Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Piranha's Don't Eat Bananas by Aaron Blabey

This is hands down my favourite picture book at the moment.

In the last few weeks I have read it to large groups of students from Year 2 to Year 6 and even the older kids can't help but laugh out loud...it may have something to do with the bums in the book!

I also love this photo (modest), I took it for my Instagram account but had to use it here, and I think I will use my own photos from now on. Who doesn't love a random pineapple in book photos.  But I am sure piranha's don't eat pineapples either...it's just that pineapple doesn't rhyme with piranha.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

I read this amazing books a few weeks ago, and if you read my last post you will already know I am a terrible blogger who can't keep up with the amount of books I read...but I LOVED this book.

I made a comment on Instagram about reading the right book at the right time, and that's what happened with this one.  I have just binge watched the first two seasons of Nashville (This is relevant due to the Dolly connection...) and then there's Friday Night Lights which is one of my all time favourite TV series, so I am a little bit in love with these parts of the world, namely Tennessee in the case of Nashville and Texas in the case of Friday Night Lights and the wonderful Dumplin'.

Here's what the blurb has to say:

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed "Dumplin'" by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin.
Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. 
With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy's, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn't surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she'll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin' is guaranteed to steal your heart.
If watching Nashville made me go and download the soundtracks and play on repeat, this book made me download Dolly Parton's Jolene, play it loud and sing it at the top of my voice.  It's a book that makes you want to stand up and cheer for Willowdean.
One of the good things about Willowdean as a character is that while she is at home in her body (something we should all strive to be no matter what size we are) she is still human. While she may not have body issues, she still has to deal with universal issues including boys, friends and family, generally surviving being a teenage girl.
I will admit now that I did not read Julie Murphy's first book Side Effects May Vary, but it now at the top of my TBR pile.

Where I confess to being a bad blogger...but an enthusiastic instagramm-er

I really am a terrible blogger. 

The trouble with blogging about books is that you have to read them...and that takes time...and as a reader, when you have finished one book, you start the next one, it truly doesn't end, and that's not a bad thing, it just turns out I would rather be reading the books rather than writing about them.

I started an Instagram account with the plan that I would write a blog post for every picture I posted. Well that didn't happen, so a new plan is in order.  I will endeavour to post here about books that I LOVE or I feel need a little help to get them out into the hands of readers.  I will post on Instagram more often, so you can follow me there at whats_rebecca_reading or click on the link to the right.  

I love Instagram and the 'bookstagram-ers' I follow give me a insight into what's popular out in the world, and I have been encouraged to read books that I would never have picked up.  Plus so many authors and publishers have really cool accounts, so if you haven't joined the Instagram bandwagon, I highly recommend you think about it.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

There's a Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins

There's a Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins
Published June 2015 Nosy Crow
Poor Mouse! A bear has decided to settle in his favourite chair, and that chair just isn’t big enough for them to share. Mouse tried all kinds of tactics to move Bear, from glaring at him and scaring him, to luring him with a pear, but nothing works. Eventually, Mouse gives up. Once Mouse has gone, Bear gets up from the chair and walks home. But what’s that? Is that a Mouse in Bear’s house?!

With echoes of Dr Seuss, this joyously illustrated picture book by a multi-award-winning talent is perfect for sharing.

My favourite type of picture books, are those with stories told in rhyme, and this one is a stand out.

The cover of this book sets the scene beautifully…there is the title There’s a Bear on My Chair… and an angry looking mouse, pointing to the very happy bear sitting in a chair, leaving no question as to whose chair that might be! 

The book is full of lovely language and glorious rhyme, and the way illustrations depict the increasingly frustrated and angry mouse are comic gold, especially as nothing seems to affect the bears calm and happy demeanour.

More reasons to like this book…end papers, different front and back (I love endpapers that start the story!)  and an ending with a satisfactory twist.

If you want to have a 'look inside' this book CLICK HERE


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L Konisberg

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L Konisberg
This edition published July 2015 Pushkin Children's Books

New York City girl Claudia, a mere month shy of being a twelve-year-old, has resolved to run away from home with her younger brother, Jamie. She knows that she could never pull off the classic spur-of-the-moment departure without a destination (inevitably involving having to eat outside with the insects, and cupcakes melting in the sun); so she plans everything to perfection, including their destination: the grand, elegant, beautiful, all-encompassing Metropolitan Museum of Art...However, no sooner have Claudia and Jamie settled into their new home, than they are caught up in the mystery of an angel statue bought by the museum for the bargain price of $225. Is it in fact an as yet undiscovered work by Michelangelo, worth millions? Claudia is determined to find out, and her quest leads her to the remarkable, secretive Mrs. Frankweiler, who sold the statue to the museum - and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself...Since its first appearance nearly 50 years ago, The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler has gained a place in the hearts of generations of readers - and has rightly become one of the most celebrated and beloved children's books of all time...

So I don't really have to say much about this book except that it's been re-issued this year, 48 years after it was first published.  Most librarians will already know this book, and have had the pleasure to introduce it to many young library goers over the years, so now is your chance to get your hands on a nice new copy, to put in the hands of the new generation of readers.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Looking-Glass Girl by Cathy Cassidy

Looking-Glass Girl by Cathy Cassidy
Published March 2015 Penguin Books

'It happened so quickly . . . I was falling, falling, falling into the darkness.' 
Alice nearly didn't go to the sleepover.  Why would Savvy, queen of the school, invite someone like her?
Now Alice is lying unconscious in a hospital bed. 
Lost in a wonderland of dreams and half-formed memories, she's surrounded by voices – the doctor, her worried friends and Luke, whose kisses the night of the fall took her by surprise . . . 
When the accident happened, her world vanished – can Alice ever find her way back? 
A wonderful modern-day reimagining of Lewis Carroll's timeless classic.

2015 is the year of Alice, 150 years since the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, so it’s not surprising that we are seeing some Alice spinoffs  out there.

Cathy Cassidy is an extremely popular author for young teenage girls, and her re-imagining of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has everything you would expect from a Cathy Cassidy, friendship, bullying, growing up, boys and family.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

This little novel made me laugh out loud.  It’s basically the story of a big bad wolf who feels that he and some of his friends have been misjudged, and now is the time they are going to redeem themselves and become heroes. 

First lets meet these bad guys, each has their own rap sheet describing their criminal activities.

Mr Wolf –

Criminal activity includes: Breaking in the homes of old women, Impersonating old women, attempting to eat old women

Status: Dangerous DO NOT APPROACH


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Newspaper Hats by Phil Cummings and Owen Swan

Newspaper Hats by Phil Cummings and Owen Swan
Published July 2015 Scholastic Australia

Grandpa remembers many things from long ago, but he has trouble remembering his granddaughter, Georgia.

In this moving story, a little girl helps her grandfather reach his memories through the simple act of making hats from folded newspaper.

A gentle yet powerful story about the love and memories that bind families together.

I had heard Phil tell this story before it was a book, more than once, and it made me cry…more than once.  I even told the story to other people and it made them cry, so consider yourself forewarned.  In saying that, I know many people who have read this books and didn’t cry, and like it is with many picture books,  we often see our own stories within the pages, and different stories mean different things to different people.  That there is the beauty and magic of a picture book.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Soon by Morris Gleitzman

Soon by Morris Gleitzman
Published June 2015 Puffin Books Australia

I hoped the Nazis would be defeated.
And they were.

I hoped the war would be over.
And it was.

I hoped we would be safe.
But we aren't.

Soon continues the incredibly moving story of Felix, a Jewish boy still struggling to survive in the wake of the liberation of Poland after the end of World War Two.

The fifth book in what Morris Gleitzman calls this 'family of books'.  He explains in the back of Soon,  that instead of calling this a series he prefers to think of the books as a 'family of books'.   Each one standing alone.  This is true, they do stand alone very well, as it's been a few years since I read After, and the fact that I couldn't remember the story vividly did not detract from my enjoyment of this latest instalment.

Mr Huff by Anna Walker

Mr Huff by Anna Walker
Published July 2015 Penguin Books
Award-winning and much-loved author and illustrator Anna Walker gives us a gentle, poignant, affirming and wise picture book sure to delight all ages.  Mr. Huff is a story about the clouds and the sunshine in each of our lives.
Bill is having a bad day.
Mr Huff is following him around and making everything seem difficult.
Bill tries to get rid of him, but Mr Huff just gets bigger and bigger!
Then they both stop, and a surprising thing happens . . .


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The New Boy by Nick Earls

New Boy, The by Nick Earls
Published March 2015 Puffin Books

Adjusting to a new country and a new school was never going to be easy for Herschelle. The food is strange, it's so different to South Africa and, worst of all, no-one understands the Aussie slang he's learnt on the web.

But it's the similarities that make things really hard. Herschelle will have to confront racism, bullying and his own past before Australia can feel like home . . .

When I think of the stories I have read about families immigrating to Australia they are often from Asian countries, Like Anh Do’s Happiest Refugee or Alice Pung’s Unpolished Gem.  This story tells of a family that have white skin and come from a country where English is spoken, so moving to Australia should be a piece of cake?

Monday, July 6, 2015

I'm back

In answer to the question posed by my blog title 'What's Rebecca Reading?' You would be forgiven for assuming....nothing. But of course that isn't true.

I can't believe I haven't been here for over a year.  Last year got very busy with life and work, and while there was still reading, there wasn't any time for writing about it.

So here we are, half way though 2015, and it's time to get back into it.  

Here's what I read this weekend, reviews to come on some.