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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. 

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.  

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. 

In the City

In the City

In the City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the City

Holly James

Hannah Tolson

Bloomsbury, 2020

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

9781526616241

Lucy and Oscar discover there are so many things to see and do in the city , starting with the train ride into the centre, visiting building, picnicking in the park, going on a bus ride and exploring the shops. In this interactive, look and find book, young readers are encouraged to use their observational skills to discover a wide range of elements featured in the illustrations, perhaps even compare and contrast them with what their own experiences of a city excursion. For those who do not live in a city, it helps develop the concept of city life and build vocabulary about what is there, setting them up to transfer this knowledge to other stories  that are set in cities so they have greater understanding, predictability and success with their reading. 

Books like this play a valuable role in helping children’s visual acuity as they search for items, while underscoring the need to search the illustrations for the detail because it is often something that is embedded in them that explains the text, or perhaps contradicts it. They learn that reading is so much more than decoding words. 

One for early readers as well as those learning English as they spot familiar objects and learn the names in their new language.

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.

Where’s Spot?

Where's Spot?

Where’s Spot?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s Spot?

Eric Hill

Puffin,2020

24pp., hbk., RRP $A16.99

9780241446850

It’s dinner time and Mama Dog is looking for Spot.  Where can he be? Under the rug? Behind the door? Inside the clock? He’s playing hide-and-seek and there are so many places a little puppy can fit into.

As well as having the joy of lifting the flaps to discover Spot’s hiding place, our youngest readers can also have the fun of predicting where he might be and whether he could be in the places Mama looks, at the same time learning important place words like under and behind and so on.

This is the 40th anniversary of the publishing of this first in the series about this little dog and so it is in a stunning ruby foil cover that attracts the eye as much as the illustrations. Judging by the number of requests for Spot-related fabrics and so forth on a FB group I belong to, this little fellow is as popular as he was when he was first introduced all those years ago. And given the stories have sold 65 million copies in over 60 languages, his appeal is universal.

To add to the delight, there are activities to be done so children can party at home with Spot during these shut-down times, and share in this special reading of the story.

Perfect for starting our very youngest on their reading adventures.

 

This Is a Ball and Other Books That Drive Kids Crazy!

This Is a Ball and Other Books That Drive Kids Crazy!

This Is a Ball and Other Books That Drive Kids Crazy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Is a Ball and Other Books That Drive Kids Crazy!

Beck & Matt Stanton

ABC Books, 2020

176 pp., hbk., RRP $A35.00

9780733341076

Five years ago we were introduced to a book called This is a ball, a book guaranteed to engage because of its intriguing cover which promised something offbeat and delivered it!

This is a ball

Since then, Beck & Matt Stanton have gone on to create four other books in the series, including Did you take the B from my -ook?The Red Book, Wait ! and The Book that never ends , and now they are all together in this one collection.  Using block colour, large font, line drawings and text that appears simple but in reality, makes the reader read and re-read it and try to refute its truth because the brain is not reading what the eyes are seeing, these stories are worth reading over and over again across the years, 

Compendia like these are always good value and this is an opportunity to have a collection that will intrigue and entertain again and again, while engaging young readers in the power and fun of print.

Gregory Goose is on the Loose! (series)

Gregory Goose is on the Loose! (series)

Gregory Goose is on the Loose! (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gregory Goose is on the Loose! (series)

Up the Mountain 

9781925594942

At the Fair

9781925594959

Hilary Robinson

Many Stanley

Catch A Star, 2020

20pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

These are the latest additions to this series which focuses on the young reader focusing on each double-page spread to find Gregory Goose. As well as developing their visual acuity as they hone their skills searching for him, by having each story in a specific setting that may already be familiar to the child or is likely to become more familiar as their reading journey progresses. site-specific vocabulary is developed so they learn about the sorts of things they would expect to see in each venue.  This is a critical aspect of early reading development because it helps them broaden their horizons but also focuses their attention on the setting, bringing to mind likely possibilities of what unknown words could be.

For example, while not many Australian youngsters will have had personal experience of what mountain life is like, by using the first-letter cue of “s’ (“get your mouth ready for…”) and using the pictures and the knowledge they have gained from books like these, they are more likely to transfer what they know to a new situation and be able to use the context to identify words like snow, snowmen, snowballs, skis, sled, and slope. 

With their bright, clear illustrations that have lots going on, this is a series that will draw children back to it many times as they discover something new each time, and each time developing their feeling of mastery over this format and skill known as reading. 

What seems like a simple hide-and-seek book actually has a vital place in those early reading behaviours and building concepts about print.