And A Big Ball of String 

September 2017

Gleebooks Bookshop - Monday, September 04, 2017
In the current climate people are accustomed to instant gratification regarding shopping online from large corporations for a cheaper or more convenient option. With hundreds of years of collective knowledge amongst our staff, we hope to counteract that inclination, offering service and (often) speed of delivery to match that of online giants.Bestselling novelist Ann Patchett, herself a bookshop owner, expresses it thus (emphasis is mine): ‘Consumers control the marketplace by deciding where to spend their money. If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore. If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book. This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it. We change ourselves. Lynndy

PICTURE BOOKS

 
Buster and the Baby by Amy Hest, (ill) Polly Dunbar ($25, HB)
This is too good a book to miss out on, being a rhythmical celebration of the playful, devoted companionship between a baby and a puppy. In the little red house, Buster the dog ducks under the table. He waits and watches and waits some more as his heart goes ‘thump, thump, thump. And then ...CHAAA! Out of the shadows comes the baby, squealing and whirling and bumping his nose! Go Buster!’ Suspense, relatable high spirits and sheer good fun distinguish this collaboration between two author/illustrators who are unmistakably familiar with the innocent joys of pre-schoolers. This book is irresistibly appealing, ideal for young pre-readers. Lynndy

The Fox Wish by Kimiko Aman (ill) Komako Sakai ($30, HB)
A little girl realises she left her skipping rope in the park and returns there with her little brother to retrieve it. In the clearing she finds a troupe of little foxes trying to jump rope, unsuccessfully, as their tails keep getting in the way. Wonderfully evocative illustrations done in gouache, biro and oil pencil, and mainly in shades of leafy greens with pale yellows, help to tell this gentle story; in fact the foxes are the same colours as the children, surely no accident. This book is playful and funny, with a marvellous ending, a great book for small children. Louise

Dave’s Rock by Frann Preston-Gannon ($15, PB)
One of my favourite books from earlier this year is now in paperback. No-one I’ve shown it to has been immune to this hilarious prehistoric adventure of two cavemen vying to outdo each other with the best rock of all: Dave’s rock bigger, Jon’s rock faster. In tersely expressed caveman-speak the rock rivalry progresses, with peripheral animals triumphing through an unexpected invention. Simply brilliant! This paperback edition comes with a QR code, enabling the reader to hear the audio of the story, performed in youthful voices. Troglodytes rule! Lynndy

FICTION


Tilly and the Time Machine by Adrian Edmonson, (ill) Danny Noble ($17, PB)
Tilly and the Time Machine is a funny book written by Adrian Edmondson, a comedian and actor, about a clever but cheeky girl’s time travel adventures to save her father and bring happiness back into their lives after the death of her mother. When Tilly’s dad invents a time machine and gets stuck in time, he leaves a message on the fridge in the background of a family photo asking her for help to get back. Spies try to steal the time machine, but Tilly keeps it safe and then embarks on her own time travel adventures to find her father and gives him the controller he needs to return. Her adventures land her at a world cup soccer match, on a pirate ship, on the streets Victorian England where she becomes a chimney sweep at Buckingham Palace and meets the Queen, and her father’s old lab. Her final stop is her 6th birthday party, where she finds not only her father but also her mother who sadly died when she was young. Tilly and her father return to the present safely and fill the house with photos of the mother they both miss so much. They both learned an important lesson that remembering someone was almost like being with them, which is what her mummy had said. This is a funny story with charming characters and a happy ending that is good for kids aged 7-10. Ani Cook-Pedersen (age 10)

The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue, (ill) Caroline Hadilakso
The Lottery family have named themselves so after the fact they won a lottery, and were able to buy an enormous house in which they all live—two fathers, two mothers, seven children (both biological and adopted) and many animals. So this is a very international community, politically correct, and very engaging. At first, the number of characters is a bit confusing, and the names of the characters irritating­—the children are all home schooled, and named after trees, and the parents have very corny nicknames. But, pushing on with story, the Lotterys reveal themselves to be much like any other large family, and when an elderly grandfather comes to live with them they all respond in different, but predictable ways. Told mainly from the point of view of 9 year old Sumac, this is a very worthwhile, and entertaining book, and I’m very much looking forward to the next one. And yes, it is written by Irish writer Emma Donoghue who wrote Room, and illustrated by Caroline Hadilakso with very appealing black and white illustrations. Louise ($15, PB)
After enjoying the chaotic family’s situation myself I urged Louise to read this book, and like her found minor details a tad forced, but also like her I am keen to see what Emma Donoghue devises next for this unusual tribe. Lynndy

The Mouse House by Rumer Godden, (ill) Adrienne Adams ($29, HB)
I’m ecstatic to see this beautiful book back in print­­—it was the first book I read for myself. Beautifully made with a fabric spine, and printed on thick creamy stock, the New York Review Children’s Collection has surpassed itself again. Rumer Godden’s classic story about a mouse doll’s house that is colonised by a real mouse named Bonny is wonderfully illustrated with what looks like coloured crayon illustrations in a limited palette—and the most gloriously expressive, lively little mice that you’ve ever seen. This is a picture book with a good amount of text, and it’s a delightful book to share with 4-8 year olds. Louise

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables by Tim Harris, (ill) James Hart ($15, PB)
The first book in a new series, this is a deliciously original novel centring around a new teacher, about whom escalatingly wild rumours abound, and his class of decidedly individual children, the Remarkables. Harris, an ex-primary school teacher, injects humour into his story of this atypical teacher who encourages each of his students to reveal unexpected incidents, rewards unusual behaviour, and exceeds those rumours in his first term. Zanily entertaining, I was left eager for the next instalment. Lynndy

TEEN FICTION


The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater ($20, PB)
The Raven Boys boasts a brilliant balance of clairvoyance, adventure and idiosyncrasy. Set in the small magically-charged town of Henrietta, Virginia, Blue Sargeant finds herself entangled with a group of boys from the local private school with which she searches for a dead Welsh king. Upon reading the first instalment of this humorous series I was instantly met with an abundance of beautiful imagery, magic realism and an obsessive connection to each individual character. I have never read anything like this and am sure whoever picks it up will adore the profoundly written four-book series—brimming with unique concepts and memorable one-liners—as much as I did. NB: This book is a Young Adult/Teen Fiction contemporary-fantasy novel. There really isn’t any mature content apart from a smidge of violence and romance, so it’s mainly classified YA because the writing style is more intellectual than middle-grade. Natalia Vojvodic (age 15)

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland ($20, PB)
Esther Solar’s family is irregular: ever since her grandfather was cursed by Death, every family member suffers at least one great fear—of something from which they are doomed to die. It’s limited, abiding by a phobia-led life, and Esther has the problem of not knowing her greatest fear, so she keeps a comprehensive list, compulsively adding to it as new worries occur to her. It’s not until Jonah Smallwood reappears in her life and convinces her to tackle her list head on that Esther starts to question her entire family’s status. Masterfully interweaving family relationships, humour, love, and mental disorders, Sutherland allows us perspective on a damaged family while simultaneously bringing a deft and gentle lightness. Highly recommended! Lynndy

 
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