World Book Review: The Croc and the Platypus


This delightful, rhyming picture book follows two unlikely Aussie friends on an impromptu journey to the red center. Along the way, they play an indigenous instrument (didgeridoo), eat local sweets (lamingtons) and meet a new mate (Australian for “friend”). Finally, the duo set up camp under the famed Southern Cross enjoying the night alongside a wonderous red rock.

A joyous tale in perfect rhyme, The Croc and the Platypus is a fun read-aloud story that includes an incredible number of Australian icons. The stunning artwork beautifully compliments the simple story as it introduces young readers to the wonders of the Australian outback.

Recommended, especially for anyone who wants to introduce young children to Australia.

The Croc and the Platypus
Written by Jackie Hosking
Illustrated by Majorie Crosby-Fairall
ISBN: 9781922077-60-8
Available at Boomerang Books

World Book Review: Alice-Miranda in the Alps by Jacqueline Harvey


For the first World Book Review of the new year, I picked a children’s chapter book set in snowy Switzerland. It’s the perfect read for kids living in a wintry climate, especially young skiers or those that love the snow. Alice-Miranda in the Alps (book twelve in the Alice-Miranda series) by Australian author Jacqueline Harvey simply charms readers from beginning to end with its lovely characters, grand old hotels and a glimpse of European society. The ski town of Zermatt, where much of the story takes place, is beautifully described through its history, events and architecture. The setting and the depth of details about this stunning part of the world make this a wonderul children’s book.

Reviewed for the Children’s Book Council of Australia, I can’t give away all the details here, but my full review can be found on the Reading Time website

Absolutely recommended!

Alice-Miranda in the Alps
Written by Jacqueline Harvey
ISBN: 9780857982742
Available at Amazon and Boomerang Books

World Book Reviews: Leon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the missing canary eggs by Janet Hurst-Nicholson

LeonSet in Durban, South Africa, Leon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the missing canary eggs brings together a wonderful cast of animal characters as the mystery of an egg caper unfolds. With a good dose of humor along the way, the realities of life in the wild are not diluted — moles really don’t see very well, birds prance and strut, and sometimes rats get hungry — and these fantastic creatures stay true to character.

The author does a marvelous job of cleverly inserting facts about the animals we meet in Pigeon Valley throughout this middle grade detective story. The lovely illustrations throughout the story give the animals their own personalities — Constable Mole wears sunglasses and Spotted Eagle Owl, the judge, puts her big eyes to use — that will help young readers remember the unique features of this wonderful South African cast.

Selected as a Jay Heale’s BOOKCHAT AWARD winner in the 1993 South African Books of the Year, Leon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the missing canary eggs has recently been released as an ebook. For more information, visit Just4Kix Books, the author’s fun and fact-filled website, to check out all of Jan Hurst-Nicholson’s books, see drawings and details about the cast of characters in Leon Chameleon P.I. books and read a sample.

A sincere thank you to the author for providing a digital copy of the book and introducing me to her wonderful stories. I’ve just added another of her books, Bheki and the Magic Light, right on the top of my ever-expanding TBR pile!

Leon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the missing canary eggs
Written by Janet Hurst-Nicholson
Illustrated by Barbara McGuire
ISBN: 978-1515294450
Available at Amazon

As seen on…

Kid Lit Blog Hop

Booknificent Thursdays

World Book Reviews: Laurinda by Alice Pung

22603951 I was excited to read this book after winning a copy through Goodreads, but did not expect it to become one of the best books I’ve read this year.

A fascinating account of a young girl’s experience in a fictional Australian private girls school, Alice Pung’s Laurinda is impossible to put down. It has such a unique story line, that of a Vietnamese immigrant on scholarship, and a clever ending that perfectly wraps up this multi-faceted account of her first year at the prestigious school. It also gives readers a glimpse of living in suburbs of Sydney that many people, even locals, may not know.

Laurinda touches upon familiar themes for a book about high school aged children — boys, mean girls, family life, status, class, authority — but does so in a contemporary way. We see and feel things, quite clearly, from the viewpoint of the smart, no-nonsense protagonist, Lucy and root for her all the way.

Highly enjoyable. Highly recommended.

Title: Laurinda
Author: Alice Pung
ISBN: 978-1863956925
Availabie at Amazon and Boomerang Books

As seen on…

Kid Lit Blog HopBooknificent Thursdays

World Book Reviews: London ABC by Ben Hawkes

81SRXuqGhqL._SL1500_I think I’m slightly obsessed with this little book. I’ve mentioned it before in a previous blog post, I recommend it regularly and I buy it for any child that has even the remotest connection to London.

London ABC challenges readers to locate items that start with each letter hidden within the retro illustrations. Think a hotdog and horse for “H”, ostrich and orange for “O”, all cleverly positioned alongside famous landmarks like Hyde Park and Oxford Circus. There is even a key at the end to check if you’ve found all the hidden items. The book covers a great array of classic London landscapes; a wonderful way to introduce this world-class city to youngsters.

Throughout the book, readers follow a lost penguin who ends up in the silliest situations, but finally finds his way home. So even though there is no story in a traditional sense, there is a sense of continuity between the pages which leaves me perfectly satisfied at the end of the book. And I think that makes for a fantastic ABC book.

Title: London ABC
Author: Ben Hawkes
ISBN: 978-0857531704
Availability: Amazon

World Book Reviews: Tita by Marie Houzelle

22609502 Not so long ago I had the opportunity to live and work in Paris for nearly three years. And I loved every minute of it. So it probably won’t come as a surprise that I enjoy reading a good book about France and do so often.

Tita is a glimpse of life in rural France in the 1950s. This beautifully written story starts as though we simply join young Tita one day and ends on a seemingly random scene in the car with her family. In between we go to school and church with Tita meet her friends and family and see French life through this young girl’s eyes.

With its generous use of French words, explanations of customs and descriptions of daily rituals, I felt as though I was living French rural life. Tita’s trials and joys are easy to relate to even though I’m (quite) a bit older than she is in the story. There are glimpses of adult life, politics and both financial and marital struggles as seen through her eyes. 

My only complaint…I longed for more. And that, I think, speaks to the quality of the writing as well as the way the author brings readers into the story making us engage with the characters. I really enjoyed this book and the wonderful scenes of Southern French life. Highly recommended.

Title: Tita
Author: Marie Houzelle
ISBN: 9781940333014
Available at Amazon.