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All reviews tagged with Allen & Unwin

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52 Mondays

52 Mondays, by Anna Ciddor, is a fictionalised account of the author’s childhood in 1960s Australia. This is about as gentle and inoffensive a book as you could hope for, one that succeeds in pleasantly evoking the sights, sounds and smells of the era while offering the reader insight into Australia’s Jewish community. The problem…

Amundsen’s Way

Amundsen’s Way is aptly titled. It is the story of a man so single-minded and driven that there is simply no other way but his way. It is the true story, told as fiction, of the Norwegian explorer’s grit and persistence as he leads his team to be the first men to reach the South…

Chalk Boy

In this imaginative and atypical picturebook, Barnaby is a pavement artist in a busy city whose drawing of a boy – Chalk Boy – seems to take on a life of its own, with ‘eyes that can see’ and a ‘heart that can feel’. Barnaby explains that once the rain comes, Chalk Boy will wash…

Njunjul the Sun

This is a sensitively written coming-of-age novel steeped in Australian Aboriginal culture. It is the third in a series that follows the growing pains of Njunjul, but it can also be read as a stand-alone novel. Njunjul is a 16-year-old Aboriginal boy leaving his Queensland reservation and travelling to Sydney to live with relatives. The…

Secret World of Butterflies

This is a colourful and informative book on the world of butterflies, and snippets of information such as ‘The first poo a butterfly ever does is red and sloppy’ is sure to catch young readers’ attention. It is nicely illustrated with some striking images showing the wide variety of shapes and colours that butterflies have.…

Swallow’s Dance

Orr masterfully brings to life this coming-of-age story set in Bronze Age Thera (today Santorini). A young girl begins her initiation into the island goddess’s rituals for womanhood when disaster strikes. With her old life destroyed, Leira must find a new way to live while being the primary caretaker of both her mother and nursemaid,…

Swan Lake: A Retelling of the Classic Ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

This picturebook retelling of Swan Lake is a good introduction to the iconic ballet story and reading it would be a great way to prepare for an outing to the ballet itself, as the three pages with text on them function rather like programme notes. We open this lavish book with ‘Act I’ and a…

The Blue Cat

The Second World War rumbles ominously in the background of this intriguingly conceived and delicately phrased narrative. Depicted from the perspective of a precocious young girl named Columba, Australia in 1942 is a kaleidoscope of the trivial, the historic, and the evocative. Columba filters her understanding of what is happening on the world stage through…

The Endsister

This story begins with the Outhwaite family living happily in Australia until they receive both good and bad news. Because of an unexpected inheritance, they decide to move to the Outhwaite ancestral home in London, England. The house is huge and haunted. Don’t open the attic door! Nobody remembers why. I fell in love with…

The Mediterranean

The opening spread of Greder’s tough, uncompromising book contains only the words “after he had finished drowning, his body sank slowly to the bottom, where the fish were waiting.” Hanging on to the right-hand edge of the page, like a doomed man on a capsizing boat, the words impel the turning of the page to…

The Moon in the Man

A collection of happy, modern action rhymes from Australia. As with any collection some are better than others; I particularly liked the exuberance of ‘Bubble Wrap Rap’ and the modern slant of ‘My Computer’. The rhymes range from finger actions to whole body actions. Some of the actions for the rhymes accompany the text, but…

The Postman’s Dog

Charlie the village postman claimed he had ‘the best job in the world’. He loved to rise before the sun to start his day’s work but most of all he loved his customers and their pets. He patted their dogs, helped to hang out Miss Zielinski’s washing and assisted with a little gardening. He was…

The Singer of All Songs

The Singer of All Songs is the first book in a new fantasy series, the Chanters of Tremaris, by the Australian writer Kate Constable. Although unlikely to capture the imagination of children in the same way as the Harry Potter series, and not surprisingly featuring a few of the clichéd traits of fantasy novels, there…

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