08/12/2017 05:12 AM


Scroll this list to select from our recommendations. 

Come in or click through to browse our full selection, or ask us for our recommendations for your specific needs. 

The Book of Bones by Gabrielle Balkan and Sam Brewster       $35
Have a look at the skeletons. Can you work out which animal they belong to, and where the animal lives? Why do these animals have the skeletons they do? Full colour images with textured skeletons give an idea how the animal operates in its natural habitat. 
>> Dry bones

Do Not Lick This Book (It's full of germs) by Idan Ben-Barak and Julain Frost      $23
Min is a microbe. She is small. Very small. In fact so small that you'd need to look through a microscope to see her. Or you can simply open this book and take Min on an adventure to amazing places she's never seen before - like the icy glaciers of your tooth or the twisted, tangled jungle that is your shirt.

Aotearoa: The New Zealand story by Gavin Bishop      $40
A breathtakingly wonderful large-format visual history of New Zealand, drawn by the inimitable Gavin Bishop. One of the outstanding New Zealand books of the year. 

Wild Animals of the South by Dieter Braun       $45
A beautiful and colourful menagerie of animals living in the southern hemisphere, a companion to Wild Animals of the North

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano          $35
A graphic novel about a refugee boy's journey of hope and desperation. 

Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland, illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love         $37
Excellent retellings, with excellent illustrations. Crossley-Holland's versions are both enjoyable and scrupulous to the sources. 
"Kevin Crossley-Holland is the master." - Neil Gaiman

Mad About Monkeys by Owen Davies       $30
From the smallest Pygmy Marmoset to the largest Mandrill, this book provides all the facts you wanted to know (and more). 

Anatomy: A cutaway look inside the human body by Helene Druvert and Jean-Claude Druvert       $45
Here's the human body as you've never seen it before. Clever laser cut-outs, flaps and overlays explore every detail of the organs, systems and senses. 

Good-Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 tales of extraordinary women by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo     $40
100 one-page biographies of inspiring women from all times and all places, each with a wonderful full-page illustration by one of 60 artists (who just happen to all be women), including New Zealander Sarah Wilkins.
>> Watch this!

General Relativity for Babies by Chris Ferrie        $19
A clear and helpful board book. 

Egyptomania by Emma Giuliani and Carole Saturno       $45
How are mummies made? What's inside a pyramid? A beautifully drawn large-format lift-the-flap book, introducing the world of Ancient Egypt. 

If Apples Had Teeth by Milton and Shirley Glaser        $30
This silly, inventive picture book by the outstanding graphic designer of the protopsychedelic era will make your brain turn somersaults. Facsimile of the original 1960 edition. 

Follow Finn: A search-and-find maze book by Peter Goes       $30
A beautifully drawn and delightfully immersive maze boo with lots to find and an exciting plot. When goblins invade and then flee the house, Finn's dog gives chase - and so must Finn. Hours of fun. 

Women in Sports: 50 fearless athletes who played to win by Rachel  Ignotofsky        $35
A lively, beautifully illustrated survey.
"Rachel Ignotofsky provides young women with the courage and the confidence to follow the exciting paths these women have blazed before them." - Eileen Pollack
>> Also available: Women in Science
Here We Are: Notes for living on planet earth by Oliver Jeffers         $30
"Well, hello. And welcome to this Planet. We call it Earth. Our world can be a bewildering place, especially if you've only just got here. Your head will be filled with questions, so let's explore what makes our planet and how we live on it. From land and sky, to people and time, these notes can be your guide and start you on your journey. And you'll figure lots of things out for yourself. Just remember to leave notes for everyone else. Some things about our planet are pretty complicated, but things can be simple, too: you've just got to be kind."

Mixed-Up Masterpieces: Funny faces       $23
Split pages let you make a vast number of different faces from images from the British Museum collection (and have a vast amount of fun). 
A Sea Voyage: A pop-up story about all sorts of boats by Gerard Lo Monaco     $35
Two people and a dog sail out amongst ships of all kinds in this inventive pop-up book. There are even life-rings and mooring ropes. A lovely book. 

Today by Julie Morstad           $28
What should we do today? Where should we go? What should we wear? What should we eat? A beautifully illustrated book (with choices!) about all the options we have available to us every day. 
>> "Maybe I'll read my favourite book. Can you guess what it's about?"

Dinosaurium by Lily Murray and Chris Wormell       $42
A beautifully illustrated large-format book from the wonderful 'Welcome to the Museum' series. The latest facts with a retro feel. 

Cloth Lullaby: The woven life of Louise Bourgeois by Amy Novesky and Isabelle Arsenault        $35

A beautifully illustrated children’s book outlining Bourgeois' early connection with textiles via her family’s work as tapestry restorers for generations in France, her early connection with nature, and her path to becoming an artist. While studying mathematics in Paris, Louise’s mother dies and Louise abandons her studies and begins her work as a painter and sculptor -  a homage to her mother.  

Illumanatomy by Silvia Quintanilla, Francesco Rugiand and Kate Davies        $40
Wonderful large-format illustrations of the wonders of the human body. See 3 images at once, or use the filters to untangle them.

Animals of a Bygone Era: An illustrated compendium by Maja Säfström         $30
Animals that no longer exist are just as fascinating as animals that still do. This beautifully illustrated book introduces us to some you'll know and some you won't, and describes many of their surprising quirks. 
A companion volume to Amazing Animal Facts

Botanicum by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis        $42
An absolutely stunningly beautiful large-format illustrated guide to the wonders and variety of the plant world. Seldom do we use so many adjectives to describe a book. Part of the 'Welcome to the Museum' series. 

Pantheon: The true story of the Egyptian deities by Hamish Steele      $30
Horus, son of Isis, vows bloody revenge on his Uncle Set for the murder and usurpation of his Pharaoh father. A huge amount of fun packed into one graphic novel. 
>> Before he colored it in

Marco Polo: Dangers and visions by Marco Tabilio       $28
An exquisite graphic novel account of the explorations and inner life of the Venetian merchant who travelled through Asia as far as Chine in the thirteenth century. 
>> Have a look at Tabilio's website

The Egg by Britta Teckentrup           $34
A beautifully illustrated survey of birds in nests and in art and mythology. 

Explore! Aotearoa by Bronwen Wall       $30
Kupe! Thomas Brunner! Freda du Faur! Kieran McKay! Kelly Tarlton! Other people!

The Big Book of Bugs and The Big Book of Beasts by Yuval Zommer     
Giant, splendidly illustrated, satisfyingly fact-filled books in the same series as The Book of Bees!

18/11/2017 06:45 AM

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge    {Reviewed by STELLA}
A Skinful of Shadows is an immensely compelling novel for children and adults alike. Like Philip PullmanFrances Hardinge creates wonderful characters, intriguing plots, and ideas that will stay with you long after you shut the covers. In 2015, she won Costa Book of Year in 2015 with The Lie Tree, an intriguing tale of truth, science and faith set in the Victorian era on a remote island (his is now available in a deluxe edition with illustrations by Chris Riddell). A Skinful of Shadows is set in England in the 1640s, the Civil War is brewing, Puritans and Catholics are at loggerheads, and so is the King and parliament. In a small village called Popular, Makepeace lives with her mother. Making a piecemeal living from lace-making and odd jobs, they live in a small barren room in the home of her aunt and uncle, barely accepted by them or the village. When her mother dies, Makepeace is sent to the home of the aristocratic Fellmotte family, where she becomes a kitchen skivvy. Makepeace, an illegitimate child, has the Fellmotte gene, one that enables them to possess ghosts. The Fellmottes have dangerous and dark plans for her - ones that will consume her in their obsession to preserve the family line, the Fellmotte power and property. Not everyone is an enemy, though, and she makes plans with her half-brother James to escape Grizehayes. After many failed attempts, the chaos of the Civil War gives them the perfect opportunity to escape. When James lets her down, Makepeace finds herself in an even more precarious situation, but with the help of a bear and her overwhelming desire to survive she begins a journey across England to find a document worth more than gold, a document that will grant her freedom from the Fellmotte family and ensure their fall from grace. Like all good mysteries, there are plenty of turns and forks on the road, and those that help and those that hinder. Yet the more intriguing elements are those that involve the ghosts or the souls that are possess, some of which are malevolent, others helpful. Makepeace is an excellent heroine and her relationship with Bear is endearing. A story about power, possession and purpose, it’s on my list of excellent children’s books of 2017.

11/11/2017 06:55 AM

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend   {Reviewed by STELLA}
Nevermoor is the word that’s been on everyone’s lips over the last few months. Australian author Jessica Townsend's children’s book was pitched by her agent at last year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, where it created an eight-publisher bidding frenzy, with Hachette finally winning. The book has been sold into 25 territories and film rights have been sold to 20th Century Fox. So this is a big deal for a debut author. Comparisons, unsurprisingly, have been made with Harry Potter, and the first book in the series was recently released to much fanfare. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crowintroduces us to our plucky heroine, the cursed child Morrigan Crow, and a new fantastical world of magic, both bright and dark, colourful characters (some untrustworthy), exclusive societies that only the bravest and most talented qualify for, talented children (friends and foes), magical beasts, and much more! With the opening chapter letting you know that the main character is about to die, who could resist reading on? Morrigan Crow is due to die before her eleventh birthday, cursed from the day she was born. She is feared and ostracised - her family can’t wait to be normal - she is the agent of disasters, big and small. When Eventide begins earlier than anticipated, Morrigan knows her days are numbered. On a whim, she attends (much to her Mayoral father’s annoyance) Bid Day, a ceremony where apprentices are chosen for elite schools. When Morrigan’s name is called out for a scholarship, not once but several times (unheard of!), no one is more surprised than her. Uproar ensues. How can this cursed child be chosen? With the countdown on, the coffin ordered, the last meal ready to be eaten, Morrigan will never be an apprentice. As she sits for the last time in her family home, something quite extraordinary happens! Jupiter North of the Wunderous Society has come to collect her. And so the adventures begin. Plenty of tricks, tumbles, twists and trials. Captivating, magical, daring and very good.

04/11/2017 07:34 AM

The Wonderling by Mira Bartók  {Reviewed by STELLA}
A woebegone creature without a name, referred to as Puddlehead, Plonker or Groundling but known as Number 13, has grown up in a horrible orphanage run by the bitter and nasty Miss Carbunkle. The Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures is not a place you would want to call home. Groundlings, creatures of all kinds, some part human, part creature, live a miserable existence which consists of school, where they are reminded that their sole purpose is "to toil and suffer in silence", and work in the factory - a factory where Miss Carbunkle is up to some kind of no good. The Wonderling, as he will be known later, is a shy, gentle fellow, part fox, part dog, part human, with one ear, who stutters and tries to remain unnoticed. One day he sees a group of bullies tormenting a small creature and, despite his terror, steps in to rescue the bird-like Trinket. Trinket and the Wonderling become firm friends. Trinket, an enterprising and mechanically minded young bird, gives the foxy groundling his first name, Arthur. She's determined to escape the orphanage - no easy task with its fortifications, boarded-up gates, mastiffs pulling on their chains, and sneaks among the orphans willing to relay information to the nasty Carbunkle or the snivelling Mr Sneezeweed. Escaping the orphanage will be just the first in the adventures for the pair. After a chaotic yet successful escape, Trinket and Arthur find themselves on the road, heading towards the city of Lumentown. Trinket must first go to the sea to track down her Uncle, while Arthur, with an address, a scrap of blue blanket and a gold key, heads towards the town alone. He makes friends and enemies on the way and falls into the path of the charming, not altogether trustworthy Quintus, who helps him to learn a trade. Arthur’s attempts to find his family or find out who he is become more and more distant, and when he's captured and sent under to a filthy and grim world to work in the mine it seems like it's the end of the line. Will he ever find Tintagel Road, see his friend Trinket again or find out who he really is? Running alongside Arthur’s story is the mystery of Miss Carbunkle. Why is she so nasty and what is she up to in her factory? Why does she wear those ridiculous red wigs and who is her twin sister? There is plenty of adventure and magic in this fantastical world, with nods to Dickens and elements of steampunk. Add in a map, adorable illustrations and compelling writing all packaged in a divine hardback, Mira Bartok’s The Wonderling: Songcatcher is a wonder. The next in the series will be called The Singing Tree.

04/11/2017 07:33 AM

The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen   {Reviewed by STELLA}
The new picture book from the award-winning duo of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen is a charmer. I was drawn in by the cover, a wolf between the trees, his two eyes naively drawn on one side of his head. Look a bit closer and you spot the duck and the mouse. The colour palette, sombre blacks, greys and ochres with the occasional lively accent, is classic Klassen. The drawings, with their collage-like characteristics, are atmospheric and playful, and Klassen is adept in capturing the protagonists, giving the story those extra layers of quirkiness. And his style is perfect for this story, a fable-like tale, which starts with misadventure yet becomes a delightful reflection on collaboration, complete with humour. A mouse is travelling through the forest when he meets a wolf and, alas, he is eaten. The wolf, fortunately, swallows this small morsel whole, and just when the poor mouse dreads this is the end, he hears a noise coming from within the belly. A duck is happily ensconced in the belly-home of the wolf, enjoying a very safe and civilised life, yet sometimes giving the poor wolf a guts ache. The duck, a clever fellow, helpfully calls up suggestions for a cure and the companions are well catered-for, including celebratory wine on occasion. All goes along well enough until the hunter comes a-calling…. Delightfully told and wonderfully illustrated with just the right balance of wit and tension, this will be a picture book to enjoy multiple times.

28/10/2017 08:52 AM

Our Book of the Week this week is La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman, the first book of 'The Book of Dust', the eagerly awaited new series set in the same universe as 'His Dark Materials'. 

>> Read Stella's review below.

>> Two other books from Lyra's world: Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North

>> Daemon Voices (Pullman on storytelling).

>> La Belle Sauvage is also available in hardback. 

>> "The philosophical underpinning of this book is deeply concerned with how authoritarian regimes take power."

>> Pullman: "'The Book of Dust' is about Dust. ... 'The Book of Dust' is not a sequel or a prequel but an equel."

>> 5 minutes with Philip Pullman

>> The Golden Compass film was based on Northern Lights. 

>> On Dust

>> He's already finished writing the sequel! 

>> Some other books by Pullman

Review by STELLA: 
The first in 'The Book of Dust' trilogy is a triumph. I sat down and read it in one sitting and there was no way anything was going to interrupt me (you have been warned!). It’s been almost 20 years since The Amber Spyglass, the third book in 'His Dark Materials' series, and leaving the world of Lyra was difficult for many. La Belle Sauvage is set 10 years before Northern Lights, Lyra is a baby in the care of the nuns at Godstow near Oxford. We are back in the world of daemons, the struggle between the religious order and scientific learning, and the mysterious questions about Dust. The Magisterium’s power is growing in Brytain and there is an increasing sense of unease in the populace. Here we meet Malcolm, an eleven-year-old boy - curious, inventive and good. He helps out at his parent’s pub, clearing glasses and scrubbing pots, he lends a hand to the nuns across the river and it is here he comes across Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon. While 'His Dark Materials' references Milton’s Paradise Lost, this series belongs to Spenser’s Faerie Queen, with touches of the Biblical Great Flood and Gothic storytelling. It feels like all the questions you still had as a reader after completing the previous trilogy are now going to be visited again, amplified - and maybe some answers might be forthcoming. While many of the characters are familiar, we learn more about them and their ambitions. Lyra’s mother, Mrs Coulter, is ever more daunting and compelling and Lord Asriel, her father, maddening and heroic. We are introduced to the fledgling secret organisation formed to resist the fascist and fanatical power-keepers, and the wonderful Hannah Reif, a reader of the wonderful Alethiometer, as well as the strange and dangerously obsessive former scientist who haunts Malcolm. Malcolm is drawn into a world which becomes increasingly dangerous and complex, and his loyalty toward the child is undaunting. As tensions rise, so do the rivers. It rains and rains, and Malcolm, tipped off by a Gyptian, readies his boat, the beautiful canoe, La Belle Sauvage, keeping an eye on the welfare of the child, Lyra. He rescues her as the walls of the nunnery collapse, and, along with the tough and mealy-mouthed Alice, who works at the pub, they start a journey down the Thames, across a flooded Brytain, in swift and dangerous currents. It’s a perilous journey physically, emotionally and mentally, stretching the youths to the edges of their capabilities. Pullman pulls no punches with La Belle Sauvage, with its allegorical layers and deliberations on science, religion and the psyche. It's dark, compelling and incredibly intriguing. Complex, intelligent writing for children, teens and adults alike. 

14/10/2017 11:24 AM

The Empty Grave ('Lockwood & Co' #5) by Jonathan Stroud   {Reviewed by STELLA}
If you are a reader of the 'Lockwood' series, you will understand the excitement and also the apprehension of reading The Empty Grave. Excitement because it is the fifth in the series and there is so much to find out. What were they up to on the Other Side? Why is ‘the problem’ getting worse? Will Lockwood, Lucy and George survive finding out? And who is Penelope Fittes, and what is she up to? And apprehension, because it’s the final 'Lockwood' book! And it's so good! If you haven’t read any of this series, it’s time to start with the Screaming Staircase immediately. The Empty Grave opens with our intrepid heroes in the final resting place of Marissa Fittes, the famous and supposedly dead ghost hunter. Unsurprisingly, a jaunt into the crypt doesn’t go exactly to plan, and things just get more dangerous from there on in. As the forces that police the ghost-hunting agents become more draconian in an attempt to stifle the truth, Lockwood & Co. become increasingly curious and determined to find out what is going on. The Fittes agency is on the offensive, the Orpheus Society more secretive, and someone wants Lockwood, Lucy and George eradicated. Whose empty grave awaits, and will this be the end of the road for our young agents? There are plenty of twists and turns in this last action-packed book, and also answers, some that may surprise you! Always a tricky thing, a final book to a wonderful series, but Jonathan Stroud expertly pulls it off. It has the classic intrigue, deceptions and scariness of the first four, as well as all the failings of our human team, their commitment to truth, and their determination to overcome the evil misdoings of others who are obsessed with the ghosts, the dangerous pull of the Other Side and the desire to manipulate life and death. Thrilling, frightening and altogether brilliant. 

26/08/2017 11:19 AM

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell     {Reviewed by STELLA}
When the Queen Mary, a Victorian liner, sinks, a baby with hair the colour of lightning is found inside a cello case floating on the English Channel. She is discovered by eccentric scholar Charles Maxim, who names her Sophie and takes her into his home, much against the advice of the authorities. While Sophie sometimes eats off an atlas or writes her sums on the wallpaper, she is surrounded by music, words, and love. When the inspectors come, despite the best efforts of Charles and Sophie to tidy and clean the house and make themselves presentable, the authorities conclude that now that she is thirteen Maxim is not a suitable guardian, and Sophie is to be moved to an orphanage where she will be taught to be a proper young lady. In a fit of fury, Sophie destroys the cello case that saved her life, only to find a clue, and away they head over the channel to Paris. On the run from the authorities, Charles and Sophie are mother-hunting. Sophie is convinced her mother survived the sinking of the ship and she’s determined to take risks to find her. Risks that involve a strange boy, Matteo, and a band of wayward children who live above the streets of Paris on rooftops or in treetops, eking out a precarious existence - one that is preferable to the orphanage or workhouse. Can Sophie trust these unusual, secretive children? Will she be courageous enough to face physical danger and determined enough to believe in herself? Katherine Rundell creates magic with her cast of characters and description of place. Sophie is a wild child and determined young woman you warm to immediately: stubborn, intelligent, brave and vulnerable. Matteo is a perfect companion: resourceful, secretive and daring. Charles is an adult who brings the rules, lives by the heart and is loyal to the core. Rundell is an exquisite writer, her pace is spot on, the plot inventive and her language witty. You will find it hard to leave Sophie behind when you close the final page of this adventurous and warm-hearted novel. Fortunately,Rundell has several other titles to her name, the latest has just arrived -The Explorer

26/08/2017 10:09 AM

Letters from a Lost Uncle by Mervyn Peake  {Reviewed by THOMAS}
“You will understand, unless you are very stupid, how exciting it is after so many years spent in searching for the White Lion, to feel so close to him.” The characters of Peake’s fictions, finding conventional society too narrow to contain them, turn their backs upon all that is familiar, traditional and expected of them and choose the path of loneliness that is the only alternative, monopraxis establishing no maps to variance, to learn that the path of loneliness is one to be beaten for oneself. Where there is no route forward a route must be made forward, and to carry on is to carry on with no companion but perhaps an oddity not of the same order of being as oneself. This is a melancholy path but it would be gritless to despair for to despair is the intended fate of all who turn their backs on lit windows and dining tables. One such wanderer, a “lost uncle”, though to whom he is lost is unclear, finds himself, one-legged but with a useful spike to complete his complement of limbs, more suited to the hazards and loneliness of arctic wastes than he is to human company, and travels north in search of the White Lion, whose image he has seen on a stamp. The longing of the Peakesean wayfarer draws him to the cold far edges of the mind, where snow may be swept by wind into a vast column, clearing the underlying ice so that the monsters that swim beneath may grin up as he passes. He has only a mutant turtle-dog named Jackson for company and to carry his gear. And the lion? Single-mindedness such as the uncle’s cannot fail, but the prize is bound to disappoint, the White Lion to be vast but old and on the point of death, the animals of the North all gathered for its farewell. And out of such loneliness, from this nowhere to which such uncles belong, from these experiences from beyond the usual ambit of experience, why these letters posted back to an undifferentiated nephew, these, in this case, distinctive pencil drawings with typewritten scraps of text pasted on? Does the letter, the book, the artefact, the text perform an inward urgency, tethering the sojourner to a sanity from which they might otherwise be distant? Or is there a magnanimity in production when to not produce would be less draining: does a writer imagine that the world might somehow be better (or worse) for their imposing their words upon others or upon at least the possibility of others? The task of an explorer is to explore. Is there any quest that does not leave a trace?

14/08/2017 08:47 AM

The winners of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults have just been announced!

2017 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year: SNARK by David Elliot
Copyright Licensing NZ Young Adult Fiction Award: The Severed Land by Maurice Gee

Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction: My New Zealand Story: Bastion Point by Tania Roxborogh

Elsie Locke Award for Non Fiction: Jack and Charlie, Boys of the Bush by Jack Marcotte

Picture Book Award: That's Not A Hippopotamus! by Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis

Te Kura Pounamu Award: Te Kaihanga Māpere by Sacha Cotter, translated by Kawata Teepa, illustrated by Josh Morgan

Russell Clark Illustration Award: Snark by David Elliot

Best First Book Award: The Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain by Julie Lamb

12/08/2017 11:34 AM

 {The 'Lockwood & Co.' series, reviewed by STELLA}
I started reading Jonathan Stroud’s 'Bartimaeus Trilogy' when I should have been reading something else this week! (I’m blaming this in my son’s exclamation “I can’t believe you haven’t read this yet. You have to.”) - a hazard when there are so many excellent books to read and always new titles arriving on my pile. Reading Stroud took me right back to my first encounter with his writing for children and teens, The Screaming Staircase, the first in the 'Lockwood & Co.' series. For fifty years, London has been haunted by ghosts, and the only people how can quell these beings are young, talented agents. There are several Psychic Investigations Agencies, but none are quite like Lockwood & Co. For a start they are a small team of three, they don’t have an adult ruling the roost and they do have a reputation for getting into quite a fix every once and so often. They are also extremely good at their job: Lockwood himself is brave, unflappable (you could definitely say he enjoys danger - maybe too much!) and highly skilled; George is the brains of the organisation - the one who will delve into the puzzles behind the ghostly problems finding the key that may quite often save their lives; and Lucy is smart, brave, and has an unwavering ability to tune into ghosts, especially the disaffected and trickiest ones. All in all, it’s dangerous, scary and filled with wonderful details and excellent characters. As the series continues the world of Lockwood & Co. becomes increasingly complex, the ghosts more malign, the apparitions more startling and the machinations and jealousies of the agencies increasingly mysterious. With titles like The Screaming Staircase,The Whispering SkullThe Hollow Boy and The Creeping Shadow, these are not for the faint-hearted. Yet Stroud isn’t all about scares; he uses humour excellently and draws out the relationship between our three heroes with pithy dialogue and the epic values of loyalty, courage and compassion. The fifth and final book, The Empty Grave, is due in September!

29/07/2017 12:21 PM

Book-related games and activities that are enjoyable ways to introduce children to concepts and story telling structures. A favourite at VOLUME isStory Box. The box contains 20 double-sided puzzle pieces that can be arranged (and re-arranged) to make wordless fairy tales. The illustrations are playful and clever allowing for different interpretations depending on the nieghbouring cards. An array of characters from gnomes and brave children to kings, witches (who may or may not be friendly) and wolves, against backdrops of farms, forests and mountains where people live in humble homes, majestic castles and forest trees give children an endless array of possible stories. My favourite cards include the wolf flavouring the tied-down gnome with salt and pepper, the strange giant pink rabbit who is busily nibbling away at the palace, the princess on her moped in the night-time forest, and gnomes lamenting some catastrophe, their boxes of tissues well in use. Sturdy, and with plenty of story-telling possibilities: ideal for 3-to-6-year-olds.                                       {STELLA}

Animals at Home is a matching card game for young children. 27 animals nee to find their homes. This great for small children - they are introduced to a variety of animals, some of which will be familiar (horse, bee, mouse), others perhaps new to them (beaver, platypus, mole). All the cards remain face up and the matching begins. Where does the beaver live? Who goes home to the cave? The illustrations are bright and clear and the text is restricted to nouns. There are clues in the colour backgrounds - you're right when the background colour matches. To make the game a little more challenging it can be a matching memory game with all the cards turned face down. Sturdy cardboard pieces are just the right size for little hands.

For children who love animals, Amazing Animal Facts is brilliant. This is produced in book form as well as a boxed file set. The box contains 50 postcards (25 different animal fact cards, so one of each can be posted) that can be coloured in and sent as postcards or kept as information file cards. The file box is segmented into five categories; Sea, Forest, Field, Jungle and Sky, with 5 different animals apiece. The Blue Whale fact card tells us that its heart is as big as a car and that it has a belly button, that the Sloth is so slow that it grows green algae on its fur, and that flies are deaf, poop every 5 minutes, and that a group of flies is called a business. Wonderfully designed, with intriguing facts perfect for young enquiring minds (and plenty for adults to learn too)!                   {STELLA}

15/07/2017 08:36 AM


Philip Pullman’s latest book is The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship, a graphic novel illustrated by Fred Fordham. Serena is sailing around the world with her family when a storm picks up and she is swept overboard. She’s rescued by the daring John Blake and finds herself on the mysterious ghost ship, the Mary Alice. Crewed by an assortment of sailors from different eras, souls rescued by the ship, they include a Roman engineer from 210, a slave of the Barbary pirates picked up in 1614, and Blake from an experimental expedition in 1939. And if adventures at sea and time travel aren’t enough there’s a present day villain, a wealthy tech mogul, who is out to find the Mary Alice and John Blake. What does Blake have that could be so important to a man who controls communications via his best-selling device, the Apparaptor? And he’s not the only person chasing the Mary Alice, awaiting sightings and news of a ship appearing in a strange fog and disappearing just as suddenly. Serena gets caught up in this high-stakes chase through time and across the seas. Can she help Blake and the crew of the Mary Alice overcome pirates, armed thugs and the crazed behaviour of a megalomaniac, and will she get back to her family? The Adventures of John Blake is a superb story filled with an exciting plot, conspiracy and mystery. Fordham's illustrations are excellent - with both nostalgic and modern elements, they fit the time-travel concept perfectly. Layered with intriguing characters, who we just get a glimpse of in this book, I’m sure there will be more John Blake adventures to come.     {Reviewed by STELLA}
> Click herehere and here for some spreads. 

01/07/2017 01:10 PM

Zeustian Logic by Sabrina Malcolm    {Reviewed by STELLA}
If only real life could be like as magical as the stars in the night sky, as escapist as the stories of the Greek gods he tells his little brother to help him sleep at night, or as logical as a mathematical equation. Tuttle (Duncan) would rather look at stars, visit the Carter Observatory and play computer games with his mate, Attila the Pun, but life has other, more urgent things in train for our nerdy teen. Tuttle’s Dad, a once famous, now infamous, mountain climber has been missing, presumed dead in a storm on Mt. Everest, accused of leaving his paying customer to die on the mountain. Tuttle is determined to find out the truth, but more pressing still are his mother’s fall into depression, his younger brother’s anxiety, and how to make sure the family are fed, get to school on time and avoid all the hassles of the social worker and the persistent journalist. And Tuttle also has the aggravating presence of Boyd, the petrol head neighbour who drives him insane. Zeustian Logic is reminiscent, in style, of Kate De Goldi’s The 10pm Question, with its compelling main character, serious issues – in this case the death of a parent and the fallout this has for a family – mixed with humour and compassion, against a backdrop of the everyday ups and downs of being a young teen coping with secondary school and of attempting to find resolutions to sometimes impossible problems. The book is cleverly set a year on from the event that changes this family’s lives – the relations and friends have been supportive and cared for them but now everyone has got on with their lives while Tuttle and his mother and brother are still living in a limbo-land, one in which grief is still ever-present, where the pressures on this young man are reaching a breaking point. Sabrina Malcolm has written a brilliant book about a boy coping with the death of his father and the impact that grief has on a family. In this climate of chaos, sadness and anger, Malcolm avoids clichés and resolution to create an ultimately affecting story about recovery from trauma and how family are the anchor points in their own constellation.

21/06/2017 09:47 AM

The 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal for Outstanding Book for Children and Young People:
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
It's early 1945 and a group of people trek across Germany, bound together by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. Four young people, each haunted by their own dark secret, narrate their unforgettable stories. They converge in a desperate attempt to board an overcrowded ship in a Baltic port, which is tragically then sunk by a torpedo. Based on a true story, the incident was the worst maritime tragedy ever.
The 2017 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for Outstanding Book in Terms of Illustration:
There is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith
Lane Smith takes us on a colourful adventure through the natural world, following a child as he weaves through the jungle, dives under the ocean and soars into the sky. Along the way he makes friends and causes mischief with a dazzling array of creatures both large and small - but can he find a tribe of his own? Full of warmth and humour, There Is a Tribe of Kids is a playful exploration of wild childhood - of curiosity, discovery and what it means to belong.
The Amnesty CILIP Honours:
Carnegie: The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon
Greenaway: The Journey by Francesca Sanna

17/06/2017 12:55 PM

Gecko Press produce excellent books for younger readers, and they have a knack for finding those quirky tales that will make you smile and have children laughing, commiserating and cheering for their favourite story friends. An early chapter book series, with short chapters and plenty of pictures dotted throughout, is 'Detective Gordon', written by Ulf Nilsson and illustrated by Gitte Spee. The First Case introduces you to Detective Gordon, an old toad (he’s 19!) – the police chief of the forest. When Squirrel discovers that 204 of his 15,704 nuts have been stolen he is understandably upset and rushes through the forest to report the crime to the famous detective, insisting that his missing nuts must be found. Detective Gordon stands vigil at the scene of the crime, and, when a young mouse flits away with another nut, he makes to pursue her. Unfortunately, he’s frozen and stuck under a mound of snow. The young mouse digs him out, and then she is promptly taken to the police station, which is warm and snug, with a comfortable bed and plenty of cakes (Gordon has a penchant for a nice cup of tea and cake for every meal and between times too, and he sometimes (but don’t tell anyone) nods off). When the detective discovers the mouse has no name, no home and only stole the one nut due to extreme hunger, he takes pity on her, promptly names her Buffy and feeds and homes his new assistant. And then it's time to solve the crime! Squirrel’s becoming further agitated by his missing nuts and wants the criminals caught, but who is it? With snow falling and the tracks being covered, can the Chief and his new assistant catch the culprits? A lively and charming story with plenty of cake and lots of heart. There are three 'Detective Gordon' books, so far, to be enjoyed.



10/06/2017 01:06 PM

This week's BOOK OF THE WEEK is See You When I See You by Rose Lagercrantz and Eva Eriksson 
Dani is on a school trip to the zoo, and the teacher tells the children how to stay safe and not get lost. But Dani gets separated from the others. Suddenly another class is rushing up the path and at the back of the noisy crowd is someone she recognizes: Ella! The good friends are so happy to be together again and Ella wants to play. What should Dani do? Follow her best friend in the whole world or do as the teacher said? 

>> Read Stella's review

>> This is the fifth book about Dani and her friend Ella. Have you read the others? 

My Happy Life
Dani is probably the happiest person she knows. She's happy because she's going to start school. Dani has been waiting to go to school her whole life. Then things get even better  -  she meets Ella by the swings. After that, Dani and Ella do everything together. They stick together through wet and dry, sun and rain, thick and thin. But then something happens that Dani isn't prepared for.
My Heart is Laughing
Dani's been trying her best to stay happy ever since her best friend Ella moved away. But when some girls in Dani's class start being cruel to her, it starts a chain of rather unhappy events. It would all be okay if only Ella would move back.
When I am Happiest
It's the second-to-last day of school and Dani's so happy she could write a book about it! In fact, that's exactly what she's done, although it's not quite finished yet. Now the book is in her backpack with all the other things she has to take home before the summer break. But then Dani gets some bad news. How will she ever be happy again? 
Life According to Dani
Its Dani's first summer vacation and the best ever! She is staying on an island with Ella, her best friend in the world. Dad is still in hospital but he calls every day, and Ella and Dani stay busy building huts, fishing, exploring, and swimming. Then Dad turns up, but with his new girlfriend! This is not the visit anyone had imagined. 

>> Bouncing back!

>> Do you read Swedish?

10/06/2017 01:05 PM

See You When I See You by Rose Lagercrantz and Eva Eriksson  {Reviewed by STELLA}
Swedish duo, writer Rose Lagercrantz, who has a genius for telling a simple story well, for capturing the small yet significant moments in Dani’s world, and illustrator Eva Eriksson, with her delightful, evocative pen-and-ink drawings, bring us the fifth book in the 'Dani' series, a wonderful Gecko Press series about Dani, a young girl who will steal your heart and appeal to the younger children in your life. We first met Dani in the delightful My Happy Life, and since then we have walked alongside Dani as she has started school, made friends, found out about bullies, lost a friend, got into a few scrapes, been happy and sad, scared and worried. Now, in book five, Dani is well at home at school and she is off to the zoo for a class trip. The rules are clear, and if you get lost you must wait where you saw your class last. Well, Dani does get lost, but when a class from a different school runs by in an unruly manner, who should she see? Ella! Her best friend. And suddenly the dilemma, stay put or follow Ella? Of course, Ella has grand plans that involve them adventuring on their own, and headstrong Ella is difficult to resist. Dani is delightful, loyal to her friend, conscious of what she really should be doing, torn between the rules and what feels best. Alongside this innocent adventure, is another : Dani’s father, still recovering from an accident, is doing his best to get Dani to like Sadie, the new person in his life. Yet he’s not quite getting it right. And why is Ella so upset - why does she think their friendship is in danger? Can Dani make it better? The great thing about this series is the ability of the author to create a character like Dani who doesn’t always do the ‘right’ thing, but is always full of heart, with stories that children will relate to, focusing on their concerns and worries, while also creating a sense of joy and a little mischief. 

06/05/2017 07:32 AM

The Palace of Glass by Django Wexler  {Reviewed by STELLA}
The third in 'The Forbidden Library' series, The Palace of Glass is the best yet! Alice, having discovered Geryon’s role in the disappearance of her father, is determined to get the better of him, and put the wrongs to right. To do this she has to ask for Ending’s help. Ending, a giant talking cat, is the guardian of Geryon’s Library. Alice doesn’t know whether she can trust Ending, but she has little choice - Ending can help her discover new powers and give her the information she needs to overturn Geryon’s power. When Geryon is called away to a meeting with the other old Readers, Alice sees her chance to enter the world which will take her to the Palace of Glass. She enters a strange world of fire and ice, meets a fire sprite, Flicker, who will be her guide to the dangerous Palace of Glass, where she must find a portal book with a potent spell, a spell strong enough to capture Geryon. Alice will have to gather her magical creatures and her powers, and keep her wits about her as she battles her foes and her supposed allies. Who can she trust? And where will this confrontation take her? The 'Forbidden Library' series is a great adventure with a remarkable heroine. There’s much to think about here, with lessons about power and corruption, loyalty and trustworthiness, all wrapped up in a compelling story about a girl who wants to do the right thing by her fellow apprentices and by the amazing magical creatures who have been cajoled and trapped by the might of the Readers. 

29/04/2017 02:17 PM

We have had some excellent children’s illustrated non-fiction arrive recently. For those fascinated by outer space, there is a great new book from Martin Jenkins with excellent Stephen Biesty illustrations: Exploring Space: From Galileo to the Mars Rover and Beyond is informative and appealing. From Galileo's telescope and early astronomy to the birth of flight, the Space Race and life on the Space Shuttle, to what future space travel will look like, this book will spark the imagination and intrigue those that look towards the stars. The wonderful cross-section drawings of Biesty’s detailed illustrations add that magic touch. For those that would rather keep their feet on the ground, who are keen on the environment and nature, The Book of Bees! is a stunner. Author Piotr Socha is one of Poland’s most popular cartoonists. A graphic designer and illustrator, he is also the son of a beekeeper. The Book of Bees! is filled with excellent historical detail, delightful and informative facts about the humble, but ever necessary, bee; and all this is wrapped in wonderfully designed and illustrated package. A standout book that will delight children and adults alike. Also not to be missed for animal lovers: Dieter Braun's Wild Animals of the North and, available from June, Wild Animals of the South.
{Reviewed by STELLA}

24/04/2017 04:36 AM

Usually the wolves turn up in the second week of the school holidays. Here are a few books to help you cope. 
Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault       $30
When Vanessa's sister Virginia is feeling wolfish and frightens the visitors, Vanessa sets out to calm her. Will Vanessa's drawing skills and imagination do the trick? 

Wild Animals of the North by Dieter Braun      $45
A remarkably beautiful book, short-listed for the 2017 Kate Greenaway Medal
>> Just look at this!

(In case you were wondering, South will be available in June.)
The Wolves of Currumpaw by William Grill       $33
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a wolf, Old Lobo, the wolf that no one could capture. In 1893, a respected naturalist and hunter, Ernest Thompson Seton, left New York in a bid to rid the ranchers of Old Lobo and his pack. This wasn’t as easy as Seton thought it would be and after many failed attempts he noticed another wolf, the beautiful she-wolf Blanca, and this ultimately led to the capturing of Old Lobo. This is a beautifully told story with stunning illustrations, which also reflects on the impact of Seton’s hunt for Lobo, his regret at his success and his growing awareness of wild places and the animals that belong in them. 

I am the Wolf... and Here I Come! by Benedicte Guettier      $20
The wolf is getting dressed. What's he going to do when he is ready? (Clue: he is very hungry). An enjoyable board book to share (clue: it closes with a snap like a wolf's jaws). 
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin       $20
It’s Germany, 1956, and Hitler has won the war. Yael, an eighteen-year-old woman, is part of the Resistance and she has a mission – a dangerous one – she is charged with assassinating Hitler. As a child, Yael was in a camp and experimented on – the experiment, which was successful, has given her a gift that can be used against her enemies. In 1956 a famous motorcycle race, for the creme de la creme of youths, crosses Hitler’s Europe. After years of training, Yael is ready to join this often-dangerous race, where allegiances are necessary to survive and to win is difficult. But win Yael must so she can get to the Victors’ Ball.  This novel draws you in slowly and then grips you with its teeth and doesn’t let up until the end. Followed by Blood for Blood
The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell      $15
Beautifully written, exciting and unusual. Feodora and her mother live in the snowbound woods of Russia, in a house full of food and fireplaces. Ten minutes away, in a ruined chapel, lives a pack of wolves. Feodora's mother is a wolf wilder, and Feo is a wolf wilder in training. A wolf wilder is the opposite of an animal tamer: it is a person who teaches tamed animals to fend for themselves, and to fight and to run, and to be wary of humans. When the Russian Army threatens her very existence, Feo is left with no option but to go on the run.
Help! The Wolf is Coming! by Cedric Ramadier and Vincent Bourgeau      $20
The wolf is coming and (predictably) he wants to eat us. Perhaps if we tilted the book, he might have a hard job of catching us. With a bit of imagination there are quite a few ways we might make things hard for this wolf.
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk       $23
Annabelle has lived in Wolf Hollow all her life: a quiet place, still scarred by two world wars. But when cruel, manipulative Betty arrives in town, Annabelle's calm world is shattered, along with everything she's ever known about right and wrong. When Betty accuses gentle loner Toby - a traumatised ex-soldier - of a terrible act, Annabelle knows he's innocent. Then Betty disappears...Now Annabelle must protect Toby from the spiralling accusations and hysteria, until she can prove to Wolf Hollow what really happened to Betty. There are no wolves in this book. 
What Dog Knows by  Sylvia Vanden Heede and Marije Tolman    $20
Wolf and Dog are cousins. In some ways they are similar; in some ways very different. When Wolf finds a book of facts in the library, he thinks he can outsmart Dog. But can he?

08/04/2017 08:01 AM

Two children's fantasy series reviewed by STELLA.
This week at our children’s book group for 9-12-year-olds our topic was fantasy (anything magical: dragons, wizards, witches, ghosts). Why do we love imaginary worlds and what do they tell us about our own world? I chose two books with a similar theme - Inkheart by Cornelia Funke and The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler. I read both of these some time ago, but they still stick with me. In both, the characters literally fall into books and into danger - wild rides where truth is uncovered and obstacles are overcome. Each have interesting girl protagonists, Meggie in the 'Inkheart' series and Alice in 'The Forbidden Library' series; both have a least one missing parent; both explore the need to trust, yet be wary of, strangers; and both have an incredible power - one that will help the characters overcome great obstacles to free the ones they love.

Cornelia Funke’s series is a complex, multilayered tale of mythical and magical proportions. When a stranger knocks on Meggie’s door one night, her life is turned upside down. Dustfinger, a fire-eater and performer, has come to find Mortimer (Meggie’s father), a bookbinder with a strange power: he is a Silvertongue with the ability to talk characters out of books. But for every character that comes out, something must go in. Dustfinger comes with news of Meggie’s mother and dangerous times, and Mortimer is pulled back into a world which he has tried to keep hidden from Meggie, who soon learns she has some incredible powers herself.

When you see a by-line that says "Books open new worlds. Especially for Alice", you can’t help but be tempted, and this was my introduction to The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler.  When Alice's father disappears, presumed drowned, Alice is sent away to live with the strange Mr. Geryon at his dark and unfriendly home, which includes a mysterious forbidden library. Banned from entering, of course Alice is curious, and so begins a tale of talking cats, books that you fall into, moving shelves, unusual and sometimes frightening creatures, foes and friends, and Alice's discovery of her quite remarkable talents. The Mad Apprentice is the second book in the series, where Alice meets other children like her and learns more about the sorcerers that they are apprenticed to, and the third book, just arrived at Volume, is The Palace of Glass.

17/03/2017 03:44 AM

A quick survey of our shelves revealed them to be loaded with books that have feisty, adventurous girl protagonists who take their destinies into their own hands*. Here's a small selection - recommended reading for children and young adults of all genders

Juno of Taris by Fleur Beale       $20
On Taris rules govern everything, from personal appearance to procreation. Although these rules were devised to survive environmental crisis, Juno must work out when to challenge authority, and when to resist peer pressure, in her attempt to find out the truth and her place in her society. 
Followed by Fierce September and Heart of Danger
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts      $30
Ada will not stop asking 'Why?' This enables her to find out all sorts of things, but does she recognise the parameters of her research? 
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin       $20
It’s Germany, 1956, and Hitler has won the war. Yael, an eighteen-year-old woman, is part of the Resistance and she has a mission – a dangerous one – she is charged with assassinating Hitler. As a child, Yael was in a camp and experimented on – the experiment, which was successful, has given her a gift that can be used against her enemies. In 1956 a famous motorcycle race, for the creme de la creme of youths, crosses Hitler’s Europe. After years of training, Yael is ready to join this often-dangerous race, where allegiances are necessary to survive and to win is difficult. But win Yael must so she can get to the Victors’ Ball.  This novel draws you in slowly and then grips you with its teeth and doesn’t let up until the end.
Followed by Blood for Blood
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman        $22
Sixteen-year-old Seraphina, assistant to the court composer, is drawn into an intrigue indiciative of the disintegrating relationship between humans and dragons, aware that she must hide her secret: her father is human but mother was a dragon, and this not only gives her special gifts but also puts her in immense danger, both from around her and within.
Followed by Shadow Scale
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig     $23
16-year-old Nix and her father travel not only around the world but through time in their pirate ship stuffed with treasure and mythological artefacts. Nix's father is obsessed with returning to a time before Nix was born, when her mother was still alive. Nix feels safe in the belief that he will never succeed, but one day her father gets his hands on a map, and Nix must make some hard choices.
Women in Science: 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world by Rachel Ignotofsky        $35
A lively, beautifully illustrated survey.
"Rachel Ignotofsky provides young women with the courage and the confidence to follow the exciting paths these scientists have blazed before them." - Eileen Pollack
 Wildfire ('Wildwitch' #1) by Lene Kaaberbol        $16
When 12-year-old Clara meets an unusually large black cat, her life changes for ever. No sooner than she discovers that she can communicate with animals and harness the powers of nature, she finds herself exposed to unexpected danger. She finds she must learn to fight as well as to flee. 
Followed by Oblivion, Life Stealer and Bloodling
My Happy Life by Rose Lagerkrantz and Eva Eriksson     $20
Dani is probably the happiest person she knows. She's happy because she's going to start school. Dani has been waiting to go to school her whole life. Then things get even better-she meets Ella Frida by the swings. After that, Dani and Ella Frida do everything together. They stick together through wet and dry, sun and rain, thick and thin. But then something happens that Dani isn't prepared for...
You will love the other 'Dani' books too

A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay        $20.00
Jena lives in a closed and remote community where a tragic incident has altered the lifestyle of the villagers. Out of tragedy has come a reverent regard for the mountain, a sect of wise Mothers who are all authoritative and who train a group of chosen girls to obey and harvest mica, which the villagers as an energy source. When a single stone is moved, Jena begins to question her role and the behaviours of others. The truth she will uncover will change all their lives. This is a gripping, powerful and completely compelling book that makes you think and question the fates we all encounter. 
Cloth Lullaby: The woven life of Louise Bourgeois by Amy Novesky and Isabelle Arsenault        $35
A beautifully illustrated children’s book outlining Bourgeois' early connection with textiles via her family’s work as tapestry restorers for generations in France, her early connection with nature, and her path to becoming an artist. While studying mathematics in Paris, Louise’s mother dies and Louise abandons her studies and begins her work as a painter and sculptor -  a homage to her mother.  
Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr       $19
The daughter of a priestess is cast out as a baby, and after raiders kill her adopted family, she is abandoned at the gates of the Great Hall, anonymous and mute. Called No-Name, the cursed child, she is raised a slave, and not until she is twelve does she learn her name is Aissa: the dragonfly. Every year the Bull King takes a tribute from the island: two thirteen-year-old children to brave the bloody bull dances in his royal court. None have ever returned - but for Aissa it is the only escape. Aissa is resilient, resourceful, and fast - but to survive the bull ring, she will have to learn the mystery of her true nature. A well written adventure set in Bronze Age Crete.
Northern Lights ('His Dark Materials' #1) by Philip Pullman     $18
Lyra and her animal daemon travel to Svalbard to attempt to rescue children who have having their souls removed, receiving help from an ice bear and a witch clan. Vast in scope and delectable in detail. 
Followed by The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass
The Ruby in the Smoke (a 'Sally Lockhart' mystery, #1) by Philip Pullman     $19
Deliciously Dickensian characters, a grimy setting, a plot that is both emotionally and intellectually engaging and keeps you guessing until the end (and beyond), plenty of good information about various kinds of misfortune prevalent in Victorian London, incandescent similes and other turns of phrase, the irrepressible verve both of Pullman’s writing and of 16-year-old Sally Lockhart, determined to find out the truth behind her father’s death. What more could you want? 
The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell      $15
Beautifully written, exciting and unusual. Feodora and her mother live in the snowbound woods of Russia, in a house full of food and fireplaces. Ten minutes away, in a ruined chapel, lives a pack of wolves. Feodora's mother is a wolf wilder, and Feo is a wolf wilder in training. A wolf wilder is the opposite of an animal tamer: it is a person who teaches tamed animals to fend for themselves, and to fight and to run, and to be wary of humans. When the Russian Army threatens her very existence, Feo is left with no option but to go on the run.
Girl Detective ('Friday Barnes' #1) by E.A. Spratt        $20
Imagine if Sherlock Holmes was an 11-year-old girl! Super-smart Friday Barnes solves everything, from missing homework to bank robberies. 
You will enjoy all six Friday Barnes books
Maresi ('Red Abbey Chronicles' #1) by Maria Turtschaninoff      $23
Maresi came to the Red Abbey when she was thirteen. In a world where girls aren't allowed to learn or do as they please, an island inhabited solely by women sounded like a fantasy. One day Jai, her clothes stiff with dirt, scars on her back arrives on a ship. Jai has fled to the island to escape terrible danger and unimaginable cruelty, and the men who hurt her will stop at nothing to find her. Now the women and girls of the Red Abbey must use all their powers and ancient knowledge to combat the forces that wish to destroy them. Maresi, haunted by her own nightmares, must confront her very deepest, darkest fears. 
"Dark, powerful and original. Really stands out in a very crowded YA marketplace. Thrilling, suspenseful and gloriously feminist." - The Bookseller
Naondel ('Red Abbey Chronicles' #2) coming soon!
>> Turtschaninoff introduces the series.
Dragonkeeper by Carole Wilkinson       $22
Set in China during the Han Dynasty, this is the story of a slave girl and her chance encounter with a dragon. Her journey with Danzi (the dragon) is one of danger and discovery. The girl, who had felt so worthless, finds an inner strength and courage to protect the dragon and becomes the dragonkeeper (a role reserved for very few). This book is beautifully written and rich in texture. 
There are six books in the series!

Good-Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 tales of extraordinary women by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo     $40
100 one-page biographies of inspiring women from all times and all places, each with a wonderful full-page illustration by one of 60 artists (who just happen to all be women), including New Zealander Sarah Wilkins.
>> Watch this!
We have already pre-sold all our first delivery of this book, but more stock is on its way. Put your name down now for the next available copy!

* We found to our delight that the gender-bias assessment undertaken in this video did not apply to the books on our shelves (if anything, the reverse!). We would also contend that it is not only girls who need books with girl protagonists - boys can enjoy them too. 

Come and browse!

02/03/2017 02:08 AM


Triangle by Mac Barnett and John Klassen     $28
Triangle sets out to play a mean trick on square, but square has the last laugh. The quality of the illustrations is particularly lovely, as the characters pass between the land where everything is triangular to and from the land where everything is square, through the land where the things are without shape. 
Mr Postmouse Goes on Holiday by Marianne Dubuc         $30
Mr Postmouse can't be delivering letters all the time; sometimes he and his family like to travel. However, they can't go around the world without a few parcels to deliver... 
Full of charming detail (as you'd expect). 
The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito and Julia Kuo     $35
Yoshio wants to find the most beautiful sound, the sound of silence, but everything has a noise, especially in a big city. Where will he find the sound of silence? Beautifully illustrated. 

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson and Andrea Offermann       $30
In a story drawn from Arthurian lore, Yvain kills a lord in battle and finds his fate entwined with that of the slain man's widow and that of her maid. Luminously drawn, this graphic novel is both an exploration of knightly virtues and of the lives of medieval women. 
"A thoughtful, entertaining, and provocative presentation of this centuries-old story." - Booklist
Eden West by Pete Hautman       $22
Seventeen-year-old Jacob has grown up in the insular world of a separatist cult. His allegiance to the Grace starts to unravel as he develops feelings towards Lynna, a girl from the neighbouring range who he meets when patrolling Nodd's borders. As the End Days grow ever closer, will Jacob be tempted to sample forbidden Worldly Pleasures?
Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet          $28
Eleven-year-old Noah's life suddenly changes when his parents whisk him off on a secret mission in East Berlin in 1989. With a new name and identity, he must make a new life in a city where 'they' may be listening at any time, and where his friend Claudia's parents have suddenly disappeared....

Audubon: On the wings of the world by Fabien Grolleau and Jeremie Royer      $33

A stunningly lovely graphic novel based on the life of the man whose passion for birds drove him on an epic quest across North America at the start of the 19th century. What would the world make of his illustrations upon his return?
Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault     $30
When Virginia wakes up feeling wolfish and starts making noises that frighten the visitors, will her sister be able to charm her back to humanity by painting her a garden called Bloomsberry?

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd, illustrated by Levi Pinfold       $23
In 1941 Emmaline is evacuated from London to Briar Hill hospital in Shropshire. There she discovers a hopeful deep secret: there are winged horses that live in a world through the hospital mirrors. 
"A remarkable book." - Michael Morpurgo 
Exploring Space: From Galileo to the Mars Rover and beyond by Martin Jenkins and Stephen Biesty         $38
Biesty's incredible cross-sections add an extra dimension to this history of exploration of the final frontier (even though we're not too sure that space is the final frontier). 
The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen           $25
When Ani is told she has tested positive for the plague that is sweeping her country, and sent to quarantine on an island (where the sufferers and condemned (supposedly) so that the populace may be saved (supposedly)), she discovers that all is not quite what it seems, neither the plague, nor the colony, nor the way in which her country functions. What is going on?

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan       $17

Will twelve-year-old Willow's mathematical genius help her to build a new life when everything goes wrong? 
Bronze Bird Tower ('Dragonkeeper' #6) by Carole Wilkinson       $28
Being a dragonkeeper is a lot more difficult than Tao could have imagined. When he and Kai reach the dragon sanctuary at last, nothing is as they imagined it would be, and danger is always at their heels. Bronze Bird Tower brings to a close this wonderful series in which young protagonists in ancient China must make difficult choices in the face of immediate and structural dangers. Start with #1: Dragonkeeper. Recommended!
Poo Bum: A memory game by Stephanie Blake     $25
Match the cards and enjoy the company of Simon the cheeky rabbit. Fun. 

13/02/2017 11:07 AM

Our Book of the Week this week is Helper and Helper by Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop.

We have a lovely hardcover copy to give away, courtesy of
Gecko Press. To go in the draw, just tell us your favourite book by Cowley and/or Bishop.