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Peppa Pig: A Trip to the Moon

Peppa Pig: A Trip to the Moon

Peppa Pig: A Trip to the Moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peppa Pig: A Trip to the Moon

Peppa Pig

Ladybird, 2022

28pp., hbk., RRP $A16.99

9780241610664

Prepare for take-off! George and his friend Edmond love pretending to be astronauts.

But what will happen when they go on a trip to the moon?

Familiar characters are back in this print version of a popular episode enabling our youngest readers to put what they already know of the story into a retelling of it for themselves. As our littlest viewers start moving towards preschool and big school and the promise of learning to read, supports such as this go a long way to developing those expectations and early reading behaviours that promote success.  So as well as extending their vocabulary and developing concepts for places they will only know vicariously, but will meet in other stories, we should not under-estimate the role these sorts of cross-overs play as we endeavour to build readers. 

Dirt by Sea

Dirt by Sea

Dirt by Sea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dirt by Sea

Michael Wagner

Tom Jellett

Puffin, 2022

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

9781760894061

When Daisy’s family join in a rendition of the national anthem while watching television, little do they know the impact it is about to have.  Because Daisy hears the lyrics as “dirt by sea” rather than “girt by sea” and even though her grandparents and father explain that “girt by sea” means being surrounded by ocean, when she looks out the window all she sees is “girt by dirt.”

It is then her dad realises that he has never taken her to the beach, let alone the ocean, and the trip he and Daisy’s mum made in their old Kombi van are fading into distant memory.  So on Christmas Day, Daisy’s gift is that old Kombi, and on Boxing Day, she and her Dad set off…

Drawing on their own experiences of childhood and adulthood road trips with families, this is a round-Australia adventure for those with the skills to be able to read and follow its graphic novel format. It starts with Daisy’s blank map of Australia on the front endpage and finishes with a completely filled in, colourful one at the back detailing their trip from south-western Queensland to Airlie Beach and beyond around the country’s coastline.

But this is more than just being a travelogue or tourist brochure. Carried along in the conversations between the two, it becomes a personal journey of development for Daisy, her relationship with her dad as he relives his life with Daisy’s mum whose absence is both noticeable and unexplained, and also Daisy’s realisation that she misses her family, and for all it might by “girt by dirt” there is still no place like home with the people and things you love and how they have helped you become who you are. By the time they make it home, neither Dad nor Daisy are the same people who left, and there is a bond between them that the reader knows will endure long into their futures. 

As the blurb says, they discover so much more than the sights and sounds of the wild and wonderful Aussie coast. 

 

ACHOO!

ACHOO!

ACHOO!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACHOO!

Simon Philip

Nathan reed

Bloomsbury, 2022

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

9781526623737

You probably know it’s good manners to always say thank you and please

To cover your mouth if you’re going to cough, and cover your nose when you sneeze.

Sid knew this but one day, as his nose started to twitch, he forgot and so began one of those zany, absurd adventures that little children love as both the author’s and the artist’s imaginations are carried away.  

With recent events meaning every public sneeze is viewed with suspicion, this is an hilarious way to teach our youngest about the importance of covering your nose – while they will have fun imagining what might have happened next!

 

The Zebra’s Great Escape

The Zebra's Great Escape

The Zebra’s Great Escape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Zebra’s Great Escape

Katherine Rundell

Sara Ogilvie

Bloomsbury, 2022

60pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9781408885758

Mink doesn’t believe in rules. She loves running wild and free. While she is swinging in her yard she meets a baby zebra named Gabriel who is very distressed because he has lost his parents, Mink senses this and they touch heads upon which colours stream out that tell a story and start a communication between the two that leads to great adventure. The little zebra tells her  that his parents have been captured by the evil Mr Spit -who looks just like the villain of every child’s imagination –  she knows that it’s up to her to help rescue them

So begins a grand adventure to rescue a whole menagerie of imprisoned animals – from aardvarks to zebras –  with the help of a a dog called Rainbow and  a squirrel called Rodentia who can all communicate with and connected by the same colour scheme, .– an adventure that will take all of Mink’s courage and determination…

This is more than your standard 32 page picture book as it straddles the borders of that format with the length of a stepping-stone novel, thus helping the young reader transition to reading longer stories but still offering all the pictorial support needed to augment the text. It is a tale of friendship, courage and resolve that moves along at a fast pace, and the reader can put themselves in Mink’s place as she is determined to outwit the evil Mr Spit. 

Reminiscent of Dr Dolittle and his ability to talk to the animals, this is a story to capture the imagination and lead the reader on an adventure to remember.   

Roxy & Jones (series)

Roxy & Jones (series)

Roxy & Jones (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roxy & Jones (series)

The Great Fairytale Cover-Up

9781406391374

The Curse of the Gingerbread Witch

9781406391381

Angela Woolfe

Walker Books, 2020-2022

240+pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

Once Upon a Modern Time, in the city of Rexopolis, in the Kingdom of Illustria, lived twelve-year-old Roxy Humperdinck, struggling to exist on the meagre wages of a toilet cleaner for the Ministry of Soup, and sharing a room with her half-sister Gretel, who is actually she of  Hansel and Grete fame. although Roxy is unaware of that.  When she accidentally discovers a secret vault in which a girl called Jones was hiding, dressed in a daffodil outfit, and who has a habit of leaving mysteriously leaving only a shoe behind, the pair become friends and through a mysterious book, discover the secrets of an enchantment  put on people who know that Illustria once had a frightening past and was known as the cursed Kingdom of Diabolica so that the real events have been wiped from memories.

Roxy discovers the truth about her  brother and sister raising suspicions  that all might not be as it seems and when her new friend  reveals  that her real name was actually Cinderella Jones, the mystery deepens. As they embark on a quest for the Seventh Stone, Roxy is about to discover the truth about her world and her family: that witches are real, magic is real and fairy tales are not only real … despite what the ruling Ministry of Soup wants them to believe.

In the second in the series, Roxy  is still reeling from the Great Fairy Tale Cover-up when Cinderella Jones returns with a new mission: to investigate The Missing – the children who followed the Pied Piper into the mountain thirty years ago, never to be seen again. And so begins another crazy adventure that takes the girls up Jack’s beanstalk, through Red Riding Hood’s Woods … and to the cottage of the most evil villain of all time, the Gingerbread Witch.

This is a series that straddles the known of the fairytale world with the blurry borders of fantasy for those who want to delve into that magical world but still need to have a foot in the world of reality and what they know. While there are any number of fractured fairytales in picture book format, this is one  for those who are independent readers and who have the skills to follow a reasonable complex plot made easier if they know their traditional fairy tales because the references will make more sense.  

Best read in order for continuity, this is a series that sets itself up for more episodes that will be one of those that readers return to regardless of their age just because they have engaged with both characters and plot and want to know what happens. 

Chippy Chasers: Chippy Jackpot

Chippy Chasers: Chippy Jackpot

Chippy Chasers: Chippy Jackpot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chippy Chasers: Chippy Jackpot

Sam Cotton

Puffin, 2022

256pp., graphic novel, RRP $A14.99

9780143778547

On a sunny Sydney wharf, Stacey and Stanley watch enviously as customers feed on as many hot salty chippies as they want. Fed up with having to scab for scraps with all the other seagulls, they seek out legendary chippy thief Steve-O to help them pull off the ultimate heist . . .

But first they’ll have to get past a seagull-hating chippy chef, deal with some bully bin chickens, and convince the World’s Best Chippy Chaser to overcome his dark past and join the team.

There would be few children in Australia who were unfamiliar with seagulls – even those who live far from the sea.  And anyone who has ever had hot chips at the beach knows that that is like a mating call to these birds, who, incidentally, have been my favourites since I was a tiny tacker.  Add their familiarity to a creator who is already well-known on social media and this becomes an instant must-read for young readers who like silliness, fun and graphic novels,.  Told by Grandgull, it is likely to have readers as enthralled as those listening to the story. particularly young lads who are transitioning from instructional readers and finding novels daunting.

No one who reads this will view seagulls and their passion for hot chips in the same way again. 

 

Where Seagulls Dare: A Diamond Brothers Case

Where Seagulls Dare:

Where Seagulls Dare:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Seagulls Dare

The Diamond Brothers

Anthony Horowitz

Walker, 2022

256pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99

9781529501179

This is a new story heralding the return of a popular series from the late 1980’s and early 1990’s recounting the adventures of the world’s worst private detective, Tim Diamond (28), and his much more intelligent younger brother, Nick Diamond (14). Because of their popularity they have been re-issued over the years, each time gaining a new generation of fans, often moving on to read Horowitz’s more mature novels such as the Alex Rider series.

In this episode, Tim and Nick haven’t had a case for three months and are down to their last cornflake so when a glamorous woman comes into their office offering them a pile of cash to find her missing father, they think Christmas has come  Before they know it, they are caught up in a case involving bike-riding hitmen, super-hackers and a sinister far right organisation, the White Crusaders. The Diamond Brothers are in trouble over their heads. 

Even though it has a teenage protagonist and international criminals, it is written for the 7-9 age group, lightened with humour, puns. pop culture references and absurd situations characterised by titles that are spoofs of popular movies. Something to entice young males to keep reading and perhaps lead them on to other works by the same author. 

 

A Clue for Clara & Rita’s Revenge

A Clue for Clara & Rita's Revenge

A Clue for Clara & Rita’s Revenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Clue for Clara 

9781760877699

Rita’s Revenge

9781761066009

Allen & Unwin, 2020-2022

320+ pages, pbk., RRP $A16.99

 

GREETINGS. AM LOOKING FOR A MAJOR CRIME TO SOLVE. PLEASE INFORM ME OF ANY RECENT MURDERS, KIDNAPPINGS OR JEWEL HEISTS IN THIS AREA.’

A scruffy chook, literally henpecked by the other hens, Clara has become addicted to the detective shows she sees on the humans’ television and now she wants to be a famous detective like her hero Amelia X with her own TV show. She can read claw marks, find missing feathers and knows Morse code and semaphore, but  being small and scruffy chook no one takes her seriously. But when she teams up with Olive, the daughter of the local policeman, they might just be able to solve the crimes that have been troubling the town of Little Dismal. 

And having solved the crime and prevented the theft of some sheep, but in the process having made the ducks look less than the courageous creatures they perceive themselves to be, the ducks are ticked off and are seeking revenge.  They decide they are going to make Clara’s life a misery but brave as they profess to be, none is willing to lead the charge.  Until Rita, in disgrace for offering poetry at the recent Talent Night, volunteers in an effort to seek redemption.  But But Rita finds more than revenge on her mission. She uncovers a dastardly plan to chook-nap the clever chicken that will take them both a long way from home.  But her unlikely friendship with a small human and the help of some street-smart birds just might save the day and inspire an epic poem!

This is a LOL duo for the newly independent reader who likes something completely wacky and entertaining, written in an easy-to-read unique diary format with plenty of other textual supports while being thick enough to impress peers!  Both see the human world through a different lens offering interesting insights as well as hilarious observations and misinterpretations, but more than that, they validate the importance of being yourself regardless if that is a little different to the norm and the expectation of others.  Young readers who see themselves as being a little outside whatever is currently accepted amongst their peers will delight in seeing both Clara and Rita rise above the pack (flock?) to triumph. 

 

E-Boy (series)

E-Boy (series)

E-Boy (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

E-Boy (series)

Anh Do

Chris Wahl, Tim McEwen

Allen & Unwin, 2020-2022

200+ pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99

 

Ethan is supposed to be doing regular teenage things – like playing sports and hanging out with friends.
He is not supposed to be in hospital getting a brain tumour removed by Gemini, a high-tech android doctor. But just as the operation begins, the medical facility is hit by an unusual bolt of lightning …

When Ethan wakes up he discovers that things are different. He’s always been good with computers, but now his skills are next-level. Ethan almost feels like he’s … part of the machine because now he has powers to hack into any electronic device.. And what about the android Gemini? If Ethan is now part robot, does that make the robot part human?  It seems so,  and the government wants him to themselves to try to catch Ethan because they fear what these powers might mean for their security. And so Gemini is now in pursuit of Ethan but what is his purpose if he catches him?

Ethan will need all his new skills just to stay alive… but just because he can hack into computers, should he actually do so?  Anh Do sets up an ethical dilemma that the reader has to grapple with. 

This is an interesting series because while its hero is a teenager, its format is more like that for those who are newly independent readers, including plenty of illustrations, so it is perfect for those older boys who are looking for something age-appropriate but still needing that support.  It also means they can be seen reading a book by one of the most popular authors at the moment, so that is also important for their self-esteem. Added to that, within this story are references to some of Do’s other series including Skydragon, and Rise of the Mythix  so it might just open up other reading horizons for them.  

So far, there are four in the series and they are best read in order so there is continuity of both plot and characters, but the early episodes are still readily available if this is not yet in your collection. 

No Boundaries

No Boundaries

No Boundaries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Boundaries

Clare Fiseler

Gabby Salazar

National Geographic Kids 2022

160pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781426371769

As we bid farewell to National Science Week and say hello to Children’s Book Week with its theme of “Dreaming with Eyes Open”, this collection of the stories of 25 female National Geographic explorers and scientists revealing their greatest successes, most epic failures, and astonishing adventures seems particularly appropriate to review on the cusp of these two celebrations in our schools.

This anthology celebrates lesser-known changemakers and outstanding women of diverse backgrounds, nationalities, and fields of study who are just beginning to make a name for themselves. Each profile is based on first-person interviews and comes paired with useful tips and relatable advice for budding explorers and scientists.  Each has a text box called Inspiration Station in which the scientist offers advice for those who already have the dream, while inspiring those who may be doubtful to chase their own dreams. Stunning photography and fascinating general interest information about the animals, places, and practices add drama and context.

Readers can track a volcanologist as she braves the elements atop an active volcano; travel alongside a mountaineer as she battles stereotypes and frostbite to conquer the famed Seven Summits;  join a conservationist on her passionate fight to save lions and dig with a paleontologist to uncover massive dinosaur fossils, bit by breathtaking bit, as well as a host of other women forging new paths in careers possibly unheard of. These heartfelt stories give readers an insider’s look at the amazing work female explorers at National Geographic and beyond are doing in the field to solve some of the world’s toughest problems.

No Boundaries sends a positive message to every girl who has ever dreamed or dared to go a little further. And although these explorers’ endeavours are quite adventurous, the lessons they share can inspire all girls, as well as boys, whatever their goals, skills, and interests, to dream with their eyes open.