UGLY & THE MAPMAKER CHRONICLES. Read A.L.Tait’s blog about maps

2 books for junior readers

Author UGLY by Robert Hoge; MAPMAKER by A.L.Tait

Publisher Lothian Australia

Genre Junior readers

This 2-book bundle is ideal for kids aged 8–9 and up. One story is true, one maybe isn’t, but both help us see the world differently.


A beaut story about one very ugly kid.

Robert Hoge was born with a tumour in the middle of his face, and legs that weren’t much use. There wasn’t another baby like him in the whole of Australia, let alone Brisbane. But the rest of his life wasn’t so unusual: he had a mum and a dad, brothers and sisters, friends at school and in his street. He had childhood scrapes and days at the beach; fights with his family and trouble with his teachers.

He had doctors, too: lots of doctors who, when he was still very young, removed that tumour from his face and operated on his legs, then stitched him back together. He still looked different, though. He still looked … ugly. UGLY is the true story of how an extraordinary boy grew up to have an ordinary life, and how that became his greatest achievement of all.

  • Age range: 8-9+
  • Biography
  • Paperback, 126 x 196mm, 192 pp

Robert Hoge has worked as a journalist, a speechwriter, a science communicator for the CSIRO. He has had numerous short stories, articles, interviews and other works published in Australia and overseas. He also enjoys photography, disability advocacy and social engagement. While he never got far with his professional lawn bowls career, Robert did carry the Olympic torch in 2000. He is married and lives in Brisbane.

Robert Hoge, photographed by Matt Warrell

Robert Hoge, photographed by Matt Warrell


THE MAPMAKER CHRONICLES, Book 1: Race to the End of the World

Adventure and danger lie just off the edge of the map in this swashbuckling story!

Why does the King need map of the world? Everyone knows that if you go too far in either direction you’ll fall off the edge, and if that doesn’t kill you Genesi the dragon of death will be waiting for you.

The King is determined to discover what lies beyond the known world, and has promised a handsome prize to the ship’s captain who can bring him a map of the whole globe. To do that, they’ll need mapmakers – and 14-year-old Quinn is shocked to be one of the chosen. While his older brothers long for adventure, Quinn is content with a quiet life on the farm, but when word of his special talent gets out, he has no choice but to pack his bags and join the mismatched crew of slaves and stowaways on board the Libertas.The other competitors will do anything to win, but the greatest danger may come from the strange sea monster hot on their tail or the mysterious unchartered lands for which they are bound. Nobody knows what lies off the edge of the map, but Quinn is about to find out that it’s more than anyone bargained for.

  • Age range: 8-9+
  • Junior fiction
  • Paperback, 126 x 196mm, 256 pp

A.L. Tait grew up dreaming of world domination. Unfortunately, at the time there were only alphabet sisters B.L. and C.A. and long-suffering brother M.D.M. to practise on … and parents who didn’t look kindly upon sword fights, plank-walking or thumbscrews. But dreams don’t die and THE MAPMAKER CHRONICLES, the author’s first series of books for children, is the result. A.L. lives in country New South Wales with a family, a garden and four goldfish.


Teachers and Librarians, email if you would like a copy of UGLY’s reading notes, written by Robin Sheahan-Bright and published by Lothian.