Reviewer:

Andrew Roycroft

Book Cover - Things to Do

Things to Do

Things to Do is a visual and verbal feast, with the stirring poetry of Elaine Magliaro matched by the stunning pastel shades of Catia Chien. In her extended poem, Magliaro reflects on what it would feel like to be the parts of the everyday world all around us – the dawn, birds, a honeybee, an acorn etc. The language employed is rich and carries real depth, giving young readers a sense of the
wonder of the world all around them and the limitless nature of imagination.

Book Cover - The Anthology of Irish Folk Tales

The Anthology of Irish Folk Tales

Ireland is a storied island, and that fact comes to life in this collection of tales and fables, rich in locality and colour. Gathered from an already popular series of folk tales, the stories are organised around the thirty-two counties, each injected with details and dimensions unique to those areas. Narratives range across St Patrick’s ministry in Ireland, headless horsemen, visits to the Phoenix Park to see the pope, a shoemaker in Carrick-on-Suir and the heroism of the Maggie of Maggie’s Leap in the Mourne mountains.

Book Cover - The Very Dangerous Sisters of Indigo McCloud

The Very Dangerous Sisters of Indigo McCloud

Writing a dystopian world that is laugh-out-loud funny is no mean feat, but to create such an environment for young readers is nothing short of extraordinary. John Hearne manages this with deftness in The Very Dangerous Sisters of Indigo McCloud. Indigo finds himself the unwilling hero of the tale, battling against his formidably vindictive sisters as they terrorise the town of Blunt and monopolise income from door-to-door calendar sales. His quest to stop them from harming dissenters is dramatic, absurd, and absolutely compelling.

Book Cover - Jumble Wood

Jumble Wood

Emotions can be big things for little children, and this gentle book seeks to make sense of them through a simple tale about Pod. This little creature finds that unlike the others around her she can’t quite grasp what would make her happy. What follows is a search for the ‘hard-to-find thing’ called joy. Pod’s big lesson is that happiness is not substantial but relational, and that the journey itself brings satisfaction in its wake via the friends made along the way.

Book Cover - Plantopedia

Plantopedia

As colourful and fascinating as a wildflower meadow, this gem of a book introduces children to the variety, beauty and sheer quirkiness of the botanic world. Although fulfilling all of its credentials as an encyclopaedia, this text manages to go far beyond that, providing a vibrant celebration of the natural world.

Book Cover - Elizabeth and Zenobia

Elizabeth and Zenobia

A gothic ghost story combines with a journey of self-discovery as Elizabeth and Zenobia explore the history and haunting occupants of their new home in Witheringe House. This is a tale which is wonderfully spun in vivid language and captivating imagery, but with plenty of humour and emotional moments as well.

Book Cover - Forest School Adventure: Outdoors Skills and Play for Children

Forest School Adventure: Outdoors Skills and Play for Children

Any text which gets children into the natural environment and away from merely indoor pursuits is to be welcomed. Forest School Adventure is one such book, demonstrating just how much fulfilment awaits those who venture outdoors and engage with their world. Part manual for parents, part guidebook for kids, the basic premise behind the book is that many of the skills and experiences of outdoor life are lost on the present generation but can be easily taught and communicated.

Book Cover - Elise and the Second-hand Dog

Elise and the Second-hand Dog

This is a book full of profound and poignant things wrapped in a charming story about a little girl, a cherished pet, and the trials of life. Elise lives with her father in Copenhagen, and desperately misses her mother who is working as an engineer in Brazil. The purchase of a second-hand dog, McAduddi, who smells of cheese, lights up Elise’s life, especially when she discovers that he can talk. McAduddi is a no-nonsense creature who helps Elise to understand a little bit more of her world, and a lot more about her own emotional life.

Book Cover - The Blue Cat

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 immediate concerns of her neighbourhood, her friendships, and the fleeting figure of the blue cat who gives the novel its title.

Book Cover - Raise the Flag

Raise the Flag

In the right hands, a book on flags can be a gateway into appreciating history, understanding geography, celebrating pageantry, and encountering national diversity – and all of these benefits are vividly and passionately delivered in this text. From the Jolly Rogers and Calico Jacks of pirate ships, through the celestial imagery of Asian emblems, to images of South African liberty, this is a miscellany of how countries mark their history and express their hopes.