Sadly, many of our children visit hospitals as patients more times than we like. either because of an accident or illness. Even for adults, they can be intimidating places and even moreso if the visit is an unexpected emergency – ask me how I know!!!
But it can be made less traumatic if children know what to expect and so this book, based on an Australian hospital, is very timely and useful. Following the journey three children, each being admitted for a different reason, the book’s purpose is to show that hospitals are amazing places filled with clever people all doing incredible things, including making you feel better. The emphasis is on the people who may look scary because they’re wearing masks (although that’s not so uncommon these days) and that the tools and machines they use are there to help them.
But as well as reassuring the would-be patient, with hospital admissions on the increase because of COVID-19, it also helps them understand what is happening to their family and friends who might also be admitted.
If we know what to expect in unfamiliar situations then our anxiety levels are lowered and we are much more able to cope. This book certainly does that.
It’s an exciting day for Frankie – it’s his day for kindergarten. But Frankie isn’t a timid, shy child about to take his first step on a new adventure – he’s a dog who goes with his owner, the Kindy teacher, to join in all the fun of meeting up with friends, playing inside and out, visiting the pets. listening to stories, having lunch and quiet time and learning all sorts of new things. His mate George the cat would like to go too but he is deemed too little, so he hops in a box…
Written by two experienced kindergarten teachers based on their own kindy – Frankie belongs to Miss Peta – this is a joyful introduction to the kindy/preschool day that will be a new adventure for many of our littlest readers very soon. Many of them will experience trepidation rather than anticipation so this story with its bright, bold illustrations will be excellent for helping to prepare them and pave the way. Even though there might not be a Frankie (or a cheeky George) to join them, nevertheless all the activities will be there awaiting them as will the welcoming teachers and lots of new friends to play with.
With lockdown and restrictions, preventing many of the face-to-face orientations that usually start about this time, so this would be the ideal story to share as alternative preparation.
Mummy has gone to a baby shower and Daddy has been left to put Bluey and Bingo to bed. But Bluey is very concerned because it won’t be the same. No matter what ideas Daddy has, she longs for her mum to be home. Until she has an idea…
Based on the highly successful television series, this new release strengthens the link between screen and media, a critical one as they learn about the value of being able to take their time with print, examine the illustrations and read it again and again whenever they want – all vital concepts about print. They easily relate to characters they know which as well as adding another dimension to them by offering a behind-the-scenes look at their lives and loves, they can also focus on the story more deeply.
In the Mary River in South-East Queensland lives a creature found nowhere else in the world- one only identified in 1994 and already facing extinction. The Mary River turtle, Elusor macrurus, is a new genus and species of freshwater turtle affectionately known as the punk turtle because the slow-moving water of the river allows green algae to grow all over it.
But that’s not Poppy’s only unique feature – as well as breathing normally on the water’s surface, she can also breathe through her bottom! Plip! Plop! Parp! However, despite her ancestors being in the river for millions of years Poppy and her relations now face many threats, mostly from the impact of humans and these are explored for young readers in the second in this series that investigates lesser-known endangered species. Combining the author’s ability to pitch the text perfectly for the intended audience with the same big, bright, bold illustration style of Coco, the Fish with Hands, young readers have a story that entertains and educates them. Simple but accurate vocabulary which respects their intelligence and knowledge, a large font, engaging illustrations and attractive layout, with a page summarising the key points as the finale make for a combination that will be a winner with readers and teachers alike.
Perfect for those like my little friend Xander who is fascinated by the world around him, prefers non fiction over fiction and has almost mastered reading independently. And for his parents who will share it with him and spur his quest to learn more. As it did for me!.
These are the memoirs of ME, Holly Hopkinson, aged almost ten. I am writing the, so that, in the future, historians will have a real account of what life was like in the twenty-first century except without any of the rubbish adults usually put in, thank you very much. My dad just lost his job, which means me and the rest of my family have to leave London and move to the middle of nowhere, which is a TOTAL DISASTER! There’s no Wi-Fi, the local kids are FERAL and there’s animal poo EVERYWHERE.
But then for my birthday, my eccentric aunt gave me a magic pocket watch, which I can use to hypnotise and CONTROL people. I actually wanted a new phone, but I won’t complain because this new power is REALLY FUN and has led to the MOST unexpected things – including a visit to the QUEEN.
Maybe the countryside isn’t so bad after all…
This is the first in a new series (the second, A Little Bit Of A Big Disasteris due in early 2022) that will appeal to independent readers who will put themselves into Holly’s story and ride the rollercoaster with her. With text features interspersed with line drawings, this is one that is definitely going to Miss 10 as she battles being in isolation in lockdown. (They’re allowed gifts by post so she will like that too!) She is the social butterfly who is missing the contact with her classmates the most and so this will be a new set of “friends” for her to engage with.
Mouse has never had a friend quite like Pig. Pig is so incredibly kind, endlessly thoughtful and fabulously fun, that he is the best friend anyone could ever have. But Pig also has a big secret… he’s a tremendous worrier!
So when he decides to throw a party for all his friends the concern kicks in and he worries about everything from a lion eating the invitations to his guests comparing this party to others. In fact, he worries so much that he decides to call it off.
Luckily, Mouse is attuned to Pig’s mental health and suggests a walk so they can talk things over before he makes a final decision…
Anxiety about the what ifs are becoming a real part of the psyche of so many of our students these days because adults seem to be attaching such high stakes to the smallest things. And with lockdown in many places stretching out seemingly endlessly the lack of that interaction with their peers that normally provides some perspective and balance is lacking and so molehills become mountains very quickly. So sharing stories like this in which we are assured that “things don’t stay grey for very long” is an essential part of helping our little ones cope and develop strategies for when the what ifs seem to take over.
As well as the positive story which is charming in itself, the quirky illustrations and visual tricks with the text really make this book stand out, offering an introduction to the ways illustrators and designers can add so much to words on a page. It demonstrates the differences in style between artists -compare this pig to one from Three Little Pigs for example and talk about the similarities and differences yet the legitimacy of each style. This is the age when children become super-critical of their own artwork, and if it doesn’t look like the real thing or what they envisage, many dismiss their efforts, tell themselves they “can’t draw” and this self-talk destroys their creativity.
So, all in all, this is a must-have for so many reasons.
Over time there have been a number of books that reduce the world’s population to 100 people so that little ones can understand how things compare.
Imagining a number like 8 billion is tricky but reducing it to a village where 100 people live – each person representing around 80 million people in the real world and then exploring the similarities and differences through specific questions makes it easier to understand. Are they all grown-ups? Are there more males or females? How many have black hair or blue eyes? What languages do they speak? Who can read and write? How many have access to the internet or have enough food to eat? Does everyone have access to electricity or clean water?
Using double-page spreads, clever illustrations and graphic design elements, the global village is reduced to manageable proportions making it easier to see the things we have in common, and the things that make us different. There is also a challenge to consider the world in 2050 when they will be the decision-makers and how they can contribute to making the world more equitable.
But as well as the social and humanitarian aspects of the book, it is also an excellent way to talk about data collection, interpretation and presentation, offering the perfect pathway into learning about the various types of graphs, their purposes and formats. Students could also survey their class to see how it compares to the village by calculating the class number as a percentage of the 100 villagers, asking the questions and comparing the numbers. A purposeful and meaningful way to bring real life into their maths lessons.
A valuable addition to any teacher’s toolbox and a fascinating examination for any child interested in their world and its statistics.
Welcome to Wally Park Primary, the Weirdest School in Australia!
Some people think that all schools are the same. They might have different uniforms, slogans and emblems but in the end, there isn’t much difference between them … THESE PEOPLE ARE WRONG! They have not been to Wally Park PS. A normal day at Wally Park would be the weirdest day in any other school’s history. There’s an annual Extreme Walkathon that is not for the faint-hearted, a talking Naughty Tree and an Out-of-Bounds Area you might truly never return from and the meanest (and most vain) principal in Australia.
In fact Wally Park has been classified as a Weird School and while every Weird School is unique in its own way with peculiar features or have unusual rules or offer strange subjects, Wally Park is distinguished by having many of these and thus is classified a Class A Weird School.
With this introduction the reader is invited to sign the school’s Visitors’ Book and explore all the reasons that the school has its title. Using a variety of textual techniques, illustrations and short-stand-alone chapters that are loosely linked by a likeable cast of characters who will resonate with the reader, independent readers will enjoy reading this book and feel blessed that their family does not live in the catchment area for Wally Park – although in these days of seemingly endless lockdown, there will be those who would be grateful for any school experience right now.
There are teachers’ notes and a Q&A with the author but overall this is just an entertaining read – which is what it’s all about really.
The little boat loves being towed along the frothy edge of the waves and bobbing in the rock pool. But one day he is left behind and for weeks he lies alone in the sand dunes. Then one day a potato chip packet is blown into him and he thinks he has found company at last. But a seagull declares the packet as rubbish, the wind picks it up and blows it into the sea and the little boat wonders if it is rubbish too. Over time it is joined by a takeaway cup and a plastic bag who add ‘litter’ and ‘waste’ to its vocabulary before they, too are blown into the sea. Gradually the little boat becomes surrounded by debris as it falls apart as abandoned as the things that surround it.
Until one day a little boy comes along…
Inspired by an early morning walk on the beach and the litter that was left on the foreshore after a community family event the evening before. the author simply wondered ‘why? ‘ and so this story of a forgotten toy grew as a focal point for young readers to think about what happens to the garbage that is left behind on the beach. There are no beach elves that come to clean it up so where does it end up? And what could be done to prevent it being there in the first place?
The issue of the amount of plastic, particularly, that ends up in our oceans and landfill is gaining greater awareness so this is a timely story that starts to build that awareness in young people and offers them a few tips as to what they can do with teachers’ notes (linked to the Australian Curriculum) available to assist this. With warmer weather coming and visits to the beach on the horizon, there is lots of scope for children to learn how small steps impact on the greater good (another timely lesson right now) and even if they can’t go on on a rubbish-collection walk there is plenty of scope to detail alternatives to plastics.
Stories like this with illustrations that cleverly bring even a potato chip packet to life and which have extra details which enrich and enhance the text (check out the fishing line around the seagull’s leg), are a powerful way to deliver important messages to our youngest readers so they can start their good habits early, learn that small things can lead to bigger things (positive or negative) within the realms of enjoyable entertainment.
Mika’s father works from home and he’s very busy! He can never find time for the promised swimming trip. So Dad allows Mika to choose a pet from the store while he finishes the project—something quiet like a mouse. But when the mouse gets lost, Mika goes back to the pet shop to buy a puppy to sniff it out and keep watch over it. But when the puppy does a puddle in the bathroom because it doesn’t understand how to use the toilet, she goes back to get a seal who will oversee the proper use of the bathroom. But when the seal wants to swim and the mouse can’t… Sadly the seahorses have sold out.
And all the while the too-busy father doesn’t notice until finally he finishes the job he is working on.
This story of a single dad trying to balance child care and working from home will resonate with many at the moment, while that of the child wanting a pet for company will be familiar to many children. And the extravagance of Mika’s solution will make them laugh. But if the seahorses weren’t sold out what care would they need? Would they make the perfect pet that Dad wants? Perhaps an opportunity to investigate these amazing little creatures.