Bumblebunnies (series)

Bumblebunnies (series)

Bumblebunnies (series)

BumbleBunnies (series)

Graeme Base

Angus & Robertson, 2020

24pp., hbk., RRP $A16.99

The Pond


The Sock


The Gate 


The Balloon


This is a new series by the amazing Graeme Base, written for our earliest readers. Featuring some superhero bunnies , who generally reside in their hutch looking like ordinary white rabbits, and the Wuffle the dog, Lou the cat and Billington the duck, Base uses  simple text and his exquisite detailed artwork to bring everyday incidents to life in story. When Wuffle, Lou and Billington are confronted by situations they can’t handle, the superhero bunnies morph into bees and use their intelligence and unique skills to get the heroes out of potentially dangerous situations.

Apart from being entertaining stories in themselves, the nature of series means that even little ones can learn about each character and carry what they know of them over to the next book.  They will delight in helping the BumbleBunnies choose what is needed for each situation, giving them a sense of power over the words that most stories don’t have, and suggesting the ways that the BumbleBunnies can each use their skills to rescue the situation.

While this is quite a departure from his works for older children, nevertheless, Base’s attention to detail in the illustrations makes them so rich that they demand to be read over and over again with something new to discover each time.



Evie and Pog (Series)

Evie and Pog (Series)

Evie and Pog (Series)










Evie and Pog (Series)

Tania McCartney

Angus & Robertson, 2020

144pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

High in a tree house live two very best friends. One is a girl and one is a dog. And everyone knows them as Evie and Pog.

Evie is six years old. She likes knitting and jumping and books and cake. But most of all she loves to roll on the daisy-spot grass because she adores daisies.

Pog is a pug. He is two and likes to drink tea and read the newspaper. But most of all he loves vegetables.  It doesn’t matter if they are baked, mashed or fried, he adores them.

Next to the tree house in a big house lives Granny Gladys whose favourite things are dusting, mopping and sweeping but most of all she loves quiet.

If you were a teacher librarian who had the opportunity to request the perfect series to offer young readers who are transitioning from basal, levelled readers to the wide world of reading whatever they choose then this could well be it.  Using all the support structures that such readers need such as relatable characters and events; large, varying fonts; accessible language in simple, powerful sentences in short chapters within three stories in one book; illustrations galore; maps and a cast of characters;  all crafted together in humorous adventures by someone who knows how to reach their target audience perfectly, then this new series by the versatile Tania McCartney would be the result.  With two already available (Take Off and Puppy Playtime), young readers already have six separate stories to enjoy with three more to anticipate in Party Perfect in April. And with each book being a stand-alone there will be no queues for having to read them in order.

A peek inside....

A peek inside….

While it is not the teacher librarian’s role to be a reading teacher, it is our role to support the programs that are happening in the classroom and students. teachers and parents alike will be thrilled to have this series recommended because it is so strong in promoting that independent, voluntary reading we are all seeking. 

Fish Kid and the Mega Manta Ray

Fish Kid and the Mega Manta Ray

Fish Kid and the Mega Manta Ray










Fish Kid and the Mega Manta Ray

Kylie Howarth

Walker Books, 2020 

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


In this sequel to Fish Kid and the Lizard Ninja,  Fish Kid is holidaying at Ningaloo and keen to show his friend Emely not only the reef but also his secret superhero-like powers. But things don’t go according to plan and he is torn between obeying his parents and using his powers or becoming shark bait.

With Bodhi’s parents being underwater specialists – his dad is a marine biologist and his mum an underwater photographer  – discovering what is under the surface is just what the family does, and the author has carefully woven all sorts of interesting information about the creatures there into the story so that is as educational as it is entertaining.  Every chapter contains a rollicking fiction romp (with illustrations to match) plus a focused nonfiction animal fact box (with more realistic illustrations). 

This is a series that will appeal to newly independent readers still needing a bit of textural support and with each episode featuring a different part of the oceanic world and its inhabitants, the scope for unique and interesting adventures is broad. There is already a new addition in the pipeline. 


The Secrets of Magnolia Moon

The Secrets of Magnolia Moon

The Secrets of Magnolia Moon











The Secrets of Magnolia Moon

Edwina Wyatt

Katherine Quinn

Walker Books, 2019

160pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99


From the publisher…

Magnolia Moon is nine years old, likes Greek mythology, her best friend Imogen May (who understands the importance of questions like, “If you could be one fruit, any fruit, what would you be?”), wishing trees, and speaking crows. She knows instinctively that buffadillos are armadillos crossed with buffalos and believes there are walramingos living in her garden. She’s also the kind of person who can be entrusted with a great many secrets. Each chapter in this novel, which captures Magnolia’s year of being nine and ends on Chapter Almost 10, reveals a secret that Magnolia is keeping. But the novel also chronicles a year of change for Magnolia. From her best friend moving to the birth of her little brother Finnegan, Magnolia navigates every challenge and secret that comes her way with the kind of authenticity and innocence that comes from being nine years wise.

I have been deliberately sitting on this book till now because as soon as I got it to review I knew it would be perfect for Miss About-To -Turn-9 and I needed to keep it a secret. But the day is nearly here and with it being listed as a CBCA Notable for Younger Readers for 2020 it is time to share.  While the book spans a year in Magnolia’s life giving the story continuity, each chapter is a separate entity so it is perfect for that bedtime read when just a chapter is enough to transition to the world of dreams. With its recognisable hero mixed with just a touch of fantasy, it is just right for newly independent readers who are reading on and consolidating their love for reading and honing their skills each day. The writing uses twists of phrases such as “It was only Tuesday, but Magnolia felt hungry enough for Wednesday’s and Thursday’s lunch too. Plus a hot chocolate. ” that not only stay in the reader’s head but also inspire them to broaden their own writing style., and there is a balance of illustrations that continues to support those budding skills and understanding.

Miss About-To -Turn-9 is going to love this and with a Canberra winter looming, the more books she has the happier she will be. 

Lola Dutch I Love You So Much

Lola Dutch I Love You So Much

Lola Dutch I Love You So Much











Lola Dutch I Love You So Much

Kenneth Wright

Sarah Jane Wright

Bloomsbury, 2020

40pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99


Lola Dutch‘s friends are not having their best day.  Gator is cranky and cold; Crane can’t find her favourite picture book and Pig is positively peevish.  But she knows just what each needs to cheer them up and goes about setting things right in her usual cheerful way. But what about Bear?  Has she left him out?  Or is it that she can’t decide how she can show him how much he means to her?

This is another in this series about this over-the-top little girl who seems to live life at full-speed. Based on the creators’ own family, it seems nothing is too much trouble or too difficult to achieve to make her friends happy and so there is a strong message about thinking about others, being unselfish and matching deeds to needs.  Little ones might like to think of a special person in their life who deserves a special something, one that can be given without a monetary cost while others might like to reflect on something they have received and learn about Pay It Forward, setting up a positive class or school culture.

A charming picture book series for young readers, most likely to appeal to girls.

Atticus Van Tasticus 2: The Map of Half Maps

Atticus Van Tasticus 2: The Map of Half Maps

Atticus Van Tasticus 2: The Map of Half Maps











Atticus Van Tasticus 2: The Map of Half Maps

Andrew Daddo

Stephen Michael King

Puffin, 2020

272pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


1750, when times were tough and teeth were rotten…

As part of an ancient family tradition, young Atticus Van Tasticus narrowly escapes a life down the coal mines – or worse, going to school – when he gets to choose the gift of a pirate ship from his Grandnan’s treasure pile. ..

Having escaped certain disaster on the high seas in his first adventure, he is now on the trail of treasure when he and his crew are lured into a clash with Bjorn Ironhead who is “vicious, mean and mighty unclean.”

Again, Daddo and King have combined to create a story that is going to appeal to young independent readers who see themselves as full of derring-do as they rule the waves rather than their bedrooms. The presentation is very appealing and even reluctant readers will suddenly find themselves having conquered a thick book, built their confidence and looking for the next episode.  Both Daddo and King know just what it is that will appeal to their audience and I predict Atticus Van Tasticus is going to be the next must-read that causes the buzz in your school library. 

Beetle and Boo

Beetle and Boo

Beetle and Boo









Beetle and Boo

Caitlin Murray

Puffin, 2020 

24pp., hbk., RRP $A17.99


Beetle smugly declares she is not afraid of ANYTHING! Not monsters, not spiders, not the dark, not bad dreams, not storms, not even ghosts!  But then her friend Boo the Bear decides to test her out and the results are surprising!

This is a lovely book for littlies about facing your fears and dealing with them told with a mix of minimal text, all in the dialogue between Beetle and Boo, and detailed, delightful illustrations that have to put a smile on the face.  Especially when Boo proves Beetle wrong! 

One to share and share again!  

The Besties (series)

The Besties











The Besties show and smell


The Besties to the rescue


The Besties party on


The Besties make a splash 


Felice Arena

Tom Jellett

Puffin, 2020

80pp., pbk., RRP $A9.99

This is another new series to entice our emerging readers as they make the transition from levelled basal readers to the world of independent reading, created by an author and illustrator who are both in touch with what young children want in their stories. Oliver and Ruby have been best friends for ever and their everyday adventures that their audience can relate to are recounted in this series – two available now, two coming in April. 

In an article written by Arena, he talks about the critical importance of play in children’s lives before “we age into doom-and-gloom-and-bills-to-pay-bah-humbug adults” and he draws on his own childhood  experiences of playing the ukulele and drawing to bring the children to life.  In Show and Smell we learn that Ruby is an accomplished ukulele player and Ollie likes to draw and to emphasise this each book has the music to the song that Ruby sings as well as a comic strip of Ollie’s perception of the story. There is even an album with Ruby’s songs (and more) available to enhance the reading experience.

Written, illustrated and designed with the express purpose of engaging this particular audience with its focus on real kids, play and imagination, this is a series that our emerging readers will devour as they continue their reading journey.  And being in print rather than a one-off screen experience, they can return to the stories again and again.


Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor

Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor

Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor










Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor

Helen Castles

New Frontier, 2019

135pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


Scoop McLaren is the thirteen-year-old news editor of her own online newspaper Click! Her role model is her dad  (who runs his own newspaper too) and he has taught her that delivering the news is an extremely important job because people rely on it so they can be properly informed.  Together with Evie, her roving reporter best friend, 
the girls strive to keep the residents of their seaside village of Higgity Harbour informed while using their sleuthing skills to solve some curious mysteries along the way.

In this adventure in this new series, an evil reporter Donny Fink is posting the news in his own newspaper at one minute past midnight each night and somehow that news, as disastrous as it is, comes true during the day.  So it is up to Scoop and Evie to investigate what is happening.

This is a series that will hold appeal for newly independent readers who like a solid adventure mystery into which they can project themselves. Complete with tips and tricks for writing from Scoop, it could be the beginning of a new love affair with writing as others are inspired to begin a career in journalism – or at least explore their writing strengths. 

Are These Hen’s Eggs?

Are These Hen's Eggs?

Are These Hen’s Eggs?










Are These Hen’s Eggs?

Christina Booth

Allen & Unwin, 2020

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


In “one sunset, two, one sunrise more” Hen’s eggs will hatch. Snuggled down deep in her nest under the trees, she waits patiently but then the storm hits and the next morning she cannot find her eggs.  All the farm creatures help her search, amassing a collection of eggs – but are they all Hen’s eggs?  When they do hatch there are some surprises, particularly the final one but that doesn’t stop Hen loving them all anyway.

This is a charming story that can spark all sorts of investigations about hens, eggs, how they are made, their sizes, shapes and colours, the range of creatures that come from eggs and the names of baby creatures. But it is also a story about helping others after loss, unselfishness as Duck gives Hen one of her eggs to cheer her up, and unconditional love when something entirely unexpected is added to the mix. Can a happy family be a blended mix of heritage, culture and parentage?

Christina Booth always gives us great stories like One Careless Night, Welcome Home and Purinina; A Devils’ Tale that cause us to ponder on big picture things and this is no exception.