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Bluey: A Jigsaw Puzzle Book

Bluey: A Jigsaw Puzzle Book

Bluey: A Jigsaw Puzzle Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey: A Jigsaw Puzzle Book

Bluey

Puffin 2022

8pp., hbk., RRP $A16.99

 9780143777878

Just as the new season of Bluey appears on the screen, and the controversy about whether Bandit is a “bad dad” fills talk shows, comes a new, interactive print edition  for the lovable character’s fans. 

Each double page includes a put-together puzzle that emerges into a new adventure for Bluey and her family, then young readers can flip each puzzle over for a new picture.

Despite what those who have to politicise everything through their narrow, adults lenses have to say, this series, its characters and situations remains one of the most popular for young children ever, and interactive books like this which rely on their interaction with both the book and the story are perfect for developing those critical early reading behaviours!  At last the preschool population are being seen as a real audience with specific needs and interests and these are being met by print-based publishers. While Mem Fox has continually stated, “” If every parent -and every adult caring for a child – read aloud a minimum of three stories a day to the children in their lives, we could probably wipe out illiteracy in one generation!” it is also essential to actively engage the child in the story, either through the reading itself, talking about it, creating something or music and movement, giving the child the power to manipulate it, as this does, is also vital.  

Another essential for those who care for our very young. 

Where’s Wally?

Where's Wally?

Where’s Wally?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s Wally?

Where’s Wally? The Super Six

boxed set, six books + puzzle & poster.,  RRP $A69.99

9781406396744

 

Where’s Wally? At the Movies Activity Book

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

9781529503166

 

Martin Handford

Walker Books 2021-2022

One of the most enduring memories from my days in the library is watching groups of young boys, particularly, racing in at lunchtime to get hold of a Where’s Wally book and then being bunched around a table, heads together, eagerly being the first to spot him amongst all the other incredible busyness on the page. They were so popular that they had to be on the Not For Loan shelf, and I can still hear the shouts of delight as new discoveries were made – often not even involving the finding of Wally, but something else intriguing. So as well as developing their visual acuity, so important for discerning letters and words accurately and interpreting details in illustrations, they were thoroughly engaged in a print resource at a time when the personal screen was just emerging as the entertainment-du-jour.

So it is grand that Walker Books have just released a compendium of six of the classic titles – Where’s Wally?, Where’s Wally Now?; Fantastic Journey; Where’s Wally in Hollywood?; The Wonder Book and The Great Picture Hunt–  all in the original large size format and at a price that allows libraries and families who don’t have these basics to afford them.

Then, as well, there is the new Where’s Wally? At the Movies Activity Book in which readers can visit the sound stage to watch a song and dance rehearsal, plan out your own film plots in the writers’ room, choose a star-studded cast, then step on to the red carpet for a glitzy, glamorous movie premiere through an array of games, puzzles, searches and stickers.

There are a handful of series of books that were available 20 years ago that I credit with getting a generation of reluctant readers to engage with text and start a lifelong journey of reading – the incredible work of Martin Handford in the Where’s Wally series is one of them.

Bluey and Bingo’s Fancy Restaurant Cookbook

Bluey and Bingo's Fancy Restaurant Cookbook

Bluey and Bingo’s Fancy Restaurant Cookbook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey and Bingo’s Fancy Restaurant Cookbook

Bluey

Puffin, 2022

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

9781761045769

Fancy an omelette? Some fish and chips?  Perhaps a pavlova? Or even a duck cake for your birthday?

All the familiar characters of the popular Bluey series, have come together to share their favourite foods in this easy-to-follow recipe book that might start young readers off on a culinary career! Beginning with the usual safety and hygiene tips and the necessary equipment list, including an adult helper, budding young cooks are stepped through each recipe with the help of their familiar friends.

With a sturdy spiral binding and wipe-clean pages, as well as opening up the world of food made at home, there is also all the literacy and maths of interpreting recipes, such as the vocabulary of cooking, sequencing, measuring, following instructions, time management and so on.  To tempt the taste buds before buying,  there is even a free recipe on offer.

When this generation grows up, this might be the one recipe book that they share with their own littlies as they proudly share where their cooking journey began!!!

How to Count to ONE

How to Count to ONE

How to Count to ONE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Count to ONE

Caspar Salmon

Matt Hunt

Nosy Crow, 2022

32pp., hbk., RRP $A22.99

9781839941924

You know how to count, right? GREAT! There are LOADS of fun things to count in this book. Whales, baboons, rainbows, pyramids…There’s just rule. You must ONLY ever count to ONE. So don’t even about THINK bigger numbers. OK?!

Following in the footsteps of a number of other books that really engage our youngest readers as they not only learn the concepts that are the book’s focus, but also a host of early reading behaviours, this is a masterpiece that ensures that the reader listens carefully to the instructions and then develops their visual acuity as they follow them, searching for that ONE item on the page they have to find and count.  They can’t be distracted by all the other things going on – there is just one of whatever it might be, such as the one duck rollerblading amongst all the other ducks.  Some are more obvious than others but there are also some tricky ones that will really make the reader focus on the picture’s detail, encouraging them to be discerning and also give illustrations more than just a brief glance.  There are always cues and clues within that enrich and enhance the text.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

As well as being great fun for the young reader – and there is the chance for them to show their prowess with counting – if your school has a buddy system where older students become the companions of your youngest, this would be a great joint activity with the older kids creating their own page to contribute to a class book to share. Each little one could have their own copy as a memento of the relationship, and perhaps even be inspired to male their own page to share too. 

Books that teach so much in such a fun way are gold; books that keep on giving even moreso!  

That Cat

That Cat

That Cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That Cat

Jacqueline Harvey

Kate Isobel Scott

Puffin, 2022

24pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781761040702

All over the country I meet lots of interesting cats

Cats of all shapes and sizes in many different guises…

Using simple rhyming terms but very clever, detailed illustrations to completely engage the reader, this is a brilliant book for all cat-lovers and all ages.  For the Mat Cat is not a modest moggy curled up on a rug in front of the fire as you might expect, but a very fit, energetic yoga expert!  The Rat Cat hasn’t caught something nasty to leave at the front door but an echo of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

While young readers will love being able to read it for themselves because of the simple rhyming pattern, it is drawing the connections between the words and the pictures that adds depth, humour and a storyline that has the most comforting ending. Author and illustrator first met when Harvey taught Scott at school and that relationship shines through this book as though Scott knew that Harvey would never intend for a Fat Cat to be a self-satisfied feline surrounded by dead mice. 

Adorable in itself, and never written to be an instructional text, nevertheless this is one that could be shared with a class focusing on phonics and word families (don’t get me started…) but in a fun way where the children search out other -at words and then use their imaginations to illustrate them in surprising ways.   Or just re-interpret the words in the story.  Either way, they will not only learn a common sound for the -at combination but also start to look at character and how that can be expressed in the details of an illustration.  Can what has happened to Scat Cat be any more obvious even though there are but three words on the page???  The cues and clues offered through the pictures in a picture book are a critical, integral part of the child’s early language and reading development and texts like there that require a focus on both are an essential part of any book collection. 

 

Construction

Construction

Construction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Construction

Sally Sutton

Brian Lovelock

Walker, 2015

22pp., board book, RRP $A16.99

 9781925126358

Big machines fascinate little kids and this sequel to Roadworks and Demolition fills the bill perfectly as it follows the process of constructing a building using repetitive text and onomatopoeia which just invite the reader to join in.

Fill the holes. Fill the holes. Let the concrete drop. Spread it fast before it sets… sloosh, slosh slop.

But the best part is the final reveal of the building that is being constructed – one that opens doors for everyone!

Little people love stories and they learn to talk and read by listening to them and then reading them for themselves, especially those in board book format that withstand little hands.  It is a critical part of the development of early reading behaviours and to have one that will inspire them to seek out even more to read, is just perfect! 

 

A Good Place

A Good Place

A Good Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Good Place

Lucy Cousins

Walker, 2022 

40pp., hbk., RRP $A25.99 

9781529501254

Bee, Beetle, Ladybird and Dragonfly are each looking for a new home.  They each want something different – Bee wants some beautiful flowers;  Beetle some dead wood; Ladybird some leaves and Dragonfly is looking for a pond – but just when they think they have found what they want, it proves to be not-so-perfect after all.  And then Butterfly comes to the rescue…

 A story for our youngest readers, with illustrations that look like their own, this is one that will appeal as it introduces them to the concept of each creature having different needs – it’s not a one-size-fits-all world.  It also alerts them to the diversity they will find in their own gardens, perhaps even encouraging them to plant one even if it’s just a pot on the balcony. But as well as the diversity, there is also the opportunity to look at the similarities of the four friends – the first illustration clearly shows the common characteristics of insects – perhaps starting them on their first investigation into the classification of the world’s creatures in general, and minibeasts in particular. 

Bright, colourful and engaging, for all its seeming simplicity, Cousins demonstrates that we can learn from picture books if we delve more deeply..

Big Green Crocodile

Big Green Crocodile

Big Green Crocodile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Green Crocodile

Jane Newberry

Carolina Rabel

Otter-Barry Books, 2021

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

 9781913074531

Regular readers of this blog will know that I always promote early reading behaviours – those that come long before any direct interaction with the marks on a page – whenever I can, and that these include the acquisition of language in the first place. And this book certainly fits into that.

Over 50 years ago when I first began my formal teacher ed studies I became fascinated with how children learn to speak, and this deepened when my son was born and so I delved into the research with enthusiasm. Not to bore you with the details, but it was evident that oral language development is inherent and that children will learn their mother tongue by listening to it, engaging with it, practising it, having fun with it and a belief that they will master it.  Integral to that development is repetition, rhyme and rhythm so throughout the generations little ones have enjoyed rhymes and ditties that roll of the tongue and especially those that accompanied by body movement, particularly finger play.  

And while there are hundreds of well-known rhymes that are passed through families, it is always interesting to have some new ones and this book offers 16 of those, complete with imaginative illustrations and instructions for actions. They cover the activities of a child’s day and play, encouraging movement and imagination while being short and simple enough for the child to learn them quickly so they can join in enthusiastically.  

Written by someone who has been teaching music to nursery-aged children for decades, the book was one of just five shortlisted for the UK Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award (won by Michael Rosen for On the Move: Poems about Migration) and although it didn’t win, the fact that rhymes for this age group were acknowledged is significant. Recognition that this is a vital part of children’s language development will add weight to the writing and publishing of quality works for this age group. 

You can share Jane’s presentations of some of the rhymes here

Peppa Visits the Australian Rainforest

Peppa Visits the Australian Rainforest

Peppa Visits the Australian Rainforest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peppa Visits the Australian Rainforest

Peppa Pig

Ladybird, 2021

10pp., board book., RRP $A14.99

9780241519226

Peppa Pig and her family are on holiday in Australia visiting her friend Kylie Kangaroo and they are all off to visit the Australian rainforest.  To guide their explorations, they have a scavenger hunt to complete and so each page has a lift-the-flap experience to discover. 

As with her other Australian adventures , this is a novel way to introduce our youngest readers to environments and the creatures that live in them that they may not be familiar with.  Combining familiar characters and the interactivity of the lift-the-flap format, preschoolers can start to develop conceptual ideas and vocabulary about Australian landscapes and habitats they are likely to encounter in other stories.  It also offers the opportunity to introduce atlases and other non fiction texts if the astute adult asks questions such as “If we wanted to visit the rainforest, where would we have to go?”  or “What other things might they have found in the rainforest?’ or even, “Why does it rain so much in the rainforest?”  There is always the opportunity to model questions that start new investigations. 

 

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!