Top Five of 2019

I will be the first to admit this is long overdue. Overdue in that I normally publish this in early January and it is now May, but since this year’s been A Challenge already it kept getting put off by various natural disasters in the area and pandemics, briefly forgotten about, then put off again. Now I am making myself put it up because the completionist in me needs it up, but also it is a great chance to revisit the books I loved last year and hope to share my enthusiasm for them at the same time.

After the success of adding books through the year I felt were contenders, I ended my list with 11:  6 books and 5 picture books. This means my honourable mentions is quite light with only one but after thinking I could scrap it entirely, I changed my mind because I really enjoyed the extra book. It was a toss-up between which one I would switch out but I think I’ve made the right choice.

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin

43709211This was the first book I put on the list at the start of 2019. It wasn’t the most amazing book I had read in terms of emotions or how it moved me, but I loved it so much because it is a story that is so cleverly told it is hard not to be constantly amazed at Capin’s skill. The reflections with historical events and reimaginings of historical people is divine and each time I realised a reference, a moment, or a character portrayal I fell even further in love. This is Tudor England set in a US high school and honestly those two things are perfectly fitting with a class system, drama, and chaos. I love that era and seeing it play out in the modern era was an absolute joy.

 

 

30619981How to Fight A Dragon’s Fury by Cressida Cowell

Honestly this whole series could be on this list so please start at book one if you pick this up. The reason I chose book twelve though, the final in the series, was because this book in particular was incredible. I loved every one of these books and inhaled them one after the other but this book in particular broke my heart. After the journey I had been on with the other eleven books, this was the perfect ending that brings the whole life of Hiccup and his adventure together. It had no right to make me cry through the majority of it and while each of these books will move you and break your heart a little, this one throws everything at you and it’s simply perfect.

 

 

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

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This book, oh my gosh. It took me a couple goes to start but then I was in and was not leaving. It is heart wrenching, fascinating, and the world is so incredibly built that the fact not everything about the society and world was explained didn’t matter because it was established and functional and the focus is on the characters and their reactions to it. It is deep and impactful and brilliantly told.

 

 

 

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

39893545Book two of the Truly Devious series and it does not disappoint. It is filled with answers, new questions, a deeper descent into the mystery of this school and this kidnapping and as Johnson plays it out you can’t help but be enraptured.

 

 

 

 

 

The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited by Clint McElroy

41812788Pretty sure these graphic novels will be on here every single year if they continue with their publishing schedule. From the A-MA-ZING podcast Clint has once again transferred it brilliantly into written form. The illustrations are fantastic, the humour is fantastic, and the story is wrapped up but there’s an ongoing arc to keep your interest piqued.

 

 

 

Honourable Mention

His Hideous Heart by Dahlia Adler

 

Top Five Picture Books

Giraffe Problems by Jory John

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Llama Destroys the World by Jonathan Stutzman

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Little Puggle’s Song by Vicki Conley

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The Rough Patch by Brian Lies

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I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

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Llama Destroys the World by Jonathan Stutzman

Published: 7th May 2019Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co.
Illustrator: Heather Fox
Pages: 40
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

What happens when you mix one hungry llama, a big pile of cake and a whole lot of dancing? Get ready to party, because the end of the world is nigh…

This a laugh out loud book which I can attest too as I handed it around at work and watched staff members cover their mouths in an attempt to stifle their unexpected outburst of laughter and not disrupt the entire library. The story is divine, the language is divine, the illustrations are divine. It’s simple, it’s weird, and it’s perfection.

I initially thought this was going to be like The Very Hungry Caterpillar but I was so very wrong. Stutzman has found the sweet spot where humour and story combine and has the right combination of proper narrative, and whatever makes things a hundred times funnier when said with a touch of absurd, surreal nonsense.

The joy of reading this comes from the formatting as well as the story. The tone Stutzman has used as well as the pages containing only one sentence or only a few sentences means you are forced to stop and pause which adds some magnitude. It’s the pace that you read this which makes it quite matter of fact and quite serious, there is a countdown of days as we know what is going to happen (the world ending), we just aren’t sure of how just yet.

The illustrations are fabulous. The expression on Llama’s face, the simple yet telling pictures of cake and world destruction are delightful. There is no need for overly complicated detail or depictions. Fox captures the mood and the disaster, and she does so while embodying Stutzman’s tone. She also beautifully captures the simple, majestic delight that is Llama. I also need to take a moment to thank Fox for immortalising the image of Llama and his groovy butt as he dances in his dancing pants. For that I thank you.

I have already read this book three times and I never tire of it. It’s unexpected, it’s a fairly fast read which works wonderfully for the style Stutzman has gone for in his writing, and the humour is constant. I love Llama and everything he represents.

You can purchase Llama Destroys the World via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust