Mosquitoes can bite all kinds of people–ballerinas, chefs, babies, even you and me. But they can’t bite . . . NINJAS! Mosquitoes might be quick, but ninjas are quicker. Mosquitoes might be sneaky, but ninjas are sneakier. And mosquitoes might be hungry, but ninjas are . . . hungrier!
And Ninjas certainly don’t bite mosquitoes unless…
With a particular television program inspiring mini-Ninjas in playgrounds all over the country, this is an amusing book that pits the greatest scourge of mankind against the power of a Ninja. As well as learning to be Ninjas from an early age, children also learn to recognise that familiar whine of the female mosquito looking for blood and how to slap them dead as soon as they can so they will relate to the peskiness of these creatures and be glad that it meets its end, even if in an ugly way.
The cartoon-like illustrations expand the minimal text very well, adding a lot of character and expression particularly to the mosquito who is clearly intent on doing evil, While there is no actual violence portrayed there are several instances where the mosquito comes off second-best and the reader can use the clues to conclude just what has happened. Perfect for getting young readers to examine the illustrations to make the most of the story.
This is one reader, highly allergic to the venom of these creatures, who would be very glad if MANY mosquitoes were harmed in the making of this book!
Glitch, a trembly, twittery,twitchy kind of bug built amazing creations from the things that he found on the rubbish dump where he lived. It really was a case of one man’s trash being another’s treasure. His best friend June was a much calmer bug as well as being the best billycart driver ever. Glitch spent his time rummaging through the mountains of mouldy mess deposited daily by the dump trucks trying to build June the best billycart ever. But even though he managed to do that, they had never won a race. Somehow, despite June’s brilliant driving, Glitch’s issues as the co-driver denied them victory.
So this time, June decides that Glitch will be the driver – a thought that terrifies him and has him seeking all sorts of excuses why not.
Full of alliteration that give it pace and rhythm this is a story that will delight young readers and culminates in something they will resonate with – having to put their brave on and do something that scares them. Great for getting the children to think about what they are afraid of and considering taking the first step to vanquish it. Andrew Plant, illustrator of the magnificent Spark and the brilliant The Poppy has really let his imagination go wild and got down and dirty amongst the rubbish heaps to bring the story to life and show how the most mundane things can be repurposed. With makerspaces the current big thing in school libraries, this is the perfect book to challenge students to make a billycart for a bug using recycled and repurposed materials.
Miss 6, whose first task at Joeys was to help build a raft from drink bottles, is right into recycling so she is going to love this. Such a strong message told in such an entertaining way.
Some little people, unlike their grandmothers, love bugs and see them for what they are – an essential element of life on this planet either as pollinators or food for pollinators. So those little people will probably love this book with its life-size pictures of these multi-legged creatures and wonder and marvel at Mother Nature’s creations, ingenuity and magic.
Even though there are officially only 16 pages, there are four huge fold-out pages that offer many more pictures to explore – the biggest ones, the most deadly, those with wings and those with lots of legs, those that are beautiful and those that are not-so, even those that could win gold medals in a Bugs Olympics – there are bugs from all around the world to discover, learn a little about and perhaps even investigate further. Usborne even provides a page of Quicklinks to support further investigations as well as activities.
Not necessarily my favourite book of the year because I’m a wuss, but definitely one for little people wanting to get up close and personal with Mother Nature.
Henri is a little caterpillar with a big ambition. He wants to fly and go on an amazing, incredible, impossible-seeming adventure to see the world outside his garden. But how can such a little caterpillar make such a huge dream come true?
His friends want him to stay where he is – safely in the garden with them. But Toad tells if if he doesn’t chase his dreams, they will get away. And so with the help of other friends like Bird, Mole, and Fish he is on his way. But it is not until he sees a tethered hot air balloon that he believes his amazing, incredible, impossible-seeming adventure will begin. If he can get to the top he is sure he will be able to see the whole wide world. But as he begins to crawl up the ropes, something happens to him and he finds himself shackled and sleepy. And then when he wakes…
This is a charming story that will appeal to young readers, especially those who know the life cycle of butterflies and can predict what will happen to Henri. But it is also an inspiring story about believing in yourself, having a dream and making it happen, even if it means stepping w-a-y outside your comfort zone. It’s ending is comforting – knowing that there is nearly always a safe haven we can return to. It is a soft, gentle story cleverly echoed in the soft gentle palette and is a perfect bedtime read as children snuggle down to their own dreams.
“This book is about worms. (I can only draw worms.) “
And so that’s just what we are presented with. Bright hot-pink worms (except for one yellow one because he lost his pen) that mix and mingle and get to know each other and have adventures, all of which the reader has to imagine because the author can only draw worms. Set on white page juxtaposed with some really bright backgrounds the reader is drawn in, but while the blurb suggests that the book is “hilarious” and guaranteed to have children howling with laughter” I think there is a gap between the age of the reader that it visually appeals to and that able to grasp the humour.
It’s different, it’s quirky, it’s definitely bright and young readers will love to join in the counting aspect as Mabbitt brings this most humble creature to life., encouraging them to use their imagination to fill in all the missing illustrations because he can only draw worms.
Ants are the most numerous insect in the world -scientists estimate there are more than 10 000 species and maybe 100 000 trillion individuals – which is a good thing because Millie the echidna loves them. No matter where they are – on the path, beneath the bath, in the kitchen, in the shed, on a picnic, in the bed – Millie is on an endless quest to eat as many as she can. Whether it’s a hunter ant, a soldier ant or even a queen flying before rain, she is on their trail because she is on a special mission…
Echidnas are not uncommon in the bush environment from rainforests to dry sclerophyll forests to the arid zones and with their formidable spines and remarkable ability to grip the ground, even hard concrete so they cannot be disturbed, it is no wonder they are are the oldest surviving mammal on the planet today. Knowing that author Jackie French lives in the bush environment in south-east New South Wales, one can imagine her watching an echidna snuffle across her backyard on the trail and this delightful book being born as she pondered its search and brought it to life in rhyme.
While Millie continues her dogged pursuit, which is such a steady but remarkably speedy pace, artist Sue deGennaro adds movement and humour in her portrayal of the ants who are as clever as they are numerous. We’ve all seen them carrying food bigger than they are but who would have thought they could manoeuvre four cupcakes and a suite of garden tools!! And in amongst the frivolity there is a lot of information about the benefits of these tiny creatures to our landscape and lives, even if we do see them as pesky annoyances in the sugarbowl!
Having endeared us to the ants through these charming pictures, we then discover the reason for Millie’s journey and hearts melt all over again – while a lesson in life is learned. We need food to provide food. Little readers will not only understand echidnas a little more after experiencing this book but they will also view ants in a different light and perhaps take time to observe and think about what the ants are doing before hitting them with a spray or a foot.
Extensive teachers’ notes are available as well as a poster but this copy is winging its way to Queensland for Miss Almost 2 just for the share joy and delight of the words, the rhyme, the pictures and her love of stories that is already well-cemented because of tales like this.
The world was first introduced to the very hungry caterpillar as he munched his way through a menu of goodies almost 50 years ago! Now he is back, hiding somewhere under the flaps waiting to be discovered by little fingers.
With the bold colours and readily recognisable illustrations of the wondrous Eric Carle who has a gift of turning the mundane into the extraordinary, it’s time for little ones to have even more fun with the little caterpillar that so many of them already know and love. And as well as recognising the familiar foods from the original story and perhaps even being able to read the words for them because of that, they can also learn what other tiny creatures inhabit the world beneath their feet and maybe tread a little more gently on this earth.
This ticks all the boxes about helping our first readers to understand the basic concepts about print that are so vital to their reading success, particularly making connections between this new story and the one they know as they learn to carry that knowledge and apply it to a new situation. Brilliant from what might appear to be a humble board book!
Worm loves Worm. So they decide to get married. It shouldn’t be a problem but suddenly all their minibeast friends chip in. “You’ll need someone to marry you. That’s how it’s always been done.” You’ll need a best man, bridesmaids, rings, a band… and so on and so on, because “that’s how it’s always been done.” Worm and Worm agree to each suggestion hoping that after they acquiesce they can get married but no… there is always something else.
So when they are told that they need to have a bride and groom, worms being hermaphrodites, they have no trouble with being either or both – but that isn’t how it’s always been done. Will they ever just celebrate their love by getting married???
This is a charming book that, on the surface, is just a story about two worms wanting to get married because they love each other, and that, to a four-year-old is a natural thing to do. It is just a celebration of love. For those in different circumstances or a little bit older there is a sub-text of marriage equality and things can change – they don’t always have to be because they have always been. It’s enough to love each other without all the other trappings; it’s about inclusion and equality and showing affection regardless of any traditional views and values that have been imposed on a natural state of mind. That’s what little ones understand and accept – intolerance is something they learn.
Choosing worms as the main characters is a masterstroke because there are no physical differences between worms – there is nothing to say which is female and therefore the bride or male and therefore the groom. So the central message of love being the key ingredient and the rest of the elements of a wedding just being seasoning remains the central theme.
Perhaps some of our politicians and those who influence them should read this and get to the core of what really matters.
A great addition to a school library collection that allows children to see their own family structure in a story, to show others that there are all sorts of family structures, and to explain marriage equality to those unfamiliar with the concept.
At the bottom of the garden
where no one really sees,
a secret school is hidden
amongst the grass and weeds.
And it is the first day of school for all the little bugs that live in the garden. Spiders have to learn the pitfalls to avoid like climbing up waterspouts, crickets need to know their new song for the summer, ladybirds have to learn to count spots and all of the other things that go with the first day of school, under the watchful, caring eye of Miss Bumblebee.
With a new school year just over the horizon for many of our pre-schoolers this is a delightful story in rhyme that will help them allay their nerves and they start the what-ifs and their anxiety begins to build. The illustrations show each bug as a friendly individual (even the spiders) and the idea that school is fun threads its way through helping to quell questions and nerves.
One to add to your preschool collection to be shared as the term moves on – the children might even like to think of a favourite bug and decide what it is they would have to learn. Would a centipede have to know how to tie shoelaces?
Bugsy Bug is going to visit his grandma. She lives somewhere in the Big Bug Log but Bugsy is not sure how to get there so the reader has to help him. Solving clues to find the right doors, lifting flaps, following directions, trails and mazes, escaping from the scary spider, through the log he travels until he reaches safety, this is an interactive read perfect for the parent and very young child to enjoy together.
The shape of the cover with its cutout says, “Explore me!” and the bright colourful pictures are enticing. There is much to discover and discuss in their fine detail as the child seeks to solve the clues. While there needs to be an adult to read the commentary and clues, the child will delight in looking for things like the bee in the bow tie, using their finger to follow snail trails and so on, all of which reinforce the left-to-right direction of reading and the delight of story.
The benefits of having children enjoy stories from a very young age are well documented but having those stories being interactive and demanding input from the listener is a bonus. This is much more than a story about Bugsy getting to Grandma’s house – it demands the child’s attention and input, all the while consolidating that subliminal message that stories are not only fun but that the child and the activity are worth the attention of the adult sharing it with them. This is not a disembodied voice encouraging them to tap this or swipe that – this is someone who cares about them making the time to get involved and help them solve Bugsy’s problem.
Perfect for preschool and even younger and a wonderful opportunity to create some original artwork, a map of the log, and to team with some early non fiction about bugs!