Children's Books and Toys 

     

As well as our comprehensive children's department - a whole shop within a shop that caters to children from babies to young adults, Gleebooks also offers an educational division, with specialist staff dedicated to meeting the needs of both local and international schools. Visit either of the following pages to see what Gleebooks can offer your school:

 

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This month's highlights


November 2018

 - Friday, November 09, 2018
By the time you are reading this, the children’s section here in Glebe will have a new look, opening into what we hope you will agree is a more welcoming space. Do join us here! In this column there’s a whole year’s worth of splendour in one month, with books for all ages from the very young to teens. Wishing you all a very happy and book-filled Christmas holiday!

PICTURE BOOKS


A Whisper from Grey by Louise Greig (ill) Lo Cole ($17, PB) Assigning lyrical attributes to colours, Greig compares Grey and other hues in this picture book with die-cuts that draw you through the spectrum. Grey ‘does not… squawk like Green, or roar like Yellow’ however it’s her shy whisper that makes the other colours glow. Paired with printmaker Cole’s bold interpretations, Greig’s passion for nature shines through in this unusual concepts book for 3–5 year-olds. It’s a vivid celebration of colour and form. Lynndy

The Little Barbarian by Renato Moriconi
Brazilian artist Moriconi’s watercolour illustrations set against white space demand attention to the young barbarian hero, clad for battle against the succession of myriad fantastic foes he encounters. Unconventional throughout, from the physical format—a narrow hardcover—to the surprise twist in the ending, this wordless picture book is bound to engross the imagination of anyone aged 3+. ($31, HB) Lynndy

Door by Jiehyon Lee ($30, HB) One of many talented Korean illustrators in contemporary children’s literature, Lee follows her award-winner Pool with another wordless picture book, depicting curiosity, an alien in a foreign land, openness and inclusion. Subtly textured grey pencil illustrations show a child venturing through a doorway into a world where every encounter is more colourful as the hesitant child is welcomed into various scenes and celebrations. While their respective languages are incomprehensible to one another, the overarching message is not. Here the child is unquestioningly accepted; all differences warmly eclipsed by that acceptance. (A topical message for today’s world.) The child’s return to the dreary grey world contains hope, the door left open. If this seems a lot to pay for a book without words, consider this: it is art with wonderful textures to immerse yourself in, plus a completely different story every time it’s ‘read’. Lynndy

CLASSICS


The Babar books by Jean de Brunhoff
First written nearly 90 years ago, these French masterpieces are still fresh and appealing. They have more than stood the test of time, and have been much imitated, but never matched. There is something about Jean de Brunhoff’s confident, unbroken outlines, his use of colour, and the wonderful handwritten text (not always represented in all editions) that transport us into the world of these elephants, as well as the actual narrative. Like all the best classics, Babar has been seen as controversial. It’s definitely possible to assess these as post-colonial books, with the Old Lady being a ‘civilising’ influence on the wild Babar. Personally I see these books as being anti wild animal hunting, and I remember my children read them as that too. The first seven Babar books were written by Jean (after an idea from his wife Cecile), over ten years, then after his death their son Laurent wrote and illustrated many more. My favourite is the second one, The Travels of Babar. These are also available in French, and are excellent practice for those learning that language ($11.95–­$45) Louise

The Little House: 75th Anniversary Edition by Virginia Lee Burton ($27, HB)
I absolutely adore The Little House. I remember in primary school running to the library at lunchtimes, to get my hands on the single copy and reading it over and over. Virginia Lee Burton (1909–1968) both wrote and illustrated this enchanting story. First published in 1942, it tells the story of a Little House, built by its owner in the middle of the countryside. For many years the Little House is happy and content watching the Seasons pass. Yet, Time passing also sees the countryside gradually altered by ever more development and change. Country lanes turn into highways, cars and trams make their appearance. Farmhouses gradually transform into apartments and tall skyscrapers. A large city— full of hustle and bustle—eventually surrounds the now increasingly neglected Little House. However, thanks to the great-great-granddaughter of the original owner, there is a happy ending for the Little House. Equally delightful are the vivid and eye-catching illustrations. Burton gives the Little House life by using the windows as her ‘eyes’ and the front steps as her ‘mouth’. I especially love the section showing the passing of the Seasons. Like the entire book, it’s full of endless, fascinating detail. Upon publication, one reviewer remarked that ‘The Little House wins its way into the very centre of our heart’. Including mine. Steve (We also have a standard paperback at $14. LB)

NON FICTION


Lifesize by Sophy Henn ($20, PB)
Describing many animals from different terrains, Sophy Henn has been very ingenious including many life size features of the animals. We see the real life size hummingbird, and of a tiger centipede, and a leaf insect and other creatures; and then the true size of a squid’s eye, a kangaroo’s ears, a giraffe’s tongue etc. This is such a good way for the reader to interact with the book, and the animals within. There’s a double page spread at the back of the book with a chart comparing each animal, using the Lifesize book as measurement. Great fun. Louise

Kookaburra Kookaburra by Bridget Farmer ($25, HB)
Bridget Farmer’s linocut pictures of Australian birds are a delight. Accurate and beautiful, and full of character, with a simple and informative text written in rhyme. There is a more detailed glossary at the back of the book, with interesting facts and descriptions of the birds. Bridget Farmer’s style, while being adult and realistic, really lends itself to this non-fiction picture book format. Lovely endpapers too, ages 4 to adult. Louise

The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid: 47 Countries, 100 Extraordinary Places to Visit by Dylan Thuras & Rosemary Mosco (ill) Joy Ang ($30, HB)
With a title like that little more need be said! This vibrantly presented expedition to some of the world’s most fascinating sites is just right for those aged 8 or over with a spark of curiosity about the world around them. If you aren’t familiar with the Atlas Obscura website www.atlasobscura.com, check it out too for a galaxy of intriguing facts. Lynndy
The Daredevil’s Guide to Dangerous Places by Anna Brett & Lonely Planet (ill) Mike Jacobsen ($20, PB)
Simpler than the Atlas Obscura trek, this visit to 35 of the world’s most dangerous natural places is no less interesting. Readers of 7+ can travel prepared, with this guide combining photos and lively illustrations with facts and statistics relating to extremes from volcanoes to the Antarctic ice shelf. Lynndy

FICTION


The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars by Jaclyn Moriarty (ill) Kelly Canby ($23, HB)
In a strange way I envy readers about to discover Moriarty’s latest tale as they still have the unalloyed delight of this unpredictable and wondrous saga ahead of them. From the very first sentence I was enraptured: ‘I was taken by Whisperers at 2pm, so I never pulled the lever for the laundry chute.’ At the centre of the story is the rivalry between Spindrift’s Orphanage School and the frightfully upper class Brathelwaite Boarding School nearby. Students engage in ever-increasing competitions and sabotage through practical jokes, but their antipathy dissipates when the children unite against the mysterious forces that change the town. Disappearing children, magical flu and invading witches will change your perspective like that. Set fifteen years before The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone this novel shares many of the same adventurous elements, and is even funnier. Officially recommended for readers 10–14, but I’d say anyone 10 to adult—why deny yourself the joy? Lynndy 

The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters series by Kara Lareau (ill) Jen Hill ($12-$14, PB/$20, HB)
The Bland sisters, Kale and Jaundice, have lived alone since their parents failed to return from an errand, however they’ve plenty to fill their time. Eating porridge, drinking tepid tea, darning other people’s socks, and staring at the wallpaper are just some of their daily occupations—enlivened by reading to each other from Dr Snoote’s Illustrated Children’s Dictionary. All this changes the day they answer a knock at their door… So far just two volumes of the Bland sisters’ absolutely and utterly unintentional adventures are available, with the third coming in January. If you love humour, irony, adventure, unpredictability, or even very tame pursuits such as extending your vocabulary, I highly recommend this series. Lareau’s drily witty stories are sure to garner her fans amongst the targeted range of children 9+, but I urge you to read these books as a family as the adults will appreciate the parodies of classical literature and popular culture. For example V1, The Jolly Regina, features an atypical pirate captain and references to Naomi Wolf and Moby-Dick, while in V2, The Uncanny Express, Agatha Christie’s creations featuring Poirot are satirised. Sheer good fun! Lynndy 

Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee
It isn’t at all surprising that Lenny’s Book of Everything elicited so much acquisitive passion amongst vying publishers. I was completely captivated by it. There are so many elements of this book that I wholeheartedly love: the characters, the subscription to periodical encyclopedias and their effects on the children... oh, Everything! I defy you not to be moved by Lenny and her fiercely protective love for her brother Davy, who has gigantism and is still growing. Or by their mother, managing single parenthood with defiance and misrepresentation by correspondence, or kindly neighbour Mrs Gaspar. Set in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the story loses none of its impact through the remoteness of time; it develops at the pace of Davy’s growth and equally embeds itself in the reader’s heart. This is the sort of story that lingers ever after in your mind; the sort of book that in 30 years’ time bookshop customers will open their enquiry with ‘I want a copy of a book I read when I was a kid; can’t recall the exact title but I absolutely adored it and read it over and over again...’ For young readers I strongly believe Lenny’s Book of Everything will have a similar effect. As our rep commented ‘Anyone who has a heart would love it, and anyone without a heart will grow one’. Just like Jaclyn Moriarty’s new novel, this is one for readers 10 to adult, and (I predict) a future award winner. ($20, PB/$28, HB) Lynndy

FAVOURITES FROM DULWICH HILL

Morgan from Dulwich Hill:
The Rabbit, the Dark & the Biscuit Tin by Nicola O’Byrne ($25, HB) Never be afraid of the dark again. (3+)
Claris: The Chicest Mouse in Paris by Megan Hess ($25, HB) Adorable! (3+)
Good Rosie! by Kate DiCamillo (ill) Harry Bliss ($25, HB) For dog lovers everywhere— gorgeous illustrations. (2+)
The Girl, the Dog & the Writer in Rome by Katrina Nannestad ($17, PB) Charming and quirky. Provence sequel due November. (9+)
Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough ($20, PB) Great teen fiction by an inner-west author. (15+)

         

FAVOURITES FROM BLACKHEATH

Victoria from Blackheath:
Room on Our Rock by Kate & Jol Temple (ill) Terri Rose Baynton A beautiful and clever picture book that introduces young children to the concept of refugees and migration. As you read from front to back, it is a simple story of turning away those who don’t belong...but when you get to the end...start reading it backwards and you will see another side to the story. A book to read out loud to both young and old. ($25, HB) (3+)

TOYS


French Moulin Roty toys are very special, they are destined to become family ‘heirlooms rather than landfill’*, and we stock a lot of their range. There are families of toy mice, rabbits and cats, La Famille Mirabelle (all beautifully dressed), and beautiful fabric dolls, Les Parisiennes, all elegantly dressed. There are toys for the great outdoors, compasses and story torches, and old fashioned favourites like fabulous flip books, marbles and cartons of chalk, and French skipping elastics. (*Mossy Store in Moss Vale wrote this phrase on a blackboard outside their shop, and I find it a very apt credo).

          
 
We are eagerly awaiting our Christmas delivery of distinctive spinning tops from Austria. Handmade and hand painted, each one a little masterpiece of design and balance, these spinning tops sell out fast, and range from $10-$25. We also have some special spinning plates, available in an assortment of woods; at $60 these fall into the above mentioned heirloom category, but will last forever. 

Memory games, jigsaw puzzles, matching games, dominos, magnetic chess, snap cards, the list goes on. We have so many really fabulous puzzles and games, I see hours of pleasure ahead of us, when the weather turns bad, and the beady eyes tire of looking at screens. Louise

NOVELTY BOOKS


Beyond the Sixth Extinction: A Post-Apocalyptic Pop-Up by Shawn Sheehy (ill) Jordi Solano ($90, HB)
With the sixth evolutionary extinction reputedly already in progress thanks to human negligence, Sheehy has blended science with science fiction, presenting a credible future world. Picture it: the year 4847, and Earth is dominated by non-human creatures that have adapted for survival. Pop-ups, flaps, and biological explanations explore this future ecosystem; a field guide indicates the relationship between each creature and a time line of the global extinctions adds an unsettling verisimilitude. Superbly imagined and presented, this is a book of startling possibilities and details to absorb the reader for hours. ‘Perfect for fans who have outgrown Dragonology—this could be considered a sort of Evolutionology’. The text, concepts and paper engineering are best suited for ages 10 to adult. Lynndy

Inside the Villains by Clotilde Perrin ($30, HB)
Three stereotypical fairy tale baddies: a wolf, a witch and a giant, are dissected through layers of flaps and fold-outs, personal profiles and stories. Perrin’s oversize book is original and fun, allowing us to delve right into each character. With the wolf you can fold away his fur to reveal Grandma’s embroidered nightgown beneath it, ‘pockets filled with octogenarian notions’, and keep peeling back layers until you reach his last meal inside his belly. These villains enjoy no privacy as the reader discovers every last physical, mental and literary detail via multilayered papercraft. Fairy tales will never be the same again after these icons have been laid bare. With someone older reading the text, children from 4 upwards will delight in every wickedness exposed. Lynndy

  1. November 2018 Gleebooks Bookshop 09-Nov-2018
  2. October 2018 Gleebooks Bookshop 11-Oct-2018
  3. September 2018 Gleebooks Bookshop 30-Aug-2018
  4. August 2018 Gleebooks Bookshop 24-Jul-2018
  5. July 2018 Gleebooks Bookshop 29-Jun-2018