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Cat Dog

Cat Dog

Cat Dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat Dog

Mem Fox

Mark Teague

Puffin, 2021

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

9781761045868

This is an hilarious story about a dog, a cat and a cheeky mouse, who because they are traditionally enemies, are always a combination that can have any number of outcomes and this one does.

Its format  will appeal to very young readers because each page is based on a question that the reader has to answer Yes or No to, ensuring they use the clues to make their prediction. And not everything is what it seems.  And with the ending in the reader’s hands,  there is so much scope for imagining ‘what if’.

Mem Fox is the master of creating stories that not only engage young readers but draw on all her knowledge and expertise of early reading behaviour to ensure they discover the joy of stories and reading and sharing them from the earliest age.  Teague’s depictions of the characters not only add to the intrigue but also add humour and a touch of whimsy.  Definitely one for the younger readers in your life, but also for those studying the art of the picture book because this is an example of the very best at their best. 

Frankie Goes to Kindergarten

Frankie Goes to Kindergarten

Frankie Goes to Kindergarten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frankie Goes to Kindergarten

Peta Baxter & Connie Hemmens

Marjorie Gardner

Ford Street, 2021

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781925804683

It’s an exciting day for Frankie – it’s his day for kindergarten.  But Frankie isn’t a timid, shy child about to take his first step on a new adventure – he’s a dog who goes with his owner, the Kindy teacher, to join in all the fun of meeting up with friends, playing inside and out, visiting the pets. listening to stories, having lunch and quiet time and learning all sorts of new things.  His mate George the cat would like to go too but he is deemed too little, so he hops in a box…

Written by two experienced kindergarten teachers based on their own kindy – Frankie belongs to Miss Peta – this is a joyful introduction to the kindy/preschool day that will be a new adventure for many of our littlest readers very soon. Many of them will experience trepidation rather than anticipation so this story with its bright, bold illustrations will be excellent for helping to prepare them and pave the way.  Even though there might not be a Frankie (or a cheeky George) to join them, nevertheless all the activities will be there awaiting them as will the welcoming teachers and lots of new friends to play with.  

With lockdown and restrictions, preventing many of the face-to-face orientations that usually start about this time, so this would be the ideal story to share as alternative preparation.  

Bluey: Daddy Putdown

Bluey: Daddy Putdown

Bluey: Daddy Putdown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey: Daddy Putdown

Bluey

Puffin, 2021

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

9781761041174

Mummy has gone to a baby shower and Daddy has been left to put Bluey and Bingo to bed.  But Bluey is very concerned because it won’t be the same. No matter what ideas Daddy has, she longs for her mum to be home.  Until she has an idea…

Based on the highly successful television series, this new release strengthens  the link between screen and media, 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 vital concepts about print. They easily relate to characters they know which as well as adding another dimension to them by offering a behind-the-scenes look at their lives and loves,  they can also focus on the story more deeply.

Perfect for fans of the show…

 

The Bark Book

The Bark Book

The Bark Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bark Book

Victoria Mackinlay

Beth Harvey

ABC Books, 2021

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

Being a dog can be lonely if you’re stuck inside while everyone else is at school or work.  But when your owner comes through the door and you know that that means time for a walk outside, then the adventures are innumerable and the excitement immeasurable.  And there is a bark for every part of the journey, even when you’re stuck because you chased a skink.

Combining minimal but clever text with equally clever illustrations (check the tree’s expression embedded in the bark when the dogs wees on it), this is a story that every dog owner who has walked their pooch will relate to.  And the young reader will get just as much joy from the read as the dog gets from its walk.  It is one that needs to be shared together because the words and pictures are so dependent on each other, and each time it is shared there will be something new to discover!

Where Are You, Magoo?

Where Are You, Magoo?

Where Are You, Magoo?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Are You, Magoo?

Briony Stewart

Puffin, 2021

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

9781760896911

The lovable Magoo is back in another hilarious story that epitomises the fun and mischief that a puppy can get into.  Just how many places can a dog hide?  And what mischief can he make while he is there?

Like its predecessor, shortlisted for the CBCA Early Childhood Book of the Year 2021, this has the repetitive text, rhyme and rhythm that appeal so much to young readers and which are such an important foundation of their early reading behaviour as they are encouraged to pick up the book and read it to themselves. Its sturdy format, clear text and engaging illustrations will endear it to child and parent alike, but most importantly its strong, funny storyline with a lovable character already known to them will make it a go-to favourite to be read again and again.

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.