Book Review: Totally Twins Musical Mayhem

Totally Twins: Musical Mayhem, by Aleesah Darlison,                                   ill. Serena Geddes, ISBN 9781921042348, New Frontier Publishing

Reviewed by Melissa, 10, WA

Musical Mayhem (cover)

This book is actually Persephone Pinchgut’s diary! She is a nearly eleven year old girl with a twin sister, Portia. They’re exactly the same, but the only differences are Persephone likes her hair in a ponytail and she also has a tear drop birthmark near her eye. On the other hand, Portia likes her hair down and she doesn’t have the birthmark. Their mum is divorced, very busy and a health freak.

The school musical is coming up but the only problem is Persephone can’t sing and Mrs Tamarind wants everyone in the musical. Portia is certain she will get the main part. Portia, Jolie and Caitlin (the gang) start acting mean about the fact that Persephone can’t sing! Will Portia get the main part? Will Caitlin and Jolie stop teasing? Will Persephone get through with this?

I really enjoyed this book, it was really funny. I rate it 9/10!

"Undercover Readers Club logo"* Melissa is a member of our Undercover Readers Club. A review copy of Musical Mayhem was provided by the publisher.


5 things you didn’t know about picture book Samuel’s Kisses

"Karen Collum"
Karen Collum, author of Samuel's Kisses

Karen Collum is visiting today as part of a tour to celebrate her new picture book, Samuel’s Kisses. Karen is a mother to three beautiful boys, with a baby girl about to join the family in December 2010. Samuel’s Kisses is illustrated by Serena Geddes and published by New Frontier Publishing. To read more about Karen’s work visit her website.


"Samuel's Kisses cover"5 things you didn’t know about Samuel’s Kisses

1.      Samuel’s Kisses is based on a real person.

My eldest son’s name is Samuel and when he was little he used to blow kisses to everyone we walked past in the shops. I was amazed at how much happier people were after receiving a kiss from Sam and thought it would make a wonderful picture book. It turns out I was right!

2.      The illustrations were done twice.

The publisher who accepted my book found an illustrator to draw all the pictures for Samuel’s Kisses, but sadly, she wasn’t able to finish them. So, another illustrator had to be found. I was a little bit nervous as I wondered if I’d like the second lot of illustrations as much as the first, but I’m delighted to say I absolutely adore the illustrations by Serena Geddes. Serena has made the book lively and exciting while at the same time being soft and gentle, which is just perfect for the story.

3.      I had to change one important word.

When I sent my book to the publisher I had each of the kisses landing on people’s cheeks with a loud ‘SMACK’. One of the first things the publisher did was get me to change that to ‘SPLAT’. After all, we don’t want to encourage little children to smack anybody!

4.      There was a poem on the very last page that is no longer there.

When a publisher decides to publish a book they make changes to make it better. This happened with Samuel’s Kisses and as a result, the poem that I had at the end of the book was cut out. I’m glad it’s not in the final version as I think the book is stronger without it, but I’ll share it with you here:

Blow me a kiss, my sweet little one

Blow me a kiss, make it fast and fun

Fly it over your pillow and under your bed

Past your window and round my head

Blow me a kiss with all your might

And I’ll blow you a kiss and say goodnight.

5.      It took nearly two years to be published.

Making a book takes a very long time. I found out in April 2009 that New Frontier Publishing were going to publish Samuel’s Kisses so it’s taken almost two years for the book to be brought to life. There are a lot of things that happen during that time such as signing a publishing contract, organising an illustrator, editing the book and getting it printed, but it’s still a long time to wait. I’m very excited that I can finally hold my book in my hands and read it to my kids.

Here are the other stops on the blog tour:

Dec 1: Kathryn Apel

Dec 2: Dee White

Dec 3: Sheryl Gwyther

Dec 4: New Frontier Blog and Serena Geddes

Dec 5: Alphabet Soup magazine [You’re here]

Dec 6: Susan Stephenson

Dec 7: Katrina Germein