In the ancient and distant realm called the Kingdom of the Backgarden lives the warrior Rock. He believes he is the greatest because no one can give him a worthy challenge that will prove his superiority. While his battle with the clothes peg and the apricot entertain the backyard dwellers, he feels unsatisfied so he leaves the garden in search of a worthy foe.
Meanwhile in the Empire of Mum’s Study, Paper is feeling the same way. No one can outwit him and so he, too, leaves to look for a worthy opponent. At the same time, in the Kitchen Realm, Scissors has beaten both Sticky Tape and Dinosaur Chicken Nuggets so she also goes on a quest to find something better.
And in the great cavern of Two-Car Garage, the three meet for the first time…
Children (and adults) everywhere play the traditional game of Rock Paper Scissors to help them make decisions and reach compromises and now the mastermind behind The Day the Crayons Quithas brought us their true story. Told in narrative and speech bubbles which make the most of bold fonts and imaginative layout, and accompanied by fantastic pictures that bring the most mundane objects to life and emphasise the action, this is a story that will be enjoyed again and again. Children will love the boldness and loudness that oozes from the pages and you can just see them swaggering around like the characters as they take on their favourite.
“Dramatic”, “raucous”, “bombastic”, “energetic”, “outrageous” – all have been used to describe this story. Apart from encapsulating it perfectly, what fun students can have suggesting their own adjectives for it and investigating what those ones mean. Further teachers’ notes are available.
A superhero origin story of a slightly different type!
Anteater is hungry and as usual, his very l-o-n-g twisting, twirling tongue is searching for ants. But Anteater is tired of wriggling, tickling, stinging, fighting, biting ants so he picks on one in particular and starts to dream of the ways he might devour it. Perhaps served in a sandwich or sucked up in a straw; sundried or salted, smothered in sauce or sliced like salami… But the ant has other ideas and sorts Anteater out, well and truly…
A funny, engaging story that explores all the ways an ant could be eaten – who knew there were so many terms starting with “s”? Great for getting the tongue around and the ending will delight those who like the little guy to win. An entertaining story in itself, it would also be perfect for those who explicitly teach phonics focusing on a letter-of-the-week or those who are introducing students to alliteration. If you have to do that stuff, it may as well be fun! Students could also have fun investigating the various methods we use to cook things, why we cook things and the changes that occur when heat is added.
Miss 6 is at that stage where she wants to know “stuff”. Inspired by a teacher who not only encourages her endless curiosity but also being independent in her quest for answers, she is always looking through her growing collection of “fact books”. And now she is all but an independent reader, the thrill and affirmation she gets when she can find the answers for herself delights her and inspires her even further.
So this latest offering from Usborne will be a welcome addition to her collection. With its double-page spreads of the sorts of topics its intended audience is interested in – animals, the body, food and drink, music, space, sports and many more – each double page spread is packed with a plethora of short facts accompanied by lots of hand-drawn illustrations. Rather than being an in-depth encyclopedia, it is designed for those who love to dip and delve into non fiction to see where what they discover will take them. And for those whose interest is ignited Usborne have a page of quick links for them to investigate further.
Perfect for Miss 6 and that group of boys that we all know who like to gather around a table in the library with this sort of book to share and explore and discuss what they discover.
What is space? Where does space really begin? Why is Jupiter stripy? What is a light year? How are rockets launched?
There are few parents of young, curious children who have not been confronted with questions like these as their offspring begin to realise that there is a world even larger than the one immediately around them and they want to find out more.
So here is the answer – a new publication by DK that uses children’s questions and an inquiry approach to provide the answers. Using extraordinary photos and clear diagrams supported by child-size bites of text over 200 common questions about space have been answered at a level that the child will understand. Yet there is enough information for the really curious to want to investigate further. For example, in 2007 tiny animals called tardigrades survived for 10 days in space outside a spacecraft – but what is a tardigrade? (You can find out here.) There are even quick quizzes that encourage them to read the text closely, including picture captions, critical information literacy skills.
DK have a sound and deserved reputation for bringing non fiction to young readers in a way they can access and engage with and this new addition is no exception. Ideal for the eyebrow-raising questions for parents who can get themselves off the hook by suggesting they use the book to find out together, yet tantalising enough for those with a need to know more.
Imagine having curly hair that has spirals and squiggles and swirls and curls that are too bouncy and loopy and knotty and fuzzy and frizzy… so hard to handle it makes you dizzy!!!
Now imagine all the crazy-daisy ways you might try to straighten it. You could brush it for hours; get your friends to stretch it; you could put big books on it or even tie balloons to it! Maybe stick it down with sticky tape or even give yourself a bucket bath…
Or you might learn to live with it and love it, especially if you met someone with dead straight hair who would love to have your curls…
This is a superbly illustrated, funny, story-in-rhyme that will resonate with every girl who wants what she hasn’t got. Whether it’s straight hair, long legs, no freckles, there is always something we wish we could change.
Even though its target audience is very young readers, this would be the perfect kickstart for a discussion about body image, body-shaming, self-acceptance, loving who we are on the inside and all those sorts of issues that start to plague young girls. An important addition to your collection relating to mental health and mindfulness.
Anyone who has spent time with little people, particularly boys, will know that they often gravitate to the non fiction collections of the school library where they can get a THICK book (very important) and then pore over the pictures for hours at a time. If the pictures and diagrams are of high quality then they can absorb a lot of information from them even if they can’t manage the text yet.
In this new publication from non fiction experts DK the editors have mastered combining stunning illustrations with just the right amount of text to support the beginning reader, often only one sentence and using vocabulary that is appropriate to the age group whilst not “talking down.” Divided into four sections – All About Animals; Amazing Animals; Animal Antics and More Very Important Animals – it begins with a clear explanation of what animals are, differentiating them from plants, and then moves on to those of land, sea and air.
Using lots of colour, a clear, clean font of a good size, labels, speech bubbles and other literary devices, the young reader is taken on a journey through the animal kingdom that they will return to again and again, all the while honing their reading skills as they want to know more than just the pictures can tell them. At the back they are introduced to the concept of a glossary which explains the meaning of some of the more unusual words they might encounter like amphibian and exoskeleton, as well as an index that will help them find just what they are looking for.
With more and more research emerging about the need for children to develop basic literacy skills using print if they are to use and interpret online information efficiently and effectively,this is a must-have addition in both the school and home libraries.
Australia is full of the most amazing animals on the planet! What animal has six thumbs? What animal produces square poo? What animal is made up of 95 per cent water and is highly venomous?
There have been many books, including alphabet books, published about Australian fauna over the years that one wonders what a new one could add to the collection. Renowned author and illustrator Frané Lessac has found the answer in this fabulous new publication described as a FACTASTIC tour of our unique wildlife.
While the familiar candidates like the kangaroo and koala are there, she has also included many not so well-known creatures like the Irukandji Jellyfish, the Hopping Mouse, the Ulysses Butterfly and the Velvet Gecko. Beautifully setting each in its own natural environment with a brief introductory caption, she has also scattered bite-sized facts about each for those who want to know more.
A peek inside…
Stunning in its presentation, thorough in its research this is a must-have modern approach to a perennial topic that can not only assist young children in their search for knowledge about this country’s amazing fauna but also offers a model for how they could present their own information when they do their own investigations. After all, it is one that is done in the early childhood years in almost every school so why not challenge the class to develop their own factastic tour?
On the very day that he took his first steps out of his mother’s pouch, the little kangaroo is separated from her as two large black marauding dogs race through the clearing, scattering them to shelter. The joey cannot keep up with his mum so he hides, found hours later by the O’Melon family who live in a valley in the rainforest and who care for injured and orphaned native creatures. They all him Paddy O’Melon, their Irish kangaroo.
Wrapped in a pillowcase pouch and bottle-fed a special milk mixture, Paddy not only survives but thrives. He spends more and more time in the garden as he grows meeting and making friends with the other creatures that the O’Melons have rescued. Eventually, all his time is spent outdoors and the family tell him that when he is old enough he can return to the wild and live with his own kind. But just what is his “own kind”? When he introduces himself as Paddy O’Melon the Irish kangaroo, he is met with sniggers and giggles and no one is able to help him. The best advice he can get is to find the cassowary who knows everything and everyone…
This is a charming story with echoes of Are You My Mother? but with much more depth and interest. Written by a highly regarded naturalist, who has since passed away, it not only introduces the reader to the unfamiliar and unique creatures of Far North Queensland but carries a lot of information about them in both the text and the stunning illustrations, but never intruding into the story of Paddy’s quest.
While many are familiar with kangaroos and wallabies, few know about their cousins the pademelons who inhabit the northern rainforests In an effort to spread the word about the species of her home region, Cooper has deliberately included the more unusual and suggests that readers can go here for more information about them. There are also Teachers’ Notes available and royalties are being donated to further the conservation of the area.
Apart from just being a good story, this book also introduces us to more of Australia’s wonderful wildlife, perhaps setting up an investigation that compares and contrasts those of the FNQ region to those in the students’ region.
To little people, homes must seem to work like magic. They flick a switch and the light comes on; they turn the tap and water comes out; turn a knob and the cooktop comes to life. But is it magic? Or is there something else behind it?
In the cleverly illustrated book that seems to talk directly to the young reader. and which is written to support early science curricula, the origins of electricity, water and gas are explained with clear diagrams and simple explanations. Then how each works in the home is also shown and although it takes away the “magic” it leaves children with a better understanding of their energy sources and hopefully an understanding how precious these resources are and they need to be conserved.
A great introductory book about energy that connects the child to the subject through the use of familiar items and processes, paving the way for further investigations and perhaps experimentation.
And if you really want to grab their attention, share this 50s classic… and see if they can now work how that light DOES go on!
Decades ago DK Publishing revolutionised the presentation of non fiction to young readers with bright photographs, information in manageable, well-labelled chunks and the clever use of white space so that the reader was not overwhelmed. Their Eyewitness series became a staple of primary school library collections. Now they have a launched a new series for the younger reader, using their familiar format but adding many more features so the newly independent reader can access information at their level.
Beginning with a durable paperback cover which folds out to be a quiz with answers and essential information relevant to the topic such as areas of study, a timeline or a phylogenetic tree, it then offers a page where the reader can jot down the things they have already identified that they want to find out thus supporting the inquiry method of investigation from the get-go. Then, as is customary with DK books, there are the usual contents, glossary and index pages which encourage and enable young readers to use the clues to get to what they want and in between are double-page spreads of basic information and glossy photographs and diagrams, all clearly labelled. So as well as being an ideal way of exploring print to find information they also serve as a model for students to present their findings if their searches have been assignment based rather than just curiosity.
To top it there is an easy-to-navigate website that offers more information and activities as well as support for teachers and parents. Like the books it is also a teaching tool for helping young children learn to use a website for information, one designed for their level and more authoritative and targeted than Wikipedia.
Despite the misguided opinion of some, there is a lot of research and reasons that primary school libraries, particularly, need to have a robust, attractive, up-to-date non fiction collection and this new series demonstrates the value of not only catering to those who prefer to read non fiction but also those wanting to find out more NOW! As well, the series is attractively priced so that parents can purchase individual volumes to accompany particular interests or investigations that their child is pursuing.
Miss 6 is fascinated with the human body and snaffled my review copy as soon as she saw it, not only asking and answering questions for herself but also learning vital lessons about using such resources. Now she is exploring those for information as often as those for her imagination. It won’t be hard to fill her Christmas stocking!