‘Boo!’ said the baby to the penguin in the yacht . . .
Babies love to play peek-a-boo and these ones have a lovely time playing with their toys. But…
What happens next?
Turn the page and see…
Ready, steady, count-
One, two three!
This is a delightful book for the very young who are learning the fun that can be had in picture books. The constant repetition of the word BOO will encourage them to join in as it is shared with them, and they will just ROFL at the ending. Maybe not one for bedtime because it encourages raucous rollicking fun, but nevertheless, one for building up that unique relationship between reader, child, stories and books!
Quog the armless blob and Oort the gas cloud are on their way to Kevin’s party in their spaceship but they have run into some strife which they are having trouble fixing. Being amorphous, neither of them have the means to open the spaceship door and so the reader is invited to help them. Quog is fascinated by the reader’s hands which are first used to open the spaceship door, and then examines them more closely as other tasks are complete, discovering bones, muscles and nerves. As she investigates the purpose of each through the simple explanations offered, she grows her own so that she and Oort can get on their way to the party, once again.
This is another ingenious story from the creators of Do not lick this book to help our youngest readers understand how their body works. Rather than examining the whole skeleton, just focusing on the hand, the body part that is helping repair the spaceship, the reader can interact with the text very easily without being overwhelmed. By placing their hand on the picture and allowing Oort to look at it through x-ray type eyes, the bones, muscles and nerves are revealed and their function explained making it very interactive and engaging. There is a more in-depth explanation about how to grow hands at the end of the book, but it’s what Quog does with her new hands that is the most appealing.
The original concept, bright illustrations, and cartoon-like format make this a book that will draw young readers back to it again and again as they learn more and want to know even more than that, perhaps taking them to other body books about their body parts and how they work. Non fiction for littlies at its best. (And just for fun, check out the origins of Oort‘s name! What about Quog?)
Frost, the illustrator, says he uses his hands to “draw and write and make silly sculptures” while Ben-Barak uses his “to write, hug, scratch itchy bits and poke things to see what happens.” What do you do with yours?
Whether your child’s favourite Dahl book is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Twits, Matilda or The BFG, they will find their favourite characters brought to life in this unique book as they meet them face-to-face and learn more about what makes them tick. From Grandpa Joe and Mike Teavee, to Mr and Mrs Twit and Muggle-Wump, to Sophie and the Fleshlumpeater. Miss Trunchbull and Bruce Bogtrotter, each has a special place in this collection that, as the title suggests. looks at Dahl’s most heroic human beans and beastly brutes, each created by Dahl to engage children and show them that children can have power over the adults. The main character from each book guides the reader around the story and introduces the rest of the cast.
But, as the introduction states, “this is no ordinary book…it’s a press-out paper adventure” because there are lots of card press-outs of the characters and places that help the child describe the roles and personalities of the players and recreate and retell the story in their own words. Making new from old. (And there’s a convenient envelope at the back to keep them in too.) Clever design means parts of the pages can be pressed out to reveal a glorious parade of characters, interacting with each other in quirky and mischievous ways.
This is probably not one for the general circulation shelves but it would be the most wonderful prop for any study of Dahl, who has been and will be a children’s favourite for generations, or the ideal gift for a Dahl fan. Like Dahl’s writing which offers something new with every reading (wouldn’t mind a dollar for every time I’ve read or gifted The BFG), this is a gift that will keep on giving, especially it if it’s teamed with the featured books!.
For 20 years Usborne have been supporting the literacy development of the very young with their series of touchy-feely books , That’s Not My… in which familiar, and not-so, objects are explored through a series of cutouts filled with textural surfaces, with the final page offering confirmation that this is indeed the object.
That’s Not My Koala is the latest in the collection, celebrating this milestone birthday. Shiny noses, fuzzy tummies and rough tongues are designed to help develop sensory and language awareness, by engaging the youngest reader in the reading experience and encouraging them to predict and retell the sequences for themselves. Being about an Australian animal they are probably familiar with is an added bonus.
The perfect counterpoint to handing the toddler a screen device to keep them amused, and help them discover the joy of books. Let them catch the reading bug early!
From something as manageable as forgiving someone or leaving a complimentary note in their locker to more complex ideas such as taking a First Aid class or letting your trash be someone else’s treasures, this is a small book full of big ideas about how to make the world a better place both physically and emotionally.
With philosophy such as being the kind of friend you’d like to have and being inclusive, it covers personal issues that can help the individual be more calm, more mindful and more responsive to their world while also taking actions that can help shape the world into what they want it to be. Ideas are presented as simple concepts with engaging graphics and photographs, and many are followed by detailed supporting information, including advice from Nat Geo explorers, interviews with experts and weird but true facts. readers can get a sense of their own power to make a difference and an understanding of what actions contribute to positive outcomes and how they can change things by themselves.
While journalling and personal challenges are becoming a popular way to have students focus on the positives and support their mental health, sometimes knowing where to start can be overwhelming so this could be used to guide that journey by having students set themselves the 100 tasks over the school year, and help them structure their progress that way as they work their way through them. They might also have spaces for another 20 ways they discover that are not mentioned in the book and these could be added to a class wall chart to inspire others to look more widely.
While these sorts of books always inspire when you first pick them up, without accountability life can go back to routine quickly so offering ways to keep the ideas in focus and support the reader over time will not only help them, but also the adult offering that support. We can all make our world better.
In 2017, Gordon Winch and Patrick Shirvington presented our youngest readers with an introduction to some of this country’s native fauna and flora in the hauntingly beautiful Can You Find Me?. Now they have teamed up again to delve closely into what might be living in the garden with this new counting book that is as stunning as the first.
Beginning with some of the larger creatures such as the blue-tongued lizard and kookaburras, young readers are enticed to look more and more closely at the illustrations to discover just what might be hiding amongst the trees, bushes, flowers and leaves, culminating in a challenge to find all of them in the final spread. As well as the introduction to iconic creatures and enabling the reader to practise their counting skills, like the first book, it encourages them to look more closely at their environment and see it with new eyes, to appreciate it more and perhaps even preserve it more carefully.
A counting book that does so much more than help little ones count.
It’s just a week until the Big Beaky Bird Ball and Leonard would love to go but he doesn’t know how to dance!
And so he decides to ask his friends to help. On Monday the magpies teach him how to do the warble-warble- waltz. On Tuesday the duck teach him to do-si-do and Wednesday’s lesson is how to do the caw-caw can-can with the crows. Despondent because none of the lessons has been successful, Leonard decides he is not a dancer and refuses the offers from the rosellas, galahs and woodpeckers, hiding in his nest, ashamed. He huddles down deeper when his friends come looking for him on Sunday but when he hears them say they can’t go without him he feels even worse and agrees to go…but he won’t dance!
With stunning illustrations that take you straight to the Australian bush even though there is a range of birds from around the globe, this is a glorious story that rollicks along on the rhythm of the alliteration with a surprising and funny twist that will have the young reader’s feet tapping in anticipation. How would they dance if what happened to Leonard happened to them? An invitation to get up and move and try all the dances for themselves!
Dance, like music, is an innate human expression and this is a celebration of that. Everyone can dance, even those for whom movement is tricky, and Leonard shows that you just have to find out what works for you!
As the days go by and the calendar inexorably creeps towards the cooler months of the year, young students will start to notice that there is a change in the weather, the clothes they wear and the things they do. Now there is football on television rather than cricket; they’re looking for a beanie rather than a sunhat and scruffling through the leaves is much more fun than crunching over dry, prickly grass.
So what causes these changes? This new lift-the-flap book from Usborne is another one in their excellent series that helps little ones understand the world around them using the interactivity of lifting the flap to find answers. Each question uses the simple language that children do – What are rainbows made of? How hot is the sun? – and the answers are just as direct, satisfying their immediate need. Grouped together under the headings Where, What, When, Why, How, Which, and Yes or No. finding the particular question is easy and the pictorial flaps make searching for the answer fun. At the end, readers are challenged to offer explanations for some simple questions using what they have learned and there are even instructions for making their own water cycle using a ziplock bag! And, as is usual with these sorts of Usborne titles, there are Quicklinks to resources that provide more information for those who want to know more.
As well as being ideal for early childhood, this is also a role model for older students as a presentation tool. Whatever the overall topic, each can pose a question that intrigues them (perfect for helping them develop the skill of asking questions rather than just answering them), find the answer and then collaborate to produce a text that covers a gamut of sub-topics so that the task is manageable, is engaging and is owned by them.
We’re going on an elf chase. Come and join the fun. Can we catch them all? YES! Run, run, run!
Four bunnies set off on a jolly Christmas lift-the-flap adventure to find ten little elves hidden under the flaps. You’ll have to run, run, run if you’re going to catch them all! And there are lots of obstacles along the way, from clippy-cloppy reindeer to roaring polar bears and flippy-flappy penguins. But if you do catch them, there is a lovely surprise waiting.
With its rhythm from the rhyme and repetitive text of this delightful story and lots of flaps to peek under, this will be a popular Christmas Countdown read for little ones. Apart from the things hidden under the flaps, there is a lot of detail to explore in the pictures, perhaps starting a conversation about winter scenes that will be unfamiliar to most young Australian readers and even an explanation of why Christmas is in winter in some parts of the world.
Whether the little fingers of our youngest readers are making a sun clock, weaving paper, floating boats to escape sharks or concocting chocolate chunk cookies, as well as the fun there is also science involved. Whether the final product works because of energy, temperature, strength, aerodynamics, or the combination of molecules, simple science is behind many of the common craft activities that children love to create.
So in this new release from DK, Jane Bull has taken some of these popular projects and explored not only the steps involved in making something from start to finish, but has also explained the science behind each one.
From making a beautiful ice lantern that could grace the Christmas table, to a balloon that doesn’t pop to investigating how beans know which way is up, there are 20 different activities that will young minds occupied and, in some cases, mesmerised, as they are fascinated by the “magic” while they learn to follow procedural texts. Guaranteed to engage is the popular grass-head figure made by putting some grass or wheat seeds into a piece of stocking or kitchen wipe, filling it with potting mix and securing it tightly before putting it wick down into a jar of water. Draw a face with permanent markers and place on the classroom window-sill. Your young scientists will make a beeline for theirs each morning to see if it has started to sprout hair, and having competitions to see whose will grow the longest! (Can you tell I’ve done this once or twice or more in my 45 years in schools?)
Learning science through play from an early age using easy-to-find materials opens up so much of the world for the young child, and with a simple equipment list, clear step-by-step instructions, lots of photographs and the simple science explanations this is a book that should be in every school collection, available on the makerspace table and also in Christmas stockings for a child’s personal library this year.