Archives for category: Children’s Fiction

Hands up if you LOVE Andy Griffiths? Yep, we think he’s pretty terrific too. Andy has been flying around Australia promoting the latest in his ‘Treehouse’ series. He kindly took some time out to answer a few questions we conjured up. Actually that’s not true. Some fabulous Ferrets came up with these pearlers. We think he answered them rather well… Thanks HEAPS Andy and THANK YOU kids!

Why do you like writing childrens books?     

Some of my earliest and most intense reading experiences were the books I read as a child. Books like The Cat in the Hat, A Fish Out of Water, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh and The Magic Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair went in very deep and a large part of the fun I get out of writing is attempting to capture the magical, intense feelings I experienced when reading them in my own writing.

How many rejections did you have before you got published? How did this make you feel?

I had plenty of rejections for my early attempts to write a book but this did not discourage me overly much. I knew I still had a lot to learn about writing and humour and I also knew that the only way to learn was to give it my best shot and send it out. Every now and again a publisher would make a helpful comment or say something enouraging so even though they didn’t publish my book I still felt that I was making progress.

Do you give the illustrator a basic sketch of your ideas before he does his own sketches for your books?

I give Terry a good idea about what I want but I don’t give him too much detail as it’s always a better and funnier drawing if he re-invents the ideas in his own unique mad way. The drawings always surprise me and often inspire me to change or extend the story to do them justice. By this method we come up with a book that neither of us could have created by ourselves.

Are all your books funny fiction?

Yes, pretty much. Something happens when I pick up the pen and, even when I’m trying to be serious, something funny starts happening. I’ve learned to just give in and go with it.

How long have you been writing books for?

I’ve been writing stories, drawing cartoons and having fun with words since I was old enough to pick up a pen. My first book, a creative writing textbook for teachers, was published in 1993. We republished a completely rewritten and re imagined version of this book earlier this year called ‘Once upon a Slime: 45 fun ways to get writing fast!’

How do you think of, imagine and create the books you do?  

By reading lots of books, watching lots of movies, staying fit and healthy and keeping my eyes and ears open to the funny (and not so funny) things that happen to all of us every day!

Andy Griffiths is one of Australia’s most popular children’s authors. He has written more than 20 books, including nonsense verse, short stories, comic novels and plays. Over the last 15 years Andy’s books have been New York Times bestsellers, won more than 50 children’s choice awards, been adapted as a television cartoon series and sold more than 5 million copies worldwide


Make a date with mischief and mayhem.Friday 13th is Roald Dahl Day! We’ve got badges to give away for every purchase on display in store (see our colourful table?). We’ve also added some Roald Dahl Funny Prize recipients into the mix, aswell as authors we think continue the humour of everyone’s favourite children’s author! Look out for David Walliams, L.Pichon and R.A. Spratt.. You might even notice those fabulous Bush Buddies Guitars from Discoveroo. A whizzpoppingly musical addition to any story time!


Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always. And there’s no delete button. She’s the smartest kid in her whole school—but NO ONE knows it.

Most people—her teachers and doctors included—don’t think she’s capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again. If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows. But she can’t. She can’t talk. She can’t walk. She can’t write.

Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind—that is, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice . . . but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.

From multiple Coretta Scott King Award winner Sharon M. Draper comes a story full of heartache and hope. Get ready to meet a girl whose voice you’ll never, ever forget.

If you enjoyed Wonder by A.J. Palacio, then this new release is sure to resonate. Suitable for ages 9+. There’s a great interview on Draper’s website that I think would work well in a class environment too!


Whether you’re a birth mum, adoptive mum or step mum, in honour of Mothers Day this Sunday, here’s just a few of our favourite stories that celebrate the role of motherhood in all its guises. For some bizarre reason I was utterly fascinated by the ‘motherly’ role of Miss Havisham growing up, but in reality I was safely nestled under the warm wing of my own gorgeous Mum.  So this Sunday, go give your mother a squeeze and tell her what a great job she’s done.

Finding Serendipity

Next week, it’s school holidays… again. Parents are browsing for new titles and kids will arrive in their droves over the weekend for a book to keep themselves occupied over the coming weeks. If you’re scratching your head for ideas, here are a few that might keep you all out of trouble.

1. Judy Moody is back, and she is the luckiest girl around! But will her good luck be enough to get her a spot at the spelling bee in Washington, D.C.? Find out in Megan McDonald’s latest super fun chapter book, JUDY MOODY AND THE BAD LUCK CHARM.

2. Once Upon a Slime. Have you ever wondered where ideas come from and how stories are made? Would you like to know the true stories behind some of Andy Griffith’s books and characters? Are you a teacher looking for simple, practical and inspiring writing activities for your next creative writing class? Would you like to discover 52 great ways to have fun with words and pictures? If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions then this is definitely the right book for you!

3. Smitten is the HOT new romance series for teens. Smitten girls are strong, gorgeous and confident, following their dreams around the world. They are solving their own problems, not waiting around for a knight on a white horse. Although sometimes that would be nice …
Smitten boys are charming, suave and deeply sexy. They’re the perfect boy to fall in love with. They won’t sparkle in the sun, or sprout wings, but they will sweep you off your feet and their kisses will have you weak at the knees.

Oh to be a teen again…squeak!

We’re very excited to be launching this book in April. Why? Not only is it going to be a fabulous new adventure for our fantastic Ferrets but it’s co-written by two of Tasmania’s favourite authors. Who are they? Well head over to the official Tuesday McGillycuddy website to find out. Check out their Facebook page too, it’s chock full of the latest news from the two headed author!

Insert title of Book

A fish with a blue topper, a little thief with a big ego. I’m not usually a fan of black books but this one had me at ‘This hat is not mine‘.

Just awarded the 2013 Caldecott medal winner for its illustration. America thinks it’s the best around. What do you think?

We’ve had so many gorgeous books arrive this week I’m almost hyperventilating. Here’s just a few of my favourites for this week…

1. Just Ducks! Nicola Davies and Salvatore Rubbino. With the weather rather inclement around here, this is the perfect book,  full of darling drawings and useful did-you-knows. Look, learn and love these feathered quackers.

2. Creatrilogy. Peter H.Reynolds. I’m COMPLETELY in love with this series. Allow kids the freedom to create and know that their process is just as important as the end result.

From the Boxed Set edition

3. Maddy West and the Tongue Taker. Brian Falkner & Donovan Bixley. If you enjoyed Northwood, you’ll love this,  a fantastical adventure where  secrets, scrolls and stowaways abound.

4. The Raven Boys. Maggie Stiefvater. Boys, they’re always trouble, especiall rich boys at the Aglionby Academy. And with a name like that it doesn’t surprise me. New series from a favourite YA author.

It’s September, it’s Spring and that can mean only one thing – school holidays. Here’s our pick of the best new and awesome books to keep you busy…

1. Nanny Piggins – The Daring Rescue, R.A. Spratt

When Mr Green rings from a tropical island, begging to be rescued, Nanny Piggins first instinct is to say ‘no’.  However, a principle is at stake. No-one kidnaps her employer – at least not without written permission from her.  So Nanny Piggins sets out to save the hapless tax lawyer, and to do so she must first dabble in a spot of bungy jumping, deceive immigration officials wearing a fake moustache and seduce the President with her most powerful weapon – the dance of the seven cakes.

Age 7+

3. The Word Hunters, Nick Earls & Terry Whidborne. Book 1

Lexi and Al Hunter are twins with almost nothing in common – except their parents and their birthday! At school Lexi hangs with her friends, while Al hides in the library reading about history, battles and faraway places.

When the twins stumble upon an old dictionary their world as they know it changes. They are blasted into history to hunt down the words that threaten to vanish from our past and our present. Their lives and the future of the world are at stake. Can they find a way back home? Or will they be trapped in the past? For once, they’ll need to depend on each other if they want to survive.

Age 8+

3. White Ninja, Tiffany Hall

Roxy Ran is an ordinary thirteen-year-old girl who doesn′t know anything about her ninja powers until a confrontation with the school bully unleashes them.

When new boy Jackson Axe introduces Roxy to the world of martial arts, she learns about the legend of the White Warrior and the powers that are trapped in the Tiger Scrolls. The White Warrior is hunted by both the ninja and samurai clans, and now Jackson and Roxy must find the Tiger Scrolls and unleash the powers of the White Warrior before the samurai do.

And in order to survive, Roxy must unleash her inner ninja.

Ages: 9+

4. Skulduggery Pleasant – Mortal Coil, Derek Landy

Skulduggery Pleasant is back, and reunited with his original head. But all is not well in the magical world – for one thing, foreign powers are conspiring to take over the Irish Sanctuary, and for another thing, Valkyrie has discovered she might be the sorceress set to destroy the world. The problem is, she doesn′t feel she can tell Skulduggery what she′s learned… and that′s how all the trouble starts.

With Valkyrie on a quest of her own, to seal her name and prevent her evil destiny from coming to pass, Skulduggery and the gang are even more vulnerable. Which is a shame, because remember those thousands of remnants, imprisoned in the Midnight Hotel? Well, now they′re out. Not only that but they believe Valkyrie is their messiah. And that means thousands of wicked souls, desperate to get to Valkyrie, willing to kill anyone in their way… Oh, and because they can possess any body, they could be ANYONE.

Now Skulduggery, Valkyrie, Ghastly and Tanith can trust no one. Not even each other…

Age 9+

5. Dead Weather and Sunrise – The Chronicles of Egg, Book 1, Geoff Rodkey
WARNING – violence alert

It’s tough to be thirteen, especially when somebody’s trying to kill you.

Not that Egg’s life was ever easy, growing up on sweaty, pirate-infested Deadweather Island with no company except an incompetent tutor and a pair of unusually violent siblings who hate his guts.

But when Egg’s father hustles their family off on a mysterious errand to fabulously wealthy Sunrise Island, then disappears with the siblings in a freak accident, Egg finds himself a long-term guest at the mansion of the glamorous Pembroke family and their beautiful, sharp-tongued daughter Millicent. Finally, life seems perfect.

Until someone tries to throw him off a cliff.

Suddenly, Egg’s running for his life in a bewildering world of cutthroat pirates, villainous businessmen, and strange Native legends. The only people who can help him sort out the mystery of why he’s been marked for death are Millicent and a one-handed, possibly deranged cabin boy.

Come along for the ride. You’ll be glad you did.

Age 11+

Deadweather and Sunrise

6. Confusion of Princes, Garth Nix

“I have died three times, and three times been reborn, though I am not yet twenty in the old earth years by which it is still the fashion to measure time. This is the story of my three deaths, and my life between. My name is Khemri.”
Taken from his parents as a child and equipped with biological and technological improvements, Khemri is now an enhanced human being, trained and prepared for the glory of becoming a Prince of the Empire. Not to mention the ultimate glory: should he die, and be deemed worthy, he will be reborn…Which is just as well, because no sooner has Prince Khemri graduated to full Princehood than he learns the terrible truth behind the Empire: there are ten million princes, and all of them want each other dead.

Age 13+

7. Friday Brown, Vicki Wakefield

Seventeen-year-old Friday Brown is on the run—running to escape memories of her mother and of the family curse. And of a grandfather who’d like her to stay. She’s lost, alone and afraid.

Silence, a street kid, finds Friday and she joins him in a gang led by beautiful, charismatic Arden. When Silence is involved in a crime, the gang escapes to a ghost town in the outback. In Murungal Creek, the town of never leaving, Friday must face the ghosts of her past. She will learn that sometimes you have to stay to finish what you started—and often, before you can find out who you are, you have to become someone you were never meant to be.

Friday Brown is the breathtaking second novel from the author of the award-winning All I Ever Wanted. Vikki Wakefield is an astonishing talent.

Age 15+

It’s the middle of winter and I’m feeling kind of sluggish. I need some inspiration, a little colour to keep the light bright. With a log fire burning and a warm cup of tea by my side, I’m dreaming of sharing a book with my boys, a book that echoes the very reason I read.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore may be familiar to many, winner of an Academy Award this year for Best Short Film. Created by illustrating genius William Joyce, this is a book to wrap yourself round, whether you’re a grown up or still growing up. It’s on our shelves and waiting to be taken home. It won’t disappoint, just wait and see…