Welcome to the Children’s Round-Up for May, 2018.
If you’re anything like me – listening to podcasts about books when it’s hard to find the time to sit down and actually read them – you may be interested in a new Australian podcast which specifically showcases children’s books. The One More Page Podcast is packed full of interviews, book reviews and industry gossip, and with a Kids Capers section, it’s broadcast with young ears in mind. It has plenty of reading suggestions, and is worth listening to while the kids are around – another avenue to pique a child’s interest in books!
And now to this month’s reviews. Please click on the highlighted links if you’d like to read more about a particular book:
The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery, by Deborah Abela was reviewed by Ashleigh Meikle @ The Book Muse. Recommended for ages 8 to 12, Ashleigh says it’s a great way to get kids to enjoy learning spelling, whilst reading a fun and engaging story. When the main character, India Wimple, travels from Australia to London for an international spelling showdown, she gets to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace. But there are mysterious mishaps, and talk of cancelling the competition, until India and her friends uncover the culprit and get things back on track. In keeping with the spelling theme, each chapter header highlights a word, explaining what type of word it is (verb, noun, and so forth), a definition, and its usage.
Ashleigh also reviewed Sally Morgan’s book, Grandpa, Me and Poetry. A great book for children starting to read chapter books and novels, or for reluctant readers. Grandpa, Me and Poetry is a story about Melly, who enjoys poetry – but only if it has sounds, beats and repeats, and if it rhymes. It is a story about a family – told from the perspective of the daughter (Melly), her love of poetry, and how she uses it to express herself at an uncertain time. From her cheeky rhymes in class, to her poem that doesn’t rhyme, and her final poem about her Grandpa, Melly’s poetic journey is funny, cute, and enjoyable. Ashleigh says that Melly is a great main character who is full of life, but also shows that everyone has worries and obstacles they need to overcome.
Over is Out by Sarah & Lachlan Creagh was reviewed by Michelle @ Beauty and Lace. Aimed at young readers, Over is Out ticks all the boxes for a dinosaur loving little person. Michelle said it was simple enough for Master Four to read to her after the second or third read through (not word perfect, but he had the important bits). The illustrations are eye catching and vibrant, with fantastic dinosaurs that won’t fail to impress. The two are married together beautifully to tell a story that will help your little one get a grasp on prepositions.
Cassandra Page reviewed Ice Wolves by Amie Kaufman. Middle grade speculative fiction, Cassandra says it’s the sort of book she’d have loved when she was a teen, with shape-changing dragons, wolves, and a school where a boy learns to be a wolf. Cassandra also liked that the minor character, Jai, is non-binary, and is referred to with a gender neutral pronoun, without making a fuss. The book also gets a big diversity tick for being set in a trade town with a hugely multicultural population. Easy to read and well-written, even if a little slow in parts (a chunk of it is set in a school, meaning there are classes and research to deal with), the pace picks up towards the end.
Withering-By-Sea by Judith Rossell was reviewed by Jennifer Cameron-Smith on Goodreads, and is aimed at 9 years and older. In the town of Withering-by-Sea, in the Hotel Majestic, Stella Montgomery lives with her aunts: Condolence, Temperance and Deliverance (I love those names for characters!) Poor Stella is often in trouble with her aunts, as she would much rather go exploring than learn how to play the pianoforte. One day, Stella witnesses an event, and is drawn into a mystery which puts her in danger, and she must outwit the thieves. Jennifer really enjoyed the book, saying ‘It was delightful, with adventure, magic, and messages of friendship.’
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In awe of words from an early age, reading, writing and banter have become an obsession of mine. As a mother of two (who are growing up faster than I’d like), I am passionate about instilling a long-lasting love of reading in children. I am excited about joining the AWW team and sharing my love of children’s literature with you.