'Chook Chook: Mei's Secret Pets' by Wai Chim (University of Queensland Press, 2012)
The author, Wai Chim drew her inspiration from a traditional Cantonese nursery rhyme and the rich memories and stories of her parents growing up in Hong Kong and mainland China, Wai Chim. It is a wonderful story with warmth and joy that takes the reader into the daily lives of a Chinese village, a small family, and the characters and life of a Chinese marketplace. Children aged 6-9 will enjoy reading this excellent novel from a first time author.
'Diary of a Rugby Champ' and 'Diary of a Taekwondo Master' by Shamini Flint & illustrated by Sally Heinrich (Allen & Unwin, 2012)
Okay - I get it.Rugby is the latest sport that Dad feels will help to make Marcus the complete kid. As in each of the diaries, Marcus quickly assesses the game and sees at once the problem for him:
I really do.
I'm not a complete idiot.
Sport is dangerous.
VERY, VERY DANGEROUS!!!
Anyway, Dad's lost it. He wants me to play rugby.Sally Heinrich's multiple line drawings that feature on every page add to the fun and make the books even more readable. Boys who are reluctant readers will love these books.
Rugby is different to soccer and cricket.
In soccer and cricket, you get hurt by accident.
In rugby, they hurt you on purpose!
You can also read the attempts by Marcus to succeed (or is that survive?) soccer, cricket and taekwondo. All four books in the series are priced at $AUD 9.99
3. 'LOLs Best Jokes for Kids', by June Factor and illustrated by Mic Looby (Allen & Unwin, 2012)
HERE). Titles like 'Far Out, Brussel Sprout!', 'Unreal, Banana Peel!', 'Out of Sight, Vegemite!' and 'Roll Over, Pavlova' entertained children and adults alike (and still do). This book is just as funny and an entertaining addition to her previous work. Mic Looby's wonderful line drawings also add to the fun and readability of the book. Suitable for children aged 6-10. Boys and girls will love it. It's also available in a Kindle edition (here).
4. 'Kizzy Ann Stamps', by Jeri Watts (Candlewick Press, 2012)
5. 'Whirlwind: The Grimstones 3', by Asphyxia (Allen & Unwin, 2012)
Hatched: The Grimstones 1' and 'Mortimer Revealed: The Grimstones 2'.
Martha Grimstone has inherited her father's gift for music and can play notes that will bring sunshine, breezes and rain, and send clouds scudding across the sky. But she can't yet turn back a storm. She believes that if she can convince Grandpa Grimstone that she can be trusted to leave the valley, that she might just be able to work this out. She knows just where she needs to go, but after a disaster with some precious fabric she is in trouble. Perhaps two angora rabbits that she has named Tillipilli and Ziphwort will help her. But how will she conquer the whirlwind? The 120 page story of Martha's latest adventure is presented in diary form with illustrations based on the puppets and miniature home that Asphyxia has created for her shows. Children aged 7-11 will enjoy this simple and wholesome fantasy.
6. 'Slog's Dad' by David Almond & illustrated by David McKean (Walker Books, 2012)
Slog is convinced that the old scruffy man who sits outside the pork shop is his dad come back to visit him for one last time. He had said that he'd do this just before he died. But could it really be him? Slog's mate Davie isn't convinced. This is a haunting and intriguing book that leaves the reader wondering, was this Slog's dad? Or is there a simpler explanation. A story of painful loss, a boy's efforts to deal with the horror and the emptiness this causes, and how he seeks to reconcile himself to the reality and finality of death.
7. 'The Adventures of Scarygirl', by Nathan Jurevicius (Allen & Unwin, 2012)
Scarygirl, without the movement, sound and interactivity. The book has much less to offer the reader without an awareness and experience of the online world. With the online experience, the graphic novel is another entry into the world and adventures of this online character. It is suitable for children 8-12 years in age.
Scarygirl is abandoned on a remote beach and doesn't know who she is or where she's come from. No-one knows who she is and where she comes from. Blister, a kind of intelligent giant octopus, rescues her and tries to keep her safe. But Scarygirl has many dreams that contain scary visions. Who is the strange man haunting her dreams? Will Bunniguru help her unlock the mysteries of her past? Can she trust the wily forest dwellers? She has to leave the safety of Blister's protection and travel over the mountains to a distant city to discover the secrets of her past. Perhaps Dr Maybee's laboratory will offer some answers. Or will his dark forces be the end of her?
8. 'The Grunts in Trouble' by Philip Ardagh and illustrated by Axel Schaffler (Nosy Crow, 2012)
9. 'Fair Dinkum War' written and illustrated by David Cox (Allen & Unwin, 2013).
This is a picture book for older readers aged 7 to 12. It is a narrative recount that tells the story of a child and his family who move from a sheep station to the city to live during World War II. This simple narrative tells of the day-to-day challenges and experiences. He watches from the school grounds as American soldiers, tanks and equipment roll by, and he sees men dig zigzag trenches across the school playground for shelter from bombings. He speaks of the challenges of food coupons, blackout curtains, late night air raid sirens, collecting rubber and metal for the war effort, and also the daily experiences of deliveries by horse and cart.
David Cox is a Walkley Award winning illustrator who has had a long career in newspapers. His picture books delight readers of varied ages with their cartoon-like illustrations and descriptive text. This book is a companion to 'The Road to Goonong' (2011) that was named as a Notable Book in the CBCA awards in 2012.
10. 'I am Ivan Crocodile' by Rene Gouichoux and illustrated by Julia Neuhaus. English adaptation by Michael Sedunary from a French book (Berbay Publishing, 2012)
As his fears and frustrations grow and Ivan creates an imaginary crocodile friend, and sees himself as a crocodile too. This is not a simple story about a child with an imaginary friend. Gouichoux invites the reader to consider difference, the way we see it, and how we treat those unlike ourselves. Children who see themselves as square pegs in round holes will relate to this book, as will their parents. With careful and sensitive treatment by primary school teachers significant discussions could be initiated about bullying and difference.