Waiting for the Wild Things...

It has become something of a nightmare for readers when we hear that our favourite books are due to be cut up and remade into a movie.

Who didn’t spend hours of their childhood pouring over the words of their favourite story, as the characters and scenes took form in their imagination? Who couldn’t hear the voice of their favourite hero, or picture each leaf and twig in the dark forest, or feel the furry body of their new best friend curled up beside them as they drifted of to sleep, book still in hand? How many of those wonderful memories were shattered into a million pieces when we saw a famous actor playing a character who we felt we knew personally, or found that the end of our most treasured book had been changed to a more suitable Hollywood ending?

So I think it was with a combination of glee and fear that most of us breathlessly awaited the release of The Wild Things. Sure it looked pretty, and sure the soundtrack was wonderfully whimsical, but would it really live up to the iconic story that we had all come to love as we grew up with Sendak’s original picture book?
I re-read the picture book. I read the other two picture books in the series (Outside Over There, and In The Night Kitchen). I discovered that one of my favourite films as a child (and as an adult if we’re being honest) The Labyrinth, was based on one of these other stories. I read the new book, based on the picture book and the film by Dave Eggers. I discovered that Dave Eggers had been asked by Maurice Sendak to write the book and that during his seven years working on the script with Spike Jonze they had each discovered their own Max, who came out uniquely in each adaptation of the story.

I waited.

And then finally I was seated in the cinema watching the opening credits. Over the next two hours I fell in love with the giant creatures who rumbled over the barren landscape looking for a leader. I cried for the young boy who didn’t know how to be their king. I laughed as they threw themselves at each other, completely unaware of danger or consequence. And as the film drew to a close, I felt the loss of my childhood as suddenly as if it had happened yesterday.

This film succeeded where so many others failed, because it allowed itself the freedom to be different from the original, but had such a clear understanding of the truth, the fear and the imagination of the original story. It was a film that took me on a journey back through my own childhood and reminded me that once upon a time, building a fort was the most important thing in the world. And surely that’s what this story is all about…

Bec Kavanagh

Books With Issues

Here are some of our favourite 'issues' recommendations, but this is just the beginning of our list. We'd love your contributions too, please leave comments below...

Books About Alternative Families

Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman 9781555835439
A Fire Engine For Ruthie by Leslea Newman 9780618159895
Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah Brannen 9780399247125
Molly’s Family by Nancy Garden 9780374350024
King & King by Linda De Haan 9781582460611
King & King & Family by Linda De Haan 9781582461137
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson 9780689878459
All Families Are Different by Sol Gordon 9781573927659
Mom And Mum Are Getting Married by Ken Setterington 9781896764849
Mommy Mama and Me by Leslea Newman 9781582462639


We Belong Together : A Book About Adoption by Todd Parr 9780733323119

Over-Seas Adoption

The Lamb-A-Roo by Diana Kimpton 9781862336575
My Mei Mei by Ed Young 9780399243394
I Don’t Have Your Eyes by Carrie A Kitze 9780972624428
Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale by Karen Katz 9780805067071
Motherbridge Of Love by Xinran 9781846860478
We Belong Together : A Book About Adoption by Todd Parr 9780733323119
The Red Thread An Adoption Fairy Tale by Grace Lin 9780807569221
Waiting For May by Janet Morgan Stoeke 9780142408537
Divorce/ Single Parents
Dinosaurs Divorce by Laurie Krasney Brown 9780316109963
Two Homes by Claire Masurel 9780744589252
Every Second Friday by Kiri Lightfoot 9780340956137
Molly And Her Dad by Jan Ormerod 9781921272974
A Day With Dad by Holmberg 9781406313840
Fine As We Are by Algi Hall 9780864616784
A Dad Who Measures Up by David Cali 9780958557191


The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi 9780440417996

Death and Saying Goodbye

Are You Sad Little Bear by Rivett, Rachel 9780745961378

Thanks to Elvira Ralston for sharing her knowledge.

2009 Aurealis Award Winners Announced

Congratulations to the following authors and publishers on their wins:

best illustrated book/graphic novel
Nathan Jurevicius, SCARYGIRL, Allen & Unwin

best young adult novel
Scott Westerfeld, LEVIATHAN, Penguin

best young adult short story
Cat Sparks, ‘SEVENTEEN’, Masques, CSFG

best children’s (8-12 years) novel
Gabrielle Wang, A GHOST IN MY SUITCASE, Puffin Books

best children’s (8-12 years) short fiction/illustrated work/picture book
Pamela Freeman (author), Kim Gamble (illustrator), VICTOR'S CHALLENGE, Walker Books Australia

Go here for the complete list.

Looking forward to Gabrielle Wang's LITTLE PARADISE being released in March - we hear there will be dumplings at the launch...

Leesa Lambert

PS - we are also huge fans of Andrew McGahan's WONDERS OF A GODLESS WORLD, winner of Best Science Fiction Novel. Sometimes we read books for grown-ups too!

The Envelope Please...

What Did You Read? And ALA Winners Announced!

We enjoyed 2 weeks off over the festive season. On our first day back for 2010 the “What Did Santa get you for Christmas?” question was quickly followed with “What did you read in the holidays?” One particular Little Bookroom lass was super excited to have read an advance copy of Rebecca Stead’s WHEN YOU REACH ME. We are positive about this one and have promptly circulated said precious reading copy amongst the staff. How great it is to have this positivity reinforced with Stead being awarded the 2010 John Newberry Medal earlier this week.

Set in New York in the 1970s WHEN YOU REACH ME follows the story Miranda as she receives mysterious notes warning her of things that haven’t happened yet. Praised by judges as being an intricate novel with “every scene and word being vital to the plot” we eagerly await the Australian Release on February 1st. Great jacket too!

The Caldecott and Printz awards were also announced in this round of American Library Association (ALA) awards. The Caldecott Medal for illustrated picture book was awarded to Jerry Pinkney’s wordless, stunning version of Aesop’s THE LION & THE MOUSE. There’s a great little video in Little Brown’s website with Jerry talking about his take on the well known fable.

The Printz award winner for excellence in Young Adult Fiction was Libba Bray’s GOING BOVINE (set for local release this February). The PR piece says- “When Cameron finds out he's sick and going to die, he embarks on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America to find out how to live and what matters most.” That got our attention! Then on further investigation we found comparisons to Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). Sold!

Here’s a list of the other honor books for each award (note, American spelling of honour used for authenticity).

Hoose, Phillip Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice
Kelly, Jacqueline The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
Lin, Grace Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Phillbrick, Rodman Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg

Frazee, Marla. & Garton Scanlan, Liz All The World IN STOCK- WE LOVE IT.
Zagarenski, Pamela & Sidman, Joyce Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors

Heiligman, Deborah Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith
Yancey, Rick The Monstrumologist IN STOCK
Rapp, Adam Punkzilla
Barnes, John Tales of the Madman Underground: An Historical Romance, 1973

The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards nominations have been released with winners announced in June. Have a peruse of the lists:



Anna Lonsdale-Cooper
January 23 2010

A Little History

The Little Bookroom opened its doors to the public on Friday the 13th October, 1960. Albert Ullin, after studying literature and languages and working extensively in the booktrade in Australia and internationally, decided to focus his love for contemporary children's literature and illustration into an Australian first: he would open a bookshop devoted solely to children's books.

Albert named his shop for a collection of whimsical short stories by Eleanor Farjeon who wrote on the occasion of the shop's opening: "I am proud and happy to know you've chosen the title of my book for the title of your Bookshop in the City my Father first set foot in the 1850s when he emigrated to Australia as a boy of 16. The stories he told me of his arrival in Melbourne have always made it seem to be one of 'my' cities. Thankyou for giving me a home in it". The Little Bookroom's logo also comes from its award-winning namesake - it is a treasured example of Edward Ardizzone's ink illustration.

Read about the collection of stories on the New York Review of Books website here.

Albert found tiny premises (the shop was ten foot by twenty) in Melbourne's Metropole Arcade - a once beautifully balconied wrought Iron arcade that now forms part of the Commonwealth Bank Building on the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets.

In 1963 The Little Bookroom moved to Equitable Place where it stayed for sixteen years before being forced to move once again to the shop in Elizabeth street that most are now familiar with. In 2005 another migration was forced upon The Little Bookroom which this time found a home in 771 Nicholson Street North Carlton before finally coming to rest in the present, and particularly happy premises, of 759 Nicholson Street. Albert's original shelves have made every single move!

Albert has been well recognized for his significant contribution to children's literature throughout his career. He received the Dromkeen Medal in 1986, has served on various judging panels, including the Victorian Premier's Literature Award and the CBC Crichton Award for the work of a first-time illustrator, and In 1995 during the Children's Book Council's 50th Anniversary celebrations, he was made an Honorary Life Member of this association. The culmination of Albert's achievements both in business and in his voluntary work came when he was awarded The Order of Australia Medal in 1997 for his services to children's literature in Australia and overseas.

In its history The Little Bookroom has only had three sets of owners, all of whom have been committed to continuing its iconic legacy. Albert sold the business to three of his staff in 1997 - Christine Andell, Debra Kelly and Sarah Portelli spent ten wonderful years immersed in children's books before, in turn, selling it to one their employees, Leesa Lambert and her parents Lesley and Ian in early 2008.

The Little Bookroom has moved into the twenty-first century with a leading edge computer system and is in the process of developing and informative and user-friendly website that will allow access to our complete database and facilitate online ordering.

Kids Reading Guide

The 10th edition of the kids reading guide contains oceans of stories selected by children's books specialists from around Australia.

Check out the chosen titles at the website...