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G’Day, Spot!

G'Day, Spot!

G’Day, Spot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

G’Day, Spot!

Eric Hill

Puffin, 2021

18pp., board book., RRP $A14.99

9780241489543

Spot that loveable puppy is back in a new adventure.  This time he and his family are in Australia and it’s time for a picnic.  But there is a bit of a walk to the beach and there are many things to discover on the way -a kookaburra, a platypus, and even a kangaroo! But when they stop for a rest, Spot has disappeared! Where has he gone?

Even though it is over 40 years since our littlest readers were gifted the fun of finding Spot (and are probably reading it to their own children) , the little dog remains a firm favourite and the fun of lifting the flaps to discover his adventures never wains. So to add in an Australian element and put it in a format that is the right size and sturdiness for little hands just adds to its appeal. With the stories have sold 65 million copies in over 60 languages, no child should grow up without meeting this loveable character. 

Who Fed Zed?

Who Fed Zed?

Who Fed Zed?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Fed Zed?

Amelia McInerney

Adam Nickel

Allen & Unwin, 2021

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

9781760524432

This is  a picture book about Ted, Ned and Fred, Fred’s dog, Jed, and Fred’s fish, Zed.

Zed the fish is white and red.
His poo hangs down in one long thread.
The main thing, though, is what Fred said,
‘NEVER, EVER FEED ZED BREAD.’

Because feeding fish bread can kill them and although Zed survives this incident there are other problems that he is faced with.

This is a clever story that will engage young readers with its rhyming text and retro feel.  Teachers may well pick up on it because it appears to feed perfectly into the current push for phonics and “sounding out” to be THE way to teach reading but within the first eight lines there are three different ways of spelling the “ed” sound demonstrating not only the complexity of the English language and its spelling, but also the trickiness in teaching by this method and the confusion children feel when confronted by it, particularly as English is full of such anomalies.

That said, young children will love to listen to the poem as it carries them along on a wave of rhythm and they will be surprised by its ending.  They might even be ready to explore how the author created that rhythm paying attention to elements such as the number of syllables, whether they are long or short, stressed or unstressed to make a beat and thus the cadence of our language.  They might even want to create a list of other words that rhyme with Zed that the author might have chosen, thus building their vocabulary and spelling knowledge.   

But above all, and most importantly, it’s a story that will resonate with any young readers who have either a goldfish or a dog with fleas, or perhaps both. 

 

News Hounds: The Puppy Problem

News Hounds: The Puppy Problem

News Hounds: The Puppy Problem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News Hounds: The Puppy Problem

Laura James

Charlie Alder

Bloomsbury, 2021

128pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781526620545

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. Certainly not FLOWERS. Or BEES. And he couldn’t have even imagined MUD. Luckily he’s got Jilly, the wolfhound next door, to show him around. But Jilly has a problem. Her puppies are going to be given to new owners far away. She’ll never see them again! Gizmo might not know the difference between a cow and a tractor but he’s got a nose for a story, and a great idea to help Jilly. What if the dogs of Puddle had a newspaper? And so begins The Daily Bark with Gizmo as editor, Jilly (who knows everyone) as the lead reporter, and Bunty as the weather reporter.  Lola is the sports reporter, Bob who is the station master’s dog writes the travel news and Bruno is the fashion and beauty expert.

Although this will appeal to both genders, it seems that when little girls grow out of unicorns they move on to dogs and dolphins and so this will especially appeal to them.  The author also wrote  the series about Fabio, the World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective and Pirate Pug  and seems to know just what young girls who are consolidating their new reading skills want and need.  Illustrated in colour and using a larger font, the characters and plot move along drawing the reader into the story and engaging them to the end.  Something new to keep them reading over these cold winter weeks. 

Pawcasso

Pawcasso

Pawcasso

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pawcasso

Remy Lai

A & U Children’s, 2021

240pp., graphic novel, RRP $A16.99

9781760526771

Every Saturday, Pawcasso trots into town  on his own with a basket, a shopping list and cash in paw to buy groceries for his family. One day, he passes by Jo’s house, where she’s peering out the window, bored and lonely. When Jo sets out to follow him, a group of kids from school mistake her for Pawcasso’s owner and, excited to make new friends, she reluctantly hides the truth. But what starts as a Chihuahua-sized lie quickly grows into a Great Dane-sized problem when Pawcasso gets his own internet fan club … will Jo be able to solve the mystery of the dog’s owners before she is caught out in her web of lies, will Jo risk her new friendships by telling the t? Are hew new friendships more important than telling the truth?

This is a graphic novel which provides many hilarious moments as it delves into Jo and Pawcasso’s adventures as well as setting up a dilemma that students may well debate the solution for as the various layers impacting Jo’s life are considered.  What drives us to tell “little white lies” and when do they become untruths that can trap us?  Is a “little white lie” ever acceptable?

The community which Jo finds herself venturing into reflects the communities that we all live in – there are always everyday issues that take on a life on their own and divide residents – and Lai uses clever techniques such as having Jo join a book club to discuss philosophical questions such as “If love comes from the heart, does hate come from the brain?”  offering scope for lively class discussions within an at-arms-length context.

While its graphic novel format may entice hesitant readers  to engage with reading, this is a story that poses questions in a way that demonstrates the power of story to address those big questions while being entertaining at the same time.  There are several downloads for teachers available on the publisher’s website.  Intriguing.

Spot Visits His Grandparents

Spot Visits His Grandparents

Spot Visits His Grandparents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spot Visits His Grandparents

Eric Hill

Puffin, 2021

22pp., board book, RRP $A14.99

9780241506110

There is nothing quite as joyful for child and grandparents as time spent together and in this classic, now available in board book format, that’s just what Spot does.  In typical lift-the-flap format, Eric Hill has crafted another story for our youngest readers that will engage them as they recognise such familiar figures and activities.  It’s amazing how much mischief a little puppy can get into while helping Grandpa in the garden and youngsters will laugh out loud as they open the flaps to discover what he had done next.

Since Where’s Spot,  the first in this series about this ageless little dog, was published in 1980 it has grown into a family classic passed down with love and warmth through the generations. Now in a sturdy format that will allow little ones to read it for themselves, another generation can delight in these adventures as they learn about the pleasure of books. 

 

Paws

Paws

Paws

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paws

Kate Foster

Walker Books, 2021

252pp., pbk., RRP $A13.99

9781760652685

As Year 6 moves along  Alex has one goal – to make a friend, preferably Jared and the other popular kids, who won’t be mean to him when he starts secondary school. Because this is not easy when you are autistic and have super sensory awareness when sights and sounds, particularly overwhelm your brain, he has developed a plan to achieve this.  It has three components – to be an expert at the computer game Orbs World; to run fast enough so his relay team, which includes Jared, can go to the district competition and for his beloved cockapoo Kevin to win a trophy at the upcoming dog show, Paws. However, when his expectations and plans start to go awry, he pins all his hopes on Kevin being successful… 

Based on her own son’s experience when the family adopted a spoodle, the author has created an engaging story that will engage the reader from start to finish.  Told by Alex himself so that we discover how he thinks, what he does to help himself and why, this is a rare insight into the world of the autistic child and the challenges they encounter just dealing with everyday situations we take for granted.  Unlike the neurotypical brain that comes with ‘templates” for responses to situations, autistic brains are wired differently and Alex’s story shows how they have to build these responses from scratch, learning through mirroring and masking experiencing hard emotional lessons and confusing rejection as they do. Human behaviour being what it is, even his mum and brother can’t always match his need for consistency, and the one constant in Alex’s life is the unconditional love and sensitivity of Kevin.  The bond between them is critical to his well-being.

While it is intended for independent readers, it would also make an excellent class read-aloud particularly for any class that has a child like Alex. If we are to develop empathetic, compassionate children then they need to understand the challenges that others endure, and this does that perfectly in a story that you can’t put down.

Dandy and Dazza

Dandy and Dazza

Dandy and Dazza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dandy and Dazza

Mike Dumbleton

Brett Curzon

New Frontier, 2021

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

9781921928826

Dandy was a best-in-show sort of hound while Dazza was a rough-and-tumble sort of mongrel.  As dogs go, they couldn’t be more different.  One liked five-star food, the other old bones found in the rubbish bin;  one liked peace and quiet; the other barked and went crazy; one walked demurely to the park in a fur-lined coat and leg-warmers; the other pulled and strained at the leash covered in the mud and muck from rolling in puddles on the way… 

Could two such different temperaments ever get along?

From the title to the endpages to  the text itself, you just know that this is going to be a book of contrasts that brings so much fun to the reader. And it doesn’t disappoint.  How will two  such polar opposites be able to share the park together?  This is a story that will appeal to young readers, especially those with dogs because no doubt they will recognise their own pooches in the pictures and the antics.  The bright, brilliant  illustrations catch the eye and the roll-off-the-tongue text will make this a favourite while sparking discussions about how opposites attract and despite our differences, friendship is still possible..  

Where’s Brian’s Bottom?

Where's Brian's Bottom?

Where’s Brian’s Bottom?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s Brian’s Bottom?

Rob Jones

Pavilion Children’s, 2021

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

9781843654667

Brian is a very long sausage dog. So long he’s lost his bottom!  Can you find Brian’s bottom? Where could it be? Have you looked in the hallway? Has Pauline the parrot seen it? Maybe it’s in the living room, with Alan the hamster? Or perhaps in the kitchen with hungry Dave the tortoise? In the bathroom with Gavin the goldfish? Oh where could it be?

Regular readers of my reviews will know that I am a fan of board books that tell stories and engage our very youngest readers in the fun of them, developing an expectation that the written word will bring something special as they snuggle up with others in their lives to share. So this one with its l-o-n-g concertina foldout that winds through the house from front door to bedroom is a must-share and as a bonus, on the reverse side is another body adventure that invites the child to add their description of  where Brian’s bottom might be. 

This one really does encourage those early reading behaviours and concepts about print that are the critical foundations of early reading and deserves to be in every little reader’s library.

Bluey: Verandah Santa

Bluey: Verandah Santa

Bluey: Verandah Santa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey: Verandah Santa

Puffin, 2020

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

9781761040610

Bluey is a six-year-old blue heeler pup who loves to play. Along with her friends and family, Bluey enjoys exploring the world and using her imagination to turn everyday life into an amazing adventure which resonates with the young readers and viewers.  In this story, it’s Christmas Eve and Bluey, Bingo and Muffin decide to play a game called Verandah Santa! Just because their house doesn’t have a chimney, doesn’t mean Santa won’t come. What will Santa bring them? As well as having lots of fun, Bluey also learns a valuable lesson about what being good means and why it is not just about getting presents. 

Bluey has been a phenomenal success since airing on ABC KIDS in October 2018 and is the winner of an International Emmy for Most Outstanding Children’s Programme.  As well as helping our youngest readers learn some of life’s lasting lessons, the link between screen and media is a critical one as they learn about the value of being able to take their time with print, examine the illustrations and read it again and again whenever they want – all critical concepts about print.

 To accompany the storybook, there is also a sticker activity book which encourages little ones to actively engage with the story rather than just being passive listeners.

Perfect for Christmas stockings.

Maths Mutts – All About Time

Maths Mutts – All About Time

Maths Mutts – All About Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maths Mutts – All About Time

Charles Hope

Wild Dog Books, 2020

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

 9781742035994

“Time can be expressed as a moment or a measurement.”  It is something that rules our lives in so many ways, yet it can also be one of the most difficult concepts to teach because it is so abstract.

This picture book uses a range of busy dogs to lead a investigations into all sorts of aspects of time for newly independent readers, inviting them to participate in some activities and answer questions that will help them understand the concepts better.  It offers ideas for the reader to explore including the answers to questions such as What is time? How do we use it in our everyday lives? Is time the same all around the world? What are the different units of time, and what devices do we use to measure them?

 

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Even though it is so abstract, learning about time starts very early in a child’s life (think today, tomorrow, yesterday) and it is such an engrossing topic to cover embracing every curriculum area, not just maths.  So any resource that offers ideas and activities to help our students master it is a blessing.