Under the Milky Way

Under the Milky Way

Under the Milky Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the Milky Way

Frané Lessac

Candlewick Press, 2020

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781536200959

In 2018 acclaimed Australian author Frané Lessac showed Australian children how we were all united under the Southern Cross constellation regardless of where we lived in this vast continent. Now, she has broadened the concept to the Milky Way galaxy and shows how the people of North America are united in a similar way.  Beneath a blanket of stars, crowds cheer at Little League games, campers share fireside stories, bull-riders hold on tight, and sled dogs race through falling snow — each portrayed through vivid artwork, engaging verses, and facts about the United States and Canada. To cap it off there are pages which explain the concept of galaxies, the Milky Way and how to find The Big Dipper and the North Star, iconic sights of the Northern hemisphere night sky.

A stunning book that has just an important place in the Australian school library’s collection as it does in those of North America because it begs an investigation into night and day, the night sky of the two hemispheres and how, regardless of our differences and different activitie,s we are all united under the one overarching star system.

 

Top Koala

Top Koala

Top Koala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Koala

Jackie French

Matt Shanks

Angus&Robertson, 2019

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

 9781460754818

I am top of every tree!

Top is always best to be.

Having convinced us he is not a bear,  Koala is determined to show us that he is at the top of everything because “top” means “best” and that will always, absolutely be him. In this charming, rhyming tale French and Shanks unite again to take the reader on a journey around Australia’s iconic sights introducing our unique fauna as Koala is intent on achieving his goal to be the top of everyone and everything

But at what cost? Because as Koala shinnies to the top of trees, masts, poles and people he is oblivious to the reactions of those he steps on as he goes – their expression perfectly caught in Shanks’s illustrations and suggesting that Koala might get to the top but there might not be too many willing support him once he is there.  Sound familiar? 

With the devastation of our wildlife during this terrifying bushfire season making headlines around the world and the koala being the “poster child” for the campaigns, on the surface this is a lovely book to introduce our youngest readers to the diversity of our wildlife and the impact that nature and humans  can have on their habitats, but, as with all books written by this brilliant author, there is something deeper to discuss with our older students too.  What are the qualities of a true leader?

I had to wait for my copy of this book because it sold out immediately, and I was disappointed, But given the events of this summer I’m glad I had to wait because it now has a much more prominent and  poignant place in our children’s literature story. 

Cat Science Unleashed

Cat Science Unleashed

Cat Science Unleashed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat Science Unleashed

Jodi Wheeler-Toppen

Matthew Rakola 

National Geographic Kids, 2019

80pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99

9781426334412

 This is part of the NatGeo Kids Hands-On Science series and complements their website aimed at 6-12 year olds.  But rather than just facts and figures about cats that can be found in any book about them, this encourages the reader to participate in  22 safe and cat-friendly activities that let  them work alongside their cat to discover what makes it tick.

They can learn the effects of catnip  and why it can see so well in the dark; how it balances so well and always land on its feet as wells as toys to make.  Each activity is paired with step-by-step instructions, clear and interesting scientific explanations, and cool photographs shot specifically for this book. Hands-on activities and fun information for budding scientists prompt further learning and offer a behind-the-scenes look at current feline research.

Using a magazine format with lots of photos and diagrams as well as information in accessible chunks, it is divided into four chapters, each accompanied by relevant explanations and activities. There is also a glossary, an index, and other extra information to help students build their information literacy skills as they learn to navigate non fiction texts. 

There are often queries to TL networks about what are the best magazine subscriptions to continue as popularity tends to wane, and for the primary school age group, Nat Geo Kids is always near the top of the list proving it has stood the test of time as an investment.  With such a focus on the environment well beyond the curriculum, it just make sense to make it available to our students.

I’m Ready for Preschool

I'm Ready for Preschool

I’m Ready for Preschool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Ready for Preschool

Jedda Robaard

Puffin, 2019

14pp., board book., RRP $A12.99

9781760891602

I’m trying something new soon. Something new and exciting . . .

Like many young Australians, a new adventure is on the horizon for Master Koala as the new school year looms (less than three weeks away for most) and it’s time to take the next step towards independence – preschool! There is much to do and prepare but he is convinced he is ready, even though there are some nervous butterflies in his tummy.  But it’s OK – everyone else feels the same and with a teacher who is smiling and more toys than he has ever seen, his day passes quickly and he’s not ready to go home.

This is another in this series of books designed to mirror the lives of Australia’s youngest children as they encounter milestones in their lives, demonstrating that any anxieties are common and normal and that there are ways to deal with them.  They can compare their own experiences with those of the characters as well as learning that books can be useful sources of information as well as entertainment as parents work through each page as they share them.  

The perfect gift for the little reader in your life. 

 

Go!

Go!

Go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go!

Steve Worland

Puffin, 2019

256pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781760893361

Fifteen-year-old Jack has just discovered the one thing he loves, and is really good at: go kart racing. With the support of his mentor, Patrick, an old race-car driver with a dark past, and his best mates Colin and Mandy, Jack must learn to control his reckless streak. Only then will he be in with a chance to defeat the best drivers in Australia, including his ruthless rival Dean, and win the National title.

Written by the author of Paper Planes and based on the movie this is a story that will appeal to a wide range of students, whether as a read-alone or a read-aloud. The movie has been billed as  “one for the family” thus many will have seen it so having the print version available will be an encouragement for those who enjoyed it to delve deeper and really get to know the characters .   There is an inset of photographs from the movie to bring back memories and it would make the perfect centrepiece of a display focusing on books that have been turned into movies and vice versa, perhaps sparking a discussion on which format is better and why it is preferred.

Don’t Read This Book Before Dinner

Don't Read This Book Before Dinner

Don’t Read This Book Before Dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Read This Book Before Dinner

Anna Claybourne 

National Geographic Kids, 2019

144pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99

 9781426334511

“If you love to be grossed out, grab a seat at the table to revel in some of the most repulsive and downright disgusting true stories from around the globe.

From wretched rodents and beastly bugs to putrid plants and muck-filled moats, step right in to find out more about the icky, sticky world around you. Gloriously gross stories of decaying delicacies, foul fashion, horrible history, awful animals, and more are paired with eye-popping pictures, fun facts, and hilarious quizzes in this fun book. Topics go way beyond food to include art, plants, animals, fashion, pop culture, medicine, the human body, and beyond. It’s a hot mess to digest, but it’s sure to leave kids disgusted and delighted…”

Using an appealing double-page spread format to explore all things gross, Nat Geo Kids  is designed to appeal to the 6-12 year olds keen to find out more about their world and what is in it.  

A peek inside....

A peek inside….

This particular edition is one that is likely to appeal to young boys and while there are those adults who don’t think this sort of thing is “real reading” (in the same way comics were disdained in their day), in my opinion anything that encourages them to hone their literacy skills is to be commended, particularly when it has the quality that you know is associated with Nat Geo Kids.  To add to the experience and spread their horizons wider, there is also the Australian version of their website which has unique topical local content such as What is a Bushfire?

There are often queries to TL networks about what are the best magazine subscriptions to continue as popularity tends to wane, and for the primary school age group, Nat Geo Kids is always near the top of the list proving it has stood the test of time as an investment.  With such a focus on the environment well beyond the curriculum, it just make sense to make it available to our students.

The Princess Rules

The Princess Rules

The Princess Rules

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Princess Rules

Philippa Gregory

Chris Chatterton

HarperCollins, 2019

256pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9780008339791

Princess Florizella was friends with some of the princesses who had studied the Princess Rules, and behaved just as the Rules said they should. Florizella thought their hair was lovely: so golden and so very long. And their clothes were nice: so richly embroidered. And their shoes were delightful: so tiny and handmade in silk. But their days bored her to death…”

Instead, Princess Florizella rides her horse, Jellybean, all over the kingdom, having adventures of her own…

Originally written for her daughters in 1989 when the concept of rebel princesses as heroines was scarcely heard of much beyond Munsch’s  The Paper Bag Princess Philippa Gregory has reimagined this collection of three stories for her granddaughters and created a thoroughly modern tale.  “I’m much clearer that she’s up against something worse than a bad fairy at a christening – the ‘rules’ that try to persuade bright multi-talented children into stereotype notes. Florizella and her BFF Prince Bennet find their own paths around giants, wolves and (of course) dragons.”

With humour that stabs at convention and stereotypes and their consequences, Gregory has created a feisty heroine who will appeal to today’s newly independent reader who may once have dreamed of life as Aurora or Belle or some other Disney princess but who will no doubt much prefer to be Florizella instead.  

With a growing call for diversity in children’s literature, movies and other arts, the issue of stereotyping is a topical one so while this book may have a predominantly young female audience, it also has the scope to be a platform for exploring this topic among those much older. And Gregory’s experience as a writer shines through so it would not be considered as a twee, sugar-coated read beneath that older audience. It may even lead them to her more grown-up novels.  

Eight Princesses And A Magic Mirror

Eight Princesses And A Magic Mirror

Eight Princesses And A Magic Mirror

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eight Princesses And A Magic Mirror

Natasha Farrant

Lydia Corry

Zephyr, 2019

209pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9781788541152

Mirror, mirror on the wall… what makes a princess excellent?’ The enchantress’s mirror travels through time, from east to west, to find the answer. Reflected in it are princesses who refuse to be pretty, polite or obedient. These are girls determined to do the rescuing themselves. The Arabian princess of the desert protects her people from the king with the black and gold banner; Latin American Princess, Tica, takes a crocodile for a pet; a Scottish princess explores the high seas; African Princess, Abayome, puts empathy and kindness above being royal; and in a tower-block, Princess saves her precious community garden from the hands of greedy urban developers.

While the traditional princesses of familiar fairytales still remain popular with many girls, others are demanding stories about those who are not helpless and dreaming of the handsome prince to rescue them and live happily ever after.  So this collection of original stories about princesses who are bold, empowered, full of curiosity, adventure and determined to be true to themselves will appeal to those ready to move beyond Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora and company. With its relatively short meaty stories and full colour illustrations, it is perfect for newly independent readers and with the magic mirror connecting the stories throughout it has a continuity that encourages them to keep reading each new adventure.

Something different to entice readers into the library for a new year of reading adventures or to suggest to parents looking for something a bit different to share at bedtime..

 

Aesop’s Fables (series)

Aesop's Fables (series)

Aesop’s Fables (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aesop’s Fables (series)

Susanna Davidson

John Joven 

Usborne, 2019

48pp., hbk., RRP $A9.99

There are some stories that have stood the test of time for generations and Aesop’s fables are among these with their messages still pertinent even in this age of screens and technology.  So this new release of these old tales written and illustrated for young emerging readers will open them up to a new generation.

A peek inside....

A peek inside….

The Lion and the Mouse tells the story of the arrogant lion who cannot imagine that a tiny mouse would ever be able to help him but discovers that friends can be found in strange places; The Ant and the Grasshopper reminds us about the need to balance work and play as Ant busily prepares for winter, while Grasshopper sings the summer away; and The Hare and the Tortoise  pits a boastful hare against the slow tortoise with a surprising result.  

Knowing these sorts of stories which are the basis of many other stories enriches the young child’s literary knowledge and adds depth to their understanding of those other stories so to have them available in the library’s collection is essential, in my opinion.

The Dragon In The Library

The Dragon In The Library

The Dragon In The Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dragon In The Library

Louie Stowell

Nosy Crow, 2019

224pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781788000260

Kit can’t stand reading. She’d much rather be outside, playing games and getting muddy, than stuck inside being quiet with a book. But when she’s dragged along to the local library at the start of the school holiday by her two best friends, she makes an incredible discovery: the local library is run by wizards … and she’s one too! The youngest wizard ever, in fact.

But someone is threatening to tear down the library and disturb the powerful magical forces living beneath it. And now it’s up to Kit and her friends to save the library… and the world.

The first book in an exciting, imaginative and brilliantly funny new series, which Miss 8 curled up with on Christmas afternoon when it was too hot to be outside.  Full of illustrations and written in short manageable chapters, it is a fast-paced story with the perfect mix of reality and fantasy to capture her imagination, It also captured mine and it sheds a new light on the value of both libraries and reading for those who think neither has anything of value for them. 

This is the perfect book to recommend to teachers as the first read-aloud for the new school year to encourage students to investigate the magic in your school library.