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Peppa Pig: Where’s George’s Dinosaur?

Peppa Pig: Where's George's Dinosaur?

Peppa Pig: Where’s George’s Dinosaur?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peppa Pig: Where’s George’s Dinosaur?

Peppa Pig

Ladybird, 2022

10pp., board book., RRP $A14.99

9780241543542

George is looking for Mr Dinosaur but he can’t find him anywhere and he’s distressed.  So Mummy Pig suggests they retrace their steps through the day, but no matter how promising things look, what’s revealed under the flap is not Mr Dinosaur.

In a book reminiscent of the advertisement for a particular brand of car in which a family retraces their steps in search of Gonzo the missing toy rabbit, little ones can not only follow George’s search as they resonate with his rising distress but they learn that there can be a logical sequence of events to follow rather than throwing a tantrum. So that when they misplace something, parents can draw on George’s experience to guide them in theirs.

Again, the use of a familiar plot, favourite characters and a lift-the-flap technique mean the book will engage even our youngest readers and those crucial concepts about the value of print will continue to develop.  There’s something special about quietly observing Mr Nearly 3 taking himself off to a quiet spot and retelling himself the story using his own vocabulary as he recounts George’s adventures.  But there was also something disconcerting when at the conclusion he said, “I bet his mum put it there out of her bag,” suggesting that maybe he had been exposed to that advertisement once too often!

Terry Denton’s Bumper Book of Holiday Stuff to do!

Terry Denton's Bumper Book of Holiday Stuff to do!

Terry Denton’s Bumper Book of Holiday Stuff to do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terry Denton’s Bumper Book of Holiday Stuff to do!

Terry Denton

Puffin, 2022

304pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9780143777809

It’s approaching that part of the summer holidays when the excitement of Christmas has worn off, the anticipation of the new year is over, the fun of a holiday away is almost forgotten and the familiar “I’m bored” starts to creep in.  Perhaps even moreso these holidays with COVID leaving its mark across so many families.

So this is a timely release which is packed full of ideas that will entertain as readers are encouraged to share their ideas by expressing them in drawings and words, and requiring some everyday items – pens, ideas. senses, time and a desire for fun – to participate. From finding things in a line drawing of the school concert; to imagining your octopus outfit to scavenger hunts, Denton provides the impetus and the reader just supplies their imagination. 

Whether it is used by just the reader as a starter or by the family as the inspiration for their evening’s entertainment, Denton demonstrates that there are so many ways to entertain and be entertained using just paper and pencil – there really is no limit to the imagination.

While it is a must-have for families, it is also a grand addition to the teacher toolbox as the ideas can be used throughout the year as tension-breakers or early finishers. I could write more but I have an urge to draw acrobatic sheep!

 

Peppa’s Australian Christmas

 

 

 

 

Peppa's Australian Christmas

Peppa’s Australian Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peppa’s Australian Christmas

Peppa Pig

Ladybird, 2021

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

9780241519240

When Peppa and her family land in Australia for Christmas, Mr and Mrs Kangaroo are surprised to see them – clearly there has been a communication breakdown – but nevertheless they all pile into the Kangaroos’ Kombi and head for the beach.  This is a surprise for Peppa because she is used to a cold Christmas and so are all the activities which are so different to what she is used to.  Santa surfing in on a surfboard is something to behold!

Even though the day is far removed from what Peppa is used to, young readers will recognise and relate to it as we experience summer – although perhaps like Kylie Kangaroo they yearn for snow!

Twelve Little Festive Frogs

 

 

 

 

Twelve Little Festive Frogs

Twelve Little Festive Frogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twelve Little Festive Frogs

Hilary Robinson

Mandy Stanley

Catch A Star, 2021 

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

The twelve little frogs who taught our young readers the initial poses of yoga are back in their version of the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas.  

However, their interpretation involves a giant game of pass the parcel in the woodlands, one that can go on and on even after the first 12 days! Like the song, and its predecessor, this is a counting book with lots of opportunities to predict what might come next as well as counting those who are already there. 

While it is set in the snowy regions of the northern hemisphere, it is an opportunity to talk about why what the frogs do is so different to our little ones’ experiences and perhaps even create an Australian version which would give it a wider audience and a meaningful activity for those last wind-down days!

Bluey: Christmas Swim

 

 

 

 

Bluey: Christmas Swim

Bluey: Christmas Swim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey: Christmas Swim

Bluey

Puffin, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A16.99

9781761041204

It’s Christmas Day and it’s the perfect weather for a family swim! Bartlebee is Bluey’s new toy – how will he cope with his first Heeler Christmas? He finds them a bit rough and ready and wants to go home but a few words from Aunt Frisky, also new to the family, reassures him. 

Based on the television episode of the same name, this is another adaptation of the adventures of these much-loved characters that will appeal to our youngest readers and help them understand that there is fun and joy in books as they meet characters with whom they are familiar and to whom they can return time and again, unlike their fleeting screen counterparts.

They are also more likely to be familiar with the fun and games of Bluey’s family as they celebrate in the typical Australian style, sparking conversations about how different places celebrate differently and how in some countries, the landscape is covered with ice and snow rather than the sunshine we are used to. 

Bluey is always a favourite and this is one to add to the collection. 

Cricket, I Just Love It!

Cricket, I Just Love It!

Cricket, I Just Love It!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cricket, I Just Love It!

Alister Nicholson

Tom Jellett

A&U Children’s, 2021

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

9781760526801

The ICC T20 World Cup is being played; the Women’s Big Bash League is well underway; and community cricket is back! Summer’s on its way and backyard cricket is not far behind. The timing of the release of this book could not be better.

Cricket, I just love it! It really is the best.
Batting, bowling, fielding, Twenty20 or a test.
I watch it or I listen and of course I always play.
Cricket is my favourite part of every single day.

Cricket is Australia’s national sport with its national captain’s name known more widely than that of any politician and so many childhood memories are bound up games played on the beach, in the backyard or even in the street with the nearest garbage bin commandeered as the wickets and :over the fence is out” a universal rule. So this rollicking ode to cricket in all its forms with all it perks and quirks is just the greatest fun . Written in rhyme by  one of the most well-known voices on ABC Sport’s AFL and cricket coverage, Alister Nicholson has the expertise and experience  to explain the game that baffles many and for the uninitiated there are not only clues of the terms in the text and illustrations, but also the endpapers. Because the main theme of this book, apart from the joy of the game, is that it is a game for everyone from the top professional tournaments to the Saturday kids’ games and all stops in between, male or female, a fact emphasised by Jellett’s illustrations with their iconic style and bold colour.

Beyond the story there is the opportunity to scan a QR code to hear it read by the author, and watch it in Auslan so all abilities are catered for. It will inspire the next Elyse Perry, Meg Lanning or Tim Payne. The perfect gift for the cricket lover, or the person who wants to understand what all this fuss is about!

 

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.

 

Little Days Out: At the Park

Little Days Out: At the Park

Little Days Out: At the Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Days Out: At the Park

Sally Anne Garland

Catch A Star, 2021

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

 9781922326324

Whenever my littlies came to stay, they always asked to go to the park in town where there is a lovely playground for them to climb, slide, swing, run around and make new friends.  There were always other kids there and even more after a major refurbishment, even more when it became one of the few places open during lockdown, and even more again when restrictions were lifted.  Adults and children alike made it their meeting place. 

This new book in this series captures the fun and excitement perfectly and  its lift-the-flap format ensures that not only will our youngest readers resonate with the adventures but, because it is a universal experience, be able to predict what might be hidden.  Unlike some books that take children to ‘familiar’ places that really aren’t because they feature elements very different to the Australian experience, the fun of parks and playgrounds is common and easily recognisable so this one has a place wherever it’s read.

Catch A Star continues to recognise the need for even our youngest readers to have engaging stories that are sturdy enough in their own hands so they can mimic the reading of those who read to them, a critical step in becoming a reader, and this series is no exception.  Perfect as a gift or a day-care library, it will help develop those essential concepts about print that need to be developed long before the child tries to construct the text on the page.  And being on such a familiar topic makes it even moreso. 

Swim, Little Wombat, Swim!

Swim, Little Wombat, Swim!

Swim, Little Wombat, Swim!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swim, Little Wombat, Swim!

Charles Fuge

Walker Books, 2021

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

9781760653538

Little Wombat is so very excited because he’s found a fun new friend to play with – one with a strange name Pla-ty-pus and with an even stranger walk, a funny face and who can swim like a fish. But when Little Wombat tries to mimic Platypus’s walk and finds himself in the water and having to be rescued by his new friend, he realises water is not for him.  Nevertheless, he is determined to learn to swim and while tries teaching Little Wombat  Rabbit and Koala begin to wonder if wombats should, after all, stick to dry land!

Swimming lessons are such an integral and necessary part of our littlies’ lives that when the NSW “roadmap to freedom” was released it was quickly changed to bring forward the opening of indoor pools because of the outcry of parents demanding access to swimming lessons for their young children.  Indeed, in my teacher ed days in New Zealand we could not graduate until we each had our swimming teacher quals as swimming lessons were a compulsory part of the phys ed curriculum for both term 4 and Term 1 with most schools, even in the coldest parts of the country, having their own learner pools installed as a matter of course. 

So this is a timely tale about the importance of learning to swim and the fun it can be, as Little Wombat learns to kick his legs and float using a log, to paddle like a dog and dive like a frog.  After all, if a wombat can learn to swim and become a wom-bat-y-pus, then so can any little child! So sharing this message with a lovable little character with the most endearing expressions with them will give them confidence to try and the expectation that if they work hard as Little Wombat does, they will succeed.  Swimming is just what Australian kids do. 

Making Friends: A Book About First Friendships

Making Friends: A Book About First Friendships

Making Friends: A Book About First Friendships

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Friends: A Book About First Friendships

Amanda McCardie

Colleen Larmour

Walker, 2021

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781406394542

Sukie is starting a new school and shares the concerns of every child in the same situation – will she make friends.  But she soon learns that making friends can happen in all sorts of ways, big and small, even unexpected.  However, it is not enough to make friends – you have to work on maintaining the friendships by respecting others’ differences as well as the things you have in common.

So many children who have been restricted by stay-at-home orders in parts of Australia are separated from their friends right now – even though they have visual contact through online sources or audio through the phones, it is the physical, spontaneous face-to-face contact they are missing and which is impacting on their mental well-being.  Even Miss 10, the family social butterfly, is  worried that she will be forgotten and won’t have any friends when school eventually returns.  

If nothing else, this time at home has demonstrated the critical role schools play well beyond the formal academic teaching and this book would be a worthwhile addition to any teacher’s toolkit as they help their students navigate making friends and being friends again after such a long social isolation. It has a wider reach than just supporting those who will be starting a new school as a new year approaches.  Readers are invited to agree, disagree and add to the situations in which Sukie finds herself – should be embarrassed and uncomfortable that Mikkel refuses her help with his jigsaw puzzle or is it OK to say no sometimes? And cleverly, illustrator Colleen Larmour has included a picture of someone sharing kindness on almost every page, opening up not only an opportunity to look closely but also the concept of doing a random act of kindness every day.  

Our children are negotiating a tricky time at the moment, different but just as confronting as children in past generations, and the strategies and coping mechanisms we help them to develop now will play a large role in how they will survive and thrive. This book has a role to play in that.