Welcome back to our second Children’s books roundup for 2014. Since our last round up we’ve had another five reviews submitted – all of which made me incredibly excited!

fire jackie frenchOur first book is also the first picture book which has been reviewed this year. Fire by Jackie French was reviewed by A Strong Belief in Wicker, who pointed out that it is clearly a companion book to 2011’s Flood. She also notes that fires are very much a part of many children’s lives – either through media or as a threat to their homes and lives and that French has captured this threat in a moving and true representation.

A Strong Belief in Wicker also reviewed the seventh in Jacqueline Harvey’s Alice-Miranda series – Alice-Miranda in Paris. This is a story which combines a school trip, Paris, fashion week and expensive fabric – so it’s definitely going on my to-read list! A Strong Belief in Wicker points to the incredible success of these books – with 9 released since 2010!

Amanda jinks unusual pursuitCurtin brings us A Very Unusual Pursuit by Catherine Jinks which is set around 1870 in a grim London with harshly divided class lines and children who have to work if they want to survive. Into this Jinks introduces:

. . . a coexisting supernatural realm held in fear and spoken of in hushed voices, populated by creatures inhabiting dark places like chimneys, drains, privvies. Children go missing here, presumed eaten.

Amanda is particularly impressed with the character of Birdie – a realistic, strong character with a good dose of Victorian ‘girl power’.

Birdie is gutsy and forthright but always within the context of her time and place, her social position.

Other reviews include Slave Girl (Alexa Moses) reviewed by Brenda and the classic The Nargun and the Stars (Patricia Wrightson) reviewed by Sally from Oz


As well as our regular reviews, we had the release of a couple of shortlists in the last month. I’ll take a look at the Children’s Book Council of Australia shortlists in another post, but I wanted to make quick mention of the shortlist for The Readings Children’s Book Prize – a prize which is aimed at raising the profile of debut and ‘rising’ Australian authors in the Junior/Middle area. Eight books were shortlisted with six of those written by Australian Women Writers!

The shortlisted books by AWWs are:

  • jamie-reign-tierneyJamie Reign: The Last Spirit Warrior by P.J. Tierney (Reviewed by Tsana and Nalini Haynes)
  • Song for a Scarlet Runner by Julie Hunt
  • Stay Well Soon by Penny Tangey (Reviewed by Bree)
  • The Girl Who Brought Mischief by Katrina Nannestad
  • Ruby Red Shoes Goes to Paris by Kate Knapp (Reviewed by A Strong Belief in Wicker)
  • Smooch & Rose by Samantha Wheelerstaywellsoon-tangey

I know there are people out there who love a challenge, so I challenge you to track down these six books to read and review! It’s a great way to support authors establishing themselves and a great way to share the wonderful books they write. Everyone wins!

About Me

I’ve had a strong interest in children’s fiction since Grade 1 when a fabulous teacher bribed me with Famous Five novels. I continued reading Melina Dchildren’s and YA books  long after I was supposed to ‘grow up’ – something which served me very well when I became a teacher and was known all over the school as ‘the teacher with the books’. I’m currently on maternity leave, enjoying the rich world of picture books with my toddler and sporadically blogging over at Adventures of a Subversive Reader