Showing posts with label Karen Hendriks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Karen Hendriks. Show all posts

Friday, 8 February 2019

Grace’s Mystery Seed


Grace’s Mystery Seed by Juliet M Sampson and Karen Erasmus (Ford Street Publishing) PB RRP $24.95 ISBN: 9781925804201

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

A picture book for ages 3+ years, this gardening tale takes us to a place where the simple things can bring the most joy.

Grace’s neighbour, Mrs Marino, has the best backyard in the street. It’s a treasure trove of delights including a veggie patch, fruit trees, chooks, fish pond and birds that visit. Grace is a good helper and loves feeding the birds. She wonders about the seeds that the birds eat.
So together Grace and Mrs Marino plant a seed. Grace learns to care and wait for her plant to grow. She shares her news about her seed and everyone is waiting to see what the seed is. Once the sunflower appears, its specialness shines as it follows the sun. Then, there is one final gift from Grace’s flower: there are enough seeds for everyone next year.

The joy of Australian backyards is delightfully shown with the realistic use of green in its many hues with blue skies in watercolours. The layout is varied and the perspective cleverly shows us the backyards from a variety of angles. I particularly love the bird’s eye views of the backyards.

The language and dialogue delight and this story would be a perfect tool in a classroom. This is a charming book that will appeal to both child and adult readers.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Fabled Kingdom Book 1

Fabled Kingdom Book 1 by Queenie Chan, (Bento Comics) PP RRP $14.99 ISBN 9781925376029

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Queenie Chan has written and illustrated The Fabled Kingdom Book 1, an intriguing graphic novel that updates fairytales into a modern world.  Its striking cover will draw readers, and gives a glimpse of what will unfold.

The book, which suits readers from 12 years and up, is the first in a series of three, with three central characters, each being based upon the era of kingdoms. It is divided into seven parts that clearly depict the journey of the book’s protagonist Celsia. She is a modern-day ‘Red Hood’ who is training with her grandmother to become a healer in a small village deep in the woods. Things are not all as they seem and before long, Celsia discovers her grandmother isn’t her real grandmother. Thus she flees her village on a quest of self-discovery. Quillon, Celsia’s childhood friend who is entrusted with keeping her safe, joins her, along with Pylus, a loveable faun, whom she meets on a never-ending brick path.  Each character plays their role, but it is refreshing to see a strong female character as the leader and decision-maker.

With unanswered and puzzling questions about her origins, Celsia must seek out her true-born grandmothers who are both powerful queens of magical kingdoms. By uncovering the truth of her heritage, Celsia is able to save the troubled kingdom of Fallinor whose people have been asleep for 60 years. Invasion and politics of the day has kept this troubled kingdom hidden behind a big, black wall of brambles. In her quest, Celsia is finally able to understand her own identity.

Detailed manga-style comic illustrations strongly support the written text and add layers of meaning to the story while the text is imaginative and well-written with a steady pace that is sure to keep readers gripped and wanting to know more. Different fairytales with an original spin appear throughout the story. The Fabled Kingdom certainly won’t disappoint readers of this genre.

Author-illustrator Queenie Chan who has a background in graphic design, is based in Sydney: her first professionally published work was The Dreaming Series. She has also worked with best-selling authors such as Dean Koontz and is well-regarded for her work in the Australian graphic novel and comic industry.

The reviewer, Karen Hendriks, is a children’s author and speaker whose

Monday, 10 July 2017

Phantasmagorical Phobias

Phantasmagorical Phobias by Michelle Path PB Available on Amazon published by Rowanvale Books RRP $10.57 
ISBN 9781910832189

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Australian author Path has creatively written an engaging book with a collection of short stories that delve into fears and how they affect our lives and how the characters manage to overcome them. Path’s clever use of fairy tale, pirate and cowboy and girl characters opens a menagerie of fears that impact greatly upon each character’s ability to function within their world. Imagine a witch who is afraid of toads or a dragon that can’t breath fire.  I like the fact that the book uses short stories so that they can easily be visited and revisited over and over again.  Teachers will find this book a useful resource in their classroom due to the stories having an educational slant.  This book would be suitable for 8-12 year olds.

Path’s style of writing engages young readers with a little old world charm, and a touch of the modern day too.   The stories move along easily with a mix of short and long sentences.  The vocabulary used has a sprinkling of new words that will expand the younger reader (including the title).

‘Chika’s words hurt Jiro. The dragons’s wings drooped and he hung his head. He began to cry. The macaque did not care. He was too intent on his own selfish desires. He ran off into the forest in search of the orchard, leaving Jiro alone with his grief.’

Path is an independent author who is clearly following her passion to write for children with sixteen books published to date and more to come.  She is clearly determined to spread her writing wings.


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Selwood Boys Hit the Road

The Selwood Boys Hit the Road by Tony Wilson, (Harper Collins)  SB RRP $14.99   ISBN 9780733335471

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

The famous Selwood Boys are back in book three of The Selwood Boys series. The Selwood family is going on a holiday to Queensland.  The road trip adventure begins with the Falcon six-seater leaving Bendigo for sunny shores.
‘They were away.
Three suitcases, four boogie boards, two footies, a frisbee, six beach towels, a beach umbrella, two Game Boys and six Selwoods.
At the one-minute-and-twenty-second mark, the boys had their first fight.’

The text is an easy engaging read, with splashes of humour. The antics of the four footy mad boys on the road create many memorable moments.  Troy and Adam are the mischief-making twins who are determined to discover Joel’s kryptonite.  Joel cannot possibly be an all-rounder at everything.  There must be something he’s not good at.  Scooter (Little Scott) joins in the mission in helping his older brothers.

Joel with his cheeky, sneaky antics knows his brothers are doing their best to catch him out.  He manages to keep one step ahead of them until… You see you can’t be good at everything and eventually there is something Joel desperately tries to hide.  You’ll just have to read the book to find out what it is.

This fun-filled story can be enjoyed from seven years old onwards.  It would also make a fantastic read for a teacher to share with a class.  The book is based upon the real Selwood brothers and all the funny things that happened to them.  The Selwood brothers are sports stars that were kids once and it’s interesting to see where their footy journey began in their childhood shenanigans.

Tony Wilson has used a mix of sentences from short to long and this really makes the reader feel like the text is speaking directly to them. Often it’s difficult to find books for sporty readers and this book fills the gap.

Book 1 is Battle Royale, Book 2 The Miracle Goal and Book 3 Hit the Road will be followed by Maintain the Mischief.  The books make a great set to collect. 








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. 



Friday, 7 April 2017

Ruby Redfort: Blink and You Die

Ruby Redfort: Blink and You Die by Lauren Child (Harper Collins Children’s Books) HB RRP $19.99  
ISBN 978000734285

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Award-winning English author Lauren Child has written the last book in her thrilling Ruby Redfort series. Blink and You Die is the sixth book in the fascinating world of super sleuth extraordinaire Ruby Redfort.  

Both boys and girls who are into code-cracking puzzles, reading maps and who also love a mystery to solve will find this book a perfect read. Readers enter the fictional world of secret agent Ruby who lives as an ordinary child in an ordinary world… until you look closer and scratch the surface.  All is not what it seems. Readers from 8 to 14 years would enjoy entering a children’s world full of mystery and becoming a secret agent.

The Count is a dark figure who wants Ruby dead. He is always lurking in the background shadows.  You can feel he is there but you can’t see him.

‘And one should always, in the words of Mrs Digby:
Fear the wolf that other wolves fear.’

Ruby knows to trust no one at Spectrum the spy agency, but characters who offer love and support surround her such as Mrs Digby the ever-faithful, rock-solid housekeeper who comes to Ruby’s rescue. Then there is Clancy, her bestie who is not a secret agent, but the most honest and reliable friend a girl could ask for. Hitch is the house butler, but really like a bodyguard to Ruby and a secret agent, too. He says, ‘Jeepers, kid relax a little. Anyone would think you were about to meet with the Grim Reaper.’

Without giving too much away, although there is evil around, Ruby is surrounded by goodness, too.  All is revealed at the Eye Ball.     

The story is set in the 1970’s back in the day before iphones and Internet so it is not as easy to source information.  The skills of note-taking and observation are crucial to solving the mysteries but you need the skill set of a genius master code cracker. ENTER RUBY’S WORLD IF YOU DARE!



 



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.



Monday, 30 January 2017

Spontaneous

Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer (Harper Collins Publishers)
PB RRP $19.99   ISBN 9781460753149

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Mara Carlyle’s senior year is more than unusual, full of explosive combustions of the senior students in a suburban New Jersey hometown. No one really knows why this is happening but the FBI rolls in and the seniors become quarantined and isolated, left to feel abandoned and forgotten.

The senior year students randomly blow up and death appears to be around any corner.  Squeezed in between all of this are the usual teenage crushes, groups, school performance, change and the heart-breaking moment you have to say goodbye to the best friend you love and adore.

Mara narrates the story in a smart sassy voice with the no-holds back on teenage language and feelings. The story is witty and funny, full of honest truths about being a teenager in the twenty first century. The characters are a real mish-mash of believable teenage personalities.  No topics are barred and the book is a place where a teenager reader can safely escape to while exploring issues in their world.

The ending brings with it a little bit of wondering but also acceptance of the fact that change is a part of life. Starmer holds nothing back in this bold in-your-face novel about growing up.  His idea is original and holds the reader’s attention.

“If a person invites you to watch a sunset, you go, don’t you? You don’t say jackshit about what’s cheesy or uninspired. So neither will I; I know now that sunsets are glorious things. And this one – this one!- is absolutely invigorating, a fucking gorgeous splash of red on the horizon that marks an end, one I always knew was coming”.

This book is a good read for young adults.




Saturday, 7 January 2017

My Best Friend is a Goddess

My Best Friend is a Goddess by Tara Eglington (Harper Collins Australia) PB RRP $19.99   ISBN 978-0-7322999-0-3

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Australian Tara Edlington has written a powerful novel that is seriously smart, having a unique appeal that highlights the turmoil of self-discovery with all the hurts and triumphs of growing and changing as a teenage girl. 

The book’s theme is more than friendship: it also covers bullying, death, family, self discovery, boys, school, parents, and change. In doing this, it touches the hearts and souls of its teenage readers.

An addictive read that celebrates girlhood with Emily and Adrianna, both in the role of narrator, the story seamlessly moves along with each girl’s perceptions and experiences. 

Emily and Adrianna have been friends since Year One and have a strong friendship bond that is threatened by the inevitable challenges of not only boy crushes but learning to love and to accept themselves.  One girl is confident, outgoing, and tackles life head on, while the other is stunningly beautiful but feels like an ugly duckling. Each girl envies the qualities of the other.   

“I don’t want it to get to me. Happiness shouldn’t have anything to do with ‘pretty’ or ‘not pretty’. And yet none of that logic stops me from falling into the oh-so predictable trap of looking in the mirror and wishing I was different.  And with that, I let ‘pretty’ rule my world, too.”

The two best friends suffer a crush on the same cute guy, Theo James, but sadly one girl will be left heart-broken.

Unique to the book are references in Emily’s art class to artworks, culture and mythology which adds further interest for the reader.  Character, drama and the information blend together seamlessly so that the reader learns as she reads. My Best Friend is a Goddess is a must-read for young people – especially girls -- aged 13 years and over.









Thursday, 8 December 2016

I don’t want to go to Bed

I don’t want to go to Bed by David Cornish (Harper Collins) HBK RRP $24.99   ISBN 978-1-46075-05-82

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

This book is the sequel to the very funny picture book, I Don’t Want to Eat my Dinner by author-illustrator David Cornish. Every night when dinner is done, Rollo cries, 'I don't want to go to bed!'…

Rollo has worked out the evening routine, and going to bed is no fun.  So the stalling routine begins with lots of tried and true tactics.  You know the usual ones -- water, food, story, toilet, and a monster which gets told to go far away.  Rollo is loud, lovable and annoying. 

This picture book targets preschoolers from 3 years old.  The simple text and illustrations tell the story beautifully to small children who know all about not wanting to go to bed and what excuses to make to avoid it.

The mood is captured so simply, with Rollo’s facial expressions, from his little cranky face to the large text that loudly tells the reader that Rollo is not going to go to bed without a fight.   Large speech bubbles, checklists and a big crying mouth add to the drama and loudness of the story.  Rollo’s demands and antics just make you burst with laughter.  We can hear Rollo’s loud voice in our heads as we turn the pages and see his hungry mouth with a few teeth, to his parched and as dry as a desert mouth.  Luckily, for Rollo and his parents, his demands are met and he finally gives into tiredness and falls asleep.

I am sure that the author has more plans for Rollo in the future. You never know what Rollo’s next adventure will be, but you can be sure it will be funny.




Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Selwood Boys - Battle Royale

The Selwood Boys - Battle Royale by Tony Wilson (ABC Books) HB  RRP $14.99   ISBN 978-0-733335-45-7

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

In this recent book in the series, Tony Wilson introduces AFL Royalty, the Selwood Boys and shares stories about the four future AFL stars growing up in the Selwood house.  There's madness, mayhem and sibling rough and tumble everyday - and lots of footy, of course! 

Meet the Selwood boys: there are the twins, Troy and Adam, strong and sporty and full of energy, then Joel, who is talented and itching to be a fair dinkum footy player, and finally little Scott, who just does his best to keep up and not be left behind. Joel dearly wants to be off the sidelines, and on the footy field to play with his big brothers. But Mum and Dad are making Joel wait, so he has to make do with being the boundary umpire for his brothers.
It'll be a battle royale that's bound to involve the whole family! The book targets ages 7 to12 years.  Battle Royale is a fantastic tale for all young readers, especially boys aged seven and up with a love for AFL footy. 

The book not only covers the code, but the themes of family, sportsmanship, friendship and bullying.  Battle Royal is perfect for teachers who are looking for a fun book to cover bullying.   This is the first book in a series of four so I can also recommend Book 2 - The Miracle Goal, with books 3 and 4 coming out very soon.



Saturday, 3 December 2016

The Miracle Goal

The Miracle Goal by Tony Wilson (ABC Books) HB RRP $14.99   ISBN 978-0-733335-46-4

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

The Miracle Goal is one of those books written from the heart.  It is based on the antics of the real life footy mad Selwood Boys, which makes it not only easy to read, but genuine and warm.  If you are an AFL fan and love footy, this is the book for you.  The book targets the 7 years plus age group and would also suit classroom teachers due to its broad range of topics so skillfully  covered.

Tony Wilson is a well-loved Australian author who inspires children to read and love books.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a book to ignite a love of reading in a child and who needs to find a book that suits a child’s interests.  Boys in particular will gravitate to this story, but girls will also soak it up.

The Miracle Goal is part of a series of books based upon the Selwood boys’ childhood growing up in Bendigo, Victoria and is based upon the funny things that happened to the boys.  The topics covered include footy, family, sibling rivalry, competitveness, pranks, school, friendship, fairness, twins and having a disability, so you get a lot of bang in one story.  There is madness, mayhem, mischief and mateship.

The sign of a good writer is the ease in which you can read and enjoy the story and this book does that.  The first few chapters introduce each boy and their individuality and little quirks.  Then the scene is set around footy and school by portraying all the characters to paint a vivid picture. I won’t give too much away as I think you need to read the book.

For some light hearted fun with learning along the way give ‘The Miracle Goal’ a whirl and remember to be the best that you can be. 



Saturday, 26 November 2016

Ruby Red Shoes goes to London

Ruby Red Shoes goes to London by Kate Knapp (Angus & Robertson) HB RRP $19.95   ISBN 978-0-732297-62-6

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Ruby Red Shoes Goes to London is the third book in Australia’s popular and most well travelled series that 4-8 year old children are sure to love.

Ruby the hare loves to travel and this time, wearing her ruby red shoes of course, she’s off to London with its red phone boxes, red letterboxes and red buses.  Maybe she’ll meet the Queen? Maybe she’ll have a delightful afternoon tea?  But there is more to this clever book than travel tales. It warms your heart from the inside out with family love and an understanding of death.  This book shows that we are all connected to the vast universe.  Ruby is full of wonder as she embraces the magic of living in and exploring London.  Most of all, there is gratitude for the place she calls home.

Kate Knapp’s illustrations shine with a whimsical touch that has superbly illustrated the story.  The soft colours have a very English feel and show life in London so well from the trains that run along burrows and swoosh alongside platforms to the hop on, hop off, red buses and all the London sights along the way. There are little snippets of information through the illustrations which help add to the story.  The sheer wonder of Buckingham Palace is so beautifully illustrated with detail.   London looks truly delightful.

The text paints London accurately with descriptive words and verbs -- for example ‘Ruby receives their affections with open arms, so much so that she is soon off-balance and sitting in a joyful pool of corgi cuddles and kisses.’

The book touches upon the topics of adventure and travel, family and friends, the universe, our global connection to the world and so much more.   Ruby Red Shoes is a book to be loved and treasured forever.  It is well worth a read for both children and adults.







Friday, 25 November 2016

The Tales of Mrs Mancini

The Tales of Mrs Mancini by Natalie Jane Prior, and illustrated by Cheryl Orsini (ABC Books) HB RRP $19.99  ISBN 978-0-733335-65-5

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

The Tales of Mrs Mancini’s Cat tells the story of a cat which runs a gorgeous cake shop full of yummy treats, with her friend Filippina. Alongside her passion for creating cakes, Mrs Mancini loves her customers and knows them well.  She can sense when something is wrong and her watchful eyes don’t miss a thing.  With some tail magic Mrs Mancini helps her friends in some unexpected ways.

This little book is a collection of three fully illustrated short stories that intertwine through Mrs Mancini and the cake shop.   The stories would suit the ages 4+ years.  They are based around the themes of friendship and loneliness.  A younger child will enjoy being read the stories that have names that roll off the tongue, like Mrs Mancini, Filippina and Claudette. 

Mrs Mancini is a wise and clever cat that uses just a little magic to help solve friendship problems. You just feel like giving Mrs Mancini a big cuddle.

Older children will love the support of the illustrations and the fact that the tales are three stories in one book that connect. The illustrations are delightful, with soft colours that feel safe and friendly, and have an innocent appeal. The pictures support the text beautifully, just like best friends.  The pastel colours remind me of delicious cake treats and Europe.

Children need to know that their problems can be solved and that they are not alone.  This little book shows simple solutions to friendship problems, loneliness and bullying.  It is recommended for its educational value, too. 




Wednesday, 23 November 2016

There is a Monster on My Holiday Who Farts

There is a Monster on My Holiday Who Farts by Tim Miller, illustrated by Matt Stanton (ABC Books) HB RRP $24.99   ISBN 978-0-733334-65-8

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

The Monster who Farts is back, so get your passports ready for some hilarious fun!  This story is cleverly written and illustrated for children, and might I say adults, too.  Co-creators, Tim Millar and Matt Stanton, not only know their young audience well, but their approach is fresh and original. 

A family trip around the world: who could possibly be the unexpected, extra passenger? A farting monster of course! This embarrassing problem becomes obvious when on the plane to the first stop, Japan, there’s unexpected turbulence. The reader is left guessing.  Is the farting monster responsible or is it someone else?

The colorful illustrations with comical facial expressions and gassy puffs entertain and delight, but also add cheeky fun to complement the text.  For example, the Mona Lisa’s smirk is turned to a look of smelly distaste.  The author and illustrator tango dance together briskly to tell this fart tale.

The reader travels with the family from country to country, and points of interest in the simple text provides extra fun. For example, ‘The Leaning Tower of Pisa finally topples -- ‘because there’s a monster on my holiday who farts.’

Subjects such as family, travel, culture and geography make this story so much more than a just simple fart tale.  This is one of those books that a child will want to visit again and again, as laughter really does make the world go around.