When a storm carries Dorothy and her dog Toto away, all she wants is to get home to Kansas. But that isn’t going to be easy – because she has landed in the mystical world of Oz, and nobody there has even heard of Kansas. But Dorothy is determined to get home…
Dorothy and her friends were at first dazzled by the brilliancy of the wonderful City. The streets were lined with beautiful houses all built of green marble and studded everywhere with sparkling emeralds.
When a storm carries Dorothy and her dog Toto away, all she wants is to get home to Kansas. But that isn’t going to be easy – because she has landed in the mystical world of Oz, and nobody there has even heard of Kansas. But Dorothy is determined to get home and so she journey across Oz to find the wizard who might help her. Along the way she makes friends with a scarecrow who yearns or brains, a tin man who wants a heart and a lion in search of courage. Together the friends have an action-packed adventure.
First published in 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been loved by generations. This new edition holds special delight, being illustrated by award-winning Australian artist Robert Ingpen.
As with other classic titles produced by Ingpen and Walker Books, the illustrations are filled with detail and coloured with washes that highlight the classic feel of the tale and the series. Endpapers feature sepia toned line drawings and sketches of the characters and the hardback volume is wrapped in a slipcover and printed on sturdy paper, giving a feeling of quality that make this a collector’s item.
Wonderful as a gift for a reader of any age.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank baum, illustrated by Robert Ingpen
Walker Books, 2011
This book is available in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.
Goldie Roth struggles with the constraints (both literal and otherwise) that are placed on her by her family and her community. She knows they are for her own good, to protect her from any danger or evil that she might encounter. But in Jewel, the line between protection and oppression has been crossed, and Goldie has to break free. When she does, she discovers the Museum of Dunt, a place full of magic and mystery…
In those days, the museum had four keepers – Herro Dan, Olga Ciavolga, Sinew, and the boy Toadspit. In ordinary times, they would have been enough to keep the museum and its secrets safe. But these were not ordinary times.
Trouble was coming. The signs were unmistakable. The keepers did not know where it was coming from, or when it would strike. But it was clear that it would not be easily stopped.
Using all his skills of Concealment, Sinew set out to find a child who could be trained as an extra keeper. Six of the children he spied on turned out to be unsuitable. The seventh (according to her official file) was disobedient and wilful. She had worn the punishment chains three times already, and the year had barely begun.
Goldie Roth struggles with the constraints (both literal and otherwise) that are placed on her by her family and her community. She knows they are for her own good, to protect her from any danger or evil that she might encounter. But in Jewel, the line between protection and oppression has been crossed, and Goldie has to break free. When she does, she discovers the Museum of Dunt, a place full of magic and mystery. There she meets the keepers, those who look after the museum. The museum is a place unlike any Goldie has encountered, with shifting rooms and danger. Goldie and the keepers must protect the museum, and by doing so, protect themselves, their families and the rest of Jewel.
There are many who suggest that children today are so over-protected that they lack the opportunities to develop their own sense of reality, danger and independence. In Jewel, the children are protected fiercely, so that they not fall prey to mythical beasts, environmental hazards (like water) or any other danger. To that end, those who question or baulk at the loving restraints are punished by Guardians. Parents are full of fearful love, and the Guardians work to squash any sense of rebellion. Museum of Thieves is a wild adventure about the dangers of too much protection, too much containment. But it’s also about the endurance and resilience of children who, given encouragement, are capable of anything. A terrific read, for upper primary and beyond. Look out for instalment two of this adventure, The City of Lies, now on sale.
Museum of Thieves (The Keepers), Lian Tanner
Allen & Unwin 2011
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
This book is available from good bookstores or online from Fishpond.
Cadbury tells all his mates his Grandma’s getting a Harley – and loves their jealous reaction. Soon he’s off cruising the highways on the back of Grandma’s Custom Softail. It’s just one of the wild things his Grandma has done – she used to drive a big rig, and after that a mini bus to take tourists around Australia. Now she’s staying nearer to home to be with Cadbury when his mother is away. And Cadbury couldn’t be happier.
Well, he could be happier – if all the pesky girls in his class would just leave him alone. They seem to think he’s cute and they want to kiss him – yuck.
Outside of school, Cadbury and his Grandma and her biker friends have loads of fun and exciting adventures. Some are more scary than exciting. Perhaps the scariest of all is when a new girl comes to school – and turns out to be part of the gang.
Grandma Cadbury’s Bikie Gang is the third book about Grandma Cadbury and her hilarious adventures. Author Dianne Bates has a special talent for stories which are silly, adventurous and educational all at the same time. Good fun.
Grandma Cadbury’s Bikie Gang, by Dianne Bates
Angus & Robertson, 1993
What would happen if you loved chocolate so much that you stole some from your auntie’s sweet shop? What if she was able to turn you into a statue?And what would happen if your Mum’s new boyfriend was a vampire and crept into your room at night?
Author Dianne Bates knows the answers to these questions – because these and other questions are at the heart of the short stories in The Boy Who Loved Chocolate and Other Stories.
The eight stories in the book are as entertaining as they are different – as well as the chocolate thief and the vampire boyfriend, there are female bushrangers, magician uncles, a dog called Custard and more.
Ideal for classroom use, the stories are also great for readers who like to read just a little at a time – a complete story can be devoured in one sitting.
Published in 1990 and followed by several reprints, The Boy Who Loved Chocolate remains a great collection of short stories for 8 to 12 year olds.
The Boy Who Loved Chocolate and Other Stories, by Dianne Bates
Omnibus Books, 1990
Pincus Corbett works hard in his tailor shop, attending to every detail, working late when customers have special orders. His is a hard-working, very regular life. But one night, as he works late, a mysterious customer puts in a very strange order. He wants a multicoloured suit with matching cape, made to order from an old sketch. Pincus obliges, but doesn’t know why anyone would want to wear such a suit.
When the man doesn’t come to claim the special suit, Pincus decides to try it on for himself. When his wife finds him gone the next morning she is mystified – where has he gone and why?
The media aren’t much interested in Pincus’ disappearance. They are far more interested in a strange hypnotist who appears at Sir Malcom Hersey’s party, and in the Prime Minister’s sudden unplanned holiday.
Meanwhile, Pincus finds himself caught up into a secret mission the likes of which he could never have anticipated.Is he really a hypnotist? And will he evr get back to his wife?
Pincus Corbett’s Strange Adventure is a fun book from acclaimed story teller Odo Hirsch. In his regular brilliant fashion, Hirsch weaves a fantasy full of humour and adventure, yet manages to touch on themes of loyalty and guilt.
Pincus Corbett’s Strange Adventure, by Odo Hirsch
Allen & Unwin, 2002
Pigs don’t fly …. But sometimes they do like to wallow in the mud.
Bear’s don’t bounce … But they snooze all winter.
Two new lift-the-flap picture books, combining the talents of author Jackie French and illustrator Matt Cosgrove are sure to delight young prereaders and their parents. Each page combines a little fantasy – flying pigs, bouncing bears, jiggling giraffes – with a little fact, hidden beneath sturdy flaps. Each flap is half a page and the illustration on the main page is continued on to the flap, to show a connection between the fact and the fantasy.
French’s simple text makes these books quick to read and suitable for toddlers’ short attention spans, whilst Cosgrove’s vibrant illustrations are sure to delight.
The format of the two books is similar, with Pigs Don’t Fly concentrating on farm animals and Bears Don’t Bounce on wild animals.
Jackie French is a prolific author with many children’s titles to her name, as well as books about gardening and natural lifestyle. She makes regular appearances on television’s Burke’s Backyard.
This pair of books are sure to prove popular with youngsters and their parents.
Pigs Don’t Fly and Bears Don’t Bounce, by Jackie French, illustrated by Matt Cosgrove
Koala Books, 2003
Portia Pratt has started a club and has asked all the poeple she likes to join. Dulcie and Dud haven’t been invited, but they don’t care. They’re going to start a club of their own and aks their friends to join.
Dulcie’s new club is called the Invisibles, becuse they like to do things invisibly. Things like surprising their teacher with flowers, or cleaning Mister Barker’s chalkboard. But the invisibles need to do a really big good deed if they want to do better than Portia’s club.
Then the children hear about Mister Braithwaite’s problem. Mrs Rossi is trying to get him to sell his home and move out – but all he wants is to stay in his house. The only thing it needs, he says, is a coat of paint. Enter the invisibles, with a great plan for helping Mister Braithwaite out.
Dulcie and Dud and the Really Cool Club is the third book about these loveable characters. This self-contained episode is both humorous and easy to read, making it an ideal first novel for 6 to 8 year old readers.
Author Carol Ann Martin has written numerous Cocky’s Circle books,as well as another children’s novel Waiting for Jason (1995). She is well supported in Dulcie and Dud by the comic line-drawings of illustrator Janine Dawson.
Lots of fun!
Dulcie and Dud and the Really Cool Club, by Carol Ann Martin, illustrated by Janine Dawson
Omnibus Books, 2003
Simon Knight isn’t too happy about running in the cross country. But when he falls into a hedge he’s not sure he likes the alternative either. It seems that this alternative involves a ride on Traveller, the horse who once before transported him to the strange land of Braveria.
Simon soon finds himself back in Braveria where, as Sir Simon, he is once again called on to help the King. Someone, it seems, is out to cause mischief to the King’s daughter. Who better to protect her than Simon? Along the way he must contend with dragons – some fearsome and others simply annoying – clinging damsels and meddlesome knights, as well as the princess herself, who isn’t so sure she needs looking after. Poor Simon!
Knight Protector is the second book in the Reluctant Knight trilogy by superb children’s author, Sally Odgers. With a winning mix of fantasy, danger and downright silliness, these books are sure to appeal to young fantasy readers aged 8 to 12. Although reading the two in order will enhance enjoyment, each is self-contained.
Sally Odgers is an award-winning Tasmanian writer who continues to show her versatilty with excellent offerings in a range of genres for different age groups. Knight Protector is no exception.
Knight Protector, by Sally Odgers
Koala Books, 2003
This book really doesn’t need a review – the title says it all. So Feral is, in fact, feral. Which is why kids will love it. While adults may squirm and feel more than a little queasy, kids will laugh out loud and just have to share the stories with their friends.
Following on from the success of her earlier title, So Gross, author J.A. Mawter has seven new tales to share. From globby bits of meat pie coming out of kids’ noses, to a record attempt for the world’s biggest fart, every page is filled with feral kids doing feral things. Eight to twelve year old readers will love it.
So Feral, by J. A. Mawter
Angus and Robertson (an imprint of Harper Collins), 2002
Tania has fun building a fairy house underneath the lavender bush. But the next morning, she is surprised to find a pair of tiny wings hanging on the clothesline. Who could they belong to?
Tania’s brother Troy doesn’t believe in fairies – he says the wings must belong to an insect.
But someone is trying to leave messages for Tania. She can’t quite read them but is sure a fairy must be resoonsible. Is the owner of the wings asking for them back?
The Fairy’s Wings is the third book about Tania and Troy, from the talented combination of writer Gillian Rubenstein and illustrator Craig Smith. Full of magic and humour, the story is sure to delight youngsters aged six to nine.
The Fairy’s Wings, by Gillian Rubinstein, Illustrated by Craig smith
Puffin Books 1998