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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. 

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. 

 

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.

Nop

Nop

Nop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nop

Caroline Magerl

Walker Books, 2019

32pp., hbk., RRP $A26.99

9781760651251

In an old armchair in a corner of Oddmint’s Dumporeum Nop sits watching, unloved, unwanted and belonging nowhere.  At night he watched the other toys  come alive and pretty themselves up with buttons, beads,  ribbons, scarves and spangles ready for the rush of shoppers searching for that elusive perfect toy in the morning.  Each going off in a crinkly paper bag to some place wonderful and a new life. But no one chooses Nop, not even with his brand new red bow tie. 

But he maintains his faith that there is a special place for him, regardless of the opinions of others and devises an intriguing plan to find it…

In this gentle story, the creator explores the concepts of self-belief and determination as well as beauty being in the eye of the beholder.  Nop’s new friend does not care that Nop is not plush in places – he has enough plush for both of them – or that he is not shiny and new with spangles and stars and glitz and glamour.  Nop knows that there is someone and something for him beyond the armchair in Oddmint’s Emporium and it’s up to him to find it.

This would be an excellent and somewhat different way to start the new school year for those who like their students to identify their personal goals and then consider how they might achieve them. 

The Book of Stone

The Book of Stone

The Book of Stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Stone

Mark Greenwood

Coral Tulloch

Walker Books, 2019

40pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

9781760650872

They are such common, ordinary things – carefully but carelessly trodden over or picked up and thrown – but in this unique and stunning book,  Mark Greenwood shares his passion for stones with young readers as he shows that each has a story to tell. Whether its origins are deep within the heart of the earth or the outer reaches of space, each has its own shape, colour, pattern and texture, shaped by that story which will continue to be added to as it evolves. Even the simple act of throwing a stone into a river will change and continue its story.

Encased in a cover that resembles an engraved stone, and flanked by stunning endpapers that show the diversity of what are generally seen as a grey, amorphous mass, Coral Tulloch’s illustrations bring each stone and its story to life, perhaps encouraging the reader to look more closely, to wonder and reflect, to explore further. Where was the stone born? What has it been used for? Who has used it? How did it get here? What does it ell us about its past and that of the planet? What does it look like inside? Why? What magic do they foretell or keep?

Whenever I travel through our local countryside and see the huge granite boulders, remnants of ancient mountains long since eroded away by wind, weather and time, I get to put present events into perspective in the bigger scheme of things. And so it is with stones – they will endure long after the current drought, bushfires and personal circumstances pass, may even be shaped by those events but not extinguished by them and so I have deliberately chosen this to be the first review of the new year and the new decade. It offers a chance to reflect not just on the landscape and the environment but also our own lives, and perhaps begin a new chapter in the story.

 

Christmas Wonder

Christmas Wonder

Christmas Wonder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Wonder

Vicki Conley

Cheryl Orsini

Affirm Press, 2019

32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781925870770

Christmas time,

Seven sleeps.

Busy house

Tummy leaps.

In a series of eight-word rhymes, the magic and excitement of the countdown to Christmas in Australia is captured in this charmingly illustrated book.  Embracing all the familiar things that families do at this time, combining the traditional with the contemporary, young readers will enjoy spotting their family in the illustrations while talking about what’s happening and sharing their stories of what they do that is similar as well as what they do that is a bit different. It’s a great opportunity to broaden understanding and share diverse perspectives – there are few who don’t celebrate Christmas, even if they do it differently. 

In a storyworld with many Christmas-themed books to choose from, it is refreshing to have a new story that has some depth, reflects who its readers are and what they do while not making them caricatures of all that is “ocker”, and opens up the opportunity to explore and explain.  

Don’t tickle the hippo!

Don't tickle the hippo!

Don’t tickle the hippo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t tickle the hippo!

Sam Taplin

 Ana Martin Larranaga

Usborne, 2019

10pp., board book, RRP $A24.99

9781474968713

“Don’t tickle the hippo – you might make it snort!”  But, of course with its touchy-feely patch being too tempting to leave alone, the littlest reader is going to tickle it – and won’t they get a surprise when they do (if the adult has turned on the switch for the sound effects!). 

This is another series in this new generation of board books that invites the child to interact with the text and the illustrations, to find the fun in the print medium and start to build up an expectation that stories are fun, that they have a part to play in making them come alive and they have the power to do so.  Each creature makes its own sound when the patches are felt and the cacophony at the end of the book makes for a satisfying conclusion.  

It will become a firm favourite bound to generate a thousand giggles as the child is in control. 

Roly Poly

Roly Poly

Roly Poly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roly Poly

Mem Fox

Jane Dyer

Puffin, 2019

32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781760896348

Roly Poly, the polar bear, was very content with his life.  With a mother and father but no brothers or sisters, he liked that his bed was his alone, the fish that he caught were his alone and his toy walrus tooth was his alone.  He had to share with no one and that was just how he liked it. So when he is suddenly presented with a little brother called Monty, his world is turned upside-down and he does not like it at all.

Mem Fox, author of so many stories for our littlest ones, including The Tiny Star, has an absolute knack for turning everyday situations that will resonate with her target audience into charming stories that not only captivate the imagination but deliver the reassuring message that they are not alone in dealing with these unfamiliar circumstances and that there is a way through to the other side. Accompanied by Jane Dyer’s unique illustrations this story of having to welcome a new sibling into the family when everything was already perfect is such a familiar scenario that it should be part of the preparations of any parents facing the same prospect. It offers the perfect opportunity to talk about the impending arrival and how things might change, the child’s feelings and their roles and responsibilities, but overall that there is more than enough love for everyone.  It is more like the magic pudding that continually replenishes itself rather than a pie with limited pieces.

Another winner from one of Australia’s most-loved authors who really does know what our youngest readers want and need as their understanding of print, our language and reading develops. 

A peek inside....

A peek inside….

Paddington’s Post

Paddington's Post

Paddington’s Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paddington’s Post

Michael Bond

R. W. Alley

HarperCollins, 2019

48pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9780008357245

Living with the Browns in London is very different from Paddington’s original home in Darkest Peru and there is much to see and do and absorb.  Using Michael Bond’s original stories, Paddington reflects on the changes and writes letters, draws maps, and creates other mementos, each of which is enclosed in its own envelope waiting for the young reader to discover and read. 

Since his 60th anniversary in 2018, there has been a resurgence in love for this childhood favourite and this is another opportunity to share the love with a new generation.  Children love stories that have letters that they can pull out and read – it adds an extra layer of intrigue and mystique – and this will be no exception.  It might even inspire them to write to Paddington and tell him about where they live and the things they like to do.