Parents Only

Ha tricked you! This is actually the REVIEW page. If you're thinking of buying or borrowing 'Lily Max: Satin, Scissors, Frock' for your young reader, but would like to hear what the professionals think of it first? Please read on ...

(1)Reviewed by Isobel Marriner, Canvas Magazine, The Books Issue, 2015  #1

"From the pen of this local writer springs the irrepressible Lily Max, a junior fiction fashionista whose original sense of style finds her running foul of the school disciplinarian Miss Sprotts (approximately 250 years old). When the theme for the school dance is announced as "winter wonderland", Lily is over the moon, desperate to beat her arch rival the scheming Violet Hughes to win the crown of best-dressed Snow Queen. But the best-laid dress plans often go astray ... Like Lily Max, this book has its own original style - it's funny, quirky, and hugely enjoyable - and would be a great gift for young style junkies and budding designers."


(2) Reviewed by author, Maria Gill  #1

"An exciting new voice in junior fiction

Lily Max: Satin, Scissors, Frock by Jane Bloomfield (Luncheon Sausage Books)

If you're a fan of Lauren Child, Victoria Azaro and Alan Bradley's precocious child characters then you'll thoroughly enjoy Jane Bloomfield's first book 'Lily Max: Satin, Scissors, Frock'.

Lily Max is a fashion designer extraordinaire. When her school puts on a ball with a promise that the boy and girl with the best outfits are crowned King and Queen - Lily Max goes all-out to design a spectacular outfit. However, her arch enemy Violet is also just as determined to win and will do so at all costs. Who will be crowned Queen? Will Lily Max be dateless? Can she beat her arch enemy to win the circus assistant job and will she ever hear from her BFF in the States?

Jane has developed delightful characters, with hilarious lines. There's drama, great costumes, and DIY accessories - sure to be popular with 8-12-year-old girls. Guy Fisher's quirky illustrations complement the text."

**Take a breather and feast your eyes on the fun we had at the book launch!!
























(3) Reviewed by librarian, Crissi Blair  #1

"Lily Max is a bright and lively character with a passion for fashion. She makes her own clothes and very original accessories (would YOU wear boots with doll heads glued on?). She's also pretty passionate about her friends, school and anything else that takes her fancy. I can hear her voice in my head as I read - high pitched and a hundred miles an hour. Now this might not be the voice that I most want in my head, but as my daughter pointed out to me, that's exactly the sort of character she loved to read about when she was younger - in her Louise Rennison days, and she's quite right. I can think of any number of girls in the 7-10 age group at the school I used to work at who would love this story of creativity, competition, family, trickery and triumph.

Queenstown author, Jane Bloomfield, has had this feisty character in her head for 10 years and she's made a great start with publication by Steve Braunias' publishing baby, Luncheon Sausage Books, putting it out in time for Christmas and making it into the Whitcoulls Christmas catalogue - no mean feat for a New Zealand book that's not from a mainstream publisher.  Illustrations scattered throughout are loose and a little bit weird (just like Lily Max) and concocted by Guy Fisher, ex Arrowtown local, now living in Spain. 

With such a lively character as Lily Max I'd expect that there will be more stories (and extraordinary outfits) from her in the future."



   Eek! I snuck on this list once. This means I can call myself a 

   Bestselling Author - crikey. POSH!!




















(4) Reviewed by Fairfax reviewer,  Trevor Agnew #1

"Lily Max: Satin, Scissors, Frock is more a cast of characters than a title. Young Lily Max sees herself as a “zany fashionista” and spends her time designing outrageous (pronounced out-ray-juice) fashion statements. Her ambition is to create a ball-gown that will have her chosen as the Queen of the school’s Winter Wonderland Ball. (Think half Queenstown and half Disney Channel.) “First up, I sketch a high sheer neckline with capped sleeves and a satin-y, bodice-y bit.” (Guy Fisher’s illustrations are helpful here.)

 Lily Max is sublimely self-confident but faces the hostility of jealous rival Violet and autocratic “school officer” Miss Sprotts. Disaster looms. What follows is silly fun with every ensemble described in detail.  

If horse-mad young girls are catered for with pony stories, why shouldn’t there be stories about making clothes for the Lily Maxes of this world? It’s best to regard this story as a soap opera rather than a novel. By the end, it’s more of a circus but it’s a lively read."

(Note: This review first appeared in Your Weekend magazine, Fairfax newspapers, on 30 Jan 2016)


(5) Booknotes Unbound (produced by the NZ Book Council) In "The School Library"  # 1

Reviewed by Judith Smallbone, Assistant Head of Faculty – Languages at John Paul College, Rotorua (25 October 2016)

Lily Max is determined to win the Snow Queen crown at the school ball by designing and creating the winning dress. Of course, she is not the only one dreaming of winning – but do the other contenders have the same eye for design and fashion? Lily Max is an individual; a young woman who is not afraid to forgo fashion’s rules and create her own! A delightful first book from author Jane Bloomfield, Lily Max is a confident and creative young woman who enjoys to stand out and be different from the crowd.

This is a really nice story which reinforces the importance of being yourself, and if that involves hot glueing doll’s heads onto your sneakers – then so be it! Lily Max is the star in a cast of believable characters, some as to be expected e.g. mean teacher, crazy relative, as well as a couple of surprise characters.

A positive, well-written book that I really enjoyed and will be recommending to my nieces. Appropriate for readers 8 years and up.

Book 2 in the Series:

















* Lily Max * Slope, Style, Fashion # 2

(1) Reviewed by Sarah Forster, Booksellers New Zealand (& The Sapling)

This is the second in Jane Bloomfield’s Lily Max series, published by Luncheon Sausage Books, and as you would suspect, it is all about fashion, baby. Every budding fashionista needs these books.

Lily Max lives a slightly surreal life in an unnamed town quite like Queenstown, with her clothes designer / seamstress mum, her snow sculptor dad, her bothersome (but getting easier to get along with) sister Angelica, her 3-year-old brother Rocco, and their cat Dottie. The book opens on a snow day, with pancakes and snow sculpting and the small matter of a slightly over-decorated school issue ski suit. Lily Max is getting ready for the first of six weeks of school ski days; she can’t ski even a little, her best friend Greer is still in LA, and she has nothing to wear.

Before they get on the bus to the skifield, Lily Max’s teacher Mr Younger gives her a flier advertising a Charity Ski Fashion Show. Then, when they get there, Lily Max’s ski instructor is super-hot Swiss guy Fabien, who seems to be related to her friend Jonathon, and swears that nobody fails his classes. So we are set for the plot: learning to ski, and pulling together a fashion extravaganza. While solving the mystery of her Gran’s ski career coming to an end thanks to a certain Edgar from Switzerland.

The best thing in the book for me is Bloomfield’s description of what it is like to be a beginner skier – and what it is like to start getting the hang of it, when you suddenly start flying and realise that this what snow is for. Her writing literally made me dream of skiing, I woke up as the weightlessness of zooming down the mountain made me lose my balance in bed. “I push down on one leg then the next. Left. Right. Left. Right. Down we go. Wheee! The wind whistles around my Vuarnet sunglasses and into my eyes. Tears stream down my face but i am not crying. I’m so happy! I’m skiing! Finally!”

I was a little disappointed that the book had such a similar plot angle to the previous one; putting Lily Max outside of her fashion comfort zone – away from her arch-enemy Violet, for one – may have developed her pretty cool character even further. Mimi was a welcome new character though, with her awesome national costume and her very useful mum (who sews Korean wedding dresses for a living!) But you know what, kids who enjoyed the first book will love this*, and the attention to fashion detail is superb. “The flared legs of my deep-yellow ski pants fit snugly over my black punk-effect ski boots. I just added two brass buttons on each boot; they shine bright. Mini medallions of hope and determination.”

Recommended to boys and girls of fashion, and those who just love a touch of the outrageous – pop this in their Christmas stocking and they’ll love you for it.

Reviewed by Sarah Forster

Lily Max: Slope, Style, Fashion
by Jane Bloomfield, illustrations by Guy Fisher
Published by Luncheon Sausage Books
ISBN 9780908689934

*When I was the age that these books are written for, I was utterly obsessed with the The Gymnasts series by Elizabeth Levy, not to mention Babysitter’s Club. The Gymnasts series in particular always angled towards the big ‘meet’, with arch-enemies galore. They were the same every time, and I used to read them consecutively once a year between the ages of 7-9. Jane Bloomfield knows her audience (and it’s kids like I was).

(2) Woman's Day Top Reads of 2016   * Lily Max * Slope, Style, Fashion hanging with the big kids!
























(2) Reviewed by Maria Gill, Children's author (Winner of Margaret Mahy Book of The Year Award 2015)

Jane Bloomfield and Guy Fisher collaborate again for the second book in the Lily Max series. It’s not surprising Jane has set this book mostly on the slopes – she lives in Queenstown and spends most of her winter skiing at Wanaka. Her son is a champion skier competing at the Nationals and in America. However, Jane didn’t learn to ski until she was an adult and can remember the feeling of being a beginner skier amongst all the skilled skiers around her. She uses those memories for her main character Lily Max.

 Lily Max has told her classmates she can ski; an absolute porky – she’s like a pre-beginner. She hopes to distract everyone with her customised ski suit; only problem is, it's a school ski suit and she was told to NOT LILY MAX-IMISE IT. That's just waving a flag at Lily Max. Her sister Angelica sums it up when she finds it hiding under the bed, "That's ex-trah-eeem-ly OUT-RAY-JUSS, Lily Max".

It's not a Lily Max story without a fashion show. Lily goes into hyper-drive with fashion ideas, while trying to work out the family mystery with her grandma. Find out whether Queen-of-mean Violet gets the better of Lily Max this time, and whether she can go from Klutz to Klammer-wannabe ...

This book is even better than the last. You'll be laughing-out-loud on every page. I loved the precocious child voice of Lily Max, the antics she gets up to, and the sub-plots that run along with the day-to-day dramas of being a left-of-the-field student in a square-box world.

 For young girls who loved Jane's first book 'Lily Max: Satin, Scissors, Frock'. If your daughter or student hasn't read any yet but enjoyed Victoria Azaro's Saffron series or Lauren Child's Ruby Redfort's series - then this is the perfect book for quirky creative kids. Adults will enjoy it too.

 Great cover, too!

 Lily Max: Sun, Surf, Sea by Jane Bloomfield (Luncheon Sausage Books) #3

1. Reviewed by Sarah Forster, The Saplin

The irrepressible Lily Max is back, and on vacation. The family has driven north, to enjoy two months at the beach, thanks to Lily Max’s BFF Greer getting Lily and her mum costuming jobs on her screenwriter mum’s film set.

The friends have just caught up when Greer mentions that the film is delayed, which for Lily Max and her family means that they don’t have enough money to cover the cost of two months at the beach. ‘My family is a magnet for cash-flow crises’ says Lily Max.

Luckily for the family, Greer’s mum Jemima has just been to India for a yoga retreat, and while she was there she and a fashion designer brought back some gear for Jemima’s new importing business. She has also been working with a women’s co-operative in India who have sent some kaftans and bikinis to sell. But they aren’t quite right - cue cutting, sewing and Lily Max-blinging out the costumes with the help of her sister and mum.

Author Jane Bloomfield has been pleasingly ambitious with the plot this time, pushing beyond the fashion-show trope, while still ensuring Lily Max has a chance to use her skills, and while maintaining the eye for fashion detail we know and love. Not only is Lily Max cutting and sewing this time, she is also on the trail of a ghost story, which is related to the film she gets to be a body double in.

 Author Jane Bloomfield has been pleasingly ambitious with the plot this time, pushing beyond the fashion-show trope, while still ensuring Lily Max has a chance to use her skills ...

 She has time to investigate this trail with her sister Angelica thanks to Greer taking off with her crush Ryder to a surf competition, creating a classic ‘three’s company’ situation. Lily Max comes up with a way to make Greer choose between them: put them under pressure by making them walk to a haunted lighthouse with her.

Bloomfield has a skill with characterisation, and each of the characters is pleasingly complex - Lily Max isn’t perfect either. The plot does get somewhat convoluted at times (there is a LOT going on, as you can probably tell from my description) but overall this is a rollicking beach read, which shows an author growing in confidence.

Bloomfield has a skill with characterisation, and each of the characters is pleasingly complex.

While I suspect most of us can’t relate to the lifestyle Lily Max and Greer live, I couldn’t relate to the lifestyle the girls in The Babysitter’s Club enjoyed when I was 8, and it didn’t prevent me from inhaling every one of those books. I would definitely recommend this one for fashion-loving kids who enjoy a good adventure.  Age 8-13.