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Posts Tagged ‘Identity’

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.

 

Lullaby by Bernard Beckett

June 20, 2016 Comments off

lullabyLullaby by Bernard Beckett. Pub. Text Publishing Melbourne, 2016.

I was having a lull with my reading but this latest novel from Bernard Beckett has whipped me back into shape. I am so glad that he is back and with a novel that will make you think.

Rene and Theo are identical twins. They sometimes swapped places although both have distinct characters. Rene is more academic and sensitive, Theo is confident brash and popular.

Their parents were killed in bizarre circumstances when they were 7 or 8 and they were brought up by a Mrs Struthers. The twins were close but things became divisive when they hit their teens and girls came on the scene. Harriet and Emily. Both boys were attracted to these girls but Theo had the style and confidence to strike.

When Theo has an accident that renders him brain dead, Rene is interviewed by a psychologist, Maggie, to see if he can make an “informed consent” as to whether a ground breaking surgical procedure can take place in which Rene’s thought patterns and memories will be transferred into Theo’s dead brain.

The interview of Rene is stunning and revealing. Dr Huxley is to conduct the brave new world operation and urges Maggie and Rene to come to a quick decision but it is Emily that delivers the critical statement. To Rene she says “if you do this, who will be there for me to love”?

Read it and find the stunning answer. And…. does Rene want his brother back as  a replica of himself and is he capable psychologically of making this decision?

High school, young adult and adult readers will find this novel fulfilling

They Call me Alexandra Gastone by T.A. Maclagan

December 16, 2015 Comments off

alexandra StoneThey Call me Alexandra Gastone by T.A. Maclagan. Pub. Full Fathom Five Digital, 2015.

Milena ws born in the country of Olissa on the borders of Soviet Union, Turkey and Iran. When she was 7 years old she was taken from her family for a purpose and put under the wing of the cruel and ruthless Mistress at a spy organisation known as Perun.

At age 11 she underwent cosmetic surgery to look like Alexandra Gastone  the person whose life she was going to assume, after years of training to become her. She made friends with Varos a boy 7 years older than her and who was to become her Handler in America.

At age 18 years and a high school student in America with a boy friend who she keeps “close yet far”, living with an adoring grandfather, Albert, who loves her dearly, she is called to do the sleeper role she was assigned to do for Olissa  and the Perun.

This is an excellent spy book that would make a great movie. T.A. Maclagan keeps the intrigue going till the last page with more twists and turns than a politician’s speech. Superbly constructed story in a high stakes game.

The heart of the story is based around the theme of being who you are. Milena cannot be herself and she cannot be Alexandra either. Her aspirations and manners are always fake. Detection is unthinkable. But does she really know what is going on and who can she trust? Who knows what is really going on? Is she a spy? A granddaughter? A girlfriend? A liar? A traitor? Read it and find out. There is a bit of romance in there as well and it is hot stuff.

In 25 years of reading Y.A. novels I have never read a spy novel. This is as good as Le Carre. If you miss this you will kick yourself.

Muddle & Mo by Nikki Slade Robinson.

March 9, 2015 Comments off

muddle & MoMuddle & Mo by Nikki Slade Robinson.. Pub. Duck Creek Press, 2015.

Muddle thinks that Mo is a funny looking duck and Muddle is right because Mo is a goat. Goats do not look anything like ducks, well not in my experience at least but who knows what sort of slant Picasso could put on it.

Muddle decides that Mo is a funny colour for a duck, his beak is too hairy, he doesn’t eat worms among other things but worst of all his poos are too hard. It doesn’t look good for Mo.

Then Muddle sees a Goat Farm and realises Mo is not a duck but a goat. Mo of course already knows this but is Muddle a goat? Read it and find out. Very good ending.

Delightful picture book with a very expressive duck and a goat. Written text is minimal and right on the nail. Has great child appeal especially with the” hard poos”. My granddaughters wanted to have it read again and they are hard taskmasters.

Categories: Picture book Tags: