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Children's and YA book reviews and interviews

Danny Blue's Really Excellent Dream
Max Landrak, Lothian, October 2017, reviewed by Anica Boulanger-Mashberg

Max Landrak’s first children’s book is a delight. A fanciful tale of a boy who unexpectedly dreams of ‘not-blue’ in a world that consists only... Read more
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Something wundrous: Jessica Townsend on ‘Nevermoor’

Queensland author Jessica Townsend’s debut Nevermoor (Hachette, October) is a middle-grade fantasy about a cursed 11-year-old girl ‘that will hook readers aged 10 and up... Read more


Fresh take: Margrete Lamond on ‘The Sorry Tale of Fox and Bear’ x

The Sorry Tale of Fox and Bear (Margrete Lamond, illus by Heather Vallance, August) is the first title from newly launched small publisher Dirt Lane... Read more

Drawn Onward
Meg McKinlay, illus by Andrew Frazer, Fremantle Press, October 2017, reviewed by Bronte Coates

Drawn Onward is a clever picture book for older children that explores the transformative power of perspective. Author Meg McKinlay has crafted a palindrome that will delight observant young readers with the... Read more

Koalas Eat Gum Leaves
Laura and Philip Bunting, Scholastic, October 2017, reviewed by Thuy On

Koalas Eat Gum Leaves is a funny take on the one fact that every budding naturalist knows about Australia’s beloved marsupial: they eat gum leaves. ‘Gum leaves for breakfast. Gum... Read more

The Lion in Our Living Room
Emma Middleton, illus by Briony Stewart, Affirm, October 2017, reviewed by Thuy On

Emma Middleton and Briony Stewart’s The Lion in Our Living Room is a gentle picture book that celebrates the spirit of imagination in the same vein as Judith Kerr’s The... Read more

Papa Sky
Jane Jolly, illus by Sally Heinrich, MidnightSun, October 2017, reviewed by Maria Alessandrino

Papa Sky is an educational picture book from the creative team behind CBCA Honour Book One Step at a Time. Papa Sky belongs where the earth meets the sky. When... Read more

Margo Lanagan, illus by Rovina Cai, Little Hare, October 2017, reviewed by Maria Alessandrino

Acclaimed for her short stories and novels, Margo Lanagan’s latest creation Tintinnabula is a picture book that explores light and shade. Through a poetic narrative, the story looks at the... Read more

When I Grow Up
Tim Minchin, illus by Steve Antony, Scholastic, October 2017, reviewed by Romi Sharp

From the award-winning Australian composer and comedian Tim Minchin comes a picture book inspired by Minchin’s lyrics to the song ‘When I Grow Up’ from Matilda the Musical. The song/story... Read more

The Amulet of Athlone: The Chronicles of Jack McCool Book One
R E Devine, Bauer Media, October 2017, reviewed by Heath Graham

Things aren’t easy for Jack McCool. His teacher Miss Medusa hates him, the school bully picks on him and even his hair won’t sit straight. While he gets called ‘McNerd’... Read more

James Foley, Fremantle Press, September 2017, reviewed by Holly Harper

Sally Tinker is an inventor—the world’s foremost inventor under the age of 11, to be precise—and her latest invention is a doozy. The Resizenator can shrink anything to microscopic size... Read more

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow Book One
Jessica Townsend, Lothian, October 2017, reviewed by Jackie Tang

Ten-year-old Morrigan Crow was born on Eventide and, like other children born on this day, is cursed to die at midnight on her 11th birthday. Her family are distant and... Read more

The Sorry Tale of Fox and Bear
Margrete Lamond & Heather Vallance, Dirt Lane Press, August 2017, reviewed by Tehani Croft

Bear and Fox have a tumultuous friendship, marred by Fox’s pranks and mean tricks. However, when Fox disappears, Bear finds he misses his buddy. New companions Rooster and Hare seem to... Read more

Tales from a Tall Forest
Shaun Micallef, illus by Jonathan Bentley, Hardie Grant Egmont, October 2017, reviewed by Anica Boulanger Mashberg

Shaun Micallef’s first book for children takes a large dose of fairytale ingredients, flavours them with a dash of nursery rhyme and a pinch of Greek mythology, and bakes them... Read more

Untidy Towns
Kate O'Donnell, UQP, October 2017, reviewed by Carody Culver

Seventeen-year-old Adelaide Longley has had enough. After five years of striving for success at her expensive boarding school, she’s done with trying to be the person her teachers and family... Read more



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