1 Lindalou 2 Andy Umm 3 Curious Ferdinand 4 Ignatius Binz 5 Valentina Lookwell 6 The last word
In its original edition, Winner of the 1992 Children's Book Council of Australia's Book of the Year for Younger Readers.
Anna Fienberg's stories are loved by chidren and adults. She has worked as an editor and a consultant for a national book club. She now divides her time between writing and mothering. Her books include Madeline the Mermaid and the Tashi stories. Kim Gamble is one of Australia's best loved illustrators for children. He has illustrated Anna's The Hottest Boy Who Ever Lived and the Tashi stories. His own books include Come the Terrible Tiger and You Can Draw Anything and You Can Do Great Lettering.
Gr 2-4-- Five short stories are tied together by the presence of a golden spider named Aristan. Each tale features a child with a remarkable gift, e.g. a boy's magic spectacles allow him to see inside people and diagnose diseases. Aristan occasionally, but not always, helps the plot along. Watercolors in both full-color and black-and-white adorn almost every page and portray the people in a quirky and playful style. Unfortunately, the stories are contrived and predictable. The characters embody one idea, such as greed or kindness; the themes are always the same: that the children can help other people and follow their own hearts' desires. Richard Hughes, Hans Christian Andersen, and Jane Yolen offer better literary fairy tales for this age group. --Caroline Parr, Central Rappahannock Regional Library, Fredericksburg, VA