I absolutely loved this book. Rose is a pampered, but overly restricted girl living in Melbourne in 1900. Her mother insists on governesses, corsets a...moreI absolutely loved this book. Rose is a pampered, but overly restricted girl living in Melbourne in 1900. Her mother insists on governesses, corsets and becoming a ‘proper lady’. Rose is not allowed to play cricket with her brother, not allowed to read exciting books or learn about geography or history and certainly not allowed to catch a tram or explore the more exciting stores of Melbourne.
That is, until her exciting Aunt Alice – a teacher – comes to stay. Alice had exciting ideas such as women being allowed to vote, being more involved in society and being able to use their brains. She takes Rose out on an adventure to a restaurant her mother (a member of the Temperance League) would never approve of, and a magical visit to Coles Arcade – to the disapproval of her mother. But will she ever be able to break free from the restrains that her mother places on her?
I adore this time period, so this book was always going to appeal. There were such big things going on in Australia at this time, with Federation looming and women beginning to gain power across the country (and in New Zealand). Rose is trying her best to break free of her mother’s restrictions, but with Alice’s arrival it really looks like there might be possibility of a change. I am really looking forward to reading more of this one and finding out what happens next!
This was a pretty good read - Jessi and her family are getting ready for Christmas and Kwanzaa, Aunt Cecilia is being urged to be more relaxed, Squirt...moreThis was a pretty good read - Jessi and her family are getting ready for Christmas and Kwanzaa, Aunt Cecilia is being urged to be more relaxed, Squirt is hurt in a car accident. The stress becomes a massive problem and threatens to sink the holidays.
The best bit, though, is the explanation of Kwanzaa, which is not known here in Australia (but is a really interesting festival). The worst bit is one-dimensional Kristy(less)
My students were shocked when they realized I hadn't read this book. Sincerely, so was I, especially since it was one of the biggest successes of my c...moreMy students were shocked when they realized I hadn't read this book. Sincerely, so was I, especially since it was one of the biggest successes of my classroom last year. But finally, spurred on by the fact I'm taking a group of kids to meet the author soon, I picked it up . . .
Quick disclaimer. I'm not a mad fantasy reader. I love Harry Potter, have read the Hobbit and enjoyed a few other fantasy books, but usually my tastes lie elsewhere.
But I loved this! It was such a strong world, filled with a society that I would honestly love to live in. I absolutely love Will, who isn't right all the time, who is small but brave. But more than him, I adore Halt and the other adults who fill the world.
This is a middle grade book, rather than a young adults book - think 9-13 year olds. I highly recommend it to young boy readers, but girls will enjoy them too. If you're a year 4 to 7 teacher, try to get them into your classroom asap :)(less)
This was probably my least favourite out of the four introductory books in the Our Australian Girl series, but it was still an enjoyable read. Letty’s...moreThis was probably my least favourite out of the four introductory books in the Our Australian Girl series, but it was still an enjoyable read. Letty’s sister, Lavinia is heading out to start a new life in New South Wales, when Letty finds herself accidentally on the ship as well! The book mostly looks at the difficult journey to New South Wales, as well as introducing the odious Jemima and the helpful Abner who befriend Letty on the journey.
I think one of the reasons I didn’t like this one as much is that I really didn’t like a lot of the supporting characters and I found Letty to be pretty silly at times, like when she gave away her sister’s good pillow case, knowing how expensive it was, just to keep a friend. It also feels like bad things keep happening to Letty and her sister, and it begins to feel a bit overwrought at times, though hopefully, some of the complications would be resolved in later books.
This is probably a more unspoken story than the familiar convict tales that children learn about. The idea of packing up a whole life and sailing a difficult journey around the world to start a new life is a concept which fascinates me. Again, this would be a brilliant book for the classroom and would probably be appealing to a lot of boys as well as girls.
So I've finally finished the published Ranger's Apprentice books (don't fear - John Flanagan pointed out in the talk I was at on Thursday that there w...moreSo I've finally finished the published Ranger's Apprentice books (don't fear - John Flanagan pointed out in the talk I was at on Thursday that there will be at least one more). I'll start with my thoughts on the Lost Stories and then move back to the series as a whole.
This is a series of short stories covering everything from how Will's parents really died, through to random adventures through to more important milestones. The stories are short and easily digestible, which was good because there were some I liked more than others. While these stories fill in some holes, they also create a few more which is also fun for any reader young or old. I particularly liked the way the stories were bookended with the story of an archaeology dig in the 19th century uncovering the stories.
As for the series as a whole - well I can understand why they're so popular with my students now. They are fantasy - but like Harry Potter, they're set in a world close enough to ours to be easily relatable. They're set in a medieval-like world, which brings the knights and princesses which are so fascinating - but the world is fantastical enough to allow women to take on greater roles and conditions to be a little more palatable. There's adventure, grizzled mentors, humour and great friendship. All in all, a great series for both boys and girls to read, and one that many adults would probably enjoy as well.(less)
oh! I've been looking at this for ages - this is the 'modern' version of SVH, where the kids have MP3 players and the Oracle is a blog. I did enjoy it...moreoh! I've been looking at this for ages - this is the 'modern' version of SVH, where the kids have MP3 players and the Oracle is a blog. I did enjoy it, though, like revisiting an old friend with shiny new clothes(less)
In a way, this book reads as the conclusion of a trilogy. I could easily see book one as a prequel, with books 2 and 3 setting up the story for a grea...moreIn a way, this book reads as the conclusion of a trilogy. I could easily see book one as a prequel, with books 2 and 3 setting up the story for a great conclusion here. And it really is a great conclusion.
This book is primarily set in Skandia, and just as we think all might be alright, with Halt and Horace finally catching up with Will and Evanlyn, they're plunged into more danger as a new group of warriors - more overwhelming than ever seen before - threaten the Skandians and nations beyond.
I often say that a great author or story can make you care about something you've never really cared about before. Flanagan does this throughout the book, particularly with archery. He also makes the war planning interesting and at times hilarious.
I recognize that these are children's books - they have great child characters doing exciting things; they have a focus on animals that a lot of children like; the nations they visit and talk about are portrayed in a somewhat stereotypical manner. But for adult readers, there's wonderful adult characters, particularly Halt.
My one complaint would be the lack of female characters - Evanlyn is it for this book. In discussions with one of my students today, he wondered whether this had to do with the war nature of the book, considering when it was set. I agreed, but also mentioned that I would have loved to see an appearance of Lady Pauline of the diplomatic service. A very interesting conversation :)
All in all, I highly recommend this book and would suggest that the series would be perfect for male and female readers from 9 up (less)
It begins with Marc. 12 years old, in a French orphanage, forced to work the worst jobs in a farm while the men of the village...moreThis was simply amazing!
It begins with Marc. 12 years old, in a French orphanage, forced to work the worst jobs in a farm while the men of the village fight the Germans who are rapidly taking over the country.
Meanwhile there's Paul, the British boy who, along with his sister Rosie, has just been pulled out of his French school.
As Marc escapes the horror of his life, and Paul and his family run for theirs, they come to the notice of the British spy, Charles Henderson.
This is the first book in the new series by CHERUB author, Robert Muchamore. I have been a CHERUB fan for ages, so I've been looking forward to this one for a while. There's definately some similarities between the two series - Marc has some James-like qualities (though a very different background), there's the sense of risque adventure that runs through the CHERUB books (and appeals to 12 year old boys) and there's real human-ness throughout the book.
But there's differences too. I'm not sure how correct the history is, but it is there, and I know kids will soak it up. It ends on a cliff hanger, rather than wrapping up neatly. And there's a sense that it's part of something bigger.
When I heard that there was a new series called Henderson's Boys, I was a little worried. CHERUB has given great female characters like Lauren, Kerry, Dana and Zara. How would this compare. Luckily, I found plenty of good female characters - the nun who refuses to allow the Orphanage director beat Marc to death; Rosie, Paul's sister; the cafe waitress who helps Marc out; the phone operator who risks all to help out; and the surprising Yvette.
I highly recommend this book for around 11 years up - time to buy another copy for my classroom!!(less)
Similar to other later BSC books. Thin plot. Thin characters (particularly Kristy). Some 'deep' character realisations. Luckily these concerned Claudi...moreSimilar to other later BSC books. Thin plot. Thin characters (particularly Kristy). Some 'deep' character realisations. Luckily these concerned Claudia and her sister Janine (who has always been one of my favourite characters) and their relationship. Also about Claudia and her seventh and eighth grade friends. (less)