Showing posts with label James Foley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label James Foley. Show all posts

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Total Quack Up!


Total Quack Up! Edited by Sally Rippin & Adrian Beck, illustrated by James Foley (Puffin Books) PB RRP $14.99 ISBN 9780143794905

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

‘Funny stories to make you feel good about some of your favourite authors!’ is printed on the cover of this book published in Australia. The authors are Matt Stanton, Deborah Abela, Tristan Bancks, Paul Jennings, Alex Miles, RA Spratt, Jacqueline Harvey and Oliver Phommavanh, as well as the two editors.

Superheroes, footy-obsessed pigs, birthday parties that go terribly wrong, criminal cats and hippos which prefer the beach rather than rivers are the subjects of some of these short stories.

In ‘Ratbagg’, Rory Albert Thomas Bragg has a mild superpower, which enables him to control rats with his mind. Of course, he owns pet rats, but when he discovers his school principal Mr Blart has a rat phobia, anything can happen! In Tristan Banck’s story, ‘The Pigs’, soccer team, the Kings Bay Pigs is down three to nil a few minutes from half-time: if they lose, they’ll hold the record for the Most Consecutive Losses by a Football Team in the World. In ‘How to Be A Super-hero’, Ann Small renames herself Arabella von Champion, and then attempts to reach up to the status. The title of Matt Stanton’s story, ‘What Hippopotamuses and Sharks have in Common’ signals what the story is likely to be about.

All ten stories are printed in large, easy-to-read font and black and white illustrations are scattered throughout. Not all of the stories are hilarious but there is enough humour in the book to keep a reader aged 8 to 12 years engaged for many hours.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Brobot

Brobot by James Foley (Fremantle Press) PB RRP $14.99
ISBN 9781925163919

Reviewed by Teena Raffa-Mulligan

Award-winning illustrator James Foley has produced a reader pleaser with his latest release, a junior fiction graphic novel with maximum appeal for children in middle to upper primary.

Brobot is about a girl who believes she can build a better brother than the one she has. Joe is messy, smelly and impossible to control. Sally Tinker, who has the trophy to prove she’s the world’s foremost inventor under 12, eliminates these imperfections in Brobot, which is ‘just as a brother should be’.

The amazing Brobot cleans up messes, fixes broken machines, is never smelly, sticky or wet and as an added bonus has a built-in cupcake machine. Best of all, Sally can control her robot’s every move with the Brobo-remote.

But when the control gets broken and Brobot is out of control Sally reconsiders the merits of young Joe.

Foley’s own inventiveness comes to the fore in Brobot, which lives up to its promise as ‘a hilarious graphic novel for young readers’. He has cast appealing characters in a quirky tale that will resonate with kids who have sometimes frustrating younger siblings.

The level of humour in the drawings is right for the target age group and the comic-style format will draw in young readers who might be reluctant to read a standard novel.


Saturday, 24 October 2015

My Dead Bunny

My Dead Bunny by Sigi Cohen, illustrated by James Foley (Walker Books)
HC RRP $19.95
ISBN 9781922179593

Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

In time for Halloween comes the story of Brad the zombiefied bunny in rollicking rhyming verse. It all starts one night when the boy and his two friends are watching a Zombie movie. Bunny Brad obviously bored, decides to gnaw through the electrical cord with obvious results.

Naturally the boy is broken-hearted at the loss of his pet. He’s told by dad about Bunny heaven but needs to see for himself if bunny’s all right down there in the dirt. So he digs him up with traumatic results for the family.

This somewhat gruesome tale for the 8+ years age groups will appeal to boys with a skewered sense of humour or a bent towards zombies and such. Its clever use of words combined with outstanding digitally created illustrations that accentuate the text, will have them in stitches. Not your traditional children’s picture book, but a none-the-less superb production. The expressions on the character’s faces run in perfect sync to the text.  Presented mostly in black and white except for the scenes with Brad the bunny, it is an entertaining read which I can see being passed around under desks at school.






Friday, 15 August 2014

The Last Viking Returns

The Last Viking Returns written by Norman Jorgensen with illustrations by James Foley (Fremantle Press)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 9781921888106
Reviewed by Neridah McMullin

The Last Viking Returns is a fun and adventurous book about being brave and looking after your siblings.

Josh is as brave as a Viking warrior and not a lot worries him. But when Josh’s youngest twins go berserk (meaning they are an absolute handful and are out of control), Josh, Grandpa and Nan are at their wits end.

To get them out of the house, Grandpa suggests they visit ‘Viking World’.

‘Viking World’ is theme park about all things Viking. There’s Viking food (Bjorn Burgers – hilarious!), sideshows such as the ‘Hammer of Thor’ and the show stealing act of a Viking kings funeral re-enactment, which involves a Viking longship being set aflame.

Well, the twins clear off and of course, they appear on the longship just before it’s about to be set on fire to be sent to it’s fiery grave.

Parallel to this story, is another. Thor is up in Asgard (Viking Heaven) looking down and watching Josh. He can see that Knut (Josh’s Viking name) and the twins are in trouble but at the same time Asgard itself comes under attack from a fire-breathing dragon called Fafnir.

Knut saves the day thanks to the ‘Hammer of Thor’ and it all ends satisfactorily well.

There’s a very cool section that goes with the story that gives all sort of information about Vikings. There’s also a lot of detail in James Foley’s illustrations. Every time you read this, you will pick up something new. The emotion on Josh’s face is so real, his twins do look like they are going ‘berserk’ with the mess they make and Josh’s little dog Wolverine is wonderful.

Norman Jorgensen’s words and James Foley’s illustrations perfectly compliment each other. As with all good picture books, the words allow room for the illustrator use artwork to expand and add meaning to the story.

There are wonderfully creative Teaching Resources available on Fremantle Press’s website and on Norman Jorgensen’s author website relating to the story, children will have a ball applying the rune alphabet write their own secret messages and codes. The illustrator James Foley has a blog called http://knutthelastviking.wordpress.com, and this also gives a fascinating look at his journey in creating the artwork for this picture book.

This is a highly recommended read for primary school readers.

Neridah McMullin is the author of two books for children. Her next book is an Indigenous folklore story called 'Kick it to me!'. It’s an ‘aussie rules’ story that’s being endorsed by the Australian Football League. Neridah loves family, footy, and doing yoga with her cat Carlos (who also loves footy!).



Sunday, 28 October 2012

In the Lion


In the Lion In the Lion by James Foley (Walker Books)
HB RRP $27.95
ISBN 978-1-921720-32-1
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Richard, his parents and the twins are at the zoo. From a ramp above they can see into the lion enclosure which is surrounded outside by other animal cages. In goes the dentist with a giant tooth brush to clean the lion’s teeth. Richard and his family watch on until after one gulp, all that remains is the toothbrush.

As Richard looks on in shock, and his parents try to calm the twins, in goes the hairdresser. Only the comb, the mirror, the rollers and the ribbon are left. People start to gather as Richard starts to call attention to the happenings. Cameras click. Glasses are adjusted. Binoculars are focused.

Along comes the zookeeper with a key, accompanied by the chef who carries lots of large steaks, one of which she offers to the lion. They too, go in the lion and all that remains is the key, and the scattered containers and kitchen trolley. More people have gathered and look on in fright. Others start to run.

The lion has entered the yard headed for the animal enclosures. Chaos reigns. First the walrus is in the lion, then a flamingo, two monkeys and an armadillo. The lion stretches out to rest, his stomach bulging.

Little Richard is ready to right this wrong. He charges into the enclosure and grabs the giant toothbrush. At his approach the lion roars. Richard jams in the toothbrush to keep open the gaping jaws. Now he is in the lion then he is out, followed by all the animals and the people.

The front cover shows the open mouth of the lion whilst the back cover shows the end and the tail with Richard creeping behind it, indicating that everything happens between the mouth and the tail.

The illustrations are priceless! Even without the text the story is crystal clear. There is a perfect union of text and illustration. The illustrations are created with graphite drawings and digital colour. A highly entertaining story of courage and daring but pure fantasy (young listeners/ readers must be assured of this) for the 5+ age group.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Last Viking

The Last Viking The Last Viking by Norman Jorgensen, illustrated by James Foley (Fremantle Press)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 9781921888106
Reviewed by Neridah McMullin

The Last Viking is a warm and funny book about being brave and what can happen when you truly believe in something with all your heart. Good things follow, that’s for sure.

Our protagonist is Josh, whose Grandfather gives him a book about all Vikings. There’s a really cool non-fiction section within the story that gives all sort of information about Vikings and their lives and this is what Josh decides to be – a Viking.

Josh becomes K-nut the Viking and takes all Viking matters very seriously. Inspired to follow his Viking heart, he soon faces his biggest challenge – how to outwit the local bullies.

Throwing caution to the wind, K-nut is a brave as his word and the mighty Vikings Gods hear his battle cry. They’re delighted someone is taking an interest in worshipping the Viking ways again!

So when Josh is confronted by the bullies (his Nan thinks they should come for cordial!) the Viking Gods deliver a thundering storm full of lightning and menace that scares the living wits out of the bullies.

There’s so much detail in James Foley’s illustrations that every time you read this, you will pick up something new. The emotion on Josh’s face is so real and tangible and his little dog Wolverine is hilarious.

Norman Jorgensen’s words and James Foley’s illustrations are a perfect match in complimenting each other. As with all good picture books, the words allow room for the illustrator use expressive artwork to expand and add meaning to the story.

There are wonderfully creative Teaching Resources available on Fremantle Press’s website and on Norman Jorgensen’s author website relating to the story, children will have a ball building a Viking longboat and applying the rune alphabet write their own secret messages and codes.

The illustrator, James Foley has a blog called http://knutthelastviking.wordpress.com, and this gives a fascinating look at his journey in creating the artwork for this picture book.

This is a highly recommended read for primary school readers.

Neridah McMullin is the author of two books for children. Her next book is an Indigenous folklore story called 'Kick it to me!'. It’s an ‘aussie rules’ story that’s being endorsed by the Australian Football League. Neridah loves family, footy, and doing yoga with her cat Carlos (who also loves footy!).www.neridahmcmullin.com