Children's New Releases 


 - Tuesday, November 12, 2013

  Congratulations to Jackie French, who has been named Australian Children's Laureate for 2014. Jackie has written over 140 fiction and non-fiction children's books, including perennial favourites such as Diary of a Wombat, Hitler's Daughter, and The Girl from Snowy River. Jackie's books bring history alive, and her picture books capture the sense of fun that is so loved by her many many readers here and overseas.

Congratulations Jackie!

As ever, there are far more books to enthuse about than there is space on these pages, but we ve highlighted some of our recommendations of books you might not see everywhere, and of course we hope you will come in to experience the full splendour of literary offerings. Thank you to all our customers who continue to shop with us, supporting an independent bookshop and keeping Australians employed, instead of contributing to the demise of  real  specialists by financing overseas online companies. Happy Christmas, and keep reading! Lynndy


Up & Down by Britta Teckentrup A little penguin misses his friend, and swims an epic journey to get to her. This is a flap book of opposites, a tale of perseverance and adventure, all told in very few words, with superb illustrations, and brilliantly simple paper engineering. With a palette that is quite muted and dark, and shapes that are graphic and simple, the story has great clarity, and even drama, in its restrained way. Wonderful book design the font used, the shape of the book, even the rounded corners all contribute to this outstanding book. Louise

Sam and Julia at the Theatre: Book 2 of Mouse Mansion by Karina Schaapman One of our bestselling books last year and selling well through this year as well was the first Mouse Mansion book, featuring the adventures of timid young Sam and feisty inquisitive Julia in just a few of the 100+ rooms of Mouse Mansion. Now the inseparable mouse friends are back, and once again you have the chance to wonder at the intricacy of the handmade rooms, art and characters of this architectural marvel, while following the pair s latest exploits. These books are unusual, absorbing and highly collectable treats! Lynndy


A welcome trend by some publishers, in consultation with literacy experts, is to reformat a range of picture books (often with slightly more sophisticated content) into junior readers. Books by authors such as Julia Donaldson and Chris Riddell now encourage young readers to read favourites themselves as they build vocabulary and reading fluency, without completely forgoing illustrations. I was pleased to see Who Ate Auntie Iris? by Sean Taylor, (ill) Hannah Shaw amongst the latest crop. Full-colour entertaining pictures foreshadow, and misdirect the gaze as a trepidatious young chinchilla and her mum visit the peril-ridden apartment block where Auntie Iris lives, to discover she is missing! How will they determine which of the neighbouring carnivores ate her? Ask for the Time to Read and Let s Read series, for a step above more pedestrian early fiction.


Anorak Magazine A quarterly publication aimed at children aged 6 12, UK magazine Anorak contains new illustrated stories, activities, games and items relevant to today s child readers. In keeping with their wholesome principles, the Anorak team use vegetable inks on recycled paper to create their distinctive style. 'Anorak s main philosophy is to encourage children to tap into their imagination, use their creativity to learn and is here to amplify their voices. It has at the core of its offering a passion for words and images that challenge and stimulate'. ($14.95, PB)

Wayland: The Tale of the Smith From the Far North by Tony Mitton (ill) John Lawrence  Artfully retelling the Viking tale of Wayland the blacksmith in lyrical rhyme, Mitton brings to life the talents and tribulations of Wayland in this keepsake gloriously illustrated by master woodcarver artist John Lawrence. This is a real treasure for anyone from 8 adult. Simply gorgeous.

Two Trickster Tales from Russia retold by Sophie Masson (ill) David Allan  This very handsome addition to our folk tale selection is the first book from new Australian publishing house Christmas Press, the aim of which is to produce fine picture books of traditional tales from diverse cultures. The quality of their debut, featuring a simple retelling of Masha & the Bear and The Rooster with the Golden Crest, bodes very well for their future, with its superb design. There is drama and whimsy in the colour and sepia artwork, which is rendered in classic European style and offset by Russian motifs bordering each page. In place of endpapers are photographs showing details of an rustic cottage, taken by Masson on one of her trips to Russia. If you aren t already familiar with these tales, this is a splendid introduction. Following soon are character toys to accompany the book, as well as further collections of folk tales. Next stop, Scotland!


So many reference books now are also arrestingly presented picture books that beg to be dipped into and repeatedly consulted. Quite coincidentally, these two demonstrate the relevance of mathematics in the study of the natural world and each is visually striking. Highly recommended!

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer (ill) Christopher Silas Neal  This stunning book is full of fascinating details: a giraffe will grow 508 centimetres tall, and have 200 spots on its body; a male seahorse will have 1000 baby seahorses and you can count them all on the page. And it's full of beautiful pictures. The illustrator has managed to depict animals in their habitat, with veracity and accuracy, and yet in an appealingly graphic, visually satisfying way. Although this is a very North American book (a woodpecker will drill 30 roosting holes in the woods), it has universal appeal, and it s encouraging to see red kangaroos have their own pages (with a rather surprising birth rate). There s also a very interesting afterword explaining the assiduous research and maths that went the calculation for each animal fact. Louise

Just a Second: A Different Way to Look at Time by Steve Jenkins  You will be amazed at what can happen in one second: a bat can make 200 high-pitched calls, a hummingbird beats its wings 50 times, a very fast human can run 39 feet (12 metres). And in one minute, a hungry horned lizard can eat 45 ants, one at a time. And did you know that Mount Everest rises half an inch (1.25 cm) in one year? Packed with bite-sized fascinating facts, each accompanied by an illustration in Jenkins  usual cut-paper collage style, this book takes an unusual look at how time passes and how we measure it. In the last few pages, you ll find a spiral diagram depicting the history of the universe, a graph showing Earth s human population from 1750 projected to 2050, a timeline with the average life spans of plants and animals, and a brief history of time and timekeeping. There s also a short list of additional reading. Perfect for 5-8 year-olds, or anyone curious about our world. Mandy


Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan Two Boys Kissing follows the stories of several boys, whose lives are all changing. Not one knows where they're going, or if they've gone too far, but they do keep fighting... or they don't. Levithan somehow manages to rip out the heart of the reader, then sew it up and kiss it better with only a few words. Two Boys Kissing is a set of stories that pushes its way into your heart, and leaves you thinking. A phenomenon a life changing novel. Axel (age 14)

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff  On the eve of their trip to visit Matthew, Mila s father s friend, they learn he s gone missing without a word. Mila accompanies her father regardless and they arrive in the midst of a mystery hoping they can help unravel it. Twelve year old Mila is up for the challenge, as she discloses early on: 'Like my namesake, Mila the dog, I have a keen awareness of where I am and what I m doing at all times. I am not given to dreaminess, have something of a terrier s determination. If there is something to notice, I will notice it first'. But as the mystery deepens and revelations seem only to conjure more questions Mila discovers that the adult world is more complex than she was prepared for and learns that even the most observant person can notice the wrong things. A return to form for Rosoff, this is a road trip mystery featuring an intelligent, slightly offbeat but instantly likeable narrator. James


A point of discussion amongst the kids  shop staff here has been the prevalence of blockbuster movies (to use cinema parlance) based on youth literature. Think of the past few years: Shrek, The Hunger Games, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, nearly every Disney film&  Next time you re ensconced in that comfy cinema seat with the refreshments of your choice (supersize that?), transported into other worlds or other lives, consider moseying into the teen/YA section of our bookshop to explore the galaxies of talent, some of which is already recognised by film-makers. Lynndy & Meaghan

Ender s Game by Orson Scott Card; City of Bones by Cassandra Clare; The Maze Runner by James Dashner; The Last Apprentice by Joseph Delaney; If I Stay by Gayle Forman; The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman; The Fault in Our Stars by John Green; The Selected Works of T S Spivet by Reif Larsen; The Knife That Killed Me by Anthony McGowan; Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead; The 100 by Kass Morgan; Trash by Andy Mulligan; The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan; Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin; Divergent by Veronica Roth; The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp; The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.


The Naughtiest Reindeer by Nicki Greenberg With Rudolf sick in bed who will guide Santa s sleigh? Rudolf suggests his sister Ruby, and despite a chorus of complaints from the other reindeer about her underwhelming behaviour, there is no alternative. Keen to prove herself Ruby makes a demure start but her natural exuberance soon emerges, and Santa s progress becomes a trail of misfortune and chaos. Buoyant verse, winsomely expressive illustrations and a surprise ending make this a Christmas story for everyone including those children concerned about appearing in the less exemplary column of Santa s list of naughty or nice.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore (ill) Holly Hobbie  Long ago I started collecting Christmas books, I was not discriminate and ended up with shelves of them. So now I try very hard not to buy them, and with a few notable exceptions, I have succeeded in my restraint. But I must, I really must, buy this exquisite book from Holly Hobbie (the illustrator not the greeting card character), it is an absolute treat. Clement Moore's familiar poem comes to life with the beautiful illustrations of a truly old fashioned, gentle Christmas. Yes there is snow, and crackling fires, but the warm detailed pictures transcend the clichÈs, and are closer to the family Christmas ideal than nearly any similar book. Louise

The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood (ill) Renata Liwska  A staff favourite last year, unanimously deemed the best book so far by Underwood and Liwska, this gentle reflective picture book is a cosy antidote to some of the more strident Yuletide stories. The characters wrought in Liwska s soft pencil illustrations are shown preparing for Christmas in a series of familiar activities such as decorating the tree, baking, and trying to stay awake to greet Santa; and quietness is depicted as the gasp of  Shattered ornament quiet  or anticipatory  Listening for sleigh bells quiet . As a book, this is modest perfection quiet.


View from the 32nd Floor by Emma Cameron  'Something special has been gifted to you. Join your neighbours, Saturday, 6 pm, on the roof'. From his home on the 32nd floor, William or Gregory Faust as he is calling himself that day watches with interest as a new family moves into the apartment block across the street&  New tenant Rebecca, who happens to be around William s age, immediately captures his attention through a quirk of physiognomy he notices with interest that her left leg moves in an unusual way when she walks and when he sees her unpacking boxes of books onto shelves in her room&  well, that seals it. Would she go to his school, might he see her at the gardens, would they be friends? It turns out the two have much in common & a firm friendship springs up between them. William is brimming with good humour & energy, & Rebecca s arrival becomes a real catalyst for change in the neighbourhood as their friendship starts to ripple outward to include neighbours of all ages. And it s here that William s keen observations of the neighbourhood come in handy& If you re looking for intricate plotting, breakneck action & high drama I m afraid this is not the book for you. But if it s a gentle tale of friendship, respect, creating community & overcoming loneliness you want   oh, and lots of delicious food   then you re in the right place. From delightful cover to satisfying end, this short novel comes highly recommended. Suited to readers from to the confident 6 or 7 year old reading independently, to those of about 9 or 10 years old. ($16.95, PB) Liesel

For similar books, try Hazel Green & others in the series by Odo Hirsch; The Mystery of Antonio Guzman, also by Odo Hirsch; Five Times Dizzy & Dancing in the Anzac Deli by Nadia Wheatley, all by Australian authors & all of which are still available. Rebecca Stead s magnificent New York mystery When You Reach Me, has much in common with all of these and, as one of my favourite books of the past three or more years, comes under the heading of 'indispensable'. All are for a slightly older readership but the parallels urban settings & atmosphere, similar themes & a winning balance of simplicity & sophistication make them all worth seeking out. Liesel


We have some wonderful craft books and craft supplies at the moment.

Super-Cute Felt Animals by Laura Howard ($27.95, PB) has 35 projects to make from felt, mainly animals, and they are cute. Each design has clear step-by-step instructions, with projects for all skill levels. I also like the Todd Oldham All About Series from Kid Made Modern collage, dyeing, embroidery and fabric printing each have their own volume ($13.95, PB). These are fun and very contemporary, and are aimed at boys as well as girls. For a really comprehensive (and beautiful) book for young people with some sewing skills, Jane Bull s Crafty Creatures ($25, HB) is excellent. There are patterns of animals to knit and sew, pictures to cross stitch, a sewing kit to make, and a fabulous glossary of embroidery and knitting stitches. (I m thinking of taking this one home myself, there are some very charming little animals I d like to make).

We always stock children s knitting needles, French knitting dolls, handmade crochet hooks and we also have some very nice sewing kits, with everything a young sewer might need, including handmade pincushions made from vintage fabrics and felt strawberry needle sharpeners. Exclusive to Gleebooks, each of these charming kits is individually created, nestling in a medium ($19.95) or larger basket ($25.95), and supply is limited so we suggest you swoop in quickly.

Dinosaur and fairytale shadow puppet sets have always sold well at Gleebooks. Their simplicity and innate charm (they are French toys after all), have kept them in high demand. So we are thrilled to have two more styles to add to our range Paris at Night (complete with roofs, a moon and a chimney sweep), and The Circus (with all the usual suspects), both $31.95. There is also a printed fabric theatre backdrop ($39.95) for putting on really professional shadow plays.