Reviews

Jeremy / Chris Faille  (Working Title Press, 2013)
Review by Abbey Vincent

This is my new favourite book! Jeremy is a baby kookaburra who falls out of the nest and into a loving family that help him grow. Based on a true story, Jeremy learns to open his eyes, learn his name, watch television and use his wings to fly. This cute little kookaburra comes to life with beautiful illustrations by Danny Snell depicting the growth of Jeremy. The end papers also have some clever facts on kookaburras which resemble power lines linking to the nature of kookaburras well. Jeremy is shortlisted in the Information book category for 2013 CBCA Book of the Year Awards.

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The13552053 children of the king / Sonya Hartnett (Penguin/Viking, 2012)
Review by Judy Moss

Sonya Hartnett is the consummate storyteller. Her books are always challenging and provocative, stimulating young readers to think, question, explore and learn. The children of the king has two intertwining stories: one about the Little Princes in the Tower, and the other about the wartime evacuation of children from London during the bombing raids. The setting is a country manor home in England and Hartnett’s gentle, lyrical style is supported by excellent characterisation, vivid description, poetic imagery and quality writing. Hartnett’s writing is never mundane, and so her books appeal to young people who can tackle rich language, words with more than two syllables (!), an intriguing plot and plenty to think about.

Highly recommended for upper primary and up.
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Peggy / Ansquirms-book-reviews-peggyna Walker (Scholastic Australia, 2012)
Review by Judy Moss

I really love books about chooks. Bob Graham’s Queenie the bantam has always been one of my favourite, so when Peggy appeared on the CBCA Short List this year, I was eager to read the story about the plump, little, black chook!

As is the case with all excellent picture books, the illustrations and text merge to present a delightful scenario. Peggy is accidentally blown away from home, gets lost, has some adventures and manages to find her way home again. The delightfully-understated text is supported by quirky, humourous watercolour illustrations, which the very young find hilarious. There is so much to discover and explore in this book, it appeals to a wide age group – including adults – and Peggy’s adventures in Melbourne’s Collins Street are delightful.

Peggy has been shortlisted in the Early Childhood category of the 2012 CBCA Book of the Year Awards, and deservedly so. Highly recommended.

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The Convent / Maureen McCarthy (Allen & Unwin, 2012)
Review by Abbey Vincent

Peach is an adopted daughter of a typical Melbourne family and she has never known her real family or why she was put up for adoption. One day a letter arrives from her grandmother, reaching out to the granddaughter she has never known. Her younger sister, Stella, encourages a sceptical Peach to write back and find out about her mother and the rest of her family. The stories of four generations are uncovered in this novel with dates ranging from 1915 to 1979, to present day, with the women having two important things in common: the Abbotsford Convent and family.

I really enjoyed the historical aspects of this book and how each narrator’s life was entangled with the convent, which is now a trendy space with boutique stores and a cafe, where Peach happens to find work. The chapter structure of this book makes you want to keep reading to unravel more of the stories of the four women and how the Abbotsford Convent impacted on their lives.
Recommended for upper secondary readers.

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The wrong boy / Suzy Zail (Black Dog Books, 2012)
Review by Judy Moss

Shortlisted in 2013 CBCA Book of the Year Awards, this novel is as compelling as it is sensitively written. Hanna is just about to celebrate her sixteenth birthday when her family is forced to move from their comfortable, middle-class home to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Faced with losing, not only her parents, but all that is known and dear to her, Hanna clutches to the one thing which will enable her to endure: her music. She comes to the attention of the Camp Commandant and it is while she is entertaining guests at his home that she meets his son.
A unlikely friendship soon develops into a lasting bond between the two young people: the courageous young girl and the “wrong boy”.
Recommended for upper secondary readers.

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I am different from you / Peter Selg (Steiner Books, 2011)
Review by Wendy Hyland

After a conversation at a Class Two parent information evening, this book came to me. Although only 77 pages of straight-forward reading, the book contains many insights and descriptions of how the nine- year old crisis manifests in the growing child.

Unlike the crises of adolescence, which occur a few years later, the nine year threshold takes the form of a mostly internal and subtle relationship change with the self and the world. Even if symptoms of distress are not obvious, parents and teachers who are aware of this shift in consciousness can respond appropriately and provide the support needed just when the child feels that he or she must ultimately stand alone in this world.

This book requires no pre-knowledge of principles underlying Steiner education. It is relevant to anyone working with children in the second, seven year phase of development and I highly recommend it to all.

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Awakening to child health 1 : Holistic child and adolescent development / by Dr Raoul Goldberg
Review by Annette Fuhr-Evitt

This book is the first of three by Dr Goldberg, dealing with therapeutic approaches to contemporary health disturbances. Dr Goldberg practises anthroposophically integrated medicine in Cape Town, in a general practice as well as in local Steiner schools. This book presents the fruits of many years’ experience and shows the author to be an insightful and knowledgeable practitioner.

In this first volume Dr Goldberg approaches holistic child development in the most thorough and comprehensive way imaginable. Goldberg is a student of Rudolf Steiner’s work and has also had training in psycho-phonetics. This leads to an interesting mix of scientific information and deeply meditative, subjective contemplation, which reaches such depths that from the individual it leads back to the universal.

For all topics, Goldberg gives us the ‘bigger picture’. As in Steiner education, we move with him from the whole to the parts. In this way he makes Steiner’s knowledge of the human being with body, soul and spirit, as well as the human being’s four-fold nature, accessible to everyone. A brief look at the contents pages will show that there is nothing missing! Ultimately, this is a book to keep on the bedside table – it will not be enough to just read it once! Rather it is a book to read and come back to, again and again. It is a wonderful resource to have as a parent, teacher or medical practitioner, independent of your level of knowledge of Anthroposophy.

If the meditative and contemplative parts are not to your taste, I would still suggest that you will find more than enough scientific information to enhance your own knowledge.

Get it out of the library to have a read! I am looking forward to the next two volumes.

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