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The Best Dog Party Ever!
Wendy Graham
Illustrated by Faye Langley
Margaret Hamilton Books

Reading Time Vol. 41 No. 2

November 2004

Mrs Lovejoy, the owner of lots and lots of dogs, decides to give them a party – she sets out with her shopping list, and as she is nearly finished, her festive turkey is purloined by the thinnest, most miserable, stick-like Irish Wolfhound you ever saw. Mrs L, because she is a genuine dog-lover, takes pity on ‘Irish’ and invites him home to the party, and, you guessed it, she invites him to stay on, with a lovely soft cushion for a bed and her own cardigan for a blanket.

Faye Langley’s accomplished water-colour and pencil illustrations are lively and attractive, complementing the mood, setting, personality and action of the text. She makes clever use of clear, bright colour to contrast the warm, cheerful world of Mrs Lovejoy with the cold, grey, gloomy and neglected plight of the factory-yard stray. The engaging and well-observed portraits of many different varieties of dog (and one little cat) could provoke opportunity for much discussion and some speculation about the many breeds represented. The language is interesting, employing good vocabulary and some nice rhythms and reads well aloud. A beautifully designed and produced picture book for age group 4-6 years. JS.

Robbie Robinson and the Last Crayfish
Wendy Graham, Cygnet, $14.95
Illustrated by Jirí Tibor Novak
ISBN 192069434X.

Australian Bookseller & Publisher
November 2004

This delightful story from Wendy Graham is warm and pleasing. Robbie Robinson is a boy who really loves all creatures that swim: fish, hermit crabs, crayfish etc. He has a collection of watery animals in tanks in his home and is hoping to buy some Mexican walking fish (also known as axolotls) for his birthday. The lovable thing about Robbie Robinson is that at the last minute he decides to spend his birthday money on saving a restaurant crayfish from being eaten. The other really likeable thing about Robbie Robinson is that he is a bit of a nerd. (His aquatic fixation is a reasonable hint about his nerdishness.) Robbie also seems to have problems making friends easily, but manages to make friends, in this story, with a boy who is as interested in astronomy as Robbie is in ichthyology. The action takes place during school holidays and the boys in the story seem to have a nice amount of time to get to know each other and have some fun. Suitable for releasing the inner-nerd of early independent readers.

Jane Watson-Brown is a writer and reviewer.
AB&P November 2004
YA Book Review:
Magpies Magazine
Summer's Story
by Wendy Graham
Reviewed by Sally Murphy

Summer's big plans won't all work out.

Summer could still hardly believe it. Me! she thought. All those skinny, suntanned girls who hang out at the lifesaving club, and Dylan wants to meet me there!

But what to wear? She pinched a fold of fat above her waist...

At fourteen, Summer has big plans. She's going to be a famous writer and she's starting an all-girl rock group with her best friend, Amy. When she meets Dylan, she falls in love, and life is great. Well, it would be if she didn't have to deal with a nagging New-Age Mum and a gran with alzheimers, who seem to be competing to bring the most embarrassment to Summer.

Summer has always been rebellious and, with all that's going on in her life, her attitude towards her mother's dumb rules and weird behaviours aren't likely to change soon. But she is about to find out that some dreams aren't meant to come true.

Summer's Story is a story of growing up - first love, family, friendship and self-belief. Summer is a very real character and teenage girls will find her easy to relate to as they watch her struggle with many situations which will be familiar. Summer's Story is funny, compassionate and real.

Balancing Act
Hachette Children’s Books
Author: Wendy Graham
From the outside, Josie and Macka are opposites. Josie is talkative, impulsive and awkward. She desperately wants to fit in at school, but the kids think it's weird that she's always counting things. And constantly wiping things clean. And avoiding lifts and packed trains. The trips her dad makes her take into the city each week to see Psychbrain don't help much either. Macka is quiet, sharp-eyed and takes a while to trust people. A bit like the wedge-tailed eagles and other birds of prey he trains after school at the Wildlife Haven. It's the perfect job for Macka. It means he doesn't have to talk to anyone. When a series of incidents causes their lives to intertwine, Josie and Macka begin to discover as much about themselves as each other - and realise that making friends is really just a balancing act.

Writer of books for Children and Teens
Wendy Graham
Book reviews