I used to work up in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Red dirt, indomitable spinifex and awe-inspiring mountain ranges.
I’m miffed that I never got to experience a cyclone, though. (‘You don’t want to,’ said everyone who ever had.) Still, I would’ve loved to really feel WHY. The wind and the pressure and the bunkering down…
Now, thanks to modern storytelling, I’m halfway there :). ‘Cyclones and Shadows’ is a collection of four fab stories all based around the north of Australia, including one in a cyclone.
I’m in love with them all. I’d love a Shadow of my very own!
And his mango tree too, please!
What made me grin reading this book?
These stories, by Laura Dudgeon, Pat Dudgeon, Sabrina Dudgeon-Swift and Darlene Oxenham, are full of humour, empathy, insight and adventure. There are strong female main characters, zero gender stereotypes (when was the last time you read about a girl fixing up a car in Junior Fiction? Yeah, I thought so…), and vibrant themes of family and friendship. Continue reading
This has been on my TBR since before it was even published… and it did not disappoint! A clever melding of belief and reality, loss and discovery, fantasy and contemporary, it lured me in and held me. It’s been a while since I’ve read magic realism, and I sank back into it like a comfy couch.
‘The Shark Caller’ by Dianne Wolfer is a Young Adult novel that can easily suit Middle-grade readers as well. As in, no sex, drugs, angst or other decidedly YA-only markers.
‘The Shark Caller’ has a funky set-up that I loved, interspersing main character Izzy’s narrative with the POV of a shark (mako). The latter is beautifully set out on the page, not so much chapters as poetry and art. In fact, the whole book is beautiful.
It has a suite of diverse characters, and interweaves Tok Pisin with English so you get immersed in the setting of Papua New Guinea.
It’s fresh, it’s different.
I’m a fan. Continue reading
Unicorns. An ancient prophecy. An enticing locked chest in a forbidden attic.
This was a fun read. ‘Eve and the Runaway Unicorn’ by Jess Black is the first in the Keeper of the Crystals series. Four books are currently published in the series, and the beautiful covers were what attracted me. Thumbs-up to the librarian who decided to arrange them artfully at (kiddy) eye-level.
Once I got past the start, which threw me (more about that later), I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I liked the subtle environmental themes, and the rhyming clues.
So, what are the stats for this one?
For people to want to change something, they’ve got to care. And to care, they have to understand. And what better time to start raising that understanding than when they are kids? Cue my mini-library to connect kids with local biodiversity issues.
Who dug that burrow? My hubby and daughter in Dryandra.
I’ve just returned from a weekend camping in the wonderful Dryandra Woodland, one of the few places where Western Australia’s mammal emblem, the numbat, still exists in the wild. Dryandra also boasts two predator-free fenced enclosures at a site called Barna Mia. Barna Mia houses six nocturnal species, many now extinct on the mainland, and only one of which I’ve ever seen outside of fenced sanctuaries. All we needed to make the weekend perfect were books. Continue reading
If you’ve got a girl of about four or older, and you haven’t met Violet Mackerel yet, you definitely should. The books are in a series, but you don’t need to read them in order. Standalone or not, you will be swept away by their charm.
Book 6 is ‘Violet Mackerel’s Pocket Protest‘, written by Anna Branford and illustrated (here in Australia at least) by the brilliant Sarah Davis. When the beautiful simplicity of the writing combines with Davis’ vivid illustrations, you’re on to a winner.
‘Pocket Protest’ follows Violet and her friend Rose as they attempt to save the local oak tree from being cut down to make way for a carpark. They meet discouragement and setbacks along the way, but they stay true to themselves and keep trying.
It’s a wonderful book to introduce environmental themes to kids. It also has diverse characters (race, financial status, deafness) that are treated the same as all the others, again a very positive model for young kids.
- 10 Chapters, 108 pages (yes that’s about 10 pages per chapter if your maths-head has clocked off for the day)
- Illustrations on most spreads
- Primary problem Chapters 1-10
- Secondary problem Chapters 4-9
- Both problems successfully solved, some adult help but mainly due to the girls’ actions.