Archives

News Hounds: The Dinosaur Discovery

News Hounds: The Dinosaur Discovery

News Hounds: The Dinosaur Discovery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News Hounds: The Dinosaur Discovery

Laura James

Charlie Alder

Bloomsbury, 2022

128pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781526620583

Gizmo is a city dog, so when he moves to the village of Puddle with his journalist human he doesn’t know what to expect but, luckily he had Jilly, the wolfhound next door, to show him around. Even though Gizmo might not know the difference between a cow and a tractor he’s got a nose for a story, and so he starts The Daily Bark, a newspaper for the dogs of Puddle. Gizmo is the editor, Jilly (who knows everyone) is the lead reporter, and Bunty is the weather reporter.  Lola is the sports reporter, Bruno is the fashion and beauty expert while Bob, who is the station master’s dog, writes the travel news.

In this, the second in this series for young, newly independent readers transitioning to novels, Bob helps Diamond, a seemingly aristocratic Afghan hound jump off the train as she arrives with her new master, Mr Marcus, owner of the Curiosity Shop, and reputedly a cat person.  But in his efforts to outdo the other dogs in trying to impress Diamond, he unwittingly digs up a dinosaur bone… So he not only has the scoop of the century for The Daily Bark but also having to keep it same from others who want it so much more!

An engaging read for all those young readers who love dogs, who know they do more than snooze in the sun when their owners are absent and who are looking for a fast-paced story that is just right for them. 

 

Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Life

Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Life

Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Life

Prof. Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan

Angela Rizza & Daniel Long

DK, 2021

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

9780241491621

Usually, when you flick through a book about dinosaurs you see familiar names like triceratops, stegosaurus, diplodocus and of course, tyrannosaurus rex.  So imagine how excited your dinosaur fans will be when they see names like araucarioxylon, plioplatecarpus and pachycephalosaurus and the fun they will have not only getting their tongues around the names and showing them off to friends, but finding out what these creatures were!

Starting at the beginning of life on earth, the reader is taken on a journey through the development of life starting with the forms that developed in water and then moving on to the plants and animals that moved onto land. Whether they’re scary fish, gigantic insects or the largest dinosaur or their descendants, this is a fascinating expedition that culminates in the emergence of the earliest humans.

For decades DK have had the best reputation for delivering quality non fiction for young readers and this is no exception.  As well as building on the interest that might have been sparked through studies of how the Earth began, it also moves the reader on to a bit more detail than your usual texts for this age group with each topic having a double-paged spread with lifelike illustrations with photos and then a thorough set of support pages including a diagram of the Tree of Life so it’s easy to see where everything fits in, a pronunciation guide, a glossary, and a visual index.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

This is one that will be treasured by those with an interest in life on this planet, particularly if they also have access to the new children’s version of  On The Origin of Species so they can see how it all fits together. (It will also be loved by those who want to borrow the heaviest book in the library…) 

 

Some Dinosaurs Are Small

Some Dinosaurs Are Small

Some Dinosaurs Are Small

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Dinosaurs Are Small

Charlotte Voake

Walker, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781406394207

Some dinosaurs are small with tiny teeth for munching leaves, and some dinosaurs are BIG with  pointy teeth for munching  OTHER dinosaurs!  Some dinosaurs need to RUN! But some dinosaurs have a secret weapon…

In pure pantomime spirit, children will want to cry out, “He’s behind you!” and they will hold their breath until the outcome is revealed – and then they will LOL!  This is a joyous story for little ones who like dinosaurs and who can no doubt, tell you the names of those featured in it.  But as well as being entertaining with its delightful twist, it also explores opposites like  big and small, fast and slow, carnivore and herbivore that will add to the child’s knowledge. There is also the need to look closely at the pictures to understand its ending, reinforcing the integration between text and picture in a subtle way.

Sheer delight that reinforces the value of a simple story told well, and, being in print, one that can be revisited time and again, even reading it for yourself.  

 

Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Dinosaur

Little Dinosaur

Little Dinosaur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Dinosaur

Rhiannon Fielding

Chris Chatterton

Ladybird, 2022

28pp/. board book., RRP $A14.99

9780241532676

Magical creatures live in the Land of Nod, but each of them is not keen on going to bed because they are having too much fun.  But sleep they must if they are to be ready for more fun tomorrow and so using rhyme and enchanting illustrations, author and artist take both the characters and the young reader on a calming countdown to bedtime leading them gently to the land of sleep.

This time, it is Little Dinosaur who wants last adventure but as the minutes tick by, he finds himself going deeper and deeper into the jungle until he is lost. Even the appearance of a mob of much larger, older dinosaurs doesn’t deter him until the shadow of one in particular looms ominously close…

 With its rhyme which flows naturally, stunning illustrations and the countdown, it is perfect to share to settle even the most un-sleep-ready child as they learn that even the creatures they love to dream about have to sleep sometime.  It contains all the elements that little ones associate with the dinosaur world, including an erupting volcano, and they will love to identify the various dinosaurs that come out of the valley en masse.  Who belongs to those large grey legs? 

And this new board book format means that little hands and heads will be able to read it again and again and it will stand up to the wear and tear. Definitely a series for the youngest readers to collect. 

BANG! The Story of How Life on Earth Began

BANG! The Story of How Life on Earth Began

BANG! The Story of How Life on Earth Began

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BANG! The Story of How Life on Earth Began

Katherine Halligan

Amy Grimes

Walker Studio, 2021

40pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

9781406395129

Today’s book is the perfect accompaniment to Our Country: Ancient Wonders  as it takes the reader back beyond the formation on those ancient rocks at Kakadu 2.5 billion years ago to the very beginning of the universe answering those questions that some will inevitably ask about what came before even those ancient Australian formations.

In the beginning there was Nothing

No dark. no light, no day no night.

No sun, no moon, no stars.

No land , no sea, no air.

No plants, no animals

No me,

no you.

Just…

Nothing.

Until…

BANG

With a clever design technique of increasing the font with each statement, there is a sense of anticipation building until the reader in catapulted into the incredible story of billions of years of life on Earth, from the first tiny cells, through the age of dinosaurs and prehistoric beasts, all the way to the first humans. Using language that appeals as it describes the growth (“green things, buggy things, swimmy things, wriggly things, scaly things (big ones)”  it tracks the development of life in a way that offers enough information to satisfy curiosity without being overwhelming, while opening the door to further investigation for those who are intrigued.  And, as with Our Country: Ancient Wonders the historians, the scientists, the mathematicians, the artists and the storytellers can explore and explain the theory according to their interest and some can even consider the implication of a radical new theory,  perhaps even setting up a debate about that, the Big Bang and the various religious viewpoints.  

However, to pinpoint a focus, what really appealed was that after the meteor disaster that wiped out the dinosaur era, the planet recovered and this should give some comfort to those who are anxious about the current focus on the environment and climate change.  Both the land and those who inhabit it are very resilient. So with all the dystopian, post-apocalypse literature (both print and screen) dominating their leisure time,  there is scope for hope and belief in a future.

Books like this that can open up the potential for a series of rich, meaningful experiences that allow the development of essential investigative skills without appearing to be formal isolated, check-the-box lessons provide authentic learning experiences for students that last well beyond the classroom walls, particularly if there is a co-operative task that allows participants to use and build on their existing interests and talents.

 These days, after 51 years in teaching, it is a rare book that makes me wish I was back in the face-to-face situation but both this and yesterday’s have.  

And to help you here are some worthwhile links… Geoscience Australia is a rich trove. 

Table of Geological Periods

Geoscience Australia – Education resources

Geoscience Australia classroom resources 

Australia through Time  (map)

Australia Through Time (poster)

Shaping a Nation: A Geology of Australia    this is a book with each chapter available separately

Australia: an ancient land (teacher notes)

You might also like to check out We Go Way Back by Idan Ben-Barak which has a similar theme.

 

 

Nelson:: Eggplants and Dinosaurs

Nelson:: Eggplants and Dinosaurs

Nelson: Eggplants and Dinosaurs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nelson: Eggplants and Dinosaurs

Andrew Levins

Katie Kear

Puffin, 2021

176pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

 9781761042294

Tucked into a bumbag around his waist was a variety of stuff that Nelson hated most, but which he needed often.  Because although he hated the taste and smell of vegetables (tricky when you are in a vege-loving and growing family) they gave him superpowers. So in that bumbag were broccoli  (for invisibility), pumpkin for a super strong voice and strength, a radish for teleportation (and a feather to make himself sick if he ever had to eat them.)

In this, the third adventure in this series for young independent readers, Nelson discovers the benefits of eggplants as he is called on to track down some of the worst thieves in town, thieves who have been stealing every book about dinosaurs from the local libraries. The only one left is his favourite from Kindergarten in the school library. But trialling the effects of eating an eggplant has disastrous consequences… Will Nelson be able to control his inner beast and use it to get out of danger?

This is the third in this fast-paced series that will appeal to those who are ready for novels but still needing the short chapters and liberal illustrations for a little extra support  With its premise that will resonate with many, characters that are easily recognisable and the type of exaggerated humour that appeals to its target audience,  Levins has created a series that children will engage with and parents will love, simply because it may encourage a lot more vegetable eating and the battles about eating the daily requirement may be over. Who knows what superpowers might be hidden in the rainbow on the plate?  At the very least the kids will be healthier! 

Rumble, Rumble, Dinosaur

Rumble, Rumble, Dinosaur

Rumble, Rumble, Dinosaur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rumble, Rumble, Dinosaur

Katrina Sharman

Nick Sharratt

Bloomsbury, 2021 

32pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781526603395

Rumble, rumble, dinosaur!
Wake up dinos near and far

Using the familiar tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, our youngest readers will delight in this book about dinosaurs created just for them. They can share the adventures of  a whole host of different dinosaurs throughout the course of one exciting day in the jungle … from the friendly brontosaurus to swooping pterodactyls, the gigantic stegosaurus, and of course the FEARSOME T. Rex – all heading for the dino feast.  But then, at the end of the day, just like little children, they must all rest.

The rhyme and rhythm are the perfect complement to the bright bold illustrations which offer an introduction to these creatures that endlessly fascinates children of all generations, enticing them to join in with noise and movement and get the most out of it. 

Frankie and the Fossil

Frankie and the Fossil

Frankie and the Fossil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frankie and the Fossil

Jess McGeachin

Puffin, 2021

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

9781760898847

Frankie knows all there is to know about dinosaurs because not only is she fascinated by them but she has memorised all the labels at the Natural History Museum, a place she loves to visit.  

But one day she notices a new sign, one that says “Don’t feed the fossil”. Thinking that was unfair, she pulled a cheese sandwich from her pocket and sneakily gave it to the dinosaur. 

That single action leads to a whole new ‘career’ for Frankie as her knowledge about dinosaurs deepens to understanding…

In an earlier time, the significance of this book may well have passed me by but with so many schools currently in lockdown and students isolated at home. no plan to get them back to school because school staff have still not been identified as front-line workers (and where they have, vaccinations are stretched too thinly), and many surveys examining the effect of the lack of contact with others on children, particularly their mental health, this underlying message of this story  was crystal clear.  Both people and dinosaurs are herd creatures and lack of contact with others can and does have a long-term impact.  (My friend and I still laugh that going for our flu shots in 2020 (on her birthday) was the best outing we had in weeks! So now we make the most of our days as we can.)

So in these days of enforced confinement, how can we as teachers, promote our students connecting with each other?  Can we design collaborative projects? Can we develop a team game or challenge? Can we plan an online celebration like a dress-up for Book Week or an unbirthday party? Can the walk around the neighbourhood looking for teddies in windows be expanded to something more? What are the students’ suggestions? How can they connect with a family member, a neighbour, someone else they know so they can make that person’s life easier?  Classmates are the equivalent of the dinosaur’s herd and the teacher is the leader of that herd, so apart from setting lessons, what else can we do to promote connectivity and well-being so when our kids do return to school their resilience and enthusiasm for life is intact?  

When Jess McGeachin first started planning this story, she would have had no idea of what was to come and how timely its release would be.  But what a windfall that we can share the story (Penguin Random House, the parent publisher are permitting online readings) and then use it to help our students and help them help others.

Here are some ideas contributed by our peers that might kick-start your thinking…

Clare Bell suggests

  • Write a letter to a neighbour or a relative
  • Decorate a pebble for a school garden
  • Create a picture to be hung on the school fence as an art gallery

Elise Ellerman  suggests

  • An online book club (For ideas allowing readers to respond to any book see here. )
  • Celebrate birthdays … We prepare some party food and a bake a birthday cake. We then create birthday boxes with this food. Deliver the boxes (contactless) and then have a Zoom party with some games. Everyone shares in a piece of cake together (over Zoom).

This is a link to the power and healing of reading during this COVID=19 crisis.

Do You Love Dinosaurs?

Do You Love Dinosaurs?

Do You Love Dinosaurs?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Love Dinosaurs?

Matt Robertson

Bloomsbury, 2021

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

9781526609533

Any experienced teacher or TL knows you can never have enough books about dinosaurs to satisfy the curiosity and cravings of young readers who are endlessly fascinated with them. It doesn’t matter that some had a deadly bite and others could run super fast or some had club-like tails and some were really smelly – dinosaurs continue to inspire wonder and for many, they are the pathway into reading as they seek to discover more and more.

From the ferocious hunters like Spinosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex to the gentle giants like Diplodocus and Titanosaurus, the speedy Velociraptor to the armoured Ankylosaurus, this brightly illustrated book introduces young investigators to all the weird and wonderful things that made dinosaurs so intriguing.  They can learn about the dinosaurs that laid eggs the size of footballs; the   fossilised dinosaur poo as long as their arm and even the  dinosaur that could outrun a racehorse.

But no one book can contain all that is known about these creatures so this is the perfect opportunity to tap into the child’s knowledge and ask them to create a page about their favourite dinosaur to add to it.  What do they know that Matt Robertson hasn’t included? Can they design a page that is as interesting as his so others will be drawn to it and want to read it? Then build a display of their contributions to share and encourage even more reading and learning! Perfect for at-home or at-school learning and putting all that knowledge to a purpose. 

Leilong the Library Bus

Leilong the Library Bus

Leilong the Library Bus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leilong the Library Bus

Julia Liu

Dei Lynn

Gecko Press, 2021

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781776573325

The children are late for storytime at the library. Ever helpful, Leilong the enthusiastic dinosaur can get them there one time but riding a brontosaurus through the city can cause issues, When they finally get there, he is not allowed in because his  small head is the only part of him that fits and besides, he doesn’t have a library card.  Rules are rules!  So he must listen through the window. But he gets so excited by the story, he starts to shake the building. and risks destroying the library. When he is ordered out, the children walk out too –  and the library is left empty.  Is there a compromise?

No matter where in the world we live, children love and deserve stories and a quick internet search brings up lots of innovative ways that this has been achieved when going to a physical library is not possible.  From the packhorse librarians of Kentucky to the boom in tiny street libraries adults have found ways to get books into the hands of children, so why not a dinosaur?

This is a charming, unique story that will delight young readers and help them understand just how lucky they are to have access to such a wealth of stories right there in their school!!!