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A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

Mary Lee Donovan

Lian Cho

Greenwillow, 2021

40pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

 9780063228658

“There are almost as many ways of making someone feel welcome as there are people on the planet. ” 

However, regardless of the race, religion, culture or creed there are two things that particularly permeate our need to connect with others, to seek acceptance if not friendship, and offer help and protection for those in need and that is the verbal language of welcome and the sharing of food.

In this book, written as a poem to the world as a “protest against intolerance, injustice and inhumanity” both are explored and explained through the text and illustrations. Beginning as a way to discover how to say ‘welcome; in as many languages as possible, it has evolved into an exploration of the various customs that usually accompany the word when it is spoken.   Sitting alongside the text, the illustrator illuminates this with pictures of everyday families sharing food as they welcome strangers to their homes, culminating in a huge four-page spread that has everyone at the same table.  There is even a pronunciation guide to help you get your tongue around the unfamiliar words. 

Even though there are many languages throughout the world, there is a limit to the number that can be included and so the author has selected 13 of those most commonly spoken – English, Indonesian, Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, Bengali, German, Hindi, Urdu, Lakota Sioux, Bashkir and Gaelic – immediately offering an opportunity for your students to add their own version both of the words and the customs, providing an authentic activity to celebrate both diversity and inclusion. Astute teachers would include a focus on the language of our First Nations peoples and a closer examination of the meaning, purpose and origins of the traditional Welcome to Country.

Just as the author discovered that there is so much more to ‘welcome” beyond the spoken word, so, too, there can be so much more to sharing this book to explore and share meaningful, purposeful learning. 

The Amazing Meals of Martha Maloney

The Amazing Meals of Martha Maloney

The Amazing Meals of Martha Maloney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Amazing Meals of Martha Maloney

Margaret Wild & Dan Wild

Donna Rawlins

Walker Books, 2021

25pp., hbk., RRP $A25.99

9781921529238

Martha Maloney is on an excursion with her class to the Museum of Famous People – it’s a visit she has looked forward to all term because she has a unique way of exploring the life and times of those who have gone before.  Although her long-suffering teacher Mrs Souza warns her that “eating and drinking is absolutely, totally forbidden here”, Martha doesn’t hear a word because she is off having meals with the various folks she finds -King Henry VIII, Princess Marie Antoinette, Queen Nefertiti , Emperor Claudius, and Emperor Puyi travelling not only through time but also countries. 

Accompanying the spectacular illustrations is a commentary by Martha about the person and the banquet she finds herself at as well as the menu and fascinating endnotes that give a few facts about her host and the food of the time, all held together by the increasingly overwhelmed Mrs Souza who, as any teacher knows finds keeping lids together on an excursion is like the proverbial herding cats.

So far this review year, there has been a thread of discovering history – Our Country: Ancient Wonders; BANG! The Story of How Life on Earth Began; Earth is Big; Australian Backyard Explorer; and  The History of Everywhere , each giving a different perspective and offering ways to help our students explore times past through their various lenses and interests.  The Amazing Meals of Martha Maloney continues this trend offering a new way to investigate a people and their times, either expanding on those offered by the creators or by selecting someone at a different time who interests them. They could even compare the tables of the rich and famous of the time with those of the ordinary people, investigating the choices and the differences; compare the banquet of Henry VIII to that of Emperor Puyi and examine the menu’s variety  and what were considered delicacies where while comparing them to a similar occasion here… For those wanting a more modern and immediate focus they could compare what were considered festive foods in the time of their great-grandparents to what they eat (in the 50s, roast chicken was the Christmas table treat)  and perhaps even develop an extra entry for the book based on a 21st century treat.  They could investigate the food of their classmates and how it varies from what their own dinner table looks like, perhaps even culminating in an international food fest and recipe book!

If we consider food to be the essential common denominator across time and place, there is endless inspiration in this unique book that I believe will feature in many awards lists this year. 

 

Monster! Hungry! Phone!

Monster! Hungry! Phone!

Monster! Hungry! Phone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monster! Hungry! Phone!

Sean Taylor

Fred Benaglia

Bloomsbury, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99 

9781526606808

Monster is hungry and craves a pizza.  So he picks up his mobile phone to order one.  However, in his frustration he keeps dialing the wrong number…

This is a book for those who relate to the concept of reaching for the phone when they are hungry rather than on-hand ingredients.   Monster’s mood is captured in the bold colour palette, sharp illustrations and the heavy black font making it a not-so-restful book even though it is funny.  Perhaps an opportunity to discuss what else Monster could do rather than automatically order-in and maybe even a chance to teach about making a sandwich or other simple snack with all that following instructions incorporates. Opportunities to graph the children’s eating habits, favourite snacks, sandwich fillings and so forth – there is always maths embedded in stories if we just look, enabling this to be more than a one-off read. for both teachers and parents.

The Claw

The Claw

The Claw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Claw

Karen Witt

Aaron Pocock

Little Steps, 2020

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.95

9781922358103

‘Clive was charming, friendly and chipper, and on each side of his body, he boasted a nipper.’

He had many friends in the mudflats and played with them during the day although there were occasions when he had to defend himself.  and during one fight he not only lost a nipper but also his confidence.  He felt that because he was not whole and perfect like the others he had no place among them and despite their efforts to entice him out, he spent the day hiding in the weeds 

Mud crabs are born to be BIG and STRONG

But with only one nipper, I don’t belong.

But when his friends are captured by Mr Beerbellio a greedy fisherman, who is intent on crab sandwiches regardless of the storm raging, Clive is forced to set his self-pity aside to help his friends.

While the premise of this story of lacking confidence because of being different is common, interpreting it in this way is new and young readers will enjoy predicting if and how Clive can be a hero, and particularly what might happen in the future given the twist in the end.  The illustrations are the highlight bring Clive and his environment, and particularly Mr Beerbellio to life with their clever choice of colour and use of shading producing a 3D effect. 

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

As well as resonating with those readers who might also be lacking confidence because they believe they don’t meet the demands of the invisible, anonymous body police, this is also an opportunity to examine the behaviour of those like Mr Beerbellio and consider whether it’s right to take more than you need. Many will have been fishing for all sorts of species over summer and may have been frustrated by bag limits, but what is their purpose?  A gentle way to introduce the concept of sustainability even to our youngest readers. 

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Australian Feast

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Australian Feast

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Australian Feast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Australian Feast

Eric Carle

Puffin, 2021 

12pp., board book., RRP $A16.99

9780241489536

We all know of The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s liking for food and the foods on the menu of his first feast, but what would be on the table if he came to an Australian feast? Particularly one designed for a picnic on the beach?

Very young Australian fans of the VHC will delight in this exclusive release written just for them as they lift the flaps on iconic treats searching for their little hero.  Interactive, a familiar character, vivid illustrations in Carle’s recognisable style and rhyming text make this a terrific addition to this collection as young readers discover another adventure.  Is their favourite food mentioned?  What would be in their beach picnic basket?  (And who’s the ladybird? Could that be another story from the master storyteller?)

Witch in Training

Witch in Training

Witch in Training

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Witch in Training

Michelle Robinson

Briony May Smith

Walker Books, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

9781406377804

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.
Macbeth: IV.i 10-19; 35-38
This scene and these words from the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth have become the epitome of our perception of witches standing around a cauldron concocting a spell… but where do those ingredients come from?  Are they stored in a special with pantry to be on hand whenever they feel the need or the urge?  Or is there another secret supply?
In this rollicking rhyme-story, readers are invited to join Betty who is about to learn how to prepare her first spell as a trainee witch. and her mother as they gather the ingredients needed for her first lesson.  There are items to gather from the sky, the wood and other mysterious places and then there is the spell itself to craft.  But this is Betty’s first attempt – can she expect it to go well from the get-go?
Apart from being an engaging read, this is also a familiar tale for our youngsters because, although the circumstances will be entirely different, everyone has had the experience of expecting to do things well especially when we have prepared so well and then finding the outcome not quite what we expected, and having to learn about being resilient, trying again, practising to make progress and all the while leaning from and building on our experience and that of our teachers. 
There is the opportunity to explore the format of recipes, the need to follow instructions, to invent and write their own spells and even speculate on what the unintended consequences could be.
Perhaps even explore those original Shakespearean words and discover just what eye of newt is!  
Love stories like this that can take the reader on all sorts of unexpected journeys…

Alice’s Food A-Z

Alice's Food A-Z

Alice’s Food A-Z

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice’s Food A-Z

Alice Zaslavsky

Walker Books, 2021

148pp., pbk., RRP $A24.99

9781760654856

“Alice Zaslavsky has been described as “Andy Griffiths meets Heston Blumenthal,” and this book brims with her trademark energy and enthusiasm for all things food.”

Exploring everything from apples to zucchini, this book is designed to help young foodies understand food better and encourage them to go beyond their comfort zone of what they normally eat or cook with.  Whether it’s a new recipe for an old favourite (and there are 30 recipes included) or something completely new that sounds like it will make your stomach squirm, readers are encouraged to at least try new things because love it or hate it, there will be new memories created and stories to tell.

With lots of illustrations and a layout that will appeal to young readers, each food is introduced through all sorts of angles including the reason behind its name, where it comes from and what it looks like, fun facts, ideas for snacks, as well as extra interesting info that takes some of the mystery out of it. There are recipes for popular foods like chicken nuggets so you can be assured of what you are really eating (you can never unsee Jamie Oliver’s video about this); tips for setting up a lemonade stall and dozens of other bits and pieces that are fun while surreptitiously encouraging a healthier diet.

Originally published in 2015, and a CBCA Notable for the Eve Pownall Award in 2016, this is a new revamped edition that will garner new fans as so many of our students have taken up an interest in food and home cooking during the events of the last two years. With school-based kitchen gardens and other initiatives, many have noted the extending palate of children who have actually grown what they have eaten and with this book removing the mystery behind many foods, familiar and not-so, this is going to be a bonus for all budding cooks.  And I have two in my family!

And just in case you haven’t seen it…

The Fabulous Cakes of Zinnia Jakes 3: The Super Spy

The Super Spy

The Super Spy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fabulous Cakes of Zinnia Jakes 3: The Super Spy

Brenda Gurr

New Frontier, 2021

108pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781922326157

Zoe Jones has a hidden talent and a secret identity.  Daughter of one of the most famous pastry chefs in the world, sadly dead now, and a secret globe-trotting international food critic, at the age on nine, she has inherited her mother’s interests and talents, and when she is not at school she creates masterpieces that are highly sought after, aided and abetted by her guardian Aunty Jam and her magical cat Coco.

In this, the third in the series for newly independent readers, Zinnia’s class is organising a super fun sleepover in the school’s library while their parents are having a spy-themed party in the school hall. They even order a fabulous Zinnia Jakes cake. Everything is going according to plan until the parents set up a spy trap to catch the secret pastry chef …

Given the rise in the interest in home baking over recent lockdown periods in several states,, it can be assumed that there might be many budding pastry chefs like Zinnia Jakes emerging from kitchens this will be a welcome addition to this series that includes  The Crumbling Castle  and The Tumbling Tortoises, As with the others it includes a recipe for an orange cake with a special surprise inside!

During this year’s Book Week one of the favourite at-home activities was interpreting a book as a cake, and this is the perfect series to inspire that in a bake-off.

 

Little Nic’s Big World

Little Nic's Big World

Little Nic’s Big World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Nic’s Big World

Nic Naitanui

Fátima Anaya

Albert Street Books, 2021

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

9781761066061

At last, the day of the school fete has arrived and Little Nic is very excited because he has promised to make and donate his Fijian grandmother’s favourite cassava cake.  For this fete, with its theme of “the world comes to us” being chosen by the children. is a celebration of all the different cultures of the students themselves and everyone is excited to share in the games, foods, music and traditions of the various countries. 

But in the excitement of the traditional Welcome to Country, seeing his friends and joining in, Nic gets distracted and loses his backpack with its precious cake.  Will he find it in time to contribute it to the community feast?

Nic Naitanui’s name will be familiar to those young readers who also follow AFL, particularly the West Coast Eagles, and that alone will spark interest in this story for many.  But as we know, a famous name alone is not enough to carry a story so it is pleasing that this has a lot of substance to it as well.  Told in a rhyme that underlines the rhythm of our speech, it is a celebration of things familiar and not-so and many young readers will be thrilled to see that their cultural elements have been included as Nic and his friends enjoy the offerings of the fete, while introducing them to their classmates.  It opens up the opportunity for students to share their special talents and favourite things so that Nic’s school fete happens within their own classroom.  

Tiny speech bubbles offer explanations of language where needed and there is also a list of things for the reader to look for as they help Nic search for that elusive school bag. 

This is such a joyous celebration that the fun and excitement is almost palpable, and is a worthy follow up to Nic Nat’s first book,  Little Nic’s Big Day in which he faces the fears of starting school, huge enough in itself without also being a child of colour. The children find only wonder and opportunity to share and learn in the different activities, as they do in real life, showing that prejudice and racism are learned adult attitudes.

 

The Viking Who Liked Icing

The Viking Who Liked Icing

The Viking Who Liked Icing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Viking Who Liked Icing

Lu Fraser

Mark McKinley

Bloomsbury, 2021

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

9781526603906

Leafling and Nut are sister and brother but they are not like each other because Leafling is the typical outdoorsy skilled warrior that is the stereotype of Vikings whilst her brother Nut much prefers to design and bake cakes.  When it comes to shooting arrows, rowing, swimming, and other physical pursuits Leafling excels whereas Nut does not.  He much prefers to slice and dice, mix and whisk and create the most mouth-watering treats.

So when Viking Sports Day rolls around, the day he dreads most of all, he prepares himself to be last again – although he would really like to be better than that.  And in the final event of the day, he gets his wish…

Told in a catchy rhyme that carries the story along at a pace that matches the charming illustrations, this is an original story about being true to oneself and being really good at the things you love best.  Even though this is a common theme in stories for our littlies, it is a message they need to hear and think about time and again as those early years can be a time of self-doubt as they witness such a range of activities being valued and rewarded, and they’re often not the things they’re good at. 

The characters, the plot, the action and the humour all appeal and eagle eyes will have fun examining the pictures for all the ways Nut incorporates all things Viking into his creations, such as using his helmet as a mixing bowl and there are more things to find with each reading.

Whether this sparks an interest in Vikings or baking with young readers, it deserves a place in the favourite bedtime reads pile and to add to the fun, there is an activity pack available.