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The Tram to Bondi Beach 40th Anniversary Edition

The Tram to Bondi Beach 40th Anniversary Edition

The Tram to Bondi Beach 40th Anniversary Edition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tram to Bondi Beach 40th Anniversary Edition

Libby Hathorn

Julie Vivas

Angus & Robertson, 2021

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

9781460759660

Sydney in the 1930s and Kieran is fascinated by the trams as they rattle past his house and down the hill to Bondi Beach.  But even moreso, he loves to watch Saxon the paperboy swing his way along the running board, deftly selling papers and giving change as he goes.  He is determined that he too will be a paperboy and finally, when he is 9, Mr Francis gives him a job. The only trouble is, when the newsagent hires him,  Saxon tells the younger Keiran this tramstop is his territory.

Keiran is determined and tries to copy Saxon’s technique on the trams. It all ends in a fall and his dad’s fury and the threat of losing his first job. Are Keiran’s dreams shattered before they have really formed?

This is a classic story from one of Australia’s most established children’s authors that has lasted the test of time as it takes the reader back to an era barely recognisable in today’s hustle and bustle.  The lives of Keiran and Isabelle are quite different from that of today’s 9 year-old – could having a job as well as school be a normal thing today? The signature style of Julie Vivas’s illustrations add a richness that demand a compare and contrast that will show that while there are many outward differences as time has moved on, not just between 1931 and now but also 1981 when it was first published and now. that inner strength of family remains unchanged. 

It also highlights the current controversy of the delivery of news, including the situation with Facebook withdrawing access to news sites, setting up an investigation into how people have got their news over time, its integrity and its relevance, making it a book that could be used at any level across the school. 

 

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wizard of Oz

Russell Hunter & L. Frank Baum

Simona Bursi

Usborne, 2020

104pp., graphic novel, RRP $A16.99

9781474968850

The classic story of Dorothy, the Tinman, the Scarecrow the Cowardly Lion, the Munchkins and the Wicked Witch of the West has been beautifully reinterpreted in this colourful graphic novel, perfect for younger readers who have not yet made the journey from Kansas to the Emerald City and just in time to be a focus for the 2021 Book Week theme of Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds. 

Declared by the US Library of Congress as “America’s greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale.”, this is a story that all children should be familiar with given the references from it that appear in life today, and so to have it in graphic novel format which makes it accessible to newly independent readers and a whole new generation of children is a bonus. The full plot of the story is summarised here, and it could be wise to have the unabridged classic version available for those who are enticed to read that as well. 

 

A Christmas Wish

 

A Christmas Wish

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Christmas Wish

Beatrix Potter

Eleanor Taylor

Puffin, 2017

18pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

9780241291757

It’s Christmas Eve and Peter Rabbit and his sisters are excited, but Peter is worried too. They have all wished for a special present but Peter can’t sleep, and he knows Father Christmas won’t visit if he’s still awake. As the hours drag by anxious Peter hears a little creak here, and a little bump there, so now he’s even less likely to fall asleep, especially as he is convinced each noise must be Santa and he gets up to investigate. Then he decides to sit and gaze at the lights on the Christmas tree…will Santa come while he’s there?

The charm and delight of Beatrix Potter’s tales about Peter Rabbit have endured over decades and this adaptation is no exception.  Perfect for that final sleep on the BIG night, little ones will empathise with Peter as they share his excitement and find it just as tricky to get to sleep it will become a classic part of the annual Christmas Countdown.

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Christmas Wishes

Christmas Wishes

Christmas Wishes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Wishes

Enid Blyton

Hachette, 2020

316pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99

 9781444957198 

After a year like no other, when things that have been taken for granted for decades have suddenly become novelties, Christmas is coming again -almost the one certainty – and people are returning to the old classic rituals and routines in a way unseen for many years. It is as though the security of the past is bringing comfort in this uncertain present and so it seems logical that we should also turn to the stories that have endured and given such joy in previous times.

If any writer of previous generations has survived that test of time it is Enid Blyton and in this collection of 30 Christmas tales taken from her series and short story collections of yesteryear, young readers will be taken back to a time when there was just the written word, the imagination and the magic.  Even those who are not as old as me and who don’t recall Blyton being an integral part of their reading history will revel in the sheer innocence and joy of these simple stories. From a dog who discovers the joy of Christmas to Santa Claus who gets himself out of a muddle with a little help from his friends, these stories celebrate shared times, festivities and wonder. Even if there is no opportunity to organise a full-blown Christmas Countdown, sharing just one story a day as a family or a class will bring back that sense of calm and normality in a world that seems to have gone mad. 

This is a collection that holds so many memories for me that I’m passing it on to Miss 14 and Miss 9  knowing they will enjoy them regardless of their ages and that they are likely to hang on to it for that distant day of their own families. Thanks Hachette for adding to the nostalgia.

The Secret Garden: The Story of the Movie

The Secret Garden: The Story of the Movie

The Secret Garden: The Story of the Movie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Secret Garden: The Story of the Movie

Frances Hodgson Burnett

Linda Chapman

HarperCollins, 2020

224pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

 9780008340070

First published in 1911, The Secret Garden is the story of Mary, a  sickly, neglected, unloved and unwanted 10-year-old girl whose care has been mostly left to the servants who care for her English family in colonial India. After her parents die in a cholera epidemic, she is sent back to England into the care of her unknown uncle Archibald Craven  at his isolated mansion Misselthwaite Manor on the Yorkshire Moors. 

At first, Mary is rude and obnoxious, disliking everything about her new circumstances but eventually she warms to Martha Sowerby who tells her about her aunt, the late Lilias Craven and how she would spend hours in a private walled garden growing roses. After his wife died in an accident in the garden,  Mr Craven locked the garden and buried the key.

Mary becomes interested in finding the secret garden herself and once she discovers the key, her life begins to change…

This version is based on the screenplay of  2020 movie which has finally been released and which many students will have seen.  Telling the core of the original story it evokes a magical world that encourages self-discovery and change and perhaps an interest in reading the original.  A stunning way to introduce a new generation to a classic. 

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. 

The Puffin Book of Big Dreams

The Puffin Book of Big Dreams

The Puffin Book of Big Dreams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Puffin Book of Big Dreams

Puffin, 2020

256pp., hbk., RRP $A32.99

9780241438206

In 1940, Allen Lane, the founder of Penguin Publishing published four books for the children who had been evacuated to the country in wartorn England, and began something that 80 years on is still going strong in yet another time of world turmoil. Those four books were factual – War on Land, War at Sea, War in the Air and On the Farm – but within a year the first fiction was being published, amongst the early titles, Worzel Gummidge .

From the earliest days of those big dreams of establishing a publishing house dedicated to literature for children, to establishing the Puffin Club with its special badge, secret code and fundraising to purchase a piece of the Yorkshire coast to establish a Puffin sanctuary, hundreds of books with quality stories from both new and established authors in both picture book and novel format have been offered to our young readers all around the world. There have been many unique instances of recognition of both the books and brand along the way, and this compendium, published to celebrate this milestone birthday, brings together old and new in a collection of stories and excerpts that encourage newly independent reader to  dream wild, dream bold, dream far, dream brave, dream kind and dream forever.

As well as introducing new authors who may be the household names of the future, there are also stories from those familiar to a different generation who will delight in introducing their childhood favourites to their offspring, perhaps opening new horizons and genres to be explored and memories to be shared. Who could read about trogglehumpers, bogthumpers and grobswitchers and not want to find out more about what was aggravating The BFG? Wouldn’t my grandchildren like to know why I have such an affinity with this story and why I’ve shared it with nearly every child I’ve ever taught.

With more than 60 stories and poems in the collection, this one volume has the potential to become a year of bedtime stories as young readers follow byways and pathways into new worlds, realising the original dream of turning children into readers and making a little bird an instantly recognisable symbol of innovative, quality stories for generations.

IMO, this is the ideal book for the teacher’s toolbox, particularly a new graduate just starting on their journey because it is such a go-to for those times for a time-out and just experiencing joy and pleasure. Who knows where a rabbit-hole might lead….

The BFG

The BFG

The BFG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The BFG

Roald Dahl

Puffin, 2016

224pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9780141365428

When Sophie is woken by a silver moonbeam shining through a crack in the curtains, and, against the rules of the orphanage in which she lives, she gets out of bed to close the curtain she has no idea that her life is about to take her on the most amazing adventure and be changed forever.

For as she peeks out she sees a most amazing sight… coming up the other side of the street was something black. Something  tall and black. Something very tall and very black and very thin.

It is nearly 40 years since I first picked up this book by Roald Dahl, creator of classic characters like Willy Wonka and Miss Truncbull and as I read the first few pages, I could hear myself sharing the story with my students.  All these years on and countless students have met the iconic big, friendly giant as it has been my go-to book in so many situations.  Share the passage of his description, get the children to identify the keywords and then interpret these in drawing and discuss why each child’s work is different even though they started with the same information.  Drop coloured dye onto paper towelling, write your dream on it, put it in a jar and open it on  the last day of school to see if you still have the same dreams….

Using his gift for language that remains with us and his irreverence for adults, Dahl delights children with his tales and it is time now for the next generation to become fans, just as those who have met him previously have done. 

So, on this Roald Dahl Day 2020 introduce your students to one of the world’s greatest storytellers and let the fun begin. 

The World of Roald Dahl

The World of Roald Dahl

The World of Roald Dahl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The World of Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl

Quentin Blake

Puffin, 2020

96pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99

9780241447970

Even though it is almost thirty years since Roald Dahl died, his characters are such household names with young readers that there are few who would not have read at least one of his stories.  And even though Dahl might have passed onto the greatest storyland, illustrator Quentin Blake is still with us and sharing his iconic graphics in this latest book that sets the reader all sorts of activities to do, games to play and puzzles to solve.

Beginning with a brief biography of Dahl including some fascinating facts like his birthday being September 13 and thus spawning annual celebrations on Roald Dahl Day ; and a similar though less familiar introduction to Quentin Blake, there are tips about bow to be a storyteller like Dahl followed by a host of other engaging, interactive pages that build on the stories and the characters bringing them to life. And once all the challenges have been completed, the successful reader can call themselves a World of Roald Dahl Superstar with an appropriate certificate.

Miss 9 adored the Dahl puzzle books and boxed set she found in her 2019 Christmas stocking and was so excited when her 2020 school year was devoted to exploring his works.  Imagine how much more she will bring and be when she discovers this one! In fact, with winter dragging on and Term 3 being the longest ever, she might discover it sooner than later! A reward for the days and days spent at home with none of her usual distractions.