Archive | July 2022

August & Jones

August & Jones

August & Jones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August & Jones

Pip Harry

Lothian Children’s, 2022

280pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9780734420350 

There is an old saying that every cloud has a silver lining but who knew the extent of it as Jones and her mother and father packed the last of their belongings into their old red ute, and said goodbye to their farm in Cotton forever, driven off by drought and forced to head for life in a tiny apartment in the city where her dad had a job with his brother.  

How could such a move, one made by many in recent years, have such a widespread impact as this story, inspired by the true story of two children in Victoria, unfolds.

Because, as much as 11 year-old Jones misses her rural life, she also has a prosthetic eye because of early childhood cancer, and now the vision in her other eye is getting blurry. Tough and scary at any time but when your passions are running and rock-climbing, it can seem like life is over,  But at her new school, she is paired with August, a somewhat introverted little lad whose dad makes him play footy and even though August hates it, he persists because otherwise he fears being invisible. A friendship blooms and blossoms as together they take on all the challenges facing them, and as the news about Jones’s eye is the worst, make a Must-See bucket list of the things she wants to see before she loses her sight completely – a list that has tentacles that reach out to embrace many and change those lives as well as both Jones and August.

Told by the two children in alternating chapters, this is a moving, heart-warming, tear-jerking story about family and friendship overcoming heartbreak and hardship that will appeal to independent readers who like real-life stories that are both inspirational and aspirational.  And as both Jones and August reach the summit of Mt Kosciuszko, signaling not the end but the beginning of new adventures, you just want to cheer!!  

It wouldn’t surprise me to see this one among the CBCA Book of the Year nominees in 2023,  following the success of The Little Wave.

Worth reading past your bedtime just to find out what happens…

Little Ash (series)

Little Ash (series)

Little Ash (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Ash (series)

Ash Barty

Jasmine McCaughey

Jade Goodwin

HarperCollins, 2022

64pp., pbk., RRP $A9.99

9781460762783

There would be few in Australia who do not recognise the name Ash Barty, who have not admired her grace, sportsmanship and honesty, and who were not disappointed when she retired from professional tennis without defending her 2021 Wimbledon title.

She has become the role model for so many of our younger readers and so this new series about school, sport, friendship and family will be welcomed.  While not necessarily autobiographical, it shows Ash to be just like other kids, reinforcing the idea that even ordinary people can become extraordinary, and dreaming with eyes open is something that everyone can do.

Written and formatted to support the newly independent reader, each story addresses a common issue that kids face from having to choose between things they love to putting others before that love.  With four stories out now to whet the appetite,  and two more to come in November the series will be a perfect addition to your Stepping Stone collection bridging the gap between formal reading instruction materials and the world of independent reading. 

 

Australia Remembers: Cameron Baird

Australia Remembers: Cameron Baird

Australia Remembers: Cameron Baird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia Remembers: Cameron Baird

Allison Paterson

Big Sky, 2022

72pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781922615572

This is the fifth in this series which tracks some of the highlights of Australia’s military history of both war and peace-keeping missions over the last century. and includes Australia Remembers : ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials  and Australia Remembers 2: Customs and Traditions of the Australian Defence Force   Len Waters: Boundless and Born to Fly , The Bombing of Darwin (timely in its 80th anniversary) and the upcoming Wartime Nurses .

In recent times, 41 Australian Defence Force personnel lost their lives whilst on duty in the conflict in Afghanistan. Cameron Baird, VC, MG is one such Australian who died in the service of his country. Cameron was born to lead, inspiring others and gaining the respect of his peers. A dedicated soldier, Cameron’s leadership and courageous actions resulted in the award of the Medal of Gallantry in 2007-2008. In 2013, while on active service in Afghanistan, Cameron lost his life while attempting to rescue a wounded mate. His act of supreme sacrifice, valour and devotion to duty was recognised with the awarding of Australia’s highest battlefield honour – the Victoria Cross.

This is a story of Australian service in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a story of mateship, dedication, leadership and sacrifice, and one we should never forget.

With facts and photographs combined in a layout that makes the information readily accessible, it will appeal to those who have an interest in the military, particularly modern conflicts.  Teachers’ notes  are available to guide a deeper understand of the man and his life as well as the campaigns he was engaged in, making them more real than just a bunch of facts and figures from a time and place far away.

One Book Was All it Took

One Book Was All it Took

One Book Was All it Took

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Book Was All it Took

Wenda Shurety

Amy Calautti

EK Books, 2022

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

9781922539137

As the rain patters on the window, it seems like the perfect day to just curl up and read- if only Violet could find something new that she hasn’t read before.

“I wish our town had a library,” she muses and, putting thoughts into action she writes a letter to the mayor suggesting just that. But will it be read?

However, when she spots a new book that is propping up the kitchen table she sets in motion a chain of events that has the most unexpected consequences…

Young readers will delight in following the action through the playful illustrations as one thing leads to another, able to retell the story to themselves without having to know all the words and predicting what happens after the last page. They can share their favourite stories and begin to learn about the purpose and importance of libraries – public or school, visit their local library and get their own library card so they too can experience Violet’s delight, and start to learn about procedures as they master the circulation process.

One book could be all it takes…

 

 

The Royal Leap-Frog

The Royal Leap-Frog

The Royal Leap-Frog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Royal Leap-Frog

Peter Bently

Claire Powell

Bloomsbury, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781408860106

Q: What do a grasshopper, a flea and a frog have in common?

A: They can all leap.

Q; But who can leap the highest?

A: Read this funny, colourful re-imagining of Hans Christian Andersen‘s classic The Leaping Match 

Told in rhyme with hilarious illustrations, this is a fast-paced retelling of one of Andersen’s lesser-known stories that offers all sorts of opportunities from investigating his works, to exploring the concept of fables and the lessons they teach, to having a competition to see who in the class can jump the greatest distance and comparing the difference between standing and stationary starts. 

Slightly different to the original in which a flea and  a grasshopper both vain and ambitious, and a frog, patient wise and humble arrange a contest to see who can jump highest with the King offering the hand of the princess to the victor, it also enables students to look at various versions of some of these classic tales and compare and contrast how their telling has changed over time and generations, while the core message remains relevant.

Or just read it for the fun of it… 

Stardiving

Stardiving

Stardiving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stardiving

Andrew Plant

Ford Street, 2022

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

9781922696021

In the sunlit waters, baby Fluke is content to swim languidly among the rest of the sperm whale pod, occasionally rising to the surface to breathe. But as he does so, he is joined by a pod of dolphins who leap and cavort far above the surface, teasing him to join them.

“Come up and see the sky”, they say to which Fluke says he can see the sun.  “The sun’s great, but have you seen the stars?” 

And Fluke begins to wonder and daydream…until he is given some advice from Cachalot, the great bull whale, that sends him on a journey of discovery that teaches him more than he can have imagined.

Put Andrew Plant’s name on the cover of a book and I’m there! Whether it’s The Poppy, Sparkor any of the others that I’ve read and reviewed over the years, I know I will be in for a beautifully illustrated, lyrically written story that will reach deep. Of them all, Stardiving  has gone the deepest as Fluke learns as much about himself as he does about the stars that are in his own environment, without even having to learn to leap and leave his natural habitat.  As Fluke discovers the stars that twinkle and shine far below in the ocean’s depths, a place where the dolphins can’t ever go, he begins to understand what Cachalot means when he says, “You are not even yourself yet. Why do you want to be something else?”  That, like the ocean, he has hidden depths yet to explore…

Plant’s stunning illustrations take the reader into an unknown world, one inaccessible to most humans. one that even television images from deep-diving submersibles can’t portray accurately as the calm and serenity and the being-in-the-moment-ness has to be experienced; yet one that, for all its mystery, is as deserving and needy of preservation as the shallower waters above because what happens on top impacts what happens beneath.  Just as our personal experiences shape who we are, as they did for Fluke – a theme to explore in itself – so too is the ocean an integrated, holistic environment.  And while Plant doesn’t touch on pollution, habitat destruction and so forth, it is there in his dedication, reminding the reader that this story has as many layers as the ocean itself.

To all the eco-warriors who faced down the whalers; to the scientists who study and advocate for our oceans; to the kids who fight the scourge of plastic…

Extensive teachers’ notes which include an introduction to the creatures that Fluke sees, enable this book to become a journey of discovery for the reader as much as it was for the baby whale. 

 

Gaia: Goddess of Earth

Gaia: Goddess of Earth

Gaia: Goddess of Earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaia: Goddess of Earth

Imogen Greenberg

Isabel Greenberg

Bloomsbury, 2022

64pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9781526625700

Imagine you made something that was so beautiful and powerful that everyone wanted to take it for themselves. And then you had to watch them destroy it. Would you fight for it?

Meet Gaia, the ancient Greek goddess who created the Earth and the universe that stretched beyond it. She raised trees from their roots to the sky, sent waterfalls tumbling over cliffs and created the tides that sloshed on the shore. She gifted her creation to animals and mortals, and watched as they made it their home.

But she also created a force she couldn’t control: the ambition of gods. Gaia watched as the gods fought brutal wars and manipulated mortals such as Hercules and Achilles, disturbing peace on Earth. Storms raged, fires blazed and people, animals and plants suffered. Gaia begged the gods to look after her creation, but no one listened.

But Gaia never gave up fighting for a better world. This is her story.

From the sisters who gave us the remarkable Madame Curie and her Daughters, and Athena: the Story of a Goddess comes another journey into Greek mythology with this modern take on the story of Gaia, told by the Fates, -Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos – in a graphic narrative that is designed for independent readers.  With a poignant environmental message that the pursuit of power damages our natural world, and we all have to work together to protect it, it is a relevant today as it was during the time of the Ancient Greeks 3000 years ago.  

But not only does it offer an introduction to Greek mythology that forms such a strong platform of our beliefs and values, it can also be a companion to those books that you might have been using to investigate the origins of this planet. For every civilisation has its creation myths which make for intriguing studies in themselves, let alone comparing and contrasting the lore with the science. 

Fascinating.

Subbie and his mate

Subbie and his mate

Subbie and his mate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subbie and his mate

Corinne Fenton

Mark Wilson

Ford Street, 2022 

32pp., pbk, RRP $A16.95

9781925804980

When an ebony-black foal was born on s spring morning in 1988, no one knew that he would grow to be one of the most famous horses in Australia, right up there with Phar Lap.  That, despite becoming a household name after winning the 1992 Melbourne Cup, his greatest contribution would come in the years and years following as he and his constant companion raised millions of dollars for charity and brought comfort to children and the aged alike as they visited those in hospitals.

The story of the bond between Subzero and Graham Salisbury is written into Australian horse history in this moving story for young readers, and while they, and probably their parents, are too young to remember the horse, the power of the connection between an animal – horse, dog, cat, donkey… – will be recognisable in Fenton’s narrative and Wilson’s illustrations that reflect some of the classic images of this horse that remain in the memories of older folk.  

As the 30th anniversary of his Melbourne Cup win approaches, teachers’ notes will help expand the themes of this book and help the reader understand ‘what this horse and this man did –
know of the joy and happiness, the smiles they brought to the faces of the young and not so young, those sick kids they gifted special moments to carry with them forever. “

100 Things to Know About Music

100 Things to Know About Music

100 Things to Know About Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100 Things to Know About Music

Alex Frith, Alice James, Jerome Martin, Lan Cook

 Dominique Byron, Federico Mariani, Shaw Nielsen, Parko Polo

Usborne, 2022

128pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

 9781474996730

Continuing this popular series which includes titles such as 100 Things to Know About Science,  100 Things to Know About Saving the Planet 100 Things to Know About Numbers, Computers & Coding, 100 Things to Know About Food,  100 Things to Know About the Human Body, 100 Things to Know About Space, 100 Things to Know About the Oceans, 100 Things to Know About Planet Earth and 100 things to Know About History, young musicians can now investigate which tunes could save a life, and which should come with a health warning; how  talking drums tell the history of Africa; what happens in your brain when you listen to music; the part that termites play on creating didgeridoos and even how parachuting pianos into war zones helped win World War II! 

Without a contents page but with an extensive index, this is a dip-and-delve book that can lead the reader down all sorts of interesting paths depending on where they open the book.  Who knew that playing music to plants could make them grow faster or that sleigh bells and harmonicas were the first instruments into space?

With lots of illustrations and easily accessible facts in small chunks, this is the perfect book ( and series) to get reluctant readers who prefer non fiction to consolidate their skills as they  become engrossed in stuff they didn’t even know they didn’t know yet want to discover more about!  

Look Inside a Coral Reef

Look Inside a Coral Reef

Look Inside a Coral Reef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look Inside a Coral Reef

Minna Lacey

Sam Brewster

Usborne, 2022

14pp., board book, RRP $A19.99

9781474998918

Despite it being in board book format, this is one for anyone with a new interest in coral reefs, their formation, inhabitants and the secrets they hold.  The board book format allows it to have a sturdy lift-the-flap feature encouraging readers to explore further and learn more as each phenomenon is explained in a little more depth beneath the flap.

 


And for those who want to know even more, there are the usual Quicklinks that accompany most of the books from this publisher, including games and activities.