Archive | December 2020

Christmas Wishes

Christmas Wishes

Christmas Wishes










Christmas Wishes

Enid Blyton

Hachette, 2020

316pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99


After a year like no other, when things that have been taken for granted for decades have suddenly become novelties, Christmas is coming again -almost the one certainty – and people are returning to the old classic rituals and routines in a way unseen for many years. It is as though the security of the past is bringing comfort in this uncertain present and so it seems logical that we should also turn to the stories that have endured and given such joy in previous times.

If any writer of previous generations has survived that test of time it is Enid Blyton and in this collection of 30 Christmas tales taken from her series and short story collections of yesteryear, young readers will be taken back to a time when there was just the written word, the imagination and the magic.  Even those who are not as old as me and who don’t recall Blyton being an integral part of their reading history will revel in the sheer innocence and joy of these simple stories. From a dog who discovers the joy of Christmas to Santa Claus who gets himself out of a muddle with a little help from his friends, these stories celebrate shared times, festivities and wonder. Even if there is no opportunity to organise a full-blown Christmas Countdown, sharing just one story a day as a family or a class will bring back that sense of calm and normality in a world that seems to have gone mad. 

This is a collection that holds so many memories for me that I’m passing it on to Miss 14 and Miss 9  knowing they will enjoy them regardless of their ages and that they are likely to hang on to it for that distant day of their own families. Thanks Hachette for adding to the nostalgia.

The Odds

The Odds

The Odds









The Odds

Matt Stanton

ABC Books, 2020

208pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


Kip is a quiet kid in a loud city. Living with her father after her mum died, she prefers to keep a low profile and her home is her sanctuary. She’s easy to miss and that’s the way she likes it. School, with its hustle and bustle and noise is overwhelming and she is dreading the day the spotlight falls on her and she has to tell the rest of the class why she is special.

Then, one day, Kip’s quiet life is suddenly interrupted. Ten of her favourite characters have stepped out of their worlds of her imagination and memories and into hers as real-life beings.

But what happens when a dragon-hunting rabbit leaves his comic strip? When an old man leaves his picture book? When a ninja leaves her TV show, a race-car driver leaves their video game, and a dinosaur turns up from Kip’s nightmares? But while Kip just wants the creatures to hide and be invisible as she wishes to be, her father tells her , “If you start running away from hard things you never stop running” and Kip (and the reader) learn a significant life lesson.

Matt Stanton is rapidly becoming one of the decade’s most sought after authors by young, newly independent readers who like his humour that is always tempered with a good, solid storyline focusing on activities and issues  that resonate with his audience.  While not all will have dragon-hunting rabbits in their lives, nevertheless they will have those familiar feelings of fitting in, self-doubt and discovering just who they are as they become more and more independent and start to have their own opinions and ideas that shape their identities.

Using his cartooning skills, Stanton has produced a graphic novel that is going to appeal to a wide range of readers, each of whom will see themselves in one of the characters such as the little elephant who really just wants to hide under the covers all day.  Using a graphic novel format means the reader has to engage with the story in an active way taking in all that is going on so the continuity is maintained and in such a visually-dominated world, this is a critical skill.

The first in the series, this is a book that has depth as well as diversity and carries a message that will reach out to even the most reluctant reader.

I’m Ready…

I'm Ready...

I’m Ready…










I’m Ready for Swimming


I’m Ready for My Birthday


Jedda Robaard

Puffin, 2020

14pp., board book., RRP $A12.99

Two new additions to this series of board books for our youngest readers shining a light on familiar events in their lives, and bridging the gap between single-word concept books and the longer narrative of picture books.  Using familiar Australian animals, undertaking familiar activities, 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.

Learning to swim without an adult in the pool with you can be daunting, while having a birthday is generally something to look forward to but both activities are new and exciting so to capture them in a book that talks about what has to be done, the feelings and emotions, and the sense of accomplishment not only validates the child’s feelings but opens up discussions where they can express their concerns.

This series is proving very popular at the local day care centre and I imagine these will be welcome too. 

Maths Mutts – All About Time

Maths Mutts – All About Time

Maths Mutts – All About Time












Maths Mutts – All About Time

Charles Hope

Wild Dog Books, 2020

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


“Time can be expressed as a moment or a measurement.”  It is something that rules our lives in so many ways, yet it can also be one of the most difficult concepts to teach because it is so abstract.

This picture book uses a range of busy dogs to lead a investigations into all sorts of aspects of time for newly independent readers, inviting them to participate in some activities and answer questions that will help them understand the concepts better.  It offers ideas for the reader to explore including the answers to questions such as What is time? How do we use it in our everyday lives? Is time the same all around the world? What are the different units of time, and what devices do we use to measure them?


A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Even though it is so abstract, learning about time starts very early in a child’s life (think today, tomorrow, yesterday) and it is such an engrossing topic to cover embracing every curriculum area, not just maths.  So any resource that offers ideas and activities to help our students master it is a blessing.