Top Five of 2022

I did not realise until writing this I had so many rereads in my five star category. I thought there’d be more but clearly I was not that generous last year. I thought about adding some four stars but that is not the rules here. I had 25 to choose from and most of them were in a series or rereads. On the flipside, if I had read the pile of picture books I had gotten from work last year when I borrowed them instead of early in the new year I would have a few more options for that category, but those will have to wait for next time. Like last year where I only had four main reads, this time I only have four in my picture books. I will definitely have to up my reading game this year and try and find some magnificent reads that are stand alone books.

But that’s a later problem. These are my top five reads of 2022.

Animorphs by K. A. Applegate

The highlight of the whole entire year was finally reading the masterpiece that is Animorphs. As a whole I have to give the entire series five stars. A lot of the individual books rated five stars, but I have to acknowledge the absolute way this series took over my life for two months and continues to live in my head as one of the most impactful things I’ve ever read.



The Martian by Andy Weir

This was a reread but it was amazing once again. I love the humour and the amazing science behind it. Mark is a great narrator and Weir tells the story in creative ways that are impactful and clever. There are enough little surprises that each time I am amazed by a plot twist because there’s tiny details I forget while other favouritess stick firmly in my mind.




Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

This is number two in the series but it was an amazing read. Wayward Children is a brilliant series and tells the story of children who have found other worlds and then returned to their original world often against their wishes. Down Among the Sticks and Bones is the backstory of two characters we met in book one and is an incredible insight into their characters and the imagination of McGuire. It’s a tad morbid and maybe lightly gruesome in context with mad scientists and paranormal figures but highly enjoyable with a fabulous narrative voice and dry humour.

Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden

Another reread but the entire series holds up really well. My favourite book is still number five Burning for Revenge but going on the whole journey with Ellie, Homer and everyone else after so many years was so much fun and it’s truly a classic Aussie YA series everyone should read. It goes through the realities of war, of growing up, of being teenagers, and enduring the unexpected and unfathomable.



The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Even though I gave this five stars when I read it, it feels weird adding to my Top Five. It feels too obvious. Too…I dunno, weird. But it certainly a five star read. Douglas Adams is a genius with his words, his ideas, his ability to loop everything back together and weave the strings together where what seems nonsensical suddenly had greater meaning. And then of course at the same time make you realise nothing has meaning. It’s a fantastic book and a great introduction to the five book trilogy and even though it seems a clear choice, you can’t ignore it is still all these years later an amazing read.



Picture Books

The Rock From the Sky by Jon Klassen

Jon Klassen is one of my all-time favourite picture book authors and this is a new addition to his spectacular catalogue. The humour found in all his books is there, there’s drama and beauty, suspense and jealousy. The use of the page in terms of illustrations and text narration is amazing and I love the unexpectedness of the story.


Fluffy McWhiskers Cuteness Explosion by Stephen W. Martin

I was crying with laughter by the end of this book which is a solid review in itself. The illustrations are also fantastically cute, filled with colour and great character designs. The humour is great, it’s engaging for kids and adults, and the absurdity adds a whole other level of enjoyment.


The Littlest Yak by Lu Fraser

Once again drawn in by a cute cover and rewarded with a great story. The illustrations aren’t only adorable but there is a great story about wanting to big and grown up only to realise there is something wonderfully special about being yourself and not rushing to change who you are.


Mini Rabbit Must Help by John Bond

I was surprised how much I adored this book. Mini Rabbit is adorable and her desire to help and her curiosity and enthusiasm for everything is lovely. The illustrations are charming and really pull you into the story and make you invested in the story.


Fluffy McWhiskers Cuteness Explosion by Stephen W. Martin

Published: 12 October 2021Goodreads badge
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Illustrator: Dan Tavis
Pages: 40
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Meet Fluffy—an adorable kitten. So adorable, in fact, that anyone who sees her will spontaneously explode into balls of sparkles and fireworks. KABOOM! Poof.
Poor Fluffy doesn’t want anyone to get hurt, but everything she tries, even a bad haircut, just makes her cuter! So Fluffy runs away someplace no one can find her. Find out if there’s any hope for Fluffy in this funny and subversive story about self-acceptance and finding friendship in unlikely places.

This was instantly in my Top Five picture books of the year because this book is AMAZING. I laughed so much, I loved every page, I loved the words, the illustrations, the premise, the humour. I loved every single thing and I need other people to love this book.

Highlights begin before you even open the book. In lieu of author and illustrator it has ‘Explosions by’ and ‘Cuteness by’ which is FANTASTIC. Loved that. From there the greatness only went up.

It is filled with some dark humour, well as dark as a picture book can really go – animals and people do technically explode a lot in this book, but there are reasons, it is done in an adorable and hilarious way, and honestly it’s that wonderful absurd humour that makes this a brilliant book.

The illustrations are brilliant, Tavis captures the essence of Cuteness for Fluffy McWhiskers and with Martin’s blunt writing, the high logic of the situation and the lengths this poor burdened cat must go to it is the perfect combination to enhance the tone they’re aiming for.

I could reread this story multiple times and love it each time. This poor cat, who is doing the best she can, through no fault of her own, is trying to help people, to save their lives but nothing is working. I love Martin’s solution at the end and I love that there isn’t actually a solution either. It was the best way to end the story.

If you want something funny and clever, something kids will certainly love as there are many, many explosions on the page, this might be the book for you.

You can purchase Fluffy McWhiskers Cuteness Explosion via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Charlotte and the Rock by Stephen W. Martin

Published: 14th March 2017 Goodreads badge
 Dial Books
Illustrator: Samantha Cotterill
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

Charlotte has always really wanted a pet, so when her parents present her with one for her birthday she expects a cat, dog, or maybe a bird. Instead, she receives a rock. Rocks can’t cuddle, fetch, or even help her eat her vegetables, but that doesn’t stop Charlotte from loving her rock as if he were real. If only he could love her back…or can he? 

This is a fun story that is enjoyable to read and even has a few surprises. It is delightfully silly without going over the top and I loved Charlotte’s sincerity over the whole situation as she treated her rock like any other pet. The writing is simple with one sentence or so covering each issue or moment but Martin tells the story simply but effectively and interestingly.

I actually thought this was going to be a sadder story about poor Charlotte who only had a rock for a pet but I was pleasantly surprised. She treats it like any other pet and while it can cause a few hassles, what pet doesn’t? Her optimism is enchanting and I love that the rock isn’t any normal sized rock but still she carries on.

Cotterill’s illustrations are simple and the colours basic, but I liked the design of Charlotte. She looks like the perfect six year old who wouldn’t mind having a rock as a pet and making the best out of the situation. She is adaptable and will enjoy her pet even if it is a little unconventional. The colour scheme is made of up of washed out red, green, and brown which works remarkably well. It gives an old feel to the book and doesn’t take anything away from the illustrations themselves.

This is a fun book that kids will enjoy reading for the humour and the silly nature is easy to exploit when reading it aloud. It may also give hope to those kids who can’t have the pet that they wished for and instead lets them realise how much fun having a pet rock can be.

You can purchase Charlotte and the Rock via the following

Booktopia | Book Depository

Amazon | Amazon Aust | Wordery

Angus & Robertson | Fishpond

Dymocks | QBD