The Perfect Princess & the Bog Monster

This book is a worthy demonstration of the importance for children to learn how to read and write. These children are the real ‘ambassadors’ for the fight against illiteracy. They show us all what literacy can bring to life–stories full of joy, wit and love.

When the world celebrated the two hundredth birthday of storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, Australia’s ABC television decided to hold a competition for young writers. Over 4000 children from around Australia submitted their stories. The Perfect Princess & the Bog Monster is a collection of the twenty short listed entries, including the winning tale, The Perfect Princess.

This is an excellent collection, with entries from children aged as young as seven showing the depth of writing talent among Australian children. A great read for children, to show them what other kids are achieving and to inspire them to write their own stories, this is also a humbling read for an adult storyteller.

Mitch Vane’s comic illustrations are a perfect complement and do not overshadow the wonderful work of the talented contributors.

The Perfect Princess & the Bog Monster, edited by Jody Lee
ABC Books, 2005

Chappelli Speaks Out, by Ashley Mallett with Ian Chappell

Ian Chappell was the captain of one of Australia’s best ever cricket teams – a team which included Dennis, Lillee, Geoff Walker, Max Walker and other great names of Australian cricket. He was also part of the players’ revolution which saw World Series cricket take off, and players earn professional incomes for the first time.

In Chappelli Speaks Out Chappell shares his memories and his opinions with Ashley Mallett, who was also a player under Chappell’s captaincy. The book traces Chappell’s career, from playing in the backyard with his brothers and father, to his retirement. He also offers his views on Australian and world cricket during and sicne his playing days, including his opinions on some of the big names of the game – Steve Waugh, Ian Botham, Richie Benaud and Don Bradman. Not all of his opinions are favourable, but they are frank and also reasoned – he explains why he feels as he feels.

This is an easy read, and will especially appeal to cricket fans.

Chappelli Speaks Out, by Ashley Mallett
Allen & Unwin, 2005

No Turning Back, by E.T.W. Fulton

It was a Saturday morning, the day jobs were advertised in the Sydney Morning Herald. I scanned the ‘Positions Vacant’ and spotted ‘Wanted for Rabaul, book-keeper with Island Merchants, apply with written application today…’
‘Where is Rabaul?’ I asked Frank. ‘It’s the capital of New Guinea, I think,’ he said.

So began Ted Fulton’s lifelong love affair with Papua New Guinea, where he would spend most of the next forty years of his life as a gold miner, soldier and plantation owner. Arriving in Rabaul in his early twenties, he soon learnt that if he wanted to make his fortune, a job as a book keeper was not for him. After working a variety of jobs he eventually became a gold miner, before the second world war interrupted.

As a soldier, Ted fought in the middle east before returning to Papua New Guinea, where he was deployed behind enemy lines. When the war finished, he settled briefly back in Australia, before taking his wife and first child back to Rabaul, where he became a successful planter.

For any one with an interest in the Pacific and especially Papua New Guinea, this is a detailed account, told in a no-nonsense first person voice. Fulton is matter of fact about his recollections of the hardships of war and of life in remote jungle areas, leaving the reader to interpret some of the emotions those experienced must have engendered.

A wonderful insight into one man’s life and to the events of the times.

No Turning Back, by E. T. W. Fulton
Pandanus Books, 2005