Children's and Young Adult Books

Bec Kavanagh reviews 'Black Spring' by Alison Croggon

Bec Kavanagh
29 January 2013

Lina is part witch, part royalty. Her existence is scorned by both the king and the powerful wizards that all but rule the bitter lands of the North. The story of her heady romance and tragic fate is the centrepiece for Alison Croggon’s latest fiction, a Gothic fantasy inspired by Wuthering Heights.

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Laura Elvery reviews 'City' by James Roy

Laura Elvery
28 January 2013

James Roy’s cover blurb suggests that ‘everyone has a story’. The awkward thing is that some are better than others. In his new book, young characters are linked by stories and poems that criss-cross an unnamed city. It acts as a companion piece to Roy’s successful Town (2007), which contained thirteen tales from regional New South Wales. In CityMore

Joy Lawn reviews recent picture books

Joy Lawn
27 November 2012

Tohby Riddle’s Unforgotten (Allen & Unwin, $35 hb, 123 pp, 9781742379722) will be appreciated by aficionados of Shaun Tan’s sophisticated illustrated works and Riddle’s impressive books. This atmospheric book is allegorical and metaphorical, and the structure is cyclic. It begins and ends in the heavens; and gradually revea ... More

Laura Elvery reviews 'Into that Forest' by Louis Nowra

Laura Elvery
26 November 2012

 The world’s last known Tasmanian tiger died in Hobart Zoo in 1936. Surviving film footage of the marsupial is brief. No sound recordings exist of a thylacine’s bark or cough. Its extinction is one of Australia’s most lamentable tales. Nowra’s sad, dark novel imagines how these carnivores could care for two children lost in the wilderness.

Hanna ... More

Sophie Splatt reviews two new children's fiction titles

Sophie Splatt
24 October 2012

Craig Silvey’s The Amber Amulet is a deceptively simple tale that hides many classic themes within its layers. By night, twelve-year-old Liam McKenzie patrols Franklin Street in the guise of super-hero the Masked Avenger, aided (and sometimes hindered) by his sidekick, Richie the Powerbeagle. The prime belief underpinning the Masked Avenger’s doctrine is ... More

Maya Linden reviews 'Creepy & Maud' by Dianne Touchell

Maya Linden
25 September 2012

From the first sentence of Creepy & Maud, we know we are entering a volatile world. ‘My dad has trained our dog, Dobie Squires, to bite my mum,’ Creepy tells us. What follows is a vivid peek into suburban isolation and unease. Almost every character has an addiction or psychological disturbance, from alcoholism and untameable aggression to dyslexia an ... More

Stephanie Owen Reeder reviews recent picture books

Stephanie Owen Reeder
28 August 2012

Stephanie Owen Reeder

 

Good picture books stimulate a child’s imagination. Nick Bland and Stephen Michael King celebrate creativity in The Magnificent Tree (Scholastic, $24.99 hb, 32 pp, 9781742832951). Bonny and Pops enjoy sharing ideas and making things together. Bonny’s inventions are ‘simple, clever and properly made’, wh ... More

Bec Kavanagh reviews 'The Shiny Guys' by Doug MacLeod

Bec Kavanagh
04 July 2012

The Shiny Guys, quite a departure from Doug MacLeod’s usually quite light-hearted work, is nonetheless a real success. This foray into the world of mental illness and treatment calls to mind, and even refers directly to, complex works such as The Castle and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.A book about fear, uncertainty, and suffering, it is rich in complexities bu ... More

Ruth Starke reviews 'The Children of the King' by Sonya Hartnett, 'The Tunnels of Tarcoola' by Jennifer Walsh, 'Red' by Libby Gleeson: 'Mystery at Riddle Gully' and Jen Banyard

Ruth Starke
22 May 2012

Cecily Lockwood’s heart ‘bounced like a trout’. An arresting simile on the first page of a novel is always a good sign, but will this piscatorial comparison mean anything to young readers? No matter, back to those footsteps climbing the dark stairs to twelve-year-old Cecily’s room, where she is quailing under the bed. She pictures her older brother Jeremy in the next room, his ... More

Joy Lawn reviews recent picture books

Joy Lawn
22 February 2012

Australian picture books are among the best in the world. Some of our most notable authors and illustrators include Bob Graham, Libby Gleeson, Freya Blackwood, Stephen Michael King, and Glenda Millard. The latest books by these creators are valuable additions to Australian children’s literature.

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