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The Bird in the Herd

The Bird in the Herd

The Bird in the Herd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bird in the Herd

Kathryn Apel

Renée Treml

UQP, 2021

40pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780702262944

There’s a bird in the herd that stalks as it walks, eating slugs and the bugs that the herd stirred. 

After half a century as a teacher, most of it spent focusing on teaching our youngest readers to read, I am quite vocal with my criticism of the current push to have phonics as the basis of instruction and while I could write much about why, I won’t.  However, this is a clever and quirky read which mainly relies on rhyme, rhythm and  repetition to carry it along but central, and most importantly, there is a charming story at its core. 

Beginning with a bird stalking a herd of cows to snap up the slugs and bugs they disturb, the scene is tracked back through all its elements – there is so much more than just the cows wandering along the track- with a repetition reminiscent of The House that Jack Built until an ignorant, impatient idiot  upsets everything.  So rather than the traditional set of disconnected pictures with sentences declaring the cat sat on the mat and the frog sat on the log, this is one that young readers can not only apply their new knowledge of phonemes but can actively engage with Treml’s illustrations and their existing knowledge of farm animals to read it for themselves.  They learn that the best books tell a story that is worth reading, that the words and pictures are integral to each other and this reading thing is something they can master. Such empowerment. If only all that we asked our beginning readers to read were as good as this…

Teachers’ notes are available.

Peep Inside How a Recycling Truck Works

Peep Inside How a Recycling Truck Works

Peep Inside How a Recycling Truck Works

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peep Inside How a Recycling Truck Works

Lara Bryan

Giavana Medeiros

Usborne, 2021

14pp., board book, RRP $A14.99

9781474986083

From rubbish into the bin to recycled products in the playground, this little lift-the-flap book tracks the journey of recycling, providing the perfect introduction to this practice which is a normal part of everyday life now. 

Joining the 16 other books in this series, Usborne continues to bring quality non fiction to even our youngest readers offering them a book that is sturdy and small enough for little hands as well as a format that is engaging and fun.  Anyone who knows the power and persistence of a young person’s questions will welcome being able to share this title, and the others, with them so they have the answers they seek from a clear and authoritative source written with them in mind so they learn the value of information in print .  Perfect for preschoolers as it acknowledges those who prefer non fiction even at that age..

Early One Morning

Early One Morning

Early One Morning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early One Morning

Mem Fox

Christine Davenier

Puffin, 2021

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

9781761040030

Early one morning a little boy wakes up with a particular thing on his mind for breakfast, and so he sets off in search of it.  What follows is his quest as he travels around all the familiar objects and animals found on a farm until at last he has success.

If anyone knows what is needed to create a story that will engage the hearts and minds of our youngest readers and ensure they fall in love with the written word, then it is Mem Fox. Here, she has taken a very ordinary, everyday concept combined it with a very familiar character and using just the right amount of carefully chosen text she has crafted a story that will most definitely become a favourite.  The illustrations are perfect, not only helping to make the text predictable so the reader feels empowered but the little chook following the boy adds humour as well as the clue to his search.  As the little chap visits the truck and the tractor and the sheep and the ponies, he doesn’t see he is being followed and little ones will be shouting, “Look behind you!” much like they do the villain in the pantomime, while at the same time I hear the music to this version of Rosie’s Walk!   Two for the price of one!  Chooks in books – always a winning combo.

As well, it opens up the opportunity to investigate where our food comes from and how it gets to our plates. Lots of learning all round. 

 

Where’s Brian’s Bottom?

Where's Brian's Bottom?

Where’s Brian’s Bottom?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s Brian’s Bottom?

Rob Jones

Pavilion Children’s, 2021

12pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

9781843654667

Brian is a very long sausage dog. So long he’s lost his bottom!  Can you find Brian’s bottom? Where could it be? Have you looked in the hallway? Has Pauline the parrot seen it? Maybe it’s in the living room, with Alan the hamster? Or perhaps in the kitchen with hungry Dave the tortoise? In the bathroom with Gavin the goldfish? Oh where could it be?

Regular readers of my reviews will know that I am a fan of board books that tell stories and engage our very youngest readers in the fun of them, developing an expectation that the written word will bring something special as they snuggle up with others in their lives to share. So this one with its l-o-n-g concertina foldout that winds through the house from front door to bedroom is a must-share and as a bonus, on the reverse side is another body adventure that invites the child to add their description of  where Brian’s bottom might be. 

This one really does encourage those early reading behaviours and concepts about print that are the critical foundations of early reading and deserves to be in every little reader’s library.

Ten Little Yoga Frogs

Ten Little Yoga Frogs

Ten Little Yoga Frogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Little Yoga Frogs

Hilary Robinson

Mandy Stanley

Catch A Star, 2021

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

9781922326126

Imagine learning some basic yoga poses at the same time as learning to count,  This is a bright, colourful, traditional rhyming counting book but with the twist of all the characters doing yoga and an invitation to the reader to join in.. 

One to one matching and the conservation of number are the foundation skills of early maths as children learn that no matter how it is arranged, a group of three (or whatever) is always a group of three, So we can’t underestimate the value of books such as these as they teach or reinforce the same concepts and eventually the child is mature enough to grasp them. At the same time, the rhyming format helps them predict the text so they have power over it. Win/win for littlies, in my opinion. 

 

Learning to Count (series)

Learning to Count

Learning to Count

10 Naughty Numbats

9781922265616

10 Bush Babies

9781922265623

10 Lively Lorikeets

9781922265630

Grace Nolan

Nancy Bevington

Big Sky, 2021

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

Learning to count, add and subtract is one of the key reasons little children believe they go to school and so this new collection of three readers endorsed by Australian Geographic will be a welcome addition to the resources to assist this . 

Focusing on 30 signature Australian creatures, each book encourages little ones to count, add or subtract as they use the rhyming text and charming illustrations for cues and clues.  Each illustration has a humorous twist to add to the fun of learning  and the concept for each page is clearly displayed as a conventional number story.  As well, there are extra activities at the end to reinforce the concepts and encourage the 1:1 matching and conservation of numbers that are the foundation skills of early maths.  

Never underestimate the power of these sorts of texts to encourage our little ones to learn much more than we ever set out to teach!

Leafy Critters

Leafy Critters

Leafy Critters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leafy Critters

Yvonne Lacet

Blue Dot, 2020

36pp., hbk., RRP $A16.95

9781733121224

The limitless shapes, colours and textures of leaves is explored as an art medium in this almost wordless picture book to inspire young creators to try their hand.  The reader is encouraged to examine the components of the pictures that have been created so instead of seeing just green leaves in the environment, they start to realise that each tree has a myriad of colours and that the shapes can suggest all manner of things that can go together to make a whole.

As summer wanders on and some trees have already begun to change colour because rainfall is still scarce, this is the ideal time to take littlies outside to observe, gather, collect and create their own artworks using the free materials on offer from Mother Nature.

These creations help them search for the finer detail in the whole and examine the parts and their unique elements so as well as taking a closer look at their surroundings, they are also developing their visual acuity which is such an essential early reading skill as they distinguish letter shapes and search illustrations for clues to the text. 

Einstein declared that “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

What better way to start a new school year than with such an open-ended imaginative project that will appeal to all ages. 

Let’s Go! (series)

Let’s Go! (series)

Let’s Go! (series)

On a Plane

9781921928802

On a Digger

9781921928710

Rosalyn Albert

Natalia Moore

Catch a Star 2020 

16pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

This new series of books created for our very youngest readers reflects a new approach that has been emerging in hoard books recently – that of real stories that engage, entertain and even educate our littlies as, at last, the importance of having quality stories for this age group is recognised.  There has been so much research into how critical reading to the very young from birth released, that those who create for this age are now providing more than one-word concept books and the understanding about how print and stories work combined with actually holding the book for themselves is doing so much for early literacy development.  Young readers are demanding stories that relate to them, have context and meaning that is familiar and a physical product that requires input from them rather than being passive recipients,  

So kudos to the publishers  for recognising that our youngest generation need and deserve quality stories that are as entertaining as any screen device placed in front of them. 

This particular 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. 

Bluey: Verandah Santa

Bluey: Verandah Santa

Bluey: Verandah Santa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey: Verandah Santa

Puffin, 2020

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

9781761040610

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 which resonates with the young readers and viewers.  In this story, it’s Christmas Eve and Bluey, Bingo and Muffin decide to play a game called Verandah Santa! Just because their house doesn’t have a chimney, doesn’t mean Santa won’t come. What will Santa bring them? As well as having lots of fun, Bluey also learns a valuable lesson about what being good means and why it is not just about getting presents. 

Bluey has been a phenomenal success since airing on ABC KIDS in October 2018 and is the winner of an International Emmy for Most Outstanding Children’s Programme.  As well as helping our youngest readers learn some of life’s lasting lessons, the link between screen and media is a critical one as they learn about the value of being able to take their time with print, examine the illustrations and read it again and again whenever they want – all critical concepts about print.

 To accompany the storybook, there is also a sticker activity book which encourages little ones to actively engage with the story rather than just being passive listeners.

Perfect for Christmas stockings.

Look, Baby!

Look, Baby!

Look, Baby!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look, Baby!

Janeen Brian

Renée Treml

Little Book Press, 2020

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

9780648551034

There is so much in this world to introduce a little one to that it can be overwhelming but this cleverly written and designed picture book is the perfect start.

On each page Baby is encouraged to focus on something through a cutout – a dolphin, cloud, grasshopper, frog –  but when the page is turned, instead of the anticipated word there is a whole environment with like-minded inhabitants!  The dolphin reveals a seascape with seagulls and shells and turtles and sandcastles; the owls reveal a tree with “shiver-quiver leaves that shade you and me”.  The final pages are just delightful – give a baby a mirror and sit back and observe – bringing a sense of the happy ending that stories for this age should have. Then, as an added extra, the final page revisits all the details in the big pictures to encourage the child to re-focus and ensure they found them all.  So perfect for a re-read and then a trip outside to see what can be spotted in the real world and what extra things might be added.   What else can you see in the sky? Is it always blue like the picture? Consider having preschoolers paint a picture of a particular habitat, perhaps with labels, to share with their younger siblings so they can show off what they know and add to Baby’s repertoire. 

With its interactivity, its rhyme and rhythm, its gentle illustrations, and clever design that fosters focus on both detail and broader picture, this book has all the best elements that encourage our little ones to find joy and excitement in stories and books. It builds up those essential concepts about print and early reading behaviours that are the hallmarks of early reading success.         

Any new parent will love to have this as a gift – it promises hours of entertainment.