Molly, aka Molly Mischief or MOLLY!!!, has lots of ideas, some of which are not as good as others. When her dad takes her and her brother to the zoo, she decides that she would really like a BIG pet, one much bigger than Polka her pet mouse.
And so she tries a few – a hippopotamus, a polar bear, a giraffe, a tiger, a rhinoceros, even a walrus – but none of them is just right. Even the ostrich and the snake weren’t suitable – her family is so hard to please. But then she discovers the elephant…
When his father Roger died after a series of strokes in 1988, Adam took over the successful Mr Men series and even though it took him “years of trial and error” to perfect his father’s art style, he persevered and it is that same canvas that adds the charm to this new series that will resonate with many children who have good but out-there ideas, annoying brothers, and a twinkle in their eye.
When almost-independent Miss 6 spotted this on the review pile, she pounced on it and did not surface until it was complete, and even after reading it she had so much to tell us as she speculated on the sort of pet she could/would have! A better recommendation than any fancy words I might write!
A worm who wants to be an anaconda, an elephant that won’t do tricks, a gorilla named Harry Hairybutt… these are among the memorable characters that The Simple Things author Bill Condon has created in these 14 animal-based short stories that will appeal to the young emerging reader transitioning to novels.
Each is based on a familiar proverb but that proverb is twisted to suit the story, and, depending on your opinion of puns, they are clever or dreadful. But each story is very funny and just the right length in a well-spaced font with plenty of illustrations.
At the end there is a glossary of the original proverbs with their actual meaning that introduces them to the reader, enriching their experience with the stories themselves.
Icky-foodia: The Ultimate Guide to Disgusting Food
210pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99
When the blurb of the book begins, “It’s a CROOKBOOK full of INGROSSIENTS to make every kid into a DISASTERCHEF. It contains smelly and just plain horrible words, scribbles, COOKING DESTRUCTIONS and a guide to the world’s worst RESTAURWRONGS. Full of made-up history, bonkers definitions, food unfacts and packed with illustrations …” then you have an idea of what this book is like and who its target audience is. If the blurb doesn’t warn you then the realistic cockroach on the front cover should.
This is an “alphabetical guide to disgusting foods, horrible recipes and weird meals” that will appeal to those who like the weird and wacky and almost-naughty and who don’t particularly like reading but cope with tiny bits of information and lots of visual features.
The follow-up to Ickypedia which became a stage show , The Listies are comedy duo Matthew Kelly and Richard Higgins whose aim is to make kids laugh using the sort of humour that boys of a certain age relate to.
While not necessarily having a lot of literary merit, if you want to entice reluctant readers into the world of books this may be the bait you need.
It is a calm, peaceful sunny morning where everything is as and where it should be, including Scarface Claw snoozing in the sun on top of the roof of the car. But all that changes when Tom starts the car and drives off without realising Scarface is still on top!!!
Is there any more famous cat with young children than Scarface Claw? He’s the toughest tomcat in town, the roughest and toughest, the boldest, the bravest, the fiercest, mighty and magnificent – so much so that he sent Schnitzel von Krumm with a very low tum, Bitzer Maloney all skinny and bony, Muffin McLay like a bundle of hay, Bottomley Potts covered in spots, Hercules Morse as big as a horse and Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy scampering home with just one EEEEEOWWWFFTZ way back in 1983!
And now it is Scarface Claw’s turn to be terrified as he clings on for dear life to the roof of Tom’s speeding car.
This new adventure from Dame Lynley Dodd told in rhyme with all the action and wonderful illustrations of the others in this fabulous series for young children is set to introduce a new generation to a host of characters that have brought so much joy that they have their own sculpture in Tauranga in New Zealand. (In fact, Hairy Maclary is such a part of my reading story that, despite the pouring rain, I chose to find this sculpture instead of accompanying the family to Hobbiton.)
Everyone has been invited to a party at Monster’s house and so they are all dressing up in their party best. But before they go, they drop into Raymond’s hair salon so they can also have the nicest hairdo to go with their nice clothes.
But Raymond the octopus has more arms than skill and things start to go very wrong… Can they really go to a party with their hair like this? From being on a high, they descend to a low.
Fast-moving rhyming text, bold, bright illustrations and a crazy plot with hilarious twists will make this a perfect read-aloud for little people who like monster stories but who don’t really want to be scared. Perfect in the lead-up to Hallowe’en.
Cat loves boxes – all sorts of boxes – big, small, fat, thin, huge tiny… and in this romp in rhyme so many boxes are explored. But it is not just a collection of rhyming words or opposites, there is a story told in the clever choice of words and their accompanying pictures that early readers will be able to tell for themselves, delighting in their ability to read.
This is a great story to share with little ones because there is so much to share and talk about. If a fat cat sits on a little box, what will be the outcome? And if a box has a corner nibbled out of it, what might be inside? And given the obvious answer, is this story about to end badly? Two word phrases, rhyme, bold pictures, humour, predictability that engages the reader – a perfect combination to take our youngest readers further into their love with reading.
‘If only I had superpowers like all my friends!’ he thought longingly.
If only he could fly like the king parrot, swim like the platypus, jump like the kangaroo or protect himself with body armour like the echidna. But, sadly, no matter how hard he tries to be like his friends in the bush, his attempts end in near disaster. He is feeling really despondent but his mother reassures him he will find his special talent and to look forward to the birthday party with his friends the next day. And it is on his way to the party that Wesley discovers his super power and becomes a super hero.
This is a charming story written for the very young who are learning to identify our unique indigenous creatures and their special characteristics. Using a lift-the-flap format, Cheryl Westenberg has created the most wonderful illustrations of Wesley’s mishaps that little ones (and bigger ones too) will roll on the floor laughing and really understand the fun to be had in stories while understanding that each of us has our own super power because we are all really good at something. Bright and colourful and accompanied by extra pages of facts about each of the featured creatures, this is a must-have addition for the early childhood collection.
George is all ready to go to school but in the back of his mind he has that feeling that he has forgotten something. Being a boy who never likes to forget anything, it troubles him and so he mentally goes through all his preparations for school. He’s woken up, made his bed, greeted his patents, got dressed, had breakfast… So what could it be?
Aha! He realises at the very last minute as the school bus turns up that it is his shoes he has forgotten! Or is it???
Young children will love trying to help George remember and by the end of the book they will be shouting at him just as they do in performances where the villain pops up just behind the hero and quickly disappears. They will enjoy comparing his routine to theirs as they delight in Richard Byrne’s clever, funny illustrations and the clever use of font and print direction. And they will probably start to do a mental check before they go out the door in future. They might even add the word ’embarrassing” to their vocabulary!
Nellie is all dressed up in her dinosaur costume because today is a Dinosaur Day. But it is also her Aunt Daisy’s wedding and she is supposed to be the flower girl and wearing her special purple dress. While some parents might exert their parental power, Nellie’s try a more negotiated approach, as stubborn as any preschooler, Nellie refuses to change and despite her parents’ pleading she stands her ground. Can a compromise be reached with Aunt Daisy having the pretty flower girl at the wedding of her dreams?
This is a funny yet familiar story that will resonate with both parent and child – parents because we can all remember some of the monumental battles we have had with stubborn, determined little people, the child because the adult world does seem to have some weird rules and expectations and having to wear a purple dress to a wedding is just one of them.
It’s refreshing to see a girl in the lead role in a book about dinosaurs and Tom Jellett has captured Nellie’s obsession with them and her feelings at being told no perfectly. You can feel the tension in the air as powerful wills meet even though voices are not raised (except as a dinosaur roar) and the parents remain calm. Lots of discussion points about feelings, doing what others expect, negotiating and compromising and whether clothes really do “maketh the man”.
Guff is a somewhat weather-beaten soft toy. With both an eye and an ear missing, patches and fraying edges he looks like he has had a hard life, when, in fact he has had a loved life. Given to the little girl when she was very tiny and he was as new and pristine as she was, he’s been with her every step of her growing-up journey and has survived the nearest of near misses like being left on the bus, floating out to sea and even going through the washing machine.
With its sparse text the real story of Guff is told in the pictures with insight and humour – the mother’s expressions are exquisite and the love and the special relationship amongst mother, daughter and toy just exudes from the page.
Guff is the toy we’ve all had, the constant companion that has given support and comfort when we’ve needed it – our best friend and confidante. Guff is there in all our childhood memories, intertwined with our adventures and misadventures. Guff makes it OK to go on your first sleepover or your first school camp with him close by your side even if you are in Year 4 or 5. Guff is the warmth and comfort of Linus’s security blanket and just as acceptable. He is the toy we will treasure and pass on to our children and tell them stories about.
Guff is Aaron Blabey’s latest masterpiece, not just a story for little people to listen to as they snuggle down with their Guff but one that will evoke memories for the storyteller and generate even more stories .
Guff is precious and very special – both the book and the toy.