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Elbow Grease vs Motozilla

Elbow Grease vs Motozilla

Elbow Grease vs Motozilla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elbow Grease vs Motozilla

John Cena

Howard McWilliam

Puffin, 2019

40pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781760894665

Elbow Grease is the smallest monster truck in the Demolition Derby. Even though his brothers Tank, Flash, Pinball and Crash were tougher, faster, smarter and braver, they didn’t intimidate him nor deter him from racing.  Even the fact that he was different because he ran on an lithium-ion battery and needed to be recharged every night did not stop him believing in himself and his ability to keep up with his brothers.  Because Elbow Grease had gumption, that mixture of strong will and determination to keep on going even when it seemed all was lost.

But when Elbow Grease has a flash of inspiration and decides that the gnarly monster machine Motozilla that turns trucks into crunch sandwiches has to be beaten, he realises that this is not something done alone.  it will need teamwork and all the strengths that each of his brothers possess.

Told with a bare narrative with all the speech in speech bubbles, sometimes the message about teamwork is less than subtle, but young readers will delight in the bright, bold illustrations that carry the expression and the humour.  Some who are familiar with WWE competitors might even recognise Cena from that field and be inspired because of that.  In an interview, Cena said, “With ‘Elbow Grease’ and the books to follow, I want to offer kids a fun and engaging way to learn about the power of ambition, dedication, and heart. These concepts have been transformative in my life, from my childhood up to now, and it’s so important to me to pass the positivity on and help our youngest generation see that right mindset is key to achievement,”

Monster trucks appeal to so many little boys that even if they don’t absorb Cena’s message at first, at least they will continue to discover the joy of reading as they find books about the topics that interest them. 

 

Lottie Luna and the Bloom Garden

Lottie Luna and the Bloom Garden

Lottie Luna and the Bloom Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lottie Luna and the Bloom Garden

Vivian French

Nathan Reed

HarperCollins, 2019

144pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9780008342982

Lottie Luna is a werewolf. She’s super-fast, super-strong and has X-ray vision. Lottie doesn’t really like to use her skills, though – she just wants to be like everyone else. But when someone keeps destroying the school bloom garden it’s only Lottie who can come to the rescue…

Characters having alter egos with special powers continue to be popular with readers and this new series for newly independent readers will satisfy those who like this genre.  Richly illustrated with monochrome cartoon-like illustrations to support the text, young girls will see themselves in Lottie – on the surface being just regular little girls, but with a heroine not too far below the surface.

The beginning of the new school year always brings great anticipation as new titles and series are released and with a new year level after their names, students look forward to an exciting year of reading as they become more and more competent and confident.  So a new series by this established veteran author will be a welcome addition to the collection.

The Princess Rules

The Princess Rules

The Princess Rules

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Princess Rules

Philippa Gregory

Chris Chatterton

HarperCollins, 2019

256pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9780008339791

Princess Florizella was friends with some of the princesses who had studied the Princess Rules, and behaved just as the Rules said they should. Florizella thought their hair was lovely: so golden and so very long. And their clothes were nice: so richly embroidered. And their shoes were delightful: so tiny and handmade in silk. But their days bored her to death…”

Instead, Princess Florizella rides her horse, Jellybean, all over the kingdom, having adventures of her own…

Originally written for her daughters in 1989 when the concept of rebel princesses as heroines was scarcely heard of much beyond Munsch’s  The Paper Bag Princess Philippa Gregory has reimagined this collection of three stories for her granddaughters and created a thoroughly modern tale.  “I’m much clearer that she’s up against something worse than a bad fairy at a christening – the ‘rules’ that try to persuade bright multi-talented children into stereotype notes. Florizella and her BFF Prince Bennet find their own paths around giants, wolves and (of course) dragons.”

With humour that stabs at convention and stereotypes and their consequences, Gregory has created a feisty heroine who will appeal to today’s newly independent reader who may once have dreamed of life as Aurora or Belle or some other Disney princess but who will no doubt much prefer to be Florizella instead.  

With a growing call for diversity in children’s literature, movies and other arts, the issue of stereotyping is a topical one so while this book may have a predominantly young female audience, it also has the scope to be a platform for exploring this topic among those much older. And Gregory’s experience as a writer shines through so it would not be considered as a twee, sugar-coated read beneath that older audience. It may even lead them to her more grown-up novels.  

Eight Princesses And A Magic Mirror

Eight Princesses And A Magic Mirror

Eight Princesses And A Magic Mirror

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eight Princesses And A Magic Mirror

Natasha Farrant

Lydia Corry

Zephyr, 2019

209pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9781788541152

Mirror, mirror on the wall… what makes a princess excellent?’ The enchantress’s mirror travels through time, from east to west, to find the answer. Reflected in it are princesses who refuse to be pretty, polite or obedient. These are girls determined to do the rescuing themselves. The Arabian princess of the desert protects her people from the king with the black and gold banner; Latin American Princess, Tica, takes a crocodile for a pet; a Scottish princess explores the high seas; African Princess, Abayome, puts empathy and kindness above being royal; and in a tower-block, Princess saves her precious community garden from the hands of greedy urban developers.

While the traditional princesses of familiar fairytales still remain popular with many girls, others are demanding stories about those who are not helpless and dreaming of the handsome prince to rescue them and live happily ever after.  So this collection of original stories about princesses who are bold, empowered, full of curiosity, adventure and determined to be true to themselves will appeal to those ready to move beyond Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora and company. With its relatively short meaty stories and full colour illustrations, it is perfect for newly independent readers and with the magic mirror connecting the stories throughout it has a continuity that encourages them to keep reading each new adventure.

Something different to entice readers into the library for a new year of reading adventures or to suggest to parents looking for something a bit different to share at bedtime..

 

The Dragon In The Library

The Dragon In The Library

The Dragon In The Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dragon In The Library

Louie Stowell

Nosy Crow, 2019

224pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781788000260

Kit can’t stand reading. She’d much rather be outside, playing games and getting muddy, than stuck inside being quiet with a book. But when she’s dragged along to the local library at the start of the school holiday by her two best friends, she makes an incredible discovery: the local library is run by wizards … and she’s one too! The youngest wizard ever, in fact.

But someone is threatening to tear down the library and disturb the powerful magical forces living beneath it. And now it’s up to Kit and her friends to save the library… and the world.

The first book in an exciting, imaginative and brilliantly funny new series, which Miss 8 curled up with on Christmas afternoon when it was too hot to be outside.  Full of illustrations and written in short manageable chapters, it is a fast-paced story with the perfect mix of reality and fantasy to capture her imagination, It also captured mine and it sheds a new light on the value of both libraries and reading for those who think neither has anything of value for them. 

This is the perfect book to recommend to teachers as the first read-aloud for the new school year to encourage students to investigate the magic in your school library.  

Paddington’s Post

Paddington's Post

Paddington’s Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paddington’s Post

Michael Bond

R. W. Alley

HarperCollins, 2019

48pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9780008357245

Living with the Browns in London is very different from Paddington’s original home in Darkest Peru and there is much to see and do and absorb.  Using Michael Bond’s original stories, Paddington reflects on the changes and writes letters, draws maps, and creates other mementos, each of which is enclosed in its own envelope waiting for the young reader to discover and read. 

Since his 60th anniversary in 2018, there has been a resurgence in love for this childhood favourite and this is another opportunity to share the love with a new generation.  Children love stories that have letters that they can pull out and read – it adds an extra layer of intrigue and mystique – and this will be no exception.  It might even inspire them to write to Paddington and tell him about where they live and the things they like to do. 

Let’s Go! (series)

Let's Go!

Let’s Go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Go!

On a Rocket

9781925594881

On a Ferry

9781925594898

On a Train

9781925594980

Catch A Star, 2019

16pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

This new series of books created for our very youngest readers reflects a new approach that has been emerging in hoard books recently – that of real stories that engage, entertain and even educate our littlies as, at last, the importance of having quality stories for this age group is recognised.  There has been so much research into how critical reading to the very young from birth released, that those who create for this age are providing more than one-word concept books and the understanding about how print and stories work combined with actually holding the book for themselves is doing so much for early literacy development.  Young readers are demanding stories that relate to them, have context and meaning that is familiar and a physical product that requires input from them rather than being passive recipients,  

So kudos to the publishers  for recognising that our youngest generation need and deserve quality stories that are as entertaining as any screen device placed in front of them. 

This particular series focuses on two children enjoying rides on a variety of transport. Familiar topics, catchy rhymes and colourful illustrations not only make for an enjoyable read that they will be able to retell themselves endlessly, but also promote what can be expected from story books. Perfect for little hands and the Christmas stocking. 

Forgotten Fairy Tales of Brave and Brilliant Girls

Forgotten fairy tales of brave and brilliant girls

Forgotten fairy tales of brave and brilliant girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgotten Fairy Tales of Brave and Brilliant Girls

Lesley Sims (editor)

Usborne, 2019

208pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781474966429

Ask a young child for the title of a fairy tale and you are likely to be told Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel or Rapunzel or whatever the Disney princess-du-jour is. But in fact, there are many more fairy tales than those that were collected and written down by the great storytellers like the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault and Hans Christian Andersen. Fairy tales were told orally for many generations before they were preserved in print, each being shared a little differently by the teller according to time, place and circumstance, but each having a fundamental truth at its core. 

For whatever reason, the tales that were collected and written share common characteristics of strong men and weak women who needed to be rescued by the male’s prowess and those in which the females were the leading protagonists were almost lost to time. The story of their discovery and recovery is almost as fascinating as the stories themselves, and shows the slowly changing attitudes towards women and their place in society. Food for discussion and debate right there!

In the meantime, this remains a collection of very readable and beautifully illustrated fairy tales that deserve to be as well-known as their more famous counterparts. Perhaps the next Disney heroine will arise from this anthology. Regardless, stories about brave and brilliant girls are always good for the soul.

 

 

 

Midnight Ninja

Midnight Ninja

Midnight Ninja

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight Ninja

Sam Lloyd

Bloomsbury, 2019

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

9781408884836

Meet this little boy and his pussycat called Ginger.
He’s got a great big secret. At bedtime he’s the might MIDNIGHT NINJA!

When the emergency bell sounds, he springs out of bed and is off to find and fight the baddies! Tonight’s mystery is socks going missing from clotheslines everywhere and so, using his teleporter he’s off on his mission.  What he discovers is quite surprising and he finds himself in BIG trouble.  But it’s his trusty cat Ginger who comes to the rescue and between them, they not only retrieve all the missing socks but solve the problem so they won’t need to be taken again.

This is an action-packed story that will appeal to young readers, particularly boys who will see themselves in the role of the hero and delight in using all the weapons , Written in rhyme, it bounces along at a great pace with intriguing, detailed illustrations that complement the text and set the imagination running!

A great bedtime story for little lads and lasses who can drift off to sleep dreaming that they are also Midnight Ninjas.

 

The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story

The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story

The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story

Bob Graham

Walker Books, 2019

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

9781406387612

It is time for the the Underhill children from the tooth fairy family to have a sleepover at Grandma and Grandad’s house, nestled in a teapot under the flight path of a large city airport.  The children love it there where they are doted on by their grandparents and do all sorts of special things like making fairy cakes and tasting leftover chocolate and using the punching bag to keep in shape. 

But when an urgent job comes in, one their parents can’t attend to because they are on another case already, it’s up to Grandma and April and Esme to try to find Akuba, a little girl in a red coat just arrived from Ghana. Will they find her amidst all the busyness and turmoil of the airport terminal?

A thoroughly modern interpretation of an age-old story, Bob Graham continues the tradition of the Tooth Fairy for today’s youngest readers. His distinctive illustrations reinforce the belief in all things magical, including cupids and angels, with references to mobile phones, and other modern conveniences.  But through it all, Grandad’s devotion to baby Vincent and Esme’s gift to her grandma, show that while some things change, the fundamentals stay the same.  A charming story that will reconnect children to past traditions.