Alexa Dretzke

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

Reviews

The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito and Julia Kuo

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

In a busy city like Tokyo the idea of silence is almost ridiculous. The Japanese have the word ‘Ma’ to explain the silence between sounds and it is this notion that inspires this quite lovely picture…

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Molly and Mae by Danny Parker and Freya Blackwood

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

The vicissitudes of friendship are perfectly portrayed in Molly & Mae: the fun, frivolity and sometimes the discord. As the two girls embark on a long train journey from the country to the city, thei…

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Mr Chicken Arriva a Roma by Leigh Hobbs

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Stupendo, Mr Chicken (or should that be ‘Señor Pollo’?) you big, bold and magnificent chook, we have been waiting for you to take us on another trip. Rome, here we come! Arriving incognito, he positi…

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A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston mellifluously and joyously invite us to celebrate The Book. The outcome of their collaboration is a gorgeous and sensitive exploration of how magical books are and how …

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Sweet Petite by Poh Ling Yeow & Sarah Rich

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Past MasterChef contestant turned cooking-show presenter Poh Ling Yeow needs no introduction.Now, with her good friend and illustrator, Sarah Rich, she has turned her talents to the world of children…

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My Brother by Dee Huxley, Oliver Huxley & Tiffany Huxley

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

I was very moved by this poignant and beautiful book. The pages are haunted by a longing so intense that you feel privileged to be included as you read.

A gentle, sad creature has lost his brother …

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Petunia Paris’s Parrot by Katie Haworth & Jo Williamson

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Petunia Paris lives a life of luxury and wants for very little, so her parents are challenged for gifts when her fifth birthday approaches; what to give their darling, indulged treasure? A talking pa…

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The Nest by Kenneth Oppel & Jon Klassen

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Oh my goodness, this tight, terrifying psychological thriller will have kids squirming in their seats as they read. Back in the day when creepy little fairytales horrified and tantalised young minds,…

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Circle by Jeannie Baker

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Jeannie Baker has long been concerned with the human impact on our natural world and Circle is another intricate and radiant book that reflects this. I am a huge fan of Baker’s artwork and her storie…

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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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