Fun Bums, by Danielle McDonald

Have you ever seen a chicken’s bum dance?
Or an elephant’s bum lay an egg?

This cute novelty offering gives youngsters the chance to explore these and plenty of other silly combinations. Pages are split horizontally so that the top half of each animal’s body can be mixed with the bottom half of others. The left side of each spread features simple text – the top half naming each animal – Frog’s bum…, Pig’s bum.. and so on – and the bottom half saying what the opposite bottom does – …swims in the pond, dances to a tune and so on – so that each animal can be matched with the text and picture of each other animal’s bottom.

This is a simple yet humorous concept which will entertain prereaders and early readers, with the possibility of creating 40 combinations. The illustrations are bright and humourous.

A fun offering.

Fun Bums [Board book]

Fun Bums, by Danielle McDonald
Little Hare, 2010
ISBN 9781921541612

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

Three Things About Daisy Blue, by Kate Gordon

Three things you should know:
1. This wasn’t my idea.
2. I am doing this under duress.
3. I don’t like you.
–Daisy Blue.

There are three things Daisy Blue does not want to do. She does not want to go to Bali. She does not want to keep a diary. And she does not want to spend time with Paulina Gifford. In contrast, Paulina Gifford is delighted to be going to Bali. She’s also happy to keep a journal, noting her research findings while she’s there. But she doesn’t want to spend time with Daisy any more than Daisy want to spend time with her.

Still, the pair’s mothers work together and the trip to Bali is an important part of that work, so it is inevitable that they’ll both go, and that they’ll spend time together – yet neither really expects that by their end of their visit they might actually find something in common.

Three Things About Daisy Blue is a funny, upbeat, downright cool debut novel from Tassie-based author Kate Gordon. Daisy and Paulina are as likeable as they are different, and the reader will cheer for them both as the story unfolds and their differences and similarities both become clearer.

Part of the Girlfriend fiction series, Three Things About Daisy Blue is a wonderful offering for teen readers.

Three Things About Daisy Blue

Three Things About Daisy Blue, by Kate Gordon
Allen & Unwin, 2010
ISBN 9781742372129

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

Plum Puddings and Paper Moons, by Glenda Millard

Now she was fifteen, Scarlet wasn’t certain whether wishes ever came true. She had yet to discover what could be done with black tights and a broken bridge.

Everyone knows that Christmas time is the time for making wishes, and it’s almost Christmas in Cameron’s creek. But, in the Kingdom of Silk, Scarlet is not sure that wishes can come true. Scarlet, the oldest of the Rainbow girls, has met a boy, Anik, who has lost so much that Scarlet doesn’t know how she can make a difference. But, as all the residents of the Kingdom of Silk learn at some point, wishies can come true and one person can make a difference. Scarlet decides to declare peace on Cameron’s Creek and soon she can see that difference for herself.

Plum Puddings and Paper Moons is the fifth instalment in the beautiful, and award-winning Kingdom of Silk series. Just as breathtakingly satisfying as its predecessors, this is the kind of book that you want to hug – and that makes you feel hugged in return.

Divine.

Plum Puddings and Paper Moons

Plum Puddings and Paper Moons, by Glenda Millard
ABC Books, 2010
ISBN 9780733328664

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

Kumiko and the Dragon's Secret, by Briony Stewart

‘What about the girl?’
I look up, my skin prickling. How hadn’t I noticed? Sobs and sighs tumble from every dragon around the temple as Rahzoo breathes the word, ‘Taken.’
‘What do you mean taken?’ I say. The dragons are silent. I turn to Tomodo. ‘What do they mean?’

Kumiko’s little sister Arisu is a pest. Kumiko would much rather spend time with her guardian dragon Tomodo. But when Arisu disappears, Kumiko realises how much she loves her. The dragons must find her and rescue her – if they can. It soon emerges that Kumiko herself is the only one who can rescue Arisu, by facing a foe even the dragons fear.

Kumiko and the Dragon’s Secret is a beautiful chapter book and sequel to Kumiko and the Dragon. Kumiko and her family are the last of the ancient royal bloodline of dragons. As such they have powers which they are still uncovering, and guardian dragons. Kumiko’s dragon, Tomodo, tells her that her secret gift is courage, but Kumiko isn’t so sure.

With gorgeous black and white illustrations by the author, Kumiko and the Dragon’s Secret is an excellent read for children.

Kumiko and the Dragon's Secret

Kumiko and the Dragon’s Secret, by Briony Stewart
UQP, 2010

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

Chanel Sweethearts, by Cate Kendall

It was the smell that really knocked her sideways. She was expecting the heat, the smoke and the noise, but not the sickening stench of burning oil and blistering paint mixed with sizzling eucalyptus from nearby trees.
Jess stood numb as the miasma of smoke and the acrid smell wove thick, back plumes around her. It was surreal, it couldn’t be happening. It couldn’t end like this; all her dreams and hopes burnt to nothing.

Jess Wainwright has been successful in business. Since starting her own cafe and gallery, her professional life has gone from strength to strength. But on a personal level, things are not so rosy. So, when the opportunity arises for her to move to the city and use her design skills to forge a new career, she feels she has to take the chance.

But saying goodbye to Stump Gully is hard, and life in the cut throat world of design is challenging. Jess rises to the new challenges, but still feels torn, until tragedy strikes and her hand is forced.

Chanel Sweethearts is a warm, witty tale of the contrasts between country simplicity and city ‘sophistication’, with a dash of mystery, family drama and romance. An engaging read.

Chanel Sweethearts

Chanel Sweethearts, by Cate Kendall
Bantam, 2010
ISBN 9781863256940

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

Listening to Country, by Ros Moriarty

‘This big land, Australia. It’s big enough for everyone!’ calls Annie Karrakayn across the pre-dawn campfire to the other Law women stirring from the perfect quiet of a still, desert night. ‘Strong Dreamin’,’ she whispers.

This intimate look at a journey across the country and across cultures is a delight to read. Ros Moriarty, cofounder of Balarinji designs, shares her journey, through her married life, to an Aboriginal man with strong ties to his land and people in the Northern Territory, through their business life together, and also through her sharing a journey with her husband’s matriarchal relatives to perform ceremony. These three journeys are intertwined and revealed side by side.

Moriarty’s style enables the reader to share her discoveries about herself and her husband’s people in a way which uplifts and inspires. Listening to Country is a book which calls readers to listen.

Listening to Country

Listening to Country, by Ros Moriarty
Allen & Unwin, 2010
ISBN 9781741753806

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

The Twelve Cats of Christmas, by Kevin Whitlark

On the first day of Christmas
my true cat sent to me…
a fat mouse in a fur tree.

While there have been lots of different takes on the traditional Partridge in a Pear tree Christmas song, never before has there been a version quite so riddled with cats. The fat mouse in the first spread is followed by two tomcats twisting, three fluffy Persians, four floating kitties and more, with each spread becoming progressively more crowded with cats of all shapes, sizes and colours.

This is fun, funky offering which kids and cat-lovers will adore. Youngsters will enjoy joining in with singing the text and also studying the detail in the illustrations, with each cat unique and each spread featuring the new editions on the left side with the text and the right side showing the cumulative cat tally surrounding he Christmas tree.

Purrfect fun.

The Twelve Cats of Christmas

The Twelve Cats of Christmas, by Kevin Whitlark
Scholastic Australia, 2010
ISBN 9781741696240

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

Santa Koala, by Colin Buchanan & Glen Singleton

Santa Koala, Santa Koala
Off in a flap like a mad cockatoo…

When Santa stops to rest near an Aussie billabong, Koala and his animal friends decide they will give him a helping hand by delivering all the presents. Koala saves the day – or does he?

This funny Christmas tale/song, set to the tune of Waltzing Matilda will be sung along with and enjoyed by preschool and primary school aged children from the first reading, aided by the CD recording which accompanies it. Santa Koala is written and performed by Colin Buchanan whose previous offerings have proven popular, and illustrated with plenty of humour and colour by Glen Singleton. Great for the classroom and for gift giving.

Santa Koala: Hardcover + Music CD

Santa Koala, by Colin Buchanan & Glen Singleton
Scholastic Australia, 2010
ISBN 9781741696929

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

In Lonnie's Shadow, by Chrissie Michaels

Keeping low, the youth crept through the shadows of the nightcart lane. The afternoon was already curtaining into early darkness. He turned up his collar against the drizzling rain and came to a standstill. All in all he couldn’t have chosen a better hour to do his business.
Only a dozen paces across a bluestone yard kept Lonnie McGuiness from the door he planned to force. he fought the temptation to tear across. Hold on mate, he steadied himself, don’t be too foolhardy. Once he made a move, there’d be no turning back.

In the slums of Little Lon, Lonnie McGuiness dwells, desperate to make a difference to his own life and those of his friends, but often feeling that there is no way out. He’s no criminal, but he’ll do what it takes to see that justice prevails.

In Lonnie’s Shadow is excellent historical fiction. With each chapter being introduced by a listing for a historical artefact which then appears in some way within the chapter, so that buttons, brooches, pieces of glass and more are used to weave together the story.

Lonnie and his friends are likeable characters, struggling against the odds as street workers, stable hands, greengrocers and seamstresses, low paid youngsters from the poorest part of Melbourne. Yet they are generous, and able to look out for each other in times of trouble, even when troubled themselves. Teen and upper primary readers will enjoy the story and be intrigued by the differences between their own lives and those of the teen characters.

In Lonnie's Shadow

In Lonnie’s Shadow, by Chrissie Michaels
Ford St, 2010

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

Graffiti Moon, by Cath Crowley

Let me make it in time. Let me meet Shadow. The guy who paints in the dark. Paints birds trapped on brick walls and people lost in ghost forests. Paints guys with grass growing from their hearts and girls with buzzing lawn mowers.

Even though she’s never met him, Lucy is sure she is in love with Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work is all over the city. On the last night of Year 12 she goes in search of him, but instead finds Ed, the last guy she would ever hook up with, after a disastrous first date. Ed says he knows how to find Shadow, so Lucy spends the night touring Shadow’s art work and learning about Ed and herself in the process. But will they find Shadow?

This is an absorbing and intense ride though 24 hours in the lives of a group of teens on the cusp of adulthood. Each character has demons or insecurities to confront, amidst the challenges of the future which the end of year 12 present to all teens. As the night progresses, readers get to know each character well and, whilst they may see what Lucy cannot, will enjoy seeing the story unfold towards a satisfying conclusion.

Graffiti Moon

Graffiti Moon, by Cath Crowley
Pan 2010 264pp
ISBN 9780330425780
rrp $16.99

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