The Dream Bird, a book review

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Title: The Dream Bird
by: Aleesah Darlison
illustrated by: Emma Middleton
Publisher: Wombat Books

Once upon a time in a faraway land there lived the rarest of rare birds. The Dream Bird. George is a day child. He rollicks and romps in the light. But at night, George just can’t seem to get to sleep. That is, until Gran tells him a bedtime story about a magical bird who sings children to sleep. Will the Dream Bird’s magic work on George?

A stunning bedtime book that will enchant readers young and old.

Some children have a difficult time trying to go to sleep. I think I have found the sleep potion. It’s a book called The Dream Bird, written by multi-published author, Aleesah Darlison.

In the story we meet a young boy, George—a day child who can’t sleep at night, not even after counting one hundred sheep walking backwards, and drinking warm milk to lull him to sleep.

His wonderful Gran comes to the rescue with a beautiful story about the most beautiful bird in the world—The Dream Bird.

Artist (and author), Emma Middleton,  has created exceptional dreamlike illustrations with colours that flow with a divine harmony, expressing calmness, contentment, peacefulness, relaxation, and tranquility, that are sure to sprinkle the magic of sleep dust.

The Dream Bird could be a life-saver for parents with kids who have a troublesome time trying to sleep. Aleesah’s use of descriptive words will paint a calming vision in a child’s imagination, helping them to change from their unsettled mind to one where they are encouraged to concentrate on their own favourite things, lulling them to sleep.

Purchase a copy: The Dream Bird

Title: The Dream Bird
by: Aleesah Darlison
illustrated by: Emma Middleton
Publisher: Wombat Books
ISBN: 9781925563337
Category: children
Pages: 32

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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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A Wrinkle in Time, book review

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Title: A Wrinkle in Time
by: Madeleine L’Engle
Publisher: Penguin

Meg always felt she was different and when her little brother Charles Murry go searching for their lost father, they find themselves travelling on a dangerous journey through a ‘wrinkle in time’. As the cosmic evil forces of darkness threaten to swallow the universe, Meg must overcome her insecurities and channel all her inner strengths – her stubbornness, anger and ultimately her love – to save her family. An exciting mixture of fantasy and science fiction, which all the way through is dominated by the funny and mysterious trio of guardian angels known as Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which, A Wrinkle in Time is an empowering story about the battle between good and evil and the power of love.

A Wrinkle in Time was released in 1962, after twenty-six rejections by publishers, and has withstood the test of time.

It begins with, “It was a dark and stormy night”. How often had I used those words as a story starter for creative writing as a teacher. And so, I laughed when I read the opening words of Chapter 1, Mrs Whatsit.

As I continued to read, I was sucked into the plot and amazed by the science embedded into the novel. The deeper I went into the story, more of it seemed to make sense in today’s world, 50 years after it was published.

There are many things I enjoyed about A Wrinkle in Time. I loved the tesseract, the time travel, and the characters who didn’t fit into the society norm, plus their journey of discovery and growth that enabled them to rescue Mr. Murry, the father of Meg and Charles Wallace. I loved the imagined built worlds and the challenges Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin encountered.

As I look back at pages I have dog-eared, it still blows me away with the science and physics embedded into the story. Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful!

If your middle school child or teenager likes to read sci-fi novels, this is book is well suited, with a perfect dose of physics. Plus, there’s pearls of wisdom throughout the book. My favourite: “Qui plus sait, plus se tait”, French for “The more a man knows, the less he talks.”

And now to see the movie …

 

Literature Study Guide at SparkNotes http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/wrinkle/characters/

Purchase a copy: https://www.penguin.com.au/books/a-wrinkle-in-time-9780241331163

Title: A Wrinkle in Time
by: Madeleine L’Engle
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780241331163
Category: Children and teenagers
Pages: 288

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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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Nevermoor – the Trials of Morrigan Crow, a book review

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Title: Nevermoor – The Trials of Morrigan Crow
by: Jessica Townsend
Publisher: A Lothian Children’s Book by Hatchette Australia

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Born on an unlucky day, she is blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks – and worst of all, the curse mean that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on Eventide. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away to a secret, magical city called Nevermoor. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to pass four difficult and dangerous trials – or she’ll have to leave the city and confront her deadly fate.

Nevermoor has me celebrating for children, everywhere!
Firstly because of two words:

Step Boldly . . .

These two words speak loudly, and are a call to courage. They are two words that will stay with you for all the right reasons.

And secondly, because author, Jessica Townsend, has a “knack” with words and characters and world building.

Jessica took me on a visual and literary journey of delight with magic, wonder, fantasy and suspense. She had me turning the pages of Nevermoor, the Trials of Morrigan Crow with impatience, as she led me deeper into the town of Jackalfax, and then the magical city of Nevermoor.

Nevermoor begins with the prologue titled ‘Spring of One’, and we learn of the death of Morrigan Crow. When we turn to Chapter One – ‘Winter of Eleven’, we are taken back in time – three days earlier in fact. There, we meet the most feared child in Jackalfax, Morrigan Crow, destined to die on the night of Eventide. And this is where we make our strong emotional connection to her.

There is a lot at stake for Morrigan Crow. In fact, everything is at stake – her life.

As the brilliant story continues, we meet a unique character named Jupiter North. He takes Morrigan away from Jackalfax and into the safety of Nevermoor. But she can’t stay there, unless, she enters the Wundrous Society, but this can only be achieved by passing the four trials:

The Book Trial
The Chase Trial
The Fright Trial 
The Show Trial.

Meanwhile, a dark presence is watching, and waiting, for an opportunity. And  Morrigan Crow is in his sights…

Nevermoor – the Trials of Morrigan Crow, is filled with many A-HA! moments while you read, as pieces of the puzzle connect, leaving you feeling a sense of awe and wunder. It’s a magnificently clever, incredibly magical and beautifully heartwarming story that you will want “more” of.

Thankfully to Jessica Townsend, Morrigan’s next Wundrous Adventure is coming in 2018.

Purchase a copy: https://www.hachette.com.au/jessica-townsend/nevermoor-the-trials-of-morrigan-crow

Title: Nevermoor – The Trials of Morrigan Crow
by: Jessica Townsend
Publisher: A Lothian Children’s Book by Hatchette Australia
ISBN: 9780734418074 (paperback)
Category: primary school age
Pages: 448

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

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Turtles All The Way Down, book review

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Title: Turtles All The Way Down
by: John Green
Publisher: Penguin

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

Turtles are one of earth’s most ancient creatures. They are unable to come out of their shell—they’re trapped—a fitting analogy for mental illness—trapped by your own thoughts…

John Green has written a confronting, thought provoking, YA novel that has captured the mind of an Indianapolis teenager who has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and intense anxiety, with meticulous detail. Through his use of words he seems to have used every shade of colour to describe the complexity of the OCD and anxiety spectrum. John Green’s portrayal of the main character’s mental illness is beyond successful, as you feel Aza’s panic leaping off the pages, and during the build up to the turning point in the story, you feel anxiety’s tightening vice-like grip with the spiral that Aza describes in the story.

Turtles All The Way Down is a book of vital importance in recognition of mental health topics and awareness. It is a book that could have only been written by someone who has walked in the shoes of someone with OCD and anxiety, and John Green is that person (http://ew.com/books/2017/10/10/john-green-mental-health-struggles/). His experience and insight are what gives the main character, Aza, complexity, depth and credibility.

John Green has included therapy sessions in the story, an absolute necessity I think, not only to help the reader understand Aza’s daily struggle, but also to reach out to readers who may have a similar experiences and are afraid to seek help.

Beside the main character having a mental illness (extreme anxiety, self-harm, obsessive compulsive disorder and intrusive thoughts about bacteria), the author has also tapped into the day to day contemporary lives of young adults with accuracy. There’s Star Wars, fan fiction, mobile phones, school pressure, part time work and the uneasy communication with parents. In addition, John Green has added another dimension to the story with the mystery of a missing parent. It is through trying to solve this mystery that Aza reconnects with a childhood friend, Davis, and under the stars, their romance is awakened.

Turtles All The Way Down is not a happily ever after book. It’s storytelling impact is raw and poignant, and will have you thinking from the opening sentence of the book to the closing sentence. If you have OCD, or anxiety, or intrusive thoughts, or any combination of the three plus more, you will completely understand Aza and form a irreversible bond with her. Above all, Turtles All The Way Down is much more than a book about the darkness of mental illness—it is a book of acceptance and hope, with the love and support of a mother, a best friend (we all need a bestie like Daisy), and a boyfriend who wants to understand his girlfriend, if she will allow him into her world.

Purchase a copy: https://www.penguin.com.au/books/turtles-all-the-way-down-9780241335437

Title: Turtles All The Way Down
by: John Green
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 978-0-241-33543-7
Category: Young Adult
Pages: 304 pages

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

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