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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. 

The Big Book of Australian Nursery Rhymes

The Big Book of Australian Nursery Rhymes

The Big Book of Australian Nursery Rhymes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Big Book of Australian Nursery Rhymes

Frané Lessac

Walker Books, 2024

96pp., hbk., RRP $A26.99

9781760655099

Take a bunch of familiar nursery rhymes from time immemorial, give them a new, uniquely Australian twist, add the iconic illustrations of Frané Lessac and you have the perfect present for any book-based baby shower, or newborn’s welcoming present you could ever wish for.

We know it is not so much the words of rhymes like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or Old MacDonald had a Farm that little ones respond to, so much as the melodic rise and fall of the voice as it moves over the rhyme, rhythm and repetition of these hand-me-down jingles, but to embed our native wildlife into them is pure genius.  So it is not little stars that we wonder about, but southern stars; it is not the cow jumping over the moon but a big kangaroo; and it’s not Peter picking a peck of pickled peppers but Pygmy Possum picking a peck of pickled pollen…

So while Jack and Jill will always climb the hill to fetch their pail of water, perhaps a new generation will see them as something other than two little children, or it will be four and twenty kookaburras emerging from that famous pie…

Brilliant.

Hatch and Match

Hatch and Match

Hatch and Match

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hatch and Match

Ruth Paul

Walker Books, 2024

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

9781760656980

Early morning on the farm, and as the rooster crows to start the new day, an assortment of the most brightly coloured, highly patterned chickens jump down from the tree they have roosted in overnight and begin to search for their eggs.  And as they search the farmyard with all its hazards, the reader is invited to help them search by matching colours and patterns so that each hen finds its eggs.  

But when all are reconciled, that’s not the end of the story – there is a delightful twist as the eggs hatch into chicks that will make the reader think about things a little more deeply.

This has to be one of the most engaging books for our youngest readers that I’ve read for a while.  Not only do they interact with the text and illustrations, developing their visual acuity as they match patterns and colours (a precursor to distinguishing more  subtle changes like letter shapes), but the ending offers food for thought that will have a lasting impact on how they view the world.  If it weren’t for this being by a Kiwi author (go us) making it ineligible, it is one I would expect to see in the CBCA awards lists in the future.

Dinosaur Roar! (series)

Dinosaur Roar!

Dinosaur Roar!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinosaur Roar! (series)

Peter Curtis

Jeanne Willis

Orchard Books, 2024

16pp., board book, RRP $A16.99

Imagine a series of books about dinosaurs created especially for our youngest readers, in board book format just perfect for their little hands to hold by themselves.

Inspired by the classic picture book Dinosaur Roar! by Paul Stickland and Henrietta Stickland, this colourful collection of children’s books features dinosaurs with personalities even bigger than they are! Each book in the series introduces a different title character and uses his or her personality to teach children about dinosaurs and convey a simple moral lesson. The 26 dinosaur characters frequently pop up in other characters’ books in the collection, which together make up The World of Dinosaur Roar!

With wonderful, rhyming text written by series creator, Peter Curtis, and award-winning author, Jeanne Willis, these laugh-out-loud stories are sure to be a hit with young dinosaur fans! Each book includes a spread of simple dinosaur facts and a pronunciation guide, and is produced in association with the Natural History Museum in London. 

There are few children who don’t go through a “dinosaur phase” and so, not only does this series engage, entertain and educate them, but it also starts developing those early reading behaviours particularly those about print works being valuable for finding things out, and being something they can easily return to time and again. The website offers lots of activities and there is a YouTube channel with even more things to do.

An ideal series for the young readers in your life. 

 

Rainbowsaurus

Rainbowsaurus

Rainbowsaurus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainbowsaurus

Steve Antony

Hodder Children’s, 2024

32pp., hbk., RRP $A26.99

9781444964516

We’re following a rainbow to find the Rainbowsaurus.
We’re following a rainbow. Would you like to join us?

Two dads and their three children  set off on an adventure to find the Rainbowsaurus. On their way, they meet animals that are all the colours of the rainbow who all want to find the Rainbowsaurus, too.

This is a fun read for little ones as they join the quest with its crazy collection of creatures, all different colours and lots of opportunities to join in with the noises and actions as they seek the Rainbowsaurus.  And if that isn’t enough there is always the song to sing as it has been set to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Music, movement, colour and a dinosaur – what’s not to love?  Especially if the young reader is invited to be a creature and colour of their choosing and really join in!