January 28, 2013

The Rainbow Troops

The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata

"Every Citizen Has The Right To An Education"

From the very first day of their educational lives this small group of children were struggling to obtain what is for many a basic human right, an education. An opportunity that was almost lost to them even before it began, the sacrifices, struggles and successes these children encountered are recounted to us through the eyes of Ikal. At the hands of a man who dedicated his life to teaching and a young girl who was determined to teach so that others may succeed, Ikal and his friends are able to experience what so many of their family members and fellow countrymen were not able to, the joy of learning.
The Rainbow Troops are a group of children who learnt how empowering an education was to self-development. These were children with nothing and with no chance of a future, but who through an education dared to dream of a better life. Through their struggles is gained a new appreciation for the opportunities that most people take for granted, a childhood with a chance to learn, play and grow. A touching story that will lead you through the good times and the hard times of a life lived in poverty, struggling for understanding and never giving up.
On sale: 02 January 2013
Price (AU): $32.95
ISBN: 9781742758589
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Ikal
Re-read it: possibly
Recommend: yes
Star rating: five out of five

January 21, 2013

Moonlight & Ashes

Moonlight & Ashes by Sophie Masson

I Dreamed Of Going To The Ball!

Selena, having lost her mother at a young age, had been sent away to school. Upon returning home she finds things vastly different, most notably is the additions to her small family. Her father has remarried and her stepmother is unreasonably cruel to her, as are her stepsisters. However after years of being treated as a slave in her own home Selena discovers a magical way to attend the prince's ball, change her fate and fulfil her destiny.

Moonlight & Ashes is a Cinderella story with witches, wizards, werewolves and wishes. True love, mistaken identities, a journey, an assassination and destiny weave together to produce a story more fairytale then fantasy, a story that younger children will enjoy. However, as there are so many stories retelling, reinventing and reproducing this age old classic in new and differing ways, this particular tale unfortunately fails to stand out of the crowd.
On sale: 02 July 2012
Price (AU): $17.95
ISBN: 9781742753799
Recommended age: 12+
In a word: Selena
Re-read it: possibly
Recommend: probably
Star rating: two out of five

January 18, 2013


Cinderella by C S Evans

"How Ella Became Cinderella"

Everyone knows the story of Cinderella, a girl reduced to living amongst the cinders and ash, forced to become a servant in her father's home at the hands of her stepmother. Her stepmother and stepsisters being spiteful and mean-spirited take an instant disliking to her, but Cinderella remains kind-hearted and beautiful despite her rags and mistreatment. Then at the age of sixteen, after years of servitude, her fairy godmother appears one night to transform her into a princess and sends her off to the ball where she meets a handsome and charming prince. She and the prince fall in love and they all live happily ever after.

Cinderella's story is a classic for a reason; it is the ultimate rags to riches story combined with the ultimate romantic notion of love at first sight. Combining themes of persecution and triumph over adversity with the magic of wishes coming true and a happily ever after, this story is universal in its ability to demonstrate karma, forgiveness and finding true beauty within. This classic story has been retold, re-imagined and adapted so many times and in so many ways that it can sometimes be taken for granted, but everyone at sometime in their life should read or reread this classic fairytale.
Arthur Rackham - Cinderella2

On sale: 06 May 1993
Price (AU):
ISBN: 9781857159141
Recommended age: 6+
In a word: Cinderella
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: yes
Star rating: five out of five

January 14, 2013

Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
'You Poor Creatures'

This is not your ordinary story of a girl growing up. It is a story of one girl in particular, one very special, very different girl growing up with many other very special, very different children in a time when there was learning, understanding and hope. This is a life remembered, filled with laughter, friendships, loss and regrets. This story belongs to Kathy H. It is the story of her youth, her relationships and her hardships, and it is her story to tell.

Never Let Me Go embraces from the first page and shows how even a predestined life can be a full and emotional existence. This is not a story of science and technological advancement in the area of medical health, this is not a discussion on cloning and its moral and ethical implications on the individuals involved. It is a story of a girl brought into a world she doesn't understand, a world where she will never be accepted. A beautiful and tragic tale of a girl who, to most people, never really existed.
On sale: 01 May 2006
Price (AU): $23.95
ISBN: 9780571224135
Recommended age: 16+
In a word: Kathy
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: yes
Star rating: five out of five

January 7, 2013

Daughter Of Smoke And Bone #2

Days Of Blood And Starlight
by Laini Taylor

The War Is Over, But The Fight Has Just Begun!


Akiva had once told Karou that he thought he would always find her, and no matter what he thought he still believed that. Then he found the thurible with her name on it and almost lost all hope of ever seeing her alive again. Almost, but to believe in Karou was to believe in hope, and he could never give up believing in Karou.

The war was over and the monsters had lost. Thousands were killed in the last final battle and now the last survivors were dying, being captured as slaves and hunted to extinction. The only salvation for these chimeras are held with a small group of rebels brought back to life by a traitor resourectionist and lead by a tyrannical murderer. But with new life there comes a message of hope.

Days of Blood and Starlight are filled with uncertainty, death and hard choices. A story of war, in which the dream of peace was gone, so far out of reach that it seemed now an impossibility, a childish dream of fools. An epic tale of a world destroyed and lives rebuilt, of monsters, murder, secrets and hope. A tragic tale of a girl of two worlds and no place where she belongs. This unique series is wonderfully complex and continues to enthral.
On sale: 01 November 2012
Price (AU): $19.99
ISBN: 9781444722680
Recommended age: 15+
In a word: Resurrectionist
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: yes
Star rating: five out of five

Aesop's Fables: The Dog And The Sow

The Dog And The Sow

A Dog and a Sow were arguing and each claimed that its own young ones were finer than those of any other animal. "Well," said the Sow at last, "mine can see, at any rate, when they come into the world: but yours are born blind."

The moral of the story:
The best defence is a good offence.

Aesop's Fables: The Bat And The Weasels

The Bat And The Weasels

A Bat fell to the ground and was caught by a Weasel, and was just going to be killed and eaten when it begged to be let go. The Weasel said he couldn't do that because he was an enemy of all birds on principle. "Oh, but," said the Bat, "I'm not a bird at all: I'm a mouse." "So you are," said the Weasel, "now I come to look at you"; and he let it go. Some time after this the Bat was caught in just the same way by another Weasel, and, as before, begged for its life. "No," said the Weasel, "I never let a mouse go by any chance." "But I'm not a mouse," said the Bat; "I'm a bird." "Why, so you are," said the Weasel; and he too let the Bat go.

The moral of the story:
"Look and see which way the wind blows before you commit yourself".

Aesop's Fables: The Mice In Council

The Mice In Council

Once upon a time all the Mice met together in Council, and discussed the best means of securing themselves against the attacks of the cat. After several suggestions had been debated, a Mouse of some standing and experience got up and said, "I think I have hit upon a plan which will ensure our safety in the future, provided you approve and carry it out. It is that we should fasten a bell round the neck of our enemy the cat, which will by its tinkling warn us of her approach." This proposal was warmly applauded, and it had been already decided to adopt it, when an old Mouse got upon his feet and said, "I agree with you all that the plan before us is an admirable one: but may I ask who is going to bell the cat?"

The moral of the story:
The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

January 4, 2013

Aesop's Fables: The Charcoal-Burner And The Fuller

The Charcoal-Burner And The Fuller

There was once a Charcoal-burner who lived and worked by himself. A Fuller, however, happened to come and settle in the same neighbourhood; and the Charcoal-burner, having made his acquaintance and finding he was an agreeable sort of fellow, asked him if he would come and share his house: "We shall get to know one another better that way," he said, "and, beside, our household expenses will be diminished." The Fuller thanked him, but replied, "I couldn't think of it, sir: why, everything I take such pains to whiten would be blackened in no time by your charcoal."

The moral of the story:
People are driven apart by their differences more easily then they are brought together by what they have in common.

Aesop's Fables: The Mischievous Dog

The Mischievous Dog

There was once a Dog who used to snap at people and bite them without any provocation, and who was a great nuisance to everyone who came to his master's house. So his master fastened a bell round his neck to warn people of his presence. The Dog was very proud of the bell, and strutted about tinkling it with immense satisfaction. But an old dog came up to him and said, "The fewer airs you give yourself the better, my friend. You don't think, do you, that your bell was given you as a reward of merit? On the contrary, it is a badge of disgrace."

The moral of the story:
"Notoriety is often mistaken for fame".

Aesop's Fables: The Cat And The Mice

The Cat And The Mice

There was once a house that was overrun with Mice. A Cat heard of this, and said to herself, "That's the place for me," and off she went and took up her quarters in the house, and caught the Mice one by one and ate them. At last the Mice could stand it no longer, and they determined to take to their holes and stay there. "That's awkward," said the Cat to herself: "the only thing to do is to coax them out by a trick." So she considered a while, and then climbed up a wall and let herself hang down by her hind legs from a peg, and pretended to be dead. By and by a mouse peeped out and saw the Cat hanging there. "Aha!" it cried, "you're very clever, madam, no doubt: but you may turn yourself into a bag of meal hanging there, if you like, yet you won't catch us coming anywhere near you."

The moral of the story:
Once bitten twice shy.

Aesop's Fables: The Goose That Laid The Golden Eggs

The Goose That Laid The Golden Eggs

A Man and his Wife had the good fortune to possess a Goose which laid a Golden Egg ever day. Lucky though they were, they were, they soon began to think they were not getting rich fast enough, and, imagining the bird must be made of gold inside, they decided to kill it in order to secure the whole store of precious metal at once. But when they cut it open they found it was just like any other goose. Thus, they neither got rich all at once, as they had hoped, nor enjoyed any longer the daily addition to their wealth.

The moral of the story:
Be content with what you have as greed will only lead to misfortune and unhappiness.

Aesop's Fables: The Fox And The Grapes

The Fox And The Grapes

A hungry Fox saw some fine bunches of Grapes hanging from a vine that was trained along a high trellis, and did his best to reach them by jumping as high as he could into the air. But it was all in vain, for they were just out of reach: so he gave up trying, and walked away with an air of dignity and unconcern, remarking, "I thought those Grapes were ripe, but I see now they are quite sour."

The moral of the story:
Unrealistically high expectations will only lead to bitter disappointment.