Little Witch Book 3, Plots and Potions, a book review

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Title: Plots & Potions (Little Witch book 3)
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Drama, magic – and a miniature cat – abound in the latest Little Witch.

Plots & Potions is the 3rd book in the Little Witch book series by author, Aleesah Darlison. The main character, Courtney, is off to Bromlow Forest Adventure Camp with school, on her mother’s insistence, to work on fledging relationships, being new to the school.

School camp is everything Courtney dislikes – hikes, abseiling, bungee jumping and white-water rafting, but it’s made more bearable when she uses a shrinking spell on her cat, Inky, and takes him along to camp with her, safely nestled away in her pocket.

However, the mean and nasty Camp Director, Miss Maude Mouseheart, starts sneezing when she is close to Courtney. She suffers from a cat allergy and is highly suspicious of Courtney, who does well at hiding Inky, until disaster strikes.

As the story continues, Courtney discovers bits and pieces of information, that all point to something unsavoury going on at the camp grounds. As Courtney investigates, she uncovers a secret plot, and must take action, or forever be left with regret and grief.

Plots & Potions will have the reader turning the pages as fast as they can digest them, needing to know what will happen next. There’s good balance of friendship niggles and resolutions, camp fun, and added magical spells that will be thoroughly enjoyed by fans of the Little Witch Series.

Purchase a copy: Little Witch Book 3 – Plots & Potions

Title: Plots & Potions (Little Witch book 3)
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675252
Category: children’s
Subject: Magic, Spells
Pages: 176

This book was given to Julieann by Big Sky Publishing for review.

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

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Little Witch Book 2 – Hauntings & Hexes, a book review

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Title: Hauntings & Hexes (Little Witch Book 2)
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

New home. New school. New friends. And new enemies… The summer holidays are over. It’s time for Courtney to start at her new school and settle into life in Mixton Bay. No problem. Right? Except for the fact that Courtney is a witch-in-training so `fitting in’ isn’t the easiest thing to do. When a malevolent spirit bent on revenge is released into the world, things get dangerous for Courtney and those closest to her. Will she be able to save the day and keep her growing powers a secret?

Hauntings and Hexes is the 2nd book in the Little Witch book series by author, Aleesah Darlison. The main character, Courtney, starts at a new school, and has all the usual social uncomfortableness with trying to make new friends. She also creates some accidental, and not so accidental disasters with her new found white witch powers.

In one such incident in science class, Courtney is asked to hold a bald rat. Filled with fear, she unleashes a spell that calls every cat in the town of Mixton Bay to rescue her. Hence, the typical boring science lesson becomes phenomenal in the eyes of the students. However, Mr Zenebar, the science teacher recognises Courtney’s magic and tells her to visit the cemetery, where she meets a ghost, who requests her to find a grey book.

As the story continues, we meet Eleanor, a flying tricycle which is at Courtney’s beck and call, and the evil grimoire—a talking and flying black magic book that belongs to the ghost in the crypt at the cemetery. However, the reunion of the ghost and the grimoire unleashes black magic in the town, and it’s up to Courtney to banish the evil ghost by returning it to the Soul Tree forever, or until she can mend her ways.

Hauntings and Hexes is a fast-paced chapter book packed with action, humour and a few surprises. It is well-written and will have Little Witch fans turning the pages as they absorb the magical story.

Purchase a copy: Little Witch Book 2 – Hauntings & Hexes

Title: Little Witch Book 2  – Hauntings & Hexes
Author: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-925520-57-6
Category: Children’s/Children’s Fiction 8+
Subject: Children, Magic, Witches, Humour
Pages: 176

This book was given to Julieann by Big Sky Publishing for review.

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com

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Magic Fish Dreaming, a book review

 

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Title: Magic Fish Dreaming
by: June Perkins
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Gumbootspearlz Books

A full colour poetry book, inspired by the diverse people of Far North Queensland and their tropical environment. It’s full of some of the strangest birds and animals, as well as resilient rainforest, cane farms and tropical beaches.

Beyond the title page is the dedication page, and words stopped me in my tracks …

Dedicated to:

All my ancestors
who sing and
dance the stories

And the ones
who listen

When you read a dedication that gives you goose-bumps, you know you are in for a treat, and the fact that Magic Fish Dreaming won several Royal Dragonfly Book Awards, only reinforces the feeling that this stunning book of poetry is one that will capture your heart.

Magic Fish Dreaming is written by talented and compassionate author, Dr June Perkins. Her PhD was on the subject of writing empowerment.

When you open the book, you’ll discover that Magic Fish Dreaming is in two parts.

Part 1 – Hunting for Giggle Poems

Hunting for Giggle Poems is touching, spiritual, and enjoyable. The poetic words will reach out and wrap their words around you, creating a special bond to the earth, making you feel like you must be a protector of all that we have been given. You’ll also find yourself smiling and trailing after the children with their net as they go to capture poems full of giggles.

Part 2 – Magic Fish Dreaming

It’s flowing, soothing, and caressing, with people and spirituality. There’s chats between a father and son, a mother and children, a cassowary and children. There’s magic and wishes and the wonder of creation. There’s fun with the storm dancers, a bottle lost at sea, and a geckos dance, plus many more.

June Perkins has teamed up with talented artist, Helene Magisson, who imbues June’s poetic words with the gift of visual art. Besides enjoying the words of the poems, the reader will spend an age meandering in each of the illustrations, lost in the magical colours, the action, and the flowing peace that leaps off the pages. Helene’s art style is enchanting, making your heart sing.

If you are fishing for a beautifully written and inspiring book of poetry, Magic Fish Dreaming must be on your ‘to purchase list’. If you could ever fall in love with a poetry book, it would be this one.

I highly recommend Magic Fish Dreaming. It will make you feel like the world is a beautiful, wonderous place as the author weaves her gift of words on the page. When you finally close the book, you will be left with a feeling of peacefulness.

June Perkins is right. Writing is empowering: for the author, and the reader.

Purchase a copy: Magic Fish Dreaming

Title: Magic Fish Dreaming
by: June Perkins
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
ISBN: 9780980731187
Category: Poetry
Publisher: Gumbootspearlz Press
17 poems, 48 pages

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com

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Slowly! Slowly! a book review

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Title: Slowly! Slowly!
by: T. M. Clark
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Wombat Books

Slowly, slowly, you catch a monkey …

Bongani wants to go to school but he is too young. To prove to his family that he is big and strong just like his cousins, he tries to catch a monkey.
Slowly, slowly, he must go.
Luckily his family is there to school him in the lessons of patience and compassion.

I love the very first sentence of Slowly! Slowly! written by author, T. M. Clark:

Bongani stood tall.

It is brimming with anticipation. And as you read on, you can feel the blanket of peace and love that surrounds the main character. The words of the story also whisper that same blanket to you, gently, gently, like the singing of a lullaby.

Slowly! Slowly! is a clever story. Imbued into the tale is the unfolding guidance of how to catch a monkey with the kind encouragement of the father, the calm teaching of the grandfather, and the insightful way of looking at a problem from a different point of view, which is a way of teaching resilience.

Inside the story, we follow a young child named Bongani, while he tries to catch a monkey. His failed attempts are followed by guidance from his grandfather, revealed layer by layer, teaching Bongani patience; a virtue that is sometimes lost in the busy-ness of our lives today.

I particularly enjoyed the way Bongani’s family would work out whether he was ready for school …

‘Dad, am I big enough?
Am I higher than the hyena?
Can I go to school?’

Mathematically, the act of measuring your height against an animal to see if you are tall enough to go to school is full of imagination and excitement. This comparison would make an interesting discussion in families and schools.

Illustrator, Helene Magisson, has once again shown her extraordinary artistic talent in the pages of Slowly! Slowly! and has created a visual space where a variety of thoughts and ideas coexist in addition to the text, telling a story where the words don’t, or where the words imply particular ideas or feelings. Helene’s choice of gentle tones wraps around the mind of the reader, encouraging a connection and deep understanding of the character of Bongani.

Parents and teachers will love Slowly! Slowly! as author, T.M. Clark, deploys with sparkling effect, the use of alliteration, repetition, word rhythm and story building. The tale naturally lends itself to variance of voice as you read, from gentle words to the shouting of “GO AWAY!”

Slowly! Slowly! is an engaging and heart-warming story that is a must for children to read. Patience, compassion and resilience speak a gentle heart-song through the story, gifting children with mind tools to use through their lifetime.

(Slowly! Slowly! is adapted as a South African story, this variation of ‘Softly, softly, catchee monkey’ was originally an Ashanti (Ghana) proverb quoted by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Founder of the Boy Scouts)

Purchase a copy: Slowly! Slowly!

Title: Slowly! Slowly!
Author: T. M. Clark
Illustrator: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Wombat Books
Format: 9781925563221
ISBN: Hard cover
For ages: 3+

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
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Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves, a book review

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Title: Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves
by: Jane Smith
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

School camp can be fun, but not when it’s run by a nasty bully who picks on Tommy Bell and his friends. But when Tommy’s magic cabbage-tree hat takes him back in time to meet up with Ben Hall and his gang, Tommy discovers that even in the gold rush days there were bullies … and they were on both sides of the law!

They also really knew how to make trouble …

Multi-published author, Jane Smith, has captured the life of bushranger, Ben Hall, with accurate observation through the eyes of a fictional young character, Tommy Bell.

Tommy is on school camp at the town of Young, an old goldmining town. He lists the good and bad things about going on a school camp, but the worst thing about this camp is one of the leaders, Mr Porter. He is just outright mean and nasty. In fact, he is a bully. A grown-up bully! It’s during one of Mr Porter’s bullying rants that he shoves Tommy’s woven ‘straw-like’ hat made from the leaves of a cabbage-tree onto Tommy’s head, and in an instant, he finds himself back in time. He notices that the air is fresher and the birdsong louder, before a man enters Tommy’s time-travel adventure – Ben Hall (9 May 1837 – 5 May 1865) – an Australian bushranger.

Tommy joins Ben Hall and his accomplices—Johnny Gilbert, John O’Meally and Patrick Daley. They ride on horseback to a placed named Little Wombat, a goldfield near Young. When they enter Mr Soloman’s store, a gun battle breaks out: Tommy has just witnessed a robbery. Tommy hangs around with the bushrangers for a little longer before he removes his time-travel hat and returns to his school camp where his friend finds gold. However, the callous Mr Porter claims the gold as his, gets angry and shoves Tommy’s hat back onto his head. Tommy travels back in time again to Ben Hall, and the scene of another hold-up: a failed bank robbery.

Tommy also witnesses other incidents with Ben Hall in this action-packed chapter book that will have readers turning the pages. Another bonus to this Bushranger Boy series can be found the final pages of the book—a chapter called ‘Historical Note’, which contains a photograph of Ben Hall and interesting information about his life.

Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves, is the fifth book in the Tommy Bell, Bushranger Boy collection. It’s a remarkable Australian series where fictional characters watch Australian history unfold before their eyes. I highly recommend it for schools, independent readers, and for kids who love Australian history.

I’m looking forward to Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy Book 6 due for release in 2019, titled Mrs Thunderbolt.

Purchase a copy: Tommy Bell-Bushranger Boy-Gang of Thieves

Title: Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves
by: Jane Smith
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675238
Category: children
Pages: 100
Subject: Bushranger, Adventure series

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com

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Little Witch Book 1 – Secrets & Spells, a book review

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Title: Little Witch – Secrets & Spells
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Black cats, a strange presence in the house, and family secrets …

Secrets & Spells (Little Witch Book 1), by author Aleesah Darlison, is a fun, yet daring chapter book, with an intriguing storyline in a fast-paced tale. From the onset, young independent readers will become invested in the story, as the main character, Courtney, discovers secrets in the attic of the house of her late grandmother, at a sleepy coastal town.

When Courtney finally sneaks some hidden time in the attic, she discovers a spell book left to her by her late grandmother, whom she has never met. And this is where the story becomes interesting.

Adding to the mix of intrigue is a black cat named Inky, and a surf boy, Justice, who seems to know more about her grandmother than she does, and lets slip that her grandmother was a white witch. As the story progresses, Courtney decides to try out one of her grandmother’s spells: How To Make Your Cat Talk, with disastrous results.

Aleesah Darlison has penned a well-written, fast-paced chapter book with likeable characters, including an adorable cat that knows more about everything than anyone else.

Purchase a copy: Little Witch – Secrets & Spells

Title: Little Witch – Secrets & Spells
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925520101
Subject: Magic, Spells, witchcraft
Category: 8+
Pages: 176

This book was given to Julieann by Big Sky Publishing for review

Reviewed by Julieann Wallace 
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com

Julieann is a member of:

 

The Duke of Hinklewinkle, a book review

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Title: The Duke of Hinklewinkle
Written and illustrated by: John Phillips
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Bridget lives in the sleepy, seaside town of Hinklewinkle. She spends a lot of time with her Grandpa. Her mother often has to work late and her father lives in another town. Luckily, her caring Grandpa is always close at hand to help out. Grandpa breeds show chickens and Bridget loves to help out. One day when Bridget is feeling a little lonely, Grandpa decides to let Bridget pick a chicken of her own. Far from picking the most beautiful chicken, she picks a strange looking rooster she names the “Duke of Hinklewinkle”. The two become inseparable. When Grandpa’s cranky old neighbour, Mr Borewater’s chickens are under threat, The Duke of Hinklewinkle surprises everyone.

If you like chickens, then The Duke of Hinklewinkle is for you. It’s a picture book narrative for primary aged children, written in third person, by author and illustrator, John Phillips.

In the story we meet Bridget, who lives in a sleepy, seaside town. Her grandpa breeds show chickens and lets her choose her very own chicken. After carefully considering the Long Beaked Australorp, the Stilt Legged Sussex, the Giant Combed Old English Bantam and the Headless Brahma, Bridget chooses a very unusual and slightly odd-looking rooster—a Big Beaked Pencilled Hortner—and names him, “The Duke of Hinklewinkle”. They become best friends in no time. But trouble is looming in the form of the next-door neighbour, Mr Borewater, who tells Bridget that Big Beaked Pencilled Hortners are silly birds. Little does he know that something is about to happen in the dark night to prove him wrong.

As an artist, John Phillips has created colourful and quirky illustrations to accompany his story. The illustrated chickens are guaranteed to keep the reader entertained.

The Duke of Hinklewinkle is a story with a diverse family – Bridget’s grandfather helps with her upbringing as well as her mother, while her father works in a different town. The big theme of the book is friendships, not only Bridget and her chicken, but neighbourly friendship as well.

Purchase a copy: The Duke of Hinklewinkle

Title: The Duke of Hinklewinkle
Written and illustrated by: John Phillips
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675191
Category: primary
Pages: 32

Julieann received this book from Big Sky Publishing for review.

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Published Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
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