What Zola Did on Monday

What Zola Did on Monday

What Zola Did on Monday











What Zola Did on Monday

Melina Marchetta

Deb Hudson

Puffin, 2020

96pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99


Cousins Zola and Alessandro live next door to each other – there’s even a gate cut into the fence by their Nonno Nino before he died so they could be together as much as they want., so most afternoons after school they play together. 

Zola’s Nonna Rosa is a keen gardener and everyone admires her beautiful roses but Nonna Rosa loves her vegetable garden best. So when Ms Divis, the children’s teacher, starts talking about rejuvenating the community gardens where the school is being housed while the original buildings are being refurbished, people look to Zola for advice.  But while Zola might like the flowers, she certainly doesn’t like gardening – Nonna Rosa has so many rules about it. And in this hilarious romp where the reader wonders what can go wrong next, Zola discovers the reason for those rules.

This is the first in a series of seven books about Zola that will form a great stepping stone for newly independent readers transitioning to novels. Using everyday kids in everyday situations in which the reader can see themselves, understand and relate to, is a recipe for success and with a solid text combined with lots of illustrations, short chapters and humour it is sure to be a favourite. Although it’s target audience is probably those in about Year 2-3, there is also enough depth to the story to make it ideal for older students who may be learning English as a new language and needing something to engage them as they practise their reading skills.




Tashi Picture Books

Tashi Picture Books

Tashi Picture Books











Alphabetical Tashi

80pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99


My First Tashi Colours 

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


My First Tashi 123

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


Anna & Barbara Fienberg

Kim, Arielle & Greer Gamble

Allen & Unwin, 2020

Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the publication of the original Tashi story, are three early childhood books which introduce the very youngest readers to the characters and settings while also helping with those basic concepts of  number, colours and the alphabet.

Because the original stories are perfect family read-alouds at bedtime, this collection will be ideal for introducing younger readers to that magical world that carries the stories along, or to assist those who are learning English as an additional language to learn the basic words using titles that are not as babyish as more traditional concept board books.  The original stories were illustrated by Kim Gamble, but since his passing his daughters have assumed the mantle and there is a seamless transition between the old and the new bringing the traditional monochromatic drawings to life in vivid colour.

With his own website and television series, Tashi is a perennial favourite who deserves his place in the legends of Australian children’s literature.


Let’s Go! On a Tractor

Let's Go! On a Tractor

Let’s Go! On a Tractor









Let’s Go! On a Tractor

Rosalyn Albert

Natalia Moore

Catch A Star, 2020

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


Let’s go on a tractor
All around the farm
Past the duck pond, through the fields
Behind the big red barn.

This is a new addition to the Let’s Go series, this one taking our youngest readers around the farm on a tractor. 

The 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. It also helps build vocabulary as not all will be familiar with farm life, riding a train or a ferry, or travelling on a rocket so when they encounter other books with those sorts of settings, they are able to bring their knowledge to the page, predict what they will see and what might happen, as well as being in a better position to get their mouth ready for unknown words.

We should never underestimate the role that these sorts of readers have in our children’s literacy as they develop those early concepts about print, and by using sturdy, durable board books we can start that process earlier and earlier. This is just one of a number of series from this publisher that is bringing quality stories to our e=youngest readers.

Can You Find? (series)

Can You Find?

Can You Find?

Can You Find? (series)

Nancy Bevington

Catch A Star, 2019

board books, RRP $A12.99

Each of the books in this series for our youngest readers focuses on a location and introduces iconic items that would be discovered in such a place. Even if the location is unfamiliar to the young reader, they provide a valuable aid in building vocabulary and creating context for when the child encounters other stories set in that location. Unfamiliar items have both a name and a context, predictions can be made based on that knowledge and reading progresses.  Having been introduced to the various items, the child is then challenged to find them all again in the final pages.

While board books may appear simple to the competent reader, we should never underestimate their value in constructing and consolidating those vital concepts about print that are the foundations of successful independent reading and this series could be an integral part of that development.


Africa, Amazing Africa: Country by Country

Africa, Amazing Africa: Country by Country

Africa, Amazing Africa: Country by Country










Africa, Amazing Africa: Country by Country


Mouni Feddag

Walker, 2019

80pp., hbk.,  RRP $A29.99


No continent’s political borders seem to be as fluid as those of Africa and so this new publication is an introduction to all 55 countries on the African continent.  It captures Africa’s unique mix of the modern and the traditional, as its geography, its peoples, its animals, its history, its resources and its cultural diversity are explored in accessible text and colourful illustrations.

The book divides Africa into five sections: South, East, West, Central and North, each with its own introduction. This is followed by a page per country,which provides the merest taste of the riches of each that can be explored further if desired. The richest king, the tallest sand dunes and the biggest waterfall on the planet are all here, alongside drummers, cocoa growers, inventors, balancing stones, salt lakes, high-tech cities and nomads who use GPS! 

With so many classes now including students of African origin, this is a wonderful way to begin exploring their background, showing them that they are represented in the library’s collection and have a unique heritage to share – as the author says, Africa is the birthplace of the world’s population. It could be a great adjunct to an EALD program using the child’s home country to introduce meaningful reading and information literacy skills.

Duck Duck Moose

Duck Duck Moose

Duck Duck Moose








Duck Duck Moose

Lucinda Gifford

Allen & Unwin, 2019 

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


Two ducks with attitude are making their way through the forest when suddenly they encounter Moose…

To tell the rest of the story would not only spoil it but would also just be my interpretation of the sparse text juxtaposed against the fabulous illustrations which contain all the action and expressions, the problem and its solution.

This is one of those books that is perfect for encouraging littlies to read both the words and the pictures and tell their own story, and even though Australian children might not be familiar with a moose there is no mistaking what it is and its impact on the ducks.  With the endpapers being an integral part of the story, it really does encourage interaction with the whole book and provides so much scope for language development, not just reading.

So, as well as being perfect for littlies, it is also rich enough in its story for being one for those who are learning English as a new language to also engage with.  Apart from interpreting the story itself, there is scope to talk about the expressions and emotions, so perfectly portrayed in the illustrations and which are universal.  

A true picture book where every element is interdependent and the key link between them is the reader and their imagination.