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Battle Mum

Battle Mum

Battle Mum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Battle Mum

Zoē Foster Blake

Adele K. Thomas

Puffin, 2022

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

 9780143779681

Ana and Louis are tired after a long day at school and kinder. They just want to watch TV . . . but Mum wants to play battle! She has a whole bunch of new moves to try out and there’s simply no stopping her.
‘Just FIVE minutes!’ pleads Mum. ‘Pleasepleaseplease?’
So the kids drag themselves off the couch. Mum PROMISES not to be too rough and that there will be absolutely NO TICKLING.
So Ana and Louis prepare to take on Battle Mum! Hopefully they can complete the game before Dad gets home . . . and wants to play too!

This is another hilarious story from Zoē Foster Blake in which she takes an everyday situation and turns it on its head.  Just as in Scaredy Bath and Back to Sleep, she has reversed the roles of the characters so this time, instead of it being the children who want five minutes more to indulge in some raucous, boisterous play, it is the mother.  Once again,  young readers who will see themselves and their nighttime antics in the actions of the parents- although whether that will actually change things is problematic because “just five minutes more” is genetically programmed into preschoolers in my experience.  

Inspired by her own children’s actions, the author strives to teach children “to empathise, how to respect others and themselves and deal with life events”, using the humour that comes with role reversal to temper the lessons and put imagination and entertainment at the forefront.  Accompanied by action-packed illustrations  this is a bedtime story that will more likely invoke more laughter and tickling than the regular sleep-inducing lullaby. Perhaps it is one for a little earlier…

A Feather on a Wing

A Feather on a Wing

A Feather on a Wing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Feather on a Wing

Maria Speyer

UQP, 2022

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

9780702263255

Sometimes, when it’s dark and you’re lonely, the best thing to make you feel better is to have a big sister to reassure you that you are not alone.  Like a feather on a wing, a flower in a daisy chain, a raindrop in a shower, we are always connected to someone and together we make up a whole that has unlimited potential.

With illustrations as gentle as the rhyming text, imagery that calms as it connects,  and the whole put to music as an addendum, this is a charming story that not only soothes the little girl but also provides the reader with food for thought as they consider the connections in their own lives and the ‘something bigger’ that they are a part of.   Feeling alone, perhaps a little afraid, in the dark is such a relatable experience and in each spread not only does the big sister reinforce the concept of belonging, but gradually widens the circle so that it embraces shared sorties, toys, other children…

Through her use of metaphors, the big sister encourages her little sister to practise mindfulness, to be in the moment, to dream with her eyes open…

What wholes are you part of?

Teachers’ notes are available.

Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Fairy

Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Fairy

Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Fairy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Fairy

Rhiannon Fielding

Christ Chatterton

Ladybird, 2022

32pp., pbk., $A14.99

 9780241545591

Magical creatures live in the Land of Nod, but none of them is  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.

Little Fairy Poppy joins her companions in trying to stretch out those last few minutes as she flits from leaf to flower delighting in her new found confidence as her wings grow stronger and allow her to fly high at last… But when Poppy spots a lost gnome far from his glade, she is determined to use her wings and get him to safety. But can she do it in time for his bedtime and hers? for there are only three minutes left… 

Beginning and ending with maps of The Land of Nod which are subtly different, and the appearance of a tiny creature on each page to encourage attention to detail, this stories follows the pattern of its predecessors, becoming a gentle lullaby to help draw the curtains on the day and help even the most rambunctious little one understand that everything needs to sleep at some time.

There is nothing as precious or as important as the bond established between parent and child through sharing stories during those ten minutes to bedtime so this is perfect for parents starting the bedtime story routine and wanting to complete it with the same story each night.

Whisper on the Wind

Whisper on the Wind

Whisper on the Wind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whisper on the Wind

Claire Saxby

Jess Racklyeft

Allen & Unwin, 2022

34pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781760526887

As Ren lies dreaming in his bed in his bedroom in the lighthouse, a wish goes out his window as a whisper.  And reminiscent of the cumulative style of The House that Jack Built, that whisper makes its way across the waves to its recipient…

This is the wind
that carries the whisper
from Ren’s dream.

This is the sailor,

long at sea,
who catches it.

This is a story for any child (or grown-up) who, in any circumstance or situation,  has had to endure separation and longs for connection and reunion.  If ever there were a match made in heaven between author and artist, then Saxby and Racklyeft are it and the text and illustrations are so seamless that it would seem impossible for to stand without the other.  In themselves, they are examples of connection and reunion and celebration.  

While the nightly news constantly brings us images of families separated by fire, flood, pestilence and war, we must remember that we have children separated by less dramatic causes, and by sharing this gentle, stunning story we can nourish their hopes that their whispers on the wind will be carried and come true too. 

Lion Lullaby

Lion Lullaby

Lion Lullaby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lion Lullaby

Kate Banks

Lauren Tobia

Walker, 2022

32pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

9781529503401

As night falls in the savannah and “dusk paints stripes across the sky”, ten little lions know it is time to head to bed.  But as they make their way, there are all sorts of sights and sounds to distract them –   a monkey “bouncing a babe on its knee”; a cobra waving its tail,  zebras braying, and a tree frog peeping; there is a honeybee nest to inspect; sand dunes and a stream to navigate; elephants tramping along and wildebeests running. There is as much adventure on the journey home as there has been in the day.  But at last, they are together and cuddled together, they listen to “evening’s lullaby,” and sleep “cuddled by night.”

Just as night envelops the little lions in its all-embracing spread, so too the author embraces much in this lyrical lullaby.  As well as the language which turns the ordinary into the extraordinary – “dusk paints stripes across the sky” is a picturesque phrase that could spark a lesson in itself with students suggesting other ways to describe the twilight sky – the rhythm of the language draws the reader in with its gentle cadence echoed in the illustrations which transition gradually from golds, browns, and greens to dreamy mauves, violets, and greys as the light changes and darkness draws closer.

For those unfamiliar with the habitats and inhabitants of the African savannah, there are geographical and biological discoveries to investigate and woven into it all is a counting book with purpose and context. So while this might have been intended initially to lull little ones as they draw the curtains on their day – even lions have to sleep – it is one that can be shared across the ages  with something new for each.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

The Worst Sleepover in the World

The Worst Sleepover in the World

The Worst Sleepover in the World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Worst Sleepover in the World

Sophie Dahl

Luciano Lozanzo

Walker Books, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

 9781406384413

Ramona is having her best friend Gracie to stay the night. It’s their first ever sleepover and she wants to make a den, read stories, dance like a wild thing, stay up all night and have a midnight feast. It’ll be the BEST SLEEPOVER IN HISTORY. But nothing quite goes to plan. Gracie turns out to be incredibly fussy, Mum is very understanding but even her patience gets tested, and Ramona is disappointed that her night has not lived up to expectation.  Will they be able to solve their problems and still be friends in the morning?

As a young girl, Sophie Dahl spent a lot of time with her grandfather, the incomparable Roald Dahl (whom she called Mold because “her baby tongue” couldn’t get itself around Norwegian Roo-al [silent d]) and, in her words, he “cast a spell over her childhood.”  But he also gifted her his ability to tell a great story, and although this is only her second children’s book (the first, Madame Badobedah)  it is totally absorbing.  The characters and the situation are so relatable that their will scarcely be an adult or child who won’t be taken back to memories of sleepovers that they have experienced.  Delving into the lives of the Dahls, you can see there are many elements that Sophie has drawn on to portray Gracie, Ramona and even little sister Ruby, so they are very realistic and credible and one imagines her depiction of the single mum trying everything to appease Gracie’s demands so she is safe and comfortable would be aligned to that of her own mum. 

Lozano’s illustrations capture the expressions and the mood exceptionally well and the front cover with mum waving a flag of surrender sums up the story perfectly. 

With school restarting and new friendships being made, the requests for sleepovers is going to get louder and more frequent, and this is the perfect story to share in anticipation!!  The pains and perils and the discoveries and delights of new friendships are explored with humour and a gentle touch, but you have been warned…  

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. 

Little Unicorn’s Christmas

 

 

 

 

Little Unicorn's Christmas

Little Unicorn’s Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Unicorn’s Christmas

Rhiannon Fielding

Chris Chatterton

Ladybird, 2021

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

9780241489901

It’s Christmas Eve and there are just ten minutes to bedtime, and Dad is on the countdown.  But Twinkle, the little unicorn, is still playing in the snow and something above not only catches her eye, but suddenly lands among the trees! It’s Father Christmas and he has a problem – his lead reindeer is in bed with reindeer flu and there are now only eight minutes to bed with 22 countries and hundreds of presents still to deliver.  Can Twinkle help?  Could this be the adventure of a lifetime?

This series  is the perfect countdown to bedtime and this is the most charming story that will lull little ones to sleep with magical ideas in their head to inspire their dreams.  With its rhyme which flows naturally, stunning illustrations and the countdown, it is perfect to share on THAT night when sleep eludes us all because of the excitement and anticipation.  

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.  Love it. 

Moonlight, Goodnight

Moonlight, Goodnight

Moonlight, Goodnight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moonlight, Goodnight

Elisabeth Sophia

Katrina Jambrak

Little Steps, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A28.95

 9781922358561

Everywhere across the land, across the waters, too …
Some very sleepy creatures are waiting just for you.’

Owl follows the setting sun on a magical flight around the world as creatures on both land and sea settle down for the evening in this lyrical lullaby that eventually arrives home to wish the child goodnight.

Accompanied by rich illustrations of the vast and various landscapes in the gentle muted tones of nightfall, the child is taken on a journey that shows them everyone and everything needs to sleep as the shadow of night engulfs the world . Cleverly though, Jambrak keeps the star-filled sky the same colour throughout helping the child to understand that no matter where or who we are we all sleep under the same sky. So even if they are separated from family and friends, there is that continuity. of being wrapped in the same blanket.

A peek inside...

A peek inside.

One for little ones who are becoming aware of nighttime and the need to rest, and who need something soothing to settle them. 

 

Bluey: Sleepytime

Bluey: Sleepytime

Bluey: Sleepytime

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey: Sleepytime

Joe Brumm

Puffin, 2021

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

 9781761041198

It’s bedtime in the Heeler household and while Bluey is fast asleep, Mum finishes off the final story with Bingo.  As she turns out the light, she reminds Bingo that she is always there if Bingo needs her but Bingo really wants to do a Big Girl sleep and wake up in her own bed.  But will she?

Based on the television episode of the same name, this is a story that will resonate so deeply with the adult sharing it as the familiarity of children waking in the night, moving into their bed, wanting water, hogging the blankets, having good dreams and not-so that it will seem like there has been a camera in their own bedroom.  

Using a large format including foldout pages, now our young readers can return to their favourite bedtime episode time and again now it is in print format, while parents can use it to remind them that they are going to have a Big Kid night and stay in their own bed. And those that wish can also take their child on a journey through the night sky .

The connection between print and audiovisual versions of the same stories with their familiar characters and settings already in place is strong as children build their knowledge about what to expect from both formats.  To have such a superb series such as Bluey available whenever the child wants to return to it is such a bonus.