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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. 

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

Lynley Dodd

Puffin, 2010

34pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

9780143504450

Remember this … “Out of the gate and off for a walk went Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy …” and by the time you got to the end of the book he had been joined by his mates Hercules Morse (as big as a horse); Bottomley Potts (covered in spots); Muffin McLay (like a bundle of hay); Bitzer Maloney (all skinny and bony); and Schnitzel von Krumm (with a very low tum). How proud and posh they were until they met …  

Almost every child born in New Zealand or Australia in the last 30 years knows what happens next! Who could bring down such a bold band of brothers?

Children love the sound of the rhythmic and rhyming language and the repetition of the characters on each page which make it a perfect read-aloud  as your listeners will be joining in and eagerly anticipating who will join this canine crew., as well as enjoying the pictures which work with the text perfectly, as they should. The board book format makes it perfect for little hands, ensuring that this will be much-loved by this generation as those before.

And it is fitting that on the 5th anniversary of forgoing a trip to Hobbiton in favour of finding the sculpture to this remarkable dog and his mates on Tauranga in the pouring rain, that it is time to remind our new parents of this classic series so another generation can be as enchanted with him as all those of the last 30 years.

Hairy Maclary Tauranga. NZ

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.  

We Love You, Magoo

We Love You, Magoo

We Love You, Magoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Love You, Magoo

Briony Stewart

Puffin, 2020

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

9781760896904

From the very front cover, the family says they love their dog Magoo but he’s beginning to wonder.  No matter how hard he tries to be like them, with them and do the things they do, he quickly finds out there is one rule for people and another for dogs.  It’s a bit like being a little person – one rule for you and another for the grown-ups.

This is an hilarious story that will resonate with all of us who have dogs and know just how much they want to be a part of our daily lives.  But it could also have a serious side because there is often a very good reason we don’t let our pets eat and do the same things we do, and so it can become a teaching tool as children become more responsible for the animals in their care. In fact, the Humane Society has even published a list of human foods that are poisonous to pets so that what seems like deprivation is actually what’s best for them.

Its text is simple and the rhyme. rhythm and repetition mean that even our youngest readers will be able to pick it up and tell themselves the story – such an empowering part of early reading behaviours.   

 

Ten Sleepy Sheep

Ten Sleepy Sheep

Ten Sleepy Sheep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Sleepy Sheep

Renée Treml

Puffin, 2020

24pp., board book., RRP $A14.99

9781760896768

Dusk on the farm and it’s time for the animals to go to sleep and so in this gentle countdown book, each settles down for the night.  

The ideal bedtime book to draw the curtains on the day for our youngest readers, the rhyme and rhythm will lull them off to sleep just as it does the sheep, the calves, the koalas and all the other little creatures who need their rest. 

Featuring the iconic soft drawings that we’ve come to associate with Treml’s work , this would be the ideal gift for a new mum and dad to start their little one’s reading journey.  

You Can’t Call an Elephant in an Emergency

You Can't Call an Elephant in an Emergency

You Can’t Call an Elephant in an Emergency

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Can’t Call an Elephant in an Emergency

Patricia Cleveland-Peck

David Tazzyman

Bloomsbury, 2020

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

9781408880630

You can’t call an elephant in an emergency

He’ll blunder around and trumpet with glee

Then tangle the hoses and cause a flood

and laugh as the fire crew slips in the mud

Even our youngest readers are familiar with the term “first responders” now and while there hasn’t been a national campaign here to stand at our driveways and applaud them in tribute, perhaps, in this most trying year, it wouldn’t be amiss to do so. But in this hilarious book from the team that brought us You Can’t Let an Elephant Drive a Diggerand You Can’t Take an Elephant on a Bus,young people can learn about those who do help us in an emergency and how they can be contacted.

There are often news reports of young children having saved a life because they knew to dial 000 and so this is the perfect non-confrontational way to introduce and teach this information. As well as that, it could also be extended to learn how to avoid getting into tricky situations such as causing fires and staying out of floodwaters. Even though it’s primary purpose is to entertain by putting animals in ludicrous situations, nevertheless in the hands of a skilled teacher or parent, there is much more that can be gained from sharing this book. 

A must-have for anyone with health and safety on the curriculum.  

Bear in Space

Bear in Space

Bear in Space

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bear in Space

Deborah Abela

Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Walker Books, 2020

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

9781760651510

Bear is different. While all his friends were noisy and busy and never seemed to stop, Bear preferred his own company and the quietness and solitude of his books – particularly his books about space.  Because even though the other bears sometimes laughed at him and called him names, Bear was absorbing all he could learn about the mysterious place beyond the planet because he had plans…

This is a charming story for early readers that has so many layers.  Firstly, it is a tribute to those children who are more introverted, who are happy and complete in their own space and who single-mindedly pursue their dreams, prompting discussions about how there are all sorts of people in the world who may have different values and dreams to us. But it also shows how those dreams can be enriched and enhanced when they are shared with like-minded souls and friends, changing perceptions of relationships and how the world works.  It also has lots of facts about space embedded into it so as well as sharing Bear’s adventures, the reader also learns a little on the journey.

This is one of those perfect pictures books where the text and illustrations are seamless and one would be so much less if the other weren’t there.  Even though both themes of being a loner and having dreams of space travel have been visited in children’s stories before, this is a stand-out because of the story’s layers and that integration of words and pictures that entertain and educate at the same time. A marriage of imagination and information.

Grumbelina

Grumbelina

Grumbelina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grumbelina

Esther Krogdahl

Aleksandra Szmidt

Moa, 2020

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

9781869714291

On the day she turned three and a half, sweet, compliant Hazel turned into Grumbelina , a grumpy child, so disgruntled yet small, with a list of complaints that could cover a wall”. Despite being a cranky cross-patch her parents were very patient with her and were sure that she would be better in the morning after a good night’s sleep.  But Hazel/Grumbelina has other ideas…

There are certain ages and stages in a child’s life where they turn from mild to monster and the experts say it’s because of their brains going through rapid periods of change.  But whatever the reason, parents will all relate to Hazel/Grumbelina and her mood swings as they share this rhyming tale with their little ones which takes a humorous look at tantrums and lets everyone relax for a little while.  While tantrums and loud voices might be pictured as spiky and sharp-edged, the soft lines and palette of the illustrations takes the edge off Hazel’s behaviour offering a sense of peace and understanding rather than confrontation and exasperation.  

One to recommend to parents who need a new way through this time. 

Beware! Ralfy Rabbit and the Secret Book Biter

Beware! Ralfy Rabbit and the Secret Book Biter

Beware! Ralfy Rabbit and the Secret Book Biter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beware! Ralfy Rabbit and the Secret Book Biter

Emily Mackenzie

Bloomsbury, 2020

32pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781408892091

Ralfy Rabbit loves to read but when his new baby brother arrives,  his peace is constantly shattered and he can not find anywhere quiet to read and enjoy his stories.  He finally ventures to the library which works well until he is embarrassed to find a huge bite taken out of his library book!  

Using his special detective kit he sets out to find who is responsible but when he discovers the culprit (along with several other books with bites taken out of them), the solution isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. 

All lovers of books and reading can relate to Ralfy’s dismay when he finds his precious books damaged, and this is a charming story for early readers who have younger siblings who haven’t yet learned about taking care of things.  And once they discover who the biter is, they can have fun predicting how the problem might be solved. What would they do if they were Ralfy?