Rhythms of the Kimberley, by Russell Gueho

The Kimberley region – the area of the far north of Western Australia – is one of the most undisturbed parts of Australia’s landscape. With beauty and diversity, this seemingly rugged landscape is also both delicate and vulnerable. Whilst many are familiar with parts of the Kimberley, few know it as intimately as Russell Gueho.

In Rhythms of the Kimberley Gueho takes readers on a journey through the Kimberley exploring the landscape and its inhabitants, both flora and fauna. Importantly, he also examines the forces and relationships which impact on these inhabitants, from natural events such as cyclones and massive tides, to the impacts of man and introduced species.

This is not a light read, but a detailed examination of a place which the author is passionate about. It is also a beautiful book to browse, filled with stunning photographs of animals, plants, landscapes and seascapes, bringing to life the beauty of the region Gueho explores with his words.

Russell Gueho is well qualified to write about the Kimberley, and this is his second book about this part of Australia. He has lived in the region for more than eighteen years and ran a nature-based tourism business in the region. He lectures in Tourism at Kimberley TAFE and is a passionate advocate for responsible tourism.

Rhythms of the Kimberley is a beautiful and important book.

Rhythms of the Kimberley: A Seasonal Journey Through Australia's North

Rhythms of the Kimberley, by Russell Gueho
Fremantle Press, 2007

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

Heart of Gold, by Michael Pryor

Aubrey Fitzwilliam knew that crisis was another word for opportunity. He simply wished that he saw more of the latter and less of the former.

Aubrey Fitzwilliam’s life is never boring. Ordinarily, he wouldn’t mind the excitement but having just finished his final exams, he is hoping for a bit of a break to see the sights of Lutetia with his best friend George. He’s hoping, while he’s there, to find a cure for his condition and to catch up with the lovely Caroline, but soon his family are lining up to give him other tasks to undertake and he’s wondering if there’ll be any time for himself.

In Lutetia, the capital of Gallia, Aubrey and George become aware of strange goings-on. Someone is stealing people’s souls, leaving them as empty shells. Then Aubrey and George witness the theft of the Heart of Gold, the country’s lifeline. Together with Caroline, they set out to find the Heart, stop the soul stealer and restore Lutetia to its glory.

Heart of Gold is the second instalment in the Laws of Magic trilogy. An exciting, well built fantasy, it draws readers in to a world which is at once familiar yet different. The narrative has a comfortable feel, making it easy to read and to believe in, and thoroughly absorbing. Aubrey is a skilled magician, an adventurer and a clever detective, yet he is also very much a teenager, capable of the foibles of youth, and readers will be able to relate to his inadequacies, especially in matters of the heart.

A spellbinding read.

Heart of Gold: Laws of Magic 2

Heart of Gold, by Michael Pryor
Random House, 2007

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

Blood Brothers, by Peter Corris

Bartholomew Fletcher – always called Bart if he had anything to do with it – broke his left leg playing touch football. That is, Jack Chandra, who was supposed to be Bart’s best friend, broke it for him. Bart knew the collision, and the way Jack had stuck his foot out, was quite deliberate.

Bart and Jack have been best mates for ages, so when Jack goes away unexpectedly, Bart misses him. He doesn’t expect that Jack will come back angry – angry enough to deliberately break his leg. With his leg in plaster and his friend unwilling to talk, Bart has time to ponder the situation, but little idea ho to resolve it.

Bart’s new girlfriend, Kylie, tries to help Bart sort out the problem but Jack doesn’t want to know about it. When Jack’s girlfriend is killed in an accident he seems out of control and the friendship seems unfixable. But Bart isn’t willing to turn his back on the friendship and as he tries to solve his own problems he doesn’t lose hope of helping Jack, too.

Blood Brothers is an absorbing young adult novel. Author Peter Corris is multi-published as a writer of adult fiction and nonfiction, but this is his first foray into writing for a younger readership. At times his narrative seems a little adult – with changes of perspective even within scenes making it even more adult-sounding. Yet in spite of this, the story deals with both an intriguing mystery and some issues which teens will relate to, including issues of parentage, teen relationships and search for identity.

Blood Brothers

Blood Brothers, by Peter Corris
Lothian, 2007

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

Eyespy Emily Eyefinger, by Duncan Ball

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

My grandson is a huge fan of Duncan Ball’s Selby books, and is collecting them at a great rate. I have to say I have enjoyed those of the Selby books I have read too so I was interested to read this Emily Eyefinger book. Eyespy Emily Eyefinger is a compilation of 4 books which were previously published as books 5-8 in the Emily Eyefinger series.

Emily Eyefinger has an advantage over many of us. She has an extra eye, on the end of her finger. She discovers, and readers will too, that it can become very handy for solving problems.

Duncan Ball displays the same quirky humour in this book as in the Selby books. In the first story Emily introduces the reader to the ‘Mouse Code’ she and her friend Malcolm have devised. By cracking the mouse code, she learns her friend and his father, Professor Mousefinder, are in trouble. She convinces the soldiers to take her along on their rescue mission. Crawling through the jungle she finds her eyefinger comes in very handy.

Emily is a daring, enthusiastic, likeable and inventive main character who helps solve problems for those she cares about. A kind hearted girl, Emily helps her friend Janey who is in danger of losing the part she covets in a movie and helps her teacher, Ms Plump with the opera she is in. Emily manages to always be in the right place to help her friends or just when trouble is around.

For me it lacked a little of the charm and fun of the Selby books, though I’m sure avid Emily Eyefinger fans might not agree. And maybe I’m just a sucker for dog stories. However, I’m sure children will relate to Emily and enjoy her adventures. Readers from around 7 and upwards will enjoy this book and it would be a good introduction for anyone who has not met Emily Eyefinger before.

The end of the book contains an interesting anecdote from Duncan Ball which explains how Emily Eyefinger came to be.

Eyespy Emily Eyefinger, by Duncan Ball , Illustrated by Craig Smith
Angus&Roberston an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
ISBN 13:978 0 7322 8637 8

The Team, by David Bedford

“Can’t he talk?” said Harvey.
“No,” said professor Gertie. “His brain is pure football. He chases. He tackles. He keeps the ball. And he scores goals. He’s a Football Machine, and he’s programmed to win! Watch.”

Harvey Boots and his friends have a football team – but, Harvey says, they’re rubbish. They can’t win a game. Then Harvey’s friend Professor Gertie comes up with a new invention to help them. Mark 1 is a football-playing robot, and he’s good. The only problem is that inventions aren’t allowed on the field. Can Mark 1 help them at all?

The Football Machine is the first of three titles in this compilation, which brings together author David Bedford’s first three books about The Team. With plenty of soccer action (the author is UK-based, hence the term ‘football’), lots of humour and illustrative support, the stories are suitable for readers aged seven to ten, especially boys.

Good fun.

The Team Omnibus (Team S.)

The Team, by David Bedford, illustrated by Keith Brumpton
Little Hare, 2007

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

Kaleidoscope, by Dale Harcombe

Kaleidoscopeis, just like the children’s toy for which it is named, an unexpected delight. Behind an unassuming (though attractive) cover lies an array of beautiful poetry, with each turn of the page providing a new perspective and a new delight.

From the title poem which captures the magic of the kaleidoscope and the new perspective it offers, to the bittersweet (but oh so real) twist in Hopscotch – which opens by describing the innocent delight of a game between two girls then turns to show the cruelty those same girls can show to a third – and from poems about war to one about a dramatic moon rise, poet Dale Harcombe offers insight and reflection to readers, who must pause to absorb each new observation.

This little offering is a delight, both for poetry lovers and for those who perhaps don’t ordinarily read poetry, as the poems are accessible to all.


Kaleidoscope, by Dale Harcombe
Ginninderra Press, 2005

Children's Magazine Review: Tibbidy

Tibbidy is a glossy new 32 page magazine for young children. It includes stories, puzzles and many other activities. In this first, beach-themed, edition there are four stories, two by Jackie Hosking, one by Janette Brazel and the fourth by George Ivanoff. Two are in verse, one is set in a graphic format (we used to call them comics), and the fourth is in a more traditional narrative format. Illustrations for stories and activities are by various illustrators (in a variety of styles) but all are bright and colourful. Activities suggested can be completed with items found in or around most homes. Tibbidycontains no advertising. It also links to a website where there are sample story pages and some activities.

Tibbidy is a lovely looking magazine. It feels good to hold. The magazine is of sturdy paper and a size perfect for being read alone or for sharing with a older reader. From the bright-coloured ‘pick-me-up’ cover to the build-your-own rock pool activity inside the back cover, producer Kirsty Gautheron has put together a wonderful package. The stories are engaging, the illustrations full of extra tit-bits for the reader (or pre-reader) to find. There are a wide range of imaginative activities with something to appeal to every taste. The magazine is to be produced quarterly and is available from selected retailers (although I couldn’t find details of these), or online at www.tibbidy.com.au (order the print edition or download the printable edition).


Tibbidy, produced by Kirsty Gautheron
2008 ISBN: 9771835001005

Paraphernalia's Present, by Diana Lawrenson

Paraphernalia hopped down from her perch in the henhouse and set off along the path. ‘Good morning my dear and only friend,’ Dottie always said. ‘Do come in. Breakfast is almost ready.’

Dottie Devine lives alone. Although passers-by wave and say ‘hello’, her only friend is her chicken, Paraphernalia. Dottie and Paraphernalia share everything, but one day Dottie has an accident and Paraphernalia is left on her own for three weeks. When Dottie returns, she is surprised to find that Paraphernalia has a present for her: Paraphernalia has hatched seven little chicks. And, as the chicks grow and begin to lay eggs of their own, Dottie’s life begins to change. She begins to sell the eggs Paraphernalia and her daughters lay, and soon her life is filled with new friends, the customers who come to buy the eggs.

Paraphernalia’s Present is a beautiful picture book offering, with a charming tale of an unlikely friendship, coupled with the charming illustrative style of Dee Huxley. Paraphernalia is a well rounded chook with sweeping tail feathers and an expressive face, all of which is reflected in her owner’s ample curves, character-filled face and slightly wild orange hair.

Perfect for reading aloud, Paraphernalia’s Present will delight children and adults.

Paraphernalia's Present

Paraphernalia’s Present, by Diana Lawrenson
ABC Books, 2008

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

Fowl Play, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

‘All I can smell is chook and soap, and cat,’ said Foxie. ‘There was a strange smell in the yard, but it wasn’t dog. Did you interrier-gate Shuffle?’
‘Not yet.’ I explained how Sarge had dragged me away from the crime scene. Foxie snorted, then sniffed under the door. ‘There’s that strange smell again.’

Something strange is going on in Dogeroo. Auntie Tidge and her friends have all bought chooks, and when the chooks are attacked, the dogs get the blame. But Jack Russell, dog detective is on the case, and he’s sure that his friends are not to blame. The problem is, he doesn’t know who is responsible.

Fowl Play is the ninth offering in the Jack Russell: Dog Detective series, a fun chapter book series for middle primary aged readers. Like the other books in the series, Fowl Play stands alone, although readers who have read the other stories will enjoy seeing favourite characters again and seeing relationships and individuals develop.

Jack is an endearing first-person (or first-canine) narrator, and the chaos of dogs mixing with chooks make this a fun story.

Fowl Play, by Darrel & Sally Odgers
Scholastic Press, 2008