Archibald the Naughtiest Elf in the World Causes Trouble with the Easter Bunny by Skye Davidson

Published: 1st March 2019Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Elephant Tree Publishing
Illustrator: Skye Davidson
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★  – 2 Stars

It’s Easter time and Archibald’s good friend Basil’s first year as the Official Easter Bunny. What could possibly go wrong? Be enchanted as you join Archibald, Basil, a blue-haired pixie, a flying pig and hundreds of little bunnies in an adventure somewhere over the rainbow, amongst the stars.

This a cross over book as Archibald the Naughtiest Elf moves on from Christmas and into other holidays. This time it involves Easter and Archibald only wants to help his friend Basil on his big important job of being the Easter Bunny.

The main problems I have with this book is that it’s long. There are A LOT of words per page and the story itself is long and drawn out which doesn’t suit the picture book format; it is more suited to being a chapter book with a few pictures.

With such a long story the narrative text fills an entire page which on a picture book is a lot of writing. Despite all the words, the illustrations are pretty; Davidson has used strong, bright colours and the vibrancy adds a wonderful magical feel to the page.

There’re moments of friendship and helping, as well as fun and magic. Archibald is still naughty per his nature but not in a malicious way, more like a rule breaker but for a good cause. If you have kids who can sit and listen to such a long story then it is a fun adventure filled with mischief and holiday spirit. The story is not complicated per se, it is just busy and wordy.

You can purchase Archibald the Naughtiest Elf in the World Causes Trouble with the Easter Bunny via the following

BooktopiaDymocks

 Fishpond | Amazon Aust

Long Lost Review: To Hold the Bridge by Garth Nix

Long Lost Reviews is a monthly meme created by Ally over at Ally’s Appraisals which is posted on the second Thursday of every month. The aim is to start tackling your review backlog. Whether it’s an in-depth analysis of how it affected your life, one sentence stating that you only remember the ending, or that you have no recollection of reading the book at all. 

Published: 4th June 2015 Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Hot Key Books
Pages: 504
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy/Short Stories
★   ★  ★  ★   ★ – 5 Stars

Far to the north of the magical Old Kingdom, the Greenwash Bridge Company has been building a bridge for almost a hundred years. It is not an easy task, for many dangers threaten the bridge builders, from nomad raiders to Free Magic sorcerers. Despite the danger, Morghan wants nothing more than to join the Bridge Company as a cadet. But the company takes only the best, the most skillful Charter mages, and trains them hard, for the night might come when only a single young cadet must hold the bridge against many foes. Will Morghan be that cadet?

Also included in this collection are eighteen short stories that showcase Nix’s versatility as he adds a fantastical twist on an array of genres including science fiction, paranormal, realistic fiction, mystery, and adventure.

Nix has always been a masterful storyteller and these short stories are evidence of that. In a single story that focuses on one moment in time, Nix has the ability to give you an entire understanding of the world with only a few words and in doing so you gain total comprehension of what this world is like and who these characters are.

I loved the diversity and similarities in the stories, and I loved that they captivate you from the first sentence, drawing you in. It is always fantastic to return to the Old Kingdom and the story of the bridge is wonderful, but the short stories are pretty amazing as well. Set across different genres and eras Nix’s voice is through all of them and it’s amazing to see his twists on genre, well-known stories and mythologies.

Across the 18 stories there are vampires, unicorns, spies and legendary kings to name a few, as well as further stories about Nix’s own work. The way Nix mixes together multiple elements and builds them into the new story is incredible and seeing the familiar references or inspiration throughout shows off how clever he can be.

I love everything Nix does and with a collection like this it goes to show that my admiration isn’t unsubstantiated.

You can purchase To Hold the Bridge via the following

 Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Loveless by Alice Oseman

Published: 9th July 2020 (print)/9th July 2020 (audio) Goodreads badge
Publisher:
HarperCollins Children’s Books /HarperCollins Publishers Limited
Pages: 435/12 hrs and 27 mins
Narrator: Elisabeth Hopper
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Young Adult
★   ★   ★ ★   ★  – 5 Stars

It was all sinking in. I’d never had a crush on anyone. No boys, no girls, not a single person I had ever met. What did that mean?

Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush – but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day.

As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight.

But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic – Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever.

Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?

I ADORE this book. I love so many of Oseman’s works but this one I fell into and didn’t want to climb out of again.

Georgia is a great character, she has friends, lives her life, has great plans for after high school, but she also has a weird feeling she isn’t like other people. I loved how this is explored naturally and how it comes about organically and not in a way where the character is aware of what they’re feeling or experiencing. Georgia’s cluelessness until put in certain situations or asked by people makes this story wonderful because we go on Georgia’s journey with her instead of coming to it after the fact and have her explain it to us.

Oseman does a wonderful job at explaining what asexuality is and what it feels like in a way that feels natural in the narrative and never becomes overbearing for the reader. It is used as a way of explaining things to readers who may not know about it through the characters but there never felt like there was a moment where the story stopped so we could get The Explanation.

The story got better and better as it went along, there’s Shakespeare and love, a houseplant that is so metaphorical it would make every English teacher ecstatic, and there are teenagers at uni feeling feelings and working out who they are and it’s messy and beautiful and full of the power of friendship and it is also full of love.

Elisabeth Hopper does a superb job as narrator, her voice is fantastic for these characters and I love how there’s an instant connection, I was into this story immediately. Another bonus is Hopper is a genius and can pronounce all the wonderful “asdkfjugfk” moments in text speak and the random noises that are made when you excitedly text. I have typed them, I have read them, but I don’t think I’d heard them being pronounced until now and it was great.

I am only new to reading books that are clearly about asexuality and not just briefly implied but this might be my favourite because it’s a solid story on its own but it is also a wonderful narrative that explores discovering who you are, realising there’s nothing wrong with being different, and finding acceptance and a place in the world.

You can purchase Loveless via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

The Escape Manual for Introverts by Katie Vaz

Published: 6th August 2019Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Andrews McMeel Publishing
Pages: 144
Format: Graphic Novel
Genre: Non-Fiction
★ – 1 Stars

Feeling cornered at a wedding reception by gossipy guests? Stuck at a holiday party that lasts forever? This beautifully illustrated book is the ultimate funny, sometimes absurd guide to escaping those painfully awkward situations.

Trapped in an airplane seated next to a chatterbox? Are you hosting a dinner party with people who just won’t leave? Katie Vaz has the key to your escape. The Escape Manual for Introverts guides readers through different scenarios with themed chapters (“Friends,” “Relatives,” “Strangers,” etc.). Each chapter covers a range of situations, from an invitation to karaoke night to group lunchtime. And she offers a number of escapes for each scenario: bringing odoriferous foods to lunch for a while, having a pet (real or imagined) that “requires” frequent check-ins, and even investing in a jet pack. This book features Vaz’s full-page illustrated spreads, hand-lettering, and spot illustrations. From the silly to the sincere, Vaz’s clever, hilarious escape plans and bizarre excuses speak to the introvert in all of us.

I am always wary about these kinds of books not only because it’s always focused on the introverts and never on the extroverts but because introverts are often portrayed in negative ways. Even this book, which I thought was going to be at least funny if not relatable in a way, is a poor construct of comics, advice and what is probably meant to be humour but never comes across as such.

For something that’s supposed to be a fun guide for introverts it’s really disappointing. There isn’t any real substance here, not that I expected it, but I was expecting fun cartoons and recognition about experiences like I have found in other similar books. Instead this is a book that offers up suggestions and excuses about how to get through the day around people and it makes introverts look like horrible antisocial people who need to lie in order to get by in the world.

The layout is sparse which only makes it even less interesting. The words are minimal and the pictures are useless, the entire thing was essentially a How To on not talking to anyone and avoiding being around people at all times which is not what being an introvert is about.

Vaz mentions in her authors note that it’s meant to be a cheeky book, but she also says she hopes introverts and other socially awkward people can use these tips. I can see how a few may be useful, the less extreme ones but there are a lot of farfetched ones too. The advice varies from a few reasonable things like how to get off phone calls quicker and avoiding small talk but the majority are things like eating pungent foods to avoid people wanting to be near you and various other subterfuges which again, probably are meant to be funny, or actual advice I have no idea how I’m meant to interpret these suggestions.

This is an annoying book all round as a guide or as a fun book looking at introvert behaviour. I would like to know where are the myriad of books for extroverts telling them to stop talking so much and being so loud all the time? Not to mention how to enjoy an introvert’s activity and company without judgment or belittling, instead there’s more of this nonsense.

You can purchase The Escape Manual for Introverts via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

The Easter Bunnyroo by Susannah Chambers

Published: 1st June 2020Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Allen and Unwin Children
Illustrator: Laura Wood
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

When Dad rescues Ruby the joey, Charlie begins to suspect she is really the Easter Bunny. After all:
Ruby has long ears and big feet.
Ruby is very good at jumping.
Ruby has a built-in basket for carrying Easter eggs.

Although, there could be a problem – how will Ruby know what to do? Luckily, Charlie can teach her what she needs to know. 

I found this story really cute and it is a perfect Easter story with an Australian twist. Charlie’s family rescue and care for native Australian wildlife and I loved the mix up when it’s thought that the real Easter bunny has come to their home. Charlie helps the “Easter bunny” with egg duties and teaches them how to do their important job. There are fun jokes with pop references throughout like Winnie the Roo and R2DRoo which were delightful and the mistaken identity antics are humorous and enjoyable.

Wood’s illustrations are full of bright colours but are not over the top or overbearing. The full page pictures capture the scene and help tell the story quite well. There are a lot of close ups and Wood draws the joey so there is a slight bunny resemblance which I thought was fabulously cheeky but it does still look like a roo and it’s fun how Charlie keeps getting them mixed up.

This is a cute story about finding things and hiding things as well as the celebration of Easter. I loved the Australian focus and Chambers has created a fun story about an understandable misunderstanding that brings the magic of Easter to life.

You can purchase The Easter Bunnyroo via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon Aust

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