Reading Age: 8+ Feed

Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure by Robert D San Souci and Sally Wern Comport

Brave MargaretSimon & Schuster, New York, 1999

Hardback, 42 pages


Suggested reading age: 8+

Reviewed by: Indrani Perera

Rating: ****

This is just the antidote for all those stories about helpless damsels in distress waiting for a prince to rescue them.  Please, give our girls more bold and brave heroines like Margaret.  I love sneaking books like these into my daughter's book bag and watch her reading them when we get home!

Brave Margaret is from Ireland and she can cast a spear as well as a herring net.  She longs to travel beyond the wide sea.  She talks a travelling sailor into taking her with him on his voyage in exchange for her cattle.  On the journey many strange and terrible things happen.  This story has the feeling of myth with sea serpents, giants and a hag.  Where it differs from most myths I know is that the hero of the tale is a woman.  Well worth checking out.

North: The Greatest Animal Journey on Earth by Nick Dowson and Patrick Benson

NorthWalker Books, London, 2011

Hardcover, 56 pages

ISBN: 978-1-8442-8-7758

Suggested reading age: 8+

Reviewed by: Indrani Perera

Rating: ****

Every year, in the northern hemisphere spring, thousands of animals from all over the world journey to the Arctic. Grey whales from Mexico, teens from Antarctica and caribou from Canada all head north to eat, feed and breed.

Join wildlife author Nick Dowson and award-winning illustrator Patrick Benson on this epic journey.

The House of Wisdom by Florence Parry Heide, Judith Heide Gilliland and Mary Grandpre

The House of WisdomDK Publishing, London, 2000

Hardback, 48 pages

ISBN: 978-0-7513-7217-5

Suggested reading age: 8+

Reviewed by: Indrani Perera

Rating: ****

This is the true story of Ishaq, a young boy who lived in Baghdad in the ninth century. At that time the west was struggling in the dark ages while in the east, scholars discovered and translated the works of the great Greek philosophers.  Ishaq becomes a scholar like his father and travels far to collect manuscripts for the house of wisdom. The House of Wisdom was the centre of new ideas and learning, drawing scholars from all over the works. 

I loved the glimpse into another culture and time that this book offered.  As a lover of books, I wish that I could have visited or worked in the House of Widsom.

Meet Captain Cook by Rae Murdie and Chris Nixon

Meet Captain Cook

Random House Australia, Milsons Point, 2013

Hardcover, 32 pages

ISBN: 978-0-8579-8017-5

Suggested reading age: 8+

Reviewed by: Indrani Perera

Rating: ***

This book is one in a great new series featuring famous Australians who helped create Australia.  I'm really excited that there are such fabulous books available for young Australians to learn about their history.  As a kid I can remember being frustrated by the emphasis in books on the northern hemisphere experience.

In Meet Captain Cook, we learn about the famous explorer's life as well as his epic voyage to discover and map the east coast of New Holland.  Did you know that 58 animals went on the trip along with the rest of the crew and their supplies?

Daisy Saves the Day by Shirley Hughes

Daisy Saves the Day

Walker Books, London, 2014

Hardcover, 40 pages

ISBN: 13 digits

Suggested reading age: 8+

Reviewed by: Indrani Perera

Rating: *****

Shirley Hughes is another of my favourite author / illustrators.  Daisy Saves the Day is a good picture book for older readers curious about what things used to be like for children.  As well as a glimpse into the past, it is also a great story.  Daisy Dobbs is sent far from home by her mother to be a scullery maid.  Although Daisy works very hard, she isn't very good at housework and longs to be able to go to school again.  This could be a good book to read to kids who are having a hard time at school.  Perhaps things aren't so bad for them after all!

Red Butterfly by Deborah Noyes and Sophie Blackall

Red ButterflyCandlewick Press, Massaachuesetts, 2007

Hardback, 32 pages

ISBN: 9780763624002

Suggested reading age: 8+

Reviewed by: Indrani Perera

Rating: *****

This lovely book tells the story of how the secret of silk was smuggled out of China by a young princess.  Her parents arranged a marriage for her with the Prince of a nearby desert kingdom.  She was young and did not want to leave home.  Her maid buried within her elaborate hairdo the seeds of the mulberry tree and the eggs of the silk worm so she would have something from home to comfort her.  

Waffle Hearts by Maria Parr

ALB - Waffle HeartsWalker Books, London, 2013

Hardcover, 240 pages

ISBN: 978-1-4063-4136-2

Suggested reading age: 8+

Reviewed by: Indrani Perera

Rating: *****

 This gorgeous book was originally published in 2005 in Maria Parr's native Norwegian.  I am so glad it was translated into English.  If you are wondering what the book is like, think modern day Pippi Longstocking, only to my mind, much funnier.  I read this one myself before giving it to my daughter and laughed aloud, a lot!

Lena Lid and Trille Yttergard are next door neighbours with wild imaginations.  As Lena leads Trille from one mad-cap adventure to another, Trille wonders if he is Lena's best friend.  Through the adventures of Lena and Trille, Maria Parr has captured the way in which children think and the way that the adults in their lives respond to them.  The characters in this story are depicted with humour, insight and sensitivity.  This story is a beautiful depiction of what growing up is like - full of laughs, heartache and wonder.  You may want to read this book with younger readers as it deals with the death of a loved one and mentions war.