Blossom Possum by Gina Newton

Published: March 2007 Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Scholastic Press
Illustrator: Kilmeny Niland
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Early one morning, Blossom Possum gets such a fright she thinks the sky is falling down! She has to tell someone, so she sets off with her news. On the way she meets her bush mates. But she also runs into trouble. This retelling of a favourite folktale has a delightful Aussie twist and a refreshingly positive ending.

I found this for a storytime at work and was actually genuinely in love with this by the end. I was curious how the story of Chicken Little would go being adapted for Australian context but Newton did a great job.

There is great pacing and the use of repetition is great as you fall into a natural rhythm as the story progresses. The story is filled with fun characters with great tongue twisters and rhymes for characters like Rocky Cocky and Toey Joey. It works well for most of them, some are a slight stretch but are in the spirit of the fun tone of the story. With the repetition the kids know what to expect and each page is left hanging as to who Blossom will find next which allows anticipation and gives them a chance to guess who will be on the next page.

There are some familiar Aussie phrases like beyond the black stump and round the back of beyond and it was the little details that made me smile. It wasn’t a giant flashing banner that tried to be Too Australian because that is cringey and it is tiring to read, but the inclusion of the Australian landscape and wildlife was nice.

There is a shift towards the end where it becomes a bit more perilous and a minor threat of being eaten, but the animals all escape with a small bit of animal violence and a boxing of the ears. I wasn’t expecting this and it alters the story a bit as it changes direction. Newton brings is full circle though in the best way and it makes for a delightful surprise ending.

The illustrations are both adorable and admittedly strange but I enjoyed how Niland has portrayed the Australian animals and has incorporated their environment in beautiful scenery. She also matches the illustrations to the mood: when there is danger the scene becomes black and when all is well there are stunning landscapes the animals traipse across.

There are surprises and it’s a cute story that brings the well-known story to a new audience with a wonderful Australian twist. It’s funny and a delightful tale that I really enjoyed.

You can purchase Blossom Possum via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

How Will You Celebrate Reading Hour?

Stop what you’re doing for one hour and pick up a book. That’s the message.

Today is the day when Australia celebrates Reading Hour. For one hour pick up a book and escape for a little while. You can celebrate the day by doing this at home, at work, in a cafe, in a library or a bookshop. There are places all over the country holding events you can attend or you can even start your own impromptu one, it isn’t too late. If you’d like information on planning your own event check out the guide here.

I will be continuing to read Monuments by Will Kostakis for my hour today. Who knows, I might escape for a little longer than an hour if the world permits.

What will you be reading today?

 

Tribute To The Unsung Heroes: Librarians

A fabulous dedication to all the librarian superheroes out there for everything they do. It’s wonderful to know you’re appreciated and people recognise the work we do. We are pretty awesome after all! 💕📚

The Never Ending Bookshelf

I just want to take a moment to appreciate and share the love for some of the most unsung heroes in the book community: librarians.

Librarians are so often overlooked, under-appreciated and not recognised, that I want to take the time to say I see YOU and I THANK YOU for your service to the book world,  in every imaginable way.

Thank you for being the smiling gatekeepers handing out free keys to the magical world of books and reading. Thank you for being the unofficial holder of information and genius researchers; always willing to lend a helping hand even when you are asked the same question a thousand times a week.

Thank you for working endlessly behind the scenes in a million thankless tasks. Thank you for filling our reservations, and re-shelving our messes, so that the place always looks tidy and we can find what our hearts…

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Franny’s Father is a Feminist by Rhonda Leet

Published: 28th February 2018Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 POW!
Illustrator: Megan Walker
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Star

Franny’s Father is a Feminist. It’s simple, really! He knows that girls can do anything boys can do, and raises Franny to believe that she deserves all the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities to fulfill her dreams that he had. Through sweet, straight-forward prose, Franny’s Father portrays the loving bond between a young girl, and her father who isn’t afraid of bucking gender norms in order to ensure that his daughter grows up smart, strong, and full of self confidence. From teaching her to fix her own bicycle and splashing in the mud, to cheering at ballet recitals and supporting Franny’s mother in her career, Franny’s Father displays what it means for a man to be a Feminist, and how male Feminism can play a vital role in the empowerment of young women. 

The narrative is simple and the sentences are short and to the point. There is an educational style in the writing but it still flows like a story. Leet manages to directly explain what feminism is as well as showing it in everyday circumstances. Franny’s father cries openly and unashamedly, he helps Franny with anything she wants to do whether that is ballet or playing with tools, and he is all about empowering her.

It’s a wonderful move that more picture books are having these kinds of messages and I love that Leet is so obvious about it. She breaks down what being a feminist means and the fact she uses Franny’s dad, a man illustrated to be a big, burly, bearded man who some might think can be nothing but “manly” and “masculine” is even better.

This story breaks down the notion that there are boy jobs and girl jobs, girl interests and boy interests. It also promotes equality in housework and reminds kids that there’s nothing stopping them from being anything they want when they grow up. Leet uses storytime to educate the reader as well as Franny about real life feminie heroes from history and show the importance representation has on Franny and her friends.

This is an excellent book that everyone should read because while it is simple and uncomplicated, I think that is a great starting point in taking away the fear some people have of the F word and help them understand what it actually means.

You can purchase Franny’s Father is a Feminist via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

And All The Stars by Andrea K. Höst

Published: 30th September 2012Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Self-Published
Pages: 204
Format: ebook
Genre: Young Adult/Science Fiction
★   ★   ★   ★   ★ – 5 Stars

Come for the apocalypse. Stay for cupcakes. Die for love. Madeleine Cost is working to become the youngest person ever to win the Archibald Prize for portraiture. Her elusive cousin Tyler is the perfect subject: androgynous, beautiful, and famous. All she needs to do is pin him down for the sittings. None of her plans factored in the Spires: featureless, impossible, spearing into the hearts of cities across the world – and spraying clouds of sparkling dust into the wind. Is it an alien invasion? Germ warfare? They are questions everyone on Earth would like answered, but Madeleine has a more immediate problem. At Ground Zero of the Sydney Spire, beneath the collapsed ruin of St James Station, she must make it to the surface before she can hope to find out if the world is ending.

This is an amazing story about friendship, aliens, and Australians. I loved it from start to finish; I read it in one sitting and I couldn’t put it down. From the start I was engaged as I, alongside Madeleine, try to work out what has happened. One reason why I loved this story was because I easily recognised these places and that I could visualise where the story takes place which was a great experience. The other was because I was genuinely enthralled by this story; there were surprises, there was mystery, there was a brilliantly executed story that was unlike anything I had read before filled with characters I instantly liked and connected with.

I loved the concept Höst has conveyed because it’s grand but simple at the same time. Don’t let the sci fi nature deter you if that isn’t your thing, there is a lot more focus on people and their situation that anything outlandishly science fiction. This was also a great dystopian story without it being a complete dystopia. The fact there was the Spires, the mystery dust and their consequences and not a full on apocalypse meant that things like the internet and television still operated. I was a bit confused about how television and internet was working originally before I realised that the Event doesn’t take out any technology and that the aftermath only affects the human population. Without giving too much away, I loved how the aftermath played out. It was engrossing and thrilling and there were wonderful moments of downtime where you got to intricately know the characters and see them unite.

Madeleine is a great character. I loved her determination for winning the Archibald Prize and she is a strong person but still has vulnerabilities. She isn’t quite a leader, but she isn’t a follower either. She is bright and determined and with all the strange and fearful things around her she remains strong and compassionate. Each of the characters felt unique and I could picture them easily as the story plays out. You become attached and invested and Höst uses that to her advantage with all her secrets and surprises.

The resulting mystery was so satisfactory. It was a unique answer to why what was happening was happening and I loved that sometimes the answer doesn’t need to be overly complicated or extreme. I loved the action and the unexpected but despite all that was happening it never escaped feeling plausible, grounded and real. I would certainly recommend giving this a read if you want a fresh story not only set in Australia, but a great take on the apocalypse.

You can purchase And All the Stars via the following

Amazon | Amazon Aust

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