DEC Scan Journal : February 2011
Scan Vol 30 No 1 February 2011 86 children in the troupe endured and the tragedy of having to grow up too early. Told alternately through the eyes of Poesy Swift and Tilly Sweetrick, the novel gives an amazing insight into Indian social life and customs. The book has depth of characterisation and a compelling plot. S. Taylor USER LEVEL: Stage 5 Paper $16.95 SCIS 1470653 REEVE, Philip Awebofair Scholastic, UK, 2010 (Mortal engines) ISBN 9781407115177 Books in this series propose a post nuclear alternative world on par with the best of its genre. As the principles of the machine are rediscovered the best steam punk engineers like the heroine, Fever Crumb, in this prequel become the protagonists who take the risks to lead the world away from superstition and back to the future. Reeve is a master of the genre and he writes instant cult classics. A web of air can captivate readers on different levels according to their interests, as a fast paced adventure or a psycho- logically complex exploration of the place of technology in culture. V. Davidson USER LEVEL: Stage 4 Stage 5 $29.99 SCIS 1467440 ROWEN, Michelle Demon princess: reign check Allen & Unwin, NSW, 2010 ISBN 9781742374369 The characters and settings of this novel will be familiar to young readers who are intrigued by fantasy that includes magic and other worlds. The language leans heavily on teenage verbal interactions with a lot of direct speech. The heroine, the demon princess, seems to be as focused on shopping and boys as much as on her demon ancestry so there are many points through which a young reader could connect with the heroine. The plot moves quickly and the charac- ters interact and respond in very familiar ways. For instance the demon father, who is addressed as Dad resumes his demon form when angered. In one instance the anger is partly triggered by the demon princess holding hands with a boy. This tale, with its focus on relationships, will provide a fast paced escape to another world for young readers. K. Rushton USER LEVEL: Stage 4 Stage 5 Paper $14.99 SCIS 1465054 Tales of the golden avenger Marvel, USA, 2009 (The Invincible Iron Man) ISBN 9780785142799 In classic superhero style, the flying Iron Man acts to deter villain- ous characters who threaten world peace. His adversaries include such reprobates as Living Laser and The Ghost, but Iron Man operates to outwit and defeat these foes. In graphic novel format, this exciting publication contains a series of short stories. The characters and highly active narratives, set in a futuristic techno- logical world, are intriguing. The inclusion of irregular, often diagonal panels and close-up facial expressions indicate a strong manga influence in the visual images. Concise written text and a good deal of explosive onomatopoeia enhance the visual narrative. It is a very good example of engaging graphic fiction. C. Sly USER LEVEL: Stage 3 Stage 4 Paper $17.30 SCIS 1452131 URASAWA, N. & TEZUKA, O. & NAGASAKI, T. Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka. 002 VIZ Media, USA, 2009 ISBN 9781427519197 Based on Tezuka's classic character, Astro Boy, this terrific book is the second volume of a set created for older readers. During a period of constant international conflict the great robots of the world hold the balance of power. Gesicht is a robot detective trying to track down the human or machine responsible for destroying some of the great robots. Atom, based on the original Astro Boy, and his sister, Uran, are in danger. The graphic novel is a fascinat- ing murder mystery with many intertextual links and allusions to historical and contemporary world politics. These include war with the Kingdom of Persia, believed to have robots of mass destruction, and the android characters in the film Blade runner. The semirealistic black and white artwork is mesmerising with its alternation between simplicity and complexity. The art conveys an intensity of emotion and helps to blur the line between humanity and robots. This manga publication has a philosophical depth that makes it a superior example of its style. C. Sly USER LEVEL: Stage 5 Stage 6 KLA: English SYLLABUS: English 7--10; English Stage 6 Paper $17.95 SCIS 1437747 BRASCH, Nicolas The technology behind [series] Macmillan, Vic, 2010 [004.67] Prolific author Nicolas Brasch has produced a series which will engage and inform readers of all ages. The spacious, uncluttered format makes information, on a myriad of fascinating topics, easily accessible. Word watch boxes included throughout replace a conventional glossary and Web watch provides links to worthwhile websites, although it should be noted that many of these links have long urls that may be difficult for students to type accurately. Readers would have benefited from the links being made available from the publisher's website, to increase accessibility. Interesting quotations, well labelled diagrams and the uncomplicated expla- nation of many technical concepts contribute to this excellent series, which will certainly encourage further investigation into the wonderful world of science. These resources support Stage 2 COGs units (F): Machines, Powering On, and (A): Local Places, and Stage 3 COGs unit (F) Physical Phenomena. A. Beedles USER LEVEL: Stage 2 Stage 3 KLA: SciTech SYLLABUS: Science & Technology K--6 $31.95 each Information, poetry and drama Resources are in Dewey order.