Alexa Dretzke

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

Reviews

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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Animal Journeys by Jessica Courtney-Tickle and Patricia Hegarty

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

We’ve had a plethora of gorgeous non-fiction books for children that have been LARGE and stunning, and now there are these nifty, field-guide sized books: perfect for small hands. Animal Journeys pre…

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The Night Gardener by Terry Fan and Eric Fan

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

The Night Gardener is a magical and mysterious picture book. Grimloch Lane is fairly uninspiring until one night a tree is transformed into a giant owl and people are filled with wonder. Each day the…

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Australia Illustrated by Tania McCartney

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Australia Illustrated is a fantastic reminder of how much we have to enjoy in this diverse and marvellous country. It depicts a kaleidoscope of iconic Aussie places with tantalising colour and cheeky…

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Somewhere Else by Gus Gordon

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

Quite often home is the best place in the world and so it seems for George Lombard, a beret-wearing duck. When his friends are flying ‘Somewhere Else’ and having adventures in exotic places, George t…

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Blue Sky Yellow Kite by Janet A. Holmes and Jonathan Bentley

Reviewed by Alexa Dretzke

At Readings we love all styles of picture books: we love books with clever, quirky narratives; those that have seductive, enigmatic illustrations and appeal to an older audience; and then there are t…

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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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