Alexa Dretzke

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

Reviews

Monty and the Poodles by Katie Harnett

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Monty lives on the wrong side of the tracks, while Ginger and her pals luxuriate on the right side, at Poodle Mansions. So what does a homeless mutt have in common with a refined poodle? It seems tha…

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Kind by Alison Green and Axel Scheffler

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Kindness can be as simple as smiling at someone or just listening carefully. Sometimes it is being humane to an animal, or welcoming newcomers and making them feel at home. This wonderful book, illus…

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A Quiet Girl by Peter Carnavas

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

I love this gorgeous little picture book. I love that it champions children who get forgotten because they are gentle and quiet. Mary treads lightly on this earth and notices the small miracles of li…

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Brilliant Ideas by Wonderful Women by Aitziber Lopez & Luciano Lozano

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Men have long been credited as great innovators but thankfully publishers are now celebrating the contribution of ingenious women inventors in a flood of wonderful titles we can’t get enough of! This…

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Yahoo Creek by Tohby Riddle

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Yahoo Creek is a haunting evocation of actual reports, mostly in the early 1900s, of an ape-like creature inhabiting bush areas that are connected with the massive breadth of the Great Dividing Range…

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Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

I have reread Tuck Everlasting twice in the last three years and am always struck by the beauty and simplicity of Natalie Babbitt’s writing; why use many words when one perfect word conjures everythi…

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Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Lighthouses have an iconic charm, but beyond the pristine whiteness fables of shipwrecks and smugglers swirl around them. And then, there is the reality of staffing and maintaining them which was a t…

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The Afterwards by A.F. Harrold & Emily Gravett

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

A.F. Harrold’s books always explore a parallel, often creepy world that looks at love, loyalty and loss. The Afterwards is no exception, portraying a tight friendship between Happiness (Ness) and Dec…

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The Tales of Mr Walker by Jess Black & Sara Acton

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

I fell in love with Mr Walker when he came to a booksellers’ function. He had the insouciant manner of a well bred dog; he was a golden boy.

Trained as a guide dog for the visually impaired, he is n…

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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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News

The best picture books of 2018

by Alexa Dretzke

Every year our staff vote for their favourite books, albums, films and TV shows of the past 12 months. Here are our top 10 picture books of the year, voted for by Readings' staff, and displayed in no particular order. (You can find all our best picks for books, CDs & DVDs of 2018 here.) Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer

Love is anybody and everybody. It is families comprising all manner o…

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