Alexa Dretzke

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Alexa Dretzke is a Children’s & YA Book Specialist at Readings Hawthorn.

Reviews

Blueback by Tim Winton

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

I fell in love with Tim Winton when I read That Eye the Sky many years ago, however, children need not wait until their twenties to form a relationship with him because he’s written quite a few kids’…

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Mr Lemoncello’s Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

He’s back, but if you haven’t met him before that doesn’t matter one bit because threaded through the first chapters are the bare bones of that wonderful first adventure, Escape From Mr Lemoncello’s

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Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois by Isabelle Arsenault & Amy Novesky

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Every now and then a picture book comes along that is perfect in every way, such as Cloth Lullaby. The words illuminate a story with beautiful prose around which the pictures merge seamlessly.

Loui…

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Can I Build Another Me? by Shinsuke Yoshitake

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Listen up, kids! Sick of chores and boring homework? Well, they are a thing of the past when you get a robot to be YOU! However, the robot has to learn all about you and it turns out there’s quite a …

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Australia’s Nightingale: Nellie Melba by Cassy Liberman

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

This is the first picture book about Nellie Melba and it elegantly portrays a yesteryear of privilege. It was a time when women weren’t encouraged to pursue a career or even become educated, but Nell…

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A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting by Michelle Robinson & David Roberts

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Now, there are a few fun bear facts in this book and also a couple of practical hints about bear management if one were to encounter a bear but, really, avoidance, unless you are at the zoo, is the b…

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Isaac and His Amazing Asperger Superpowers! by Melanie Walsh

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Colourful and clear, Isaac and His Amazing Asperger Superpowers! explains the enigma of Asperger’s Syndrome. Isaac describes what his life and feelings are like in a positive way, even when his behav…

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Over the Ocean by Taro Gomi

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

A child’s imagination is an unencumbered expanse and can entertain possibilities and wonder that as adults we have mostly disengaged from; when was the last time you really mused on what is ‘over the…

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Confessions of an Imaginary Friend by Michelle Cuevas

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Fleur and Jacques Papier are twins. Jacques loves his sister, but he’s worried by his parents lack of attention towards him. In fact, most adults are less than receptive towards Jacques.

However, he…

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Moving Target by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

A centuries old spear and a 21st century girl are on a collision course that could change the future of the world. What’s the plan? Cassie has no plan when out of nowhere her life is threatened and h…

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The Wonder Garden by Kristjana S Williams and Jenny Broom

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Big, bold and beautiful, The Wonder Garden is a spectacular exploration of five natural regions of our amazing world. These are habitats that are home to fantastic creatures and plants, some well kno…

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What Do You Wish For by Jane Godwin & Anna Walker

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Magic is one way to describe the collaboration between Jane Godwin and Anna Walker. From their first picture book together, Little Cat and the Big Red Bus, to this seasonal latest they have created c…

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West of the Moon by Margi Preus

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Left in the care of their avaricious aunt and uncle while their father settles in America and prepares to send for her and her younger sister, Astri is sold to an old goat farmer as a servant. Life w…

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Jill and Dragon by Lesley Barnes

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Bold as can be, Jill astride a dragon triumphantly greets the reader and you just know she is a girl who gets on with things, oh yes, she does! As Jill finishes reading her book that supposedly ends …

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Pierre the Maze Detective by Chihiro Maruyama, Hiro Kamigaki & IC4Design

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Oh man, my eyeballs nearly popped out and my brain almost exploded, so I found a friend and together we tried to solve the mind-blowingly detailed mazes in this fantastic book.

As well as finding y…

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The Day The Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

It’s been over a year since the crayons quit (The Day the Crayons Quit) and postcards are starting to arrive for the neglectful Duncan. As we know, the crayons were living sad and disgruntled existen…

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Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

This extremely enjoyable story introduces us to 16-year-old Sam’s summer internship at the local newspaper. Her chief duty is compiling and writing obituaries and even though she anticipated more gla…

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Bob the Railway Dog by Corinne Fenton

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

This is not Corinne Fenton’s first picture book about a dog and like the one in The Dog on the Tuckerbox, Bob is a loyal dog, but his faithfulness is more to the trains that travelled throughout sout…

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Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder and Julie Morstad

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

One night a little girl is taken to see her first ballet concert and as her heart sings with the joy of it a dream is born.

The time was the 1800s, the place Russia and the girl was Anna Pavlova. To…

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Little Houses by Helen Musselwhite

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Little Houses is a counting book that is a delicious smorgasbord of different houses from around the world all created by gifted paper artist, Helen Musselwhite. From a simple crofter’s cottage in Sc…

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Grandma’s House by Alice Melvin

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Alice Melvin’s previous book, the highly acclaimed and bestselling The High Street, was a charming evocation of a more genteel, less hurried time when shopkeepers displayed their wares with pride and…

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Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

There is a mystery within Grandad’s Island and it is up to each reader to decide for themselves what lies at the heart of this lovely, gentle book by Benji Davies, who gave us the wonderful Storm Wha

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My Name is Lizzie Flynn: A Story of the Rajah Quilt by Claire Saxby & Lizzy Newcomb

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

In 1841 Lizzie Flynn is being transported on the ship The Rajah from England to Australia. Her punishment for stealing a shawl is to serve seven years as a convict in the penal colony of Van Diemen’s…

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The Most Wonderful Thing in The World by Vivian French and Angela Barrett

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Oh my, this book is so pretty and the detail in the pictures so exquisitely delightful, I didn’t want it to end. In the way of so many fairytales, a suitable husband must be found for the princess an…

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I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Surprising and funny things can happen when a literary classic enters the brave new world of social media. Lucy and her two best friends begin their summer holidays with an uninspiring reading list f…

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Caravan Fran by Cheryl Orsini

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Caravan Fran is a dinky, retro mobile home that is about to embark on a vacation to the sea. Packed fulsomely and lovingly by Dave, Joe and Sam, off they go but a bumpy road sees the door fly open, R…

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How Big is Too Small? by Jane Godwin

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Size is mostly a measurement but it is also a relative notion too. What’s big to a small child is not necessarily so to an adult. In Sam’s case he’s too small to play with his older brother and his f…

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The Island of Dr Libris by Chris Grabenstein

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Escape From Mr Lemoncello’s Library was one of Readings’ bestselling kids’ books for 2014. It was wonderfully puzzling and compellingly un-put-downable. The Island of Dr Libris is not a sequel but is…

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A River by Marc Martin

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Reading A River is like being in someone else’s dream. As the languid waterway meanders through city, fields, forests and waterfalls you succumb to the rich patterns and serpentine serenity that feel…

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Why I Love Footy by Michael Wagner and Tom Jellett

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Why I Love Footy perfectly reflects the experience of going to an Australian Rules match. For kids who love to go to the footy it mirrors their experience and for those who haven’t been it’s a great …

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