Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey

Published: 1st February 2015Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Scholastic Australia
Illustrator: Aaron Blabey
Pages: 28
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Thelma is an ordinary pony who longs to be more. Thelma dreams of being a glamorous unicorn. Then in a rare pink and glitter-filled moment of fate, Thelma’s wish comes true. I am special now, she cried out loud. And so, a star was born…

This is a fun story about fame and living your dreams but also about being yourself. Thelma dreams of being a unicorn and through a few fortunate actions her wish is granted. I loved how there’s a wonderful unintended explanation for Thelma becoming a unicorn. A fortunate accident which springboards her fame that is both plausible and silly.

There are many great parts to this story; Otis being supportive of Thelma when she is just a pony, her own realisation that fame may not be all it is cracked up to be, and the fact that she might be happier just being herself is a positive lesson.

This writing has a wonderful rhythm and as you read you get caught up in the creative rhymes and it pushes you along. The text is simple and has a few styled words for emphasis, and it moves around the page to work with the illustrations a little better.

Blabey’s illustrations are quite fun. They are realistic but have a quirkiness to them, helped along by the silly nature of the story. I liked the design of Thelma, it played into her feeling plain, and she doesn’t start out as a standard looking horse but a simple looking pony.

There’s a wonderful message about the troubles and downside of fame which is important, and it shows readers that getting what you want isn’t always the best thing. Blabey doesn’t press the message though, the fun story of Thelma is the focus and the emphasis is on what she learns about herself and her own life.

You can purchase Thelma the Unicorn via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

 

AWW Update Jul-Sep

Third update of the year and I have exceeded my goal! While this is exciting I feel I have been a tad slack these last few months. I am hoping to gain some more ground for the final leg, especially since this will overlap with other challenges I am doing which should hopefully boost my numbers.

I’ve added reviews to previous posts when they went live and I will so the same again here when they go up in a few weeks. I read some great books this time. A few anthologies, a few junior fictions and some fascinating genres. It is always interesting to see what is swept up under the AWW banner each time and I actually almost forgot to add the anthologies but of course they have to be included because there are some wonderful authors in there which can’t be forgotten about.

I’m looking forward to seeing where I end up in December. As I say, I already know of a few I can add to my next update. I may increase my goal to reading 40 and reviewing 35, only because I am feeling bold and on top of things. Let’s see how long that lasts.

 

AWW19 BOOKS Jul-Sep

And All the Stars by Andrea K Host – Review

The Book That Made Me ed. by Judith Ridge – Review

Blossom Possum by Gina Newton – Review

The Tales of Mr Walker by Jess Black – Review

The Accusation by Wendy James

The Pirate Treasure by Zander Bingham – Review

The Haunted Lighthouse by Zander Bingham – Review

The Lost Temple by Zander Bingham – Review

Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories ed. by Michael Earp – Review

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

Upside Down by N. R Walker – Review

 

AWW19 TOTAL

Read: 33/30

Reviewed: 28/20

 

Macca’s Makeover by Matt Cosgrove

Published: 1st September 2019Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Scholastic
Illustrator: Matt Cosgrove
Pages: 24
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Macca the Alpaca desperately wants to be cool, just like his friends. Will a new hair-do cut it? Maybe a trip to the gym will work out? Or perhaps he needs the latest accessories?

Maccas makeover shows him what it is that makes him truly special.

Our favourite alpaca is back and this time he is in for a new look. Worried he might not be cool, Macca enlists the help of his friends to try and improve himself. The story is told in fabulous rhymes which flow wonderfully and are super fun to read to yourself or aloud.

Cosgrove shows off two great points in this adventure; that it is ok to try new things, but also that you shouldn’t feel like you need to change to be liked or a person you think others expect you to be. Macca shows you that it is ok to be nice and kind and being a certain type of “cool” doesn’t have to be what you strive to be.

The illustrations are bright and colourful and Cosgrove makes great use of the space whether it is with full page illustrations or something simpler. They also wonderfully work well with the text as the formatting and layout impacts how the story is read and even something as font can help with the fun.

Cosgrove’s stunning pencil illustrations are things I could stare at all day. I love his designs and see Macca’s big beautiful eyes and adorable face undergo new hairstyles, and seeing him try various things to be “cool” is funny and Cosgrove makes his illustrations look plausible and I can imagine an alpaca doing these things can be. Plus the expressions on Macca’s face are wild and so much fun you can’t help but love him.

This is another perfect Macca book; it is fun, has a positive message, and brings together all your favourite Macca pals in style.

You can purchase Macca’s Makeover via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Upside Down by N. R. Walker

Published: 21st March 2019Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Blueheart Press
Pages: 258
Format: ebook
Genre: Contemporary romance
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

Jordan O’Neill isn’t a fan of labels, considering he has a few. Gay, geek, a librarian, socially awkward, a nervous rambler, an introvert, an outsider. The last thing he needs is one more. But when he realises adding the label ‘asexual’ might explain a lot, it turns his world upside down.

Hennessy Lang moved to Surry Hills after splitting with his boyfriend. His being asexual had seen the end of a lot of his romances, but he’s determined to stay true to himself. Leaving his North Shore support group behind, he starts his own in Surry Hills, where he meets first-time-attendee Jordan.

A little bewildered and scared, but completely adorable, Hennessy is struck by this guy who’s trying to find where he belongs. Maybe Hennessy can convince Jordan that his world hasn’t been turned upside down at all, but maybe it’s now—for the first time in his life—the right way up.

There is a certain delightful charm about this book. It is slightly rough around the edges in terms of style and story but it has heart. There are unique and diverse characters and Walker has managed to show the joy of friendship groups and the adventures of people in their mid-twenties: able to enjoy the freedom of being an adult while allowed to still be young and not have any major responsibilities.

Walker has captured the two differences voices perfectly. Jordon is very excitable but this has its charm at times. You can see Jordan’s mind working a mile a minute and his talkative nature is juxtaposed against Hennessy’s subdued, calmer nature. This may not be the full asexual story that people are looking for, but it does show the actions and mindset of a man trying to work out where he fits in the world. It is also a great introduction to this type of relationship and life that people may be unfamiliar with.

Jordon is definitely someone I think is an acquired taste. He swears a lot, he rambles and is very talkative but this is the character choice Walker has made and it brings some uniqueness to the character. One that also helps understand why he is so reluctant for this added development. Hennessy is the opposite and seeing the two of them together can be quite sweet because Hennessy doesn’t see Jordon’s personality as a flaw.

There are a few dialogue bumps and it isn’t always the most perfect writing but the story comes from a strong start and seeing the boys get to know one another and grow is actually quite endearing. Seeing them get flustered around each other in their own way is joyful and there are many adorable moments of the boys being adorable together. If you know the Surry Hills area there are great Australian references and locations as well.

Sometimes in an effort to cover the fact there is no offer of sex or sexual attraction there are a few misunderstandings that aren’t actual misunderstandings which I think Walker is trying to add some drama where communication would have solved all of the problems. There is admittedly a cheesiness to the story but it is sweet and if you don’t mind slightly sappy, daggy boys and their enthusiastic friends.

The things I loved though was the complexity of the relationship and identity. Seeing Jordon trying to work out who he is and where he fits is wonderful once you get further into the story. There are light hearted moments, cringy moments, but there are also complicated moments that show that trying to find out who you are can be tough and something that takes time and a lot of support.

You can purchase Upside Down via the following

Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

It’s a Long Way to the Shop by Heidi McKinnon

Published: 1st November 2018Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Scholastic Australia
Illustrator: Heidi McKinnon
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

They cant run, swim, fly or jump… so how will these two little rocks get to the shop? 
Find out in this hilarious tale of adventure and persistence, to reach a snack thats totally worth it.

There’s so much to love about this book. Not only are the two characters simply called Rock, but they are optimistic, hilarious, and practical.

McKinnon uses dialogue for the entire story but instead of using quotations and padding it out, she uses differentiating colours to show who is speaking. Pink rock and green rock work out the issues they have in trying to get to the shop and seeing their deliberations is an absolute delight. Pink rock is definitely the more optimistic, while green is the practical one of the two, but even so they manage to climb and float and fly their way to the shop.

There are puns and the simple humour is divine. McKinnon uses a washed out tone for the backgrounds but sticks with the green, grey colouring which makes the bright pink and green of the two rocks stand out.

I love the ending of this because it was exactly what I wanted and I had an absolute blast getting there. What is even better though is McKinnon takes it one extra step further and it becomes even more hilarious.

You can purchase It’s A Long Way to the Shop via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Amazon Aust

Previous Older Entries