Lately, I’ve had a chance to read a bit more than usual. I thought I’d share some of the books I’ve enjoyed as perhaps you might enjoy them too and I often get asked for recommendations from readers.
First up is a lovely story called Dr Booglaoo and the Girl Who Lost her Laughter by Lisa Nicol. It’s a really sweet read with some fabulous characters and quirky ideas. Dr Booglaoo isn’t your regular run of the mill GP for a start – he treats people for some very unusual complaints like refusing to go to school wearing anything other than a purple bikini in the middle of winter syndrome or some children whose noses had grown so long they’d begun to curl. But when he encounters a young girl called Blue, who hasn’t laughed for 712 days, he finds himself with the greatest challenge yet. He tries every musical antidote he can think of and nothing works. Just when you think all is lost for Blue and Dr Booglaoo, something wonderful happens. If you want to know what that is though, you’ll have to read the book for yourself!
Next up is a new series, The Royal Academy of Sport for Girls by Laura Sieveking. There are four books in the series – and you don’t have to be an expert in any of the sporting disciplines to enjoy the stories. They’re about gymnastics, swimming, running and horse riding – but mostly they’re about friendships and school. The author, Laura Sieveking actually worked at the same school I did for a little while – but she was our editor, not a teacher. I read Leap of Faith about horseriding and in particular, show jumping. Being a horsey girl myself I loved the idea of being able to go to boarding school and take my horse and so does Chloe Humphries, the central character. Boarding school proves to be lots of fun but there’s a bully or two and some big challenges for Chloe to overcome.
Another fun read is Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables by Tim Harris. Tim is a teacher – but I’m pretty sure he’s never done anything quite as eccentric as Mr Bambuckle. You see, Mr Bambuckle is a little bit out there – actually he’s a lot out there. He rides a unicycle and cooks sausages in a sizzling pan that he procures from inside his jacket. He lets the children invent a new range of stickers which are funny and much more reflective of the children’s work than the standard, Good Work or You’re the Best stickers their previous teacher used to bestow on them. He lets the students design and make drones among lots of other interesting lessons. Despite the misgivings of the rather crabby Principal, Mr Sternblast, Mr Bambuckle soon proves himself to be the best teacher the students of Room 12 B have ever had. The book has a series of chapters written from the students’ points of view and I think my favourite is Harold McHagil’s Parental Rental. There’s also a funny exchange with the scary tuckshop lady called Canteen Carol. This book has lots of laughs and there is a sequel coming next year.
Finally, last week when I was away in Melbourne I read Sally Rippin’s beautiful new book, Polly and Buster: The Wayward Witch and the Feelings Monster. It’s a gorgeous story about friendship and being brave and standing up for the people you love. Polly’s magical capabilities seem to be all over the place – she’s not very good at spells and she’s not well liked at school. Polly wants to find witch friends but no one wants to play with her. Her only friend is Buster – a monster who lives next door. The problem is that witches and monsters aren’t supposed to be friends. When Polly accidentally unleashes a strong spell, she didn’t even know she was capable of, she suddenly becomes popular – but will that destroy her truest friendship forever? There’s excitement and tension as Polly realises the true value of a good friend. The book leaves you with lots of unanswered questions but there is a sequel coming soon!