Children's New Releases 

August 2017

Gleebooks Bookshop - Wednesday, August 09, 2017


Under the Same Sky by Britta Teckentrup ($25, HB)
Lynndy has just shown me this exquisite new picture book, and I’m afraid I’ve swooped on it to review. The German illustrator, Britta Teckentrup, has always been one of our favourites, and she never fails to delight; however Under the Same Sky is outstanding—once again Teckentrup takes us into the natural world, with different animals, united under the same sky. Lyrical, simple text, and glorious full colour illustrations, with a judicious use of die-cuts (each one individual), this is a celebration of difference and sameness. If a child can discover something he doesn’t know yet, and yet if he can recognise the familiar in a book, then that book has succeeded. Under the Same Sky does just that, it covers familiar ground in a different way—I can’t recommend this highly enough for babies—adults. Louise

Ruben by Bruce Whatley ($30, HB)
Whatley, one of Australia’s best-known illustrators, devoted ten years to the creation of this picture book set in the not-too-distant future. Ruben is a young boy surviving in a derelict city. He ventures out every day to find what he needs to survive but it is getting harder and he needs to venture deeper into the heart of Block City. When Ruben meets Koji, another refugee from the industrial wastelands, he realizes that by combining their knowledge and accumulated objects escape is not only essential, but possible. The ambiguity of the ending is deliberate, prompting discussion and re-reading. Whatley combined graphite pencil and photographs in Cinema 4D to produce haunting images in this exquisitely detailed book he regards as his best yet. Lynndy

I Just Ate My Friend by Heidi McKinnon ($25, HB)
With this title you might expect tragedy, but instead this is laugh-out-loud funny. ‘I just ate my friend. He was a good friend. But now he is gone. Would you be my friend?’  The somewhat gormless looking monster in this book needs another best friend, and maybe a little bit of impulse control... Ridiculous hilarity for all ages in Australian illustrator, Heidi McKinnon’s debut. Louise


The Shop at Hoopers Bend by Emily Rodda ($17, PB)‘Eleven-year-old Jonquil (known as Quil) Medway is a girl with more than an unusual name. Quil’s parents died in a car accident when she was a baby and she now goes to boarding school, but spends her holidays with an aunt—or at camp, which is where Quil is heading when she decides to get off early at a train stop called Hoopers Bend. It is there that Quil meets Pirate, a chunky little white dog with black spots who immediately adopts her and Bailey, a crabby older lady who has gone to Hoopers Bend to check out the shop that has been left to her by an uncle. There is something magical about the shop at Hoopers Bend though, and once it casts its spell on Quil and Bailey they are drawn together in an unlikely friendship and their fight to save the shop from developers. From one of Australia’s most renowned children’s authors, this is a story about coming home when you didn’t even know that was where you belonged.’ Utterly credible, and filmically visual in every detail, Rodda’s latest book is sure to gain her a whole new generation of readers. Ideal for age 9+.

Poe: Stories and Poems adapted and illustrated by Gareth Hinds
Another classic is this collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s best-known short stories in all their chilling glory, along with three of his acclaimed poems. Hinds has interpreted Poe’s stories of horror and human malfeasance in graphic format, losing none of the darkness of Poe’s original works. Shiver factor is turned way up, and the art shares the starring role. ($30, PB) Lynndy

A Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones

Orphaned Cat Chant good-humouredly endures his sister Gwendolyn’s magical ambitions even after she convinces a powerful nine-lifed enchanter to adopt them. However, the ensuing battle of wits between Gwendolyn and the inhabitants of Chrestomanci Castle leads Cat to realise that people have rather been taking advantage of him. Incredibly charming and well-plotted, Diana Wynne Jones’s first Chrestomanci novel still reads like a dream filled with shouting furniture, a sarcastic dragon, and a cat nee violin. A classic for readers of 8+. Josh

The Melendy Family books by Elizabeth Enright ($14–18, PB)

These are American classics that have not dated: one can only enjoy reading about the complete freedom the Melendy children enjoyed, and wish those days had never ended. In the first book they live in New York, with their father and family housekeeper, and in the subsequent three books they have moved to an eccentric old house—the Four Storey Mistake, in the countryside. Illustrated by the author, these books are a joy to read again. Louise
‘The Melendys are the quintessential storybook family...[their] ardent approach to living is eternally relevant.’—Publishers Weekly review.


The Traitor and the Thief by Gareth Ward ($18, PBDiscovered picking pockets at Coxford’s Corn Market, fourteen year old Sin is hunted across the city. Caught by the enigmatic Eldritch Moons, Sin is offered a way out of his life of crime: join the Covert Operations Group (COG) and train to become a spy. At Lenheim Palace, Sin learns spy craft while trying not to break the school’s Cast-Iron Rules. Befriended by eccentric Zonda Chubb, together they endeavour to unmask a traitor causing havoc within the palace. After an assassination attempt on the founder of COG, Sin realises that someone closest to him could be the traitor. With no other option, Sin is forced into an uneasy alliance with the school bully, Velvet Von Darque. But can he trust her? And will COG try to bury him with the secrets he discovers? Secrets, spies and steampunk gadgets abound in this fantastic adventure story! I’ve not seen a copy of this, but the description, and the fact that it won the NZ Storylines Tessa Duder Award swayed me, as did the quirky names of the characters, and I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the machinations of the Covert Operations Group. Lynndy


I can think of no other books like Dover little activity books—they fit into an envelope, or a pocket, or a travel bag. Perfect for party favours, stocking fillers, or just a small gift, the range of different titles is extensive, and there is something to fill the bill for nearly every 3-8 year old. There are sticker books, and maze books, crosswords and every kind of puzzle book, tattoos, foreign language activities and colouring books. There is an extensive range of different difficulty levels and consistently good artwork, with many different styles of illustration. Lots of the favourites remain in print, and new titles are added frequently. From $4-$5. Louise

The Egg by Britta Teckentrup
One of our favourite illustrators, Teckentrup here explores eggs in almost every aspect of their fragile complexity, from Oology to shape, markings and interior structure. She examines an array of birds’ eggs, then extends to other species such as reptiles and mammals. She also addresses eggs in mythology, art, tradition and fairy tales, all depicted in her trademark lushly textured art. The gorgeous presentation and miscellany of facts render this a valuable contribution to any library and oh, such a pleasure to trawl through! ($27, HB) Lynndy


The Tiny Timmy Series by Tim Cahill ($13, PB) I like Tiny Timmy books because they are funny and always have a twist. They are about the best Australian soccer player Tim Cahill. Louis Garran (age 10).

It Can’t Be True! Incredible Visual Comparisons by Dorling Kindersley ($30, HB)
I like It Can’t be True! because it tells you interesting true facts. My favourite fact is an Argentinosaurus’s leg is the size of a double decker bus.
Frederic Garran (age 7).

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