Getting a Grip, Halo and Feeling Zizzy

Sorry for the very late post of this review. I’ve been away wandering around the world a bit and have now found my feet again after trying for days to shake jetlag and remember which night is bin night.

So…..These are the books that I reviewed on ABC Radio Canberra Drive Show with Louise Maher on Tuesday August 17 2010

Books reviewed by Deborah Abela, National Literacy Ambassador and

Author of Max Remy Superspy series, Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend) series, The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen and Grimsdon.

Zizzy written by Penny Matthews and illustrated by Danny Snell

(Omnibus Books)

Picture book ages 4+

‘Zizzy was a sloth. A slow, sleepy, dreamy sloth’ whose main activities in life are to sleep and eat and dream deep in the rainforest. But one day, as he peered through a tangle of creepers, he saw a tiny patch of blue. When he wonders what it could be, a wise macaw tells him, ‘It’s the beginning of the rest of the world.’ She invites him to come and see it, but Zizzy, being a sloth, hardly ever comes down from his tree and thinks he’ll never be able to make it. But it’s too dazzingly an idea and he agrees to come down. Uneasy on his feet, he stumbles and falls and even has to take naps, but the macaw encourages him not to give up until finally they reach the sea and together they watch the beginning of the rest of the world. When he returns to his tree, Zizzy’s dreams are filled with being able to do anything at all. Penny’s words and David’s pictures are a perfect mix of colour and imagination, plotting Zizzy’s first efforts at bravery and stepping out. I especially love the picture of Zizzy sitting on an evening beach with macaw asleep on his head.


Halo written by Alexandra Adornetto

(Harper Collins)

Young Adults

The sleepy town of Venus Cove has had a few unfortunate incidents of late. Fires, accidents and the death of a few of its inhabitants. Three dazzlingly beautiful siblings enter the picture and take up residence. The youngest, Bethany, begins at the local high school and the elder brother, Gabriel, takes up a post as a teacher. But this isn’t any ordinary family. The three have been sent on a mission from heaven to stop the gathering of forces of darkness that have been causing all the mischief. At school however, Bethany meets dashingly perfect school captain, Xavier Woods and falls for him, even revealing her true nature and her family’s mission. Gabriel is furious and the council of heaven only just allows them to continue with their mission after such a breach of the rules. Enter Jake Thorn, another dashingly handsome boy who immediately sets his sights on Bethany. Having manoeuvred Xavier temporarily out of the picture, he makes his move, but Bethany rejects him and earns his wrath, unleashing a storm of chaos. This book tears along at a great pace. With its ultimate battle of good versus evil, all played out amongst teenagers it will earn the reputation of another Twilight but that’s probably a good thing for teenagers desperate for a replacement.


Get a Grip Cooper Jones written by Sue Whiting

(Walker Books)

Young Adults

Cooper Jones lives with his mum in Wangaroo Bay. Life is fairly simple during the heatwave days of summer until the new swimming coach mistakes someone at the pool for Cooper’s dad, insisting he left him a message. Cooper steers her off the conversation and eventually gets her to drop any mention of his dad, like he’s done with everyone for the past 13 years. But it gets him thinking. What does his dad look like? What kind of person is he? Does he live nearby? As summer fires close in on the town, his questions don’t seem to be able to make it out of his tangled thoughts. For the first time in his life he needs answers but Mum wont talk about it and lately she’s been acting strange and a little on edge with him and everything he touches he seems to wreck. What if she’s furious with him because he’s turning out to be a giant loser like his dad? Cooper then meets Abeba, a girl from the city who has moved in with her uncle next door because of trouble back at home and after a bumbling, imperfect beginning, the two find friendship and a way to say what their families don’t seem to want to hear. Told in an honest, uncomplicated way straight from Cooper’s head, it’s full of the confusion and fears that can come with being a teenager trying to work out who they are and where they fit in.



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