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Posts Tagged ‘Identity’

Louisiana’s way Home by Kate Di Camillo

May 29, 2019 Comments off

louisianaLouisiana’s way Home by Kate Di Camillo. Pub. Walker Books, 2019.

Oh to be able to write as well as this!

Twelve year old Louisiana believes that her parents were part of a circus acrobatic team named Elefante who were killed in an accident and that the family is cursed because of an incident in Elf Ear Missouri. She believes that her Granny taught her everything she knows and has looked after her for the whole of her life.

All these beliefs are going to come under question in this superb novel of growing up and the amazing resilience of Louisiana. She is truly a character to be admired.

At 3.00am one morning Granny gets Louisiana out of bed to pack her suitcase and announces that the day of reckoning had arrived. The pair drive north out of Florida across that imaginary Georgia State line. They run out of gas and Granny becomes bedridden with tooth ache.

Louisiana has to drive the car off the motorway to a small town and seek dental treatment for her Granny. This will lead to all secrets being told and for Louisiana to show her incredible character when faced with a crisis that would floor most people.

Beautifully told with great wisdom, common sense and perception. You are with Louisiana all the way and once you start the novel the most difficult part will be putting it down.

Total class writing for intermediate and secondary school students. For me the best junior fiction title of the year.

DUCK by Meg McKinlay and Nathaniel Eckstrom.

May 18, 2018 Comments off

duckDUCK by Meg McKinlay and Nathaniel Eckstrom. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

On a lazy Kansas summer afternoon Duck comes running over the hill yelling DUCK.

Pig, horse, cow and sheep misunderstand. They think that Duck thinks that they too are ducks. They all fob Duck off with answers that make it quite clear to Duck that they are nothing like a duck.

It is Kansas when all said and done and Dorothy Gale would have known what Duck meant. See if you can pick what is going to happen?

Duck understands that he yelled the wrong word.

The illustrations are great. Horse looks suitably long faced, cow looks bemused, sheep is suitably arrogant and pig is reconciled for what may happen while enjoying his mucky environment. Duck is full of concern, the caring little soul.

A good laugh and read-aloud for juniors. Adults will see the bigger picture although some may not.

Hannibal. The camel who longed to be special by Pauline Marshall. illus. Candice Haare-Smith.

February 1, 2018 Comments off

hannibalHannibal. The camel who longed to be special by Pauline Marshall. illus. Candice Haare-Smith. Pub. 2018

Good manners dictate that one eats with ones mouth closed. Hannibal the camel doesn’t do this, no camel does. Their flubbery lips flap, their jaws swing and whatever they are eating sprays around like a sandstorm. That’s what being a camel is all about.

Hannibal is not happy with this and he wants to impress the lovely Cleo. He consults a number of others including Dugg the dung beetle, Oz the ostrich and human beings. He just makes himself look silly but he has a lot of fun doing it.

Then he discovers something about Cleo that changes everything. Read it and see what it is.

First time illustrator Candice Haare-Smith does a splendid job with acrylic and watercolour illustrations that capture the camels image and manner. The eyes are particularly important because through the eyes you can see the soul.

Lovely story about identity and individuality for juniors either to read alone or for an adult to read aloud.

Purchase on Amazon.

What Makes me a Me? by Ben Faulks & David Tazzyman.

October 4, 2017 Comments off

what makes me meWhat Makes me a Me? by Ben Faulks & David Tazzyman. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

This is a picture book about identity. We all wonder who we are and our place in the World but for the little boy in this book,its a puzzle.

Is he slow like a snail, or like Alfie Wilkes next door who roars like a dinosaur and draws on the wall. Is he like a fast car, a tree or a computer you can turn off and on? Perhaps he is like his dad and mum–son I think your on to something.

Ben Faulks rhyming text tells a good easy to read story and shows the boys willingness  to question everything and David Tazzyman’s illustrations compliment the text perfectly and show the boy’s identity. His woolly hat and John Lennon glasses. Eventually he comes  to the conclusion that what makes me is ME.

Good stuff.

Categories: Junior Fiction, Picture book Tags:

The Wonderling by Mira Bartok.

September 11, 2017 Comments off

WonderlingThe Wonderling by Mira Bartok. Pub. Walker books, 2017.

Every now and then  there is published a book that raises the bar in Children and Young adult literature. This is such a book.

There is nothing new in  characters going through total misery in their quest to find out who they are or in the fact that the strong will dominate the weak. What is unique about this novel is in the superb way in which the story is told and in the richness of the language used.

The character who we learn later as the Wonderling was not always called this. He was abandoned at a young age with the number 13 on a metal disc around his neck which becomes his first name. He is a fox like creature with one ear and only 3 feet tall who is put in The Home for abandoned creatures run by a Dahlesque character Miss Clementine Carbunkle who feels hard done by.

The Home is a Dickensian type establishment where ill treatment of inmates is a daily occurrence. Number 13 barely survives until he saves a kiwi type bird creature named Trinket who masterminds his escape into the wild world to find out his identity.

His task is fraught with danger as he makes his way to Lumentown where danger lurks in every corner. He is driven by a love of music and knows that in music there is the answer to where he comes from. He is determined even when he is forced to hide in the underground city of Gloomintown from which there is no escape. See how he gets on.

Superbly written in three parts with maps and excellent sketches of all the characters. You will feel every emotion as you read this novel, you cannot help but become involved.

For fantasy/adventure readers from primary through to secondary. You will love it.

What Not to do if you turn Invisible by Ross Welford.

February 21, 2017 Comments off

turn-invisibleWhat Not to do if you turn Invisible by Ross Welford. Pub. HarperCollins, 2017.

One of the funniest and most interesting children’s novels I have read for some time. It is for pre – teens and teens and once you start you will not put it down.

Thirteen year old Ethel lives in the North of England with her Gram. Her mother died when she was three and her father left in mysterious circumstances and Gram has never talked to her about it. Ethel is going to find out who and what they were in bizarre circumstances that involve trying to find a cure for her facial acne.

The combination of an on-line purchase of a Chinese remedy and a sunbed cause Ethel to become invisible. She is however only invisible when naked. She panics of course and has various absurd situations that will crack you up.

Then on a visit to her 100 year old great grandmother the old dear calls her Tiger Pussy. Who or what is Tiger Pussy? Well you are going to find out if you read the book.The mystery deepens with the visit of a man who smells of cigarettes and the discovery of a tin box with newspaper articles about an Amy Winehouse type pop singer called Felina. This will rattle Ethel’s cage at a time when her invisibility is causing problems.

Brilliantly written in three parts with 96 short chapters, this novel goes along at a rate of knots that will thrill you. There are sub plots involving bullying from twin brother and sister Jarrow and Jesmond Knight that will make you angry and gleeful at the same time. Ethel’s friend Boydy a cockney living in geordie country is a revelation, but the character of the book is Gram who is full of old fashioned wisdom and says things like “it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”

A very satisfying read.

AniMalcolm by David Baddiel.

November 15, 2016 Comments off

animalcolmAniMalcolm by David Baddiel. Pub HarperCollins, 2016.

This quirky novel about identity for primary and intermediate students is absurdly clever. It combines the poo bum weez humour of writers like Paul Jennings and Andy Griffith but adds a satirical dimension that will make older readers smile too.

Malcolm lives in a home loaded with animals but he cares nothing for them and doesn’t know why. Everybody else in his family loves animals why not him? Was it the fact that the chimpanzees threw poo over him when he visited the zoo, or something else?

Malcolm goes to visit Orwell Farm with his class and encounters a goat with big eyes named  K-Pax. He stares into the eyes of the guru like goat, falls asleep and when he wakes he is a turtle lying on his back. Horrors.

In turn he changes into a cat, then a sheep and other animals before becoming a pigeon. He learns that every time he goes to sleep he wakes up as the last animal he saw.

How will he become a human again.? What will he learn about being an animal? Read it and find out.

Simple to read, clever illustrations and lots of laughs.