The What on Earth Institute of Wonder
Book of the Year Awards 2022
Speech Pathology Australia
One elephant, one kakapo, one unlicensed teenage driver, one boy waiting for the world to end and a twelve-year-old girl with a very special gift.
Sal has always had an affinity with animals – especially the lost kind. But when two rare and endangered creatures appear out of nowhere, life takes a detour into strange and uncharted territory…
A mind-boggling expedition into the secrets of the Animal Kingdom with only an invisible map of the human heart as a guide. (Unless, of course, you count the talking parrot.) What on Earth could possibly go wrong…?
I could not love this book any more! @lisanicolauthor has once again blown our minds with a story so fabulously bonkers and so beautifully written that I had to just lie in a dark room for a good while and appreciate what I had just read….. definitely in the running for one of my favourite books of the year!
Rachel Robson, Children’s literacy specialist, Gleebooks, 31 August 2021
‘…a superbly crafted blend of wonder, action and remarkable characters.’
Joy Lawn, Magpie Magazine, May 2022
What a beautiful story Lisa Nicol has written for us to enjoy. It is heart-warming and so full of love, but also loss. By the time you finish The What on Earth Institute of Wonder, you may just want to go out and save the world single-handedly…. This is definitely a book you will want to read more than once.
The What on Earth Institute of Wonder is indeed itself wonderful, a finely honed, multi-faceted little gem….A most amusing, intriguing and thoughtful entertainment for the late sub-teens.
Kevin Steinberger, Magpie Magazine, Nov 21
This is a hilarious, magical, quirky and just-a-little-bit serious tale about friends, family and the wonders of nature.
Kid’s Reading Guide 2021 -22, Handpicked and reviewed by Australia’s leading booksellers
From the moment I began to read this middle grade, speculative fiction novel, I knew it was a goodie…. It will make readers smile, yearn, feel sad and most of all wonder ….. A quirky, heartfelt, unique story of friendship, family and conviction that is sure to be eaten up by kids aged 9-13.
Charming and surprising and mysterious and whacky. It hooked me from the beginning….One of those books you just put down and sigh with satisfaction.
…her writing wraps around me like a warm doona and I slip immediately back into my childhood. …I have to say, Lisa Nicol does not get nearly as many song dedications and street parades as she deserves.
This is a delightful story with elements of fantasy, environmental activism, family dilemmas and friendship all woven together with whimsy to create a charming story for young readers. … uplifting and warm, and quirkily appealing with a touch of the impossible.
With adventure, family life, humour and drama a-plenty, I heartily recommend this for your readers from around Year 4 upwards.
Lisa Nicol’s whimsical way with words is becoming the stuff of legend. Her narratives are an intoxicating mix of wonderment, cheek and incredible heart; a strange combination but one that makes her middle grade novels fulfilling and memorable. The What on Earth Institute of Wonder perpetuates this premise while managing to incorporate an African forest elephant and a New Zealand Kakapo into the same sentence, never mind the same Kombi van!
Vincent and The Grandest Hotel on Earth
Everyone deserves a bit of grand . . . From ordinary to extraordinary, Vincent and The Grandest Hotel on Earth is a marvellous ride that will delight readers of all ages.
Perched high on the snowy slopes of the Mabombo Ranges lies The Grandest Hotel on Earth. It’s wilder than the African savanna, more fantastical than Disneyland and more magical than Shangri-la.
So when ordinary eleven-year-old Vincent meets the hotel’s young Florence he sets off on a path leading into his most wondrous dreams.
But of course, dreams have a funny way of taking strange and surprising turns and, before long, Vincent is torn between right and wrong, friendship and family and the most enticing of desires – to see into the future..
WARNING: this book includes insanely cute pocket dogs, travelling by llama or jet pack, chocolate fountains and shoes that play Bach.
“This is absolutely GRAND! I adored it. What a wonderful read!”
Author, Lenny’s Book of Everything
“… so alive with magic and wonder … simply impossible to resist. This is a charming and surprisingly moving delight for readers aged eight and older seeking more of Nevermoor’s capriciousness, with all the sensitivity of Kate DiCamillo’s best. Four stars.”
Phil Lesnie, BOOKS+PUBLISHING
“Utterly beautiful, completely joyous, just stunning..”
Megan Daley, Children’s Books Daily
“This book is sure to win awards, including children’s choice book awards. It is highly recommended.”
Dianne Bates, Buzz Words
“..an epic and addictive adventure for junior readers. This is a book-world to fall into headfirst, dream about when you aren’t reading and fantasise about long after you’ve come to the end… This is a book that is destined to become a treasured favourite in so many homes and I predict lots of people are going to be talking about it.”
Shaye Wardrop, Kid’s Book Review
The moment I opened this book I was whisked away into this fantastical world and really did not want to come out. But of course I FLEW through the book because it is utterly unputdownable.”
“This is the type of book that will be loved by kids aged 8 to 11. It is full of all the best things that your dreams could imagine!”
Rob, Lamont Books
“This novel is so engaging it is difficult to stop reading it until the very end!”
Patricia Halsall, Magpies
“..an imaginative and hopeful read full of charming characters and an intrinsic sense of humanity…..that I liken to one of my favourite junior fiction novels, Withering-by-Sea.”
“This is a delightful read for 8 plus readers that has heart and is smart. Quirky. Full of great imagery. Echoes of Dahl and the work of filmmaker Wes Anderson. Lisa Nicol is an Aussie writer to watch!”
Paul MacDonald, The Children’s Bookshop
“I give this book five out of five stars – yes it is THAT GOOD!”
‘Absolutely Grand….If your little reader enjoyed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, they will love this book.”
Dr Boogaloo and The Girl Who Lost Her Laughter
CBCA Book of the Year Awards
2018 Notable Book, Younger Readers
Enchanting, timeless and surprising – this extraordinary novel will touch the hearts (and ears) of children and adults alike.
Dr Boogaloo was no ordinary doctor. Not at all like the one you might visit if you had a sore tummy. No, Dr Boogaloo was a very different type of doctor. He treated folks who suffered from rather unusual complaints. And how did he treat them? Why, with the most powerful medicine known to mankind . . . Music!
Blue was no ordinary girl. For starters, her name was Blue. But what was truly extraordinary about Blue was the fact that she hadn’t laughed for 712 days. Not a hee hee, a ho ho or even a tiny tee hee.
According to Dr Boogaloo, music can cure anything. (Of course, you need the right dose of the right music. No point listening to a jive if you’re in need of some boogie-woogie, and you can’t just substitute a toot for a blow!) But no laughter was definitely a case for alarm.
Can Dr Boogaloo compose a cure before Blue loses her laughter forever?
One of my favourite younger reads of the year has been Dr Boogaloo and the Girl who Lost her Laughter by Lisa Nicol. Funny. Edgy. A warm heart too.
I cannot tell you how joyous it was to read a book full of heart and soul and music
If you’re after a chapter book for middle readers, then look no further than this fantastic read! I adored this book. ….. It is a whimsical and enchanting tale that both young and older readers will enjoy.
Dr Boogaloo and the Girl Who Lost Her Laughter is heartwarming and beautifully written. This is an engaging and unique chapter grade book, that is sure to make you laugh and possibly cry.
Lisa Nicol has created a world full of heartfelt, funny and thoughtful characters……Hand this book to readers who might need a lift or a laugh. They are certain to get both.
The Ballad of Dexi Lee
Dexi Lee is a regular girl, except for one thing. Her hands are gigantic! Everything she does leads to absolute chaos. But one day she meets some extraordinary animals and suddenly life doesn’t seem so gloomy…..
This quirky, rhyming, picture book is illustrated by one of Australia’s best and most loved oil painters, Lucy Culliton. Uniquely Australian right down to Dexi’s Blundstone boots, The Ballad of Dexi Lee was selected by The Australian’s Stephen Romei as one of his favourite picture books of 2013.
A wonderful, heart-warming tale of difference and happiness