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Where is the Green Sheep?

Where is the Green Sheep?

Where is the Green Sheep?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where is the Green Sheep? 20th Anniversary

Mem Fox

Judy Horacek

Puffin, 2024

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

9781761347832

Resplendent in a gold foil cover to celebrate its 20th birthday, is one of my favourite early childhood books of all time.  

Few children in Australia in the last 20 years would not be familiar with these words…

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?

And among them is my own granddaughter who gave me one of my most memorable grandma-moments when she sat up in bed at just-turned-2 and read it to her older sister. We had yet another reader in the family!!!

And now she is 13 and reads everything she can, (as does that sister) and all because of the fun, predictable, rhyming text of an Australian classic with its gorgeous illustrations that allowed her to predict what the words said even if she didn’t quite recognise them yet.

Could anyone ask any more of a book for little ones? My copy will be put aside for her to share with hers when she is older. But it will also be a must-get for a brand-new grandmother… 

Read about how it came to be here

Where is the Green Sheep? is 20 years old

 

 

 

Who am I? (series)

Who am I?

Who am I?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who am I?

I’m a Puppy

9781922326867 

I’m a Tiger

9781922326874

I’m a Duckling

9781922326850

I’m a Polar Bear

 9781922326881

Liv Wan

Catch-a-Star, 2024

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

One of the key strategies used in teaching our little ones to read is to have them immerse themselves in the context so they can predict what might happen, and to do this they need to have context-specific vocabulary at their fingerprints.  For example, if the story’s setting is the ocean they are more likely to be thinking fish, sharks, dolphins and mermaids than lions, giraffes, elephants and zebras. 

Thus series like these which introduce them to context-specific words play a vital role in developing those early reading behaviours, particularly when they invite the reader to actively engage with them through their format.  Grouped under titles of Pets, Jungle, Farm and Winter, each page offers a simple clue, a question and a lift-the-flap to see if the response is right.  The bright, bold illustrations provide the setting so the child can focus their thoughts on what the creature is likely to be and this, combined with gentle coaxing from the adult can lead to a successful guess that not only provides a positive interaction with the book but helps the little one understand that they, too, can be a reader.

Catch A Star continues to recognise the need for even our youngest readers to have engaging stories that are sturdy enough in their own hands so they can mimic the reading of those who read to them, a critical step in becoming a reader, and this series is no exception. Reading is a complex activity that requires a variety of strategies, not the least of which is the expectation that the little one can and will be a reader, and engaging stories that help build those early reading behaviours and concepts about print are an essential in any parent’s toolkit. 

 

 

 

 

Peekaboo Santa

 

 

 

Peekaboo Santa

Peekaboo Santa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peekaboo Santa

Camilla Reid

Ingela P. Arrhenius

Nosy Crow, 2023

10pp., board book., RRP $A15.99

9781839946783

Anyone who has played peekaboo with a young child can still hear the squeals of delight as the hidden is revealed, and so this interactive board book with all sorts of things to discover is going to be greeted with great anticipation.

Start by focusing their thoughts on the season and the sorts of things that might be mentioned – a critical early reading behaviour that develops the ability to predict text – and then use the support of the rhyming structure to narrow their choices.   There are multiple sliders for young fingers to manipulate and a surprise ending that will have them giggling for ages.

An ideal way to build anticipation, context and the joy of reading a book that they can return to again and again, because even if they know the secrets it is the power of being independent that is such a drawcard.

 

Parcel For Turtle

Parcel For Turtle

Parcel For Turtle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parcel For Turtle

Shelley Knoll-Miller

Puffin, 2023

24pp., hbk., RRP $A14.99

9781761046643

Turtle and his friends are hiding under the rocks wanting to go back to the water but wary of a pesky pelican who is hovering with a hungry look in his eye. when Postman finds a unique way to safely deliver a parcel from Koala.  

But what could it be? It doesn’t sound like a remote control car that could whizz them to the water’s edge; it’s not the right shape for a beach umbrella that could shelter them as they ran and and it’s not big enough to be a trampoline so they could bounce back either.   There is one way to find out… open it.

As with its predecessors, Penguin, Gorilla and Koala, the contents are unexpected but perfect for solving their problem. And, as with those predecessors, the premise of the story is summarised in the intriguing endpapers so there are two stories that can engage our youngest readers as they put their predictive and deductive skills to the test – both key elements of mastering the printed word and becoming a reader! Bright, appealing illustrations, funky characters (even if they have evil on their mind), the opportunity to think about how the characters might be feeling as the story progresses, and the unexpected twist in the tale all make this a story that will move from a first-read to a favourite very quickly!

Apart from putting a smile of sheer delight on my face when I open each new title in this series, it is one that should become as much as a staple in a little one’s library as other classics like Where’s Spot , Ten Minutes to Bed and those by Hervé Tullet. Stories that first and foremost entertain and engage the reader so that start to develop the expectation and anticipation of being “real readers” are the foundation of literary and literacy success and this series is definitely one of those.  Originally intended to be just a collection of four stories, I, for one, would love to see more. 

Don’t Disturb the Dragon

Don't Disturb the Dragon

Don’t Disturb the Dragon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Disturb the Dragon

Rhiannon Findlay

Siân Roberts

Puffin, 2023

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

9780241562314

On Wingbeat Island, the princess’s little brother has learned to crawl and now she can’t find him.  So she sets on a quest to discover where he has got to but danger lurks on the journey…

Somewhere near, a huge beast lies,
with giant claws and great big eyes . . .
DO NOT DISTURB THE DRAGON!

From the author of the enchanting Ten Minutes to Bed series, this is a new adventure that takes little ones on a trek around the island, following the map and encountering things that may be the dragon – or not. It’s an opportunity to talk about what they already know about dragons so they can examine the pictures to see if one might be nearby as well as learning that sometimes things might not be as they seem at first glance… The princess takes her anti-dragon kit with her so using their knowledge of dragons they might speculate on what they would add to it to be safe and sure. 

The rhyming language and the repetitive text invite them to join in both the fun and the storytelling, as they help the princess on her mission through the forest replete with all the elements that spark the imagination like castles, stepping stones and toadstools, while the island itself has gloomy caves,  rapid rivers, enchanted fortresses and smouldering volcanoes, each offering an opportunity to suggest a new adventure in the future – as does the ending!   

Like Ten Minutes to Bed, this is a vibrant, engaging story that ticks all the boxes for engaging our youngest readers with the fun and joy of stories and because it is in print, they can return to it again and again. 

One Hungry Dragon

One Hungry Dragon

One Hungry Dragon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Hungry Dragon

Alastair Chisholm

Alex Willmore

Hachette, 2023

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

9781444966602

Deep in a dark and gloomy forest, a creature stomps through the trees.

“I am Bernardo, “he roars, ” and I am ONE HUNGRY DRAGON!”

So look out anything that crosses his path including two silly sheep, three hearty heroes, four proper princesses, and a host of other characters straight out of the fairytales of the young readers this is designed for.  But is it the end of the world for all those he swallows or is there a twist in the tale?  Maybe even more than one twist?

Despite Bernardo’s antics, this is a laugh-out-loud book rather than a scary one as both the illustrations and the climax will just delight little ones as they join in the fun, roaring with Bernardo, counting forward and back and learning about the delights of the picture book format.  

If the popularity of any of my storybook cushions featuring dragons is anything to go by, the attraction of dragons in stories remains unabated and this is the perfect addition to the collection. 

How to Hatch a Dragon

How to Hatch a Dragon

How to Hatch a Dragon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Hatch a Dragon

Nick Bland

HarperCollins, 2023

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

 9781460764053

Bunny has bought his best friend Bird a present.  Carefully, he takes it out of the box and places it on a large rock telling Bird it is a dragon egg, and he knows that because he bought it from the dragon-egg shop.  

Bird has a few questions about his gift so together they sit in front of the rock and work their way through the instructions.  Meanwhile, behind them…

This is the first in a new series for our youngest readers that not only celebrates friendship and fun but is also going to teach them so much about stories, reading and how to use the words and the pictures together because in this story, all the action is happening in the illustrations!  As Bunny is sharing what he is learning from the instruction sheet, magical things are happening in the background that they are oblivious to, but which the astute reader will be marvelling at.  It’s a bit like the old=time pantomime where the lead characters are unaware of other goings-on and the audience has to shout out warnings! Don’t be surprised if that is what your young reader does!

As well as engaging the readers in such a clever way, this has the potential to really open a child’s reading journey because Bland is also the author of the series that began with The Very Cranky Bear which will be familiar to so many so this offers an opportunity to discuss authors and how we often choose new reads because we have enjoyed the author’s work before.  Conversely, if the little one likes How to Hatch a Dragon it offers the opportunity to search out other titles by the same author.

It also introduces the concept of a series to little ones so they can be encouraged to think about what they learn about Bunny and Bird from this story so when the next one is released, they can be prompted to recall that and focus their thoughts and energy into enjoying the next episode.  

Bland says he always wanted to be a cartoonist and a writer, but it wasn’t until he was in his 20s and got a job at a bookshop and then read “every picture book that hit the shelves” that he finally discovered his own style and how to put being both storyteller and illustrator together.  Our youngest readers are so glad that he did.

 

Amazing Dad

Amazing Dad

Amazing Dad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing Dad

Alison Brown

Farshore, 2023

32pp., hbk., RRP $A 19.99

9780008555474

Dads can be busy, whizzy, caring, sharing . . . and so much more. But there’s just ONE dad who gives the best hugs of all. Can you guess who it is?

This is a companion to Amazing Mum and like that, it features all sorts of anthropomorphic dads  doing all sorts of things with their little ones with rhyming captions that really encourage young readers to examine the pictures so they can predict the text. Often these sorts of books focus on actual activities that kids and dads can do together but this one is more diverse and includes acknowledgement of dads who have taken on others’ children, dads who live apart and may only be weekend dads, and even dads who can  only live on in the child’s heart.  So there is something for almost every child to relate to and to share about their own dad.

As well as being a tribute to dads and helping the young reader focus on all the things their dad does, it encourages the development of a lot of essential foundation literacy skills not the least of which is that print is fun.  

Parcel For Koala

Parcel For Koala

Parcel For Koala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parcel For Koala

Shelley Knoll-Miller

Puffin, 2023

24pp., hbk., RRP $A14.99

 9781761046636

Koala and his other friends who like to sleep through the day are stuck in a tree full of squawking cockatoos who are keeping them awake.  They are tired and frazzled and just want to sleep. But then, on the back of a bouncing kangaroo, Postman arrives with a parcel.  Both Gorilla and Penguin have received parcels, so what could be in this one from Turtle? 

Knowing that in this adventure in this fabulous series for little ones, all the creatures want to do is get some sleep, young readers can have fun predicting what it might be that will help them do that.  Could it be a harp to play lullabies or a hammock to curl up in?  Perhaps some earmuffs to blot out those raucous cockies! Or is it something completely unexpected but which can be used to solve the problem anyway?

As with its predecessors, the thread of the story is presented on the endpapers helping the child to focus their thoughts on what is to come and predict what might happen, essential skills in becoming a reader.  As one who has taught littlies to read for over 50 years, to me this series is an absolute winner and should be in the hands of all those who want their children to become successful, independent readers.  It just works in building those early skills on so many levels and in so many ways. 

Find Spot: An Australian Adventure

Find Spot: An Australian Adventure

Find Spot: An Australian Adventure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find Spot: An Australian Adventure

Eric Hill

Puffin, 2023

18pp., board book., RRP $A14.99

9780241618127

Spot and his mum and dad are camping near a billabong and exploring the Australian outback, its colours and creatures. As they paddle down the creek they discover all the colours that can be found in and around the billabong and meet lots of Australian animals along the way, most of them hidden under flaps for littlies to lift, but as they are exploring, Spot disappears! Where did he go?

Eric Hill’s Where’s Spot? was the first ever lift-the-flap book – and his ground-breaking innovation continues to delight and surprise readers with interactive fun. Spot has now been a trusted character in early learning for over 40 years, selling over 65 million books worldwide. And the tradition continues as young readers not only have the delight of discovering what is under the flap, but also sharing a familiar adventure with a favourite character, building their vocabulary with words like “billabong”, naming the colours that they can see and having fun identifying those creatures they already recognise – all critical skills in early reading development and affirming that they, too, will become a “real reader”.