The Cat's Library
Catriona Coote reviews children's books on this website and in the NSWAGTC journal, Gifted. In this blog she writes about books, reading, books, reviewing, books, writing and anything to do with the English language that she thinks might interest or amuse others.
Written by Catriona Coote Sunday, 15 April 2012 19:14
A very quick blurt, rather than a blog, to say hooray! Today I loaded the 800th review.
Written by Catriona Coote Wednesday, 21 March 2012 09:31
Not only is it the National Year of Reading but today is World Poetry Day. Poetry is a much neglected form of reading (and writing) in Australia, despite the fact that we have some world class (living) poets such as Bruce Dawe, David Malouf and Judith Bishop and past inspirations such as Judith Wright and the great bush ballad writers, Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson. So while I try and catch up with my huge pile of review books, indulge yourself in a poem. Share a poem with your child/ren. Encourage them to dip into poetry the way they like to dip into the biscuit tin. And remember: a poem a day keeps brain atrophy at bay! And if you're interested in writing poetry, find yourself a copy of Stephen Fry's 'The Ode Less Travelled'.
Written by Catriona Coote Tuesday, 13 December 2011 18:07
Apart from my personal beliefs, Christmas for me has always meant books. As a child it was a time of year when I was given precious additions to my bookshelf – books that I didn't have to return to a library, that I could treasure for as long as I had room to keep them. The bookshelves might have changed but some of the books are the very same ones I delighted in all those years ago. I've reviewed about two hundred and twenty books this year and amongst those that are 2011 releases, there are some very gift-worthy titles:
Written by Catriona Coote Wednesday, 14 September 2011 23:25
Denise Wood is moderating a very interesting online conference on 'What is it about gifted girls?' and as a result of one of the posts I was yet again thinking about how girls – and women – are portrayed in fiction. Especially gifted/talented girls. In May this year, The Guardian newspaper website cited a study that: 'found that males are central characters in 57% of children's books published each year, with just 31% having female central characters. Male animals are central characters in 23% of books per year, the study found, while female animals star in only 7.5%.' The study, led by Janice McCabe, a professor of sociology at Florida State University, looked at nearly 6000 children's books published between 1900-2000. (see Guardian article)
Written by Catriona Coote Tuesday, 06 September 2011 09:45
I'm very excited - I've been offered the chance to interview Colin Thompson next week (by phone). But now I'm also nervous. I thought I'd read quite a lot of Colin Thompson (see here for reviews) but I've checked out his website and it turns out he's even more prolific than I realised. So guess who's going to be 'cramming' CT for the next few days?! Not to mention trying to think up interesting questions. I've met a few authors and I know that they do get rather tired of being asked the same old questions over and over again - where do you get your ideas, when do you write, where do you write etc.
So check out Colin's website, have a look at some of his books and let me know what you'd like me to ask him! No guarantees I'll include your question but if it sounds as if it might get an interesting answer, there's a very godo chance I will. ;-) Start thinking!
Written by Catriona Coote Tuesday, 30 August 2011 13:08
One of my sisters died suddenly three and a half months ago. Obviously it has been and continues to be a terribly painful time for those of us who loved her. Books being to me what a teddybear (or chocolate) is to others, I turned to 'comfort reading' – novels that carried me into other worlds, other places, other times. My sister was a great reader and we shared a love of the fantasy genre, with its epic personal journeys, tales of valour, unexpected heroes and sheroes and worlds where good triumphs over evil. (Not something you can guarantee in the real world, despite the best efforts of many.)
Written by Catriona Coote Friday, 11 March 2011 21:28
A little over ten years ago after numerous queries on what was then the Ozgifted Mailing LIst, such as 'can anybody recommend some books for my 7yo, who has read CSLewis but finds the Deltora Quest series frightening and I don't know what to give them next', I was asked to become moderator of this booklist, which has changed somewhat over the years but still tries to fill the same need - book recommendations for voracious readers. A couple of years ago when there was a change of server for the website, there was a Seriously Sad Event that avoided becoming a Complete Catastrophe because it turned out I did have backup copies of most of the reviews. Thankfully.
Written by Catriona Coote Tuesday, 08 February 2011 17:02
This was meant to be posted in January, along with my New Year's Intention to write at least one blog a month. I guess it's just as well I make Intentions rather than Resolutions - Intentions cope a little better with being bent or broken, inducing less guilt and therefore a greater capacity to try again!
I found, in December 2010 and even in January 2011 that I had a number of people asking me the question that reviewers tend to dread: ‘So what's on your ‘best of 2010' list?'
Written by Catriona Coote Tuesday, 14 September 2010 14:13
Struggling as I do with a chronic neurological/immunological disorder, there are times when physically reading a book is beyond me. Thank goodness for audiobooks! Stephen Fry's performance of the Harry Potter series has proved a distraction during many a patch of bedbound discomfort. His remarkable capacity to create and consistently maintain voices for each of the numerous characters is quite astonishing, the more so as he allows Ron and Harry's voices to darken as their characters age. But audiobooks are not just for the pale and wan or for those who need a non-visual entertainment while ironing. They are a vastly undervalued resource for all readers.
Written by Catriona Coote Thursday, 29 July 2010 14:25
What makes a good picture book - especially one for gifted children (of any age)? They key is to make sure that you've chosen a true picture book and not simply an illustrated story. The illustrations must enrich the story - add details, meanings, nuances that the reader would be unlikely to otherwise find in the narrative. In illustrated stories, the pictures can be very attractive - but merely represent what is already present in the narrative, much as ‘plates' did in early children's novels.
Written by Catriona Coote Sunday, 06 September 2009 07:45
As many of you probably know from your children (and local libraries), the Children's Book Council of Australia awards were announced recently. While I'm not obsessive about reviewing the shortlisted books, it's always good to keep an eye on what the judges regard as Notable Books (the step prior to shortlisting) and you will find many CBCA recommendations on the review site.
Did you know?
was just great! Thankyou for organising it. These sessions are definitely
fuelling my curiosity and increasing my knowledge on G&T.” An attendee at a NSWAGTC seminar
The blogs appearing on the NSWAGTC site are designed to provide colour, news and subjective views about the many issues and concerns facing gifted children and their parents, care-givers and educators.
Some of the blogs are associated with formal roles of the NSWAGTC, such as the President and the Webmaster. These allow the persons filling these roles to note to members any current news and changes.
Other NSWAGTC blogs are written by individuals with experience of gifted children from one or more perspectives - for example Cate's Blog is from the viewpoint of a primary school teacher and parent of gifted children. These blogs are written solely by the person identified and represent his or her views, rather than necessarily those of the NSWAGTC.
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