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Archive for 31/07/2019

Small spaces – Katherine Arden

After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.

Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.”

Goodreads

A waltz for Matilda – Jackie French

9622286In 1894, twelve-year-old Matilda flees the city slums to find her unknown father and his farm. But drought grips the land, and the shearers are on strike. Her father has turned swaggie and he′s wanted by the troopers. In front of his terrified daughter, he makes a stand against them, defiant to the last. ′You′ll never catch me alive, said he…′

Set against a backdrop of bushfire, flood, war and jubilation, this is the story of one girl′s journey towards independence. It is also the story of others who had no vote and very little but their dreams.

Drawing on the well-known poem by A.B. Paterson and from events rooted in actual history, this is the untold story behind Australia′s early years as an emerging nation.

Good Reads

Skulduggery Pleasant – Derek Landy

Stephanie′s uncle Gordon is a writer of horror fiction. But when he dies and leaves her his estate, Stephanie learns that while he may have written horror, it certainly wasn′t fiction.

Pursued by evil forces intent on recovering a mysterious key, Stephanie finds help from an unusual source – the wisecracking skeleton of a dead wizard.

When all hell breaks loose, it′s lucky for Skulduggery that he′s already dead. Though he′s about to discover that being a skeleton doesn′t stop you from being tortured, if the torturer is determined enough. And if there′s anything Skulduggery hates, it′s torture… Will evil win the day? Will Stephanie and Skulduggery stop bickering long enough to stop it? One thing′s for sure: evil won′t know what′s hit it.

HarperCollinsAustralia

Black Beauty – Anna Sewell

Black Beauty starts life on a farm with his mother Duchess where he is broken in and sold for hunting and carriage driving. He has a fine life but he and his friends Ginger and Merrylegs are sold when the family moves. Beauty and Ginger are sold together but poor Ginger has trouble accepting the tight bearing rein which holds her head high. She is sold off. A boy named Joe Green looks after Beauty at this time and sometimes gets his treatment wrong as he is only learning, so Beauty gets a chill and is very ill. Later in life Beauty becomes a cab horse and the London family are utterly dependent on him for a living. He works six days a week but some horses worked seven. The winter nights see Beauty standing outside a house where a card party is in place, waiting and waiting for their customer. Rich people gave no thought to anyone serving them.
Beauty is finally sold to be a carthorse and meets the worn-out Ginger one more time. He is expected to work until he drops, literally. But a chance meeting with Joe Green who recognises him after all these years by his markings, is enough to save him and he is brought to a kind home once more.

Amazon

ecximages

The magic faraway tree – Enid Blyton

Returning to the Enchanted Wood and the Faraway Tree, where acorns and chestnuts and cherries and apples grow side by side and you never know where you might end up if you climb to the top, it doesn’t take long for siblings Joe, Beth and Frannie to find themselves knee-deep in wonder. Helping them to do so in this tale is Cousin Rick who comes to stay when his mother falls ill. Before long, they have hooked their cousin with stories of Birthday Land, Toy Land, and the weird and wonderful characters who live in and around the Faraway Tree.

There’s Moon-Face, who always seems to know what awaits, Silky the Fairy and Saucepan Man, who’s both deaf as a post and accident-prone. Magic lingers on every page, from the endless feasts and picnics to the huge market place known as the Land of Spells. There’s even a giant slide that snakes its way around and down the inside of the tree, to save the bother of climbing down when exhausted by adventuring.

Things can – and do – go wrong for the young heroes of the story. There’s always the possibility of ending up somewhere dangerous from where they cannot escape. One scrape has them deciding they’ve had enough adventures and they make a conscious decision to stay away. Of course, its not for long and they soon find themselves in the Land of Dreams, where muffins turn into kittens and surreal events conspire to frighten them away until they’re tempted back by the obvious attractions of the Land of Do-As-You-Please.

Alice’s adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

Alice’s adventures begin when she follows White Rabbit down a rabbit-hole and falls down, down, down.

Alice is an ordinary little girl who lives an ordinary sort of life, until the day she finds herself in the most wonderful world of mad tea parties and remarkable characters like the Mad Hatter, the Duchess, the Cheshire Cat and the Mock Turtle.

As everything grows ‘curiouser and curiouser’, Alice is delighted to find that nothing in Wonderland is the least bit ordinary.

Puffin
Chronicle Books

The girl from Snowy River – Jackie French

The year is 1919. Thirty years have passed since the man from Snowy River made his famous ride. But World War I still casts its shadow across a valley in the heart of Australia, particularly for orphaned sixteen-year-old Flinty McAlpine, who lost a brother when the Snowy River men marched away to war.

Why has the man Flinty loves returned from the war so changed and distant? Why has her brother Andy ‘gone with cattle’, leaving Flinty in charge of their younger brother and sister and with the threat of eviction from the farm she loves so dearly?

A brumby muster held under the watchful eye of the legendary Clancy of the Overflow offers hope. Now Flinty must ride to save her farm, her family and the valley she loves.

Booktopia

366 days of reading

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