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Top Koala

Top Koala

Top Koala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Koala

Jackie French

Matt Shanks

Angus&Robertson, 2019

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

 9781460754818

I am top of every tree!

Top is always best to be.

Having convinced us he is not a bear,  Koala is determined to show us that he is at the top of everything because “top” means “best” and that will always, absolutely be him. In this charming, rhyming tale French and Shanks unite again to take the reader on a journey around Australia’s iconic sights introducing our unique fauna as Koala is intent on achieving his goal to be the top of everyone and everything

But at what cost? Because as Koala shinnies to the top of trees, masts, poles and people he is oblivious to the reactions of those he steps on as he goes – their expression perfectly caught in Shanks’s illustrations and suggesting that Koala might get to the top but there might not be too many willing support him once he is there.  Sound familiar? 

With the devastation of our wildlife during this terrifying bushfire season making headlines around the world and the koala being the “poster child” for the campaigns, on the surface this is a lovely book to introduce our youngest readers to the diversity of our wildlife and the impact that nature and humans  can have on their habitats, but, as with all books written by this brilliant author, there is something deeper to discuss with our older students too.  What are the qualities of a true leader?

I had to wait for my copy of this book because it sold out immediately, and I was disappointed, But given the events of this summer I’m glad I had to wait because it now has a much more prominent and  poignant place in our children’s literature story. 

Cat Science Unleashed

Cat Science Unleashed

Cat Science Unleashed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat Science Unleashed

Jodi Wheeler-Toppen

Matthew Rakola 

National Geographic Kids, 2019

80pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99

9781426334412

 This is part of the NatGeo Kids Hands-On Science series and complements their website aimed at 6-12 year olds.  But rather than just facts and figures about cats that can be found in any book about them, this encourages the reader to participate in  22 safe and cat-friendly activities that let  them work alongside their cat to discover what makes it tick.

They can learn the effects of catnip  and why it can see so well in the dark; how it balances so well and always land on its feet as wells as toys to make.  Each activity is paired with step-by-step instructions, clear and interesting scientific explanations, and cool photographs shot specifically for this book. Hands-on activities and fun information for budding scientists prompt further learning and offer a behind-the-scenes look at current feline research.

Using a magazine format with lots of photos and diagrams as well as information in accessible chunks, it is divided into four chapters, each accompanied by relevant explanations and activities. There is also a glossary, an index, and other extra information to help students build their information literacy skills as they learn to navigate non fiction texts. 

There are often queries to TL networks about what are the best magazine subscriptions to continue as popularity tends to wane, and for the primary school age group, Nat Geo Kids is always near the top of the list proving it has stood the test of time as an investment.  With such a focus on the environment well beyond the curriculum, it just make sense to make it available to our students.

I’m Ready for Preschool

I'm Ready for Preschool

I’m Ready for Preschool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Ready for Preschool

Jedda Robaard

Puffin, 2019

14pp., board book., RRP $A12.99

9781760891602

I’m trying something new soon. Something new and exciting . . .

Like many young Australians, a new adventure is on the horizon for Master Koala as the new school year looms (less than three weeks away for most) and it’s time to take the next step towards independence – preschool! There is much to do and prepare but he is convinced he is ready, even though there are some nervous butterflies in his tummy.  But it’s OK – everyone else feels the same and with a teacher who is smiling and more toys than he has ever seen, his day passes quickly and he’s not ready to go home.

This is another in this series of books designed to mirror the lives of Australia’s youngest children as they encounter milestones in their lives, demonstrating that any anxieties are common and normal and that there are ways to deal with them.  They can compare their own experiences with those of the characters as well as learning that books can be useful sources of information as well as entertainment as parents work through each page as they share them.  

The perfect gift for the little reader in your life. 

 

Aesop’s Fables (series)

Aesop's Fables (series)

Aesop’s Fables (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aesop’s Fables (series)

Susanna Davidson

John Joven 

Usborne, 2019

48pp., hbk., RRP $A9.99

There are some stories that have stood the test of time for generations and Aesop’s fables are among these with their messages still pertinent even in this age of screens and technology.  So this new release of these old tales written and illustrated for young emerging readers will open them up to a new generation.

A peek inside....

A peek inside….

The Lion and the Mouse tells the story of the arrogant lion who cannot imagine that a tiny mouse would ever be able to help him but discovers that friends can be found in strange places; The Ant and the Grasshopper reminds us about the need to balance work and play as Ant busily prepares for winter, while Grasshopper sings the summer away; and The Hare and the Tortoise  pits a boastful hare against the slow tortoise with a surprising result.  

Knowing these sorts of stories which are the basis of many other stories enriches the young child’s literary knowledge and adds depth to their understanding of those other stories so to have them available in the library’s collection is essential, in my opinion.

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals

Sami Bayly

Lothian Children’s, 2019

130pp., hbk., RRP $A32.99

9780734419019

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then ugly must be too and so natural history illustrator Sami Bayly has collected the creatures for this compendium to celebrate her passion for all things weird and wonderful.  

There are more than 60 unusual creatures to explore through scientific illustrations and facts and figures, some of which will be familiar but many not-so.  With information about what each looks like, what it eats, where it lives and its conservation status, as well as a collection of fun facts, readers are introduced to creatures such as the hellbender, the maleo, the sarcastic fringehead and the black rain frog. Just the names are intriguing.

This is a unique book, something totally different to add to the 591 section and to introduce to your budding natural historians. I suspect it will become one of those that groups of boys, particularly, will pore over in that group reading experience which is so essential to their literacy development.

You can learn more about the creation of the book and the selections within  here and here while comprehensive teachers’ resources are available here.

Don’t tickle the hippo!

Don't tickle the hippo!

Don’t tickle the hippo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t tickle the hippo!

Sam Taplin

 Ana Martin Larranaga

Usborne, 2019

10pp., board book, RRP $A24.99

9781474968713

“Don’t tickle the hippo – you might make it snort!”  But, of course with its touchy-feely patch being too tempting to leave alone, the littlest reader is going to tickle it – and won’t they get a surprise when they do (if the adult has turned on the switch for the sound effects!). 

This is another series in this new generation of board books that invites the child to interact with the text and the illustrations, to find the fun in the print medium and start to build up an expectation that stories are fun, that they have a part to play in making them come alive and they have the power to do so.  Each creature makes its own sound when the patches are felt and the cacophony at the end of the book makes for a satisfying conclusion.  

It will become a firm favourite bound to generate a thousand giggles as the child is in control. 

Roly Poly

Roly Poly

Roly Poly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roly Poly

Mem Fox

Jane Dyer

Puffin, 2019

32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781760896348

Roly Poly, the polar bear, was very content with his life.  With a mother and father but no brothers or sisters, he liked that his bed was his alone, the fish that he caught were his alone and his toy walrus tooth was his alone.  He had to share with no one and that was just how he liked it. So when he is suddenly presented with a little brother called Monty, his world is turned upside-down and he does not like it at all.

Mem Fox, author of so many stories for our littlest ones, including The Tiny Star, has an absolute knack for turning everyday situations that will resonate with her target audience into charming stories that not only captivate the imagination but deliver the reassuring message that they are not alone in dealing with these unfamiliar circumstances and that there is a way through to the other side. Accompanied by Jane Dyer’s unique illustrations this story of having to welcome a new sibling into the family when everything was already perfect is such a familiar scenario that it should be part of the preparations of any parents facing the same prospect. It offers the perfect opportunity to talk about the impending arrival and how things might change, the child’s feelings and their roles and responsibilities, but overall that there is more than enough love for everyone.  It is more like the magic pudding that continually replenishes itself rather than a pie with limited pieces.

Another winner from one of Australia’s most-loved authors who really does know what our youngest readers want and need as their understanding of print, our language and reading develops. 

A peek inside....

A peek inside….

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas Eve

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Christmas Eve

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas Eve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas Eve

Eric Carle

Picture Puffin, 2019

12pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

9780241350249

It’s a cold, snowy Christmas Eve and everyone is at home waiting for a special visitor…

Little ones will adore this new story featuring the Very Hungry Caterpillar as they lift the flaps to discover who is hiding behind.  With its northern hemisphere focus  offering the opportunity to talk about why Christmas is so different from here, they will enjoy searching for the VHC because although he doesn’t play an active role in the story, he does appear on each page sharing the precepts of the Christmas season in simple text and classic Carle illustrations which will help focus their thinking to predict the story and who might be hiding. 

A favourite friend in a familiar setting and a recognisable author – has to be a Christmas stocking winner.

 

 

Gregory Goose is on the Loose! (series)

Gregory Goose is on the Loose! (series)

Gregory Goose is on the Loose! (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gregory Goose is on the Loose! (series)

In the Jungle

9781925594874

On the Moon 

9781925594867

Hilary Robinson

Many Stanley

Catch A Star, 2019

20pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

Gregory Goose is very curious and this new series from Catch A Star encourages our youngest readers to examine each bright, detailed double-spread very carefully to find him in amongst the other creatures and characters. Apart from being an interactive activity for our youngest readers, it also helps develop their visual acuity, honing their eye for detail, an essential early reading skill as they learn to distinguish letters and words.

With the advent of handheld screens with so much activity and interactivity, young readers expect to be engaged with their entertainment rather than passive recipients, so books like this are an essential part of their library if they are to become independent readers – knowing that books and stories have something to offer them and can be fun and they can go back time and time again and discover something new without adult help builds a solid foundation of expectation and a sense of mastery that is crucial.  There is much more learning being done here than finding out about jungle creatures and space transport.

Peppa’s Christmas Jumper Day

Peppa's Christmas Jumper Day

Peppa’s Christmas Jumper Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peppa’s Christmas Jumper Day

Ladybird, 2019

16pp., board book, RRP $A9.99

9780241371589

Christmas is coming and Peppa and George’s playgroup are celebrating with a special Christmas jumper day.  But when Daddy Pig gets the jumpers out, neither Peppa’s nor George’s still fits.  George is sorted though because he can wear Peppa’s old one but how will Daddy solve Peppa’s problem in time for the big day?

This is another Christmas story that will appeal to our youngest readers as they recognise a favourite character but wearing a woolly jumper at Christmas may have them baffled.  Perhaps it is the opportunity to talk about the differences in seasons and time zones and how others celebrate Christmas. They might even like to design their own Christmas jumper with their favourite Christmas images and materials, either for themselves or for Peppa for next year.