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The Odds: Run, Odds, Run

Run, Odds, Run

Run, Odds, Run

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Run, Odds, Run

Matt Stanton

ABC Books, 2021

208pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

 9780733340642

Kip is a quiet kid in a loud city. Living with her father after her mum died, she prefers to keep a low profile and her home is her sanctuary. She’s easy to miss and that’s the way she likes it. School, with its hustle and bustle and noise is overwhelming and she is dreading the day the spotlight falls on her and she has to tell the rest of the class why she is special.

Then, one day, Kip’s quiet life is suddenly interrupted. Ten of her favourite characters have stepped out of their worlds of her imagination and memories and into hers as real-life beings.

But what happens when a dragon-hunting rabbit leaves his comic strip? When an old man leaves his picture book? When a ninja leaves her TV show, a race-car driver leaves their video game, and a dinosaur turns up from Kip’s nightmares? But while Kip just wants the creatures to hide and be invisible as she wishes to be, her father tells her , “If you start running away from hard things you never stop running” and Kip (and the reader) learn a significant life lesson.

In this addition to this series, The Woman in the Suit is here. She wants to know about the ten odd characters who escaped Kip’s imagination and now live with Kip and her dad in their two-bedroom apartment and she’s asking questions Kip doesn’t want to answer.

NOW THE ODDS ARE ON THE RUN!

The problem is … Lance the rabbit and Ninja-Nina are duelling, Racer’s trying to drive, Booster the rooster wants to leave and Unicorn and the family cat are not getting along. Kip is hiding secrets from her dad, Diana the dinosaur keeps giving her a fright and the Woman in the Suit seems to know their every move.

Fans will be delighted that this is a series that is going to continue and even moreso with the news that Stanton has signed a new 13-book deal with his publisher – his popularity with his audience proven by becoming one of just a handful of Australian authors to reach the million book-sale mark – and that there is a new series coming in March. Much fun and laughter (with serious, solid undertones) to look forward to. 

A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

Mary Lee Donovan

Lian Cho

Greenwillow, 2021

40pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

 9780063228658

“There are almost as many ways of making someone feel welcome as there are people on the planet. ” 

However, regardless of the race, religion, culture or creed there are two things that particularly permeate our need to connect with others, to seek acceptance if not friendship, and offer help and protection for those in need and that is the verbal language of welcome and the sharing of food.

In this book, written as a poem to the world as a “protest against intolerance, injustice and inhumanity” both are explored and explained through the text and illustrations. Beginning as a way to discover how to say ‘welcome; in as many languages as possible, it has evolved into an exploration of the various customs that usually accompany the word when it is spoken.   Sitting alongside the text, the illustrator illuminates this with pictures of everyday families sharing food as they welcome strangers to their homes, culminating in a huge four-page spread that has everyone at the same table.  There is even a pronunciation guide to help you get your tongue around the unfamiliar words. 

Even though there are many languages throughout the world, there is a limit to the number that can be included and so the author has selected 13 of those most commonly spoken – English, Indonesian, Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, Bengali, German, Hindi, Urdu, Lakota Sioux, Bashkir and Gaelic – immediately offering an opportunity for your students to add their own version both of the words and the customs, providing an authentic activity to celebrate both diversity and inclusion. Astute teachers would include a focus on the language of our First Nations peoples and a closer examination of the meaning, purpose and origins of the traditional Welcome to Country.

Just as the author discovered that there is so much more to ‘welcome” beyond the spoken word, so, too, there can be so much more to sharing this book to explore and share meaningful, purposeful learning. 

While We Can’t Hug

While We Can't Hug

While We Can’t Hug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While We Can’t Hug

Eoin McLaughlin

Polly Dunbar

Faber, 2020

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

9780571365586

Hedgehog and Tortoise are the best of friends. They met when each was trying to find someone to give them a hug but now this nasty disease has hit the world, they are not allowed to hug each other any more. And that makes them sad.  But then Wise Owl shows them that there are many ways to show your love even if you can’t actually touch each other,

This is the sequel to The Hug, and is equally as heart-warming. Even though it was published a year or so ago it is a timely then as it was then with similar social distancing still being in place, although the pandemic is not mentioned because there are many reasons why friends might be separated and unable to hug each other.  And while Hedgehog and Tortoise offer a number of suggestions for connections, no doubt the children can offer more and can have fun doing so, putting them into practice so they can catch up with many different unseen people.  Remember when people put teddies in their windows so little ones could see them on their daily walk?  If not then, why not now? It all goes to telling each other we are seen and loved and thus, protecting and promoting our mental health. 

Winston and the Indoor Cat

Winston and the Indoor Cat

Winston and the Indoor Cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winston and the Indoor Cat

Leila Rudge

Walker Books, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A25.99

9781760652609

Winston is an outdoor cat and because that’s all he has ever known, it suits him perfectly.  Then he spies the Indoor Cat and thinks that it is trapped so he devises a plan to free it so it, too, can enjoy the outdoors as he does.  But the Indoor Cat soon learns that it prefers the indoors – can the two ever be friends?

In the vein of the old story of the town mouse and the country mouse, this is a story that introduces the concept of being able to be friends even if you have differences in beliefs, values and habits.  Both the simple but powerful text and the gentle illustrations in their subtle palette convey a tone of harmony even though the cats are distinctly different.  

A good one for the beginning of the school year when new classes are formed and friendships forged even though everyone is a unique individual. 

 

 

The History of Everywhere: All the Stuff That You Never Knew Happened at the Same Time

The History of Everywhere: All the Stuff That You Never Knew Happened at the Same Time

The History of Everywhere: All the Stuff That You Never Knew Happened at the Same Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The History of Everywhere: All the Stuff That You Never Knew Happened at the Same Time

Philip Parker

Liz Kay

Walker, 2021

64pp., hbk., RRP $A39.99

 9781406391213

“History can seem a confusing and complex subject.  Civilisations rise and fall and the connections between them can be hard to understand.”

So in this innovative book, there is an attempt to show what has happening all over the world in any one period from the ancient civilisations to the modern world at the end of the 20th century. It shows that woolly mammoths were still around when the Egyptians built their pyramids and that Leonardo Da Vinci lived at the same time as Henry VIII and the Aztecs,

Divided into broad periods of history starting with 4000-1000BC double spreads have a background map of the world and superimposed on this are brief paragraphs about what was happening where at the time. There is a brief description about life during the time in general, and a key event is given more detail, encouraging budding historians to find out more and consider how that shaped the world overall.  Expanding on this are special “Focus on…” pages which take a closer look at those events or eras that had a major influence on the world such as Greece, Rome, China, Aztecs, Japan, Mughal India and so forth.  

Today’s events are also addressed, inviting readers to contemplate how events such as the development of smart phones and social media, the GFC, the environmental crisis and even the current pandemic will be viewed by the historians of the future.  How has the internet impacted on how the world’s peoples are so connected now and how has that shaped our lives, particularly the government policies that tend to drive so many decisions?  

If books like Ancient Wonders, and BANG   have sparked an interest in where we have come from and how we re who we are because of that, then this is the perfect introduction to encourage students to take a closer look via a format that is visually appealing and easily accessible. 

 

 

 

The Claw

The Claw

The Claw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Claw

Karen Witt

Aaron Pocock

Little Steps, 2020

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.95

9781922358103

‘Clive was charming, friendly and chipper, and on each side of his body, he boasted a nipper.’

He had many friends in the mudflats and played with them during the day although there were occasions when he had to defend himself.  and during one fight he not only lost a nipper but also his confidence.  He felt that because he was not whole and perfect like the others he had no place among them and despite their efforts to entice him out, he spent the day hiding in the weeds 

Mud crabs are born to be BIG and STRONG

But with only one nipper, I don’t belong.

But when his friends are captured by Mr Beerbellio a greedy fisherman, who is intent on crab sandwiches regardless of the storm raging, Clive is forced to set his self-pity aside to help his friends.

While the premise of this story of lacking confidence because of being different is common, interpreting it in this way is new and young readers will enjoy predicting if and how Clive can be a hero, and particularly what might happen in the future given the twist in the end.  The illustrations are the highlight bring Clive and his environment, and particularly Mr Beerbellio to life with their clever choice of colour and use of shading producing a 3D effect. 

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

As well as resonating with those readers who might also be lacking confidence because they believe they don’t meet the demands of the invisible, anonymous body police, this is also an opportunity to examine the behaviour of those like Mr Beerbellio and consider whether it’s right to take more than you need. Many will have been fishing for all sorts of species over summer and may have been frustrated by bag limits, but what is their purpose?  A gentle way to introduce the concept of sustainability even to our youngest readers. 

 

The Hug

The Hug

The Hug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hug

Eoin McLaughlin

Polly Dunbar

Faber Child, 2020

56pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9780571348756

Hedgehog was feeling sad.
As sad as a hedgehog can feel.
So sad only one thing could help…

But no matter who he asked, everyone found something more important to do rather than hug this creature with all his prickly prickles.

Meanwhile, coming from the other end of the book…

Tortoise was feeling sad.
As sad as a tortoise can feel.
So sad only one thing could help…

But no matter who he asked, everyone found something more important to do rather than hug this creature with all his hard shell.

Will they ever find someone to give them the hug they need?

As heartwarming as Guess How Much I Love You, this is a story that shows that no matter how hard or prickly we may seem, everyone needs a hug now and then and an elbow bump, a pretend high-five or a stand-off cuddle just won’t cut it!  One for the little ones in your life. 

 

We Are One: How the World Adds Up

We Are One: How the World Adds Up

We Are One: How the World Adds Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Are One: How the World Adds Up

Susan Hood

Linda Yan

Candlewick, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9781536201147

This is another one of those rare books for which the publisher’s blurb describes it best…

One can be one thing all on its own—one star, one stream, one stick, one stone.

But those on their toes, those using their smarts, know one can be more than the sum of its parts. 

Consider the two slices of bread that make up one sandwich, or the three lines of poetry that form one haiku, or even the ten years that form one decade. From one to ten, from sandwiches to centuries, every part is necessary to the whole.

In this fascinating concept book, a simple rhyming narration aimed at younger children is complemented by informational panels about subjects like the four compass points, the five acts in Shakespeare, the seven colors of a rainbow, or the nine innings in baseball. Award-winning author Susan Hood and debut children’s book illustrator Linda Yan offer a mind-expanding look at early math concepts such as part/whole relationships, fractions, and addition—while underlying themes of cooperation, peace, and kindness make this beautiful volume one to be enjoyed by anyone at any age.”

This celebration of numbers illustrates how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, while every part is critical to the whole! From one to ten, around us are things that cannot be without every part: seven days make a week, six sides make a snowflake, five acts make a Shakespeare play, and so on.  It is a perfect demonstration of the meaning of synergy – the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects – which is an abstract term usually too large for little minds but the repetition of the little girl in each of the illustrations and showing how she is directly connected to each of the examples give it a real-world application that is easily understood.  

As well as the informational panels at the base of each page, there is a comprehensive list of sources and resources that give more information about each of the concepts as well as some especially for kids that offer explanations of some of them like the seasons and the braille season.  There is also a comprehensive list of other things that occur in groups of a specific number offering an opportunity for the reader to create their own page, such as the  eight reindeer that pull Santa’s sleigh, or the eight phases of the moon. The emphasis is always on how many work together to make one.

If I were still in a school this would definitely be the starting point for my maths program for the year to show the children how they are surrounded by numbers and other mathematical concepts, setting up an investigation that will resonate with them and provide purpose and focus for the year’s learning. 

 

 

 

Gustavo, the Shy Ghost

Gustavo, the Shy Ghost

Gustavo, the Shy Ghost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gustavo, the Shy Ghost

Flavia Z. Drago

Walker Books, 2021

40pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781406398502

 Gustavo is a ghost. He is good at doing all sorts of paranormal things, like walking through walls, making objects fly and glowing in the dark. And he loves playing beautiful music on his violin. But Gustavo also has a problem. He is SHY. Which means some things are harder for him to do, like getting in a line to buy eye-scream or talking to the other monsters. But Gustavo longs to be a part of something, he longs to be seen. More than anything, he wants to make a friend. So, plucking up all his courage, he sends a very special letter: “Dear Monsters, I would like to invite you to my violin concert at the Day of the Dead party…”

But will anybody come?

This is a most delightful, award-winning story that will resonate with so many who find their shyness crippling, to the point that it really impacts their life and stifles their dreams.  Based on the creator’s own childhood, it offers hope to those who would really like to make a friend by encouraging them to discover their strengths and passions, play to them and share them. Even for those who are not as shy as Gustavo, a lack of confidence in who we are can prevent us from making the most of the situations that present themselves, and this has been quite noticeable after months of having to be t  home without the physical contact of our friends,  So sharing Gustavo’s story, considering the worst that might happen in a situation and then suggesting strategies that could be used if it does can be a starting point to taking that first step.  If Gustavo can find a way, our children can.  

One to share with all our students as the social season really starts to take off, and even if it’s making the first move to make a new friend in the caravan park at the beach, it will open up new horizons. 

Who’s This Little Chick?

Who's This Little Chick?

Who’s This Little Chick?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s This Little Chick?

Auntie Aldang

Little Steps, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.95

9781922358370

When a little chick hatches from a little rock in their garden, Jay and Essie go on a mission to find her family.  Assuming that because she hatched from an egg. they go to the chicken zoo to search.  But while they find all sorts of different chickens, none of them are the little chick’s parents.  Will there be a happy ending?

Told in rhyme, this story follows a familiar theme of searching for a parent by comparing the baby’s characteristics to those of the adults, but this has the twist of introducing young readers to some of the different species of chooks that there are, beyond those that are more familiar.  Some of very strange but sadly, this little chick isn’t like them at all.

As well as that aspect, young readers can also consider whether chickens are the only things that hatch from eggs, and they could even start to compare their own looks to those of their parents so they can see the various features they share that make them a unique blend of genes. 

Was the little chick even a chick? Perhaps a story that initiates the discussion about where they came from.