Archives

Kevin the Sheep

Kevin the Sheep

Kevin the Sheep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin the Sheep

Jacqueline Harvey

Kate Isobel Scott

Puffin, 2024

32pp., hbk., RRP $A17.99

9781761048951

Shaun, Shauna, Sheryl and Shane are sheep – and are as predictable in their sheepish behaviour as the alliteration of their names.  Along with the rest of the flock, they are happy doing the same things over and over day after day in their fields of green grass and clover.

But Kevin is different.  To start with, he’s allergic to grass and would much prefer a bowl of soup (sprinkled with chives) and instead of subjecting himself to the regular shearing, he prefers to keep his locks long, and have painted purple hooves!  And if that’s not enough, he’s into drama and dance, is learning to knit (from a Ewe-Tube video), and is mastering kung fu, among other things. Sadly for Kevin, the other sheep don’t approve and ostracise him, make him feel like an outcast and he gets sadder and sadder.  Until one night…

There are many stories for young readers about being yourself, embracing the things that make you unique and standing up to those who would prefer you to be one of the flock, but few that I have read have been as LOL funny as this one, and as appealing.  Living as I do in sheep country, sheep behaviour is a common sight and both the author and the illustrator have captured that brilliantly. A paddock of sheep is a paddock of sheep is a paddock of sheep… So to have a Kevin to rock the flock is a masterpiece, particularly as his differences span all sorts of attributes from physical appearance to food allergies to sporting prowess to hobby choices… No matter how a little one in your realm stands out from the crowd, they will be able to relate to Kevin and draw strength from his determination to accept his differences (even though it takes some sleepless nights to understand that he has the inner strength to do so) so that they, too, can revel in who they are, what they look like and what they can do. 

Teachers’ notes include some pages to colour that could become the centrepiece of the reader’s own story or they might even like to use Kate Scott’s illustrations as a model to draw Kevin doing what they like to do most, then making up their own story to go with that. 

Definitely one for both the home and school library.

 

Where Is the Cat?

Where Is the Cat?

Where Is the Cat?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Is the Cat?

Eva Eland

Andersen Press, 2024

32pp., hbk., RRP $A25.99

9781839131837

Whenever Suzy visits Auntie, all she wants to do is play with the cat.  But Cat is nowhere to be found, or is he?  No matter where Suzy looks, she can’t find Cat, but is she looking hard enough?

This is a joyous story for very young readers who will enjoy spotting Cat even though Suzy can’t.  They will love joining in to point him out, much like the audience in a pantomime, as well as learning and understanding prepositions like “behind”, “under” and so forth. There is also the opportunity to talk about how the cat, used to a quiet, good life, might feel when confronted by the boisterous, effervescent Suzy.

While it’s a familiar theme, nevertheless these sorts of stories are always enjoyable for our younger readers who like the feelings they have as they engage with the print and pictures, all helping them to enjoy the power of story believe that they can be readers themselves.

Miimi and Buwaarr, Mother and Baby

Miimi and Buwaarr, Mother and Baby

Miimi and Buwaarr, Mother and Baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miimi and Buwaarr, Mother and Baby

Melissa Greenwood

ABC Books, 2024

24pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780733343018

Being your miimi (mother) is the most precious gift life can give.

When you were born you opened my heart as wide as the ocean.

There is no stronger bond than that between mother and child and using a palette as soft and gentle as the accompanying text,  Gumbaynggir storyteller, artist and designer Melissa Greenwood, has created an ode between mother and newborn that tells the baby of the connections to their family, totems, language and environment both past and present and how they can draw on the characteristics  to guide and protect them through their journey through life. 

While it is a story that echoes the feeling between any mother and newborn. it is expressed in a way that shows the long, strong connections to family, land and culture that reach far into the past of First Nations families.

While it is written in a combination of English and Gumbaynggirr  with a full Gumbaynggirr translation included, at the end, it is nevertheless one that could be in any language spoken in the world, so universal is it message. And as children learn their mother language-its meaning, its rhythm, its expression, its nuances -whatever it is, through listening to it, there is much that they absorb during these personal, precious moments beyond that expression of love. Therefore, these sort of lullabies have a unique place in language learning and should not only be among the gifts given to any new mother but also be the first in the baby’s library, regardless of their heritage..

Elephants Can’t Jump

Elephants Can't Jump

Elephants Can’t Jump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elephants Can’t Jump

Venita Dimos

Natasha Curtin

Walker Books, 2024

32pp., hbk., RRP $A25.99

9781760656140

All the animals have had fun at Mini the elephant’s birthday and now it is time to open the presents.  She deliberately saved opening her best friend Mila’s present until last because Milo always gave the best presents and this one, wrapped in her favourite shade of pink was very big and bulky.  

But she was SO disappointed when she opened it because it was a trampoline  and while all the others could have fun, Milo should have known the elephants can’t jump!  So what use was the present to her?  And she was so angry with Milo she stopped talking to him.  And she got angrier and angrier as Milo suggested other games like hopscotch and hide-and-seek that were no fun for elephants, and so she decided to have nothing to do with Milo, even running away from him.  The final straw came when she went to Milo’s place on Friday afternoon (because Milo always had the most scrumptious food) and all her other friends were having fun on a jumping castle. Will the two ever resolve their differences and be friends again? 

The tag on this book is “Big Skills for Mini People” and it is a series written for our youngest readers to not only help them manage their emotions but help them navigate their way through relationships as they venture into the world of friendships beyond family and have to learn about competitiveness, managing inner voices, learning to listen, and communicating effectively. Learning to negotiate, compromise and consider others as they emerge from that egocentric world of toddlerhood can be tricky and so books like these, read with sensitive adults who can ask questions like “What could Mini have done instead of getting angry?” can help develop skills and strategies that will provide well for the future.  

One for the mindfulness collection that will help young people learning about the issues associated with assuming things.

Can I Sit in the Middle?

Can I Sit in the Middle?

Can I Sit in the Middle?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can I Sit in the Middle?

Susanne Strasser

Gecko Press, 2024

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

9781776575855

It’s time to sit on the sofa and read a story together, but it takes a while to get everyone together and be ready to start. And just when it looks like it’s good to go, Rhino comes in looking for his slippers…

Young children will enjoy this cumulative story that is full of fun and laughter, as they try to predict which creature will be next to come through the door and join the others,  And the ending is particularly satisfying because is there anything more enjoyable than snuggling sown behind the conch in a blanket tent? With its clear illustrations that tell the story almost on their own, this is one that our earliest readers will love because they will be able to tell it to themselves over and over again, the basis of being a successful reader as they get older. 

How to Be Invisible

How to Be Invisible

How to Be Invisible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Be Invisible

Nick Bland

HarperCollins, 2024

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

9781460764060

When Bunny arrives at the park wearing Grandpa’s hat, he thinks it has made him invisible. But Bird can still see him!  The more Bunny tries, the less invisible he seems. The best friends enjoy the hat even if it’s not magical. But are they sure it’s not a magical hat? Grandpa has a surprise for them!

This is the second in this series for our earliest readers who are just learning about the joy of stories in print, and they are going to be delighted to meet up with characters they already know, while impressing the grown-ups around them by not only saying the word “invisible” but knowing its meaning!  Can there be anything more empowering than learning and using such a big word? And in such an enjoyable way?

In my opinion, the real heroes in this world are those who can entertain, engage and educate our little ones so they have a strong platform on which to base their future formal learning, and Nick Bland is among those. His ability to take something simple and everyday and spin it into something magical through the clever use of words and pictures is amazing, the envy of others, and a gift that our youngest readers are grateful for. On their behalf, I say thank you.

 

 

 

The Crayons Love Our Planet

The Crayons Love Our Planet

The Crayons Love Our Planet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Crayons Love Our Planet

Drew Daywalt

Oliver Jeffers

HarperCollins, 2024

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

9780008560898

Our planet is a colourful place…white ice caps, green trees, blue oceans and skies, brown soil . . . and more! And each crayon is delighted to share their part in keeping it colourful, especially Beige who pops up constantly to highlight his contribution,  like a little toddler desperate not to be overlooked.

This is a funny addition to this series for young readers, as they are encouraged to look at the world around them and its colours and begin to develop an appreciation for their environment and their responsibility towards it. It opens up opportunities for some elementary data collection as natural elements and objects are classified according to colour as well as art appreciation as they discover the myriads of tints, tones and shades of the hues of the colour wheel represented in Nature.

As well as being lovable characters in themselves, the Crayons always have adventures and experiences that can lead to greater learning, and this one is just as promising as all the others. in the series. 

One Little Dung Beetle

One Little Dung Beetle

One Little Dung Beetle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Little Dung Beetle

Rhiân Williams

Heather Potter & Mark Jackson

Wild Dog, 2024

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

9781742036656

Australia is rich with fascinating beetles that all have a job to do. Using counting rhymes, young readers are introduced to some of these unique species and identifying the roles that each type of beetle plays in the environment including the dung beetle, the once-iconic Christmas beetle and some with the most remarkable colouring.  

With stunning endpapers, and accurate anatomical illustrations throughout, this offers an insight into the prevalence of beetles in the landscape and the critical role they perform in keeping it healthy and vibrant.  Teachers notes  offer further resources and links to investigate further, including the world of entomology, while also guiding young readers through the process of distinguishing a non fiction title from a fictional one, and how to use the cues and clues to prepare themselves for getting the most from it.

But while its format might suggest an early childhood audience, there is also scope for older readers to springboard their own investigations – why was the dung beetle introduced to Australia and were all introduced species as successful? Why do some have such remarkable colouring?  Why have all the Christmas beetles disappeared to the extent there is now a national count?  

Even if the reader is a little young to appreciate all the information, much of it embedded in the illustrations, they will enjoy practising their counting skills as they try to find all the beetles as well as the number of holes nibbled in the title number.  The pictures also include other creatures so there is also the opportunity to investigate the concepts of “more” and “less” and other early maths basics. 

With its focus topic which will encourage little ones to look at their environment with fresh eyes as well as its format, this is one that offers so much more than first meets the eye.  Give it with the gift of a magnifying glass and see the joy and wonder explode. 

 

Dinosaur in My Pocket

Dinosaur in My Pocket

Dinosaur in My Pocket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinosaur in My Pocket

Ashleigh Barton

Blithe Fielden

Lothian Children’s, 2024

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

9780734422668

James loves two things more than anything in the world: dinosaurs and miniatures. every day he plays with his toy dinosaurs and admires his collection of teeny tiny things on his shelves. But while he has an assortment of things like an elephant, a horse and even a mountain, he doesn’t have a miniature dinosaur. So when his class goes on an excursion to a museum and James finds a miniature dinosaur in the gift shop, he can’t help himself: he has no money so he steals the dinosaur. But, instead of feeling happy to be able to add it to his collection,  as the day continues, his guilt grows. And so does the dinosaur!

The only thing that can cure James’s guilt – and shrink the dinosaur back to its proper size – is doing the right thing. But how will his parents’ respond?  Will he be in BIG trouble?

There will be few children who haven’t been tempted by something they really want, so this is a cautionary tale that can open up discussions of knowing and doing right from wrong, the feelings they are likely to experience if they do succumb and how they might get what they want in an honest way.  It might also spark a discussion about the response of James’ parents – if they had yelled at him and punished him, would he have been likely to own up or be more scared of the consequences?  At a time when many seem to have a problem owning their behaviour, taking responsibility for what they have done and accepting the consequences, this could be an ideal ice-breaker.

 

Dragonboy and the 100 Hearts

Dragonboy and the 100 Hearts

Dragonboy and the 100 Hearts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dragonboy and the 100 Hearts

Fabio Napoleoni

Little Brown, 2024

40pp., hbk., RRP $A32.99

9780316462211

It’s raining outside and Dragonboy and his stuffed-animal friends are stuck at home, feeling as gloomy as the weather. For them, the only fun is to be exploring outside and they aren’t particularly interested when Dragonboy suggests exploring inside.  And even though Darwin the sloth was noticing something unusual, they paid him no attention. When they venture into the attic and discover a lot of old toys and games, their day brightens and as they play together, but Darwin’s feelings are hurt…

This is another in this series for very young readers who are learning about friendship and kindness and building relationships through everyday acts of kindness that have nothing to do with material things.  Each time one of the characters shows kindness, a tiny red heart appears and they are invited to count how many they find (there are 100) and think about what it was that triggered it. 

Something a little different that encourages young readers to understand that there are many ways to be a good friend.