Featured Reviews June 2024

Featured Reviews June 2024: Have a sneak peek at some of the reviews for this month!

Featured Reviews from our June Newsletter 2024 mailout:

Author: Margaret Wild (AU)
Illustrator: Hannah Sommerville (AU)
ISBN: 9781922930378
Publisher: Affirm Kids
Release date: 28 May 2024
Reading age: 3 to 6 years

Book Description: From award-winners Margaret Wild and Hannah Sommerville comes a story to remind us of the wonder and magic of reading. When Dora was born, her brothers were very excited. 'I'm going to cuddle her,' said Alex. 'I'm going to rock her to sleep,' said Liam. 'I'm going to make her laugh,' said Bruno. 'I'm going to read to her,' said Peter. Dora has doting big brothers who play with her, look after her, and guide her as she grows. But Peter reads to her, which turns out to be the greatest gift of all.

Content Insight: Contains fantasy creatures in the stories that Peter reads.

Representations: The older brothers illustrated are from different ethnicities.

Novel Insight Short Review: When a baby, Dora, is born, her four older brothers look at her and talk about all the fun things they will do with her. Peter specifically wants to read with her. As each child interacts and Dora grows, Peter consistently reads her stories. With beautiful fantasy creatures and whimsical adventures, the pages he reads show the possibilities of the other brother's dreams coming to life.

Author: Anna Battese
Illustrator: Ruth-Mary Smith
Series: PD McPem's Agency for Mysterious Mysteries #3
ISBN: 9780645869323
Publisher: Riveted Press
Release date: 19 Jun 2024
Reading age: 6 to 8 years

Book Description: Dive into the sandy shores with PD McPem in an unforgettable beach adventure! PD and her classmates are all set for a day of sun and sea, but the excitement takes an unexpected turn when they discover somebody has sunk the lifeboats. As Detective PD McPem and her team investigate, they unravel a trail of chaos – bananas missing, food scattered, and the bell from Mr Li's ice cream trike is missing. The culprit? A brown shaggy dog, according to a witness. Can PD and her friends find the real rascal before Scooter gets the blame? Grab your detective gear and get ready for a beach day like no other!

Content Insight: Contains brief mentions of animals dying as a result of littering and pollution. The friends call witnesses 'witlesses' as an inside joke.

Representations: PD's father is not mentioned in this book, implying that her mother is a single parent. Contains intergenerational friendship. PD's grandpa accompanies her to the beach.

Novel Insight Short Review: Penelope Delores (PD) McPem is the founding detective of the Agency for Mysterious Mysteries. In this third instalment in the series, PD is going on an excursion to the beach with the rest of her Year Two class. Her Grandpa is accompanying the excursion. PD's school friends, Theodora, Max, and Eadie, are also members of her detective agency. When her friend's belongings start going missing, and strange occurrences pile up at the beach, will PD be able to solve this mystery? A fun addition to the series.

Author: Aleesah Darlison
ISBN: 9781761111174
Publisher: Wombat Books
Release date: 1 May 2024
Reading age: 9 to 13 years

Book Description: Grace Marshall is eleven years old. She’s curious, precocious, and eccentric. Her only true friend is her art teacher, Pamela. When Grace discovers that Pamela is dying, she embarks on a journey to find a cure for Pamela using miraculous magic. While doing so she asks the big questions about life, love, friendship, and death.

Content Insight: Contains references to magic. Grace buys a book of spells intending to make a spell to cure Pamela. Later she refers to this as “silly kid rubbish,” though she does ask Pamela if she believes in magic. Contains death. Pamela dies from terminal cancer and Grace attends her funeral.

Representations: Contains a positive representation of Christianity. Grace has a rosebud pressed in her Bible. Grace whispers a prayer of thanks. Pamela expresses faith in God, heaven and the Bible. Pamela is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Novel Insight Short Review: 11-year-old Grace is struggling with life and school. She wants to be many things when she grows up, including a magician. Grace loves art and has made friends with her art teacher, Pamela, who has been away on holidays but doesn’t return as expected. Grace overhears two teachers talking and discovers that Pamela has terminal cancer. Grace is devastated. She buys a book of spells to cure Pamela, but nothing is working. Will Grace be able to find a cure? A beautiful and moving story about family, friendship and grief.

Author: Deborah Abela (AU)
ISBN: 9781761340185
Publisher: Penguin Australia Pty Ltd
Release date: 7 May 2024
Reading age: 9 to 13 years

Book Description: A heartwarming verse novel from beloved Australian children's author Deborah Abela.

Ms Skye thinks kids can change the world
with a Kindness Project.
Nicolette wants to
but how can she
when Layla treats her like she's invisible
and DJ picks on everything she says?
Leaf thinks Nicolette can be a
So maybe
if they work together
they just might do it.

A heartwarming story about four kids who overcome their differences and take on the world.

Content Insight: Contains bullying. DJ was originally a bully and some of his bullying tactics are mentioned. DJ’s father is missing for sometime with Doctors Without Borders. Nicolette skips school to help her Nanna escape the nursing home for a day. Nanna strips to her bra and undies to go in the beach. Nanna has a moment where she forgets who she is and runs in front of motorbikes. Nanna thinks that Grandpop (in heaven) helps her find some puzzle pieces.

Representations: Contains intergenerational friendship and dementia. Nicolette's Nanna had to move into a nursing home when she nearly burnt her house down. She refers to her nursing home as Alcatraz regularly. Contains broken and remarried families. Contains characters with anxiety and schizophrenia. Contains a Peruvian family. References Doctors without Borders.

Novel Insight Short Review: Nicolette is not great at making friends. Her favourite person is her Nanna, who she visits in a nursing home. Nicolette’s mum and Nanna aren’t on speaking terms because Nanna didn’t want to go into a nursing home. Unfortunately, she ended up there because she forgot about some food that was cooking and almost burnt the house down. At school, Nicolette is put into a class group with Leaf the new boy, DJ the class bully, and Layla the perfect princess. Ms Skye wants them to all work on a kindness project. Although all the other groups progress and Leaf and Nicolette bond, DJ and Layla don't want to be a part of it. One day, Nicolette decides to help Nanna escape from her nursing home. They go to the beach and to the cemetery to visit Grandpop. While most of the day is beautiful, a group of motorbikes frighten Nanna and almost run her over. Nicolette has to help her, and they catch a lift back to the nursing home with the ice cream truck. Nicolette’s Mum forbids her from seeing Nanna for a while. When Nicolette shares this with her group, they realise that they all have a unique story. Could this be the start of a great friendship? A moving verse novel to look out for.

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