The first was a gift from my friend and fellow blogger Isabelle, aka miki, who thought that Christmas in July was a logical thing to celebrate in the Antipodes and sent me, all the way from Belgium, a lovely packet of fruit tea, which I will be brewing for my brunch today, and a gorgeous handmade crochet scarf in two shades of blue, one dusky blue, the other turquoise. I'm thinking carefully of what I can make for her. Something beaded, perhaps? Earrings, necklace? A nice warm scarf, which will come in handy for her Yuletide when it will be winter over there?
The rest of my goodies were three books for reviewing, two from Ford Street Publishing and one from Christmas Press.
From the latter, I have the latest in their series of retold fairy tales from around the world, this one by Duncan Ball, with beautiful David Allan illustrations, Two Tengu Tales From Japan. I think it's amazing how speedily the Christmas Press has established itself as a highly respected Aussie small press, with several wonderful children's picture books on its list.
Ford Street, another great publisher, has sent me Gary Crew's new novel, Voicing The Dead by Gary Crew, who has become well known for writing grim and grisly tales for teens, since his first book, Strange Objects, scored a CBCA Award twenty-five years ago and still in print, with a new cover, even. This one is based on the true story of a couple of kids who were adopted by Torres Strait Islanders after the rest of those travelling on the ship were killed by head hunters in the 1830s. I've begun reading it and will review it as soon as I've finished.
The second Ford Street title to hit my letterbox is Belinda The Ninja Ballerina, a picture book by Candida Baker, illoed by the wonderful Mitch Vane, who did the art for my own book, Your Cat Could Be A Spy(and who helped my Dad colour photocopy the cover when they met, quite by chance, at the print shop copier).
I've read both the picture stories and will, hopefully, be posting reviews some time today.