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Big Bash League (series)

Big Bash League

Big Bash League

 

 

 

 

 

Big Bash League

Michael Panckridge

Random House Australia, 2016

156pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

Switch Hit Showdown
9780143782193

Captain’s Clash
9780143782216

Double Delivery
9780143782230

Bowling Blitz
9780143782254

With the cricket season well under way and the very popular Big Bash League looming, this is a series that will appeal to all fans of the format, both boys and girls.  Each book is a separate entity focusing on fans of two of the teams in the league – Switch Hit Showdown features the Melbourne Stars and the Melbourne Renegades; Captains’ Clash is Sydney Sixes and Sydney Thunder; Double Delivery is Hobart Hurricanes and Brisbane Heat and Bowling Blitz, the Perth Scorchers and Adelaide Strikers. Each has passionate cricketers involved in a local competition and having to find a way to work together to overcome obstacles.

Panckridge, well known for his sports adventure books, has cleverly included players of both genders in the stories acknowledging that cricket is not a male-only sport and the WBBL and our national women’s cricket team the Southern Stars are gaining a much higher profile and respect as their success grows.

Written for independent readers, each book includes tips about the focus skill – batting, all-rounder, fielding and bowling as well as a profile of the two teams.  Double Delivery even has instructions for Dice Cricket that can be played when you can’t get outdoors.

A great series for those who love their sport and demand to read about it. 

 

 

 

Tashi and the Wicked Magician

Tashi and the Wicked Magician

Tashi and the Wicked Magician

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tashi and the Wicked Magician

Anna Fienberg & Barbara Fienberg

Geoff Kelly & Kim Gamble

Allen & Unwin, 2016

96pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781760290504

The only thing that spreads faster than a cold through a primary school is the news that there is a new Tashi book out and the library has a copy!

In this new paperback addition to the series, Tashi – that magical little chap who has big adventures – features in five new stories and confronts fearsome opponents set on destroying his village and his peace.  This time there’s a  magician with a greedy plan, a haunted house about to go up in flames, ruthless ruffians after a rare orchid, and a quest for the bravest person in the land to face the fire-breathing Red Whiskered Dragon.

Originally published in hardback format in 2014, this is a timeless series that continually appeals to those newly independent readers who are stepping out into the world of fantasy.  The stories are short, the illustrations colourful and the characters are clearly good or evil.

Back in the days when I was co-ordinating Read Around Australia I ran a book rap based on all the Tashi novels published at the time. Small groups of students selected one story and had to write a synopsis and then pose a series of questions that would challenge the thinking of other students around Australia who had to answer them.  What they discovered was that each story threw up a number of ethical questions that could be discussed and debated and so they became so much more than an introduction to fantasy and an easy read.  These new stories are similar – is saving the greedy Baron’s treasure a worthy cause worth risking your life for? 

If you want to capitalise on the fascination for Tashi,  then check out A Flight of Fantasy, a unit of work based on the series and available for free through the National Digital Learning Resources Network.  Log into your Scootle account and search for R11582.  It’s written for Years 5/6 but can easily be adapted for younger students.

Many will be familiar with Tashi through the series screened on the ABC – they will be delighted to know they can meet him again and share his adventures in the world of print.  He even has his own website.  

Batman: Character Encyclopedia

Batman: Character Encyclopedia

Batman: Character Encyclopedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Batman: Character Encyclopedia

Matthew K. Manning

Dorling Kindersley, 2016

208pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780241232071

 

We are definitely in the Age of the Super Hero as books and movies about characters from long-ago comics light up the eyes of our younger readers, particularly the boys.  The reserve list for anything of that nature was long in my library last year.

Batman, aka  the “Caped Crusader”, the “Dark Knight“, and the “World’s Greatest Detective” was first introduced to the world via Bob Kane, Bill Finger and DC Comics in May, 1939 – before the outbreak of World War II – and is as popular today as ever. After witnessing the murder of his parents, Bruce Wayne, has declared war and revenge on criminals and using his Batman alter ego and his supporters Robin, police commissioner Jim Gordon and his butler Alfred Pennyworth, he goes forth to fight crime particularly his arch-enemy The Joker, using his intellect, his wealth and his physical abilities rather than any super-powers. His dream is to create “a better, brighter Gotham City”.  This creates a huge scope for writers to produce multiple stories of his escapades which have enthralled audiences for generations.

Throughout this time, many characters have passed through his life and in this newly-published encyclopedia, the reader is introduced to 200 of these through thumbnail sketches, “Vital Stats” and vivid illustrations. Each is designated with a ‘hero’, ‘rogue’, ‘ally’ or ‘neutral’ icon and there is a brief indication of what happened to them in the end. Each character has their own page and the reading is easy making this a wonderful way to capture those who are more entranced with film rather than text and who may be thinking that books have little to offer them. They might even be encouraged to talk about their particular favourite and write or draw a page for a new encyclopedia about super heroes.

For those who still like to teach children how to use encyclopedia, it has all the regular attributes including a contents page and full index (including bolded entries) and because the entries are not in the traditional alphabetical order of encyclopedic format, the reader has to use these to navigate the text. Great, subtle practice – a bit like eating vegetables disguised as drinks or cakes!

I can see this being as popular as all the other super hero titles on the shelves.

Adventure Time Which Way Dude: BMO’s Day Out

Adventure Time Which Way Dude: BMO's Day Out

Adventure Time Which Way Dude: BMO’s Day Out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adventure Time Which Way Dude: BMO’s Day Out

Cartoon Network, 2015

124pp., pbk., RRP $A14.95

9781760123208

BMO is the cutest, tiniest little robot in the Land of Ooo but the future of Ooo is in the hands of the reader because at the end of each chapter it is up to the reader to decide what happens next.  By solving riddles, puzzles and codes the reader can alter the characters paths thus leading them on to new adventures.  It’s a chance to let BMO be the hero for once.  Along the way the reader gathers Adventure Minutes and the challenge is to read the book many times, make different choices and try to better the number of Adventure Minutes gained.

A new take on the popular Choose Your Own Adventure format, written in the present tense to increase the pace and sense of urgency, this is likely to appeal to those who enjoy cartoons and computer games and can visualise the action. They will enjoy its interactivity as they try to solve the puzzles and the challenge to gain Adventure Minutes gives that competitive element that is a characteristic of the gaming environment.

If we are looking to capitalise of the interest in cartoons and computer games that our younger readers are so familiar with, offering them that in print format may be the way to hook them into a whole new world of adventure.