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The Ugliest Dog in the World 30th Anniversary Edition

The Ugliest Dog in the World

The Ugliest Dog in the World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ugliest Dog in the World 30th Anniversary Edition

Bruce Whatley

HarperCollins. 2022

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

 9781460761533

As the clock ticks around, and pages are pulled off the calendar, it seems no time at all when a favourite that surely was just released yesterday, celebrates an important anniversary.  Last week it was the 120th anniversary of Peter Rabbit, this time it’s Bruce Whatley’s The Ugliest Dog in the World. Surely it’s not 30 years since I first heard the hoot of children’s laughter as they pored over the hilarious text and illustrations in this classic! I particularly remember the kids labelling the “lady next door” as Ms …  (a colleague) “because she looks just like her!” Out of the mouths of babes, and, in this case, some things can’t be unheard – even 30 years on.

This is the perfect book for teaching this generation about ‘beauty being in the eye of the beholder”, that everyone views the same thing differently, and that body image really doesn’t matter.  And even if the dog doesn’t meet the standards for Crufts, it still brings love and joy to its owner and that’s all that matters. 

Only the best books endure, and this is one of those.

 

 

The Tale of Peter Rabbit 120th Anniversary

The Tale of Peter Rabbit 120th Anniversary

The Tale of Peter Rabbit 120th Anniversary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tale of Peter Rabbit 120th Anniversary

Beatrix Potter

Warne, 2022

32pp., hbk., RRP $A16.99

9780241545379

In 1902 publishers Frederick Warne & Co. took a punt on publishing a children’s book that had been privately printed but rejected by other publishers.  

Not only were the stories of Peter Rabbit and the infamous Mr McGregor’s garden were available to children around the world, but also their iconic format of small books with white covers, glossy pages and lots of white space around the pictures and text.  Now, in 2022, a new edition – this time with a splendid gold cover – has been issued to mark the 120th anniversary of that first publication.  

This is the original tale with Peter at his most adventurous, cheekiest and lovable self as he wriggles into Mr. McGregor’s garden, with Beatrix Potter’s original text and her beautifully engaging illustrations but in a new, larger format, that allows families to share the stories together.

When it was first released, creator Beatrix Potter patented a Peter Rabbit doll in 1903 and followed it almost immediately with a Peter Rabbit board game. becoming one of the first to introduce broader merchandise to accompany the core product and thus Peter has featured on a range of goods for both children and adults, including toys, dishes, foods, clothing, and movies, thus establishing his familiarity and popularity with succeeding generations.  

If you, or someone you know, is establishing a library of must-have children’s classics, then this is an essential. And having whet the appetite, continue to share the joy with the others in her repertoire

Book 1: The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902)
Book 2: The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (1903)
Book 3: The Tailor of Gloucester (1903)
Book 4: The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (1904)
Book 5: The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904)
Book 6: The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle (1905)
Book 7: The Tale of The Pie and the Patty-Pan (1905)
Book 8: The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher (1906)
Book 9: The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit (1906)
Book 10: The Story of Miss Moppet (1906)
Book 11: The Tale of Tom Kitten (1907)
Book 12: The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck (1908)
Book 13: The Tale of Samuel Whiskers (1908)
Book 14: The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies (1909)
Book 15: The Tale of Ginger and Pickles (1909)
Book 16: The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse (1910)
Book 17: The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes (1911)
Book 18: The Tale of Mr. Tod (1912)
Book 19: The Tale of Pigling Bland (1913)
Book 20: Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes (1917)
Book 21: The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse (1918) 
Book 22: Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes (1922)
Book 23: The Tale of Little Pig Robinson (1930)

And don’t forget the recently-discovered Book 24 – The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots

And in serendipity, this post from A Mighty Girl with lots of info and links to works about Beatrix Potter, herself…

Today’s A Mighty Girl Community Pick is in celebration of Women’s History Month: “Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit” by Linda Marshall. When Beatrix Potter was growing up, girls weren’t supposed to do… well, much of anything. They didn’t go to school and were expected to stay at home and keep house — but Beatrix wanted to do more. The nature-loving girl had a gift for drawing and writing, and grew up to write a story about a naughty rabbit named Peter that became a tremendous success. So when developers threatened the countryside that she loved, she used the money from her books to purchase acres and acres of land in England’s Lake District, leaving it in a trust so that future generations could enjoy it as much as she did. This gorgeously illustrated picture book biography celebrates Beatrix Potter’s many accomplishments, including her little-known contribution to saving the countryside that inspired her beloved stories. Highly recommended for ages 5 to 9.
For another fascinating picture book telling her story, we also recommend “Beatrix Potter, Scientist” for ages 5 to 9.
To share her inspiring story with older kids, we recommend the illustrated biography “Who Was Beatrix Potter?” for ages 8 to 12 while adult fans of Beatrix Potter and her many books will love “Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life“and “Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature
For more children’s books about girls who love exploring the great outdoors, visit our blog post, “Explore Your World: 30 Mighty Girl Books About Outdoor Discovery” 

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Velveteen Rabbit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Velveteen Rabbit

Margery Williams Bianco

Hélène Magisson

New Frontier, 2021

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

9781913639891

Sitting at the top of the Boy’s Christmas stocking is a stuffed rabbit, sewn in a snuggly fabric called velveteen, and by far the most impressive present amongst the nuts, oranges, chocolate almonds and a clockwork mouse.  But in a time of new-fangled mechanical toys the wonder doesn’t last long and the Velveteen Rabbit is soon discarded for toys with more whizbangery and it sits forlorn and forgotten in the nursery.

Wondering what it has done to deserve this fate, it confides in wise Skin Horse that he longs to be a real rabbit.  Skin Horse tells him that toys do become real when they are loved by children.  But the chances of that happening seem unlikely until the Boy becomes ill with scarlet fever and his nanny gives him the rabbit for company…

Reimagined with new illustrations in the softest of palettes, this is a classic story  first published in 1922, that epitomises this year’s CBCA Book week theme of Dreaming with eyes open.  It is not only quite an intense story with a number of twists and turns meaning it is probably one better shared and discussed with a child over a few sessions, but as with the stories of that era, it was intended to teach young children lessons about life and there are a number of these embedded in the narrative.  So it throws up issues such as whether one’s looks really matter – it is who we are rather than what we look like; that there are hills and dales and ups and downs in everyone’s life and having the resilience to see them through shapes who we are and builds us for the next drama; that loving someone can be painful and that it can mean letting them go; to be careful what you wish for because the grass may not always be greener; and most importantly, IMO, is that who we are is enough.  We don’t need to depend on the validation of others for our self-worth and confidence.

It might even spark a philosophical discussion about reality – what is real and how do we distinguish between the various versions of reality that the author presents with such conviction and so convincingly? If reading is dreaming with your eyes open, where is the border? 

 

Eric Carle’s Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and Other Nursery Rhymes

Eric Carle's Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and Other Nursery Rhymes

Eric Carle’s Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and Other Nursery Rhymes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Carle’s Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and Other Nursery Rhymes

Eric Carle

Penguin, 2022

10pp., board book., RRP $A19.99

9780593224311

Children learn their mother tongue by listening to it, playing with it and sharing it and hence rhymes like those in this book have endured over generations because of the rhythm and repetition than encourages them to engage all their senses.  Added to that there is often the bonus experience of sitting on the lap of a loved someone and sharing something that goes beyond the exchange of sounds and syllables.

There would be few young children who are not familiar with The Very Hungry Caterpillar and so to have this little critter wandering in and out of the pages of this book, illustrated in Carle’s distinctive style and palette will have surefire appeal.  Add to that, the fun of lifting the flaps to discover what is underneath and all in all this is a wonderful addition to the libraries of our youngest readers.  

Five rhymes feature – “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” “Hickory Dickory Dock,” “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” and “The Wheels on the Bus.” – carefully chosen because each focuses on something the little one can relate to and by using the technique of not disclosing the final line until the flap is lifted, there is plenty of opportunity for the child to predict what might be uncovered, thereby not only showing off their existing knowledge but also having power over the print!

Ideal for those who know the VHC already but for those who don’t, it opens up a whole new reading experience as they discover his adventures!  There’s a reason the little character has endured since 1969!

My First Elmer Christmas

 

 

 

 

My First Elmer Christmas

My First Elmer Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My First Elmer Christmas

David McKee

Andersen Press, 2021

10pp., board book, RRP $A18.99

9781839130540

It’s two days before Christmas Eve, the night Papa Red visits, and the young elephants are very excited. This year Elmer has a special treat in store for the young elephants, if they can keep quiet and out of sight… 

Elmer the patchwork elephant is an enduring favourite with our youngest readers and this  specially abridged version of the original is shaped like a Christmas tree and designed for little fingers that will add to the anticipation of THE night!  Who knew that elephants and their friends celebrated this special time just like we do?

A classic for the Christmas Countdown collection that will open up a whole world of Elmer stories, activities and fun for a new generation. 

 

Roald Dahl: On the First Day of Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

Roald Dahl: On the First Day of Christmas

Roald Dahl: On the First Day of Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roald Dahl: On the First Day of Christmas

Roald Dahl

Quentin Blake

Puffin, 2021

16pp., board book, RRP $A14.99

9780241492888

On the twelfth day of Christmas a grown-up gave to me…

12 books a-balancing

And so begins a less-than-traditional countdown to Christmas featuring many of Dahl’s most well-known and well-loved characters and Quentin Blake’s iconic illustrations.  But as well as being a counting book, it is also the best introduction for little ones to the works of this much-loved author whose books, while largely written for more independent readers, will nevertheless entertain our youngest ones if they’re shared as a read-aloud.  No child should go through their young life without knowing what a whizz-popper is or dreaming of winning that golden ticket!

And when they’ve heard those classics, there are the other stories featured in this book to work through and then a whole host of others crafted by one of the most popular authors in a primary school library.  Can you think of a better, more enduring gift to give a little one? 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Australian Feast

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Australian Feast

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Australian Feast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Australian Feast

Eric Carle

Puffin, 2021 

12pp., board book., RRP $A16.99

9780241489536

We all know of The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s liking for food and the foods on the menu of his first feast, but what would be on the table if he came to an Australian feast? Particularly one designed for a picnic on the beach?

Very young Australian fans of the VHC will delight in this exclusive release written just for them as they lift the flaps on iconic treats searching for their little hero.  Interactive, a familiar character, vivid illustrations in Carle’s recognisable style and rhyming text make this a terrific addition to this collection as young readers discover another adventure.  Is their favourite food mentioned?  What would be in their beach picnic basket?  (And who’s the ladybird? Could that be another story from the master storyteller?)

Twas the Night Before Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the Night Before Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Clement C. Moore

Raquel Martin

Magic Cat, 2021

24pp., hbk (including music box mechanism). $A44.95

9781913520298

“Twas the night before Christmas

When all through the house

Not a creature was stirring

Not even a mouse…”

Are there any more recognisable words than these at this time of the year?  This poem, by Clement Clarke Moore (although he called it “A Visit from St Nicholas”) was first published almost 200 years ago on December 23, 1823, has become the perennial favourite for Christmas Eve as it  stirs the imagination of generation after generation. From it we get the names of the reindeer and all sorts of other images that endure today.

While it has been published in many formats over that time and illustrated in many media and styles, the text remains the same and so it is with this new version.  However, this one  includes a wind-up music box mechanism that allows the reader to listen to the music of  Deck the Halls, another Christmas tradition, this one Welsh and dating back to the 16th century although the English lyrics weren’t written till the mid-19th century. 

An opportunity to round off your Christmas Countdown combining two classics in one. 

The Nutcracker

 

 

 

 

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nutcracker

Lily McArdle

Bodil Jane

Magic Cat, 2021

24pp., hbk (including music box mechanism). $A44.95

9781913520212

In 1891, Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky began working on his third ballet, the first two being the magical Swan Lake, my personal favourite, and the second, The Sleeping Beauty.    This one was The Nutcrackeran adaptation into music and dance of the original 1816 story be E.T.A. Hoffman. in which young Marie Stahlbaum’s favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls.

Part of the score for the ballet is the famous Waltz of the Flowers  and it is this which sets this version of the story aside from others because the book includes a wind-up music box mechanism that allows the reader to listen to the music as well as the words. So while the story is a somewhat abridged version of the original (although it covers all the main aspects) it will inspire many to not only seek out the story but also the music and the ballet.

It used to be the Sugar Plum Fairy in her tutu that garnered all the attention but now nutcrackers are becoming a common part of Australian Christmas decorations so sharing this story will add extra meaning to the Christmas dinner festivities, particularly if it is also the choice of the back ground music! A stunning gift for any budding ballerina. 

 

Mr Men Little Miss in Australia

Mr Men Little Miss in Australia

Mr Men Little Miss in Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr Men Little Miss in Australia

Roger Hargreaves

Mr Men, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A16.99

9781761044342

Mr Topsy-Turvy is very excited – the Mr Men and Little Miss are heading  ‘up over’ . Little Miss Somersault is a little confused and then she realises he means Down Under. 

There is much to discover when they arrive in Sydney and make their way around the coast to visit the iconic sites, sights and scenery – Little Miss Somersault is excited about a game of cricket, Mr Tall is keen to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Mr Silly thinks he might enter the Melbourne Cup -before they head inland to the centre.

It’s 40 years since little ones were first introduced to these bold characters created by Roger Hargreaves, wrapped in their distinctive packaging of a bold block-colour illustration on a white background in a book the perfect size for little hands. Even after his death in 1988, his son Adam continued what his father started and the characters are as popular now as they were all those years ago.  So to have the whole crew come to Australia and go places and do things that will resonate with so many of our young readers is just perfect, setting them up to be fans and ensuring lots of reading ahead as all the previous titles remain available. With the characters being readily recognisable each time because of their consistent shape and colour,,their personalities reflected in their name and the antics they get up to told in a distinctive direct, unfussy narrative style,, even our youngest readers can develop and bring knowledge to new reads, so they will be pleased that Mr Wrong is still getting it wrong when he swims between the wrong flags and Mr Silly ends the story in a silly way.  

As parents and grandparents, we must never underestimate the power of sharing stories like this with our littlies, particularly if they are those we ourselves enjoyed.  The connections that that makes to the adult, the story  and literature is general are multi-faceted. Loving the books our parents loved can set us up for life.