Welcome to the Children’s Round-Up for July, 2018.

I hope everyone enjoyed the July school holidays. I used the two weeks to catch up on lots of reading, and judging from the number of reviews linked to the blog this month, so did many of you.

And now on to those reviews. Please click on the highlighted links for further information.


Vasilisa-cover-Kate-ForsythI reviewed a stunningly illustrated book, written for girls who are on the cusp of womanhood. Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women, by Kate Forsyth, is a retelling of lost fairy tales, where the stakes are high, and the girl is always the hero. Faeries in this book are revengeful, powerful, nasty creatures. The stories are dark, as fairy tales were originally intended to be, and in each one, a brave young girl outwits the dark forces with intelligence, determination, and kindness. The illustrations by Lorena Carrington are exquisite, and are made from many separate photographs, montaged together to create each final image. Some of them contain over 70 individual photographs. This hardcover book would make a perfect gift for any brave young women in your life.


Kate ForsythAshleigh Meikle @ The Book Muse reviewed Kate Forsyth’s series, Chain of Charms. The six books are aimed at readers around 9-11years, and is set during the turbulent days of Oliver Cromwell’s rule over England in the 1650s. The synopsis reads: A gypsy queen wore on her wrist a chain of six lucky charms – a golden crown, a silver horse, a butterfly caught in amber, a cat’s eye shell, a bolt of lightning forged from the heart of a falling star, and the flower of the rue plant, herb of grace. The queen gave each of her six children one of the charms as their lucky talisman, but ever since the chain of charms was broken, the gypsies had been dogged with misfortune. Ashleigh says the series allows readers to explore history in an educational and enjoyable way, with layered and intricate characters; magic and history combining to create a believable and inspiring world. To read Ashleigh’s detailed review of each book in the series, click on it’s title: The Gypsy Crown, The Silver Horse, Herb of Grace, The Cat’s Eye Shell, Lightning Bolt, and Butterfly in Amber.


Maddy ProudGrace on the Court, by Maddy Proud, was reviewed by Michelle @ Beauty and Lace. Aimed at readers 9-13, the book centres around Grace, who is heading into high school with her two best friends, Mia and Stella, and her twin brother Angus. The girls have been playing netball together for years and can’t wait to start playing in their high school team, except it’s all a little nerve-wracking, because the start of high school means an influx of netballers that they spent their primary school years playing against. Michelle says that the author, Maddy Proud (a former Adelaide Thunderbirds netballer, currently playing for the NSW Swifts), insightfully explores the shifting dynamics that come with starting high school, the difficulties that arise when girls from opposing teams find themselves competing for spots on the same team, and how they have to navigate being team mates after years as arch enemies. A great debut by the multi-talented Maddy Proud.


Younger readers might like these books:

Megan HessLouise @ A Strong Belief in Wicker reviewed Claris The Chicest Mouse In Paris, by Megan Hess. Aimed at readers 3+, it tells the story of a small, French mouse. She lives in the mountains of France but is no country bumpkin. Claris fashions haute couture creations from garbage bags, but her friends and relatives just don’t care. Louise says that from the very outset (and with totally gorgeous endpapers), Claris is utterly delightful. She loves the contrast between Claris’ designer outfits and her hairy, mousey little legs. (I must mention, the author’s website is also delightful).


Renee TremlOne Very Tired Wombat, by Renee Treml, was reviewed by Anna Greenwood on Goodreads. For ages 0-5, Anna says this board book is charming, and is about naughty birds who pester a tired wombat who just wants a snooze. Although the illustrations are mainly black and white, they still capture the exuberance and cheekiness of the birds and the wombat’s frustration. Anna predicts this book will become a family favourite.


Frances WattsAnna Greenwood also reviewed Goodnight, Mice, by Frances Watts. For ages 2+, this book won the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2012 for Children’s Fiction. Anna liked the way the story goes through the different parts of the bedtime routine, which makes it an ideal bedtime book for small children. There is humour that both adults and children will enjoy. However, she would have preferred a slightly more consistent rhyming pattern and metre, to make reading out loud a little more measured.


It was pleasure to have so many reviews to read this month. Please continue to show your support for Australian Women Authors by linking your reviews to our blog – we love sharing them. You can sign up here for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge at any time.


About Marie:

Marie McLean bio photoIn 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.

I blog about books and my own fledgling writing journey at mariemclean.com. You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook  and Goodreads