Angela Crocombe

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Angela Crocombe is the Children’s Book Buyer at Readings Carlton. She is also the author of two books on sustainable living, A Lighter Footprint: A Practical Guide to Minimising your Impact on the Planet and Ethical Eating: How to Make Food Choices That Won’t Cost the Earth.

Reviews

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd and Levi Pinfold

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

This beautifully produced hardback book, with stunning illustrations by Levi Pinfold, portrays the imaginative world of childhood with incredible perception.

It is 1941 and Emmaline is in Briar Hill…

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When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

This story was a childhood favourite, so it was exciting to delve back in again recently to see how it stood the test of time.

Based on the author’s own childhood, the story begins in Berlin in 1933…

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Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

What a delightful book!

The charming author–illustrator team of Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer, brings us another brilliant youngster who happens to be in the same schoolroom: Ada T…

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The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

It is incredibly exciting to get your hands on a book that you know within the first few pages is going to be talked about by the global YA community and beyond. The Call is just such a book.

Nessa …

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Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy & Lisa Kennedy

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

Finally, Melbourne has its very own picture book celebrating the original inhabitants of the city – the Wurundjeri people. Welcome to Country is a spectacular celebration of Indigenous land and cultu…

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Fabish: The Horse That Braved A Bushfire by Neridah McMullin & Andrew McLean

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

This is a true story from the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, written from the perspective of a brave trainer, John Evett, and a courageous horse, Fabish.

An ex-racehorse, Fabish’s retirement rol…

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The Other Christy by Oliver Phommavanh

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

Christy is on the cusp of turning 11, and she is still struggling to fit in at school and find a true friend. In her school class there is another girl with the same name – a louder, more popular Chr…

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When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

When Michael first sees Mina, he is immediately captivated by her beauty. They are at a rally for refugees, holding placards for opposing sides, so his fascination for her is clearly doomed. As a ref…

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Introducing Teddy by Jessica Walton & Dougal MacPherson

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

Errol and Thomas the teddy are best friends, doing all the things that kids and their teddies love to do together, like going on picnics and visiting playgrounds. But one day Thomas is feeling partic…

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Mrs Whitlam by Bruce Pascoe

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

Bruce Pascoe’s latest book has plenty to satisfy any lover of horse stories, but it also deftly handles issues of race and privilege and has a thrilling storyline to boot. Marnie is crazy about horse…

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Pax by Sara Pennypacker & Jon Klassen

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

Pax is a timeless, moving story of the unbreakable bond of friendship between an animal and a child in the tradition of Lassie Come Home. It is also a beautiful hardcover book with stunning illustrat…

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Rockhopping by Trace Balla

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

Trace Balla, you’ve done it again! Rockhopping is a new companion title to last year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize winner, Rivertime, and it is possibly even more delightful and beautiful than its…

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The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

This gorgeous book by Caldecott Honor author Pamela Zagarenski is a testament to the power of wordless picture books to open the imagination and let it soar. A little girl is lent a special book by h…

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Magrit by Lee Battersby

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

One Day a ‘horrible thing’ is dropped down into Magrit and Master Puppet’s home by a stork. Master Puppet thinks it should be killed, Magrit wants to keep it. They have their first big disagreement. …

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Martians by Blythe Woolston

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

In a futuristic world not too different from our own, where consumption is the main objective, lives 16-year-old Zoë Zindleman. She has been forced to graduate from high school early and there are on…

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Amazing Animal Journeys by Chris Packham and Jason Cockroft

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

We have been blessed lately with a wave of beautiful non-fiction titles and this book on animal migration around the world is no exception.

In language simple enough for a five-year-old to understan…

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Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

At age 11 and in the thrall of science, Jackson feels far too old for his imaginary friend, Crenshaw the cat, who has started reappearing. Crenshaw is taking bubble baths, purring like a train and di…

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Diary of a Time Traveller by Nicholas Stevenson & David Long

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

This fascinating book is not about time travel at all but is actually a history book looking at 25 key events and time periods throughout human civilization.

When Augustus claims that history is bor…

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Liquidator by Andy Mulligan

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

From the bestselling author of Trash, strap yourself in for a thriller where a class of teenagers battle wits with an evil corporation that is trying to cover up malpractice and kill an innocent chil…

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The Marvels by Brian Selznick

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

Brian Selznick is an innovative storyteller who uses both intricate hand drawings and text to tell his stories. His middle-grade novels, The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, are contemporar…

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Atmospheric: The Burning Story of Climate Change by Carole Wilkinson

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

This non-fiction book on climate science for readers aged ten and up is well researched and highly readable. To engage readers more effectively, each chapter begins with a first person narrative set …

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Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are the very best of friends. They are trying to decide what to play today but each idea they have is not quite right. They just don’t match well with irrepressible B…

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The Cat With The Coloured Tail by Gillian Mears and Dinale Dabarera

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

Mr Hooper has an ice-cream truck that looks like a full moon. His special companion is The Cat with the Coloured Tail, a silver cat with a face in the shape of a heart and a tail that changes colours…

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The School of Art by Teal Triggs & Daniel Frost

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

This is a gorgeous publication that describes the fundamentals of art practice for young students. Using five characters, known as the ‘professors of art’, the book takes the reader through 40 lesson…

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Kizmet and the Case of the Tassie Tiger by Frank Woodley

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

This junior detective story is narrated by an unusual sidekick, a currawong named Gretchen. The heroine, Kizmet, is a feisty young investigator with the wits of Sherlock Holmes and the nose of a snif…

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The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

I was madly in love with De Goldi’s The 10pm Question a few years ago, so expectations were high for the new book by this New Zealand author. This wonderful story only made me love her work even more…

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Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

Pip lives in a world filled with magical creatures and she has a special skill that no-one else has – she can speak to them. Her talent can also get her into big trouble, such as the unfortunate (but…

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Pieces of Sky by Trinity Doyle

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

Lucy’s brother Cam died in a night surfing accident, which has rocked their small coastal town. Each of the family members is grieving in their own separate way and Lucy, once a champion swimmer, is …

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Sir Mouse to the Rescue by Dirk Nielandt and Marjolein Pottie

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

This is a stunningly beautiful fractured fairytale for emerging readers aged 7-9 or to read aloud to younger children.

The story is of a brave knight, Sir Mouse, who is best friends with a dragon. …

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Teddy Took the Train by Nicki Greenberg

Reviewed by Angela Crocombe

Melbourne graphic novelist and picture-book author Nicki Greenberg has captured a common childhood scenario and turned it into a triumphant imaginative adventure. When exuberant Dot and her mum retur…

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News

Trace Balla visits Carlton Primary School

by Angela Crocombe

Last year Readings was the lucky recipient of a James Patterson Bookseller Grant to further children’s literacy. We thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce the students of Carlton Primary School to author and artist Trace Balla. Our children’s buyer Angela Crocombe helped organise the visit – here are her thoughts on the day.

On Tuesday, I took Trace Balla, last year’s winner o…

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Three terrific children’s books from Indigenous Australians

by Angela Crocombe

In anticipation of the Blak & Bright festival (which kicks off tomorrow evening, hooray!), children’s bookseller Angela Crocombe shares a sample of her favourite books from Indigenous Australians for young readers. For YA readers:

I recently had a chance to read Becoming Kirrali Lewis, last year’s debut YA novel from Festival Director Jane Harrison, and I could not put it down.

Set in the …

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Picture books I just had to own this year

by Angela Crocombe

One of the occupational hazards of working in a bookshop is that you want to buy so many more books than you actually need or have room for. Surrounded by these beautiful objects all day, you can’t help but covet them. I really do try hard to restrain myself, but sometimes I just can’t resist and have to bring a book home where it gains pride of place on the mantelpiece for a while (until the nex…

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Celebrating the arrival of a new Dr Seuss book

by Angela Crocombe

A new Dr Seuss, did I hear you say?
Oh me, oh my, what a fabulous day!

Apologies for the poor rhyming verse, but its not every day you get a newly-published Dr Seuss book into the bookshop. In fact, since he died in 1991, it hasn’t happened for a very long time. Even The Bippolo Seed and Other Stories, released a few years back, was a compilation of stories previously published in magazines. So w…

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An update from the Readings Children’s Book Team

by Angela Crocombe

It’s been a big week for children’s books at Readings. Here’s what’s been happening!

On Tuesday, we enjoyed champagne and cake to celebrate Trace Balla’s win of this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize. Our managing director Mark Rubbo was as proud as punch to hand over a giant cheque worth $4000 to Trace for her wonderful book Rivertime.

We have sold over 750 copies of the book since…

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Come visit us at Clunes Booktown Festival

by Angela Crocombe

Bookseller Angela Crocombe sets the scene for the Clunes Booktown Festival which is happening this coming weekend (1 May - 2 May). We’re excited to have a Readings stall there for the very first time!

I know Clunes fairly well. This small town has an active local community and everyone is very friendly. There is an abundance of bookshops (five at my last count), one pub and no fast food joints…

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