This new rhyming tale from award winning author Graeme Base has something for everyone - vampires, robots, computers, bravery, adventure and a fearless heroine. The story opens with the death of a robot whose battery has been drained in the dead of the night by the evil vampire laptop Voltoid. The robotic townsfolk are consumed with fear and panic as all have heard of the dreaded Curse of Voltoid! PC Web calls for a volunteer to confront Voltoid and erase all files from his hard drive. The only one courageous enough to take on the challenge is Gertie Gif, a lowly cleaning droid. Gertie sets off with determination and resolve up the Hill of Dread towards Voltoid's Gothic style castle. Along the way she manages to delete the terrifying ware-wolf's system and befriends a baby software-wolf. Once in the castle, Gertie finds Voltoid in sleep mode and can see he's in dire need of a system clean and software update. She's almost finished when she realises she has forgotten her software bag! The young software-wolf leaps forward declaring 'I've got the latest updates!' He sinks his teeth into Voltoid's core, and loads him up with V-DOS 10.4. As the vampire's screen changes from sickly green to desktop blue, he reverts back to his normal friendly self. Over time, Gertie and the young software-wolf's success is written into the history of the town, eventually becoming a meme with a total data stream!
I absolutely love Graeme's play on tech terminology and there are lots of humorous character names (PC Web, MacSpam, Gertie Gif) and lines like 'I'm told the thing to do is drive a sharpened vector through his undead CPU', 'A cleaning out is what you need - now open up those ports.' And teachers will totally relate to the line 'No wonder I feel better - you've deleted Comic Sans!' This has to be one of the most overused fonts in education! Graeme's black and white illustrations are a delight and there is something new to discover every time the reader revisits a page. The aerial image of Gertie as she and the young software-wolf enter Voltoids' lair would be a wonderful study in perspective for young artists. A masterful interweaving of old and new that is a must have for school library and home collections.
Use this story in classrooms for poetry studies, storytelling, myths and legends, art studies (perspective, use of black and white for impact, how to bring character to inanimate objects) and of course as a comparison study to the story of Dracula! Themes to be explored could include bravery, adventure and friendship.
Find out more about Graeme Base
Published 2021 by HarperCollinsPublishers Australia
ISBN 9781460754696 (HB)
Recommended by the publisher for ages 5 + but I would suggest 8 + due to style and complexity of language.
Award winning Australian author Libby Hathorn is passionate about poetry. So it’s not surprising she’s teamed up with renowned watercolour painter and portraitist Sadami Konchi, to create this beautiful story about Haiku and the 17th Japanese master Matsuo Basho. We Children and The Narrow Road to the Deep North takes us back in time to a small village at the beginning of the Edo era in Japan where three children – Izumi, Ren and little Yoshi - eagerly anticipate a visit by the master poet. Their father has told them Basho is walking a long way to ‘. . . look at things.’ Their mother adds, ‘And then he writes his poems, special poems that will last forever.’ There is great excitement as friends gather that evening in the house of the village poet to listen to Basho’s stories about his journey and hear some of his precious Haiku’s read aloud by the master himself. The next morning before they leave Sora, Basho’s travelling companion, gives each of the children a small drawing as a gift, along with three brushes, to encourage them to capture their own images. Basho’s gift is a special poem for little Yoshi about the small boy’s pet frog, now set free to live in its pond home.
Libby’s gentle and thought-provoking text highlights the emotive nature of words, and how poetry can capture so succinctly the essence of our world. The story is brought to life by Sadami’s gorgeous watercolours that eloquently depict the simplicity of life in 17th century Japan. An important book to have not only as an introduction to Haiku and Matsuo Basho, but also as a reminder that, in our fast paced world words matter, and it’s good to slow down, quietly take note of what’s around us, and enjoy life’s journey.
Find out more about Libby Hathorn
Follow Sadami Konchi on Instagram
Published in 2021 by IPKidz an imprint of IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd)
ISBN 9781922332684 (HB); ISBN 9781922332691 (eBook)
Recommended for ages 7 - 10