31 January, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading?

What are you reading Monday  is hosted by Shelia over at Book Journey. Head over and check out what others are reading!

Wow, two Mondays in a row, told you I would try to do better!

What I finished last week.

A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro (review to come)

Teen Ink: Written in the Dirt (review to come)

What am I reading now.

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

This is another book that was shortlisted for the 2010 Children's Book Council of Australia Awards in the Older Readers Category. I'm quite enjoying it, but trying to speed through it because it's now overdue!

In The Winter Dark - Tim Winton

I'm still listening to this in the car. I'm finding it very slow going because I don't have the car every day at the moment. All to do with school drop offs and pick ups. I have at least 3 days traveling to and from work this week so hopefully will make some headway!

What's Next?

Most probably The House at Salvation Creek by Susan Duncan . I read the first of Duncan's memoirs, Salvation Creek last year and really enjoyed it. I've been meaning to get to this for awhile now and had started it when I realised I needed to prioritise Stolen.

So, what are you reading? Leave me a link, I'd love to know!

30 January, 2011

Library Loot

Library Loot is co-hosted by Claire at The Captive Reader and Marg at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader.  This week it's hosted by Marg at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader so pop over and see who else is participating.

My library loot is a little late this week, sorry!

Non book items first!

  Caution: Life Ahead: Artists for Recovery

This is one of those items that came through the returns chute while I was on check in and it caught my eye. Lots of good quality Australian artists - should be good for the car!

  Deadliest Catch Season 4, Discs 1-2

We continue to work our way through this series! Just love it!

Doctor Who Season 1, Disc 1

Another series that we have caught bits and pieces of and have decided to go back to watch all of. We've also decided to introduce our 8 year old, Luke, to it. He loved it! Hopefully Disc 2 is waiting for me at work on Tuesday.

Now for the book items!

A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard

This was an honour book in the 2010 Children's Book Council of Australia awards in the Older Readers category. I'm working on reading all the 2010 short listed books before the 2011 list is announced, usually around April.

Sparkle and Nightflower by Sonya Hartnett. Can't give you a link or a picture for this sorry! It was published in 1986. I remember owning a copy of it and enjoying it and being really impressed the author was only 18. I had to get it through interlibrary loan and is part of my ongoing quest to read Hartnett's back catalogue.

Library loot this week: 5                Year to date -  Fiction - 8
                                                                                Non Fiction - 3
                                                                                Non Book - 6
                                                                                Total - 17

25 January, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading. This is how it works:
Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

This weeks teaser comes from 

A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro

I crossed that ground regularly that summer to reach Sachiko's cottage, and indeed it was a loathsome journey; insects often caught in ones' hair, and there were grubs and midges visible amidst the cracked surface. I still remember those journeys vividly, and they - like those misgivings about motherhood, like Ogata-San's visit - serve today to bring a certain distinctness to that summer.

What's your teaser? Leave me a link, I'd love to know!  

24 January, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading?

What are you reading Monday  is hosted by Shelia over at Book Journey. Head over and check out what others are reading!

Seriously, I have become so slack with this!! Sorry, I will try to do better!

What I finished since I last participated.

The Well of Ascension - Brendan Sanderson 
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton
Loving Richard Feynman - Penny Tangey
Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead - Frank Meeink

What I am reading now?

A Pale View of Hills - Kazuo Ishiguro

I loved Never Let Me Go, so I added Ishiguro to my list of authors to read the backlist of.

In The Winter Dark - Tim Winton

I'm still listening to this in the car, which I can only do when I am alone. With school holidays over, (which means I don't have the kids in the car ALL the time!) I'm hoping to get through more of this.

Teen Ink: Written in the Dirt - Fiction by Teens

I'm persevering with this because every now and then I come across a gem in it. It currently lives in my handbag so only gets read on the ferry and during my breaks at work.

Other Stuff

I'm taking part in a Picture Book Challenge  so I have been review the picture books myself and my daughter have been reading at night. If you are interested, you can read the reviews at the links below.

Picture books 1-5
Picture books 6-10
Picture books 11-15.

What's Next?

Truly haven't thought about this! I've decided for the time being to alternate between what I own and what I've borrowed from the library. So whatever is next, it will come from my own collection.

So, what are you reading? Leave me a link, I'd love to know!

Read to Me Picture Book Challenge -11 - 15

 The Read to Me Picture Book Challenge is hosted by There's A Book.
Reviews for this challenge will be posted in blocks of 5. A full list of books I have reviewed can be viewed here

Title: Good Baby, Bad Baby
Author: Nanette Newman
Illustrated by: Jonathan Langely
Source: Personal collection
Favourite Line: None!

Synopsis: This book has two stories in it. Each cover is the start of a story with them meeting in the middle. On one side is the story of good baby and on the other the story of bad baby. Sounds like a great idea, right?

What I thought: Lets be brutally honest here, I really don't like this book! In fact the only reason it is still in the house is because Kira likes it and goes looking for it at least once a week. Trust me, the moment she doesn't, it's gone! As you most probably have guessed, I didn't buy this book and if I ever remember who did, I will not be impressed! My problem is this - good baby is so sickeningly good, she never does anything wrong! Her voice is so gentle you won't hear her shout. She piles up the bricks, doesn't knock them all down. Now seriously, anyone who has kids knows there is something wrong here! All kids shout at some point, (even if their voices aren't very loud, they still try it out!) and what is the point of building a tower of bricks if it isn't to knock them all down. As for bad baby - the child obviously has no discipline in her life at all! She never says 'Please," she just grabs and says 'More'. She tip bowls on her head and throws jam on the floor.  Now I don't know about your house, but there is consequences for that kind of behaviour in this house and repeat performances are not tolerated! In all seriousness, I can see what the author is trying to do, but in the end I think they have totally missed the mark.

What Kira (5 years old) thinks: As I said, Kira loves this book and I am at a loss as to explain why! She does often say I'm the good baby aren't I mummy? to which I honestly reply Most of the time.

Recommended for: no one! Stay away! Don't let it in your house!

Title: Peace at Last
Author: Jill Murphy
Illustrated by: Jill Murphy
Source: Personal collection
Favourite Line: Well you would not believe what noises there are in the garden at night.

Synopsis: Everyone in the bear house is tired so off they all traipse to bed. Unfortunately Mrs Bear starts to snore, keeping Mr Bear awake, so he sets off around the house looking for somewhere quiet to sleep.

What I thought: One of the things I love about this story is it's poor Mr Bear who is kept awake by his snoring wife, rather than her being kept awake. Mind you, if he'd just given her a good poke in the ribs he most probably would have saved himself a lot of trouble!

What Kira (5 years old) thinks: Kira feels sorry for Mr Bear. And we have had interesting discussions about the noises you hear at night, although tonight she told me she would be able to sleep in the kitchen because she wouldn't hear the tick-tock of the clock!

Recommended for: those who want a fun read.

Title: The Midnight Gang
Author: Margaret Wild
Illustrated by: Ann James
Source: Personal collection
Favourite Line: On the stroke of midnight, when anything can happen, Baby Brenda climbs out of her cot, crawls backwards down the creaky-cracky stairs, whizzes across the kitchen floor, and squeezes through the cat-flap. The gang is waiting.

Synopsis: Baby Brenda and her gang make a midnight excursion to the playground where all sorts of fun is had!

What I thought: I was so pleased when I saw Kira had pulled this out tonight - it's one of my favourites! I remember first reading this when I was childless, working as a teacher librarian and being completely captivated by the story and the pictures. The kids I taught that year had a great time coming up for ideas of where Brenda and her gang could go next time. Ann James' illustrations are done with chalk pastels on coloured paper and are just stunning. Lovely little details like Brenda's bare bottom (she loses her nappy going out the cat flap!) delight and thrill kids and adults alike.

What Kira (5 years old) thinks: Kira loves the bare bum (who doesn't?) She has also told me in great seriousness that she did this when she was a baby and it was lots of fun! I asked her how she got out since we don't have a cat flap and she told me she climbed out the window instead - but she left her nappy on!

Recommended for: those who want a story that is a visual masterpiece as well as a great story.

Title: Cock-a-doodle-do0
Author: Steve Lavis
Illustrated by: Steve Lavis
Source: Personal collection
Favourite Line: Seven woolly sheep wondering where to go.

Synopsis: Explore the farmyard and the noises animals make while learning to count.

What I thought: Is it wrong to like a book because it doesn't take too long to read? There is nothing special about this book, but I silently cheer if Kira pulls in out at the end of long, tiring day. The animals are fun, the noises are fun, but in the end it's short which is sometimes the best thing!

What Kira (5 years old) thinks: Kira loves to count the animals and help make the noises of the farmyard at the end. Secretly I think she picks it when she knows she is tired and wants something quick too!

Recommended for: those who want a quick story with a little extra.

Title: Little Rabbit's New Baby
Author: Harry Horse
Illustrated by: Harry Horse
Source: Personal collection
Favourite Line: But it wasn't a baby. It was three babies!

Synopsis: Little Rabbit can't wait to be a big brother. He will be able to show the baby how to play games, hop and skip. But having new babies in the house isn't as fun as he thought.

What I thought: I love Little Rabbit. He is cheeky and always in mischief, but his heart is in the right place. When his new brothers are born, he wants to help, but gets frustrated when the babies can't play the way he wants. He also gets upset that so much of Mama's time is taken up with caring for the babies. Harry Horse manages to express the frustration of Little Rabbit so clearly. From his excitement to meeting the new babies, to the disappointment they aren't all he thought, to the realisation that he adores them anyway!

What Kira (5 years old) thinks: Kira goes through phases with these books (we have 4 Little Rabbit books) For awhile we seem to read nothing but and then he disappears for awhile. She loves the new baby book though and will often say Three babies mummy! That's a lot! I must admit, I agree with her!

Recommended for: those who may be about to add to their family!

23 January, 2011

Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead

Title: Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead
Author: Frank Meeink as told to Jody M Roy
Genre: Non Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Book (personal collection)

Synopsis: Frank Meeink had a tough time growing up. Both his parents were alcoholics-addicts, his step father beat him and love was hard to come by. When a cousin introduced him to a bunch of skinheads who took an active interest in him, it was an easy to step to a life of hatred, violence and racism. By sixteen he was one of the most notorious skinhead leaders . A stint in prison had him questioning his beliefs, and while he left the white supremacy movement, he started a descent into drug addiction that almost destroyed him. This is his story of how he went down into hell and has clawed his way back up.

What I thought: Wow. The thing that strikes me particularly about this book is how gut wrenchingly truthful it is. Frank Meeink has left nothing out, tells all of his days as a high level member of the white supremacy movement, the assaults he took part in, the beliefs he held and the crumbling of that belief system. This in turn led to a serious drug addiction (he was already an alcoholic) which threatened his life several times. An interview at the back of the book of Frank Meeink and Jody M Roy details the huge amount of research that went into making sure the events described in the book are truthful. There is no "I think" only "I did". It's not an easy read, but it's a book you can look at several ways. It's a book about surviving child abuse, a book about surviving alcoholism and drug abuse, a book about being a member of the white supremacy movement, a book about how hard it is to survive all of that. For me it was a book about how to avoid all of that. Meeink's brutal truth telling shows how it really is, how sordid and hard it is and how the best way to recover from it is never go there in the first place. From a man who I am sure I would have feared at some stage, I would love to meet Meeink to tell how truly courageous and inspirational he is.
Recommended for: those who like true life stories that are gritty and have a true message.

Challenges: A-Z Challenge,  100+ Challenge, TwentyEleven Challenge

21 January, 2011

Australian Picture Book Authors and Illustrators Graeme Base - The Eleventh Hour

The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery
  CBC Book of the Year, Picture Book 1989
Kids Own Australian Literature Award Winner 1989
Young Australian Best Book Award, Picture Book Winner 1989
COOL Award, Runner Up 1992
Kids Own Australian Literature Award Shortlist 1993
New York Times Best Seller

When you look at the detail of Base’s illustrations, it doesn’t surprise you that there was two years between books. The Eleventh Hour provides another sumptuous visual feast. At the beginning of the book we are told,

A book is read, a story ends, a telling tale is told.
But who can say what mysteries a single page may hold?
A maze of hidden codes and clues, a clock at every turn
And only time will tell what other secrets you may learn...

And once again you are off on a magical journey through a Graeme Base book where there is always more to see than you first thought.

On the occasion of his eleventh birthday, Horace decides there is need for a great party. A feast is prepared, games are organised and friends are invited. Before they are allowed to eat, the guests take part in a variety of party games, all looking forward to the feast they know is to come. But in the end, the feast is gone, eaten in its entirety. The question is – who did it?

The clues to solve the puzzle are in the hidden messages and pictures on each page, once again inviting the reader to spend hours poring over the book, trying to solve the mystery. Each page has a hidden message. Some are easy to find, but provide useful information.

Drawing conclusions from sketchy clues may lead you astray – so sharpen your eyes and your wits – get the point? 
(This is written in the pencils around the edge of the picture. There is another clue hidden in them as well.)

While others are easy to miss, especially when there are two on a page! At times Base uses codes such as mirror writing, substitution codes and morse code. All challenge the reader to work out what is worth noting, and what is a red herring. Don’t worry, if you can’t work it out (and I couldn’t!) there is a sealed section that reveals all the secrets!

However for me, the joy of this book doesn’t end there. The story is written in rhyme, which lends to the whole atmosphere of the book.

A Cricket Match was organised for those who knew the game - 
The twin Giraffes had no idea, but fielded just the same.
But Oliver, a Boastful Pig, had made it understood
That when it came to batting he was really rather good.

The Tiger donned the keeper’s gloves and crouched behind the stumps,
And waited for a chance to show his skill at leaps and jumps.
The Pig went for a mighty swing, but only clipped the ball,
And Maxwell leapt, and caught him out. Pride comes before a fall.

The Eleventh Hour cemented Base's place as one of greatest author/ illustrators in Australia and he continues to produce excellent, exciting books.

Links to other Graeme Base books I am looking at can be found here.

The official Graeme Base website can be found here.


Australian Picture Book Authors and Illustrators: Graeme Base -Animalia

Title: Animalia
Published: 1986
Awards: None

An alphabet book with a difference! Graeme Base’s second book is a feast for your eyes and your brain. On the title page, there is a poem which says:

Each page is a gorgeously detailed illustration where you can hunt not only for the little boy, but for as many things starting with that letter. The text is alliteration with some really fantastic sentences coming out.

Craft Crimson Cats carefully catching Crusty Crayfish.

Ingenious Iguanas improvising an intricate impromptu on impossibly impractical instruments.

Lazy Lions lounging in the local library.
Proud Peacocks preening perfect plumage.

Animalia was Base’s first big break. The book captured the imagination of readers and the detailed illustrations made it a delight to share. It’s a book that works for a variety of age groups – from those who love a good read aloud, to the older kids who love to scour the pages looking for as many things as possible. It also marked the beginning of providing hidden messages and pictures which occurs in many of his books.

Links to other Graeme Base books I am looking at can be found here.

The official Graeme Base website can be found here.

Australian Picture Book Authors and Illustrators: Graeme Base - My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch

Title: My Grandma Lived In Gooligulch
Published: 1983
Awards: None

This was Base's first book and introduced the world to his wonder detailed illustrations.

Told in verse, Gooligulch tells the story of Grandma's idyllic life with a variety of native wildlife and their antics around her house. One day Grandma and wombat head off for a seaside holiday, flying pelican class of course! At the beach, Grandma gets swept out to sea and has never been seen again, yet the writer is sure she is alive. 

And yet, I have a feeling
That my Grandma's still alive
Having drifted to an island,
Where she'd manage to survive.

From there prehaps she made her way
To England or to Spain,
Or maybe San Francisco,
On a Western Railway train.

She could be taming tigers
In the jungles of Tingoor...
...But I think she's back in Gooligulch,
Just like before.

The pages of Gooligulch alternate between brown and while pencil drawings with the verses on them and luxurious double spread coloured pictures.

And from a window out the back,
She'd sit and watch galahs
Fly down beside the pool and drink, 
Beneath the evening stars
Now Gooligluch has got a pub,
A mainstreet with a hall,
A petrol pump that doesn't work-
And not much else at all.

 This first book hints at the brilliance of Base to come. Already the illustrations are wonderfully detailed, with something new to be found at every turn.

Links to other Graeme Base books I am looking at can be found here.

The official Graeme Base website can be found here.

Read to Me Picture Book Challenge - 6 - 10

 The Read to Me Picture Book Challenge is hosted by There's A Book.
Reviews for this challenge will be posted in blocks of 5.

Title: Too Loud Lily
Author: Sofie Languna
Illustrated by: Kerry Argent
Source: Personal collection
Favourite Line: 'Wonderful work!" called out Miss Loopiola. "But you could try stomping just a little louder this time please!"
Lily really liked Miss Loopiola.

Synopsis: Lily is loud. She tries to be quiet, but she isn't. Then Miss Loopiola arrives at school and utilises Lily's talents in the school play. Could Lily have found her true calling?

What I thought: I've always liked Lily. She's the underdog, the one who never quite gets it right. This a great read aloud, with lots of opportunity to use voice modulation to bring the story to life. As great as the story is however, Kerry Argent's illustration brings the book to life for me. I went to a conference once where Kerry Argent spoke and found it fascinating when she explained that even if we couldn't see the whole character in her drawing, if the were standing in a group with some behind the others, she still had to draw the whole animal and would just layer them one on top of the other. It's something I think of every time I see a book illustrated by her. 

What Kira (5 years old) thinks: This is on high rotation as a bed time read. Apparently a little bit of loud Lily before bed is a good thing. The spotty undies always extract a giggle and I have caught Kira and a friend doing a "Lily dance."

Recommended for: those who want a story that is a lot of fun while letting children know that everyone has a talent.

Title: My Uncle's Donkey
Author: Tohby Riddle
Illustrated by: Tohby Riddle
Source: Library
Favourite Line: My uncle's donkey is toilet trained...luckily

Synopsis: My uncle's donkey is allowed in the house and does a whole heap of things you really wouldn't think a donkey would do. Would my uncle's donkey be allowed in your house.

What I thought: This was fun in that lovely silly way that a nonsense book can be. Because really, would a donkey be allowed in your house? And if it was, would it be allowed to do cartwheels in the living room, talk on the phone and wear socks (but only when it was cold!) It puts in mind of a game where one person says My uncle's donkey {insert some activity here} and another replies with but {insert an exception to the rule}
The illustrations are striking. Using gray white and red, Riddle has the knack of putting a lot of expression into the donkey's face so you know when he knows he's up to mischief! 

What Kira (5 years old) thinks: I think she was a little confused by it. A bit young for it I feel. She did find a lot of the things the donkey did funny and when the final page asked "I wonder if my uncle's donkey would be allowed in our house?" her answer was a definite no!

Recommended for: those with older children who could appreciate the irreverence of the story

Title: Over In the Meadow
Author: Louise Voce
Illustrated by: Louise Voce
Source: Library
Favourite Line:

Synopsis: A rhyming counting book.

What I thought: A nice counting book, although trying to rhyme seven with even doesn't quite work!

What Kira (5 years old) thinks: Kira loves counting books because she gets to show off her counting skills! She loves being able to count each animal group and shout out the end number.

Recommended for: those looking for a quick read.

Title: Penguin Pete and Pat
Author: Marcus Pfister
Illustrated by: Marcus Pfister
Source: Library
Favourite Line: And when at last Pete plucked up the courage to ask for Pat's flipper in marriage, preparations were made for a big wedding party on the island.

Synopsis: Penguin Pete has returned from his trip around the world and a lovely female penguin called Pat has caught his eye. Is it true love for Pete?

What I thought: OK, confession time, I'm not a big fan of Marcus Pfister's work. Apart from the sparkly bits on the Rainbow Fish, I couldn't see the fuss. For me, a good picture book lets the pictures tell the story as much as the words do. I find Pfister's books too work and the stories not particularly inspiring either.

What Kira (5 years old) thinks: Kira picked this book because "The penguins are cute mummy." And she is right, the pictures are cute. However, I think she finds there are too many words as well. She fidgeted (not something she normally does during reading) and wanted to turn the pages quicker than I could read.

Recommended for: Penguin Pete fans.

Title: Milly, Molly and Different Dads
Author: Gill Pitter
Illustrated by: Cris Morrell
Source: Library

Favourite Line: "So there we are," Miss Blythe said. "All dads and families are different. That's just the way it is."

Synopsis: Sophie is sad because her dad has left. Miss Blythe encourages the children to talk about their dads and what makes them different.

What I thought: So every now and then your child  borrows a book that when you open it up and start to read it you think "OK, where is this going!" This is the first Milly and Molly book I have seen, but it appears to be a series whose motto is We may look different, but we feel the same.

What Kira (5 years old) thinks: Kira asked lots of questions about this book. Why is she sad?, Why is he in hospital? and made lots of comments He's wearing a funny hat, they are fishing. So, obviously she was engaging in the book. 

Recommended for: children possibly having a hard time with separation or other issues. It would be great as a jump off book for discussions about differences in families.

19 January, 2011

Read to Me Picture Book Challenge - 1 - 5

Given we read so many picture books in this house, I thought I would post reviews in bunches of 5.

 The Read to Me Picture Book Challenge is hosted by There's A Book.

Title: Fancy Nancy
Author: Jane O'Connor
Illustrated by: Robin Preiss Glasser
Source: Personal collection
Favourite Line: When we arrive at The King's Crown, everyone looks up. They probably think we are movie stars. 

Synopsis: Fancy Nancy loves to be fancy. Unfortunately her family is not so fancy until Fancy Nancy teaches them how to add a bit of class to their lives.

What I thought: We love Fancy Nancy in this house. It's a sure fire hit for my 5 year old daughter and her friends. In fact, a friend was looking after Kira one day and they had a Fancy Nancy day. They got dressed up and headed down the park in their finery of jewels, dresses and gloves. Very fancy! Despite all of her fanciness, Nancy in the end is a gorgeous little girl with a loving and supportive family. This is evidenced if in no other way, than by the last lines in the book:
"I love you," says dad says.
"I love you," says mum says.
And all I say back is, "I love you"
Because there isn't a fancy - or better - way of saying that.
What Kira (5 years old) thinks: "I have a peignoir," (that's a fancy French word for dressing gown.) leaping out of bed to show me! "I like the sparkly cover and the French words." (You can't tell on the cover I have here, but the cover of our copy has lots of sparkles on it!)

Recommended for: those who have little girls who like to be princesses.

Title: Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy
Author: Jane O'Connor
Illustrated by: Robin Preiss Glasser
Source: Personal collection 
Favourite Line: Sometimes it's hard being the only fancy person in a family.

Synopsis: Fancy Nancy wants a fancy dog and what better than a papillon (pronounced pappy-yon, something I never knew until I read Fancy Nancy!) But maybe even a papillon is too fancy for Nancy's family

What I thought: Another Fancy Nancy hit! Sometimes things are not always as good as you think as Nancy finds out when she babysits this highly strung pampered pooch. This Fancy Nancy book looks at the importance of considering the needs of all the family rather than just one person.

What Kira (5 years old) thinks: "It's funny when the puppy blurps," (our family's unique [unique is fancy for one of a kind did you know??] word for vomiting.) The first time we read this, Kira showed great concern for Nancy's little sister who upset the puppy. Even now she reassures me that the little sister was only trying to help.

Recommended for: those who have little girls who like to be princesses.

Title: This Dog Bruce
Author: Frances Watts
Illustrated by: Bridget Steven-Marzo 
Source: Personal collection and library. 
Favourite Line: This dog Bruce comes sniffing along, wagging his tail and looking for fun!

Synopsis: Bruce is a very bouncy puppy who just wants someone to play with him, but his over exuberance scares the other animals away. Can they find a game they all can play?

What I thought: Bruce has been a hit in our family for many a year. We actually own a copy, but Kira chose to borrow it from the library as well. (hence the double on the source tag!). It's a fantastic read - a - loud with a great rhythm and rhyme that kids love.

What Kira (5 years old) thinks: Kira loves to read this book. She always chimes in with the  This dog Bruce.. line. In fact, quite often she does it alone, meaning I only read half the book these days!

Recommended for: those who love a good rhyming book that kids can join in with.

Title: Bunny and Bee's Rainbow Colours 
Author: Sam Wilson
Illustrated by: Sam Wilson 
Source: Library.
Favourite Line: Outside their home, in the cold black night, the big white moon shines its light.

Synopsis: Bunny and Bee have a lovely day exploring all the colours around their home.

What I thought: Bunny and Bee is a rhyming book and it's ok. It has a lovely rhythm but in the end is nothing special.

What Kira (5 years old) thinks: This is the second time Kira has borrowed it from the library, but each time she has only asked for it to be read once. Each time though she has pointed out who is Bunny and who is Bee on each page.

Recommended for: those who like rhyming books.

Title: Clive Eats Alligators
Author: Alison Lester
Illustrated by: Alison Lester
Source: Personal collection
Favourite Line: But Ernie loves to visit the taxidermist.

Synopsis: In this book, Alison Lester explores the daily lives of seven different children and the different things they do at different times of the day. This is a one in a series of books. Other titles include Rosie Sips Spiders, Ernie Dances to the Didgeridoo and When Frank was Four. Each includes the same 7 children and follow the same format. For example, in Clive Eats Alligators, the first double spread is titled breakfast. It tells you what each of six of the children eat, accompanied by a small picture. You turn the page to a bigger picture on one page and the text But Clive eats alligators  on the other page. Each child gets to shine as they are singled out for the double spread.

What I thought: I've always loved Alison Lester's picture books and this series is wonderful! Each child is immediately identifiable and their personalities shine through as you discover a little bit more about them each time. I've used these books in teaching, and the children have always enjoyed putting themselves in the books and adding their likes and special traits. They are truly books about accepting and celebrating everyones differences.

What Kira (5 years old) thinks: "Clive really loves alligators, doesn't he mummy?" Another book that Kira loves joining in with. She can finish off each section with what each child is doing or enjoying and with questioning, will put herself in the book with glee. (What does Kira have for breakfast? Weetbix!)

Recommended for: those who want a book that teaches about differences without ramming it down your throat!

Loving Richard Feynman

Title: Loving Richard Feynman
Author: Penny Tangey
Series: None
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Book (Library)

Synopsis: Catherine is 15, a science and maths geek and writes letters to Richard Feynman. Richard Feynman was a Nobel Prize winning physicist who helped create the first nuclear bomb. Throughout the year, Catherine pours her heart out to her idol, in the process learning a little bit about human nature and her own life.

What I thought: Loving Richard Feynman was short listed for the 2010 Children's Book Council of Australia Awards in the Older Readers Category. The series of letters written by Catherine give you an insight into what it's like to be intelligent and an outsider . Catherine herself however, can be very judgmental and harsh on her peers. I liked the book, but at times Catherine's voice was incredibly annoying. So quickly to pick up on when she felt she was being judged, she seemed to have very little empathy for those around her at times. But then again, 15 is a pretty ego centric age! It was interesting to watch Catherine's relationship with Feynman develop as she placed him on a pedestal, only to discover he was indeed only human.

Recommended for: those who enjoy a bit of a science lesson with their fiction!

Challenges: A-Z Challenge,  100+ Challenge, For the Love of YA Reading Challenge, Aussie YA Challenge

Library Loot

Library Loot is co-hosted by Claire at The Captive Reader and Marg at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader.  This week it's hosted by Claire at The Captive Reader so pop over and see who else is participating.

Now I'm not sure if Library Loot is meant to record just your book borrowings or whether it can include anything you borrow from the library. You can borrow DVD's, CD's, Magazines - all sorts of stuff from ours. So I am including it all!

First up, the non book items.

Deadliest Catch Season 3 - Discs 3&4

We love this series in this house! These men are crazy!! It's currently in it's 6th season but we are working our way through them after only patchy viewing on free to air TV.
Rolling Stone Magazine (Australian Edition) February 2010

This is not the copy that I have borrowed, but the woman on the front is the reason I borrowed it. I love P!nk. In fact it's a little more than love, I will happily admit to having a total girl crush on the woman!

Teenage Dream - Katy Perry

Another strong female artist. I'm glad this came in today, I was starting to think I would have to buy it! Chances are I will anyway. I would much rather my kids listen to artists like Pink and Perry than Britney Spears or her ilk.

Now for the books I've borrowed! All of these I discovered while shelf checking. Seriously, my job is dangerous!

Teen Ink: Written in the Dirt

Teen Ink is a magazine that teens can send in their writing, art work, poetry etc to be published. This is their sixth book and is a collection of short stories, poetry, art and photography.

War Is...Soldiers, Survivors and Storytellers talk about war.

I found this on the junior non fiction shelf. It scares me that so many of young people do not know the story of some of the most tragic times in our history. If we don't tell them, how will they stop it happening again??

Ascension by Steven Galloway

This was sitting on the shelf right next to The Cellist of Sarajevo, also written by Galloway. I enjoyed it so much, I had to borrow this.

So what did you bring home this week? Leave me a link, I'd love to know!

Library loot this week: 6                 Year to date -  Fiction - 6
                                                                                Non Fiction - 3
                                                                                Non Book - 3
                                                                                Total - 12