Ottoline and the Yellow Cat by Chris Riddell

By Maureen Tai, 4 June 2018

IMG_3875“Ottoline had two collections that were all her own. One was her Odd Shoe collection, of which she was very proud.  Whenever Ottoline bought a pair of shoes, she would wear one and put the other in her collection.”

Ottoline is too young to accompany her remarkably prescient absentee parents on their world wanderings.  But she is not too young to spend her days by herself in an artifact-filled apartment in the company of a hairy Norwegian bog person called Mr. Munroe.  As outlandish as it sounds, Ottoline is an extremely relatable character.  Continue reading

Violet Mackerel’s Personal Space by Anna Branford and illustrated by Sarah Davis

By Maureen Tai, 2 May 2018

“On the last morning of the holiday, everyone puts all their things back in their suitcases.  Violet takes the sheet down from the bunk bed and folds it up. One minute it looks as if her family actually lives in the beach house, and the next minute it looks as if they have never stayed there at all.”

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I had the pleasure of meeting and supping with the delightfully scintillating self-taught illustrator, Sarah Davis over a year ago when she was in Hong Kong. Sarah also ran an illustration workshop that my daughter Anna attended and loved, and that’s when I too, fell in love with her work.  Sarah’s beautiful drawings subsequently led me to Violet Mackerel, a charming early reader series that has similarly stolen my heart.

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Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

By Maureen Tai, 23 April 2018

“Jellyfish: You’ve never heard of a jellyfish?!”
Narwhal: Nope! You don’t look like any fish I’ve ever seen, but you do look kind of jelly-ish. I sure have an amazing imagination.”

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If I could describe the main character in Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea, in one single word, it would be EXUBERANT.

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Mysterious Traveller by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham

By Maureen Tai, 16 April 2018

“Issa’s old eyes had watched thousands of dawns, but still it seemed to him that each one was a miracle. Each time, it lifted his heart.”

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Some books entice because their authors are celebrities.  Many books call out with their intriguing titles. And there are those books such as Mysterious Traveller that ensnare you with their magnificent cover illustrations.

 

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The Great Hamster Massacre by Katie Davies

By Maureen Tai, 17 November 2017

IMG_5781“You can do most things in Sunday school, like colouring and singing and dressing up, as long as you don’t dress up as Jesus on the cross, because Graham Roberts did that once, just in his pants, and Mrs Constantine didn’t like it.”   – Anna

Anna is the nine-year old through whose eyes we relive her eventful summer holidays.

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