Archive | February 2020

The Proudest Blue

The Proudest Blue

The Proudest Blue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Proudest Blue

Ibtihak Muhammad

SK Ali

Hatem Aly

Andersen Press, 2020 

40pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781783449712

The first day of the new school year is fast approaching and so Mama takes Asiya to buy her first-day hijab for her first day in Year 7.  Asiya chooses the brightest blue one because if you squint your eyes there is no border between the water and the sky, just as thereshould be no borders between people.  Her little sister Faizah is so proud of her but sadly not everyone understands what hijab is or represents and so both girls are teased and tormented because they are different.  But guided by their Mama’s wise words that echo in their head, both manage to navigate the day proudly, determined to keep the ancient tradition of covering the hair from puberty. 

Written by one who has been Asiya, Ibtihak Muhammed is the Olympic fencer who became the first Muslim-American woman to wear a hijab while competing for Team USA, this story is not only an insight into the wearing of hijab as a testament to the faith and love of Allah, it is also about being proud of who you are and what you believe in regardless of whether that is based on religion, culture, colour or any other dimension that can be perceived as setting us apart. (Try being a round redhead with glasses in a world that was in love with Twiggy!) There will be many Asiyas and Faizahs in our classrooms this year, Asiyas wearing hijab and navigating the taunts of the ill-informed, and Faizahs fielding questions while feeling enormously proud so this is a book to share across the year levels to help the acceptance and understanding. 

Regardless of the reason that someone may be isolated by their peers, perhaps the most memorable part of the story are the words of the girls’ mother… “Don’t carry around the hurtful words that others say. Drop them.  They are not yours to keep. They belong only to those who said them.” Wise words that we can all learn from.

An Internet search will bring up many resources for using this book in the curriculum.

Atticus Van Tasticus 2: The Map of Half Maps

Atticus Van Tasticus 2: The Map of Half Maps

Atticus Van Tasticus 2: The Map of Half Maps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atticus Van Tasticus 2: The Map of Half Maps

Andrew Daddo

Stephen Michael King

Puffin, 2020

272pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781760892913

1750, when times were tough and teeth were rotten…

As part of an ancient family tradition, young Atticus Van Tasticus narrowly escapes a life down the coal mines – or worse, going to school – when he gets to choose the gift of a pirate ship from his Grandnan’s treasure pile. ..

Having escaped certain disaster on the high seas in his first adventure, he is now on the trail of treasure when he and his crew are lured into a clash with Bjorn Ironhead who is “vicious, mean and mighty unclean.”

Again, Daddo and King have combined to create a story that is going to appeal to young independent readers who see themselves as full of derring-do as they rule the waves rather than their bedrooms. The presentation is very appealing and even reluctant readers will suddenly find themselves having conquered a thick book, built their confidence and looking for the next episode.  Both Daddo and King know just what it is that will appeal to their audience and I predict Atticus Van Tasticus is going to be the next must-read that causes the buzz in your school library. 

Wheels

Wheels

Wheels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wheels

Sally Sutton

Brian Lovelock

Walker, 2020

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781760651589

Rumbly wheels, grumbly wheels,

Hauling-up-the-hill wheels.

Wheels go fast, wheels go slow.

Shout what’s coming, if you know!

Little lads (and their sisters) are fascinated by things with wheels and so this new book from the creators of Ambulance, Ambulance and Dig, Dump, Roll will be welcomed by them. Using rhyming and repetitive text that invites them to use both the textual and pictorial clues to predict which wheels are coming and to yell out the prediction, this is a book to engage and entertain as it educates.  Large fonts, clear illustrations and the surety of repeated phrases means that this is one that the earliest little readers will be reading on their own in no time.  So empowering and meeting their expectations that they will be readers.

 

Jelly-Boy

Jelly-Boy

Jelly-Boy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jelly-Boy

Nicole Godwin

Christopher Nielsen

Walker, 2020

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781760651237

The little jellyfish has fallen in love with a big and strong jellyfish, and even though her family didn’t like him because they had seen his type before and declared them dangerous, the little jellyfish is besotted and can’t let go.  But Jelly-Boy is not what she thinks.  Her family is right and while trouble continues to find him, she follows.  Will she escape his clutches before it is too late?

Nicole Godwin, author of both Ella and Billie, has made it her mission to be the voice for those creatures who don’t have their own, and in this new release she has taken on the cause of our ocean creatures and the pollution of their habitat, particularly by plastic bags. Even being caught in the propeller of a boat’s motor does not destroy Jelly-Boy as he floats on carried by the currents and in one dramatic double-page spread the reader is shown just how lethal these items can be.  In a fact page we learn that each year over 1 000 000 seabirds and 100 000 sea creatures die from eating them or becoming entangled in them.

The message in this story is very clear – by reviewing, reducing, reusing and recycling our use of plastics, each one of us, including the young readers that this is intended to teach, can make a difference to help prevent great islands of plastic waste that can be seen from space from forming in our oceans. By writing the story from the perspective of a love-struck jellyfish so it entertains as well as educates,  Godwin raises awareness without being didactic and Nielsen’s illustrations are perfect because the reader seems to be in on Jelly-Boy’s ‘secret” identity before the main character! You can hear them willing her to know and understand the danger before she is entangled in it herself.

A must-have   addition to any unit focusing on the environment, its threats and sustainability – such a hot topic that even our little ones understand it from a young age.

Alice-Miranda at School: 10th Anniversary Edition

Alice-Miranda at School: 10th Anniversary Edition

Alice-Miranda at School: 10th Anniversary Edition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice-Miranda at School: 10th Anniversary Edition

Jacqueline Harvey

Puffin, 2020

288pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781760896034

Can one tiny girl change a very big school? Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones is waving goodbye to her weeping parents and starting her first day at boarding school. But something is wrong at Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies.

The headmistress, Miss Grimm, hasn’t been seen for ten years. The prize-winning flowers are gone. And a mysterious stranger is camping in the greenhouse. Alice-Miranda must complete a series of impossible tests. Can she really beat the meanest, most spoilt girl at school in a solo sailing mission?

Could she camp in the forest all on her own for five whole days and nights? Well, of course. This is Alice-Miranda, after all.

Wow! It’s hard to grasp that it is now 10 years since we were first introduced to the irrepressible Alice-Miranda and that she has gone on to have so many more adventures, a movie and even her own web presence.  Books about girls in boarding schools have been the backbone of the reading for many generations – how well I remember loving the books from Clare Mallory, my mum’s headmistress during her Columba College years and such an influence on her and ultimately me – and the Alice-Miranda series is very much a modern version of that vein. Alice-Miranda is very opinionated and has lots to say provoking food for thought on a range of issues in each episode.   Harvey has drawn on her own experience as a teacher in such a system and this series and Clementine Rose for younger readers have been favourites with Miss Nearly 9 and Miss Year 8 for years. Miss Year 8 is now nose-deep in the latest Kensy and Max adventure Freefall demonstrating Harvey’s ability to entertain and engage readers across the age groups.  In fact, in relation to Alice-Miranda, in a letter to her readers Harvey states that she wanted to create a story that she would have loved reading as a child never dreaming that her character would become so popular and a role model for other girls her age. 

To celebrate this milestone, Puffin have released this special hardback edition perfect for either starting independent young readers off on a whole new series of adventures, or for fans like Miss Year 8 to have as a collector’s item on their shelves. 

The Dingle Dangle Jungle

The Dingle Dangle Jungle

The Dingle Dangle Jungle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dingle Dangle Jungle

Mark Carthew

Dave Atze

Ford St, 2020

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781925804416

In the Amazonian jungle,
you’ll find monkeys, rats and shrews . . .
pumas, sloths and marmosets.

Which ones would you choose?

Two children go for a walk in the dingly dangly maze of the Dingle Dangle Jungle and encounter a whole variety of creatures with an amazing range of characteristics.  There are those that are short, long, speckled, stripy, diurnal, nocturnal, with fangs or talons or both… and the fascinating thing is that they are all actual creatures.  (Each one is identified in the notes at the back,) 

With its clever rhyme and rhythm and engaging, detailed illustrations that reveal something new each read, this is a get-to-know-your-animals book with a difference, and not least because of its setting in the Amazon rather than the more familiar Africa so the young reader becomes aware of the diversity of creatures on this planet.  Because the emphasis is on how each type of creature is unique, it is a great introduction for little ones to think about why they are all different.  How and why have they adapted to meet the needs of their environment and circumstances? Why do “some have funny noses, and some have curly tails, [while] some have long or sticky tongues or strong, sharp claws or nails”?  In addition, the teachers’ notes are very comprehensive with suggestions and resources to explore all sorts of environmental issues , making this one of those perfect picture books that spans the age groups.  

 

The Bat Book

The Bat Book

The Bat Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bat Book

Charlotte Milner

DK Publishing, 2020

48pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780241410691

Many years ago when I was wearing my classroom teacher’s hat rather than one of my teacher librarian hats , I taught a little boy who had great difficulties in fitting into classroom routines and learning, making friends and managing his choices.  We were just learning about the autism spectrum in those days and while we and he could have done a lot differently now, at the time he was just a challenging child whose behaviour could set up the tone of the class for the whole day depending on whether he was in an aggressive/frustrated, active or passive phase.  To the onlooker literacy wasn’t high on his agenda but what he knew about bats and the way he devoured anything in print or film about them showed a knowledge and skill that was usually hidden.  Given this was the early days of being able to record television programs on VCRs at home, most of his understanding came through books and I soon learned to tailor his program so that as far as possible bats were included somewhere! (He not only taught me about bats but made a profound difference to my professional practice.)

So this book would have been a most marvellous resource for him (and me) as it explores the habitats and habits of bats all over the world, making these nocturnal creatures visible. Using accessible text in straight-forward paragraphs, accompanied by lots of lifelike illustrations and the characteristic DK layout, the reader is introduced to these flying mammals with lots of questions answered such as why they have to hang upside down, their preferred diet and how they find their food given the old saying of “as blind as a bat.” But as well as the basic facts much of the book is devoted to why they are important to the environment and ecosystems and what we can do to preserve the various species as they are threatened with a range of factors such as pesticides killing their primary food source. There are ideas for helping preserve and even enhance their populations.

A companion to The Bee Book , this is perfect for shining a spotlight on a misunderstood and maligned species that Simon would have adored. (He might even have been able to write it, way back then!) 

Where’s Peppa’s Magical Unicorn?

Where's Peppa's Magical Unicorn?

Where’s Peppa’s Magical Unicorn?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s Peppa’s Magical Unicorn?

Ladybird, 2020

10pp., board book, RRP $A14.99

9780241412046

Peppa wants to play with her magical unicorn but she can’t find her anywhere! Is she hiding at the castle, the beach, or the end of the rainbow?

Peppa Pig and her family continue to be popular with our youngest readers and this interactive book is a new adventure that not only draws on familiar characters so it is easy for them to become immersed in the story straight away but also helps the transition from screen to print.  Not only does the child have some power over the story as they lift the flaps to discover where the unicorn is hiding, but they can also return to it again and again.  Even if they know what is hidden, the power of predicting and being right is exhilarating making this sort of format a read-and-read-again one. Perfect for beginning to build those critical concepts about print that are the foundations of reading.

Danny Best: Watch This!

Danny Best: Watch This!

Danny Best: Watch This!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danny Best: Watch This!

Jen Storer

Mitch Vane

ABC Books, 2020

304pp., pbk., RRP $A17.99

9780733333361

Danny Best doesn’t just think he’s THE BEST.  He knows it! Best by name and best by reputation, he and his friends Fab, Clancy, Sticks, Dylan and Mae, plus trusty dog Pugsley, Danny turns every single day into one crazy adventure.

This is the fourth in this series  ( Full OnNever Wrong, and Me First)  written for “fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Weirdo” . With its mix of minimal text and monochromatic illustrations, this is another hilarious adventure that will appeal to boys moving from structured readers into the world of independence, wanting something that engages them but which doesn’t require long periods of solitary seclusion to absorb. Even though it has 304 pages, there are four separate stories within it, each told from Danny’s perspective and moving at a fast pace carried along by the graphics and the humour that its target audience thrives on.

If you’re looking for something to encourage your reluctant readers to read, then this is a series worth seeking out. 

Beetle and Boo

Beetle and Boo

Beetle and Boo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beetle and Boo

Caitlin Murray

Puffin, 2020 

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

9780143796565

Beetle smugly declares she is not afraid of ANYTHING! Not monsters, not spiders, not the dark, not bad dreams, not storms, not even ghosts!  But then her friend Boo the Bear decides to test her out and the results are surprising!

This is a lovely book for littlies about facing your fears and dealing with them told with a mix of minimal text, all in the dialogue between Beetle and Boo, and detailed, delightful illustrations that have to put a smile on the face.  Especially when Boo proves Beetle wrong! 

One to share and share again!