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Down Under The Twelve Days of Christmas

Down Under The Twelve Days of Christmas

Down Under The Twelve Days of Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Down Under The Twelve Days of Christmas

Michael Salmon

Ford Street Publishing, 2012

Pbk., RRP $A12.95

9781921665592 

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me … no, not a partridge in a pear tree. But a kookaburra in a gum tree! In this quirky re-release of Michael Salmon’s version of the traditional Christmas song, Santa has landed in Australia’s outback and is checking his list.  Although the kangaroos are in charge of the presents, their koala helpers are not helping very much at all.  Are six sharks a-surfing and seven emus laying really what someone wants to find under their tree – or anywhere?

Most of us are familiar with the bright, colourful illustrations that are a signature of Michael Salmon’s work and from the cover to the final page which is a blackline master to be photocopied and coloured in, they just delight the readers and put a smile on their faces.  Not only is the original song one of timeless tradition, but this book is one of timeless quality which will bring joy to yet another generation of little ones.  With ski-ing snakes and dancing dingoes, they are introduced to some of Australia’s most iconic creatures in situations beyond their normal bush habitats and daily habits.  And of course, the whole just begs to be the basis of an improvisation that lets the students demonstrate their knowledge of our fauna and alliteration.  Imagine eleven echidnas eating…

Christmas Day in Australia IS very different from all those snow-covered Christmas card scenes we seem to still hang on to, and this classic proves it!

If your library copy from way back when is tired and over-loved, this is the opportunity to renew it with a sparkling new version.  And don’t forget to introduce the children to the fun and games available in the cave!

Applesauce and the Christmas Miracle

Applesauce and the Christmas Miracle

Applesauce and the Christmas Miracle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Applesauce and the Christmas Miracle

Glenda Millard

Stephen Michael King

ABC Books 2008

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

9780733322495

 

 

This book arrived for review just before Christmas 2008 (just before the tragic Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria) and things being what they are, Christmas snuck by and it sat looking at me, begging for a review and being ignored.  Now it seems the delay was almost prophetic for the first few lines are …

“One orange evening, tiger-striped with blackened trees, a pig sat reminiscing. With eyes shut tight, she saw her valley as it had been: a breeze blew and the swing swayed, gently, from a willow bough.  But then the raging bushfire had come and licked the earth bare. Applesauce sighed, dawdled up the hill and settled in the dust by the shed, where Joe and Marigold had lived since the fire …

Applesauce is convinced that there can be no Christmas this year – her heart, where Christmas comes from, is as small as a gumnut and there was no Christmas in it at all.  But then something special happens and Applesauce discovers that Christmas does not need to be all about glitzy decorations, fancy foods and expensive presents.  It does indeed come from the heart.

This is a fabulous story that will give those affected by any disaster, hope.  Even though Christmas may be some time away and they can’t see past this day or, at most, this week, there is a strong message of life continuing, albeit it differently.  Stephen Michael King’s watercolour illustrations are delicate and haunting, some showing sights that have become too real for too many. But they are a perfect accompaniment to this story.

In the hands of a sensitive adult, this is a book to be shared with a littlie needing to know that things will not always be as bleak and black as they are now.

It was shortlisted for the Early Childhood category of the Australian Children’s Book of the Year Award and five years since its publication it is still one of the most highly recommended Christmas titles amongst the teacher librarian community. Teaching notes are available.

Julian at the Wedding

Julian at the Wedding

Julian at the Wedding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julian at the Wedding

Jessica Love

Walker, 2020

40pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

9781406397482

Julian and his grandmother are attending a wedding. In fact, Julian is in the wedding along with his cousin Marisol. When wedding duties are fulfilled and with a new dog friend in tow, the pair takes off to roam the venue, exploring everywhere from underneath tables to enchanting willow trees to muddy puddles!  So when Mariola’s dress gets ruined, Julian has the perfect solution. But how will the grown-ups respond?

We first met Julian and his flamboyant grandmother in Julian is a Mermaid, a brilliant but controversial interpretation of being true to oneself. This sequel is just as good as it subtly shifts the narrative of convention so that the wedding being that of two brides is as normal as any other is almost unremarkable. After all, a wedding is just “a party for love.”

However, its impact may be more profound. 

The story behind Charles M. Schultz introducing a black character into the Peanuts comic strip has been well-documented and there are stories galore of how this impacted young black readers in the US, particularly.  Suddenly they were seeing themselves in literature in a new and positive portrayal. And so it may well be with children like Julian – those who don’t live in a conventional family; those for who two mums and two dads is the norm; those who prefer to be mermaids than superheroes. Here they are in a story that treats their situation as the norm and moves on to the real issues – ruining your bridesmaid’s dress at a wedding where, traditionally, you’re supposed to remain pristine!

Like its predecessor, most of this story is told in the stunning illustrations with the minimum of text, and they hold so many riches that the book demands to be explored again and again. Jessica Love won the Bologna Ragazzi Award and Klaus Flugge Prize for Julian is a Mermaid, her debut picture book and it is quite probable that this will be among the prizewinners too. 

Peppa Pig Duo

Peppa Pig

Peppa Pig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peppa’s Spooky Halloween

9780241412268

Peppa Loves the Great Barrier Reef

9780241457542

Ladybird, 2020

32pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

The end of this weird school year is in sight and plans for 2021 start to solidify including introducing today’s pre-schoolers to the adventure of “big school” that will be their reality next year.  Whether this is being done in person or via video clips, the orientation is a critical part of the transition to allay all the natural fears that these littlest ones will have.  Thus to come to the library and see familiar family favourites like Peppa Pig on display ready for them to take home can be very reassuring.

Family Favourites were always popular with the little ones.

Family Favourites were always popular with the little ones.

So these two new releases from the ever popular Peppa Pig range will be valuable additions to your Family Favourites collection that will provide familiarity and continuity to these newest students.

In Peppa Loves the Great Barrier Reef Peppa and her family join marine biologist Mrs Kangaroo in her submarine as she explores her office, the Great Barrier Reef, learning about the creatures that inhabit this very special part of the planet. In Peppa’s Spooky Halloween the family don their favourite costumes for a special spooky show. – both books offering the opportunity to go beyond current boundaries and enjoy an adventure.

Never underestimate the power of seeing familiar characters in unfamiliar situations or the impact that they can have on early reading behaviours as their familiarity immediately connects the young reader to books and stories and the promise of fun to come.  So whether you are doing virtual visits or are lucky enough to be allowed real-life, real-time sessions, having stories like these visible will offer promises of magic and more magic.  The library is a place for them – what a positive message to receive from the get-go! 

 

I’m Ready… (series)

I'm Ready for Easter

I’m Ready for Easter

I'm Ready for the New Baby

I’m Ready for the New Baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Ready for Easter

9781760891596

I’m Ready for the New Baby

 9781760891626

14pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

 The days are getting cooler and coloured leaves are falling so Easter must be on its way.  There are lots of things to do in preparation and Master Platypus is very busy choosing colourful treats, hot cross buns, painting eggs and making special hats. Meanwhile Miss Wombat is also very busy preparing for the arrival of a new baby reading stories to the bump and decorating the nursery…

These are the two latest in this charming series (the final two are due in November 2020) that feature young anthropomorphic Australian animals doing the everyday things that young readers resonate with. There is a feeling of anticipation as the big events arrive, just as there is in any family, and our youngest readers will be happy that any concerns they might have are echoed elsewhere – they’re not alone.  

Building on the new development of providing our very earliest readers with stories that engage rather than one-word concept books, in a format that is the right size and robust enough for little hands to manage themselves, these two new episodes will delight as well as encourage those early reading behaviours , particularly role-play reading, that are the foundation of reading success.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas Eve

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Christmas Eve

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas Eve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas Eve

Eric Carle

Picture Puffin, 2019

12pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

9780241350249

It’s a cold, snowy Christmas Eve and everyone is at home waiting for a special visitor…

Little ones will adore this new story featuring the Very Hungry Caterpillar as they lift the flaps to discover who is hiding behind.  With its northern hemisphere focus  offering the opportunity to talk about why Christmas is so different from here, they will enjoy searching for the VHC because although he doesn’t play an active role in the story, he does appear on each page sharing the precepts of the Christmas season in simple text and classic Carle illustrations which will help focus their thinking to predict the story and who might be hiding. 

A favourite friend in a familiar setting and a recognisable author – has to be a Christmas stocking winner.

 

 

The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story

The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story

The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story

Bob Graham

Walker Books, 2019

40pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781406387612

It is time for the the Underhill children from the tooth fairy family to have a sleepover at Grandma and Grandad’s house, nestled in a teapot under the flight path of a large city airport.  The children love it there where they are doted on by their grandparents and do all sorts of special things like making fairy cakes and tasting leftover chocolate and using the punching bag to keep in shape. 

But when an urgent job comes in, one their parents can’t attend to because they are on another case already, it’s up to Grandma and April and Esme to try to find Akuba, a little girl in a red coat just arrived from Ghana. Will they find her amidst all the busyness and turmoil of the airport terminal?

A thoroughly modern interpretation of an age-old story, Bob Graham continues the tradition of the Tooth Fairy for today’s youngest readers. His distinctive illustrations reinforce the belief in all things magical, including cupids and angels, with references to mobile phones, and other modern conveniences.  But through it all, Grandad’s devotion to baby Vincent and Esme’s gift to her grandma, show that while some things change, the fundamentals stay the same.  A charming story that will reconnect children to past traditions.  

My Parents Cancelled My Birthday

My Parents Cancelled My Birthday

My Parents Cancelled My Birthday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Parents Cancelled My Birthday

Jo Simmons

Nathan Reed

Bloomsbury, 2019

256pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781526606587

Tom is really looking forward to his birthday- he has had to wait a whole year while all the others in his class have had theirs and he is the last to do so. It is also his Lucky Birthday – 11 on the 11th – and so it is sure to be extra special with amazing activities and lots of presents.  But then disasters begin to befall the family – the Curse of the Tooth Fairy according to his little sister Meg – and his parents are so swamped they cancel his birthday.  How can this be?  And with the invitations designed and delivered already!!  

But then Tom draws on his resistingance, and with the help of his friends decides to throw himself the best party ever!  What could go wrong?

Written in the first person so the reader is constantly viewing the circumstances through Tom’s eyes and empathising, this is an engaging read for the newly-independent reader. Peppered with cartoon-like illustrations and Dad’s peculiar expressions, it is funny without resorting to toilet humour and a seriously hilarious but concerning twist at the end, this is one to promote to the boys who are looking for something quirky and fun.

1, 2, BOO! A Spooky Counting Book

1, 2, BOO! A Spooky Counting Book

1, 2, BOO! A Spooky Counting Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1, 2, BOO! A Spooky Counting Book

Paul Howard

Bloomsbury, 2019

22pp., board book., RRP $A14.99

9781526612052

We went trick-or-treating and we saw …

When a brother and sister go trick-or-treating, they compete to see who find the most bizarre and brilliant things. As they try to count all the hair-raising creatures, including  ghosts, skeletons, dancing monsters, and spooky bats, everything escalates until …

With Halloween on the horizon, this is a fun book for littlies that will help them join in the fun with a rhyming story that will also consolidate their counting skills.  Even if they are too little to trick-and-treat themselves, they could keep a tally of the skeletons, witches and other costumes who  come to their door and work out which was the most popular. And then they too, can participate in the ending.

 

Elmer: A Classic Collection/ Elmer’s Birthday

Elmer: A Classic Collection

Elmer: A Classic Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elmer: A Classic Collection

David McKee

Andersen Press, 2019

152pp., hbk., RRP $29.99

9781783448678

Thirty years ago I discovered a lovable character that has been an integral part of the lives of the very young students I’ve taught and my grandchildren – a patchwork elephant called Elmer. Every time his creator David McKee offered a new story, it was in my hands and in the ears of the nearest children.  So now, to have a collection of the five earliest stories in one volume is heaven on a stick for such a fan.

Featuring Elmer, Elmer and the Rainbow, Elmer and the Lost Teddy, Elmer in the Snow, and Elmer’s Special Day, just five of the 27 stories in the series, the little patchwork elephant who likes to play jokes on his friends but is always compassionate and helpful, is set to make a whole new generation of fans as parents discover this childhood favourite all over again.

Elmer's Birthday

Elmer’s Birthday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elmer’s Birthday

David McKee

Andersen Press, 2019

32pp., hbk., RRP $24.99

9781783447947

And to celebrate his 30th birthday, there is a new story called, appropriately, Elmer’s Birthday. Hoping to get their own back on him, the elephants decide to play a joke on Elmer on his birthday and spend the day getting all the other animals on board.  But who has the last laugh? 

Great for teaching children about elephants, the animals of the jungle, colour and patterns, as well as the themes of each story, I believe little ones have not had a real education if they don’t meet Elmer. These two are going straight to my version of the pool room!