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That’s Not My Wombat

That's Not My Wombat

That’s Not My Wombat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s Not My Wombat

Fiona Watt

Usborne, 2020

10pp., board book., RRP $A14.99

 9781474980470

The latest in this series of over 150 charming board books for our very youngest readers that encourage them to use their senses to discover the world around them focuses on t e wombat, such an iconic Australian creature.

With shiny claws, smooth paws, soft tummy and several other distinctive features. little hands will enjoy exploring the textural elements that are the hallmark of the series.  Like its companion which highlights the koala, it teaches our littlies to look more closely at the details that distinguish the wombat from other marsupials .  The repetitive text and clear pictures encourage prediction, thus developing those early concepts about print that are so essential while engaging them with the reading experience in a way that only print books can.

Definitely one to add to the Christmas stocking or baby shower gift!

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Eric Carle

Puffin, 2019

24pp., board book, RRP $A19.99

9780141338484

“In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf…”  So begins one of the most well-known stories written for children in the modern era.  First published in 1969, who doesn’t know this classic story of the hatching of that little egg, and the caterpillar’s journey through a an orchard of fruits throughout the week, an un-caterpillar feast on Saturday and culminating in a massive stomach ache?  So big, in fact, that the little caterpillar has to eat through a nice green leaf to ease it and then goes to sleep for another week, snug in a cocoon until he emerges as a beautiful butterfly.

With an engaging character, bright pictures created in Carle’s signature collage style, cut and cutout pages that promise new things when they are turned, counting and predicting and reading along, and a most satisfying ending, this book has endured to become a classic, one that should be on the bottom shelf, your read-aloud basket and your teaching toolkit. Being a larger board book edition, it is designed to stand up to the constant reading it will have as it is passed along and around families, sparking and creating memories of times spent together. A classic that needs to be kept alive for generations, despite screens and other distractions. 

Where is the Green Sheep?

Where is the Green Sheep?

Where is the Green Sheep?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where is the Green Sheep?

Mem Fox

Judy Horacek

Puffin, 2017

32pp., board book., RRP $A14.99

9780143501763

 

Here is the blue sheep, and here is the red sheep. Here is the bath sheep, and here is the bed sheep. But where is the green sheep?

There are some stories that you can recite word for word even if it’s years since you last read them, such is their power and the insistence of the little ones in your life to “Read it again, Grandma!”

I owe a debt of gratitude to Mem and Judy because this is the story that Miss Now-9 learned to read on and when Grandma got tired, Miss Now 14 was able to take over the reading duties. No other book, no matter how well promoted, ever came close to the demand for this one and so with Puffin’s 80th birthday celebrations in full swing, it seems timely to promote it to a whole new generation of parents and grandparents so they too can achieve this particular rite of passage.

With its. rhyme, rhythm and repetition and simple illustrations that help the youngest reader to predict the text and share the joy when it is confirmed, Fox and Horacek have hit on the right recipe for a story to encourage our youngest readers to love the sound of our language.  Given Mem’s background in working with and writing for littlies though, this is hardly surprising and you know any book with her name on the cover will be a winner. 

In fact, so iconic is this title from one of Australia’s most-loved author-illustrator partnerships that there is even a 2020 edition that really puts the icing on the cake of this special year. There can be no greater tribute. 

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

My Best Friend Is a Dragon

My Best Friend Is a Dragon

My Best Friend Is a Dragon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Best Friend Is a Dragon

Rachael McLean

Penguin, 2020

14pp., board book., RRP $A13.99

9780593093993

Way back when, when I had the Dream Team and we were learning to write persuasive letters, I read the class a story about a dragon – can’t remember which one – but I do remember telling them that the dragon had appeared in the school playground and they had to write a letter to the principal explaining all the reasons that we should let it stay! Thirty years on, I still remember some of them like using its tail as a ladder to climb so they could slide down its back and bounce off its neck!  Now, in this board book for our youngest readers, Rachael McLean seems to have gathered up all those reasons that my students thought of to produce this delightful little story of a boy whose BFF is a  dragon and all the things they do together in a day. But to add extra interest, the dragon’s contribution is hidden behind a flap creating a golden opportunity for the little one to summon what they know already about dragons to predict how this one might help.  If walking feels too slow, how could it help? If your room is dark at night, what could it do?

Books like this that not only entertain but encourage the child to actively engage with the text are so important in developing those early skills and behaviours that are the foundation of reading independently in the future, so this is an ideal one to recommend to your parent body who have young families and who want to give them a head start.  

Ten Sleepy Sheep

Ten Sleepy Sheep

Ten Sleepy Sheep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Sleepy Sheep

Renée Treml

Puffin, 2020

24pp., board book., RRP $A14.99

9781760896768

Dusk on the farm and it’s time for the animals to go to sleep and so in this gentle countdown book, each settles down for the night.  

The ideal bedtime book to draw the curtains on the day for our youngest readers, the rhyme and rhythm will lull them off to sleep just as it does the sheep, the calves, the koalas and all the other little creatures who need their rest. 

Featuring the iconic soft drawings that we’ve come to associate with Treml’s work , this would be the ideal gift for a new mum and dad to start their little one’s reading journey.  

That’s Not My Narwhal

That’s Not My Narwhal

That’s Not My Narwhal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s Not My Narwhal

Fiona Watt

Usborne, 2020

10pp., board book. RRP $A14.99

9781474972109

A little board book in this popular series that encourages children to explore both language through its repetitive text and their sense of touch through its textured patches actually has the potential to appeal to a much wider audience as students get ready to enjoy the 2020 Book Week theme of Curious Creatures, Wild Minds. 

This almost mythical creature, which actually lives in the cold waters of Greenland, Canada, and Russia is rapidly becoming the “creature-du-jour” with young readers looking for something more exotic than the unicorn which has become a bit ho-hum.  So even though this book in this popular series explores why none of the five narwhals depicted is the reader’s narwhal, the question that begs to be answered is, “What IS a narwhal?”, a question that could spark an interesting investigation and perhaps lead to a presentation entitled This is My Narwhal satisfying the Critical and Creative Thinking outcomes of the Inquiry strand, as they pose questions to identify, explore and organise information and ideas. 

I love discovering books written for littlies that have application across the ages and this is surely one of them, and a most timely release. 

Little White Fish (series)

Little White Fish (series)

Little White Fish (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little White Fish (series)

Little White Fish under the Ocean

9781922326102

Little White Fish and his Daddy

9781922326034

Guido Van Genechten

Catch A Star, 2019

board book, 16pp., RRP $A12.99

Originally published in Belgium and The Netherlands in 2004, and well-known throughout Europe, the Little White Fish series is now available to tiny Australian readers. With bright illustrations set against a black background they are immediately eye-catching and appealing and with simple, repetitive text about familiar situations, our very youngest readers will be able to listen to each and then be able to tell themselves about Little White Fish’s adventures – the precursor to “real” reading.

In Little White Fish under the Ocean, the reader is taken on adventure to the depths of the sea, down to where no sunlight reaches and it is pitch  black, because Little White Fish wants to know just how deep it is.  Little White Fish and his Daddy has a familiar theme of the the various undersea creatures comparing the merits of their fathers, reminding me of the popular kids’ song My Dad’s Better Than Your Dad from Colin Buchanan that was always sung with great gusto by my students.

Two more from a publisher that understands that even the littlest people need entertaining stories in a format that is the right size for little hands and can withstand the enthusiasm of those hands. 

Bluey: All About …

Bluey: All About ...

Bluey: All About …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey: All About …

Bluey

9781760898304

Bingo

9781760898298

Puffin, 2020

12pp., board books, RRP $A14.99

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. Based on the Australian children’s television program that is so popular on ABC Kids , the adventures continue in print format enabling our youngest readers to extend their fun while appreciating the joy of stories. They can also get creative with the activities from the ABC. 

Now these two books add another dimension to the characters by offering a behind-the-scenes look at their lives and loves, thus introducing the concept of characterisation to our youngest readers. Both Bluey and Bingo have their own stories beyond their two-dimensional screen portrayals. Using such familiar faces to not only develop concepts about print and early reading behaviours but also to sow the seeds of literary appreciation is the perfect way to start developing an understanding about how quality stories are built and why certain characters stay with us for a long time.  I know friends with young children have been known to ask, “What would Bluey do?” when their children have been faced with a dilemma!

To take the power and impact of the books a step further, children might like to do a shape book of themselves, sharing their likes and dislikes so they can start to see that they, too, are made of many different layers. Then, if they share their books with their friends, they can begin to understand that each is unique with many similarities while still being different and that just adds to the reasons  they like each other.

Let’s Go! On a Tractor

Let's Go! On a Tractor

Let’s Go! On a Tractor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Go! On a Tractor

Rosalyn Albert

Natalia Moore

Catch A Star, 2020

16pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

9781922326089

Let’s go on a tractor
All around the farm
Past the duck pond, through the fields
Behind the big red barn.

This is a new addition to the Let’s Go series, this one taking our youngest readers around the farm on a tractor. 

The series focuses on two children enjoying rides on a variety of transport. Familiar topics, catchy rhymes and colourful illustrations not only make for an enjoyable read that they will be able to retell themselves endlessly, but also promote what can be expected from story books. It also helps build vocabulary as not all will be familiar with farm life, riding a train or a ferry, or travelling on a rocket so when they encounter other books with those sorts of settings, they are able to bring their knowledge to the page, predict what they will see and what might happen, as well as being in a better position to get their mouth ready for unknown words.

We should never underestimate the role that these sorts of readers have in our children’s literacy as they develop those early concepts about print, and by using sturdy, durable board books we can start that process earlier and earlier. This is just one of a number of series from this publisher that is bringing quality stories to our e=youngest readers.