First iMovie upload to YouTube

So, after numerous attempts to get this #$%^#$ thing to upload – at last! – my review of The Shiny Guys by Doug Macleod

Tell me what you think!

(PS. I wasn’t well, so excuse my style)

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WA Premier's Literary Awards

Well, it’s funny how the world turns.

Last week, through ‘channels’, the opportunity to become a judge for the WA Premier’s Awards – YA and Children’s books – came up.

Just the day before, I had been saying to colleagues and family alike that I was looking forward to 2011 being the year that I would ‘read books for me’. Having been involved in the Aurealis Awards for the past two years, and the CBCA awards for two years before that, I’ve been reading books for awards for the last four and a bit years. I thought I’d had enough.

But – apparently not. After I got wind of the opportunity, I came home and put it to my husband, reminding him of what I had been saying about having some time off from judging. His response? “That’s fantastic! You’ve got to take it!” Which sort of made it a given, as I really didn’t want to pass up this chance to get involved in a whole new arena where books for ‘kids’ are appreciated. (If you’re interested, here is a blog and discussion about someone very famous [who should propbably know better], Martin Amis, disparaging those who write for young people on the BBC program Faulks on Fiction).

Bottom line – I’m rapt to be involved in the world of books written for young people. I think that children’s writers have to work so hard to get the voice of the character right. Working with children on a daily basis does give you a good ear for an authentic voice, and the young readers can pick a ‘wrong’ voice a mile off.

So, here’s to happy reading for all, whether old or young, tall or small. 🙂

Five on a Treasure Island – Blyton – review

Five on a Treasure Island (The Famous Five, Book 1)Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This review will have to do for all the Famous Five books, because, well really, it’s just the same story over and over again.
But that ‘sameness’ is the very reason I come back to the Famous Five even now. There’s something very satisfying about knowing that the Five will triumph, despite all the set-backs, baddies and dire (unlikely) occurences. End Blyton was a queen of the ‘safe’ book – predictable in a very British sort of way, but with four capable, clever and courageous protagonists, who had their foibles, but were, in the end, the victors.
I wanted to be George so much! Anne was too prissy for me, Julian too grown-up, Dick was OK, but George and Timmy were fearless, head-strong and in deep, deep doggy love with each other. And I loved her for it.
If you haven’t read then for a while, or ever, read them for a time gone by, read them for the language of a time and place that no longer exists, and read them for the fun.

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Anonymity Jones – James Roy – review

Anonymity JonesAnonymity Jones by James Roy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

True to form, James Roy has written a thought-provoking and moving novel of a young girl on the cusp of adulthood. Anonymity Jones is seventeen and until now has not really paid attention to what is happening in her family, but now finds her comfortable, familiar life disintegrating around her. Anonymity’s Dad, Richard, has had an affair with a work colleague (again!) and this throws a spanner in the works of her parents’ marriage. Megan, Anonymity’s older sister, has changed her name to Raven, has left school and has decided to head to Europe for a gap year. And as the Four Musketeers, Anonymity, Tina, Viera and Andi, approach the final years of school, their lives start to diverge and change in a way that Anonymity is not altogether comfortable with.
James Roy’s ability to consistently tackle the family and personal issues that confront teens, and to write about them with a genuine voice, compassion and class is shown once again. He is skilled at getting inside the thoughts of the teenage character and examining difficult ideas and events in a realistic way.
Recommended for secondary students and beyond.

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Keeper – Mal Peet – review

KeeperKeeper by Mal Peet
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This extraordinary book grabs you from the first paragraph and doesn’t let go until the final page.

It’s unusual for me to read a sport related book, and even more unusual for me to read a book about soccer. But his is more than just a book about soccer. This is the story of a young, awkward man, who plays soccer so badly that he doesn’t even get put in goals. H eis the village joke. Disillusioned and bored he wanders further and further into the South American jungle near where he lives, and where his father goes every day to harvest the forest trees.
The boy meets a man – a man who will teach him everything there is to know about being a Keeper. But this is only part of El Gato’s (The Cat) story.
The forest that his father is so busy cutting down is busily encroaching on the village. The environmental effects are noted but do not intrude. The intrigue and wealth that is involved in high stakes soccer is explored, as is winning, and losing.

I was so pleasantly surprised by this book, and am now in the middle of the follow-up title, The Penalty.

A must read for readers from 13 and beyond.

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Rufus the Numbat – David Miller – review

Rufus the NumbatRufus the Numbat by David Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a delightful book, with David Miller’s trademark paper constructions illustrating the story of Rufus the Numbat’s shambolic journey through town. Rufus wanders around, entirely oblivious to the mayhem and destruction he leaves in his wake, and once the journey is complete he returns to his burrow for a well-earned rest.

I was not completely happy with this book at first; something was making me uncomfortable; something was not quite right. And then I realised – the text is superfluous. In fact, it’s a bit of a distraction from what might have been a wonderful word-less picture book. Miller’s visual storytelling is far superior to the text, and I feel the book would have been more complete without it.

The production of this title is Ford Street usual excellent standard, and this book would be a fine edition to any library or bookshelf.

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