Archives

Rockpooling With Pup

Rockpooling With Pup

Rockpooling With Pup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rockpooling With Pup

Kevin Brophy

Jules Ober

Ford Street, 2022

48pp., hbk., RRP $A26.95

9781922696137

There is a fascinating world waiting to be discovered in the pools left in the rocks by the retreating tide – creatures and plant that are so dependent on that regular movement of water to survive that they can live nowhere else.  But it takes a keen eye to spot them, and when Mia and her pup go exploring they see more than they expected because while they find a blue-ringed octopus, where are her rings?

Once again, Jules Ober has put her amazing modelling skills to use setting miniatures of Mia and Pup against incredible photographs of that fascinating world, which, when married with the text, introduce the reader to the many creatures that they might not otherwise know. 

It is no secret that I grew up by the beach at the very south of the South Island of New Zealand – next stop Antarctica – and the only rules we had were to come home when it got dark or when the tide was on the flood. So I spent my childhood leaping amongst the rockpools, queen of all I could see, and something I still do whenever I get the chance, and so this book really resonated with me.  So many memories.  

My happy place

My happy place

Many of our students will have done the same thing in recent weeks as school holidays will have seen them at the beach even though the water is a little cool to swim, and this is the perfect book to help them not only recall those happy times but also learn a little about what they saw. 

Swifty – The Super-fast Parrot

Swifty - The Super-fast Parrot

Swifty – The Super-fast Parrot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swifty – The Super-fast Parrot

Stephanie Owen Reeder

Astred Hicks

CSIRO Publishing, 2022

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

9781486315918

   

In a hollow in a Tasmanian blue gum in a Tasmanian forest, a female swift parrot lays three eggs, Even though all three hatch, only one survives the perils of the forest, and learns which nectar is the sweetest and which lerps are best. 

As the Tasmanian weather cools and winter looms, Swifty joins the few remaining parrots of her species to make the 250km flight across Bass Strait to the mainland territories of Victoria, NSW, ACT and south-east Queensland following the blossom trail.  One of only two species of parrot that migrates, Swifty’s journey takes her on a perilous 4000km round trip but even a return to Tasmania does not guarantee safety as she finds the hollow in her tree already taken and so she has to make yet another journey to one of the outlying islands to breed in safety. 

Once again. CSIRO Publishing has employed top-shelf writers and illustrators to bring young readers a story that introduces them to another of Australia’s critically endangered species, raising awareness and understanding that there are so many of these lesser-known creatures that need protection, safety and help as their habitat declines.  As well as offering tips for kids on how to spot one in their backyard, how to help protect them and how to help further, there are comprehensive teachers’ notes  to enable deeper study. 

Another one to add to your collection from this publisher dedicated to ensuring our young readers know the inhabitants of their environment, a collection that includes On the Trail of the Plains-Wanderer, SwoopAmazed! CSIRO’s A to Z of Biodiversity A Shorebird Flying AdventureTiny Possum and the Migrating MothsOne Potoroo  and Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish

 

Storm Goliath

Storm Goliath

Storm Goliath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storm Goliath

James Sellick

Craig Shuttlewood

New Frontier, 2022

32pp., hbk., RRP $A26.99

9781922326546

Goliath the Gorilla is always angry.  He wakes up angry because the jungle birds sing too loudly, and even though he tries to not lose his temper, it’s not long before he does.

Anything can spark his anger and it means that not only does he have a miserable day, but all the animals around him do too as they fear the consequences of even the most simple pleasures like celebrating a birthday.  Things come to a head when Paco the Parrot mimics everything he says, and Goliath is set to blow his top but then….

Written for young readers who are just learning to understand their feelings and manage them, this is an ideal one to share with them because as well as offering them an opportunity to develop their own strategies to employ when big feelings overtake them, it also demonstrates how these feelings and subsequent actions impact those around them.  

This is the first in a series of picture books focusing on Dealing with Feeling in which the author wants children to recognise and manage their emotions by talking about them, learning their trigger points and developing ways to cope with them when they are overwhelmed.  He has written teaching notes  to guide those sharing the book with the sorts of questions to have children think about as well as helping them name and understand their emotions – in this book, as well as anger the focus is empathy as Goliath starts to realise how his emotions affect others. 

Such books play an important role in the development of our little ones who experience these natural emotions but who don’t yet have the insight to understand them nor the words to articulate the reasons behind them. Learning their anger is usually a result of frustration at expectations not being met can not only help them control their outburst but also help them build the vocabulary to express it and the resilience to cope with it.  Helping them understand that everyone has similar feelings at times, so they are neither alone, unique or naughty, and that they have the power to manage them is a huge step forward for positive mental health in the future. 

A second book, Saving Piku featuring a penguin learning to sing, will be available in November.

 

Sunny the Shark

Sunny the Shark

Sunny the Shark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunny the Shark

Surviving the Wild 3

Remy Lai

Allen & Unwin, 2022

112pp., graphic novel, RRP $A14.99

9781761065460

Usually Sunny the whitetip shark is a fierce predator, cruising the ocean with a shoal of pilot fish friends, looking for food. However, when she mistakes a plastic ring for food and it gets wrapped around her fins making  it tricky to hunt her life is in danger.   

For despite their willingness to help her, even following whale songs to try and find food while being terrified of the presence of any boat, Sunny is cranky and snappy – emotions provoked by fear rather than anger. So will she be able to break free by herself, and find food before winter sets in, or will she need to accept her friends’ help?

This is the third in this new graphic novel series  designed to make young readers more aware of the environment by viewing it through the lenses of those creatures that live in it.  The new NSW English syllabus, particularly, requires students to be able to “to express opinions about texts and issues… both objectively and subjectively”, so as well as empathising with Sunny whose problems may be similar to those they are facing,  they also learn about the perils of things like pollution, the dangers of plastics for wildlife and why we all need to be responsible consumers as well as disposers. Being in the shoes of the main character – this one inspired by a true story about another shark, Destiny, who was found in similar circumstances – helps them be more engaged and understand the situation better, hopefully inspiring them to become not only more aware but more active in environmental protection. 

Hallmarks of quality literature include having characters and a plot which are engaging and interesting for the students, offering layers and levels of complexity that are revealed with multiple readings and which enrich discussion and challenge perceptions, thinking and attitudes.  Add to this the appeal of a graphic novel format and this is another winner for this talented creator. 

Peregrines in the City

Peregrines in the City

Peregrines in the City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peregrines in the City

Andrew Kelly & Sue Lawson

Dean A. Jones

Wild Dog, 2022

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

9781742036519

Since 1991, from August to November, a pair of peregrine falcons has nested on the ledges of the building at 367 Collins Street, Melbourne, the current pair have been there since 2017.

In this new release, the story of one couple is told from the time they prepare their nest, lay and incubate their eggs, and care for the eyases until their first flight. With stunning, accurate  illustrations that are like photographs, it describes how these birds have adapted to life in the ever-growing city as it encroaches on to the wild countryside.  While it uses easily accessible text for young readers, it also respects their intelligence by using the correct terminology such as “tiercel” (male) and ‘eyas’ (a baby that has not yet flown) as well as other phrases that acknowledge that these are raptors, birds of prey, and there is a life cycle being carried out.

Comprehensive teachers’ notes designed to help students understand what is happening are linked to a YouTube channel, but even better is a YouTube search for “367 Collins falcons 2022” which brings up live videos of the current pair with their nest of four eggs, which includes a live stream. There are four eggs this season, laid on August 30 so due to hatch in mid-October.

 

The timing of the release of this book is perfect for young readers to be introduced to a species that often fascinates them because of the bird being a raptor and the fastest in the world, and with both print and video, it is a perfect way of showing what is happening as it happens while offering the extra information that static print can provide.  As you watch a train pass below the Yarra River far below, the female is carefully snuggling in to ensure all four eggs are protected and warm, oblivious to it being Grand Final Day … A real case of “watch this space”! 

You Can’t Let an Elephant Drive a Racing Car

You Can't Let an Elephant Drive a Racing Car

You Can’t Let an Elephant Drive a Racing Car

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Can’t Let an Elephant Drive a Racing Car

Patricia Cleveland Peck

David Tazzyman

Bloomsbury, 2022

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

9781526635402

It’s Grand Final weekend for the AFL and next weekend is the NRL’s turn so what better time to share the latest in this series which focuses on what happens if you let animals loose in the sporting arena.

While weight-lifting wombats and cricketing kangaroos might not win any medals, the animals do learn and important message, and if by chance the reader is still gloomy at the end then there is always a universal solution.

Just for fun.

An Anthology of Aquatic Life

An Anthology of Aquatic Life

An Anthology of Aquatic Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Anthology of Aquatic Life

Sam Hume

DK Publishing, 2022

224pp., hbk., RRP $A39.99

9780241546321

It is no secret that I have long been a fan of the non fiction produced by DK Publishing as a source for non fiction for young readers, and this latest one in a series which includes Nature’s TreasuresDinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Life, and The Mysteries of the Universe is no exception. 

This time the reader is taken an enthralling journey through the aquatic world that spans  the deepest, widest ocean to the tiniest puddle. Each page, with its stunning illustrations and easily accessible text introduces amazing animals, ingenious plants, and much more  within the categories of deep ocean, shallow seas, wetlands, rivers lakes and ponds, covering s diversity of watery habitats that each houses its unique lifeforms, some familiar, many not-so. It also includes a timeline of life moving from water to land, as conversely, land back to water, while the index is in the form of a visual guide that allows the browser to follow up on what piques their interest visually.

It is a fascinating dip-and -delve book that offers an entree that will satisfy the taste buds of the generally curious while encouraging those with a deeper interest to go in search of the main course. DK editors know what young readers are interested in and they know how to present it so that the imagination is captured while the information is shared and that’s a winning combination, in my opinion.                             

Tarni’s Chance

Tarni’s Chance

Tarni’s Chance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tarni’s Chance

Paul Collins

Jules Ober

Ford Street, 2022

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.95

9781922696052

When Tarni’s mum says goodbye, all the colour and joy of life seem to go with her. Tarni retreats into her bubble. Her world became smaller and the air seemed thinner. But then Chance steps in . . .

As much as the text in this narrative of family breakdown, self-doubt and anxiety echoes the feelings of loss and loneliness that so many readers will have felt, it is the illustrations that make it so special.  Beginning in deep shades of grey as her parents argue, with the only colour being Tarni and her guitar, her bubble of music, a monochromatic scheme that continues as Tarni comes to grip with her loss, finding solace only in solo activities like drawing and reading, gradually being consumed by the grey of her grief.  Using handmade miniatures set against black and white photography, the reader is drawn deeper into Tarni’s world, but then Tarni spots a stray, ragged dog, seemingly as lost as she is, and there is a ray of hope.  Brief though it is, it shows both the reader and Tarni that there is still a glimmer of colour in the world, and when the dog returns the grey gradually disappears. 

While this is not the first book to use colour to depict mood and emotion in this way, and the use of miniatures and photography was a feature of the 2020 CBCA shortlisted The Good Son, nevertheless it is a powerful representation that those who have passed through the grey of grief will relate to, and those who are still in it will be buoyed by the prospect that colour still exists and step by step they will find it. 

 

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!

 

Out of the Pouch

Out of the Pouch

Out of the Pouch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of the Pouch

Laura Hamilton

Nandina Vines

Little Steps, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A14.95

9781922358431

Poppy the baby joey is learning to be independent and so her mother often nudges her out of the pouch to explore.  Poppy loves the freedom but one day she zigs and zags and zooms so much she gets lost.  Using her smarts, she doesn’t panic but asks the other creatures for help.  But Kookaburra. Koala and Echidna are too busy in their own little worlds to know where Poppy’s mother is.  Until Cockatoo comes to the rescue…

This is an Australian twist on a familiar theme that would be the perfect introduction to talking to our youngest readers about what they should do should they get lost.  An opportunity to teach them about who the safe strangers are, the importance of knowing their name, address and telephone number, and having the resilience to take a deep breath and think of the best strategy to use. 

One for the preschooler’s library…