of ceiling wax and other things

reading YA, graphic novels and the spaces in between


illustrated books

when your mother is a tree

Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray

“And her face vanished in the crown of leaves that spread across the summer sky.”

Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray (Text Publishing, 2015) was shortlisted for last year’s CBCA Book of The Year Younger Readers. I borrowed it from the library back then. I love Martine Murray’s whimsical illustrations, but somehow Molly and Pim went back to the library without being read. It took me until now to borrow the audio book and read the story this time round. My recurring refrain – why did it take me so long??

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finding love in the graveyard

“The cemetery was full of dead people. It had always been that way, since long before Magrit had come to live here.”

Magrit by Lee Battersby (Walker Books, 2016) is a creepy delight, with just the right amount of “awful, ugly, terrible.”

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the river and the book

The River and The Book by Alison Croggon

Note: this has some spoilers

“I watched as the stars faded and the landscape began to materialize out of the night and become solid again, and the rim of the world grew rose-pink and deepened to orange and then split with molten gold, and the first rays of the sun speared the wide, empty plains.”

The River and The Book by Alison Croggon is another long-listed for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Older Readers 2016. Perhaps I should blog about this book by the shores of a river, at least I have a cat by my side. And there are spoilers here, cats always ruin things.

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talking pictures by the Salton Sea

I stumbled across Ransom Riggs’ short films on YouTube and found myself in a kaleidoscope of wonder. The Accidental Sea, a doco about the Salton Sea in the California desert, is surreal, not least because of the subject matter. I’m fascinated by the Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, created by an engineering accident when irrigating farmland in 1905, which nature turned into a thriving ecosystem. The most important wetland in California is currently under threat of drying to a toxic dustbowl due to squabbles over water rights. This environmental catastrophe is a topic for my nature blog, not here. Back to Ransom Riggs.

Salton City Lifestyle by Abhijit Patil
Salton City Lifestyle by Abhijit Patil

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when monsters call

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness Four years later, I finally read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (but before the movie is released next year). If I had known the book is illustrated with incredibly dark depths by Jim Kay, I might have read this stunning convergence of word and image sooner. Siobhan Dowd died in 2007 and A Monster Calls would have been her fifth book. She had the premise and characters, but not enough time. I read and loved her amazing Bog Child in 2008. Patrick Ness’s development of her ideas into the finished A Monster Calls is a heart-wrenching memorial to Siobhan Dowd.

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Steampunk Dreaming

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld Scott Westerfeld’s next book Leviathan is due out in October. I knew a bit about it: that it’s set during an alternative steampunk WWI and I’ve read the first chapter. I like steampunk, but it’s not my fav genre and although I’m going to read Leviathan, I wasn’t all that excited about it. Until now.

I hadn’t visited Westerblog in a while but today I did and discovered two things:

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