Queen Celine by Matt Shanks

Published: 1st February 2019Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Walker Books Australia
Illustrator: Matt Shanks
Pages: 40
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

Celine Beaufort is queen of what she is quite certain is the most beautiful rock pool in the world. It’s perfect. And to make sure nothing ever changes, she decides to build a wall around it. Unfortunately, that turns out to be a royal mistake. As self-proclaimed ruler, it’s up to Celine to right her wrong and restore her rock pool to its former glory, this time with everyone welcome. 

This is a cute book and it has a nice message but it doesn’t really grab you. I didn’t entirely dislike it though, I liked the contrast between every day Celine and at the beach Celine, it highlights how this is her time to shine and become the queen she wants to be. It’s also a good story that shows Celine never intentionally means to cause any of problems that arise. It’s innocent enough and sweet enough that Celine never is shown as malicious or controlling, just a little too enthusiastic and naïve.

But while the story is a tad lacklustre, the illustrations on the other hand are the absolute best. I think I had more fun studying the cute and clever illustrations than I did reading the book. The pictures are adorable and each page is filled with a lot to look at and study. I loved the art style and I loved the tiny details that made up this beach community. Small details like little sea creatures with fun expressions are so gosh darn adorable that I can forgive the underwhelming story that goes with it.

While the story had a nice message about sharing and nature, and Shanks does do a good job in showing us all of that without actually saying it, it doesn’t quite hit the spot.

You can purchase Queen Celine via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon Aust

AWW Update Oct-Dec

Curiously I read nothing by Aussie women in October or November so from my update in Oct I am jumping into December. A lot of these are picture books because aside from trying to find some cute Chrissy picture books I sussed out the CBCA list and read a few of those as well. I found a few missing from the previous update so I’ve added them in where they belong but even without those I’ve added another 15 books in December. It brings my total to 58 which is pretty awesome. I haven’t reviewed all of these yet but I will be so I’ll have to count that towards next year’s reviews. There’s some pretty fun books on this list though so I’m looking forward to reviewing them soon.

AWW20 BOOKS Oct – Dec

All I Want for Christmas is Rain by Cori Brooke

Please Don’t Hug Me by Kay Kerr

This Is a Ball by Beck Stanton

Who’s Your Real Mum? by Bernadette Green

My Folks Grew Up in the ’80s by Beck Feiner

The Red Book by Beck Stanton

There’s no such thing! By Heidi McKinnon

All Through The Year by Jane Godwin

Reindeer’s Christmas Surprise by Ursula Dubosarsky

Little Dog and the Christmas Wish by Corinne Fenton

A Very Quacky Christmas by Frances Watts – Review

What Do You Wish For? by Jane Godwin

Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly

An Aussie Day Before Christmas by Kilmeny Niland – Review

Santa and the Sugar Glider by Alexa Moses

AWW20 TOTAL

Read: 58/40

Reviewed: 20/30

AWW Update

This update includes all the AWW books I have read so far this year. Ideally I would have broken this up into three posts but so I don’t create too many out of place posts I’ve added them into one. There will still be the last update and final wrap up in December though. Looking at the list I have once again come out of the gate with a bang, then the April-June slump is to be expected but not a bad effort there, and as we head back on track with July-September it is a tad directionless but still some good titles in there. I am hoping I can actively direct my reading back to Aussie women, the last few months have only caught AWW titles around the edges, I’m aiming for some intentional reading for the final quarter.

Reviews obviously are behind but I have a lot of these coming up over the next few weeks so hopefully that will boost my review numbers significantly.

January-March

Fairytales for Feisty Girls by Susannah McFarlane

Growing Up Queer in Australia ed Benjamin Lee – Review

Summer Time by Hilary Bell

Goodwood by Holly Throsby – Review

A Day at the Show by Gwyn Perkins – Review

Just the Way We Are by Jessica Shirvington – Review

Shout out to the Girls Review

Meerkat Choir by Nicki Greenberg – Review

Celeste the Giraffe Loved to Laugh by Celeste Barber – Review

Charlotte Pass by Lee Christine

Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend

The Mistake by Wendy James

Meet Me at the Intersection ed Rebecca Lim

Welcome to Orphancorp by Marlee Jane Ward

Clancy the Quokka by Lilli Wilkinson – Review

Star Crossed by Minnie Darke – Review

A Trip to the Beach by Gwyn Perkins

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

Faking It (#2) by Gabrielle Tozer – Review

April-June

The Ex by Nicola Moriarty

Those Other Women Nicola Moriarty

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume

The Anzac Bilby by Claire Saxby

The Easter Bunnyroo by Susannah Chambers

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

Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Before You Forget by Julia Lawrinson – Review

July-September

Queer Stories ed. Maeve Marsden

Ella and the Ocean by Lian Tanner

My Friend Fred by Frances Watts

Blinky Bill: The Quaint Little Australian by Dorothy Wall

Blinky Bill Grows Up by Dorothy Wall

Blinky Bill and Nutsy by Dorothy Wall

AWW20 TOTAL

Read: 35/40

Reviewed: 11/35

Whitney and Britney, Chicken Divas by Lucinda Gifford

Published: 1st October 2019 Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Scholastic Australia
Illustrator: Lucinda Gifford
Pages: 35
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Whitney and Britney are two gorgeous chooks, Fluffy and silky with stunning good looks. Dora is perplexed about where her chooks go each night. Little does she know, they are Whitney and Britney, Chicken Divas!

Filled with dazzle and sparkle this is the vibrant story of Whitney and Britney, two chooks owned by Dora Von Dooze. The story itself is straightforward enough, but Gifford adds some sparkle with fun rhymes and pacing that helps add to the pizazz of the story. The rhymes are simple and easily flow with the story, the melody and rhythm of Gifford’s writing making reading effortless with help from fun formatting to promote emphasis and exaggeration.

The illustrations are also wonderfully fabulous. With a mixture of full page and split page illustrations Gifford’s style is full of sparkle and dazzle which is ideal given the key characters, but she also captures the tone and environmental changes in her colours and designs. Whitney and Britney are decked out to look like the divas they are and Gifford’s use of strong contrasting colours highlights each bit of bling and sparkle these girls have to offer.

This is a fun and uncomplicated story about celebrating your inner diva and having unbridled fun.

You can purchase Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 FishpondAmazon Aust

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix

Published: 26th February 2017Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Scholastic
Pages: 372
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
★   ★   ★   ★ – 4 Stars

The last thing she needs is a prince. The first thing she needs is some magic.

Poor Princess Anya. Forced to live with her evil stepmother’s new husband, her evil stepstepfather. Plagued with an unfortunate ability to break curses with a magic-assisted kiss. And forced to go on the run when her stepstepfather decides to make the kingdom entirely his own.

Aided by a loyal talking dog, a boy thief trapped in the body of a newt, and some extraordinarily mischievous wizards, Anya sets off on a Quest that, if she plays it right, will ultimately free her land—and teach her a thing or two about the use of power, the effectiveness of a well-placed pucker, and the finding of friends in places both high and low.

This is a fairytale through and through. There are talking dogs, princesses and a kingdom to defend and it has so many fabulous and magical moments it is pure delight. I loved how Nix causally throws in comments and lines as if they are perfectly normal sentences when they are not. It is makes reading a lot of fun and adds another layer of humour to enjoy. It is part of the fairytale trope or style I suppose that these things just happen but it was also great having this matter of fact, ‘what are you going to do about it?’ approach as well.

Anya is a great kid, she is thirteen which is hard to remember at times because of the things she achieves, but it is also a great reminder when she is doing these great deeds that she is only a child. There are moments where Anya realises how sheltered her life has been and you see her grow as she comes to understand the imbalance in the world and learn about kindness and the danger of too much power. It is a nice message that works well in the narrative and put in a way kids can appreciate without it being too heavy handed.

The story is filled with small moments and epic Quest moments which balance wonderfully. The individual characters are unique and help make this story feel like a classic fairy tale as well as a new type of story that brings the whole world to life. It is fun and filled with magic, friendships and Nix has established a vivid world that feels new while still cementing itself as a clear fairytale story with a villain, a goal, and a hero.

This is easily an adult or kid book and I think both audiences will have different things to take away from it. Even young kids will love this, it is filled with adventure and Quests, it’s funny but not silly, and Nix knows all the right moves to pull to make a great fairytale story new and exciting whilst also relying on the old and beloved.

You can purchase Frogkisser! via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

DymocksAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

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