The Wand and the Sword, by Mike Zarb & Robin Gold

Sweet shmegeggy!’ exclaimed Burnie. ‘It’s the Redwitch!
The Redwitch snatched the wand from its display case. ‘Old York is mine…ALL MINE!’ She kissed the wand with a loud SMACK.
‘Yech!’ grumbled the wand. ‘Take a breath mint, will ya?’

Belmont and Burnie face danger once again as they head off on an exciting quest to find Excalibur and save Old York from the Redwitch, who is up to her usual mischief.

In this, the second story featuring Belmont, the small boy who has unexpectedly become the champion of Old York, and Burnie, his friendly dragon sidekick, the fast paced action and humour continue.

The text works together with the colour illustrations, combining to give the feel of an episodic cartoon in a format likely to appeal to reluctant readers and to children making the transition from picture books to first novels.

Loads of fun.

The Wand and the Sword (Belmont and the Dragon)

Belmont and the Dragon: The Wand and the Sword, by Mike Zarb and Robin Gold
Random House, 2009

Belmont and the Dragon – The Forest of Doom and Gloom

Long, long ago, in the mad-cap medieval metropolis of Old York…there lived an orphan boy named Belmont. He was small of stature but in his heart he had a very big dream.

Belmont dreams of one day becoming a knight. When the other orphans scoff at the suggestion, Belmont sets off on an adventure, determined to prove he can be brave and heroic. Along the way he meets a SNAD (Sensitive New Age Dragon) named Burnie and together they must rescue the beautiful princess Libby from the Putrid Pink Pixies and their mistress, the Redwitch.

Belmont and the Dragon: The Forest of Doom and Gloom is the first in a gorgeous new junior fiction series. The 48 page full-colour format, mixes adventure and humour, with a fast-moving, slightly silly story and cartoon-style illustrations for a combination which emerging readers will adore. The author-illustrator team have both worked in animation, and the book has the feel of a cartoon episode, with the illustrations having depth and the twists of the storyline offering both surprises and laughs. There’s nothing not to like here.

Belmont and the Dragon (Belmont and the Dragon)

Belmont and the Dragon: The Forest of Doom and Gloom, by Mike Zarb & RobinGold
RandomHouse Australia, 2008

This book is available online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Pearlie in the Park, by Wendy Harmer

Reviewed by Kathryn Duncan

Everyone who loves fairies is going to love Pearlie. She lives in the fountain in Jubilee Park in the middle of the city. Every day, Pearlie looks after the park, making sure that animals are doing what they are supposed to do and that the park is clean and tidy.

Then one day, things don’t go as Pearlie plans. The spiders are floating on the lily pads, ducks are swinging by their wings in the trees, possums are swimming in the pond and frogs are spinning spider’s webs.

Pearlie sets out to find out who is behind this and we join her as she discovers what went wrong. We meet the culprits, Mr Flea and Scrag, two mischievous rats who also live in Jubilee Park. They enjoy causing just a little bit of trouble for Pearlie and her friends. But Pearlie soon teaches them that being mischievous may not get them exactly what they want.

Pearlie looks just like you imagine a city fairy would look like. She has long blond hair, pearls around her neck and a great big happy grin. Mr Flea and Scrag are opposites, one fat and the other thin, but they look like they are up to something. The pictures are bright and colourful and make you want to go and enjoy a day with Pearlie and her park friends.

Recommended for lower primary school aged children or those who enjoy listening to a fun story.

Pearlie in the Park, by Wendy harmer, illustrated by Mike Zarb
Random House, 2003