1. Picture Books (0-6 years)
'A Giraffe in the Bath' written by Mem Fox & illustrated by Kerry Argent (Viking, 2010)
Kerry Argent's wonderful illustrations add greatly to the text and helps to create a book that children will want to return to again and again.
'April Underhill, Tooth Fairy', by Bob Graham (Walker, 2010)
'Queen Victoria's Underpants' written by Jackie French and illustrated by Bruce Whatley (Harper Collins, 2010)
Diary of a Wombat' (Jackie French & Bruce Whatley) and its companion volume 'The Secret World of Wombats'. This lovely new book might well have lost them their heads once (!), but it amusingly offers an insight into the reign of Queen Victoria and her underwear. Against the revealed fact that at the beginning of the reign of the 'Empress of half the world' very few women wore underpants, the book asks, did Queen Victoria have underpants?
After briefly setting the scene for the question, we soon meet Lizzy whose family are in the clothing industry, and find out about Queen Victoria's role in developing underwear. Few would know that Queen Victoria made the wearing of underpants popular. We learn of Lizzy's mother and the events that lead to her final development of the underpants. P.S. - By the time Queen Victoria died most woman in Britain wore underpants.
'Love from Grandma' by Jane Tanner (Penguin/Viking, 2010)
2. Younger Readers (6-9 years)
'Chicken Stu' by Nathan Luff (Scholastic, 2010, 186pp)
'Toppling' written by Sally Murphy and illustrated by Rhian Nest James (Walker, 2010, 127pp)
Pearl Verses the World' was named as an Honour Book in the Children's Book Council awards for 2010 (see my post on the CBC awards here). This book continues in the same style, which is probably best described as a verse novel. Once again Sally Murphy tackles serious issues that centre on the stories of John and Dom. John is the narrator. He loves making long domino patterns and toppling them. This simple past-time helps him to cope with the illness of his best friend who has cancer. The deceptively simple book challenges children to think about deep issues that many encounter in their lives and the verse form seems to create the 'gaps' that facilitate this type of reflective thought. Here's a sample:
Dom threw up all over his desk-
…Is he OK asks Mum.
I tell her that he went home
and how we couldn’t use the classroom
because it was
from the spew.
You should have smelt it!
It’s good to see Tess’s face
When I say that
But then I think of Dom...
The text is well supported by the excellent simple pen and wash illustrations of Rhian Nest James. This is a moving book that speaks of friendship, the strength of the human spirit and triumph in the midst of suffering and adversity. This book will be enjoyed by mature boys and girl aged 8-11 years.
3. Independent Readers (10-13 years)
'Jaguar Warrior' by Sandy Fussell (Walker Books, 2010, 212pp)
Sandy Fussell delivers a fast moving adventure story that 10-14 year old boys will enjoy. It is a well-researched historical narrative (see my earlier post on this genre here and here) that is worthy of consideration.
'The Ruby Talisman' by Belinda Murrell (Random House, 2010, 241pp)
Other Posts on Literature
For all my posts on Children's Literature use the site label (HERE)