As holidays loom and many children look forward to days, if not weeks, spent in family caravans, imagine if this were their way of life for months, waking up in a new place almost every morning.
Hunter’s parents have decided that the family is going to do the quintessential round-Australia trip and this is her perspective of that journey as she discovers beaches and billabongs, paddocks and plains, forests and dugouts, and even underwater worlds on the big adventure. Visiting iconic sites such as the Twelve Apostles, the Great Barrier Reef and crossing the Nullarbor this is an introduction to some of Australia’s most well-known tourist attractions, offering young readers not only the opportunity to explore them with Hunter but also helping them understand there is a lot more to this country than their immediate neighbourhood. They could share and map the places they have been to already and if living in a caravan or camping is part of their experiences, share their own adventures too.
Simon was shy at the best if times, and luckily for him, being a stick insect meant he could change colours to match his surroundings and hide from those around him. That was until the day he stayed the glowing pink of the rose he had been resting on! He was certain that all the other bugs who were gathering for the Spring Fest would laugh at him and the thought terrified him, so when a friendly beetle told him that there would be a magic gypsy moth who would help him, Simon set off in search of this saviour. But as well as eventually finding her, he also discovered something much more important…
Told in rhyme, this theme of who you are as you are is enough is a common one in literature for young children but it is one that they need to hear again and again in all sorts of situations so they learn that it is okay to be pink or purple, or straight or bent, or spotty or striped or whatever… That no one really looks twice at your differences because they’re too busy involved in whatever else is going on, and if someone does make a nasty comment, then they are not worth your time. For some, this is not something easily accepted and body image can become a major issue in the future so perhaps they can have fun imagining what it would be like to be able to change colour like Simon and how that would change who they are inside.
As little ones face the challenges of new places, new schools, new people at this time of the year, this is one to help them overcome any anxieties they might have.
Rats! They’re everywhere – in the breadbins, dancing across tabletops, stealing pies from under the cooks’ noses. So, what does every town need? A good piper to lure them away. That’s where Maurice comes in! A streetwise tomcat with the perfect money-making scam.
Everyone has heard the stories about the piper and the rats, and con-cat Maurice finds a stupid-looking kid with a pipe, and has his very own plague of rats – strangely educated rats who are highly intelligent, can speak and have a sense of morality.
But in Bad Blintz, someone is playing a different tune and now Maurice and his rats must learn a new concept: evil….
While this edition is a tie-in to the movie that is about to be released, the original was the 28th novel in the bestselling Discworld series, a series set on a flat, circular world balanced on the backs of four elephants which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle. Typically, the stories are inspired by classic literature, in this case Robert Browning’s, The Pied Piper of Hamelin. While the series itself is primarily aimed at adults, this one is for children and Pratchett was awarded the prestigious Carnegie Medal for it. There are twists and turns that older readers are more likely to appreciate so this might be one best shared in conjunction with both Browning’s story and the movie.
Let’s take today nice and slow,
have a break from the go-go-go.
We can lounge about and rediscover
what we love about each other.
The madness of Christmas and New Year is over and the holidays stretch before us – but for some, instead of being a time to rest and recuperate, it seems to be an opportunity to pack in as much activity as possible. In fact, some even feel guilty if they have a day without something particular planned. So this is a gentle book that reminds readers that to take the time to relax and reconnect with those around us is okay – even necessary. Reading a book, learning something new, or returning to old favourites like building a cubby from sheets and chairs are all that is needed to reset, especially if we turn off the screens!
With words that soothe like a lullaby and a palette of soft colours, this book is as gentle as lying on the grass and watching the clouds make pictures – something many young readers need to learn as their lives seem to have become a competition as to who can do the most or have the most or be the most. Definitely one for the mindfulness collection as we encourage them to share what they would do if they had a whole day of choice that cost nothing.
One summer’s day in the bush, a lazy lizard finds himself caught in the path of a bushfire! He knows he has to run but is he faster than the flames?
As summer slowly takes hold across the country, the memories of the devastating bushfires of 2019-2020 are rekindled as people watch both sky and weather forecast anxiously. Many will drive through the devastated areas that are slowly recovering and their thoughts will turn to the wildlife that was lost during that time daring to imagine that it will once return to what it was. This story, written in rhyme, reminds us that the impact on those that live in the bush was as destructive as it was for the humans, and for a much longer time as they wait for their habitat to restore itself, if it ever will.
During that time there were reports of animals seeking shelter in wombat burrows, normal “relationships” forgotten as they huddled together to survive, and this is another story that is based on that. Young readers will become aware of just how careful they have to be in the bush and surrounds because who knows what might be living just where they are going to put their foot or break that branch as they begin to understand that there are more creatures there than the iconic ones they know and can see.
Everyone loved Augie and Perry when they were puppies and played with them all the time, but as the years passed and the children went to school and the adults were at work, the dogs were left to their own devices during the day. Most days they were fine but one day they found a way to get through the screen door and outside and soon they’re diving into the swimming pool, digging an enormous hole in the lawn, and causing all kinds of chaos… But then they hear the family car pull up…
Many of our young readers will have got a pet for Christmas and while that’s all well and good during this long summer break, just what will those pets get up to when school goes back? This is an hilarious story that will entertain young readers but plant seeds of doubt as to what might be really happening when they are not there.
Absolutely, definitely, does not under any circumstances does Max want a cat. So why did Mum and Dad just bring one home? And it’s about to ruin his life.
With the prospect of being First Kid of Redhill because his mum has decided to run for mayor, and thus retiring as Funny Kid, 11 year-old Max is contemplating all the power, attention and kudos he will have in that position when his parents return with something for him. But it’s not a security detail, a limousine, the keys to the city or even a five dollar note with hi face on it – it’s a cat from the local animal shelter. But Max is not a cat-person – he thinks such people should seek medical help – so how is he going to cope with this gift and still maintain his dignity, integrity and position as First Kid?
As Christmas and New Year fade into the distance, this is the ideal read for young independent readers- those who have met Max already in his previous 10 adventures and those who are about to get to know one of the most successful characters in Matt Stanton’s amazing collection. Stanton is very much in tune with what kids in those middle years like to read about, particularly characters that they can relate to and secretly wish to be. The place that the edgy humour of Jennings, Gleitzman and Milne played in their parents’ childhood is now being filled by him with great success, demonstrating that good stories with lots of humour and over-the-top situations are always winners, particularly if they have a slightly serious side that anchors them in reality and adds depth to the story. In this one Max learns about being open-minded – perhaps he converts to being a “cat-person” after all- as well as the power and pitfalls of social media.
Apart from being an entertaining read in itself, it sets the reader up to explore not only the others in the series, thus taking care of their holiday reading, but also exploring some of Stanton’s other works including his new series, Bored.
Ask your students what they believe maths to be and you will get answers such as ‘numbers’, “measuring”. “counting”… and probably emotions like “hard”, “boring”, “waste-of-time”. There are more groans and moans than jumps for joy.
But mathematics is known as the “queen of all sciences” and the word itself comes from the Ancient Greek meaning “that which is learned” or “what you can know.” And, indeed, it takes but a short investigation to see that maths concepts pervade every aspect of our lives and that is the focus of this book for those who have mastered the basics of counting and calculating, to demonstrate the application and extension of those skills in solving almost every problem we have, from the mundane such as knowing the using a bus timetable to extending our knowledge into areas we are yet to explore to solving mysteries that have confounded generations.
Over the 50+ years I’ve spent in education, many of them helping young children understand the basic concepts through several maths-focused books, I know the key to success is showing them that what they are learning is relevant to their lives and something they will use again and again, and that is also the focus of this book. So as well as looking at what statistics and probability are, it shows how they can be used to predict which sports teams will win. By understanding shapes and scale, Lego models become more adventurous. By understanding pi we can share the pie equally…
With the usual appealing layout and reader-friendly language we associate with Usborne publications, this is one that will take those with an interest deep into the realm of possibilities and, as usual, there are also the Quicklinks which fascinate further.
Five little penguins went out one day Over the hills and far away. Mamma Penguin said “Hurry back to me!” How many penguins can you see?
Combine a familiar ditty with rhyme, rhythm and repetition, add in bright, appealing illustrations and include the interactivity of a lift-the-flap format and you have the perfect recipe for a book that is going to engage our youngest readers. Not only will they be taken to a winter wonderland where there is so much to see as Mamma Penguin and her chicks waddle through a frosty forest, skate down an icy river and toboggan down snowy slopes meeting all kinds of festive animals playing in the snow but because both the environment and the creatures are not those they are used to seeing, there is all sorts of scope for discussion and building vocabulary.
Most importantly though, this is one that they can return to again and again independently empowering their independence and consolidating their belief and expectation they they, too, can be “real readers”.
These opening lines from Emily Dickinson’s poem, Hope is the thing with feathers are the inspiration for this stunning picture book begun after the devastation caused by the bushfires which ravaged so much of south-east Australia in 2019-2020.
A young girl who is a bird lover and watcher, as are the book’s creators, focuses on the birds around her as they return to their burnt-out habitats to resume the lives and lifestyles that are natural to them clearly with the hope, indeed expectation, that it will continue as always regardless. The kookaburra sings, the baby emus learn to run, the parrot nests in the hollow tree, the seagull is still eyeing off the hot chips…
The last years have been tough for many, and there will be those facing new challenges as the new year rolls over, so this is a perfect book to share to show that hope for better things is what drives us forward regardless of how dire the current situation might be. While hope might be seen as unreachable as the eagle able to soar above and be free, it can also be as mundane as the ibis returning to raid the rubbish bins in anticipation of food. If the bowerbird still seeks the blue among the black ruins of the landscape, we, too, can look for the diamonds amongst the stones.
Erica Wagner’s extraordinary mixed media illustrations interpret the author’s lyrical words perfectly, the final illustrations showing that with hope, we too can fly…
Perfect for sharing with students at the beginning of the year as they think about their hopes and dreams for the year and start formalising goals they want to achieve.