Showing posts with label Dave Atze. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dave Atze. Show all posts

Monday, 22 October 2018

Max Booth Future Sleuth: Stamp Safari

Max Booth Future Sleuth: Stamp Safari by Cameron Macintosh, illustrated by Dave Atze (Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP $12.99 ISBN 9781925675368

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

Max Booth and his trusty robo-dog Oscar are back for another sleuthing adventure. Stamp Safari is the third book in this futuristic series for young readers.

The year is 2424 and the world is a very different place. There are floating skyburbs as well as the usual ground level suburbs and zoom tubes with aircells that transport people back and forth. Zip coasters move people around the city by looping over buildings and underneath bridges. Max Booth lives on Skyburb 6. Since his escape from the Home for Unclaimed Urchins, he secretly lives in the storeroom of the Bluggsville Museum. Max helps his friend Jessie to identify ancient objects for display in the museum, to earn a little cash.

Max and Jessie become intrigued by a tiny rectangular piece of paper that has a pattern cut into its edges. It has a picture on one side and is sticky on the other.   Unfortunately, the Great Solar Flare of 2037 destroyed the old Internet and its contents, and this patch of paper is too old to easily identify. So, Max sets off with his resourceful beagle-bot Oscar in search of clues to find the origin of this rare and fragile piece of paper.

It isn’t long before Max and Oscar get themselves into trouble and hopes fade for identifying the piece of paper. Max gets captured by Captain Selby (the leader of the Unclaimed Urchins Recapture Squad) and is separated from his beloved Oscar. Max needs to try every trick in the book if he is to safely return to the museum with his dog and the patch of paper.

This humorous book would appeal to children 7+ years old who are beginning their chapter book journey. Atze’s monochrome cartoon vignettes are scattered throughout the book to help young minds visualise the futuristic world that Macintosh has created. If you’re keen for more sleuthing fun after you’ve read this book, make sure you check out the other two books in this series: Tape Escape and Selfie Search.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Max Booth Future Sleuth Stamp Safari

Max Booth Future Sleuth Stamp Safari by Cameron Macintosh, illustrated by Dave Atze (Big Sky Publishing) RRP $12.99
ISBN 9781925675368

Reviewed by Wendy Haynes

Cameron Macintosh brings the third instalment of Max Booth Future Sleuth to his readership of 8 to 10-year olds. Max and his trusty companion Oscar a Beagle bot head off in search for some answers to a sticky object Oscar found. What is it?

Set in the future, 2424, Max lives in Skyburb 6, in fact he lives in the Bluggsville Museum thanks to his friend Jessie. Max helps Jessie identify object from the past.

This chapter book takes the reader on a fun journey back to when tennis was a popular sport, and stamps were used to send parcels and letters. It is a great way to reengage a child’s imagination and in turn building on how life is full of possibilities. Well placed illustration by Dave Atze, help form the story and give the reader a glimpse of what Cameron imagines into a well told story.

The author reminds us of the value of money, the possible changes in transport to come, electricity all underground and junk yards full of vehicles.

On his journey to discover what the sticky object (the stamp) is used for, Max escapes the clutches of Squad Captain Selby but with the help from Jessie and an old friend Brandon, Max saves Oscar and finds out the mystery of the sticky object.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Cat Spies Mouse

Cat Spies Mouse by Rina Foti and illustrations by Dave Atz (Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP $14.99 ISBN 9781925675344

Reviewed by Stacey Gladman

The struggle between cat and mouse is as old as time. Cat Spies Mouse is a fresh look at the age-old tale. The story can come across as deceptively simple at first glance, but it's the layers within the story where it really shines.

One day Cat meets a mouse and wants to eat him, but the fun really begins when Mouse asks Cat a very important question when Cat says he wants to "gobble you up Mouse" - why? Cat being rather bossy and impatient announces, "Because you're a mouse and I'm a cat and that's that". But should it be? Mouse continues his line of questioning until Dog arrives, and before he can even try and stop him Dog gobbles up Cat.

Mouse unperturbed starts his line of questioning again, this time with Dog who thought it was just the way things are to eat Cat. Dog begins to feel guilty and it's not long before he spits out Cat.

I adored this story and think it has numerous good lessons for children like not accepting the status quo and attempting to make the world a better place through one’s actions, it's also a good reminder that friendship comes in all shapes and forms.

The illustrations were clear and straight forward, and I felt helped add to the storyline. I believe children will really take a liking to the style of this book throughout.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Buzz Words Achievers

Cameron Macintosh has had the third book in his children's sci-fi series, Max Booth Future Sleuth, published by Big Sky Publishing. It's called Stamp Safari and is illustrated by Dave Atze. More info at

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Curly Tales: short stories with a twist

Bill Condon (text), Dave Atze (illus.),  Curly Tales: short stories with a twist,  Big Sky Publishing, 1 Sept 2017,  100pp.,  $12.99 (pbk),  ISBN: 9781925520590

Curly Tales includes fourteen very short stories for children eight years plus, ranging in length from a few pages to around twelve pages. Each story features an animal as its central protagonist, and concludes with a twist on a well-known proverb. For example, a story about a famous tv personality who happens to be a pig, and who fatefully changes his life based on the advice of the artist Van Geek, concludes with ‘Beware of Geeks bearing gifts’. The proper proverbs are included at the end of the book, along with an explanation of their meaning.
The characters in the stories are creatures great and small – worms, elephants, gorillas, fleas and more. They find themselves in some crazy situations, often because of their wish to escape the confines of their usual life: Gertrude the worm gets to fly, Wally the wolf plays dress ups and Fifi discovers what is so great about being a flea. Some of the stories don’t end well for the protagonists – they meet their ends eaten by a lion, flushed down a bath plug or set in concrete. For others the outcome is far better, and often they learn valuable life lessons.
Simple line drawings feature regularly, bringing the stories to life with a lot of humour and action. The print is large and broken up by occasional changes of font as well as a front page for each story, so reluctant readers will find it easy to move forward through the text.  The stories themselves often veer into unexpected territory, featuring funny characters and situations that will raise a giggle. It’s a shame that the gender balance is so uneven – nine stories feature male characters, whilst only three have a female at their centre, although these are clever, adventurous females. The remaining two stories feature a wife/husband couple, and the females at least are a masterful chef and a trapeze artist. Overall these are fun stories and would be a great way to introduce the idea of proverbs.
Reviewed by Rachel Le Rossignol

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Max Booth Future Sleuth: Selfie Search

Max Booth Future Sleuth: Selfie Search by Cameron Macintosh, illustrated by Dave Atze (Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP $12.99
ISBN 9781925520880

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

Max Booth escaped from a ‘Home for Unclaimed Urchins’ a couple of years ago and now lives/hides with his trusty robo-dog Oscar in the storeroom at the Bluggsville City Museum, where his best friend Jessie works.

The year is 2424 and Max assists Jessie by identifying old objects that come to the Museum, and earns himself a little bit of cash in the process. With the help of his beagle-bot Oscar, Max is able to problem solve like a professional. While Oscar’s favourite thing to do is to chase robo-rats he is truly Max’s ‘robotic super assistant’. Who wouldn’t appreciate an assistant who can project images into the air, make good use of their 3D printer, and activate their in-built metal detector whenever the situation calls for it?

Jessie comes across an old object she needs help with and Max’s initial disinterest turns to excitement when he discovers there’s more than meets the eye. They search through the ‘old’ 2017 phone’s photographs to find an abundance of pictures of a man who ‘definitely liked looking at himself’. The photos include one of the man holding a skateboard ‘an ancient one, with actual wheels on the bottom.’  Max and Jessie soon discover this photograph holds the key to a missing piece of Bluggsville’s past and a potential fortune…. and so, their ‘Selfie Search’ adventure begins.

Selfie Search is the second in a series of futuristic, humorous, fun-filled chapter books, suitable for readers 7+ years old. The book is written in the first-person and is set 400+ years into the future. A larger font, plenty of white space and scattered monochrome cartoon drawings target an audience just starting their journey with chapter books.

The future looks bright with the splinternet, zip-coasters, hover-skates and gigapixel cameras and no doubt young readers will be keen to follow more Max Booth adventures. If they haven’t already, readers are encouraged to check out Book 1: Tape Escape and stay tuned for more books in the series.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Malibu and the Naughty Elf

Malibu and the Naughty Elf by Michelle Worthington, illustrated by Dave Atze (Big Sky Publishing)  PB RRP $14.9   ISBN 9781925520644

Reviewed by Kate Simpson

Malibu and the Naughty Elf is the Christmas-themed follow-on from The Three-Legged Kangaroo from Uluru. In this new instalment, Santa and Mrs Clause have donned their cozzies and come to spend Christmas in Australia with their friend Malibu the kangaroo. The elves and the reindeer are enjoying the fun and sun on Bondi Beach, but one elf isn’t happy. There is nothing that Bobby the elf likes about Christmas and while the other elves are enjoying themselves, he is grouchy, miserable…and naughty. Soon Santa is tearing his hair out and it is up to Malibu to figure out why Bobby is spoiling Christmas for everyone.

Full of surfing Santas, skateboarding reindeer and elves playing in the sand, Malibu and the Naughty Elf sets itself up as a classic Christmas down-under tale and, certainly, there’s plenty to satisfy on that front. The story itself, however, is less about Christmas and more about the struggles of an elf trying to fit in and the unhappiness that comes from pretending to be something you’re not. The illustrations by Dave Atze are bold, colourful and packed with humour, surely a winning combination for any pre-schooler.

With Christmas just around the corner, Malibu and the Naughty Elf is one to consider for the stocking.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Max Booth: Tape Escape Book 1

Max Booth: Tape Escape by Cameron MacIntosh, illustrated by Dave Atze
(Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP $12.99
ISBN 978-1-925520-60-6

Reviewed by Ann Harth

Tape Escape is Book 1 of the Max Booth Future Sleuth series and introduces 11-year-old Max and Oscar, his robotic dog, in the year 2424. After escaping from the Home for Unclaimed Urchins, Max is constantly on the run from the Unclaimed Urchin Capture Squad. He and Oscar now live in a cosy box in a museum storeroom after being befriended by Jessie, the storeroom supervisor. Jessie often enlists Max to help her solve the mysteries surrounding some of the artefacts she must identify from the 20th century.

In Tape Escape, Max is mystified when presented with a cassette tape from the 1980s. After sneaking into the library and conducting dangerous research, Max devises an ingenious technique of playing the tape and discovers that it contains recorded music from the legendary David Snowie. The tape is worth millions. When it’s stolen by an evil forensic musicologist, Max and Oscar must recover the tape and return it to Jessie and the museum.

Max’s world feels real from the very first page. Readers 8-10 will enjoy the blistering pace, the humour and also the clever, futuristic contraptions that are integrated into the action. The black and white drawings scattered throughout add visual cues that enhance the story and characters.

I highly recommend this book to young readers, as they will be taken on an enjoyable journey into the recent past as well as into the future. They don’t need to have lived in the 80s to enjoy the humour in this book, but it will touch some funny bones in parents and teachers as well. I will definitely look forward to Book 2: Selfie Search.

Cameron MacIntosh  has written more than 80 books for children and edited hundreds more for educational publishers. He has studied Psychology, Italian and Professional Writing. When he’s not wrapped up in the world of books, he sings and plays guitar in his Melbourne home.

Reviewer’s blurb:
Ann Harth is an author, ghostwriter, writing mentor and manuscript assessor. She loves to read and is committed to creating and helping to create children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Curly Tales: Short Stories with a Twist

Curly Tales: Short Stories with a Twist by Bill Condon, illustrated by Dave Atze (Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP 12.99 ISBN 9781925520590

Reviewed by Kate Simpson

Curly Tales: Short Stories with a Twist is a collection of 14 short stories for the early reader crowd by prolific children’s author Bill Condon. Tender-hearted animal lovers beware: things do not always end well for our furry, scaly and squirmy friends in this zany collection. However, kids who like a giggle and dads who aren’t afraid of an outrageous pun are likely to find this right up their alley.

Each story is Condon’s humorous take on a different proverb: ‘curiosity killed the cat’, ‘you can’t please everyone’ and ‘old habits die hard’, among others. In the stories themselves, Condon takes substantial liberties with the proverbs (enter the outrageous puns), but he takes the opportunity to explain the traditional meaning of each at the back of the book – perfect for teachers and parents who love a bit of education mixed in with the kids’ entertainment.

The book is liberally peppered with comic illustrations by Dave Atze, which nicely break up the text to make it less daunting for emerging readers. With the longest story covering 11 large-type pages, and the shortest just four, these curly tales are a great choice for readers aged 6-8 years to cut their teeth on. 

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Wolf Espionage

Wolf Espionage by Elanor Parkinson, illustrated by Dave Atze (Redgum Book Club) PB RRP 
ISBN 9780995378322

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

In 2016, the Redgum Book Club ran an Australian-wide children’s writing competition to find a picture book text to publish. The winner was a 12 year old girl who always wanted to publish a book. This is it!

William the Wolf lives on Wellwood Farm, where, despite being surrounded by much livestock, he feels under-fed. Espionage – disguising himself as other animals -- is the way in which he seeks out food. However, in his sheep outfit, he fails with the sheep, and similarly with rabbits (‘they whacked him with their shovels’), and with the squirrels which (‘pummelled him with nuts’).

Having failed so far, the cunning wolf rethinks his strategy and subsequently goes undercover, disguising himself as an apple and a pea. Neither, of course, attack him as the animals did. Voila! William is transformed into a vegetarian wolf. The last double-page coloured illustration shows William with the other animals on a picnic rug eating fruit and vegetables.

Every one of the events which are documented take place on a specific day of the week, from Monday through the Saturday picnic – on Sunday the now confirmed vegetarian is ‘indeed a wolf in beet’s clothing’ -- a clever pun on a well-known saying.

This is a simple tale which might well have been written by an adult -- so full marks to young Elanor. The book is well-designed and the cartoon illustrations do full credit to the text.