There’s a Koala in My Kitchen by Sean Farrar

Published: 5th April 2017Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Big Sky Publishing
Illustrator: Pat Kan
Pages: 32
Format: Paperback Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Have you ever found a furry Koala kidding around in your kitchen?

Or been hassled by a great white shark at your park? Giggled at a Kookaburra causing chaos with Dad’s cooking?

There’s a Koala in my Kitchen takes children and parents on a rollicking, rhyming journey with plenty of funny, feisty Aussie animals.

I was expecting the entire book to be about the hassles one has having a koala in their kitchen but I was pleasantly surprised to find it filled with fun limericks about Australian animals and their antics.

Farrar’s book is a clever and poetic as it tells a great Aussie story about a host of great Aussie animals. The rhyming nature promotes great pace as the story can be told slowly but with style.

The animals include the well-known favourites like koala’s and platypuses, but also eagles, flatheads, and a pobblebonk! The humour is light hearted and nothing too sinister, it is a great book to read before going to bed, aided by the narrative, but works anytime.

The illustrations by Kan are quirky; each animal given a personality in their representation. They are cartoonish but not unrecognisable, and Kan’s painted drawings are colourful and whimsical and match Farrar’s limericks well.

I’m glad this was a fun read, especially after my initial disappointment. It’s a good story to learn about some Australian animals but also a great use of limerick too. It’s quirky and light hearted and Farrar’s tone is perfectly placed starting high and working down into a satisfying conclusion.

You can purchase There’s a Koala in My Kitchen via the following

QBD | Booktopia

Angus and Robinson | Dymocks

Fishpond | Amazon Aust | Amazon

AWW Update Apr-Jun

The halfway mark has arrived! I was a little less productive this quarter but I am still enthusiastic about my chances. I am not game to officially up my record, but quietly I am aiming for 50 books read, . I reviewed some old AWW books this past month and read a lot for Pride month but did not get many Aussie women in this time. Though seven is still pretty decent in that it wasn’t none.

My reviews have stalled a bit but I am working on getting them up across the board, not just for AWW but overall. I have a few scheduled so I will update the links when they go live. I am hoping I will be able to substantially increase both my tallies next time.

 

AWW19 BOOKS Jan-Mar

Introducing Teddy by Jess Walton – Review

Wild Heart by Belinda Williams – Review

Jacob’s Toys by Claudia Woods – Review

The One by Kaneana May – Review

Once by Kate Forsyth – Review

Heartbreaker by Belinda Williams – Review

Lightening Tracks by A. A. Kinsela – Review

AWW19 TOTAL

Read: 23/30

Reviewed: 18/20

 

 

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (#1) by Jonas Jonasson

Published: 12th July 2012Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Hesperus Press
Pages: 396
Format: Paperback
Translator: Rachel Wilson-Broyles
Genre: Fiction
★ – 2 Stars

It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The Mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not… Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan’s earlier life in which – remarkably – he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century. 

Having this on my TBR list for years finally ended as I read this and…it’s ok. I guess. Maybe. It’s a Swedish Forrest Gump style book where Allan unintentionally interacts with some of the major points of human history and the roles he played in them. However, despite this premise, the only parts even remotely interesting were the present day events. I didn’t mind the flashbacks in the first half, Allan’s life was funny, strange, tragic and bizarre, but about the half way point my interest was waning and I could not stay focused on the events. I found myself skimming and skipping until the present day picked up again. By the end of it I was skipping those chapters entirely and to be honest I noticed no difference in the story even at the end I was so uninvested I accepted the events and just went with it.

The flashbacks to Allan’s life have very little to do with anything that happens aside from giving us an insight to his previous adventurous life. Even the brief revisit to them in the present day is essentially pointless. They are not even depicted as Allan telling his story so the question of a reliable narrator never comes up, it’s just there as a comparison to his current adventures.

The present day plot is the most interesting part of this semi-interesting story. Allan’s adventures do not go unnoticed, there is a dedicated policeman trying to follow behind and work out what has happened and trying to solve the trail of crimes and mysteries that follow Allan. This gave off strong Monty Python and the Holy Grail vibes which increased my enjoyment.

The writing is filled with dark humour and while you may have to be prone to enjoy such humour it does throw it in your face probably more than necessary. I did not feel much connection to this story and while Allan is a mildly apathetic character, as are most of them in some way, Jonasson relies on the reader finding his manner charming and quirky and as these unfortunate and absurd events play out that should be enough to engage us.

Credit to Jonasson, it is a clever concept and I’m glad it has been enjoyed by so many people. I couldn’t quite engage with the story and I’m wondering now that Allan’s entire life has been explained, the sequels will focus more on his further adventures and less recap of his life.

I watched the movie afterwards and it was a whole lot better than sitting through the book. It is quite true to the events in the book and seeing the events play out on screen made them more enjoyable. I’d definitely recommend that over the book if you are looking to see what all the fuss is about without reading the book.

You can purchase The Hundred-year-Old Man… via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

How Rocket Learnt To Read by Tad Hills

Published: 27th July 2010Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Schwartz & Wade
Illustrator: Tad Hills
Pages: 40
Format: Paperback Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Star

This sweet picture book starring an irresistible dog named Rocket and his teacher, a little yellow bird, is perfect for back-to-school! Follow along as Rocket masters the alphabet, sounds out words, and finally . . . learns to read all on his own.

This is the CUTEST book. This is the story of how the little dog Rocket learns to read with the help of a little yellow bird. I can see this being a great book for teaching kids how to spell, though it’s not the sole purpose of the story. It is contained within an adorable story and coupled with the CUTEST illustrations. Hills makes Rocket so expressive and it really conveys when he is excited or annoyed or intimidated.

Hill’s narrative is adorable as well, this little bird starts reading a book and at first annoys Rocket but he soon becomes engaged and intrigued by the story and wants to know how it finishes. The little bird helps Rocket to read and teaches him how to spell all the wonderful things around him.

I love this book, it’s simple and easy to understand and a great tool in how to get kids engaged with learning to spell and how to practice in every day situations. Even away from that it’s a sweet story about Rocket and his love of learning to read and the steps he takes to read, all so he can read a story himself.

I loved seeing how proud Rocket was of his progress, the illustrations marry with the narrative incredible well, and the cute factor definitely played into my enjoyment. I found myself being proud of Rocket and his achievement and I was excited for him to read a story for himself.

You can purchase How Rocket Learnt to Read via the following

Booktopia | Book Depository | Dymocks

Angus and Robinson | Wordery

Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Goodbye Mr Chips by James Hilton

Published: 1st December 1982Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Laurel Leaf
Pages: 115
Format: Paperback
Genre: Classic
★   ★   ★   ★   ★ – 5 Stars

Full of enthusiasm, young English schoolmaster Mr. Chipping came to teach at Brookfield in 1870. It was a time when dignity and a generosity of spirit still existed, and the dedicated new schoolmaster expressed these beliefs to his rowdy students. Nicknamed Mr. Chips, this gentle and caring man helped shape the lives of generation after generation of boys. He became a legend at Brookfield, as enduring as the institution itself. And sad but grateful faces told the story when the time came for the students at Brookfield to bid their final goodbye to Mr. Chips.

 

I can see why this is a much loved and adored book. It took me no more than an hour to read but it is so heartfelt and beautifully written that I could have flipped back to page one and spent another hour in the life of Mr Chipping. This book follows the story of a teacher at an English school through the changes and historical events of the late 19th to the early decades of the 20th century. Mr Chips is wonderfully depicted and his love of his job and commitment is amazing. As the book ended I was so involved that while it was emotional, it was also comforting and almost reassuring I guess. I don’t really know how else to put it. I highly recommend this to anybody and everybody.

You can purchase Goodbye, Mr Chips via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

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