Sunday, May 27, 2012

Judging a book by its cover

We're not meant to judge a book by its cover but some of them are so lovely that you can't help it! Here are some of the most beautiful covers we've seen.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


Ash by Malinda Lo

Tales From the Tower: Volumes One and Two
by Isobelle Carmody and Nan McNab

Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Witch Child and Sorceress by Celia Rees

Wither and Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Shiver, Linger and Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

After the Snow by S.D. Crockett

Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children
by Jen Storer

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Catherynne M. Valente
(This one also has an incredibly awesome title)

The Secret Garden (Penguin Threads)
Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Mighty Miss Malone
Christopher Paul Curtis

What are your favourite covers?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

About Time

Whether it's going through a crack in time, travelling to the past, or living the same day over again there's something about time travel stories that's fascinating. Find out for yourself with this list of time-slip stories.

A Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L’Engle
Meg Murray is an intelligent, but awkward girl and is troubled by her father’s disappearance. He is an important physicist who has been missing for over a year. One night Meg and her family are visited by a celestial being disguised as an old woman, she tells them that there is such a thing as a tessaract. A tessaract is ‘a wrinkle in space and time’. This leads Meg, her brother Charles and their friend Calvin on a journey through time and space to save Meg’s father.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Godspeed is a ship heading towards a new planet and all of its passengers are frozen in suspended animation until the ship reaches its destination. Except for seventeen year old Amy – she is violently awoken 50 years before the ship gets to the new planet. As she adapts to life on the strange spaceship she realises that her awakening  was no computer malfunction. Amy must uncover the ship’s secrets before it is too late.

Stravaganza series by Mary Hoffman (Book 6 City of Swords due September 2012)
Lucien is a teenager in London recovering from chemotherapy treatment. When his father gives him a red and purple marbled notebook to write in, his life is transformed. He falls asleep holding the notebook one night, and wakes up in the city of Bellezza  (a place much like 16th Century Venice) in the country of Talia. Here he meets an mysterious girl called Arianna, who shows him the delights of the city. While Bellezza is beautiful, it also has its dangers – as Lucien is about to find out.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Samantha has it all. She’s beautiful, popular and has the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should have been just a normal day. Instead, it turns out to be her last. For the next seven days she relives her last day. Whilst attempting to figure out the mystery surrounding her death, she slowly realises that there are multiple sides to every story and that her actions have lasting consequences.

Guardians of Time series by Marianne Curley
The Guardians of the Named are a group of people with incredible powers like telekinesis and immortality. They travel through time and space in order to make sure that history happens in the right way. This is because the Order of Chaos is constantly trying to disrupt and change history in order to gain more power. Ethan has trained his whole life to become a Guardian. Now that he has completed his apprenticeship under his mentor Arkarian, he has to train his own apprentice - a girl called Isabel who goes to his school. Isabel is completely unaware of the Guard. Ethan must teach her to control her powers so they can save history from the Order.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Miranda is in grade six and lives in New York City with her mum. She is best friends with Sal but after he is punched by the new kid at school for no real reason, he shuts Miranda out of his life. Then Miranda starts getting strange notes from someone who seems to know all about her. This person predicts things in the notes that they couldn’t possibly know, things that haven’t even happened yet... Miranda must figure out what these notes mean and how they fit into a bigger puzzle. When You Reach Me is also a bit of a tribute to A Wrinkle in Time; Stead mentions the book a few times and Miranda's favourite character is Meg from AWIT

What are your favourite time-slip stories?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

SHREK: Before He Was Famous!

Did you know Shrek was a character in a book before he was a movie star? 

Shrek, written and illustrated by American cartoonist William Steig over twenty years ago, is even more repulsive, grumpy and unpleasant than his animated counterpart. 

Shrek gets kicked goodbye by his parents from the black hole in which he was hatched, only to meet a particularly horrible witch who tells him his future; that he will marry a princess.

On his way to finding the princess (who the witch assures him is "even uglier than you"), he cooks a pheasant with his eyes, gobbles up a lightening bolt with a smoky belch and his haunted by a nightmare of happy children who won't stop hugging and kissing him.


 This book is just as hilarious as the movie, with delightfully disgusting illustrations. It is perfect for anyone looking for an extremely silly story with a horribly-ever-after ending. 


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

R.I.P Maurice Sendak

(June 10, 1928 – May 8, 2012) 

You inspired generations with your dark, quirky stories and illustrations. 
We thank you for sharing your incredible imagination with us, and for creating special characters that we have all come to know and love. 
We're sure you left roaring your terrible roar for all the wild things of the world. 

Monday, May 7, 2012


Did you know that Alfred Nobel (of Nobel Peace Prize fame) invented dynamite? And it turns out that the dishwasher was invented by a lady named Josephine Cochran who got sick of her servants breaking her china!

Sliced bread was invented by a jeweller named Otto Frederick Rohwedder (who, according to the Brainwaves, was a bit obsessed with bread). It took him 16 years until he was satisfied with his machine! 

In 1873 a rocking chair was invented that allowed the user to churn butter while rocking the baby to sleep! 

In How Nearly Everything Was Invented by the Brainwaves there are plenty of interesting facts like these, to be had, and more!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


So you read The Hunger Games (and loved it)? Stuck on what to read next? Well worry not, here is a list of some of our favourite dystopian young adult novels.

Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld

In Tally’s world, everyone is turned into a “Pretty” at the age of sixteen. This means an operation to make you supermodel beautiful. Pretties go to all of the hottest parties and live a life of glamour and fun. When Tally meets the Smokies – a group of people living on the outside, she realises there is more to being Pretty than meets the eye.

The Declaration Trilogy by Gemma Malley

In the year 2140 old age does not exist. A new drug called Longevity cured illness and lets you live forever. The problem? Overpopulation. Childbirth is illegal unless you opt out of immortality at the age of sixteen. Anna is one of these illegal children, a Surplus. She lives in Grange Hall, a workhouse where Surpluses learn to be servants to the immortal Legals. Anna is a good Surplus, she does exactly what she is told. So when a boy called Peter arrives at the hall and tells her about life on the outside, she slowly starts to question everything she has been told.

Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth

Beatrice lives in a world where society is divided into five factions based on personality traits. These factions are: Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). All sixteen year olds are faced with the choice of which faction to live in. Beatrice is conflicted - should she stay with her parents in Abnegation, or forge a new path? Once she has made a decision, there is no turning back. The third book is due next year.

Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

Prentisstown isn't like other places. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Todd Hewitt is a month away from the birthday that will make him a man. He and his dog Manchee (whose thoughts Todd can hear too) stumble upon an area of complete silence. Which is impossible. They have found a secret that will make them run for their lives... 

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
When Thomas wakes up in a lift the only thing he can remember is his name. His memory has been completely wiped. When the life doors opens he finds himself in the Glade, a large open space surrounded by an immense stone labyrinth, with several other boys who also have no memories. All they know is the Maze. Each boy has a job to do but none more important than the Runners. Every day they go out into the Maze to document its paths and to try to find the way out. The Runners have to be quick because at night when the stone doors close, the monsters come. Book Three is due on the1st of June.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E Pearson

I used to be someone. Someone named Jenna FoxWhen Jenna Fox wakes from a year-long coma she can't remember anything. Her life, her friends, her family, even basic words are a mystery to her. She has to learn everything again. But why is she recovering so quickly? And why is her family acting so strange? Her grandmother seems to hate her. Her mother is being so fiercely protective that she's hardly allowed to leave the house. As Jenna starts to remember things, nobody wants to answer her questions. Why? What is happening to her?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Exciting New Picture Books!

Remember the Pigeon? Famous from his stellar appearances in Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, The Pigeon Wants a Hotdog, and Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late? Of course you remember the Pigeon! He is HILARIOUS. And he returns in The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? which will disappoint neither the hardcore Pigeon fans nor the newly introduced. Fab. 

You may also remember the delightfully furry Splat the Cat (and his best friend Seymour the Mouse). In this new and exciting adventure Splat goes secret agent as he attempts to solve the mystery of the disappearing mice. 

The Hueys in The New Jumper is the first in a new series by the marvellous creator Oliver Jeffers. "The thing about the Hueys was that they were all the same. Until the day one of them knitted a nice new jumper..."

 And finally, The Birthday Cake Mystery by The Tjong-Khing is a wonderful, wordless, detective story, perfect for whiling away the winter hours.