Showing posts from May, 2021

Book Bites: YA Journeys Into the Afterlife

Unless you’ve been to the afterlife, and successfully returned, chances are you are not super familiar with the supernatural. These next few YA novels ease maturing young adults into spine-tingling conjecture about spectres, the worlds they habitat and conditions of existence they are forced to abide by. It’s bewitching stuff. The Ghost Squad This thriller by Sophie Masson takes place in the not too distant future following a global cataclysmic event which renders the world virtually tech-free. Living in a world stripped of modern day conveniences, young Polly is thrust into a heart-racing quest of survival. Guided by her own instincts and a beguiling young teen by the name of, Swan, Polly grapples with new found knowledge about two opposing clandestine organisations, the government run Ghost Squad and the Base whose shared intent is for the control of information about the afterlife. Since what is commonly referred to as the Pulse (theoretically a massive solar flare disturbing e

Video Review: Counting Creatures

A huge number (pardon the pun) of counting books regularly cross my reviewing line of sight, some fun, some novel, some nonsensical. The thing that sets Counting Creatures by the ineffable, Julia Donaldson and illustrator extraordinaire, Sharon King-Chai, apart is the exquisite presentation and thoughtful use of content. This is decidedly more than a counting book. It verses children in the prerequisite 1 - 10 then continues in multiple of fives which prolongs the enjoyment and exercises young brain muscles. A forest, tree top and meadow full of interesting creatures lurk, fly and float in a wonderful wildness of stunning colour and detail.  Children are invited to count these creatures and then venture a guess as to how many babies they might have; a bat has one for instance but who has more babies than that? The most exuberant thing about this counting and naming book is the gorgeous arrangement of flaps and fold out pages each hiding the answer and a surprise or two.  Combining cou

Book Bites: Picture Books to Soothe and Comfort

The coupling of these two picture books may at first glance seem peculiar but spend time with each and you’ll soon appreciate their shared affinity. Both are exquisite examples of tender hearted story telling relaying huge-hearted subject matter in ways young readers can easily embrace. Both are illustrated with a gentle hand and soothing colour palette. I urge you to explore more… Extraordinary! Penny Harrison has hit her stride with this glorious picture book showcasing hope. At least this was the main message for me. So many children’s books attempt to broadcast the notion of ‘hanging on’ and ‘feeling hopeful’. We tell children regularly that they are special and unique. Sometimes, we even reward mediocrity in an effort to level their ‘feelings’ playing fields thus doing their self-esteems a terrible disservice. This book rejects all that in favour of acknowledging a child’s desire to dream without boundaries; to harness unicorns and sail around Mars for example. Of course childr

Review: Honeybee

If you’re after the sort of novel that lulls you effortlessly into mindless slumber, this book is not for you! Where do I begin? Luckily for us all, Craig Silvey begins with the end in his latest rousing novel, Honeybee . It’s an end some of us may have contemplated at some point in life especially those of more tender years enduring emotional turmoil.  It’s a beginning that catapults the reader into the tortured psyches of Sam and Vic, immediately establishing a powerful rapport between them and us, powerful enough to evoke first-class-page-turner status. Sam is teetering on the brink of fifteen but his heart still beats with tween-aged naivety and contorts with young adult anxieties. Fatherless since birth, Sam scrambles from one decrepit address to another with his young incomeless mother. Their bond is tighter than spandex but her creative dreams are stymied by the need to make their frayed ends meet and a spiralling moral compass. Sam looks forward to growing up just like her

Book Bites: Mother's Day Moments

Before my beloved child transformed into a ghoulish teenager, her unconditional love for me was the wind in my sails, the gentle eddies that kept me afloat. It was the best (and most incredulous) thing ever being the best in her eyes. So books expressing the wonderfulness of motherhood create more than just joy through their tender sentiments, they stir up a certain wistfulness that turns dry eyes damp and melts hearts alloyed by time. Here are a couple of picture books that should find purchase with mothers at any stage of motherhood. The Best Mum I love this book. Its colour and verve jostle for attention from the gorgeous cover (which, along with the back cover, complements the story just brilliantly). I love the lux feel of the paper stock too, thick and glossy, perfect for repeated shared reading sessions with little hands that need to poke and stroke a story, like mine. Penny Harrison’s amusing rhyming verse paints a clear and comical comparison between one little girl’s mo