The True Story of Stuff, by James Valentine

Stuff. It’s everywhere. In your bedroom, in the kitchen, in the lounge room, everywhere is full of stuff. I’m talking about the ordinary stuff like chairs and carpet and dishwashing liquid and toast. You know what, it all has a story.

Whilst the title of this one, The True History of Stuff might suggest otherwise, this is a hilarious, most definitely fictional but nonetheless entertaining version of the invention of things we take for granted. With so much stuff originating from the long-forgotten nation of Trapezia, author James Valentine feels it only right to share the stories of the creation of different stuff, and share his passion for this forgotten land.

In this, Volume One, we learn how shampoo, peanut butter and the days of the week were invented, as well as following the narrator’s journey as he unearths more information about, and stories from, Trapezia.

The humorous stories are well complemented by the black and white drawings of Reg Mombassa and the novelty of a small-sized hard cover format.

Sure to be popular with 8 to 10 year olds.

The True History of Stuff, Volume One, by James Valentine
ABC Books, 2008

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

Jump Man Rule 2, by James Valentine

Jules Santorini and Geneveieve Corrigan are on their first date. It’s taken loads of planning and gallons of sweat from Jules’ palms, but at last it’s happening. Jules may even summon the courage to kiss Genevieve.

Meanwhile, in the future, Theodore Pine Four, who met Jules and Gen on a time jump once before, is the biggest celebrity in the two planets. He knows there’s only one rule for time jumping: Don’t touch anything!

When a stranger interrupts Jules and Gen’s date, a reunion with Theo seems imminent. The modern day pair have to time jump into the future, become invisible, spy on Theo and try to save the world. And they also need to be home on time.

Jumpman Rule 2 is the second JumpMan title by media man James Valentine, who writes these entertaining books in between commitments for ABC Radio and Showtime Movie News. This doesn’t make him another media-face penning a book in his spare time – Valentine is a talented story teller, and kids will love the Jumpman series.

A great read for 10 to 14 year olds.

JumpMan Rule 2, by James Valentine
Random House, 2003