I Just Ate My Friend by Heidi McKinnon,
Allen and Unwin, ISBN 9871760294232
Levi borrowed this book from the school library
I Just Ate my Friend is about an alien who ate his friend. He tries to find a new friend but they are too big, small or scary. He just can’t find the perfect fit. Is all hope lost or can he find a friend!
The illustrations are great and the colours blend and contrast. The characters in this book are all different and play their own roles in the story. They make the story different and interesting all the way through.
I rate this book as suitable for children 5-8 years old. The will love to read this book because the illustrations are cartoon-like.
The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen, Walker Books, ISBN 9781406377798
Isabel borrowed a copy of this book from her library.
The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse is about a mouse in the woods unexpectedly swallowed by a wolf.
It is the beginning of the story, but is this the end already? What does the mouse find in the dark tummy of the beast? What is life like on the inside?
This book shows what it feels like for every character in this book.
This book is great for children between 7-10 years old, with remarkable illustrations and some silly nonsense. The illustrations have been created to give watery paint and collage effects. Others like the wolf are textured and maybe you might see some splatter paint on every page. This book also tells you a back story about why the wolf howls at the moon.
What challenges must the animals overcome to save their lives?
Mopoke by Philip Bunting, Scholastic Australia, ISBN 9781742991658
Charlie read a copy of this book at his school library.
Mopoke discovers new ways to be an everyday owl. That’s hard for an owl to do when all you do every day is sit on a branch.
Come along on a journey. High in a tree.
The imaginary life of Mopoke, a Southern Boobook, is amazing. Characters include other mopokes, other animals and everyday objects. They try different ways to annoy Mopoke.
The illustrations are amazing as they help the reader really get to know Mopoke and his friends. My favourite character is the ‘fropoke’ because of the clever rhyme with an unusual word. Read this book to find out more about the interesting vocabulary.
I rate this book 5 out of 5 definitely because Philip Bunting has alternated pages with text and pictures in perfect balance.
I recommend this book for children aged 3-9 years old because it’s easy for them to copy and draw their own versions of mopokes.
To start off this year’s series, the baton is passed to Michael Gerard Bauer.
Michael Gerard Bauer is the author of many books for children and young adults. His latest book is a young adult title — The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy and me and he has a picture book coming out soon (stay tuned!). You might recognise some of these books:
Last year Wendy Orr asked: I’m curious whether, like me, you draw on different parts of yourself to create your characters (even if other people might not be able to see that ‘seed’ that started the process). Do you use any techniques to find these beginnings, or does the character appear to grow spontaneously, and you only recognise later the bit that sparked its creation?
I think I do draw on different parts of myself to create characters but I don’t think in most cases that I do it deliberately or consciously. I can certainly see myself, or aspects of myself, in main characters like Joseph in The Running Man, Corey from Just a Dog and Ishmael from the Ishmael series. Even the character of Maggie from The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy and Me shares quite a bit in common with me — although I’d have to admit, there’s also a fair bit of me in The Pain! Having said that, I don’t ever see myself as being those characters, despite any similarities that might exist in our personalities and attitudes. I doubt that I could write about, or would want to write about, a central character to whom I couldn’t relate or empathise.
I really don’t apply any techniques to help find character beginnings. My characters seem to emerge and grow from the situations that I imagine them in and that’s more of a spontaneous thing. So with Joseph in The Running Man it started with me imagining a boy living next door to a mysterious and reclusive neighbour and wondering how he would deal with each situation as it arose. As a writer you find out more and more about your character as you develop your story. I think the part of you that is in the character is probably the strongest and most obvious at the start, and as you unearth the story and the character is placed in different situations, they take on different layers and dimensions and so they grow away from that seed of you to become unique identities in themselves.
Ultimately I believe the best thing you can do when developing characters is to stop thinking about them as characters but rather think about them as real people. Try to imagine their life outside the limits of your story for example and how they have become the people they are. When you stop looking at them as your ‘creation’ and give them room and freedom to grow, they tend to take on a life of their own and often reveal themselves to you in surprising ways.
And now Michael passes the baton to the next Friday visitor — Gabrielle Wang. Gabrielle is the author of picture books and novels, including two series in the Our Australian Girl series. Her latest novel is The Wishbird.
Michael asks: In general I’d love to know how being an illustrator impacts on your writing. For example, if you are writing a novel, do you find yourself creating illustrations for the characters or scenes even though they might not be included in the published work? Have characters or stories ever started from something you have drawn? Is visual imagery an important part of your writing style? .. Check in every Friday for questions and answers from children’s authors and illustrators. .. See you next week!
Ungifted by Gordon Korman, HarperCollins, ISBN 9780061742668
Joseph borrowed this book from his public library.
Gordon Korman wrote one of my favourite books (I Want to Go Home), and when I found this at the library I knew I wanted to read it. I thought it wasn’t as funny as some of Korman’s other books, but it had a great plot and kept me engaged.
Because of a mistake, Donovan is sent to an academy of selective distinction. He know’s he’s not gifted enough to be there but he decides to try to stay because he’s hiding out from the principal at his old school. (He skipped detention and managed to destroy the gym.)
All the kids at the academy suspect there was a mistake, so he has to do his best to blend in. Unfortunately he has a history of getting into trouble. I like how Korman links so many events in the story and keeps you guessing. Most readers aged 11+ would enjoy this humorous book. It involves lots of modern technology and the vocabulary suits advanced readers.
It’s Friday! And that means it’s time for Pass the Book Baton. Alphabet Soup features a book creator every Friday who will answer one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.)
We’re pleased to feature author Oliver Phommavanh as he takes the baton today. Oliver writes funny novels and short stories, he’s also a comedian and primary school teacher. Oliver’s first book — Thai-riffic — was published in 2010.
In your writing, you have this wonderful ability to create characters that feel real and who I very quickly feel I know and like. Do you know your characters really well before you write or do they come to life as you rewrite each draft?
It depends on each story that I write. Sometimes it comes to me straight away like in Thai-riffic or Con-nerd and then I just write the draft with the voices of each character fully in my head. Other books, I have a faint voice of what the characters could be like and then I write the draft to build that voice. A lot of my characters are drawn from my own childhood friends and family, but more recently just from observing kids in schools when I visit them. I have a fair idea of what my characters will sound like, so I let them roam around in my head awhile, but some shout louder than others, haha!
And now Oliver passes the book baton to the next author — Catherine Carvell. Catherine is the author of Darcy Moon and the Deep Fried Frogs.
Oliver asks Catherine Carvell: What is one thing you’d like kids to walk away with after they’ve read your book?
Check in every Friday fora Q&A with children’s authors and illustrators. See you next week!
For other posts featuring Oliver Phommavanh at Alphabet Soup check out: