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The Tale of the Whale

The Tale of the Whale

The Tale of the Whale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tale of the Whale

Karen Swann

Padmacandra

UQP, 2021

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

9780702263262

‘Where land becomes sky

and the sky becomes sea,

I first saw the whale and

the whale first saw me …’

Imagine going for a ride on the back of a humpback whale and seeing all the sights beneath the waves – mountains and valleys carpeted in colour and full of intriguing creatures. “An ocean in motion, a bright, busy land..”

But this is no romantic joyride – the whale has a reason for taking the child (and the reader) on this journey. Because when its tummy rumbles and he opens his mouth wide, and half of the ocean is swallowed inside, it is not packed with krill and other whale delights but with rubbish, particularly plastics, thoughtlessly tossed away by humans and now inside his tummy where he tries to digest it in vain.  That then causes the child to look with new eyes at the creatures he had seen – the turtle tangled in a plastic bag; the seagull with the six-pack ring around its neck… the sea is really just plastic soup.

Even though our students are becoming more and more aware of the issue of plastic being disposed in the ocean through stories such as these and teachers using them to raise awareness in carefully constructed units, the problem continues to grow causing phenomena like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. However, solutions begin with awareness and this lyrical and sensitively illustrated story is a must-have addition to your collection that supports these investigations. If just one child teaches their adult to think before they throw, then that is a win. 

Teachers’ notes supporting the environmental aspects of the story are available.

  

Earth Matters: Loving Our Planet

Earth Matters: Loving Our Planet

Earth Matters: Loving Our Planet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earth Matters: Loving Our Planet

Carole Wilkinson

Hilary Cresp

Wild Dog, 2021

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

 9781742036014

From a very young age these days, children learn that we must look after our environment and that even the smallest things if done by a lot of people can have an impact. Having experienced devastating drought, fires and floods just in the last three years, they hear the words “climate change” often but don’t necessarily understand what they mean or what causes it, so this book which is especially for younger readers is a great introduction to explaining what is happening and why. Just as their individual actions can have a positive impact, they can also be negative 

So helping them understand this and offering them some more tools and strategies to help their personal contribution to a better future can be empowering so that their concerns for the future can be reduced. 

Wilkinson’s Matthew Flinders – Adventures on Leaky Ships  is shortlisted for the 2021 CBCA’s Eve Pownall Award for information books offering testament to the quality of her research and writing, and with extensive teaching notes available, this is a go-to when teachers and students are looking for a resource to help them understand this phenomenon.   

 

Bee Detectives

Bee Detectives

Bee Detectives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bee Detectives

Vanessa Ryan-Rendall

Brenna Quinlan

CSIRO Publishing, 2021

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

9781486313396

When Olivia and Hamish are woken by the scream of a chainsaw coming from their local park and see what looks like a cloud of smoke rising, they are very concerned that there is a fire.  But they soon discover that what they thought was smoke is a cloud of insects disturbed when their tree home fell.

With the help of the specialist Bee Team, they learn that the insects are Native Social Stingless Bees and because the hive contains the bees’ babies it needs to be rescued.  That evening, when the last of the bees is safely in the temporary hive, Hamish and Olivia are invited to take it into their backyard so they can learn about these bees and how they are essential to the well-being of the environment.  The children take on the challenge and they, and the reader, learn not only about the bees’ importance but also about the many other native bees that live in the garden, usually unnoticed.

While the plight of bees globally is gradually being recognised as becoming critical, most young readers associate them with the fluffy black and yellow bumblebees of their storybooks, not realising that Australia alone has over 1700 species of native bees, each of which needs protection.  With a special section giving the reader more information about these species, particularly those mentioned in the story, and tips on how to attract them to the suburban garden, this is an important publication to help young students develop their awareness of the role bees have and understand how they can promote their well-being. Using a story format accompanied by charming illustrations that also put the bees under a magnifying glass so they can be more than squiggles on a page means that this has the potential to be used as a springboard to an intriguing investigation as students start to identify the various species and search for them in their own surroundings.  As well as extensive teaching notes to assist this, students might also consider establishing a bee hotel to encourage the bees to stay.

 

Meet the Oceans

Meet the Oceans

Meet the Oceans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Oceans

Caryl Hart

Bethan Woollvin

Bloomsbury, 2020

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

9781526603630

In Meet the Planets,  young readers  were invited to join an aspiring young astronaut and her trusty dog to climb into a rocket and fly on a journey to meet the planets. This time, they are invited on board a submarine to travel the oceans and seas of the world to meet the creatures that live in them. From the icy reaches of the Arctic Ocean to the warmth of the Coral Sea, the diversity of life is explored with a strong theme of conservation as the children learn that any water they send down the plughole eventually reaches the ocean and the life within it. 

Bold bright pictures and a strong rhyming text carry the story and the journey along ensuring readers stay engaged as they are introduced to the water that covers 70% of the planet. A great introduction to what is beneath the surface that will come to mind each time little ones stand on the seashore and gaze.  

100 Things to Know About the Oceans

100 Things to Know About the Oceans

100 Things to Know About the Oceans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100 Things to Know About the Oceans

Lan Cook Alex Frith Alice James Jerome Martin

Parko Polo

Usborne, 2021

128pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781474953160

Do fish wear pyjamas? What’s the sound of an iceberg melting? How many sheep did it take to launch a Viking longship? Which is faster – a tsunami or a bullet train?

The answers to these and many more questions are available in this book that explores the history, science, environment and art of our planet’s seas and oceans. Beginning with a double-page spread that proclaims Planet Earth should be known as Planet Ocean because 71% of its surface is water and only 29% solid ground,  the reader is taken on an intriguing journey that covers everything from the one tiny sea creature that keeps us breathing to the sea that has no shore to the origins or mermaids and beyond. Using rich illustrations and bite-sized pieces of information, this book opens up the world both above and below the waves offering the reader at least 100 journeys to explore further, a journey they can take using the Quicklinks that are provided with these sorts of publications from Usborne.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Sadly, there are still some who believe that there is no need for a non fiction section in the school library collection because “everything is available on the Internet”.  This book, especially written for those emerging independent readers who are learning about their world generally and who don’t know enough yet to formulate specific questions, and its companions in this series. are the perfect way to show that there is a place for print beyond fiction.

Masters of Disguise

Masters of Disguise

Masters of Disguise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Masters of Disguise

Marc Martin

Puffin, 2021

56pp., hbk., RRP $A26.99

9781760895891

Subtitles “Camouflaging Creatures & Magnificent Mimics” this book explores the unique and impressive techniques that animals have for staying out of sight. Some change their colours and patterns to blend in with their environment, while others try to look like sticks or flowers – one even wears a cloak of algae.  even though they each use a different approach, each is dependent on their unique surroundings to make the camouflage work. 

Spanning the globe, including the stick insects (phasmids) of Australia, all sorts of habitats which have creatures hiding in plain sight are explored.  Using a minimum of text to introduce the creature and its special features, the reader is then challenged to find it in a double-page spread that captures both the flora and fauna that it lives in, not always an easy task. 

A peek inside...

Young readers beginning to explore the wider world of Mother Nature will be fascinated by this book and it is one that those boys who seem to need to gather around one book and explore it together will thoroughly enjoy. 

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..

Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo

Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo

Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo

Kylie Howarth

Walker, 2021

160pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781760652548

Originally, Bodhi did not share his parents’ love of the underwater world – his dad is a marine biologist and his mum an underwater photographer – and while they travelled the world together to explore what really happens beneath the surface, he preferred dry land until he discovered he had magical powers…

In the third in this series that introduces the reader to life beneath the waves and the hazards the inhabitants face,  the reader is taken to the Maldives where Fish Kid’s friendship with bestie, Emely, soon hits a snag during a tricky sea turtle rescue. Secretly wishing for powers of her own, Emely’s strange behaviour leaves Fish Kid wondering if their friendship and the super-sick turtle will survive. And if things weren’t bad enough, another turtle from the sanctuary goes missing. 

Full of action, adventure and humour, and all the techniques proven perfect for supporting those transitioning to longer novels, this series also includes fact boxes about the various creatures encountered and draws on the author’s personal knowledge of the world under the waves enriching the reader’s understanding and awakening an awareness to protect it. 

A powerful series that hopefully will inspire young readers to wonder and find out more, perhaps even be like Miss 14 who is currently studying oceanography and marine biology in Year 9 and undertaking her diver’s qualification!  The power of story to spark the “what if…” and while a mask and scuba tank aren’t quite the same as Bodhi’s powers, they work just fine!

 

The Plastic Throne

The Plastic Throne

The Plastic Throne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Plastic Throne

Amani Uduman

Kera Bruton

MidnightSun, 2021 

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

9781925227802

 

Denver flushes all kinds of things down the toilet but never stops to think about what happens to them once they are gone. One night, while he sleeps, the ocean begins to stir, no longer able to suppress its fury over how it’s being treated. Can Denver and his sister Maisy make things right before it’s too late? More importantly, is Denver’s solution to flushing things the best option or are there changes we can make in our everyday lives that would be better?

The problem of plastic in the environment is finally receiving the sort of attention it requires and this story helps focus young readers’ attention on both the issue and its solution.  Inspiring readers to not only think about their plastic usage, it also highlights the impact of the waste humans generate on the world, enabling the development of attitudes about sustainability from a young age. 

North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres

North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres

North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres

Sandra Morris

Walker Books, 2021

40pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

9781925381801

“Earth is divided into the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere by an imaginary line called the Equator.  One of the most important differences between the two hemispheres is the timing of seasons. Because of the hemispheres’ different angles and distances relating to the sun over the course of the year, their seasons – and their weather patterns – occur at different times.  In both hemispheres, animals deal with the changing seasons in various ways. Whichever hemisphere they live in, they need to be able to read the signs of the changing seasons to survive.”

But with climate change, many of those signs are changing and human activities are also having a massive impact, so more and more species are at risk as they are not adapting as fast as the changes.  This beautiful non-fiction picture book contrasts, month-by-month, some of the world’s most-loved Northern and Southern Hemisphere animals and the ways the climates in those regions affect the way they breed, feed, adapt, hide and survive. Using an element common to both focus creatures, such as camouflage, building a home, being armoured and migration. two are in the spotlight for each month showing how they deal with what they have always had and what they are now facing. 

It is an intriguing introduction to the environment and the continuing impact of climate change that will leave young readers with a greater understanding of how even the smallest action can have a huge effect.

From the detailed end papers which  have a clearly labelled world map showing the hemispheres, continents, countries, oceans and the animals mentioned in the book, including several from Australia and New Zealand to the supporting pages featuring a comprehensive glossary, index, further reading suggestions as well as  information on how individual readers can help, this is a must-have for any library collection and any unit of work that focuses on sustainability of the environment, animal adaptation and climate change, adding so much more to the reader’s understanding of the topic rather than the traditional “all you need to know about…”.

Look for this one in awards’ lists over the year.