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Bluey: A Jigsaw Puzzle Book

Bluey: A Jigsaw Puzzle Book

Bluey: A Jigsaw Puzzle Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey: A Jigsaw Puzzle Book

Bluey

Puffin 2022

8pp., hbk., RRP $A16.99

 9780143777878

Just as the new season of Bluey appears on the screen, and the controversy about whether Bandit is a “bad dad” fills talk shows, comes a new, interactive print edition  for the lovable character’s fans. 

Each double page includes a put-together puzzle that emerges into a new adventure for Bluey and her family, then young readers can flip each puzzle over for a new picture.

Despite what those who have to politicise everything through their narrow, adults lenses have to say, this series, its characters and situations remains one of the most popular for young children ever, and interactive books like this which rely on their interaction with both the book and the story are perfect for developing those critical early reading behaviours!  At last the preschool population are being seen as a real audience with specific needs and interests and these are being met by print-based publishers. While Mem Fox has continually stated, “” If every parent -and every adult caring for a child – read aloud a minimum of three stories a day to the children in their lives, we could probably wipe out illiteracy in one generation!” it is also essential to actively engage the child in the story, either through the reading itself, talking about it, creating something or music and movement, giving the child the power to manipulate it, as this does, is also vital.  

Another essential for those who care for our very young. 

Found You, Little Wombat!

Found You, Little Wombat!

Found You, Little Wombat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Found You, Little Wombat!

Angela McAllister

Charles Fuge

Walker, 2021

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

9781760653491

Little Wombat loves playing hide-and-seek with his friends, even though he doesn’t understand all the rules of the game. So when it’s his turn to look, he hides again, then calls out “Two, TEN” and opens his eyes. So Rabbit and Koala suggest he counts 10 flowers and searches for them. But Little Wombat doesn’t count the pink blossoms beside him, he wanders far away, over the hill, looking for yellow ones. Suddenly, he realises that he’s all alone. But that he can depend on his friends and his mum coming to the rescue.

Little Wombat and his friends are becoming favourites with our youngest readers as their stories so often relate to the sorts of things that they, too, like to do.   Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned ga me of hide-and-seek or splashing in puddles? So with easy read-along text and endearing, engaging illustrations this is one they will return to again  and again. 

 

The Astronaughties

The Astronaughties

The Astronaughties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Astronaughties:  Moon Mayhem

Andrew Cranna

Walker, 2022

240pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781760653378

It’s 2120 and  the Moon has been transformed into the ultimate super-cool intergalactic amusement park. The Astronaughties, the children of some of the park’s designers, get a chance to visit the Lunar Park before it officially opens. But when they arrive, they discover their parents are missing. Now their mission is to find them, defeat the baddies and free a trapped alien. Accidentally strapped inside a 400 megaton thermonuclear rocket, the three children, one pet octopug and their robot minder are on a one-way collision course to the moon.

Told by the children’s nanny who has his hands full dealing with them, this is for younger readers who like science fiction, are looking for something a bit silly and definitely not serious, but  who have the ability to follow a story in monochromatic graphic novel format.  

In a recent Lego Masters episode, the task was to build a window to the future.  Could this be it? Let students dream with their eyes open by challenging them to design their own attraction for a lunar-based amusement park. What would they need to know about the moon for it to be successful? A new slant on an old research topic. 

The First Tackle

The First Tackle

The First Tackle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The First Tackle

Rikki-Lee Arnold

Wombat Books, 2022

136pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

 9781761110818

Daniella Murphy is on a mission. All she has ever wanted to do is play rugby league, just like her three brothers. However, her grandma who has come to live with the family since Daniella’s mother died says no, her dad stays silent and the school bully just laughs in her face. Their message is clear – girls don’t play footy. But is this just being sexist or is there another reason?

As Daniella watches her older brother Jimmy practise with the Banford Saints she spies a girl playing!  One who becomes an even bigger hero for her than Kalyn Ponga because here is proof that girls can and do play rugby league! She is more determined than ever and so, against the adults’ wishes, she gets Jimmy to teach her to tackle – until an accident that lands her in hospital blows open the lies and the secrets…

This is an engaging read that encourages readers to follow their dreams, to not give up and not give in, even if they’re somewhat out of the ordinary – an inscription my mum wrote to me in a dedication in her book she wrote after she became the first female journalist to go to the Antarctic over 50 years ago, and one I’ve believed in since then.  So, at first, the grandmother’s attitude annoyed me because it seemed so sexist, so out-of-touch and so dated, particularly as I have a grandchild the same age as Daniella who is definitely not the girly-girl Daniella is expected to be.  But as the story evolves the reasons behind Grandma’s thinking emerge, her father begins to function as a father and even the school bully begins to reveal what’s behind his attitude (so common to many bullies) giving the story depth and currency.  

As the AFLW and NRLW reach their peak, young female league players might begin to wonder why the existence of the NRLW is such a revelation to Daniella, but, nevertheless, they will resonate with her determination and passion to play the game she loves as they immerse themselves in her story.  In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey included, “Begin with the end in mind so all your steps are in the right direction” and so it is common to have even quite young students start their school term with a goal-setting exercise and thus this book could be a useful read-aloud for them to identify not only their goal for the next 10 weeks or so, but also the things they need to do for themselves to achieve it.  Who are the people they need to approach for help, what actions and activities do they need to commit to, how will they know that they are making progress or even success?  What can they learn from Daniella’s realisation about having to do it for herself  rather than expecting it to be handed to her and from Steph’s revelation that “you can’t be what you can’t see”? Further teaching notes are available. 

 

Little Wombat’s Easter Surprise

Little Wombat's Easter Surprise

Little Wombat’s Easter Surprise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Wombat’s Easter Surprise

Charles Fuge

Walker, 2022 

28pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781760654269

Little Wombat is busy collecting eggs on his Easter hunt when he sees Rabbit hop by wearing a special Easter Bunny costume. It’s such a good costume that the tail and nose won’t come even off – but wait, is that really Rabbit? Or is it his new friend, Bilby?

In 1991,  the Foundation for Rabbit Free Australia (RFA) developed and registered the Easter Bilby campaign  to raise awareness of the damage rabbits do to native wildlife, and to raise money with royalties from Easter Bilby sales to fund research programs. In 1993, Haigh’s Chocolates in Adelaide stopped making chocolate Easter bunnies and made the first Easter Bilby, donating part of the proceeds to RFA.  More recently the Easter Bilbies have been made by Fyna Foods sold under the brands of Australian Bush Friends and Pink Lady and have been stocked by national chains and other independent stores. 

Aligned to this, in 1999 the  Save the Bilby Fund was established in 1999 to raise money and awareness to help stop the steady decline of bilbies. The fund helps support bilby conservation initiatives including a breeding program and a “bilby fence” creating a predator-free zone in Western Queensland. 

Dedicated to Tim Faulkner and his work with Aussie Ark ,Little Wombat’s Easter Surprise shines a new light on the both the plight of the bilby and the reasons behind Australia having such a unique interpretation of the familiar Easter Bunny both for the young audience and their parents who share it because they will be too young to remember the circumstances.  As in Swim, Little Wombat, SwimLittle Wombat tries to mimic the actions of his new friends Bilby and Easter Bunny only to discover he has his own unique talents that come in very handy for building friendships and having fun.

As well as being a fresh story about Easter in Australia, and helping children understand that we each have special abilities that we can use for the good of others, it is a great way to introduce another Australian species, sadly also endangered, and raising awareness (and perhaps money) that there are many who need our help.  

Mila & Ivy

Mila & Ivy

Mila & Ivy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mila & Ivy

Katrina McKelvey

Jasmine Berry

Wombat Books, 2022

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

9781761110801

The fun that can be had with a cardboard box is only limited by the imagination and sisters Mila and Ivy have plenty of that. Mila is a cardboard design engineer and as well as the usual stacks, cars, tunnels and hats, she takes things further to build robots, zoos , roller coasters and the best time machine ever.  Currently she is designing and constructing a cupcake catapult Ivy but things change when Ivy destroys their project, making cardboard confetti instead. Mila is devastated and wants nothing more to do with Ivy. Mila continues to engineer – alone. But something is missing. Maybe Ivy was making cardboard confetti for a reason. So how do sisters rebuild their relationship while engineering their next ultimate cardboard creation?

Building on the theme of girls can do anything, and reminding them that no field of endeavour is off-limits because of gender, readers can have fun dreaming of something spectacular they could make with a cardboard box and then draw up plans, gather materials, experiment and document their work as they build not only learning a lot about the design process but also how to deal with their frustration when things don’t work out and developing patience and resilience as they solve the problems.  Perhaps there is a better solution than making cardboard confetti.

It is also a story of the inevitable clashes in the sister-sister relationship that opens the door to discussions about the reader’s relationships with their siblings, the range of emotions including frustration, heartbreak, stubbornness, and determination as they eventually reconcile and understand that such ups and downs are normal.  That no matter how pesky little sisters can be (says the grandmother of two, five years apart) that there is always a special bond and as they grow up, the age difference becomes less. 

One that will resonate with so many… 

 

 

Little Owl’s New Friend

Little Owl's New Friend

Little Owl’s New Friend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Owl’s New Friend

Debi Gliori

Alison Brown

Bloomsbury, 2022

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

9781526628282

Little Owl is back in another story for littlies but this time instead of waiting anxiously for a new sibling; being concerned about starting preschool  or looking for any reason not to stop his game and have a bath , or trying to avoid going to bed. Little Owl is introduced to a new friend in the middle of his game with Hedge.  But this new friend talks so much and tries so hard, that Little Owl doesn’t want to be friends until… 

Over the last few years, Little Owl has become a favourite with our youngest readers as his adventures and concerns mirror their own so closely, and this new one is no exception.  They will all remember a time when a third party to a game becomes a third wheel.   And as always, wise Mummy Owl is there to help without intruding and taking over., knowing that Little Owl has to work these things out for himself. Alison Brown’s illustrations capture the author’s text perfectly making the characters very endearing while having enough detail for the young reader to work out what’s happening even if they can’t manage all the words yet. 

A series worth collecting for your little ones. 

 

Don’t Forget

Don't Forget

Don’t Forget

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Forget

Jane Godwin

Anna Walker

Puffin, 2021

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

9781761040955

Sometimes being a kid can be overwhelming – there are so many things to remember to do, to say, to be… Particularly with all the busyness and chaos in the lives of our children, these days.  

Don’t forget to make your bed, and wear socks that fit your feet.

Don’t forget to brush your teeth, and don’t forget your homework!

In this charming book for young readers, acknowledged in the CBCA Picture Book of the Year Notables , little ones are reminded that as well as all that actual stuff, in the whirlwind of the day it is easy to forget the other things that are just as important…

Don’t forget to wonder, to be brave, to share.

Don’t forget to imagine, and to feel the touch of each season

For while we have to do that ordinary, everyday stuff, it is the long-term, intangible things that create memories, build dreams and shape us as we grow.  While celebrating the joy of childhood, Godwin has carefully chosen events that will resonate widely but all the while it is the connections with nature, the  being with and  caring for others that are the most enduring – the things that cause us to wonder, to imagine, to share and to reflect that are both the building blocks and the stepping stones.

Alongside Godwin’s superficially simple text are Anna Walker’s exquisite illustrations which bring both them and the child’s life to life.  The reader becomes part of the neighbourhood, rather than an observer, again reinforcing that connectedness on which families and communities are built. As we move out of such a long period of enforced isolation, books like this which celebrate the simple, that literally remind us to smell the roses, that ground us in the here-and-now rather than the what’s-next and the what-might-be that will help us realise that which really matters.  It’s not about the extravaganza birthday party that was missed but the community street party that was shared by all. 

And for those who want to explore the concepts further, there is a unit of work available through PETAA but for members only.

The Think-Ups

The Think-Ups

The Think-Ups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Think-Ups

Claire Alexander

Walker Books, 2022 

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

 9781406395051

It’s a rainy day, and Anna and Kiki are stuck indoors, wondering what to play next. Suddenly, Kiki has an idea for a new game. “All you have to do,” she explains, “is think up a Think-Up and it will appear!” And she thinks up … BUNNIES! Then they conjure up the most marvellous, magnificent MOOSE! And octopi! And nine HUNGRY koalas! – who discover the kitchen! Oh dear … is it possible to UN-think a Think-Up?

This is a story that will appeal to both little ones and their parents because it offers a game they can play on the next rainy day.  While they might not have such dramatic results, nevertheless, it would be fun imagining what might happen of your home was invaded by wandering wombats of a little can’t-catch-me lion. 

Half-cut pages that make for funny surprises at every turn build up anticipation and allow for predicting what might happen when the think-up comes true, enabling the child’s imagination to roam free.

Different, engaging and offers a unique opportunity for the child to create an extra page or two. A case of dreaming with your eyes open…

The Super Adventures of Ollie and Bea (series)

The Super Adventures of Ollie and Bea (series)

The Super Adventures of Ollie and Bea (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Super Adventures of Ollie and Bea

It’s Owl Good

9781760526474

Squeals on Wheels

9781760526481

Wise Quackers

9781761066665

Bats What Friends are For

9781761066672

Renee Treml

A&U Children’s 2021-2022

64pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

Ollie is an owl who wears glasses. And Bea is a bunny with very big feet, but, despite their differences they are best friends who work together to solve mysteries. 

This is a new graphic novel series for young readers transitioning from the basal readers of commercial reading schemes to less-controlled books offering a stepping stone to more complex “early chapter books”. Treml has endowed her characters with the usual charm so they appeal to her audience and Owl’s constant corny puns offer an introduction to this play on words as a humorous concept.  Told as a continuous conversation primarily between Owl and Bea, and in contrast to her Sherlock Bones series, this one has blank backgrounds that therefore place the emphasis on the characters and what they are saying, another opportunity to explore the concept of how critical dialogue can be to carry the story as well as divulging the character’s natures as they share and show important messages about being nice.

Young readers will relate to and like Ollie and Bea, seeing parts of themselves in each, and those who met them in their first two adventures will be thrilled there are now two more available.  Treml has a knack of combining her degree in environmental science with her illustrative ability to craft stories that have instant appeal to our youngest readers. including  Wombat Big, Puggle SmallTen Little OwlsOnce I heard a wombatOne Very Tired WombatColour  for Curlews, Sleep Tight, Platypup,  Roo Knows Blue, Ten Sleepy Sheep, and Let’s Go, Little Roo and there is something special about those who grew up with these stories now able to read her works themselves.