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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. 

Yorick and Bones

Yorick and Bones

Yorick and Bones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yorick and Bones

Jeremy Tankard

Hermione Tankard

HarperCollins, 2020

144pp., pbk., RRP $A34.99

9780062854308

This is an hilarious story about a skeleton who is roused from his death when a hot dog vendor collides with a witch causing a potion she’s carrying to spill from her hands and seep into Yorick’s grave. He awakens, surprised to find he has slept so long that he has lost his memory until a dog digs him up. All that Yorick wants is a sausage and someone to share it with but while he finds the sausage easily enough, finding a friend is a harder task. 

Subtitled “The lost graphic novel by William Shakespeare”, this is a graphic novel for the upper end of the readership of this blog because the text has been written in Shakespeare’s language and iambic pentameter rhythm, making it one for those independent enough to cope with that.  At the same time, it may well capture older readers’ imagination, particularly those familiar with Shakespeare’s works as there are references that have been cleverly adapted throughout. 

Something different to offer those who declare that they have ‘read everything”. 

What Zola Did on Wednesday

What Zola Did on Wednesday

What Zola Did on Wednesday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Zola Did on Wednesday

Melina Marchetta

Deb Hudson

Puffin, 2020

96pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781760895174

Zola is getting very busy after school these days.  She has her gardening club on Mondays and her knitting group on Tuesdays and she still has to find time to play with her cousin Alessandro and the dogs while trying to keep out of trouble.  But when her neighbour Leo’s mum, who is a police officer, brings home a new sniffer dog for training, things can only get interesting – particularly when her friend Sophia’s little turtle goes missing and Lola hatches a plan to find it…

This is the third in this series about Zola and her friends – a diverse group of kids who could live in any neighbourhood, anywhere. Their everyday lives are just like those of the readers who can see themselves, understand and relate to the friends, while being a stepping stone for  consolidating their new reading skills with a solid text combined with lots of illustrations, short chapters and humour.  Because the characters and events are so common,  the stories could be the inspiration for children to get together in ways they did in previous generations and be the foundation blocks of a new community as we find new ways to get together in these COVID times. Perhaps our new lives may not be so frantic that we don’t have time for the simpler pleasures of yesteryear.

There are seven stories in the series altogether and each one is as entertaining as the others. 

Catvinkle and the Missing Tulips

Catvinkle and the Missing Tulips

Catvinkle and the Missing Tulips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catvinkle and the Missing Tulips

Elliot Perlman

Laura Stitzel

Puffin, 2020

304pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781760894382

Catvinkle lives in Amsterdam, with her barber-owner Mr Sabatini, and she likes to think that the world revolves around her, as cats generally do. From her basket near the fireplace in what she considers to be her room, she watches the legs and feet of the passers-by as they walk past her window, delighted when she sees someone with socks that don’t match and occasionally swishing her tail that has a big red bow tied to it. All is well with her world.

Now best friends with Ula the stray Dalmatian this second adventure in this series  with its subtle message about inclusivity and acceptance is as delightful as the first, even to a non-cat person like me. This time Catvinkle and Ula find themselves defending two sheep accused of eating Amsterdam’s tulips, and they’re not sure what to believe. The sheep say they’re innocent, but they do look very sheepish. But to win this case, Catvinkle will need the help of a wolfhound, a llama, two travelling koalas, a pair of Russian bears . . . and a very special bird.

As well as being an entertaining read for those who like something a bit different that is engaging, this also has an underlying theme of justice, fairness and those other qualities that are so important at this time to that age group that hasn’t quite discovered shades of grey and compromise yet.

Even though Perlman has received many awards for his adult novels, he certainly knows how to spin a tale for children and these two together would make an excellent gift for newly independent readers who enjoy animal stories that are just good, clean fun. 

 

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

Lynley Dodd

Puffin, 2010

34pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

9780143504450

Remember this … “Out of the gate and off for a walk went Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy …” and by the time you got to the end of the book he had been joined by his mates Hercules Morse (as big as a horse); Bottomley Potts (covered in spots); Muffin McLay (like a bundle of hay); Bitzer Maloney (all skinny and bony); and Schnitzel von Krumm (with a very low tum). How proud and posh they were until they met …  

Almost every child born in New Zealand or Australia in the last 30 years knows what happens next! Who could bring down such a bold band of brothers?

Children love the sound of the rhythmic and rhyming language and the repetition of the characters on each page which make it a perfect read-aloud  as your listeners will be joining in and eagerly anticipating who will join this canine crew., as well as enjoying the pictures which work with the text perfectly, as they should. The board book format makes it perfect for little hands, ensuring that this will be much-loved by this generation as those before.

And it is fitting that on the 5th anniversary of forgoing a trip to Hobbiton in favour of finding the sculpture to this remarkable dog and his mates on Tauranga in the pouring rain, that it is time to remind our new parents of this classic series so another generation can be as enchanted with him as all those of the last 30 years.

Hairy Maclary Tauranga. NZ

We Love You, Magoo

We Love You, Magoo

We Love You, Magoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Love You, Magoo

Briony Stewart

Puffin, 2020

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

9781760896904

From the very front cover, the family says they love their dog Magoo but he’s beginning to wonder.  No matter how hard he tries to be like them, with them and do the things they do, he quickly finds out there is one rule for people and another for dogs.  It’s a bit like being a little person – one rule for you and another for the grown-ups.

This is an hilarious story that will resonate with all of us who have dogs and know just how much they want to be a part of our daily lives.  But it could also have a serious side because there is often a very good reason we don’t let our pets eat and do the same things we do, and so it can become a teaching tool as children become more responsible for the animals in their care. In fact, the Humane Society has even published a list of human foods that are poisonous to pets so that what seems like deprivation is actually what’s best for them.

Its text is simple and the rhyme. rhythm and repetition mean that even our youngest readers will be able to pick it up and tell themselves the story – such an empowering part of early reading behaviours.   

 

Hound the Detective

Hound the Detective

Hound the Detective

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hound the Detective

Kimberley Andrews

Puffin, 2020

32pp., pbk., RRP $A17.99

9780143774655

I’m Hound! And I’m a sleuth.

I solve all types of cases.

I sniff and snuff until my nose

detects the clues and traces.

Missing jewels, stolen cars —I always solve the crime.

And his latest case has been mysteriously delivered by post, sending him on a trail that takes him all over town on the scent of something mysterious – although that something isn’t disclosed till the very last page. 

Kimberley Andrews, the creator of the memorable Puffin the Architect has created another masterpiece that will have readers of all ages poring over the detailed illustrations as eagerly as Hound follows his nose,  searching for clues and other hidden treasures. With its clever rhyming text, there’s an unspoken challenge for the reader to find the solution before Hound does, ensuring close engagement with the mystery and offering the opportunity for prediction and speculation. One for a range of ages that reminded me of the fun my students had trying to solve the mystery in the Graeme Base classic, The Eleventh Hour.