Alexa Dretzke

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

Reviews

A House for Mouse by Gabby Dawnay & Alex Barrow

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Mouse decides it’s time to move house and ‘with a flick of his whiskers and twinkling eyes, he packed up his stuff and said his goodbyes’. Leaving the only home he’s known and all his friends, Mouse …

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The Skylarks' War by Hilary McKay

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

For all the children who loved The War That Saved My Life and its sequel by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, this beautiful story is an excellent addition to the genre.

Clarry and her brother live a drear…

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The Dress and the Girl by Andros Camille & Julie Morstad

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Julie Morstad is a sensitive illustrator and she delicately brings to life this gentle story by Camille Amos about a girl and her favourite dress made by her mother. The girl (never named) lives on a…

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The Things That Will Not Stand by Michael Gerard Bauer

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

You meet a girl, oh the perfect girl, and then you meet the wrong girl and life gets really interesting!

The day starts simply for Sebastian and his best mate, Tolly. They are at an open day at uni…

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Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Winner of the prestigious Newbery Medal for 2018, Hello Universe explores some common and not-socommon themes with a charming and funny deftness. We are issued into the world of four middle-school ki…

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Hansel and Gretel by Bethan Woollvin

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Now, we all know Hansel and Gretel were the poor children cast out of their home into the forest and treated rather badly by a witch – but is this so? What if we heard the story from the witch’s poin…

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Claris: The Chicest Mouse in Paris by Megan Hess

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Look out Chanel, Claris is here! But how the little country mouse yearns for the Parisian life and couture fashion. Quelle surprise, one day she is whisked away to a new life in a grand house in Pari…

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Shine Mountain by Julie Hunt

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

It is always a good start when you open a book and there’s a map. Great, a questing journey; maybe a past mystery to solve, but always a future to save. Julie Hunt ushers her characters in with a def…

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Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

When Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls hit the shops early in 2017, girls, parents, and educators were excited that an historical imbalance was being rectified; women had actually been doing notable…

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Go Go and the Silver Shoes by Jane Godwin & Anna Walker

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Friendships can start in curious ways and for Go Go, meeting Ellie was not only the start of a friendship but a chance to reunite with a much-loved shoe. Go Go always gets hand-me-downs from her big …

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The Silver Sea by Alison Lester & Jane Godwin

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

When two of the best in Australian children’s literature get together, it’s time to rejoice. Having worked together with Indigenous children to make books, Jane Godwin and Alison Lester have had lots…

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My Sweet Orange Tree by José Mauro De Vasconcelos

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Children’s literature is so much richer and more multi-cultural since Pushkin Press began publishing many gems that the English-speaking world had previously missed out on.

And, now, another comes …

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The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

After a fierce storm sinks a cargo ship and dislodges its contents, boxes of robots are destroyed on the rock of a wild and remote island and only one remains intact.

Cheeky otters explore this rob…

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M is for Mutiny by John Dixon

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Next time you see a $20 note check out the sweet old lady on it; she was a convict! As an introduction to a host of historical figures & events, M is For Mutiny engages with its unsentimental and, at…

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Odd One Out by Danielle Chaperon & Iris

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Clara and Annabelle are soulmates, complete in their friendship. Then along comes Juliette. Heartbroken, Clara watches Annabelle and Juliette’s friendship blossom as she tags along, feeling on the ou…

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Once Upon a Small Rhinoceros by Meg McKinlay & Leila Rudge

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

There are those who are happy with their place in the world and how they are in it, and there are others who yearn for more. Small rhinoceros pines for the beyond – unlike her fellow rhinos. Watching…

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In My Room by Jo Witek & Christine Roussey

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

In My Room is the fifth book in the highly successful series of novelty books that started with the phenomenally popular In My Heart. Our little protagonist is back and she’s got her creative hat on,…

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Ruben by Bruce Whatley

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

On the outskirts of a big formidable, futuristic city, Ruben lives amidst the ruins of abandoned buildings. A street child, he ventures into the city to scavenge, always keeping to the shadows, wary …

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Because of You by Pip Harry

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

One poor choice, feeling like you have no choices, shattered dreams, feeling shut out and hemmed in and then running away even when you want to go back: homelessness is the result of so many impossib…

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Two Rainbows by Sophie Masson & Michael McMahon

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Two Rainbows is an exploration of colour that works by juxtaposing how it appears in the city and then the country. A little girl finds highlights of colour in an often-grey city, whereas her farm an…

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Under the Same Sky by Britta Teckentrup

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Under the Same Sky celebrates the things that unite the natural world, with gorgeous artwork and a gentle, life-affirming text. It seems so simple, yet it is often so complex to recognise and applaud…

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To the Lighthouse by Cristy Burne

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

When opposites meet, the chances are that things will come unstuck somewhere along the way.

Emmy and Isaac meet on a holiday island. Emmy is a dare-devil and Isaac is cautious, due to an over-protec…

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Storm Whale by Sarah Brennan & Jane Tanner

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Storm Whale starts off on a windy day when three sisters walk into town and are confronted with the tragic sight of a beached whale. The girls valiantly spend the day bucketing water over the massive…

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Is Bear Here? by Jonathan Bentley

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

The boy and the bear are back. Having delighted us in Where is Bear?, this companion volume sees the little boy returning home with a full shopping trolley, only to exclaim, ‘What happened to bear?’ …

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Tilly and the Time Machine by Adrian Edmondson

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Adrian Edmondson may have been an anarchic misfit in the TV show The Young Ones, but he certainly makes the cut as a kids’ writer. When Tilly’s dad disappears, she’s pretty certain his recently built…

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The Thank You Dish by Trace Balla

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

The Readings family is a big fan of Trace Balla and her fourth picture book just makes us love her more. In The Thank You Dish she celebrates community and being grateful for where and how our food a…

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Olivia the Spy by Ian Falconer

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

If you want a picture book about a little pig with attitude you can’t go past Olivia. She’s willful, mischievous and so much fun. This time Olivia overhears her mother talking and believes she is goi…

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The Anzac Tree by Christina Booth

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Based on real people and events, not many readers will keep a dry eye reading The Anzac Tree. Generations of one family sending their children to wars is beautifully and poignantly portrayed and is p…

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Henrietta and the Perfect Night by Martine Murray

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

The first three Henriettas were explosions of delicious words and rompish ‘explorifications’. She tantalised us with her capricious adventures and exhilarating observations; Henrietta’s world was tee…

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Clare’s Goodbye by Libby Gleeson and Anna Pignataro

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Clare is a forlorn little figure as her sister and brother say goodbye to all the familiar and comforting parts of their old home. She won’t be part of their farewell, instead as they make their way …

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