Archives

Oh No, George!

Oh No, George!

Oh No, George!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh No, George!

Chris Haughton

Walker, 2022 

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

9781529507881

Harris is going out and as he bids farewell to his pet dog George, he implores George to be good.

Of course George promises, but when you’re left in the house alone there are so many temptations… Will George be good?

Young readers will love this hilarious story as they predict whether George will be able to resist temptation. What would they do?  Haughton’s distinctive  artwork adds to the appeal, underlining why this book has remained in print, and this is the 10th anniversary edition.  

 

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. 

 

Cat Spies Mouse

Cat Spies Mouse

Cat Spies Mouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat Spies Mouse

Rina A. Foti

Dave Atze

Big Sky, 2022

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

9781922615213

When Cat spies mouse, he grabs him and tells him he is going to gobble her up.  But being a feisty mouse, she disagrees and asks, “Why would you do that?” And so begins a back-and-forth conversation about the fairness of bigger being allowed to eat smaller because “that’s the way it is”. Mouse, who must be terrified, nevertheless has courage and tries to convince Cat that it would be better to be friends, but Cat is not interested until along comes D-O-G!

Told entirely in conversation with different coloured text identifying each speaker, this is a charming story about assumed power invested by size – just because you’re bigger doesn’t make you in charge – and it will promote discussion about whether being little means giving in or having rights. Is Cat (or Dog) a bully? Mouse’s arguing against the status quo is very reminiscent of little ones who feel injustice keenly but who don’t quite know how to get something sorted, although they are determined to win and make their own world fairer. Having the courage to speak up for change is a big lesson in assertiveness, and while parents might end the conversation with “Because I said so!” it is nevertheless a sign that their little one is maturing and gaining independence.

The illustrations are divine – set on a white background, all the emotions and feelings are contained in the animals’ body language and facial expressions that even without being able to read the words for themselves, very young readers will still be able to work out the story and participate in that crucial pre-reading behaviour.

Don’t be fooled by its apparent simplicity – this is a thought-provoking read that we can all take heed of, regardless of our age!

Alfie the Brave

Alfie the Brave

Alfie the Brave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alfie the Brave

Richard Harris

Simon Howe

Puffin, 2022

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

9781761041358

Alfie was a fine-looking dog. His coat was sleek and shiny like an otter. He was the son of champions.
But Alfie didn’t feel like a champion. While he watched other dogs do things like catching frisbees, swimming, herding cattle, Alfie was scared of . . . everything! He didn’t like loud noises, mice terrified him and even a cat met on a walk would send him scurrying home.
Could Alfie ever be bold and brave like other dogs?

Written by Australian anaesthetist Dr Richard ‘Harry’ Harris, a key member of the international cave-diving group who rescued the Wild Boar soccer team in Thailand, this is a charming story about how we all wish we could find our brave, and doubt its existence until we need it.  Even though Alfie is not the bravest dog, he is still willing to face the world rather than hide away paralysed by “what-ifs” and he does have other endearing characteristics that make him precious to his family, like snuggling in for family cuddles and just being there. Not everyone is, or has to be, a superhero in a cape.  

Tempered with exquisite illustrations that portray Alfie’s feelings perfectly, this is ideal for sharing with little ones who are facing the unfamiliar or a new challenge like starting school to show them that they all have an inner strength they can draw on when they need to, and  that facing your fears head-on is better than letting your imagination make them bigger and scarier than they already are.  

The story behind the story is available here

 

Bluey: Baby Race

Bluey: Baby Race

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey: Baby Race

Bluey

Puffin, 2022

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

9781761044908

It’s important to Bluey that she be better at things than Bingo and Judo, but when Mum says she should run her own race, Bluey doesn’t understand what she means.  And so Mum tells her of the race she thought she was in when Bluey was learning to crawl and walk and Judo was  don’t them first.  Mum learned lots of important lessons during that time about letting Bluey, and later, Bingo, do things in their own way at their own time, because despite her self-doubt, it was neither a race nor a competition.  

Based on the episode of the ABC series of the same name, this is another is this very popular collection of stories in print format that allows young readers to return to the story time and again, cementing in their minds the value of print as a medium as well as learning some of life’s necessary lessons. 

Little ones always compare themselves to others, seemingly having a need to be better or the best, perhaps a trait learned from their proud parents even in those early months, and so learning to “run your own race” and accept yourself for who you are and what you can do at the time is a difficult concept to grasp.  But it is a critical one because if our children are going to be mentally and emotionally healthy, they need to know that who they are right now is enough. If they are doing all they can, and the best they can with what they know and have available to them, as Mum was, then that is all that can be expected.  While it is natural and healthy to have aspirations and goals to strive for, they need to learn the meaning of “walk before you run” so they are building a solid foundation on which to move forward.

So while this is an abstract philosophical concept for minds still working at the here-and-now level, stories like this can help parents teach them in a way they can understand.  “Remember the story about Bluey and…” is a common refrain heard in early childhood circles and this is another example of that. 

Bluey: Easter

Bluey: Easter

Bluey: Easter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey: Easter

Bluey

Puffin, 2022

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

9781761044922

It’s Easter! Bluey and Bingo think the Bunny has forgotten them again, until a clue takes them on an egg hunt . . .

But these are not ordinary written clues that might be tricky for them to read – these are clues that make them (and the reader) think hard about where they have to look next.  But one has them stumped and another takes them to a most unusual place where they have to put their brave on..

And yet, there is still no secret stash.  Are Bluey and Bingo so insignificant they are forgettable-again?

There is no doubting the popularity of Bluey and Bingo and to have them feature in a story like this that is not only a situation that young readers will resonate with but also involve them as they help Bluey and her sister solve the clues is perfect.  So while they can see the episode itself online or on television, rather than a fleeting glimpse,  this print version gives them the chance to take their time, to study the clues and work them out engaging them closely with the illustrations and the story, giving them satisfaction when they finally make the connections.  The value of this blue heeler family in the lives of our littlies cannot be underestimated. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ugliest Dog in the World 30th Anniversary Edition

The Ugliest Dog in the World

The Ugliest Dog in the World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ugliest Dog in the World 30th Anniversary Edition

Bruce Whatley

HarperCollins. 2022

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

 9781460761533

As the clock ticks around, and pages are pulled off the calendar, it seems no time at all when a favourite that surely was just released yesterday, celebrates an important anniversary.  Last week it was the 120th anniversary of Peter Rabbit, this time it’s Bruce Whatley’s The Ugliest Dog in the World. Surely it’s not 30 years since I first heard the hoot of children’s laughter as they pored over the hilarious text and illustrations in this classic! I particularly remember the kids labelling the “lady next door” as Ms …  (a colleague) “because she looks just like her!” Out of the mouths of babes, and, in this case, some things can’t be unheard – even 30 years on.

This is the perfect book for teaching this generation about ‘beauty being in the eye of the beholder”, that everyone views the same thing differently, and that body image really doesn’t matter.  And even if the dog doesn’t meet the standards for Crufts, it still brings love and joy to its owner and that’s all that matters. 

Only the best books endure, and this is one of those.

 

 

Spike Surfs

Spike Surfs

Spike Surfs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spike Surfs

Robert Lorenzon

Wild Dog Books, 2022

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

9781742036229

This book is subtitled “From Lost Dog’s Home to Surfing Champ” and that is exactly the story it tells.  Spike was at the Lost Dogs’ Home, waiting in vain for someone to love him enough to take him home – and along came Rob!

But Rob loved to surf and the ocean terrified Spike but with friendship and patience, amazing things began to happen culminating in a spectacular ride at the championships in Noosa!

Told by Spike and illustrated with real photos, this is a heart-warming story of how hope and devotion can blossom when the chemistry is right. And the author is putting his money where his mouth is by donating 50% of the royalties to the Lost Dogs’ Home so they can continue helping other surrendered dogs whose numbers have increased by 70% in the last 12 months.

Teachers’ notes are available.

Bluey: Christmas Swim

 

 

 

 

Bluey: Christmas Swim

Bluey: Christmas Swim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey: Christmas Swim

Bluey

Puffin, 2021

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

9781761041204

It’s Christmas Day and it’s the perfect weather for a family swim! Bartlebee is Bluey’s new toy – how will he cope with his first Heeler Christmas? He finds them a bit rough and ready and wants to go home but a few words from Aunt Frisky, also new to the family, reassures him. 

Based on the television episode of the same name, this is another adaptation of the adventures of these much-loved characters that will appeal to our youngest readers and help them understand that there is fun and joy in books as they meet characters with whom they are familiar and to whom they can return time and again, unlike their fleeting screen counterparts.

They are also more likely to be familiar with the fun and games of Bluey’s family as they celebrate in the typical Australian style, sparking conversations about how different places celebrate differently and how in some countries, the landscape is covered with ice and snow rather than the sunshine we are used to. 

Bluey is always a favourite and this is one to add to the collection. 

Cookie

Cookie

Cookie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cookie

Isabelle Duff

Susannah Crisp

EK Books, 2021

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

9781925820959

Right from the time he poked his head out of a shaky cardboard box on the back seat of the car, Cookie the Border Collie puppy loves Girl more than anything.  At first, it’s because she has a ball but it’s soon so much more than that.  With the boy called Stopit (and sometimes Shoosh) they go on walks to find the yummiest smells (with Cookie on a lead so Girl doesn’t get lost) and at night they both sleep in a cuddle.  

But sometimes Girl got really sad and didn’t want to play, a sadness so profound that it made her family sad too, and Cookie learns that cuddles and licks are even better than playing – because everyone knows you can lick sadness off.  But while the underlying causes of Girl’s sadness remain, she understands that Cookie is her responsibility and that she needs to get out of bed to attend to Cookie’s needs.  She has purpose… 

Written by a 19 year old, this is Isabelle Duff’s first picture book and she has drawn on her own experiences as a young student with depression, anxiety and anorexia and her parents buying her a puppy to portray Girl and Cookie. While she sought professional help, she found that there was a stigma attached to that by her peers so while the relationship between Girl and Cookie is a pared down version of her relationship with her own Saffy, it is one that not only will young children relate to but it also makes the issue of mental health accessible so conversations can start and perhaps start to break down that stigma.  This is particularly important as the “shadow pandemic” of mental health continues in our young as much as those who are older, but they don’t necessarily have the words to articulate their concerns. 

Despite the focus there has been on children’s mental health in recent years, clearly there is still shame associated with it and so by telling the story through Cookie’s voice, setting it in a typical family setting with a light touch of humour and through the interactions of all, demonstrating how Girl’s moods impact on the whole family, Duff shows  that this is something that can affect any family and anybody within it.  

The acceptance by educators that childhood mental health is a significant issue means there have been a variety of stories and programs that address it but if we are to have mental illness as “acceptable” as physical illness then the more stories our students hear, the more conversations we have then the more effective we can be so this is another valuable addition to the collection. .  To help this, teachers’ notes are available