the wilderness where the body of a murdered ten-year-old girl is discovered, the narrative begins. The recital next moves to the present, with four young men and one teenage girl determining they will investigate the craggy valleys, ridges and caverns near where they are staying on a large cattle property. The bushwalkers unintentionally intrude upon the perilous mystery kept secret for more than two decades when they enter the region which a psychopath believes to be his. A demented serial killed living in a world filled with sexual darkness and hallucination will confront the young people who find their day walk becoming a fight for survival during which they will confront their worst fears. The evil stalking them will bring the youngsters faced to face with a terror beyond their wildest imagination.

Well fleshed, potent characters each have their own particular disposition. Twists and turns keep the reading guessing in this tale of a monster created by the derangement of a parent. Specific details of the murderer’s life are set down in fantasy, dreams, memories and loathsome actions by an almost sixty year old man who might be any one of the several fellows fitting that description who live in the area.

Not for the faint of heart, nor for a dark and stormy night when you are home alone.

Cry the Night, by Glenn Miller
Sunny Side Up Publishing, available in ebook or paperback formats.

This review contributed by Molly Martin.

The Hunter, by Julia Leigh

Reviewed by Alex Marshall

The Hunter is an extremely interesting first novel from one of Australia’s up and coming novelists. I found this book a gripping and intriguing read from the first page to the last, despite the fact that the novel focuses upon the inner life of one character who does not have a strong attachment to the outside world. The plot is very simple. A mercenary is sent to search for the fabled Tasmanian Marsupial Tiger, or Thylacine in the heart of the Tasmanian wilderness. If he finds this animal he will become very rich.

Like many great Australian novels,The Hunter focuses upon the individual’s relationship to the wilderness which he both depends upon to survive and which he also resents, hates and fears. He knows that he is a stranger to this place. As the silence of the wilderness grows around him the more the central character – who the reader only knows as ‘M’ – journeys into his memories that still haunt him.

In many ways M. is the classic Aussie male; silent, taciturn, inarticulate, single mindedly focused upon his work, unconscious of the outside world. But unlike the stereotype, ‘M’ is an individualist, he is not interested in reliance upon mates, nor does he believe in sharing with others, such as scientists or environmentalists his discovery of a thylacine. For him this is just a job, and what happens after the dog has been sold is not his concern.

Julia Leigh, who is probably more recognised outside of Australia than within, has created a novel that deceptively unravels the place of the Australian male psyche in a globalised world.

The Hunter, by Julia Leigh
Penguin, 1999

Waldo Waiter Makes a Mess, by Trevor Wilson

Everyone loves the food at Lotti’s restaurant. But when Lotti’s nephew Waldo starts work as a waiter, business starts to go downhill. Waldo is so clumsy that people won’t risk coming to eat there any more. They would rather eat somewhere where they won’t end up with dinner in their laps.

Waldo is sad and plays some music to cheer himself up. When he realises that he isn’t clumsy when he is dancing, he finds the solution. Soon, people are flocking to Lotti’s restaurant to see Waldo, the dancing waiter.

Waldo Waiter Makes a Mess is one of the titles in Ibis Publishing’s new Buzz Town series. These small format books have retro style illustrations by Russell Tate and are supported by parent tips inside the front cover and activities available online.


Waldo Waiter Makes a Mess, by Trevor Wilson, illustrated by Russell Tate
Ibis Publishing, 2004

It's True! Series

This new series from innovative publisher Allen & Unwin is exciting. Here at last is a non-fiction offering which kids will love to read – for the sheer pleasure of it as well as to learn. With so many non-fiction offerings providing information in a format which encourages searching just for whatever answers a child is seeking, it is refreshing to find one which is deisgned to be read cover to cover, for the sheer fun of it.

Written by authors many children will already be familiar with, the books are full of interesting facts, gory details and funny tidbits, supported by cartoon-style illustrations. The text is accessible but not patronising and written in kid-speak.

The first three titles in the series include Pigs Do Fly by author/illustrator Terry Denton, which explores the history of flight, The Romans Were the Real Gangsters by John and Joshua Wright, sharing some of the gorier bits of Roman histroy and There are Bugs in Your Bed, by Heather Catchpole and Vanessa Woods, examining the insect world. All are suitable for school libraries and as classroom readers, but are equally likely to appeal for private reading.

Allen & Unwin is to be commended for the work put into developing this outstanding new series.

It’s True! There are Bugs in Your Bed, by Heather Catchpole & Vanessa Woods, illustrated by Craig Smith
It’s True! The Romans Were the Real Gangsters, by John & Joshua Wright, illustrated by Joshua Wright
It’s True! Pigs Do Fly, written & illustrated by Terry Denton
All from Allen & Unwin, 2004

Hamish Hairdresser and the Arty Hairdo

Hamish is the worst hairdresser in the world. Too many curls, too many plaits, too many beads – and not enough hair! These are the complaints of Hamish’s customers, so that soon he doesn’t have any customers at all. No one will come near him

Then Hamish’s friend, Aron Artist, asks him for a special arty hairdo for an opening night. Hamish is nervous. What if he messes Aron’s hair up on this special night? When he falls asleep while Aron’s hair dye is working, it seems disaster might strike. Will people like Aron’s blue, red and purple striped hair?

It is more than just the art (by Russell Tate) in this series which has a retro feel. The focus on jobs and the use of a small format book with text on one side and illustration on the other also adds to the feel.

Hamish the Hairdresser is part of the Buzz Town series from new Australian publisher, Ibis Publishing. A useful addition to the book is the presence of suggestions for parents inside the front cover. The Ibis website has additional ideas.


Hamish Hairdresser and the Arty Hairdo, by Adrienne Frater, illustrated by Russell Tate
Ibis Publishing, 2004

The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard, by Gregory Rogers

This is a delightful, wordless picture book – original in its concept with unexpected treasures on every page.

It is a time travel fantasy which relates the chase by the Bard of a young boy who wanders through the curtain onto the stage of the Globe Theatre in London while following his soccer ball.

The format has obvious appeal to children (up to 10 years of age) with the main character – ‘the boy’ – depicted as a very young protagonist.

Gregory Rogers uses sequential, individual picture frames to relate this exciting tale. He incorporates a sustained, understated sense of humour throughout.

This is a book to be revisited more than once to discover the detail in the pictures and the subtlety in the humour. The joy of childhood and children’s play contrasts with the more serious presentation of adult play in the Shakespearean work. Is it ‘Romeo and Juliet’? I think that I can see the good Friar on the stage.

This sophisticated adventure will also be attractive to older students and adults. It will be useful for History, Art and Drama students in the secondary school with attention to detail in the landscapes, settings and costumes of the Elizabethan period. Even without words much about the design, construction, colour and texture of the costumes of the period is conveyed to an older audience. For English students it would be a stimulating introduction to the study of a Shakespearean text in the Middle school – particularly ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard, by Gregory Rogers
Allen & Unwin, 2004

No One Owns Me, by Ron Bunney

Joe has an unorthodox life for a girl – she dresses as a boy and travels with her father, a cameleer who runs a carting business. Joe loves the way things are and wouldn’t change them. But change seems to be forced upon her. A chance meeting with a stranger leads Joe to wonder who she really is. It seems the man she calls ‘Dad’ is not her father her all. Many years ago, he found her, a tiny baby, alone in the outback with her dead parents and took her in.

Now Joe must struggle to come to terms with the tale of her past, as well as coming to grips with the new feelings she struggles with when she meets a young boy her own age. There are also changes coming for the camel team she and her father have worked all her life. Now trucks are able to do the work that the camels once do – and they are able to do it faster.

No One Owns Me explores an era of Western Australian history which will be unfamiliar to many young readers – with events taking place in the Goldfields and interior in a time before motorised transport. At the same time, the story explores issues of cultural difference, family and loyalty, with Joe having to deal with the differences between her blood family and the ‘father’ who has raised her, as well as his reasons for keeping her past from her.

With a dearth of historical fiction set in Western Australia, this one is a welcome find.

No One Owns Me, by Ron Bunney
Fremantle Arts Centre, 2004

Clio Cleaner Cleans Up, by Adrienne Frater

Clio Cleaner loves cleaning. So when she starts work cleaning Tessa Teacher’s house, she is delighted to find it very messy. She cleans and polishes all morning. But the next time she comes to clean Tessa’s house, there is no mess, and she doesn’t have enough to do. Then a messy mouse gives her an idea which will give her plenty of cleaning to do – she invites Tessa Teacher to bring her class for morning tea.

Clio Cleaner Cleans Up is one of four titles in the new Buzz Town series from Ibis Publishing. The books are small format paperbacks – just slightly smaller than those in the popular Cocky’s Circle books sold in supermarkets – and the illustrations of Russell Tate have a retro feel which parents might liken to the comics and television programs of their childhood.

Ibis have focussed on providing learning opportunities, with activity suggestions for parents inside the front cover and more support material on the Ibis website.

Clio Cleaner Cleans Up, by Adrienne Frater, illustrated by Russell Tate
Ibis Publishing, 2004
RRP $6.95 (AU)

Isle of the Dead, by Emily Rodda

The third installment of the third and final series of Deltora Quest adventures rolls on, with Lief, Barda and Jasmine out to find the third of the Four Sisters, evil creations of the Shadow Lord which have been poisoning the land of Deltora.

This time the friends must fight even harder to achieve their goal. It seems the Shadow Lord is following their movements and is determined to put a stop to their quest. It will take all of their strength and courage to reach their goal and destroy the third sister. When the three are separated, Lief and Barda must gamble for their freedom, whilst Jasmine calls on some of their old friends to help her to find them.

As with the earlier titles, this is a story sure to appeal to young fantasy readers. With plenty of action and mystery, there are also codes to crack and the familiarity of friends from previous titles in the series. Fans will be left waiting eagerly for the next installment to be published.

Isle of the Dead, by Emily Rodda
Scholastic, 2004