Showing posts with label Harper Collins Children’s Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Harper Collins Children’s Books. Show all posts

Monday, 17 December 2018

Learn with Ruby Red Shoes. Counting book and Alphabet Book

Learn with Ruby Red Shoes. Counting book and Alphabet Book by Kate Knapp. (Harper Collins publishers) RRP $13.08 PB 978-1-4607-5691-1

Reviewed by Julie Dascoli

Ruby Red Shoes is a white hare who loves to learn. Hop along with Ruby and her chickens as they learn how…

Kate Knapp’s Learning with Ruby red shoes counting book and Alphabet Book are a lovely addition to her vast body of works in the Ruby Red Shoes story collection.
This experienced and esteemed children’s author and artist from Brisbane, works from her design studio, Twiggseeds. As well as books, Kate produces stationary, cards and prints and more all by hand, using pencil, ink and watercolour.
Kate has created beautiful, hard cover books for two to seven-year olds. The gorgeous satin finish and small size is perfect for this age group to browse alone or as a read aloud, bed time story.

They are rhyming stories, with cheerful rhythm and rhyme. I can clearly imagine children asking for these stories again and again, and memorising the verses.
The examples for each, either letter or number is refreshingly different. Such as A is for angels rather than the usual apple and the numbers relating to the antics that Ruby and her pet chickens get up to is also refreshing. I also liked that the numbers go up to twelve instead of stopping at ten.

The illustrations are sweet, gentle, cartoon drawings in pastel shades, giving the books a very old-world appearance.

Ruby’s chickens, which feature a little more heavily in the Alphabet book, have cheeky, endearing expressions on their faces. (How is that even possible on a chicken?) This made me smile.

I think Learn with Ruby Red Shoes Alphabet Book and Learn with Ruby Red Shoes Counting Book would make a lovey addition to any library, at a kindergarten, home or community.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

The Darkest Legacy

The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken (HarperCollins Publishers) PB RRP $17.99 ISBN: 9781460756362

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

For 17-year-old Suzume ‘Zu’ Kimura, it was as if ‘the past suddenly grew teeth’. The fragile acceptance of Psi kids like her that she had worked so hard to maintain had literally blown up in her face. Falsely accused of causing the deadly explosion – and on the run with two cagey Psi, who have their own agenda – Zu must wade through the mire of misery, mistrust and misinformation to discover the horrifying truth hidden in the shadows.

Aimed at teens 13 years and up, The Darkest Legacy follows on from Alexandra Bracken’s bestselling The Darkest Minds trilogy. Those who have read the original YA series will enjoy a deeper connection to the latest book, as they comprehend more completely the references to people, places and events from the series. However, the heart-pounding immediacy that Alexandra weaves throughout the action in The Darkest Legacy ensures that readers who are new to the world of the Psi – and their powerful mental abilities – will be carried along on the physical and emotional journey taken by Zu and her companions.

Evocative phrases pepper the text like bullets, drawing readers in to the ‘audible fire’ of the story. We feel every spine tingle and pulse thrum along with Zu, quickly becoming invested in the outcome of her odyssey. Meaningful memories successfully entwine with edge-of-your-seat exploits, and Alexandra uses clever dialogue to both define her characters and create dramatic tension. The ending is surprisingly satisfying, while also leaving the literary door ajar for the next instalment in this mesmerising series.

Monday, 1 May 2017

What not to do if you turn Invisible

What not to do if you turn Invisible by Ross Welford (Harper Collins Children’s Books) PB RRP $14.99   ISBN 9780008156350

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

From the author of Time Travelling with a Hamster comes another creative and entertaining read. It’s every child’s dream to be invisible and I suspect even some adults.  This book would suit from 9 years old onwards.

The text is cleverly crafted to grab the reader’s attention and ensure they keep on reading.
‘On the way to the kitchen I catch a glimpse of myself in the long hallway mirror. Well, I say ‘myself’. What I really see is a pair of jeans and my favourite red T-shirt walking by themselves.’

The story is deceptively simple to read and surprisingly very different.  The book uses humour to explore that terrifying topic of trying to find yourself and where you fit in this world. This includes within your own family, with your friends and at school. 

There are bullies and loud mouths that make Ethel feel isolated. Thirteen-year-old Ethel has a very painful problem, a bad case of spots.  Just like anyone else with a very painful problem Ethel tries to find a solution. With the help of her mate Boydy Ethel hides her invisibility and along the way they solve a mysterious mystery.

Without giving away too many secrets Ethel finds her identity and inner strength and as well as a happy fit with her place in the world.

Teachers will enjoy reading this book to their class just for fun or for discussion about bullying and friendship. 

Monday, 27 March 2017

The Secret of the Black Bushranger

The Secret of the Black Bushranger by Jackie French (Harper Collins Children’s Books) PB RRP $14.99    ISBN 9780732299453

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Award winning author Jackie French has been writing a secret Australian history series and this is the third book in that series.  Readers from the ages of 7 years and on will enjoy this book that is very well researched yet easy to read.   The book contains both the actions and opinions of real people as close as possible to the historical records. French’s writing voice speaks very clearly to the reader and really does open the door into our colonial past as if she has been there.  It is entertaining story and very engaging.

What is fascinating about this story is the central character Black Caesar (John Black) who really did exist and became Australia’s very first bushranger.  He arrived in Australia from England and was never free so he fought for his freedom and became a thief.  French has cleverly filled in many gaps with fiction as very little is known about Black. She shows the human side of the times and the hard way of life in a young penal colony.

The story travels well because it is interwoven with the characters that met and interacted with Black Caesar.  The story is told from the viewpoint of Barney Bean, a young English boy who features centrally in book one in the series, Birrung and the Secret Friend and book two Barney and the Secret of the Whales.

‘The giant man looked down at me with those brown eyes. ‘If I show myself in daylight, boy, they chain me up again.’ His voice was so deep, deeper than any other I had ever heard. He drew himself up even taller. More stars vanished behind him. ‘I am John Black Caesar. I will not be a slave.’

The book allows the reader to decide if the actions of the characters are right or wrong.

History is now part of the Australian primary schools’ curriculum so this book will be a handy resource; online there are also teacher’s notes available.  Anyone with an interest in Australian history will love this book and gain a good picture of our harsh early beginnings.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

The ABC Kids Book of Places to Go

The ABC Kids Book of Places to Go by Helen Martin, Judith Simpson & Cheryl Orsini (Harper Collins Children’s Books) PB RRP $24.99  
ISBN 9780733334283

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

The creators of The ABC Book of Cars, Trains, Boats and Planes and The ABC Book of Seasons have come up with a book that introduces its young readers to Places to Go. This latest book allows for reader interaction and discussion in a fun simple way by sharing places that the child goes to. Then it broadens a young reader’s knowledge by introducing places that are afar.  The concept that the world is full of fun and exciting places to explore is a wonderful introduction to a world beyond our own backyard. 

This book would suit 2-6 year olds and it also fits in nicely with the school curriculum so teachers will find the book a handy resource.

The fun, simple language in the book uses questioning to bring out the enquiring mind of the child.  This interacts well with the illustrations that delightfully show places and allow the child to share what they know and find.  The illustrations are detailed and the colour palette draws the eye without being too busy or hard. The more you look, the more you can explore.

I like the way the text shows but doesn’t tell the place. Here’s an example: ‘There are many different places to visit at the shopping centre. Scissors snip – click, clack –cutting hair front and back! Up and down between the shops, the escalator never stops. Hooray! Hooray! New shoes today! Stepping out to walk and play.’ 

This book is a worthwhile tool to create bonding as the child and parent can really spend time discussing and exploring.  It can also allow for talk about places to visit and explore as a family.  Or perhaps it can allow talk about where grandparents or relatives live or maybe travel to. The world globe can be looked at and a child may choose a faraway distinction or a local one that is unknown to learn more about and explore.

So many places… 
Special things to do…


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Remind Me How This Ends

Remind Me How This Ends by Gabrielle Tozer (Harper Collins Children’s Books)  PB RRP $17.99   ISBN 978000734285

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

This is one of those books you just can’t put down: you are hooked from beginning till end. Tozer is past winner of the prestigious Gold Inky Award and has produced a rip-roaring read on so many levels.  This book delivers in a rad way for YA readers and adults, too.  

It is so much more than just a boy meets girl story, touching upon so many themes:  love, friendship, change, grief, parents, the end of school, university, travel and survival.  Staying true to yourself proves to be the hardest challenge of all. 

Milo is smart and clever but since finishing high school, he hasn’t been able to make a decision about the next step to take in life.  He is left behind while his cohort is off at university, travelling and working. Milo is frozen with the inability to make a choice.  He is stuck at home, in a small town working in his parent’s bookshop feeling pressured not to waste an awesome UAI and feeling like a loser.

Sal his girlfriend is living away at uni, studying and partying hard.  The gap between Milo and Sal widens more and more each day. Quirky Layla has suffered a great loss in life. She is back in town, hoping to find the grounding and healing that she needs. Milo’s older brother Trent is the loser of the family and is secretly pleased that the golden boy of the family is losing his halo.   The characters are believable, annoying and lovable.

‘I rattle through the boring stuff – eighteen, from Durnan, Sal’s boyfriend of two years, doing the long distance thing while she’s studying in Canberra – to disguise the fact that I don’t have answers for most of her other questions.’

This is a summer that starts in a tangled mess and ends leaving the reader wanting to know more about what happens in the lives of these teenagers.  Keep your Fingers and toes are crossed and hope that Tozer writes a sequel to Remind Me How This Ends.

This book would be suitable for ages 14+ years.  Definitely, put it on your hit list for 2017 for teenage readers.