The Golden Compass Graphic Novel, Vol 1 - Philip Pullman (mini-review)

(mini-review x-post from Instagram)

Title: The Golden Compass Graphic Novel, Vol. 1
Series: His Dark Materials
Author:  Philip Pullman, Clément Oubrerie, and Stéphanie Melchior-Durand

Pages: 80

Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy has long been a favourite of mine so I quite eagerly anticipated getting my hands on the graphic novel... but, much like the film, I felt it fell flat of it’s potential. It’s not that it is a ‘bad’ graphic novel - just that it pales it comparison. The richness and beauty of the prose has been stripped away in favour of simplicity in language and art.

Recommended Age Group: 10+

Content Warnings: 
- some violence

Similar Reads:


Other Reviews Have you written a review for this book? I would love to include it, comment below and I'll add your link!

Because You'll Never Meet Me - Leah Thomas (mini-review)

(mini-review x-post from Instagram)

Title: Because You'll Never Meet Me
Series: Because You'll Never Meet Me, Book 1
Author:  Leah Thomas

Pages: 344

Please follow these instructions:

1. Stack the pages of this letter neatly.
2. Roll the pages up into a cylinder.
3. Smack yourself over the head with it.
4. Repeat. You complete ass.

Ollie and Moritz are best friends... despite the fact that they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity, while Moritz’s life depends on his pacemaker. Meeting would kill one or both of them. Over a series of cross-Atlantic letters, Ollie and Moritz share their lives and discover more connections than they could have known. This was an intriguing read, even if the last few chapters really took a left turn. I’ll have to check out the sequel. 

Recommended Age Group: 13+

Content Warnings: 
- some violence
- human experimentation

Similar Reads:

Other Reviews Have you written a review for this book? I would love to include it, comment below and I'll add your link!

Books Read in 2017


  • Asher, Jay - Thirteen Reasons Why
  • Atwood, Margaret - The Handmaid's Tale
  • Babbitt, Natalie - Tuck Everlasting
  • Blabey, Aaron - The Bad Guys, Episode 1
  • Blacklock, Dylan - Pankration
  • Chainani, Soman - The School for Good and Evil
  • Cheng, Jack - See You in the Cosmos
  • Cline, Ernest - Ready Player One
  • Cohen-Scali, Sarah - Max
  • Dahl, Roald - Matilda
  • Erskine, Kathryn - Mockingbird
  • Green, John - Turtles All the Way Down
  • Larkin, John - The Pause
  • Lewis, Gill - A Story Like the Wind
  • Lowry, Lois - Number the Stars
  • Martin, George R.R. - A Game of Thrones
  • McHugh, Fiona - The Anne of Green Gables Storybook
  • Meyer, Marissa - The Lunar Chronicles #1: Cinder
  • Montgomery, L.M. - Anne of Green Gables
  • Murakami, Haruki - The Strange Library
  • Newton, Rober - Mr. Romanov's Garden in the Sky
  • Osborne, Mary Pope - Magic Tree House #25: Stage Fright on a Summer Night
  • Pratchett, Terry and Neil Gaiman - Good Omens
  • Pullman, Philip - His Dark Materials, Vol. 0: The Collectors
  • Pullman, Philip - His Dark Matierals, Vol. 1: The Golden Compass
  • Rowling, J.K. - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  • Rowling, J.K. - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • Rowling, J.K. - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Rowling, J.K. - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Rowling, J.K. - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Rowling, J.K. - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Rowling, J.K. - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • Sedaris, David - Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary
  • Sáenz, Benjamin Alire - Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
  • Sloan, Holly Goldberg - Counting by 7s
  • Thomas, Leah - Because You'll Never Meet Me
  • Tolkien, J.R.R. - The Hobbit
  • Valentine, Jenny - Fire Colour One
  • Yoon, Nicola - Everything Everything
  • Zorn, Claire - One Would Think the Deep


  • Crossan, Sarah - The Weight of Water
  • Kaur, Rupi - Milk and Honey


Non-Fiction (excl. NF picture books and graphic novels)

  • Alexander, Becky - Packed: Lunch Hacks to Squeeze More Nutrients into Your Day
  • Amos, Janine - Animals
  • Anthony, Tobias - Should I Buy This Book?: Life's Hardest Decisions Made Easy By Flow Charts
  • Australian Woman's Weekly - Baking: The Complete Collection
  • Bendy, Karen - Where Are You Pip?
  • Bern, Stéphane - The Best Loved Villages of France
  • Clifton-Mogg, Caroline - A Space of My Own: Inspirational Ideas for Home Offices, Craft Rooms, and Studies
  • Dunlop, Kerryan - Jamie's Food Tube: The Family Cookbook
  • Durrell, Gerald - Beasts in My Belfry
  • Favilli, Elena - Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women
  • Fisher, Carrie - Shockaholic
  • Fowkes, Alex - Expressive Type: Unique Typographic Design in Sketchbooks, in Print, and On Location Around the Globe
  • Gilliatt, Sophie - The Dinner Ladies
  • Graham, Ian - My Best Book of Spaceships
  • Gross, Steve - The Creative Cottage
  • Grovier, Kelly - 100 Words of Art That Will Define Our Age
  • Griffiths, Simon - Shed
  • Johnson, Alex - Improbably Libraries
  • Kirkman, Jen - I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Takes from a Happy Life Without Kids
  • Klein, Zach - Cabin Porn: Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere
  • Kleon, Austin - Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
  • Kopp, Linda - The Joy of Sox: 30+ Must-Knit Designs
  • Laing, Moray - Doctor Who: The Official Annual 2011
  • McKeehan, Valerie - The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering: Create and Develop Your Own Style
  • Middleton, Susan - Spineless
  • Moore, Mandy - Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti
  • Newman, Kristin - What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding
  • Phaidon - Elemental Living: Contemporary Houses in Nature
  • Preston, Matt - The Simple Secrets to Cooking Everything Better
  • Ryan, Justin - Mini Hacks for Pokémon GO Players: Skills, Tips, and Techniques for Capturing Monsters
  • Schulze, Bianca - 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up: The Must-Read Book List for Kids
  • Sokol, Dawn DeVries - 1000 Artist Journal Pages
  • Thoreau, Henry David - Civil Disobedience
  • Wainer, Sean - Love Your Lunch: The Small World Recipe Book
  • Ware, Lesley - Sew Fab: Sewing and Style for Young Fashionistas
  • Warnaar, Dawn Nicole - Adventures in Lettering: 40 Exercises to Improve Your Lettering Skills

Graphic Novels

  • Allison, John, Max Sarin, Whitney Cogar, et al - Giant Days, Vol. 2
  • Allison, John, Max Sarin, Whitney Cogar, et al - Giant Days, Vol. 3
  • Bell, Cece - El Deafo
  • Bui, Thi - The Best We Could Do
  • Bunn, Cullen and Ramon Rosanas - Deadpool, Vol. 1: Night of the Living Deadpool
  • Bunn, Cullen and Tyler Crook - Harrow County, Vol. 1: Countless Haints
  • Bunn, Cullen and Tyler Crook - Harrow County, Vol. 2: Twice Told
  • Byrne, Jennifer - Reading Pleasures
  • Churchland, Marian - Beast
  • Colfer, Eoin, Andrew Donkin, and Giovanni Rigano - Illegal: A Graphic Novel Telling One Boy's Epic Journey to Europe
  • Deacon, Alexis - Geis: A Matter of Life and Death
  • DiGerolamo, Tony, Rajesh Nagulakonda, and Mark Twain - John of Arc: The Graphic Novel
  • Gaiman, Neil, Fábio Moon, and Gabriel Bá - How to Talk to Girls at Parties
  • Gent, Sally Van - The Navy-Blue Suitcase
  • Goblet, Dominique - Pretending is Lying
  • Grolleau, Fabien and Jérémie Royer - Audubon: On the Wings of the World
  • Guibert, Emmanuel and Marc Boutavant - Ariol, Vol. 1: Just a Donkey Like You and Me
  • Harding, Justine - The Soup Bible
  • Hart, Tom - Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir
  • Hastings, Christopher, Danilo Beyruth, and Gurihiru - Gwenpool, the Unbelievable, Vol. 1: Believe It
  • Hicks, Faith Erin - The Nameless City, Vol. 1: The Nameless City
  • Hicks, Faith Erin - The Nameless City, Vol. 2: The Stone Heart
  • Hubert, Marie Caillou, and David Homel - Adrian and the Tree of Secrets
  • Jamieson, Victoria - Roller Girl
  • King, Tom, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Jordie Bellaire, et al - The Vision, Vol. 1: Little Worse Than a Man
  • Knisley, Lucy - French Milk
  • Konami, Kanata, Marlaina McElheny, and Ed Chavez - FukuFuku, Vol. 1: Kitten Tales
  • Lucke, Deb and Jim Salicrup - The Lunch Witch
  • Niffenegger, Audrey - The Adventuress
  • North, Ryan and Erica Henderson - The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 1: Squirrel Power
  • North, Ryan and Erica Henderson - The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 2: Squirrel You Know It's True
  • North, Ryan and Erica Henderson - The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now
  • North, Ryan, Erica Henderson, Jacob Chabot, et al - The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 4: I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It
  • Nye, Bill - Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World
  • Powell, Nate - Swallow Me Whole
  • Prince, Liz - Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir
  • Pullman, Philip, Clément Oubrerie, and Stéphanie Melchior-Durand - The Golden Compass Graphic Novel, Vol. 1
  • Rucka, Greg, Ray Snyder, Steve Rude, et al - Wonder Woman: Down to Earth
  • Scott, Bob - Molly and the Bear
  • Shrigley, David - Weak Messages Create Bad Situations: A Manifesto
  • Simone, Gail, Terry Dodson, Ron Randall, et al - Wonder Woman, Vol. 3: The Circle
  • Soule, Charles, Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, Dan Jackson, et al - Letter 44, Vol. 1: Escape Velocity
  • Spencer, Si, Max Dunbar, Andre Parks, et al - Slash and Burn, Vol. 1
  • Stevenson, Noelle, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, et al - Lumberjanes, Vol. 5: Band Together
  • Stevenson, Noelle, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, et al - Lumberjanes, Vol. 6: Sink or Swim
  • Thompson, Craig - Habibi
  • Vaughan, Brian K. and Fiona Saples - Saga, Vol. 7
  • Watson, Mark - Dan and Sam

Picture Books

  • Alexie, Sherman and Yuyi Morales - Thunder Boy, Jr.
  • Alkayat, Zena and Nina Cosford - Jane Austen
  • Briggs, Raymond - The Puddleman
  • Caswell, Brian and Matt Ottley - Hyram & B
  • Cummings, Phil and Shane Devries - Boy
  • Daly, Cathleen and Stephen Michael King - Prudence Wants a Pet
  • Fox, Mem - I'm Australian Too
  • Fox, Mem and Marla Frazee - Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild!
  • Godwin, Jane, Michael Wagner, and Andrew Joyner - Bear Make Den
  • Goodwin, Alex, Charles Dickens, and Tess Gammell - A Guinea Pig Oliver Twist
  • Graham, Bob - Home in the Rain
  • Green, John - Hippopotamister
  • Hoopmann, Kathy - All Birds Have Anxiety
  • Hoopmann, Kathy - All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome
  • Howarth, Kylie - Chip
  • James, Ann - Bird and Bear and the Special Day
  • Jeffers, Oliver - The Incredible Book Eating Boy
  • Johnson, Crockett - Harold and the Purple Crayon
  • Johnson, Mo and Annabelle Josse - Noah's Garden: When Someone You Love is in the Hospital
  • Kaiser, Lisbeth and Leire Salaberria - Little People, Big Dreams: Maya Angelou
  • Knudsen, Michelle and Kevin Hawkes - Library Lion
  • Lanagan, Margo and Rovina Cai - Tintinnabula
  • Lee, Lyn and Kim Gamble - Eight
  • Lester, Alison - Hello Little Babies
  • Mattick, Lindsay and Sophie Blackall - Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear
  • Michelson, Richard and Edel Rodriguez - Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy
  • Morgan, Sally and Ambelin Kwaymullina - Dream Little One, Dream
  • Morgan, Sally and Ambelin Kwaymullina - Joey Counts to Ten
  • Parker, Aura - Twig
  • Parker, Danny and Freya Blackwood - Molly and Mae
  • Parker, Danny and Matt Ottley - Tree: A Little Story About Big Things
  • Pignataro, Anna - Agatha and the Dark
  • Ray, Mary Lyn and Marla Frazee - Stars
  • Sazalakis, John - Wonder Woman: An Origin Story
  • Shanahan, Lisa and Leila Rudge - The Whole Caboodle
  • Sierra, Judy and Marc Bron - Wild About Books
  • Sullivan, Mary - Ball
  • Trace, Balla - Rockhopping
  • Tremi, Renee - Ten Little Owls
  • Vegara, Ma Isabel Sánchez and Ana Albero - Little People, Big Dreams: Coco Chanel
  • Vegara, Ma Isabel Sánchez and Amaia Arrazola - Little People, Big Dreams: Audrey Hepburn
  • Vegara, Ma Isabel Sánchez and Elisa Munsó - Little People, Big Dreams: Agatha Christie
  • Vegara, Ma Isabel Sánchez and Frau Isa - Little People, Big Dreams: Marie Curie
  • Walliams, David and Tony Ross - The Slightly Annoying Elephant
  • Webb, Cassandra and Amanda Francey - Take Ted Instead
  • Whatley, Bruce - Ruben

--> --> -->

Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater

   Title: Shiver
   Series: Mercy Falls, Book 1
   Author: Maggie Stiefvater

   Publisher: Scholastic Press
   Year Published: 2009
   Pages: 390

“I could still smell her on my fur. It clung to me, a memory of another world.

I was drunk with it, with the scent of her. I'd got too close.

The smell of summer on her skin, the half-recalled cadence of her voice, the sensation of her fingers on my fur. Every bit of me sang with the memory of her closeness.

Too close. I couldn't stay away.

Shiver is hardly a new book, and I've seen it around for a while, knowing it was quite popular, but I never quite seemed to get to it. This week, however, while getting to know the new batch of year 7 readers, one girl borrowed the last in the trilogy and talked to me about how much she had enjoyed it. That was all the prompting I needed to tick this one off my list.

Shiver is the first book in a trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater. It is a love story between a girl named Grace and a boy named Sam - but Sam is no ordinary boy. Every year, during winter with the temperature drops, Sam becomes a wolf. A wolf among a pack of wolves who live in the forest behind Grace's house. The very same pack that attacked Grace when she was a little girl. This is a story about growing up, about love, about danger, and about sacrifice.

fanart by connorose

Grace is seventeen years old, very practical and responsible. She looks after herself, her family, and her friends. She likes numbers and things that make sense. Sam, on the other hand, is dreamy and creative. Eighteen years old, he has spent a large portion of his life shifting back and forth between being a wolf and a human. He likes music, and poetry, and above all, Grace.

I particularly enjoyed the way this story was told. These days, first person narratives that jump back and forth chapter to chapter between characters are very much the norm. But unlike some other YA romances in this format, the voices where clear and and distinctive, even when the pattern of changes shifted. (To be fair, I did listen to an audiobook which made this impossible to miss, but I still feel the characters were clearly separated).

fanart by finncollins

I found Stiefvater quite lyrical in her writing, very fond of descriptive passages romanticised imagery. That being said, overall the novel wasn't overly sappy or cheesy, due in no small part to the character of Grace being relatively practical and stoic. 

I would like to say this book was a must read, as I truly found it pleasant and, at places, even a beautiful novel - but it's not groundbreaking. At it's core it's a paranomal YA romance, like the many written at the same time. It is certainly well written, and has rounded enough characters that I'm quite happy to suggest it to a wide range of students at school, but it doesn't have anything all that new.

fanart by dearbrigan

Recommended Age Group:
I'll be steering to the 15+ crowd based on the age of the characters and some hints towards sex (though nothing at all graphic). It would be acceptable for mature readers a little younger if you felt they were capable. All the covers I've seen have been very girl oriented, but it has it's share of action and quite a believable male voice, so it might be worth extending a suggestion to some of the boys also.

Content Warnings:
- some mention of sex (not graphic or lewd)
- some violence
- trigger warning for suicide backstory

Similar Reads:

Other Reviews Have you written a review for this book? I would love to include it, comment below and I'll add your link!

Kids say the Darnedest Things

Me: Are you eating in the library?
Yr 7 Boy: *looks at giant biscuit in hand* ... just a little bit.

Me: *approaching a small group of year 8 boys* Hello hello, do you all have something to read over the holidays? Are we needing books?
Year 8 Boy: Nah I don't read. Books are dumb.
Me: Well that's okay if you don't like reading, but you shouldn't say that in front of the books. They'll hear you and then they'll be sad.
Year 8 Boy: ... *reaches over and picks up a book* You're dumb.
Me: Well then okay.

Books read in 2016

Total: 300


  • Albom, Mitch - The Strings of Frankie Presto
  • Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
  • Barker, Kathryn - In the Skin of a Monster
  • Blume, Judy - Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
  • Bukowski, Charles - On Cats
  • Brooks, Geraldine - Caleb's Crossing
  • Burnett, Frances Hodgson - A Little Princess
  • Cabot, Meg - The Princess Diaries #1
  • Carey, M.R. - The Girl with All the Gifts
  • Courtenay, Bryce - The Power of One
  • Crossan, Sarah - One
  • Dahl, Roald - The BFG
  • Donoghue, Emma - Room
  • Donoghue, Emma - The Wonder
  • Estes, Eleanor - The Hundred Dresses
  • Fink, Joseph and Jeffrey Cranor - Welcome to Night Vale
  • Genova, Lisa - Inside the O'Briens
  • Gino, Alex - George
  • Gleitzman, Morris - Boy Overboard
  • Gough, Erin - The Flywheel
  • Grabensteinm Chris - Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
  • Grant, Michael - Hunger
  • Graudin, Ryan - Wolf by Wolf
  • Hawkins, Paula - The Girl on the Train
  • Hendrix, Grady - Horrorstör
  • Hoge, Robert - Ugly
  • Howey, Hugh - Wool #1: Wool
  • Howey, Hugh - Wool #2: Proper Guage
  • Howey, Hugh - Wool #3: Casting Off
  • Joyce, William - The Guardians #1: Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King
  • Kesey, Ken - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • Kostakis, Will - The First Third
  • Kostakis, Will - The Sidekicks
  • Lange, Erin - Dead Ends
  • Larbalestier, Justine - My Sister Rosa
  • Levithan, David - The Realm of Possibility
  • MacLachlan, Patricia - Sarah, Plain and Tall
  • Maguire, Gregory - Matchless: A Christmas Story
  • Martin, Emily Winfield - Oddfellow's Orphanage
  • Mee, Benjamin - We Bought a Zoo
  • Morgan, Sally - Sister Heart
  • Moyes, Jojo - Me Before You
  • Murray, Martine - Molly and Pim and Millions of Stars
  • Ness, Patrick - A Monster Calls
  • Ness, Patrick - The Rest of Us Just Live Here
  • Picoult, Jodi - Leaving Time
  • Picoult, Jodi - Lone Wolf
  • Picoult, Jodi - Shine
  • Picoult, Jodi - Small Great Things
  • Pullman, Philip - Lyra's Oxford
  • Riggs, Ransom - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
  • Riordan, Rick - Kane Chronicles #1: The Red Pyramid
  • Rowling, J.K. - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • Rowling, J.K. - The Tales of Beedle the Bard
  • Saliba, Sue - For the Forest of a Bird
  • Scalzi, John - The Dispatcher
  • Shriver, Lionel - We Need to Talk About Kevin
  • Stead, Rebecca - Liar & Spy
  • Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
  • Stiefvater, Maggie - The Wolves of Mercy, #1: Shiver
  • Stiefvater, Maggie - The Wolves of Mercy, #2: Linger
  • Sugg, Zoe - Girl Online
  • Vonnegut, Jr., Kurt - Slaughterhouse-Five
  • Wilkinson, Lili - The Boundless Sublime
  • Williamson, Lisa - The Art of Being Normal
  • Zevin, Gabrielle - The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry
  • Zorn, Claire - The Sky So Heavy


  • Kwame, Alexander - The Crossover
  • Murphy, Sally - Pearl Versus the World
  • Powers, Kevin - Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting


  • Albee, Edward - The Zoo Story
  • Kaufman, Moisés - The Laramie Project
  • Russell, Willy - Educating Rita
  • Tiffany, John, Jack Thorne, and J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two

Non-Fiction (excl. NF picture books and graphic novels)

  • Affirm Press - She Sheds
  • Anthony, Tobias - From Ace to Zowie: The Ultimate Guide to Hip Baby Names
  • Barker, Brooke - Sad Animal Facts
  • Bennett, Alan - The Lady in the Van
  • Bigler, Kami - Washi Tape Christmas: Easy Holiday Craft Ideas with Washi Tape
  • Blair, Adele - Home
  • Bloom, Cameron - Penguin Bloom: The Odd Little Bird Who Saved a Family
  • Bronson, Fred - The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook
  • Bryson, Bill - At Home: A Short History of Private Life
  • Bryson, Bill - Down Under
  • Bryson, Bill - Notes from a Small Island
  • Bryson, Bill - The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
  • Bryson, Bill - A Short History of Nearly Everything
  • Bryson, Bill - A Walk in the Woods
  • Campos, Cristian - Tattoo Magic
  • Cave, Michael - Fabulous Places of Myth
  • Carrington, Colleen - Benedict Cumberstitch: Cross Stitch Mr Cumberbatch in 15 Great Patterns
  • Chamberlain, Kim - 365 Games and Puzzles to Keep Your Mind Sharp
  • Davies, Steven Paul - Out at the Movies: A History of Gay Cinema
  • Duncan, Ken - Walking in the Light: Ken Duncan's Iconic Australian Images and Their Stories
  • Fey, Tina - Bossypants
  • Finnanger, Tone - Tilda's Fairytale Wonderland
  • Fisher, Carrie - The Princess Diarist
  • Fisher, Carrie - Wishful Drinking
  • Friedman-Siegal, Kate - Mother, Can You Not?
  • Fry, Stephen - The Fry Chronicles
  • Fry, Stephen - Moab is My Washpot
  • Fry, Stephen - More Fool Me
  • Gaiman, Neil - Make Good Art
  • Graham, Lauren - Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between
  • Gray, Tanis - Cozy Knits: 50 Fast and Easy Projects from Top Designers
  • Halpern, Justin - Sh*t My Dad Says
  • Hanffe, Helene - 84 Charing Cross Road
  • Hanffe, Helene - The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street
  • Hart, Alexander - Jar Salads: 52 Happy, Healthy Lunches
  • Hart, Miranda - Peggy and Me
  • Hoshi, Mitsuki - Sparkling Crochet: Make Amigurumi Animals with Yarn that Glitters
  • Johnson, Kylie - Melancholy and Bright: Quotes of Wisdom and Wonder
  • Katauskas, Fiona - The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made
  • Kendrick, Anna - Scrappy Little Nobody
  • Knight, Sarah - The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don't Have With People You Don't Like Doing Things You Don't Want to Do
  • Kramer, Sibylle - Green, Hidden and Above: The Most Exceptional Treehouses
  • Kyle, Chris - American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History
  • Lannister, Jammy - Game of Scones: All Men Must Dine
  • Leunig, Michael - Leunig's Carnival of the Animals
  • Leunig, Sunny - The Book of Uninspiring Quotes to Complement Your Empty Shell of an Existence
  • Lewis, Michael - The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game
  • Lonely Planet - You Only Live Once: A Lifetime of Experiences for the Explorer in All of Us
  • Lord, Aileen - The World as 100 People: A Visual Guide to 7 Billion Humans
  • Mackintosh, Michelle - Care Packages: Celebrating the Art and Craft of Thoughtfully Made Packages
  • Marley, Christopher - Biophilia
  • Mooncie, Vanessa - Crocheted Wild Animals
  • Overbeek, Hester Van - Crafting with Mason Jars and Other Glass Containers: Over 35 Simple and Beautiful Upcycling Projects
  • Perkins, Sue - Spectacles
  • Perry, Neil - Easy Weekends: Food
  • Piers, Helen - How to Look After Your Kitten
  • Quentin, Blake - Tell Me a Picture
  • Reeder, Stephanie Owen - Lennie the Legend: Solo to Sydney by Pony
  • Rice, Brian - A Pictorial History of Santa Claus
  • Ridge, Judith - The Book That Made Me
  • Sander, Gin - The Big Bucket List Book: 133 Experiences of a Lifetime
  • Sparrow, Rebecca - Ask Me Anything: Heartfelt Answers to 65 Anonymous Questions from Teenage Girls
  • Stanton, Brandon - Humans of New York
  • Starke, Ruth and Robert Hannaford - My Gallipoli
  • Strayed, Cheryl - Brave Enough
  • Usher, Shaun - Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience
  • Various - Handmade Christmas: Over 35 Step-by-Step Projects and Inspirational Ideas for the Festive Season
  • Wilson, Mara - Where Am I Now?

Graphic Novels

  • Aaron, Jason, Russell Dauterman, and Jorge Molina - Thor, Vol. 1: The Goddess of Thunder
  • Aguirre, Jorge, Rafael Rosado, John Novak, et al - Chronicles of Claudette, Vol. 1: Giants Beware!
  • Allison, John, Lissa Treiman, and Whitney Cogar - Giant Days, Vol. 1
  • Anthony, Jessica - Chopsticks
  • Backderf, Derf - Trashed
  • Beaton, Kate - Hark! A Vagrant, Vol. 3: Step Aside, Pops
  • Demetris, Alex - Dad's Not There Any More: A Comic About Dementia
  • Dorison, Guillaume, Delphine Dubos, and Elyum Studio - The Little Prince, Vol. 1: The Planet of Wind
  • Duggan, Gerry and Phil Noto - Chewbacca
  • Gaiman, Neil and Eddie Campbell - The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains
  • Gaiman, Neil and Lorenzo Mattotti - Hansel and Gretel
  • Gillen, Kieron and Jamie McKelvie - The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act
  • Gillen, Kieron and Jamie McKelvie - The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium
  • Gillen, Kieron and Jamie McKelvie - The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 3: Commercial Suicide
  • Hill, Bryan, Matt Hawkins, and Isaac Goodheart, et al - Postal, Vol. 1
  • Jones, Joëlle, Jamie S. Rich, and Chelsea Cain - Lady Killer
  • Kim, Susan, Laurence Klavan and Faith Erin Hicks - Brain Camp
  • Larson, Hope and Madeleine L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel
  • Layman, John - Chew, Vol. 2: International Flavour
  • Layman, John and Rob Guillory - Chew, Vol. 3: Just Desserts
  • Layman, John - Chew, Vol. 4: Flambé
  • Loeb, Jeph, John Cassaday, David Finch, et al - Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America
  • Moon, Fábio, Gabriel Bá, Dave Stewart, and Sean Konot - Daytripper
  • O'Malley, Bryan Lee - Seconds
  • Ottaviani, Jim and Leland Myrck - Feynman
  • Pearson, Luke - Hilda and the Midnight Giant
  • Roberson, Chris, Mike Allred, Laura Allred, et al - iZombie, Vol. 1: Dead to the World
  • Ruth, Greg - The Lost Boy
  • Sandoval, Tony - A Glance Backward
  • Simmons, Josh - Black River
  • Soule, Charles, Paulo Sequira, Tony S. Daniel s, et al - Superman/Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Power Couple
  • Soule, Charles, Paulo Sequira, Ed Benes, et al - Superman/Wonder Woman, Vol. 2: War and Peace
  • Snyder, Scott, Jock, Matt Hollingsworth, et al - Wytches, Vol. 1
  • Spencer, Nick and Ramon Rosanos - Ant Man, Vol. 1: Second-Chance Man
  • Stevenson, Noelle - Nimona
  • Stevenson, Noelle, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, et al - Lumberjanes, Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan
  • Stevenson, Noelle, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, et al - Lumberjanes, Vol. 4: Out of Time
  • Stinson, Barney - The Playbook: Suit Up. Score Chicks. Be Awesome
  • Telgemeier, Raina - Drama
  • Telgemeier, Raina - Ghosts
  • Thompson, Craig - Carnet de Voyage
  • Thompson, Craig - Good-Bye, Chunky Rice
  • Thrash, Maggie - Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir
  • Vaughan, Brian K. and Fiona Staples - Saga, Vol. 6
  • Wiebe, Kurtis J. and Roc Upchurch - Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery
  • Yeldham, Joshua - Surrender: A Journal For My Daughter

Picture Books

  • Allen, Ed and Sarah Hardy - Hokey Pokey
  • Allen, Pamela - The Big Fish
  • Baker, Jeannie - Where the Forest Meets the Sea
  • Baker-Smith, Grahame - FArTHER
  • Balchin, Lance - Mechanica
  • Bell, Hillary and Antonia Pesenti - Alphabetical Sydney
  • Bell, Hillary and Antonia Pesenti - Numerical Street
  • Bell, Hillary and Matthew Martin - The Marvellous Funambulist of Middle Harbour
  • Bemelmans, Ludwig - Madeline
  • Bemelmans, Ludwig - Madeline and the Bad Hat
  • Bemelmans, Ludwig - Madeline and the Gypsies
  • Bemelmans, Ludwig - Madeline in London
  • Bemelmans, Ludwig - Madeline's Christmas
  • Bemelmans, Ludwig and John Bemelmans Marciano - Madeline in America and Other Holiday Tales
  • Blabey, Aaron - Babies Don't Suck
  • Blabey, Aaron - The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon
  • Blabey, Aaron - I Need a Hug
  • Blabey, Aaron - Pig the Fibber
  • Blabey, Aaron - Pig the Winner
  • Blabey, Aaron - Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas
  • Bland, Nick - The Very Noisy Bear
  • Bogle, Eric and Bruce Whatley - And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda
  • Booth, Christina - Welcome Home
  • Brian, Janeen and Ann James - I'm a Hungry Dinosaur
  • Brian, Janeen and Anne Spudvilas - Where's Jessie?
  • Brian, Janeen and Matt Adams - Meet... Ned Kelly
  • Brunhoff, Jean de and Merle S. Haas - The Story of Babar
  • Burningham, John and Helen Oxenbury - There's Going to Be a Baby
  • Cali, Davide and Maurizio A.C. Quarello - My Father the Great Pirate
  • Child, Lauren - Slightly Invisible
  • Cohen, Sigi and James Foley - My Dead Bunny
  • Cooper, Jenny - There's a Hole in my Bucket
  • Cleave, Rohan and Coral Tulloch - Phasmid: Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect
  • Crumble, P. and Chris Kennett - If You're Cheeky and You Know It!
  • Daddo, Andrew and Bruce Whatley - Monster
  • Davey, Owen - Foxley's Feast
  • Edwards, Julie Andrews, Emma Walton Hamilton, and Christine Davenier - The Very Fairy Princess Takes the Stage
  • Fox, Mem and Judy Horacek - This & That
  • French, Jackie and Bruce Whatley - Baby Wombat's Week
  • French, Jackie and Bruce Whatley - Christmas Wombat
  • French, Jackie and Bruce Whatley - Cyclone
  • French, Jackie and Bruce Whatley - Diary of a Wombat
  • French, Jackie and Bruce Whatley - Grandma Wombat
  • French, Jackie and Bruce Whatley - Josephine Wants to Dance
  • French, Jackie and Bruce Whatley - The Secret World of Wombats
  • French, Jackie and Bruce Whatley - Wombat Goes to School
  • French, Jackie and Mark L. Wilson - A Day to Remember
  • French, Jackie and Sue deGennaro - Hairy-Nosed Wombats Find a New Home
  • French, Jackie and Sue deGennaro - The Tomorrow Book
  • Gaiman, Neil and Adam Rex - Chu's Day
  • Gaiman, Neil and Adam Rex - Chu's Day at the Beach
  • Gaiman, Neil and Adam Rex - Chu's First Day of School
  • Gaiman, Neil and Charles Vess - Instructions
  • Gaiman, Neil and Dave McKean - Crazy Hair
  • Ghosh, Ronojoy - No Place Like Home
  • Ghosh, Ronojoy - Ollie and the Wind
  • Gleeson, Libby and Armin Greder - The Great Bear
  • Gleeson, Libby and Armin Greder - An Ordinary Day
  • Gleeson, Libby and Freya Blackwood - A Friend and a Pet
  • Godwin, Jane and Anna Walker - What Do You Wish For?
  • Graham, Bob - A Bus Called Heaven
  • Gravett, Emily - Again!
  • Gravett, Emily - Blue Chameleon
  • Gravett, Emily - Matilda's Cat
  • Gravett, Emily - Meerkat Mail
  • Greder, Armin - Australia to Z
  • Guojing - The Only Child
  • Hart, Caryl and Ed Eaves - Plunge into the Pirate Pool
  • Hathorn, Libby and Gaye Chapman - Incredibilia
  • Honey, Elizabeth - Hop Up! Wriggle Over!
  • Jay, Alison - Bee & Me
  • Jeffers, Oliver - A Child of Books
  • Jeffers, Oliver - This Moose Belongs to Me
  • Jolly, Jane and Sally Heinrich - One Step at a Time
  • Joyce, William - The Mischievians
  • Kittinger, Jo S. and Steven Walker - Rosa's Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights
  • Landman, Tanya and Richard Holland - Mary's Penny
  • Latimer, Alex - Pig and Small
  • Lessac, Frané - A is for Australia
  • Louise, Zanni and Anna Pignataro - Too Busy Sleeping
  • McCarney, Rosemary - Every Day is Malala Day
  • McCartney, Tania and Andrew Joyner - Australian Kids Through the Years
  • Omerod, Jan and Freya Blackwood - Maudie and Bear
  • Owen, Chris - Pandamonia
  • Parker, Danny and Matt Ottley - Crusts
  • Percival, Tom - Herman's Letter
  • Rockliff, Mara and Iacopo Bruno - Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France
  • Riddle, Tohby - Irving the Magician
  • Rudge, Leila - Gary
  • Sanna, Francesca - The Journey
  • Scieszka, Jon - Squids Will Be Squids: Fresh Morals, Beastly Fables
  • Shea, Louis - The Bear Went Over the Mountain
  • Silvey, Craig and Sonia Martinez - The World According to Warren
  • Smith, Craig - My Daddy Ate an Apple
  • Stanton, Beck and Matt Stanton - This is a Ball
  • Teitelbaum, Michael and Jonathan Apple - The Very Hungry Zombie: A Parody
  • Tellegen, Toon - The Day No One Was Angry
  • Van Allsburg, Chris - Queen of the Falls
  • Vass, Coral and Brad Howe - Meet... Don Bradman
  • Watkins, Ross and Liz Anelli - One Photo
  • Wild, Margaret and Freya Blackwood - Harry & Hopper
  • Wild, Margaret and Michelle Dawson - Let's Go to Sleep
  • Wild, Margaret and Stephen Michael King - The Pocket Dogs and the Lost Kitten
  • Willems, Mo - The Pigeon Needs a Bath!
  • Whiting, Sue and Mark Jackson - Platypus
  • Zee, Ruth Vander and Roberto Innocenti - Erika's Story

Full marks

My library has an ongoing trivia competition, with new questions twice a week. Kids answer what they can by popping their answers into a box and it's one of the favourite parts of my day to collect them and see what is in there. Kids being kids, I get my fair share of donkey vote style entries - blank papers, fake names, the odd rendering of genitalia now and then. But today I got quite the nice one.

I can give them full marks for this, yes?

Holiday Reading

With the holidays soon upon us (can you here the faint cheering? It's very real.) I'm doing all I can to encourage kids to pick up a book or two to take home with them for the holidays. So far I've managed to slip a few kids a book I think they'll love and I've sent off a teacher with a lovely pile to keep her going on a family vacation on the Ghan. But now I have to sneak up on them and hook them against their will. And how will I do that? By making it too hard to miss.

I've setup a display right by the door to our library, where everyone must pass and the light is catching it. It's drawn a few kids so far so I'm hoping to reel a few in who wouldn't normally pick something up. Wish me luck!

Thanks for the love

My work computer gained a little (self-directed) heartfelt decoration this week from two of my students.

I'm fairly certain they placed it there as a reminder so I let them carry on with their antics instead of studying, but it was much appreciated all the same!

Adventures in Librarianing

At the beginning of this year I was fortunate enough to be employed as a full-time librarian at a local high school – my dream job. Since then I’ve been learning the ropes, getting to know the kids and the collection. Basically having a lovely time in which my job is hardly work.

Since then I’ve been meaning to come along and repurpose this blog a little, incorporate some of my library fun, rework how I review (especially since I’m reading a higher number of books, including ones I wouldn’t normally have read), and generally just give it new life.

For anyone who has stuck with me through my sporadic postings since the earlier days of reviewing just when I felt like it, there will be three main ways in which you will see a change here:
  1. Cosmetic – The blog has a new name and address to reflect its repurposing. ‘Just One More Page’ has become ‘Adventures in Librarianing’ (yes I know that’s not a word, leave me to my fun). The layout has also been refreshed.
  2. Structurally – Reviews have been shifted to include more specific notes on audience (age groups, specific interest groups, content warnings etc)
  3. Content – Hopefully more consistent reviewing, but also an inclusion of library happenings and thoughts: displays and projects my students and I are working on here at school – hopefully these will help fellow librarians with their plans (I’ve certainly been inspired by the ideas of other librarian bloggers!) or maybe you have a great suggestion to help me out, that’s always appreciated!

So yes, I hope to see you all around on the blog, maybe jump in and give me a comment now and then to keep me on the right track, that would be fantastic!

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy

Title: Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy
Author: Karen Foxlee
Published: 2014
Pages: 233
First Line: In the end the Queen was nothing like she was in the stories the Marvellous Boy had been told, first as a child beside the hearth and later by the wizards.

"She was running out of the room as fast as she could, with the sword raised before her. She called back to her father. "I'll be back soon. I've just got to save the world."

Ophelia’s father is the world’s leading expert on swords, which is why she, and her sister Alice are staying in a fancy museum while her father curates a much-awaited exhibit. Alice, fourteen and distant since the death of their mother, has little time for Ophelia, preferring instead to enjoy the privileges and treats laid out before her by the cold and aloof museum director, Ms. Kaminski. With her sister and father busy, this leaves Ophelia to explore the museum largely unchaperoned – except for the guards knitting in the corners, that is (I would love to be a knitting guard, by the way).
I’m not entirely sure what kind of museum this is (it’s either unclear or I completely missed it) but it is housed within a palace and has pretty much everything you could imagine – dinosaurs, armour, doll houses, clothes, paintings, everything. While wondering, Ophelia comes across a room with beautiful mosaics set into the floor and walls, mosaics and sea creatures, and a boy her age, a boy holding a sword and referred to as “The Marvellous Boy”. It is while admiring these that she hears a voice, a call for help.

“And you might think a name is just a name, nothing but a word, but that is not the case. Your name is tacked to you. Where it has joined you, it has seeped into your skin and into your essence and into your soul. So when they plucked my name from me with their spell, it was as heavy as a rock in their hands but as invisible as the wind, and it wasn't just the memory of my name, but me myself. A tiny part of me that they took and stored away.” 

Locked in a bare room is the Marvellous Boy himself. He has been imprisoned by the Snow Queen and has mere days remaining to claim his freedom, find “The Other One” who will recover his lost sword, and help him defeat the Snow Queen. Unfortunately, he has enlisted the help of a rather scientifically-minded young girl. She has no time for his talk of wizards, magic, swords, and evil queens. She is going to stay out of trouble and go ice-skating with her sister, not go on a crazy hunt for keys, dodging man-eating misery birds. Right? Of course not.
I really wanted to love Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, going in I felt the story had the right level of simple magic and straight forward quest to really hit the nail on the head for a quick younger read. Unfortunately, I felt it dragged a bit, to the point where I even considered putting it down (very unlike me). It had a lot of promising elements – I loved the idea of the wizards taking away the boy’s name to keep it safe, and I would have liked to have explored the museum a little more, because it’s range of exhibits fascinated me, but ultimately these elements did not outweigh the holes in the plot (more information on the Snow Queen’s motivations, what happened to the King?) and the repetition (go here and find a key, then go there and find another key, oh but then the key you really need…). The novel had its charms, but not enough to make me love it. 3/5

Other Reviews Have you written a review for this book? I would love to include it, comment below and I'll add your link!

Gentleman Jim

Title: Gentleman Jim
Author: Raymond Briggs
Published: 1980
Pages: 32
First Line: I must break out...

Ever read a book that makes you want to smile, cry, yell, and hug the main character all at the same time? This was the case for me while reading Gentleman Jim. Like most people, I know Raymond Briggs, for his work as a children's book writer and illustrator (The Snowman being the book that comes immediately to mind), so I was a little surprised to read this short graphic novel that is so clearly intended for an adult audience. It retained the sweetness and charm of his picture book illustrations, but it's characters were painfully real and dealing with some harsh realities of society.

Jim is an older gentleman who supports himself and his wife Hilda by cleaning toilets. The story begins with him contemplating this job, which he has been doing for thirty odd years and gets little satisfaction from. Surely there is something more he can do. Hitting up the wanted adds he considers some of the options before him... and it is here hat the reader starts to gain an understanding of his struggles. Jim is not simply under-qualified for this positions, he is intellectually, developmentally, unsuited to them.

As the story progresses, Jim's childlike enthusiasm and direction leads him to consider a career as a cowboy and then, upon finding that too expensive a career to set himself up in, a highway man. Jim must navigate the social and legal pitfalls of pursuing such a career, with very little actual understanding of the legal ramifications that are befalling him.

I truly just wanted to swoop in and rescue poor Jim. He was a kind-hearted soul with no ill-will intended to anyone (highway man aspirations notwithstanding) and he just could not seem to understand what all these problems were and how to make all these people (his neighbours, the police, the RSPCA, the council...) happy. In Jim, Briggs created an honest and touching representation of developmental delay in adulthood, which is so frequently under or poorly represented.

Briggs merges reality and fantasy beautifully in his illustrations to fully capture the way Jim's mind works and how he sees the world. The text and storyline is charmingly endearing, finding the perfect level of textually representing Jim's difficulties with language. You will read this book with newfound empathy.

Rating: 4/5

Other Reviews Have you written a review for this book? I would love to include it, comment below and I'll add your link!

We Were Liars

Title: We are Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Published: 2014
Pages: 227
First Line: "Welcome to the beautiful Sinclair family."

I spun violently into the sky raging and banging stars from their moorings.

I picked up 'We are Liars' as one of the books I'd seen floating around as popular but that, in actuality, I knew nothing about. As such, reading it was quite the pleasant surprise.

The book revolves around three cousins, Cadence, Johnny, and Mirren (privileged children from a wealthy renowned family) and their friend Gat (a highly idealistic young man from a significantly different background). The four spend their summers together on the family island (yes, they're that wealthy). Summer is their time - to be together, to live carefree in the sun, to read, play, and explore first loves. These four are everything to each other. They know more about each other than they know about themselves - or do they?

One summer, summer fifteen, their idyll is shattered. Something happens to bring their world down around them. Something Cadence cannot remember. And now she has returned to the island and is looking for answers. If only someone - anyone - was prepared to provide them.

I'm finding this book a little hard to review, only because of not wanting to give too much away. I enjoyed reading 'We are Liars' a great deal. I enjoyed piecing together events alongside Cadence, never entirely sure if we were on the right track or not. I enjoyed the family dynamics and intrigues, even if they were are a little overly dramatic at times. Cadence's mental state and slippery grasp on reality were integrated into the story in interesting ways.

At times, I found the characters a little unrelatable - the wealthy family just a little too elite, the 'poor' friend just a little too dogmatic in his beliefs - but none of this enough to draw me out of the story. It's a book that has made it onto my recommendation list for some of my older readers at school - two of which have already devoured it.

This was the first E. Lockhart read for me, but I shall be seeking out some more. 

Rating: 4.5/5

Other Reviews Have you written a review for this book? I would love to include it, comment below and I'll add your link!


There’s something so very special about getting a parcel in the mail – and something else special again when you know it contains books. My library got a lovely little package of books today and I was very tempted just to sit it on the circulation desk and gaze at it adoringly all day long. However (and even better!) both the library assistant and I knew it was full of picture books and neither of us could resist ripping into it and seeing what had been picked out for us.

And, honestly, who can resist reading their way through a stack of shiny new picture books? If you’re able to resist that you’re a stronger-willed person than I, that’s for sure. They were an eclectic collection today, and there were definitely some I enjoyed more than others, but there were one or two that I thoroughly loved and have already recommended to (read: pushed into the hands of) some students.

Title: Me and Moo
Author: P. Crumble and Nathaniel Eckstrom
Published: 2015
Pages: 23

This book has everything that makes for a winning picture book - adorable illustrations, an endearing narrator, and a simple, yet engaging storyline. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Moo, chuckling along at the small jokes and absolutely fawning over the pictures. A quick read, even for a picture book, I encourage everyone to go and learn about the heart warming relationship between Moo and 'me'. 5/5

Title: Those Pesky Rabbits
Author: Ciara Flood
Published: 2015
Pages: 40

Another example of illustrations that had me delighted - I loved the huge roundness of Mr. Bear, but those little bunnies? So cute. I tried to feel sad for Mr. Bear, being swarmed by these 'pesky' new neighbours of his, but, truly, I knew where the story was going to end up and I was eagerly awaiting his happy new outlook on life. I wasn't disappointed. Charming story, adorable illustrations, beautiful all around. 5/5

Title: The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade
Author: Davina Bell
Published: 2015
Pages: 32

Normally with picture books, it's the illustrations that really draw me in. I, naturally, always love a good story, but usually it's the wanna-be-illustrator in me that's picking up the book in the first place. This is one instance where, despite enjoying the illustrations, it was actually the story itself that I found myself loving. The central character of The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade, Alfie, is a young boy with a rather nervous disposition. He's all set to play Captain Starfish in the school play, but at the last minute finds himself unable to go through with it. Alfie is blessed, however, with wonderfully supportive parents, who provide him with the love and wisdom needed for him to make his own progress. I don't know whether it was my own identification with Alfie's fear and anxiety, or whether it was just the virtue of the story itself, but I adored this one and am already looking forward to reading it again. 5/5

Title: Ride, Ricardo, Ride!
Author: Phil Cummings and Shane Devries
Published: 2015
Pages: 32

You never really have to go searching too far for a war-themed picture book. There are some truly fantastic ones out there, as well as plenty of mediocre ones, but I often feel that the sheer number of them out there makes it hard for any new ones to impress. I can't say that Ride, Ricardo, Ride will make it to the top of my go-to list for this theme, but it did have some interesting features of note. I particularly enjoyed that the soldiers themselves are never seen, nor even referred to as soldiers, but simply 'shadows'. I enjoyed the art work, though found the contrast between the highly saturated, almost oil-painting like main pages and the simpler, vintage-looking (think Blyton) line illustrations to be an interesting choice. 4/5

Title: This is Captain Cook
Author: Tania McCartney and Christina Booth
Published: 2015
Pages: 40

I can't quite decide if I liked this book or not, which is an uncomfortable place to be writing a review from. I thought the way in which the story was told (through the format of a school play) was quite interesting and something I'd never come across before. I really liked the quite realistic portrayal of the families, among whose silhouettes the reader is watching the play from, but the story and the play itself was quite dry and not necessarily an interesting read. I wanted to like this book more than I did, but it managed three stars from me on the basis of it's structure. 3/5

Title: Green Tree Frogs
Author: Sandra Kendell
Published: 2015
Pages: 32

Unfortunately this was another example of a book that didn't quite hit the mark. It was an excellent example of alliteration and onomatopoeia if you're looking for something for your classroom, but the story itself fell short - both as an example of a text explaining the development of frogs from tadpoles, and as one relating the beauty of growing up in a nature rich environment. Again, a book I wanted to like more than I did. 2/3

Eleanor and Park - Rainbow Rowell

Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: 2013
Pages: 325
First Line: XTC was no good for drowning out the morons at the back of the bus.

Holding Eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.

I try to keep up with the popular books of the moment - particularly those that are being read by my students. As such, when one of the senior girls from school asked me to read Eleanor and Park, a book that was already on my radar, I immediately went searching for it. I was delighted to find that both of my public libraries held a copy, but, sadly, both copies were unavailable. And so they remained. Not being a fan of the way my libraries organise their holding system, I often just try to luck it out and get it on or near the return date, but this book eluded me for over two months. Not to worry, however, for surely this just meant it was being well loved and it would be worth the wait.

Thankfully it really was. A quick stationary dart into town for work bought me right next to the library so I was able to duck in and pick it up. Then I made my mistake, I stupidly read a chapter while waiting in line at the circulation desk. Oh no. I was hooked pretty much off the bat. However was I to go back to work and actually work with this book sitting on my desk? Somehow I managed it with only a few distracting moments, but as soon as I got home it was time for the lounge and blankets and tea until that last page was read. I haven't read a book in one sitting like that for a long time, so that should be high praise in and of itself. But! Onto the book itself!

I wasn't too aware of the plot line of Eleanor and Park before I picked it up. I knew it was about first love, I knew there was talk of an upcoming movie, and I knew it was big with the Nerdfighter crowd (who have never steered me wrong before), but as for the actual details, I had none.

The me that's me right now is yours. Always.

Eleanor Douglas and Park Sheridan the protagonists of this novel, are both social misfits to varying degrees - Eleanor because she simply can't fit it, and Park in spite of it. Meeting on the bus on Eleanor's first day, the pair, despite the eternal and unwavering politics of a school bus, move from a place of isolation to true friendship and, ultimately, into the sweet clutches of first love.

More than the sweet simplicity of schoolyard romance, however, Eleanor and Park's relationship finds itself strained, and threatened, by Eleanor's home life - which is, by all accounts, far from ideal. With Eleanor struggling to stay afloat in a situation no sixteen year old should have to deal with, Park stands as a terrifying yet stable beacon of hope.

I've heard the book marketed as a read for any adult who wishes to remember the joys of first loves, and Rowell certainly delivers on this promise. She manages to deliver all the innocent joy of discovery and the bitter strains of heartache without falling into the saccharine or clichéd. She employees an uneven distribution of perspective, switching between Eleanor and Park even within chapters, but instead of being distracting or disjointed it only serves to further the sense of anticipation and joy between them. I feel as though using format to reflect emotion is often a difficult feat to pull off naturally, but Rowell champions it here.

I really felt myself getting swept away in the emotions of this book. Often when I read a romance between teen characters I can enjoy the plot, or appreciate the characters, but I often find the romantic development simplistic to the point of disbelief. The romance between Eleanor and Park develops just as quickly, to be sure, but I felt a truth to their emotions, and an authenticity to Rowell's words that completely won me over.

I would definitely recommend this to any YA lover! Particularly any John Green fans. 5/5

Read if you enjoyed:
  • Looking for Alaska - John Green
  • Paper Towns - John Green
  • Life in Outer Space - Melissa Keil

Other Reviews Have you written a review for this book? I would love to include it, comment below and I'll add your link!