Children's New Releases 

September 2018

Gleebooks Bookshop - Thursday, August 30, 2018


Wiggly Wiggly by Michael Rosen (ill) Chris Riddell
Abridged from their award-winning anthology A Great Big Cuddle, these playtime rhymes are just right for littlies to join in. Bounce and wave, wriggle and jiggle along with these infectious action rhymes. Riddell’s illustrations mirror the energy of Rosen’s lively text. ($15, BD) Lynndy


The Unscary Book by Nick Bland ($18, HB)
In a worthy successor to The Wrong Book, Nicholas Ickle returns, this time to demonstrate a very scary book—but again he is thwarted, by all the happy and not-remotely-scary elements that appear. Nicholas’ persistent efforts to assert his fearsome concept will have everyone laughing. Lynndy

The Land of Stone Flowers: A Fairy Guide to the Mythical Human Being by Sveta Dorosheva, translated by Jane Bugaeva ($45, HB)
Exquisite hand-drawn illustrations on the delicate classical cover and throughout this collection immediately indicate this is a very unusual book indeed. In a satirical twist, the fairy folk have assembled a collection of stories about the fantasy creatures they don’t believe in—known as humans. ‘Brimming with keen observations and wild assumptions on human anatomy, customs, languages, rituals, dwellings, and more, The Land of Stone Flowers is as absurd as it is astounding, examining contradictory and nonsensical human behaviours through the lens of the fantastic: from the bewitching paper wizards who live in humans’ wallets to their invisible hats, known as “moods,” which cloud their view of the world. Bursting with intricate and evocative illustrations, The Land of Stone Flowers will draw readers into a world that slyly reveals many hidden truths about human existence.’ You can’t help but repeatedly pore over the intricate art, and snort aloud at the whimsical details. This is a special book to savour into adulthood. Lynndy


I Am the Seed That Grew: A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year chosen by Fiona Waters (ill) Frann Preston-Gannon ($50, HB)
What a family treasure! Named after the first line of Judith Nicholls’ poem Windsong, this anthology with gorgeous full-colour illustrations showcases centuries’ worth of poetry from Shakespeare to Emily Bronte, Roger McGough to Carol Ann Duffy. While initially $50 may seem a daunting outlay, at just 14 cents per day you have a covetable volume to share amongst the family, or for quiet contemplation alone. Lynndy

My Polar Dream by Jade Hameister
Jade’s accomplishments are impressive in their own right; considering her age they are truly exceptional. Jade ‘began her Polar Hat Trick quest in April 2016 at the age of 14, when she became the youngest person to ski to the North Pole from anywhere outside the last degree and was awarded Australian Geographic Society’s Young Adventurer of the Year as a result. In June 2017, she became the youngest woman to complete the 550-kilometre crossing of Greenland, the second largest ice cap on the planet unsupported and unassisted. In January 2018, Jade skied 600 kilometres from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole unsupported and unassisted, after an epic 37-day journey via a new route through the Transantarctic Mountains and up the Kansas Glacier, from the Amundsen Coast.’ Her world records include: The youngest person to ski from the coast of Antarctica to South Pole unsupported and unassisted; the first woman to set a new route to the South Pole; the first Australian woman in history to ski coast to Pole unsupported and unassisted; the youngest to ski to both Poles; the youngest to complete the Polar Hat Trick. Local and international recognition, plus speaking at the International Climate Change Conference at the Vatican are extra achievements of this 16-year-old Melbourne high school student. Just… wow!! I’m looking forward to immersing myself in Jade’s exploits through a bit of armchair extreme sport. ($30, PB) Lynndy


The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay ($15, PB)
The Skylarks’ War is Hilary McKay’s most recent novel. Like all her books, it’s a book about children in a family, the motherless Clarry and Peter. Set over a hundred years ago, the eponymous war is WW1—which is looming when the novel starts. Both Clarry and Peter live for the summer holidays when they visit their grandparents in Cornwall, and often their charismatic cousin Rupert. It’s a reprieve from their dourly disappointing father, and the loveless life he imposes on his children. Cornwall is an idyll, their holidays are blissful and full of adventure, setting them up for the months of dreariness awaiting them at home. As they grow up, the world changes dramatically, and so does the novel. The themes in this book are serious: loss, love, bravery and despair. This is not a book for young readers, and the author herself has suggested it’s really a book for young adults, definitely not for the under 11s. It’s also a fascinating insight into the lives of children, particularly girls, at that time. I’m not sure it’s helpful to draw comparisons with other books, but I do feel this book is definitely as good as the works of Rumer Godden and Noel Streatfeild, and more recently Jill Paton Walsh. It’s rare to read a contemporary children’s novel that is so beautifully written, with such a memorable and compelling narrative. Louise


Impostors by Scott Westerfeld ($20, PB)
A new Westerfeld novel is ever cause for rejoicing, and I found this doubly so as it’s the first in a new series revisiting the world he explored in his Uglies series—but ten years on. Frey’s entire existence is a secret known only to her twin sister—heir to Shreve’s first family–and to those who train her in combat and tactics as her sister Rafia’s ‘disposable’ body double. Close as the sisters are, they recognise Frey’s role is insignificant except as a stand-in, until Frey is sent in Rafia’s place to the rival Palafox family in a neighbouring region. There she realises her powerful father regards her only as collateral; the son of her benevolent hosts discerns critical differences between her and the public face her sister presents, placing them all in tremendous danger; and Frey begins to gain a sense of personal identity. When the twins’ father reveals his tyrannical deception, destroying Frey’s new life, she flees with Col Palafox and reinvents herself in the battle to save what is left of their world. Duplicity, plot twists, URT, tech, action, adventure, rebellion, and the reappearance of Tally from the earlier quartet: who could resist this intoxicating blend of real life and fantasy? If, like me, you loved the Uglies series, you are bound to be captivated anew, and if you are new to the Uglies world, no matter—this engrossing thriller with filmically visual details and complexity will draw you in, tantalising you and inciting a longing for the next instalment (due 2019). Lynndy

Inside the Tiger by Hayley Lawrence ($20, PB)
With her typical city girl preoccupations eg. school, exams, friends, personal rivalries, two things set 16-year-old Bel apart from her peers: her father, sole parent since the murder of Bel’s mother, is a federal politician and mostly absent from Bel’s life; and Bel’s growing obsession with the relationship between herself and an Australian boy on death row in a Thai prison. Initiating the correspondence as part of a school assignment to align herself with a cause, Bel never anticipated the attraction she would feel, nor the closeness that would arise between her and 17-year-old Micah, the prisoner. Complicating her dilemma are the fact that aiding Micah runs counter to the very basis of her father’s political stance; and that next-door neighbour Eli is no longer a reclusive video gamer but has become a social activist, ally and prospective boyfriend. This is a multilayered and topical novel brimming with compassion; revelatory about choices made by ordinary people in desperate situations. Ex-lawyer Lawrence writes with balanced authenticity, incorporating personal experience and presenting various perspectives as Bel’s situation escalates, affecting everyone in her life. If you want contemporary realism, a conversation starter that could change your opinion of human rights, crime and detention, I’d highly recommend Inside the Tiger! Lynndy

Meet Me at the Intersection (eds) Rebecca Lim & Ambelin Kwaymullina ($20, PB)
‘Designed to challenge the dominant, homogeneous story of privilege and power that rarely admits ‘outsider’ voices’, this anthology of short stories, poetry and memoir illuminates lives that should be mainstream in both life and literature. Themselves familiar with the outsider label, collaborators Lim and Kwaymullina bring together perspectives from a spectrum of ‘difference’ and prejudice: a biracial bisexual Muslim; an amputee amused and insulted by assumptions of her helplessness; an indigenous youth waiting on promised phone calls confirming employment; neurodiverse; migrant; and straddling cultures. Contributor Michelle Aung Thin notes that ‘Stereotypes are what people fall back on when they don’t know about something’—this is evident in others’ reactions throughout this collection as well as in the general community. With striking relevant artwork depicting diversity and intersection, the collection reflects society and hopefully will prompt greater awareness and expansion of our limited concepts of ‘normal’. Lynndy

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