Whose teeth? tail? house? by Jeannette Rowe

Jeannette Rowe’s brightly coloured Whose?books are loved and enjoyed by parents and toddlers alike. This bind-up offers three favourite titles in one volume, and in a bigger, sturdier format.

Whose teeth?, Whose tail? and Whose house? have each been successful in their individual releases, and are likely to achieve similar success in this new format. Rowe’s bright, deceptively simple illustrations use plenty of bold colours, and the lift the flap component especially appeals to curious toddlers, making the book interactive.

The hardcover binding makes this especially suitable for gift giving.

Lots of fun!

Whose teeth? tail? house? by Jeanette Rowe
ABC Books, 2006

Caravan Kids, by Libby Hathorn

So Sally and the family were off on a caravan holiday in Pinky. ‘Five Run Off to Adventure’ she said as they whizzed up the coastline in the almost-new cream Holden. This was the title of one of her favourite books by Enid Blyton.
‘Five Land at Palm Beach!’ Dad announced as they drove into the camping ground.
‘Palmie,’ Mum said. ‘Glorious!’
Adventure!’ Sally thought. ‘At last!’
‘Boys!’ Del thought. ‘Neat!’
‘New mates!’ Carl thought. ‘Terrific!’
They all said, ‘Fabulous!’

Things haven’t been going well for the Smyth family, but when Dad wins a caravan in a raffle, things begin to look up. Soon the family is off on a summer holiday in Palm Beach. Sally Smyth is desperately hoping for some adventure – just like her favourite characters in the Enid Blyton books.

Sally hopes for pirate ships or a beach rescue, but the holiday slips by with no dramas in sight. Until she goes off alone one evening and has a fall. Is this going to be more adventure than Sally can handle?

Caravan Kids is part of the Making Tracks series from the National Museum of Australia Press. Set in the late 1950s, the story provides a slice of life in the time period, as well as a fun adventure.

This series is an important one, with a focus on different time periods in Australian history. Each story is based around one object from the National Museum – in this case a Propert caravan.

Good stuff.

Caravan Kids, by Libby Hathorn
National Museum of Australia Press, 2006

The Smallest Bilby and the Midnight Star, by Nette Hilton and Bruce Whatley

Every night the smallest bilby looks up at the midnight sky and searches for his favourite star – the smallest one that hangs close to the edge of the sky. Every night she shines down on him. But one night, fearful that she may go away and never come back, the smallest bilby decides to give her something that will make her remember him forever and always.

The Littlest Bilby and the Midnight Star is a delightful offering for young children about the beauty of a simple kiss. Created by the talented, award-winning team of author Nette Hilton and illustrator Bruce Whatley, it is sure to please both little Australians and their parents, and would make a perfect bedtime story.

Whatley has used pen and ink wash on watercolour paper to create subdued, gentle illustrations appropriate to the night time setting of the story. The huge ears and the pink-tipped noses of the bilbies are very cute.

This beautiful offering is the first in of a trilogy featuring the Smallest Bilby and dedicated to Rose-Marie Dusting, who is recognised as the creator of the Easter Bilby concept.

The Smallest Bilby and the Midnight Star, by Nette Hilton and Bruce Whatley
Working Title Press, 2006

The Hold-up Heroes, by Dianne Bates

In a soft voice – and no doubt with a smile on his face – Captain Scarlet replied, ‘The Governor. We will kidnap the Governor and hold him for ransom.’
There was silence as the men grappled to understand, and then we heard:
‘Surely you don’t mean the Governor of New South Wales, Captain?’
‘That’s the one, all right.’

When Polly and James overhear bushrangers plotting to kidnap the Governor, they know they must stop it from happening. But when they race home to tell their parents, they realise their father might be helping the bushrangers. They need to stop him from turning to crime, and foil the plans to kidnap the Governor. But how?

The Hold-up Heroes is a historical fiction offering for junior primary aged readers. Set in the times of bushrangers, it offers a glimpse at this fascinating period of history. Part of the Making Tracks series from the National Museum of Australia Press, this illustrated chapter book is perfect for classroom reading, but just as appealing for private perusal.


The Hold-up Heroes, by Dianne Bates, illustrated by Kathryn Wright
National Museum of Australia Press, 2006

Glow, by Kathryn Deans

Take two humans, a gnome, a couple of trolls and one very mean fairy. Give them a task that compels them to work together. Not much is at stake…only the end of the world as they know it. Sit back and watch the fun begin. There are harpies and witches, tiny arrows and giant guardians. Each step of the way for this intrepid crew is dogged by traps and disasters as they race toward the beginning of the world.

This is the second instalment in ‘The Troll’s Tale’ trilogy, but there is enough of a summary throughout the first chapter to allow it to be a stand-alone read. There are multiple characters here, but Deans juggles them deftly. Pitched at mid- to upper-primary aged reader, this story is full of adventure and humour and all manner of odd creatures.

Glow, by Kathryn Deans
Pan Macmillan Australia 2006
ISBN: 0330422278

The Whole Business With Kiffo and the Pitbull, by Barry Jonsberg

I don’t know you at all. I wouldn’t recognise you from a hole in the ground. If I was telling this story to some friends, then they would already know Kiffo and they would know me and they would know the school and everything. I would be able to get straight into what happened when a new English teacher, the Pitbull, slobbered and snarled her way into out class. But you don’t know anything. No offence.

Calma Harrison is a smart girl, who has loads of ability and gets good grades, but her attitude sometimes lands her in trouble. But when a new English teacher comes to school, Calma soon finds herself in more trouble than she could have ever imagined. Calma and her unlikely friend Kiffo pretty quickly end up on the wrong side of the English teacher (known affectionately by the pair as ‘the Pitbull’). When they set out to get revenge, they uncover something suspicious happening. Could their English teacher really be a drug dealer? Calma and Kiffo think she is, but before they can tell anyone, they need some evidence.

This is an outstanding debut novel, combining humour with some pretty serious subject matter including family, friendship and death. Calma is a likeable character who tells the story as she sees it, even willing to admit when she has been wrong. She is supported by a cast of strange but intriguing characters – a mother who masquerades as a fridge, a teacher who masquerades as a pitbull and, of course, Kiffo, who comes from a violent home and is harshly judged by nearly everyone who knows him.

An excellent offering for teen readers.

The Whole Business With Kiffo and the Pitbull, by Barry Jonsberg
Allen & Unwin, 2004

AFL Footy Fan's Handbook, by Tony Wilson

Do you have a young football fan in your household? If so, this offering from Omnibus, officially endorsed by the AFL, is sure to appeal. Including a brief overview of the history of the game, followed by profiles of each team in the competition an explanation of how the finals series works, and a section of fun and games, this is both informative and entertaining.

Young fans will enjoy learning the lyrics of their club’s song , challenging themselves with any of the several quizzes, or boning up on some Brownlow Medal history. There are also loads of quick facts, and opportunities for kids to record the season’s highlights and more.

Sure to appeal to footy fans aged 7 to 12.

AFL Footy Fan’s Handbook, by Tony Wilson
Omnibus, 2006

The Last Boy, by June Colbert

There MUST be some other people. There have to be.
I can’t be the last living boy.
Why would I be?
I’m too ordinary to be the last surviving person.

Ben is sick of his family ignoring him, so he runs away and hides out in their bomb shelter. Surely they will miss him and come looking for him. But when they don’t come, Ben decides to head back into town. Only town is unlike anything he could have imagined – all the people have gone, dead people filling cars on the highway, and all the shops and businesses locked up. How could he have missed the Last Official Day? And how will he survive on his own?

The Last Boy is a diary format story which explores a frightening future where mankind finally drives itself towards extinction with the use of chemical and germ warfare. The use of the diary format makes it both personal and easily accessible, and also adds a touch of humour in the face of some pretty frightening events. The narrator is a believable fourteen year old boy who speaks with candour to his diary (and, hence, to the reader).

This is a thought-provoking read which is suitable for teens of all reading abilities and would make a great classroom novel.

The Last Boy, by June Colbert
Lothian, 2006

Into the Blue, by Catherine Prattico

Though he never knew it, Jeremy Hindle was the reason I joined. Well, he wasn’t the only reason, because I’d hate to think that a person like that has such an influence over me, but he was the main reason. Whenever people ask me, What made you want to be a policewoman, Nat?’, my answer is simple. Spite.

When Natalie Winters drops out of university, it takes her a while to figure out what she wants to do with her life. But one day she idly toys with the idea of joining the police force. Spurred on by the nasty reaction of a boy whose advances she once spurned, she secretly applies to join the force. Her acceptance signals the start of a new career, and the end of her old life.

Into the Blue traces Nat’s twenty weeks of recruit training at the police academy, and the first months of her life on the beat. She has to cope not just with the stresses of the training and the job, but also with the pressure it places on her family, and her relationship with her boyfriend. There is also an attraction to a co-worker, and some pretty yucky experiences out on the beat, as well as one incident which makes Nat question whether being a policewoman is something she is really cut out for.

Written by a policewoman with several years experience, this is an interesting insight into the daily life and training of young police officers. It will likely appeal to teens who are interested in a career in the force.

Into the Blue, by Catherine Prattico
Lothian, 2006