Meet Rose, by Sherryl Clark

In her bedroom, Rose poured cold water from the flowered jug into the bowl and washed her hands and face, shivering at how icy it was. She used the hand towel to clean her boots, and brushed her dark, unruly hair. There. Surely Mother wouldn’t scold her on her birthday?

It is 1900 and Rose is growing up in a wealthy Melbourne household. Life should be easy, but Rose’s mother expects her to always act like a young lady – which means no cricket, no adventurers, and no school. But Rose desperately wants all of those things. When her favourite Aunt Alice comes to stay, Rose is happy – but Mother isn’t. She thinks Aunt Alice is a bad influence.

Meet Rose is the first of four stories about Rose which form part of the Our Australian Girl series. The series comprises four sets of four books, each exploring the story of one girl from a different period of Australian history. Rose differs a little from the other three girls because she comes from a more privileged background, yet, just like the other girls, she faces struggles and challenges as she tries to find her place in the world.

Meet Rose will appeal to middle and upper primary aged readers.

Meet Rose (Our Australian Girl)

Meet Rose (Our Australian Girl), by Sherryl Clark
Puffin Books, 2011
ISBN 9780143305361

This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Now I Am Bigger, by Sherryl Clark & Nina Rycroft

look, there’s someone
just like me

hands on head
arms out wide
touch my nose
tickle my ears
that baby does
everything I do

From the moments after birth, to a birthday party, Now I am Bigger captures the big and little moments of a baby’s life. Similar in format to a verse novel, this picture book offering consists of a series of free verse poems each focussing on one of baby’s experiences – being wrapped in a light cocoon after birth, floating in a bath, looking in a mirror, learning to crawl and walk – and brought to life in gentle water colour and pencil illustrations.

The poems can be read separately, but together create a lovely exploration of the world of a baby. Perfect for read aloud to the very young, the gentle rhythm of the text could be used as a bedtime story, but will also appeal to older children who have babies in their lives.

Now I am Bigger

Now I am Bigger, by Sherryl Clark & Nina Rycroft
Working Title, 2010
ISBN 9781921504174

This book can be purchased in any good bookstore, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Motormouth, by Sherryl Clark

holidays suck
when there’s no one
to hang out with

don’t even ask
where my best mate Dave is –
it’s no place I can go.

Chris has lost his best mate, Dave, and it’s hard to feel good about anything. the only thing that cheers him up is his obsession with cars. When Josh Carter comes to town, and tells everyone his dad is a famous racing car driver, Chris finds renewed interest. But Josh is hiding something, and hanging out with Josh is more problematic than it ever was with Dave. Josh is a motormouth – and when he opens that mouth Chris finds it hard to know what to believe.

Motormouth is an easy to absorb verse novel about friendship, about truth and about healing. Chris is trying to cope with losing his bets mate in a car accident, and Josh has his own problems to deal with. Young readers will find the issues interesting but won’t be overwhelmed, with the verse novel format making them both accessible and digestible. there is much to be discussed here, making the novel great for classroom use, but as a story it is also wonderful or private reading.

Sherryl Clark is an outstanding verse novelist, and Motormouth is a perfect verse novel.


Motormouth, by Sherryl Clark
Puffin, 2010

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

One Perfect Pirouette, by Sherryl Clark

‘You can do it. You know you can.”
Trouble was, I wasn’t sure I could. What if Mrs Calzotti had taught me badly? What if I had a million bad habits to fix? No, that was silly. My absolute best – every time. I focussed totally on Ms Ellergen’s voice, shutting out Mum and my jumbled worries, and placed my feet in first position.

Brynna’s dream is to attend the National Ballet School, and her family is helping her follow that dream. They have all moved to Melbourne so that she can learn from a top teacher and prepare for her audition. But the move isn’t easy. Money is tight, her parents have had to get new jobs and her brother Tam is angry and upset about the move.

As Brynna struggles to fit it at school and at ballet classes, she wonders if the price of pursuing her dream is too high, for herself and her family.

One Perfect Pirouette is a story about following your dreams and, especially, about finding the determination to follow those dreams in spite of the obstacles and challenges which arise. As well as having to work hard to learn the skills required, Brynna must also solve dilemmas of time and space to rehearse, money for lessons, and fitting in to the ballet class. Away from ballet she also faces issues common for most teens, including peer pressure, family conflict and time management. There is a lot happening in her life, but author Sherryl Clark manages to give each area of Brynna’s life due focus, so that none are glossed over.

Whilst ballet fans will enjoy this book, it is not just for them – Brynna’s dilemmas will absorb readers of differing backgrounds.

Likely to appeal to girls aged 10 to 14.

One Perfect Pirouette, by Sherryl Clark
UQP, 2010

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

Tracey Binns is Lost, by Sherryl Clark

‘Why does Mr Poplat think we’re all fat?’ He looked around at all of us. ‘I don’t think we are.’ We all nodded.
‘It’s not just about weight issues,’ she said, in a way that told me she was trying very hard to avoid the fat word. ‘It’s about being healthy…’

Tracey Binns is not happy when the school gets funding for a new healthy eating and exercise program. Although she eats lots of vegetables and loves playing netball, Tracey is not a good runner, and the PE teacher Mr (aka Sergeant) Gunning expects her to be able to run five laps. Added to that, the school camp has been changed to a survival camp. Tracey is sure she’ll hate it.

Tracey Binns is Lost, a sequel to the popular Tracey Binns is Trouble, sees Tracey face plenty of new challenges. First, there’s her need to get fit – aided by her Dad, who not only wants to run with her, but also to share all his Boy Scout experiences. Then, there’s the camp, where Tracey and her group find themselves lost in the bush. It is up to Tracey (and her Dad’s compass) to get them out of trouble.

Exploring the issues of childhood fitness and obesity from the side of the child who is perhaps not overweight but also not super fit, as well as other issues of friendship, bullying and bravery, this is a tale with much to offer middle primary aged readers.

Tracey Binns is Lost

Tracey Binns is Lost, by Sherryl Clark
UQP, 2009

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

Pirates of Quentaris, by Sherryl Clark

Kiall wanted to race to the Halls of Justice and demand they let his father go. Didn’t they know who he was? He was the famous Paolo Tigran, the rift adventurer who’d made his fortune by finding a sapphire mine and bringing back the finest gems that Quentaris had ever seen. And now he was one of the most astute merchants in the city, with a fleet of his own ships. Or he had been, until a series of misfortunes had decimated the fleet.

When their father is thrown into jail by his creditors, Kiall and Maya are determined to find a way to pay his debts and have him freed. But the family fortune is gone, lost in a series of unexplained mishaps, and nobody is willing to help them. Kiall wants to go into the Rift caves to search for treasure, and, unable to afford a guide, he sneaks aboard a pirate ship. Together with Maya, who has followed him aboard, he is destined for adventures far beyond anything he could have imagined.

Pirates of Quentaris is a gripping fantasy novel for readers aged ten and up, set in the fantasy world of Quentaris, the setting for a series of stand-alone novels each written by a different Australian author. Here Sherryl Clark weaves a frightening but compelling tale which keeps the reader guessing and turning pages. Kiall and Maya find themselves enslaved by a crew of pirates who cruise the desert on a ship with massive wheels, murdering and plundering wherever they can. The children must use their wits, coupled with a little luck, to escape, but not before some scary events including a beheading and an attack by a sabre tooth cat.

A gripping read.

Pirates of Quentaris, by Sherryl Clark
Lothian, 2006