What we’re reading this week

There are some amazing new releases arriving on our shelves this week, but one of our favourites is, for obvious reasons, A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston.

In this beautifully illustrated book, a young girl and boy travel through a landscape of words and books, and find that your imagination, inspired by classic stories, can make anything happen.


child of books child of books page

Look closely at the illustrations and you might find you recognise some of the sentences: lines from stories like Alice in Wonderland, Swiss Family Robinson, Pinocchio and Peter Pan. It’s the perfect book for a book-loving family.

Wild Things staff member Genevieve, who runs the Wonder Club book club, has just read the October book club book, The Roman Quests by Caroline Lawrence.

Juba and his siblings are fleeing the Roman Emporer. Born into a rich artisan family, their parents are arrested and their lives ruined. Juba has to lead his siblings to Brittania and on their travels they are challenged with robberies, betrayals and the question of their future. A fast paced historical fiction for 8+ that totally sucks you in. It has excellent characters, fascinating friendships and challenges readers to consider their responsibilities. I really enjoyed this story and can’t wait to do it with The Wonder Club  as our October Book club book.

Genevieve has also read The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig.

The Girl From Everywhere is a celebration of pure adventure. Nix is the navigator of a time travelling pirate ship. They can travel to anywhere through maps. The place need only exist when the map was made for The Temptation’s Captain to be able steer her over the stormy wild borders of a map into a new world. The crew are time-refugees from little known cultures and absurd times. The father-daughter relationship is messy and painful. I really enjoyed this story and it twisted me in ways I wasn’t expecting. An excellent fantasy for 14+


Our predictions for the CBCA winners

Tomorrow is the big day when the Children’s Book Council of Australia announces the winners of the Book of the Year awards. Wild Things staff have chosen the titles they think deserve to appear in the list of winning books.


My pick for Book of the Year: Early Childhood is The Cow Tripped Over the Moon. Combining a fractured nursery rhyme, counting book and a lovely tale about perseverance, I loved the unique story by Tony Wilson and the retro graphics of Laura Wood.

For Book of the Year: Older Readers I am torn between the book which I have a sweet spot for, Cloudwish by Fiona Wood, and the book I think will win because all my colleagues have loved, which is A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay.

Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray stole my heart and I think it will have cast a spell over the judges as well so it should certainly win The Book of the Year: Younger Readers. Otherwise I will turn the judges into trees!

I thought The White Mouse: Story of Nancy Wake was an excellent example of illustrated narrative non-fiction, especially as it is the story of a remarkably brave young Australian woman. But I am so over the glorification of war in children’s picture books (see The Picture Book of the Year shortlist)  I am hoping that Clare Wright’s highly readable, thoroughly researched and fascinating history of the forgotten women and men of Eureka, We Are the Rebels will be the rightful winner.



I do hope the Older Reader winner is A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay. It’s what a dystopian novel should be. It’s fascinating, searches for truths and has a quiet, firm and strong female main character.

I am actually a big fan of Star of Deltora by Emily Rodda in the Younger Readers section. I have to admit, I don’t think the Book Council will give Emily Rodda her 6th award for it. A young girl struggles with her family’s history and strikes out on her own, searching for a quest and adventure on the seas. It’s my favourite Rodda.

I have no idea how to compare Flight by Armin Greder and My Dead Bunny by James Foley. Flight is poetic, muted and affecting. My Dead Bunny is ridiculous and gruesomely appealing.



My pick for Early Childhood is Piranhas Don’t Bananas by Aaron Blabey, and Flight by Armin Greder for Picture Book of the Year.


Like most Wild Things staff, I suspect (and hope) that Meg McKinlay’s A Single Stone will be chosen as the Book of the Year for Older Readers. Most of us also agree that Chris Currie’s Clancy of the Undertow deserved a spot among the shortlist (yes, we’re bringing that up again and no, we’re not biased!).

My pick for Early Childhood is The Cow Tripped Over the Moon, another Wild Things favourite, and for Picture Book, I love the illustrations in Suri’s Wall.

I find the Younger Readers category the most bewildering; it covers such a broad age range and a wide spectrum of reading levels and themes. It’s hard to compare Libby Gleeson’s Cleo Stories to Morris Gleitzman’s Soon! I like Molly and Pim as the book most appropriate for what I’d call “younger readers”.



love wild things

Tomorrow is National Bookshop Day, a time to celebrate bookshops but also to show us some love. Because we need it!

We have lots of fun planned for the day: Canine Dress Up, book matching, story time, a visit from Grug, and the Great Bookish Bakeoff with a special junior prize. But the one competition we’re really looking forward to is the one where you tell us why you love Where the Wild Things Are.

grug  harry pupper  bakeoff

Do you love that we have an amazing range of books for kids and teens? Do you love our treehouse? Do you love that we have events and workshops where kids can meet real live authors and illustrators? Do you love that we have book clubs for young readers, middle readers and teens?

We’re not needy. Honest. But some days, knowing that there are people out there who don’t visit bookshops, who do all their book-shopping at one of the online bookselling giants, it can be just, well, a little bit heart-breaking.

We love our customers. We love spending time with you, helping you choose the right book for you or your children. That’s why we’ve included a Book Matching session as one of Saturday’s events. The wonderful Natalie Jane Prior, author of The Fairy Dancers, will chat with you or your child and help them find their perfect book match.

Book-matching is one of the things we love about our job. And we love it even more when you come back and tell us that your son absolutely loved the book we recommended, or that your granddaughter thinks you’re the best Grandad in the world because you gave her the best book ever for her birthday. Those recommendations we make come from our knowledge of books; we read them and discuss them with each other. They also come from our knowledge of you, our customer. Our recommendations aren’t based on an algorithm or this week’s bestsellers list.

We believe that’s what’s kept us going, despite the threat from eBooks and online buying. We understand that it’s tempting to buy from an online source where the prices are cheaper. But do they really love finding your perfect book match as much as we do?

And something to consider: those big overseas online booksellers don’t pay any GST to the Australian government, and the revenue collected by GST is used to fund, among other things, our schools.

So, tomorrow, show us you still love us.

If you’re one of our regular customers, come in, join the celebration, enter some competitions, maybe win a prize.

If you’re a not-so-regular customer, perhaps even someone who only buys books online, come and visit us, experience our book-matching skills, and buy just one book to show us you still love bookshops.

#loveyourbookshop #justonebook #booksellersneedthelove