Little Koala Lost by Blaze Kwaymullina

Published: 1st July 2016Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Scholastic Australia
Illustrator: Jess Racklyeft
Pages: 24
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

Little Koala is lost in the bush and sets out to find a home. Along the way he meets many other creatures, but he can’t live with any of them. Will he ever find some friends?

Not as cute as I first thought it would be, but still pretty cute. Little Koala Lost is about, as you would expect, a lost koala. In a counting style similar I guess to The Very Hungry Caterpillar the little koala visits animals in increasing numbers: two magpies, then three pelicans etc as it searches for someone to take him in.

The illustrations are beautiful, and the baby koala is adorable as it goes from animal group to animal group asking if they will let it join. It’s a simple story but sweet at the same time. The animals are nice enough to the koala, rejecting him not so much in a mean way because he’s “not one of them” but they give logical answers as to why they can’t take him in based on their different bodies and behaviours.

I was expecting a heart-warming story about a little lost koala and while it wasn’t as touching as I thought, it was still very sweet.

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A Day with Dad by Bo R. Holmberg

Published: 22nd April 2008Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Illustrator: Eva Eriksson
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Tim lives with his mom. Tim’s dad lives in another town. Tim doesn’t see him often. So a day with Dad is very special – and Tim wants to show just how must he loves him!

This is a great book about divorce/separation that doesn’t mention it outright but implies it and shows that even when parents live separately, time with an absent parent is still possible. More importantly, it demonstrates that just because parents don’t live together, it doesn’t mean that they stop loving their children.

From the text on page one it’s evident the separation is a new event as Tim has just moved to the new town. He waits for his dad to arrive on the train and looks forward to a day with just the two of them. Tim’s dad lets Tim take control of the day, you can tell he wants to make the day special for Tim and make sure he has fun. Tim and his dad pack a lot of activities into the day and it’s evident how much Tim loves his dad and he tells everyone they meet who he is.

The illustrations by Eriksson are realistic and heart warming as they depict the various activities Tim and his dad partake in during his visit. It reminds me very much of what Russell says in the Pixar film Up, that it’s the boring things he remembers most. And while Holmberg doesn’t write Tim’s day to be boring, it does show that simple activities like sitting silently reading side by side in the library can be the most enjoyable activity because he is with his dad.

I found this book to be very sweet and it’s ideal for letting young kids know that their parents love them and things can be a bit different but your dad will always be your dad.

You can purchase A Day With Dad via the following

Amazon | Book Depository

Booktopia | Dymocks

 

 

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel or These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach

book-bite

Published: 15th April 2005 (print)/ 1st April 2013  (audio) Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Vintage/Clipper audiobooks
Pages: 288 pages/1 disc
Narrator: Nina Wadia
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
★   ★  – 2 Stars

When Ravi Kapoor, an overworked London doctor, reaches the breaking point with his difficult father-in-law, he asks his wife: “Can’t we just send him away somewhere? Somewhere far, far away.” His prayer is seemingly answered when Ravi’s entrepreneurial cousin sets up a retirement home in India, hoping to re-create in Bangalore an elegant lost corner of England. Several retirees are enticed by the promise of indulgent living at a bargain price, but upon arriving, they are dismayed to find that restoration of the once sophisiticated hotel has stalled, and that such amenities as water and electricity are . . . infrequent. But what their new life lacks in luxury, they come to find, it’s plentiful in adventure, stunning beauty, and unexpected love.

I think the best summation of this book is ‘eh’. I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it. I’m not even 100% I liked it. I felt like it had the potential to be so much better. I think I liked 1 maybe 2 characters, the rest I felt I could have if they hadn’t’ve been so…themselves. The writing is at times cringeworthy, the characters are certainly racist and sexist, whether or not this is just their character “charm” as it is sometimes portrayed, but it’s gross to listen to. And India is turned into some mystical place that is romanticised by these white British while subsequently criticised by them on the next page. 

The book’s title has been changed to coincide with the movie, it was originally These Foolish Things, but I think most physical books are retitled now too.  Very rarely is this the case, but I have to say, the movie is so much better. Just watch that. This isn’t even really like it at all, it’s not overly enjoyable, there’s more parts that are offensive in some way or another, and there isn’t a grand plot to keep you interested. I listened to the audiobook and to her credit, the narrator was quite good, she used distinctive voices and emphasis as she told the story, and she brought to life each character’s individuality. It was just a shame that that what she brought to life wasn’t very enjoyable.

 

You can purchase The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel via the following

Book Depository | Dymocks

Amazon | Amazon Au

Booktopia | Wordery | Barnes & Noble

 

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Published: May 2010Goodreads badge
Publisher:
PanMacmillan Australia
Pages: 476
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
★   ★  – 2 Stars

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.

So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes.

Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over.

I could not get excited by this book. I couldn’t understand why Alice couldn’t just simply state things outright and ask people what she wanted to know. I get she may have been in shock and what have you, and her personality wasn’t the tough assertive one she develops, but she lets people just talk at her, or ignore her. It annoyed me so much she didn’t just shout out ‘what part of I remember nothing do you not understand?’ Even when she doesn’t tell anyone she never asks questions, just wonders what it all means, what she has to do. Even when she does outright ask who someone is or what is happening, people don’t just answer her. I can’t understand, why wouldn’t you tell someone the full details? It would make them look like less of a fool and not annoy me as much I assure you.

The whole premise is Alice is missing ten years of her life, and in that time she loses friends, makes new ones, and becomes a person with a new personality. It’s not good just telling her that she’ll understand when she gets her memory back, or that she won’t feel as confused, it doesn’t help her in the moment. Yes Moriarty is trying to create suspense, and make us realise that there is more than just memory loss at stake, but truly. It was so frustrating having to put up with so many non-answers and people somehow unable to comprehend what no memory means. Even Alice’s mother just prattles on at her, not even having a proper conversation. Ugh. Of course when we do find out even a tiny something of what happened it comes in a weird one scene rush and answers are given and it feels like a trick having this information just given to us after we’ve suffered so far unawares.

Anyway. I could complain about this book for ages and not say anything constructive. You do start to get a small hint that something isn’t as it seems around halfway through. You’ve accepted Alice is Alice, and all these characters are just being their own weird selves so you focus on the story. Moriarty draws out the suspense in that way, you are meant to hang on as Alice almost gets answers and then loses them, almost gets her memory back but fails.

The story takes place over a week or so since Alice’s accident but a lot happens in that time. You see how Alice’s family have changed and evolved, you see how personalities have shifted, friends aren’t as close anymore. I really liked Alice’s sister Elizabeth; her chapters are fun and interesting, filled with emotion and intrigue. I also didn’t mind Franny’s parts either; it was a nice change having her blog provide bits of info and a commentary on what’s going on. Having that alongside Elizabeth’s journal you get relief from Alice doing all her stuff. Those two characters make the novel worth reading in my opinion, them and perhaps Alice’s children, they were quite fun.

You can purchase What Alice Forgot via the following

QBD | Book Depository | Amazon

Wordery | Dymocks

Fishpond | Booktopia

 

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