Lindy Jones ~ Australian Bookseller Association Inaugural Bookseller of the Year 2011
Albert decides that even if he is 60, he will compete in the bike race from Paris to Nice. After all, he’s fit and has a good bike, so why not? Although not the fastest cyclist, with perseverance and a bit of bonne chance, Albert does ride to glory! Told in rhyme which reads out loud beautifully, and with delightfully witty illustrations provided by Bob Graham (look out for his ever-charming trademark vignettes), this is a book made to share.
Find this at abbeys.com.au
The irascible Pigeon is back! He's filthy but he has a host of reasons why he shouldn't take a bath: it's considered impolite in some circles, 'clean' and 'dirty' are just words, he's pretty sure he had one last month… Of course, once he bad-temperedly gets into the bath, he changes his mind! Willem's trademark drawings are deceptively simple, but convey a great deal of attitude. Fun for the pre-schoolers who love Pigeon's naughty antics, and just as much fun for the adult who recognises toddler behaviour!
Find this at abbeys.com.au
Seven years later, she, her sickly brother (who was born on the night of their mother's death) and her grief-maddened father are little short of outcasts. Their isolated island community abhors magic - even wishing is considered reprehensible - and is anticipating the return of a legendary leader who will save the world from its evil.
Surrounding the settlement is a forest, Thickety, which embodies all the darkness it fears, and between the trees and the farmland is Fringe, an area vegetated with treacherous plants. When Kara is lured into Thickety, breaking a promise she made her mother, dreadful things are set in motion, and everything she has struggled for is jeopardised…
This is far and away one of the best novels I've read in a very long time. I read it in one sitting because I was so absorbed in the world that was created and couldn't bear to put it down until I had reached the end - and what a finish: there's a major development I didn't see coming at all! There are many levels to this imaginative novel and its atmosphere of uncertainty and menace is artfully conveyed.
The creatures could come from nightmares, and the repressive nature of the puritan community is well described, but it is Kara who catches your attention from the very first. Intelligent, stoic, quietly defiant, she deals with habitual suspicion and doubt, yet remains faithful to her true self. I reckon Kara will be the next heroine to sweep readers away, and that this is the beginning of a very special series indeed!
A coming-of-age novel with an energetic, almost breathless style that captures the contradictions and complications of leaving childhood behind.
Buy these books at Abbey's (131 York Street Sydney) ~ An Aladdin's cave for readers