The Crayons’ Christmas

The Crayons' Christmas

The Crayons’ Christmas










The Crayons’ Christmas

Drew Daywalt

Oliver Jeffers

HarperCollins, 2019

32pp., hbk., RRP $27.99


  Tis the season for all of us to write our Christmas wish lists. But everyone knows – even the Crayons – that the best presents are the ones that you give. In this unique book, readers join in as Duncan, the Crayons and their families celebrate the festive season. However, come Christmas Eve, Duncan is sad because while everyone else has something special all he has are letters telling him his friends wouldn’t be home for Christmas.  Until…

This is one of those magical books that is likely to become a family heirloom. With real, folded letters to pull from their envelopes and read, games, press-out ornaments, a poster and a pop-up tree, it comes specially wrapped like a gift increasing the anticipation and just asking to be opened and explored. Perhaps not one for the general library collection but definitely one to be put aside for that special Christmas Countdown.  

Let’s Go! (series)

Let's Go!

Let’s Go!









Let’s Go!

On a Rocket


On a Ferry


On a Train


Catch A Star, 2019

16pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

This new series of books created for our very youngest readers reflects a new approach that has been emerging in hoard books recently – that of real stories that engage, entertain and even educate our littlies as, at last, the importance of having quality stories for this age group is recognised.  There has been so much research into how critical reading to the very young from birth released, that those who create for this age are providing more than one-word concept books and the understanding about how print and stories work combined with actually holding the book for themselves is doing so much for early literacy development.  Young readers are demanding stories that relate to them, have context and meaning that is familiar and a physical product that requires input from them rather than being passive recipients,  

So kudos to the publishers  for recognising that our youngest generation need and deserve quality stories that are as entertaining as any screen device placed in front of them. 

This particular series focuses on two children enjoying rides on a variety of transport. Familiar topics, catchy rhymes and colourful illustrations not only make for an enjoyable read that they will be able to retell themselves endlessly, but also promote what can be expected from story books. Perfect for little hands and the Christmas stocking. 

Peppa’s Christmas Jumper Day

Peppa's Christmas Jumper Day

Peppa’s Christmas Jumper Day








Peppa’s Christmas Jumper Day

Ladybird, 2019

16pp., board book, RRP $A9.99


Christmas is coming and Peppa and George’s playgroup are celebrating with a special Christmas jumper day.  But when Daddy Pig gets the jumpers out, neither Peppa’s nor George’s still fits.  George is sorted though because he can wear Peppa’s old one but how will Daddy solve Peppa’s problem in time for the big day?

This is another Christmas story that will appeal to our youngest readers as they recognise a favourite character but wearing a woolly jumper at Christmas may have them baffled.  Perhaps it is the opportunity to talk about the differences in seasons and time zones and how others celebrate Christmas. They might even like to design their own Christmas jumper with their favourite Christmas images and materials, either for themselves or for Peppa for next year.

All Bodies Are Good Bodies

All Bodies Are Good Bodies

All Bodies Are Good Bodies










All Bodies Are Good Bodies

Charlotte Barkla

Erica Salcedo

Little Hare, 2019

24pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99


I love hands!
Hands that are white and hands that are brown,
Freckles mean sunshine has sent kisses down.
Short fingers, long fingers, bendy or straight,
Hands to clap, or high-five your mate.

Even though the human body comprises the same elements, each is unique. No two are the same unless you are an identical twin.  In this superbly illustrated book, each body part such as hands, hair, eyes and even tummies is featured while those characteristics which make them unique are celebrated.  It doesn’t matter if your nose is long and thin or short and flat or even turned up like a pussycat, we each have one and each does its special job.

With its bouncy rhyme and positive message about accepting the diversity and differences which make each of us special, it actively promotes the acceptance of the body regardless of shape, colour, or size so that we appreciate our individuality and are inclusive in our choices. When even our youngest readers are aware of their physical appearance these days and start to develop their relationship with their body, this is a critical message that encourages the positive mental health mindset so essential to developing resilience and empathy and offering lots of scope to collect and interpret data as the children compare and contrast their differences. 


We’re going on an Elf Chase

We're going on an Elf Chase

We’re going on an Elf Chase


We’re going on an Elf Chase

Martha Mumford

Laura Hughes

Bloomsbury, 2019

24pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99


We’re going on an elf chase.
Come and join the fun.
Can we catch them all?
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. 

I’m Ready for Christmas

I'm Ready for Christmas

I’m Ready for Christmas









I’m Ready for Christmas

Jedda Robaard

Puffin, 2019

board book., 14pp., RRP $A 12.99


Getting ready for Christmas is an exciting time for little ones. And it is no different for Miss Wombat’s family. There is much to do such as baking a big, round pudding from Great-great-great- Grandma’s recipe and decorating the tree. 

Very young readers will love seeing the things that their families do reflected in this very Australian interpretation of the Christmas experience, all helping to build anticipation for the great day. 

This is a new series of board books for our youngest readers shining a light on familiar events in their lives, aimed to bridge the gap between single-word concept books and the longer narrative of picture books.  Little ones can compare what the characters do to their own lives learning valuable concepts about stories and how they entertain as they do, a vital part of early literacy development. While their story might parallel Miss Wombat’s, why isn’t there any snow and the other trappings of the northern hemisphere Christmas that are so prevalent in what they see in print and on film?  Critical thinking can start as early as you like!

Through the Animal Kingdom: An Amazing Exploration of Animals and their Homes

Through the Animal Kingdom

Through the Animal Kingdom










Through the Animal Kingdom: An Amazing Exploration of Animals and their Homes

Derek Harvey

Charlotte Pepper

DK., 2019

96pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99


From the Arctic tundra through the Rocky Mountains, the Galapagos Islands and south to the Antarctic with many stops in between, this new publication from DK takes the reader on a narrative non-fiction journey of some of the world’s most distinctive habitats and introduces some of the creatures that inhabit them. Covering continents, seasons and time zones, newly independent readers can learn about a variety of creatures, some familiar and some not-so. Track a bald eagle as
it soars majestically over the Rocky Mountains, follow migrating wildebeests across the Serengeti as they attempt a dangerous river crossing under the watchful eyes of hungry predators, or trace the tracks of the solitary amur leopard – the rarest cat on Earth – as it silently stalks its prey through the icy forests of the Siberian wilderness.

Written by a naturalist to capture and engage young readers who are beginning their journey into research, it has lots of information in accessible language and format accompanied by a host of life-like illustrations, offering an introductory platform that could lead to more specialised research.  As with most works from this publisher, there are devices like the Animal Gallery and a comprehensive index to support the reader, making them one of my favourite go-to publishers for print non fiction.

As perfect for the library collection as it is for the Christmas stocking.


Pea + Nut

Pea + Nut

Pea + Nut










Pea + Nut

Matt Stanton

ABC Books, 2019

24pp., hbk., RRP $A17.99


Pea the panda and Nut the flamingo are best friends but they are also great rivals.  Anything Pea can do, the boastful Nut can do better!! So when Pea decides to make a cake, and Nut decides to make it a baking competition, there is a contest worthy of any seen in the showstopper category of The Great Australian Bake-Off!

Nut is convinced that  his cake will win while Pea’s will be put in the bin and driven by his ego (and a few mind-games from Pea) Nut begins “a complex production of layers and towers and major construction.” Will he create a cake  that meets his ambition and expectations? Or will Pea’s slow but steady approach take the cake?

Most readers will know that if it is a Matt Stanton book, it will be funny and this is no exception.  The rhyming text, the vibrant, action-packed illustrations and a concept that will appeal to younger readers combine to make this one of his best, and it is just the first in the series for these two oddball friends. But like all top-shelf picture books there is so much more than the story on the page – it screams out for experimentation in baking and stacking shapes; the contrast between the friends’ approach and how Stanton portrays this can teach little ones about characterisation and the need to look deeply at the detail; and there is also a comparison to be made with The Hare and the Tortoise and the lessons that offers.. Children can also ponder Pea’s final gesture – is this what they expected?

A great read for all ages.


Brain-fizzing Facts: Awesome Science Questions Answered

Brain-fizzing Facts:  Awesome Science Questions Answered

Brain-fizzing Facts: Awesome Science Questions Answered










Brain-fizzing Facts: Awesome Science Questions Answered

Dr Emily Grossman

Alice Bowsher

Bloomsbury, 2019

224pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


Children make sense of their world by asking questions, often starting with “why”.  This was the case for the author as a young child and in this collection she has gathered together some of the wacky questions that little ones ask such as “Why is your elbow called your funny bone? How could you escape the grip of a crocodile’s jaw? Which animal can breathe through its bottom? And how do these things all link together? “

But the difference with this book from others that are just a Q & A, is that the reader is urged to try to answer themselves before they read the answers, and if they can’t explain it, then try to select from the information provided.  And, all the while, they are being reassured that getting it wrong is not a problem -in fact the most important scientific discoveries come from wrong answers and investigations into why is it so. Heavily illustrated with cartoon-like characters and bite-size chunks of information that speak directly to the audience, the presentation will appeal to both genders who are curious independent readers wanting to know more. 

While young children have no trouble asking endless questions, once they start school something happens and they see their role as one of only answering those posed by others.  So the emphasis on asking questions and even providing space for the reader to do just that is welcome, as we try to teach students to be both critical and creative thinkers.  

One for the Christmas stocking, or even better as the foundation for a STEM display in the new year as students are encouraged to develop their information literacy skills  in meaningful research, authentic to their interests and needs.

Forgotten Fairy Tales of Brave and Brilliant Girls

Forgotten fairy tales of brave and brilliant girls

Forgotten fairy tales of brave and brilliant girls











Forgotten Fairy Tales of Brave and Brilliant Girls

Lesley Sims (editor)

Usborne, 2019

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


Ask a young child for the title of a fairy tale and you are likely to be told Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel or Rapunzel or whatever the Disney princess-du-jour is. But in fact, there are many more fairy tales than those that were collected and written down by the great storytellers like the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault and Hans Christian Andersen. Fairy tales were told orally for many generations before they were preserved in print, each being shared a little differently by the teller according to time, place and circumstance, but each having a fundamental truth at its core. 

For whatever reason, the tales that were collected and written share common characteristics of strong men and weak women who needed to be rescued by the male’s prowess and those in which the females were the leading protagonists were almost lost to time. The story of their discovery and recovery is almost as fascinating as the stories themselves, and shows the slowly changing attitudes towards women and their place in society. Food for discussion and debate right there!

In the meantime, this remains a collection of very readable and beautifully illustrated fairy tales that deserve to be as well-known as their more famous counterparts. Perhaps the next Disney heroine will arise from this anthology. Regardless, stories about brave and brilliant girls are always good for the soul.