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A Very Wombat Christmas

A Very Wombat Christmas

A Very Wombat Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Very Wombat Christmas

Lachlan Creagh

Lothian Childrens, 2015

24pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9780734116285

Tis the night before Christmas, and deep in his burrow,

Wombat is busy getting ready for tomorrow.

The stockings are hung by the campfire with care,

In hopes the Bush Santa soon will be there.

He’s done lots of cooking including a special Christmas pudding made from his nanna’s recipe and no ghost gum has ever looked so beautiful.  But as he checks his gift list he realises that he hasn’t got a present for Emu and it is too late to get to the shops.  What will Wombat do?  He can’t have Emu thinking he doesn’t care.   But nothing seems to be just right until he has an idea…

Brightly illustrated, the pictures in this book tell the story more than the text in a divine riot of colour and movement.  Written in rhyme to the beat of Clement Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas” it moves along at a great pace that young children really respond to. 

This is the latest in a series about Wombat and his bush friends – you can see the others here  – and it is perfect for that Christmas Countdown readalong.

We Wish You a Ripper Christmas

 

We Wish You A Ripper Christmas

We Wish You A Ripper Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Wish You a Ripper Christmas

Colin Buchanan & Greg Champion

Roland Harvey

Scholastic Australia, 2013

9781742837239

We wish you a ripper Christmas

A full-bore ripper Christmas,

A deadset ripper Christmas

And a snappy New Year!

There is something about Christmas in Australia that inspires authors and illustrators to take traditional, well-known northern hemisphere songs and put a unique Aussie twist on them.  We Wish You a Ripper Christmas, which belts along to the tune of We Wish You a Merry Christmas, is another example. Taken from the chorus of a previous song on their earlier book and CD Fair Dinkum Aussie Christmas the authors (aka Bucko and Champs) have created a new story that is perfect for sharing around the tree on Christmas Eve.

High above the farmhouse out in the bush, Santa Wombat is heading our way.  He has his list of who-wants-what in his hand to check it when out by the windmill, disaster strikes!  It flutters off on the breezes and without it no stockings can get stuffed.  Santa Wombat searches high and low for it while gangly emus play cricket with the red kangaroos and koalas hang tinsel and Christmas tree lights. Dingoes, galahs, even the possums are all part of the cast but the list is nowhere to be seen.  Then suddenly…

Accompanied by Roland Harvey’s iconic illustrations, this is a great romp through Australia’s countryside that will appeal to young and old alike.  With a CD included you just know that there will be a new version of the more familiar song being sung this year, particularly as it has a karaoke track.  Buchanan and Champion have been creating Christmas songs for Australian kids for a long time and this is a fantastic addition to the repertoire.

Once I Heard a Little Wombat

Once I Heard a Little Wombat

Once I Heard a Little Wombat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I Heard a Little Wombat

Renée Treml

Random House, 2015

24pp., board book, RRP $A14.99

9780857987396

 

Once I heard a sugar glider bump, bump, bump

Riding gentle breezes with each jump, jump, jump.

I called to little glider, “Won’t you stay, stay, stay?’

But little glider went along her way, way, way.

Little kangaroo would love someone to play with but each of the creatures she meets is too busy to stop.  Until little wombat comes stomp, stomp, stomping along.

Based on a traditional nursery rhyme, Renée Treml, the artist behind books like Colour for Curlews and The Great Garden Mystery, has created this delightful rhyming story for the very young which has great appeal.  As well as the rhythm and the rhyme which are so important for tiny tots to hear, her scratchboard illustrations introduce a range of baby Australian animals that will become so familiar to them as they grow older.  Perfect to read to a babe in arms, it also encourages the older child to interact with the text as they scritch and scratch, growl and prowl as each new creature is introduced.

Parents of the very young would love to know about this book so they can add something new to the nightly read-along session, and parents-to-be would love to receive it as part of Baby’s first library.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

The Eagle Inside

The Eagle Inside

The Eagle Inside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Eagle Inside

Jack Manning Bancroft

Bronwyn Bancroft

Little Hare 2015

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

9781742974699

It is Jimmy the honeyeater’s first day at flying school and just like all new students he is somewhat anxious.  Would there be other small birds?  Would they sip nectar like him or would they be worm eaters? As he approaches the school he is surrounded by birds of all sorts and sizes- all much bigger than he is.  Full of fear and doubt already, his anxiety is increased when Cockatoo almost crashes into him and immediately blames Jimmy. “No one bumps into me and gets away with it” screeches Cockatoo who demands Jimmy’s lunch. The other birds laugh at him and Jimmy feels so humiliated he huddles at the bottom of the tree and cries.  School is not a place for him.

But then Eagle takes him under his wing and Jimmy (and the other birds) learn a lot of lessons about self-belief, individuality and the eagle inside. 

In his dedication to this book, the author writes. “If you have ever felt alone, undervalued or doubted yourself, this book is for you.  No matter what people say, you can be what you want if you are willing to believe in yourself and back it up with hard work, hard work and more hard work.”  This is a story for everyone who has ever felt intimidated by situation or circumstance, showing that we all have our strengths and an eagle inside.  It’s perfect for the preschooler about to journey on to “big school” but also a reaffirmation for those about to start any new journey into an unknown word.

Renowned artist Bronwyn Bancroft has interpreted her son’s words in her distinctive style full of colour, pattern and movement which put Jimmy’s tiny size perfectly in perspective, not only emphasising the reasons for his concerns but how we all feel when we are intimidated if not humiliated. The natural symbiosis between mother and son is evident in the relationship between the text and illustrations and it is no wonder that Ms Bancroft has been nominated for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Awards for 2016!

An early contender for the next CBCA Picture Book of the Year nomination, in my opinion!

Where is Galah?

Where is Galah?

Where is Galah?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where is Galah?

Sally Morgan

Little Hare, 2015

hbk., 24pp., RRP $A24.95

9781921894466

Dingo is on the prowl.  He can see Emu, Swan and Turtle and he can hear Crocodile, Frog and Kookaburra.  But where is Galah?  From sunrise to sunset, we track Dingo’s quest for Galah across the Australian landscape in a burst of colour and pattern and delight that is so uniquely Sally Morgan.  Until Galah finally shows herself (although the children will have fun spotting what Dingo can’t) – but where is Dingo?

This is a superb book to share with our youngest readers as they use their eyes and their ears and join in with the sounds and the repetitive text. By tracking the movement of the sun and the colour of the sky as the day passes, the suspense builds up for surely Galah will be found before moonrise.  And the twist in the ending is very satisfying.

Every page of this book brings new things to explore and marvel at and there are so many opportunities for the listeners to interact from creating sounds to making movements.  If you go to this page and then click on the link to this title you will get teachers’ notes with lots more activities to do including getting students to write their own version substituting two new main characters and who they see and hear.

The visual impact of the book is stunning and there is much to investigate in the way that Morgan has, again, used colour and pattern to tell the story.

As well as our very young readers, this would also be a wonderful way to introduce new English language learners to our Australian wildlife.

Wilderness Fairies

Daisy's Quest and Daisy's New Wings

Daisy’s Quest and Daisy’s New Wings

wilderness_fairies

Daisy’s Secret and Daisy Takes Charge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daisy’s Quest

Jodie Wells-Slowgrove

Penguin 2014

pbk., 120pp., RRP $A9.99

9780143307464

Ebk RRP $A7.99

 

Daisy’s New Wings

Jodie Wells-Slowgrove

Penguin 2014

pbk., 120pp., RRP $A9.99

9780143307471

Ebk RRP $A7.99

 

Daisy Takes Charge

Jodie Wells-Slowgrove

Penguin 2014

pbk., 120pp., RRP $A9.99

9780143307486

 

Daisy’s Secret

Jodie Wells-Slowgrove

Penguin 2014

pbk., 120pp., RRP $A9.99

9780143307495

Across a meandering river

In a forest tall and green

Live the magical Wilderness Fairies

And their wise Fairy Queen.

 

Guided by their Callings

The Wilderness Fairies strive

To use their magic wisely

And help the forest thrive.

 

But one impatient fairy

Has lessons yet to learn

Her Calling to discover

And fairy wings to earn.

And so begins the saga of Daisy, the star of this new Australian-based fairy series written by teacher librarian Jodie Wells and illustrated by Kerry Millard. In Daisy’s Quest she is anxious to earn her fairy wings, something granted only be the Fairy Queen.  Although she has her magic wand, presented to her on her fifth birthday, having wings would make such a difference and she is anxious to begin the quest that will earn them. Daisy is delighted that her time has come and, accompanied by her best friend Vu, a very rare chrysomelid beetle only 5mm long who exists on hackberry leaves, she embarks on a series of tasks encapsulated in cryptic clues and which test her life and limb.  And if she is to earn her wings she must reach the Fairy Queen by moonrise, which it seems she will do until not only she meets Holly but also runs out of magic…  Daisy’s New Wings follows her adventures as she learns how to fly but she is very impatient. 

In Daisy Takes Charge her sister Maggie is going to compete in a singing contest with Melody Magpie but the jealous and spiteful Grevillea has other ideas about who the winner will be.  In Daisy’s Secret she is invited to visit Queen Jasmine but right from her meeting with Keeper Raven of Tea-tree House security, things do not go well.  From a mysterious conversation overheard through a closed door Daisy finds herself on an amazing adventure with the future of Fairyland resting on her shoulders.

 Interspersed with detailed illustrations by Kerry Millard, this series offers newly-independent readers a modern take on the more traditional fairy tale. 

The stories are filled with beautiful descriptions that bring the fairyland of the imagination to life, but its Australian bush setting gives it a resonance that really appeal, particularly to Miss 7 who walks through a real fairy garden in that sort of setting every time she goes to her cubby house.  Drawing on the recognisable native flora and fauna, which are then explained in detail at the end of each story, really help the young reader believe that there really is a miniature magical world that exists away from the clumsy feet and loud noise of humans. Riches for the imagination, indeed!

Daisy is a character that many young readers would like to be – apart from being a fairy which could be enough in itself, Daisy is resourceful and resilient and even though she makes mistakes her actions are always driven by her concern for others.Written with a light hand, these stories have an undercurrent of being persistent, responsible, resilient, patient, co-operative – all those traits that their target audience are starting to develop as they become more independent. Readers waiting for the next in the series will have to be content with the website learning about the forest dwellers, colouring in the pictures by Kerry Millard and dreaming.

 

 

Wombat Divine

Wombat Divine

Wombat Divine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wombat Divine

Mem Fox

Kerry Argent

Omnibus, 1996

pbk., 30pp

9781862918412

 

For as long as he could remember, Wombat wanted to be in the Nativity play at Christmas.  Now, at last he was old enough and so he hurried off to the auditions.  But getting a part was not easy.  He was too heavy to be the Archangel Gabriel.  He was too big to be Mary and too short to be a king.   Perhaps he could be Joseph.  But that didn’t work either and neither did being the innkeeper or one of the shepherds.  Soon there were no parts left and Wombat didn’t have any of them.  Then, suddenly, Bilby has an idea…

Wombat Divine is one of Australia’s most-loved Christmas stories written by one of Australia’s most-loved authors for little people.  Mem Fox’s words always have a magic about them and this story is no different.  As you read it to yourself, you can hear yourself reading it aloud – the true indicator of a master writer at work.  Superb illustrations by Kerry Argent capture the action perfectly with just a touch of humour so that we can empathise with Wombat but you just know something will work itself out.

This is such an iconic Australian story that every child should know it as an integral part of their growing up. It was the first in the pile that I sent to a family in Wales as part of a special Australian Christmas collection.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Christmas Wombat

Christmas Wombat

Christmas Wombat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Wombat

Jackie French

Bruce Whatley

HarperCollins, 2014

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

9780732291723

 

It’s Christmas and it’s Mothball’s time to celebrate in Mothball’s unique way.  After getting rid of the dangly things on the tree which are in her way, she not only smells carrots but finds strange creatures eating them!  And so begins a carrot-eating journey that takes her far from home and back again. Just how does Santa get back up the chimney?

From the author of Diary of a Wombat comes this new Mothball adventure that will delight every young reader. Written in just a few words that express her thoughts and perfectly illustrated by Bruce Whatley this is the newest addition to my Christmas collection and it will be one that is shared with Miss 2 and Miss 3 just as soon as they get here.  Both are already familiar with Mothball from the other titles in the series, so Grandma will be top of Santa’s Nice list for having this one.  It’s just perfect.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Emus Under the Bed

Emus Under the Bed

Emus Under the Bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emus Under the Bed

Leann J Edwards

The Little Big Book Club/ Allen & Unwin 2014

hbk., 24pp., RRP $A19.99

9781743313459

On Saturdays I visit Auntie Dollo. ‘What would you like to do today?’ she says. ‘Do you want to help me make some feather flowers?’ Auntie Dollo has all kinds of feathers.  She has feathers from moorhens, magpies, galahs and cockatoos.”   But the greatest surprise is what is under Aunty Dollo’s bed – six little emu chicks! 

This is a vibrant story which shows how a modern indigenous child continues to connect with the traditions of the past through her family.  The relationship between the environment and the people is very clear as they make a headdress of feathers dropped by local birds, and as they create it, Aunt Dollo tells the story of its origins.  Written by a descendant of the Mara tribe from the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Wiradjuri tribe from central New South Wales, it celebrates the handing down of an ancient culture through its people and ensuring “They are the pool of inspiration all the time.” Having tried various ways of expressing her family history and culture, particularly through a career as an Indigenous artist, Leann Edwards was inspired by others to write and tell her story and this book was produced through the Emerging Indigenous Picture Book Mentoring Project, a joint initiative between The Little Big Book Club and Allen & Unwin, assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.  The artwork is most striking and has many of the elements we associate with indigenous art, and shows the artist’s experience both in Australia and overseas, with colour and pattern predominating against blocks of solid colour.

Most importantly, this book ticks all the selection criteria for acquiring and using indigenous literature that Lorraine MacDonald identifies in A Literature Companion for Teachers (p122-123).

There has been a number of books produced recently which feature our first peoples celebrating their landscape, culture and heritage in the most exquisite ways.  How wonderful if we could use these as models for our non-indigenous students to tell their own stories so they could leave a similar legacy. 

 

The Monster who ate Australia

The Monster who ate Australia

The Monster who ate Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Monster who ate Australia

Michael Salmon

Ford Street, 2014

hbk., 32pp., RRP $A19.95

9781925000542

pbk., RRP $A12.95

9781925000559

“The boggabri is an extremely rare Australian mammal.  Like its cousin the bunyip, it eats a lot and is very shy.  But, unlike the bunyip, it has peculiar teeth that grow longer each day.  To keep them trimmed, the boggabri chews rocks and other hard objects…” 

Burra the boggabri lives peacefully at Uluru with nearby Kata Tjuta providing nice tasty rocks to eat that kept his teeth in shape. But as the tourists come in threatening his peace of mind and food supply, he is driven out looking for new fodder.  And so begins his quirky journey around Australia, beginning with eating the America’s Cup in Perth and continuing on to some of the nation’s most recognisable man-made landmarks, unaware of the havoc he creates.  Finally trapped in the thick gooey mud at the bottom of Sydney Harbour, trapped and placed on display in the elephant house at Taronga Zoo, Burra is viewed by many more tourists than those he ran away from…

This is the 30th anniversary edition of this Michael Salmon classic and it maintains all the appeal of the original as it takes its readers on a journey around Australia, introducing them to places, familiar and new.  Michael Salmon recently visited Miss 8’s school and she was so excited and engaged that she still tells me about it.  You can imagine her thrill when she discovered that I had a collection of his books right here on the shelf and she spent hours reading them and immersing herself in the illustrations that are such an integral part of the stories, a reaction I often see when I suggest his stories to younger readers.  Then I showed her his website which has always been my inspiration, and kerpow!!!  My next surprise is to take her to the statue of Burra’s cousin, Alexander Bunyip, who now stands outside the Gungahlin Library in Canberra after having eaten all the other city landmarks in The Monster that ate Canberra in 1972!

Michael Salmon’s stories and artworks have delighted children for 40 years and I’m thrilled that publishers are re-releasing titles like The Monster who ate Australia  so that yet another generation can enjoy them.