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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. 

Bluey: Daddy Putdown

Bluey: Daddy Putdown

Bluey: Daddy Putdown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey: Daddy Putdown

Bluey

Puffin, 2021

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

9781761041174

Mummy has gone to a baby shower and Daddy has been left to put Bluey and Bingo to bed.  But Bluey is very concerned because it won’t be the same. No matter what ideas Daddy has, she longs for her mum to be home.  Until she has an idea…

Based on the highly successful television series, this new release strengthens  the link between screen and media, a critical one as they learn about the value of being able to take their time with print, examine the illustrations and read it again and again whenever they want – all vital concepts about print. They easily relate to characters they know which as well as adding another dimension to them by offering a behind-the-scenes look at their lives and loves,  they can also focus on the story more deeply.

Perfect for fans of the show…

 

The Super Adventures of Ollie and Bea (series)

The Super Adventures of Ollie and Bea

The Super Adventures of Ollie and Bea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Super Adventures of Ollie and Bea

It’s Owl Good

9781760526474

Squeals on Wheels

9781760526481

Renee Treml

A&U Children’s 2021

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

Ollie is an owl who wears glasses. And Bea is a bunny with very big feet. They don’t know it yet, but they are about to be best friends. Can they help each other to find their OTTER-LY awesome inner superhero?

This is a new series in graphic novel format 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, unlike 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.

Young readers will relate to and like Ollie and Bea, seeing parts of themselves in each, and will no doubt look forward to further adventures. 

 

Mini Rabbit Come Home

Mini Rabbit Come Home

Mini Rabbit Come Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mini Rabbit Come Home

John Bond

HarperCollins, 2021

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

 9780008264932

Mini Rabbit is making a camp in the garden.
He can’t wait. It’s going to be the BEST DAY ever!

But there are still a few last things he needs to get – rope to hold the den down, wood for the campfire and marshmallows to toast on it. And it looks like it might rain. 

There are few things as much fun (or as scary) as sleeping out under the stars, particularly if it’s the first time.  So setting up camp in the backyard is always a good start – how well I remember the grandies spending the first night in their Christmas tent in the country-dark when the city-light was what they were used to!  So this new adventure with Mini Rabbit will resonate with a lot of little readers, including the ending.

So many of our little ones are confined to home at the moment so perhaps suggesting a backyard sleepout could give them something to plan for and look forward to.  Working out what they need, how they will build their den, making lists like Mother Rabbit and bringing it all together not only make for a great adventure but also offer lots of screen-free learning.  And if photos are shared with classmates…

Dr Margaret Merga has written an interesting article about how books can be a healing retreat during isolation – this one fulfils that concept both physically and metaphorically.

The Inside Day

The Inside Day

The Inside Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Inside Day

Jane Martino

Annie White

Puffin, 2021 

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

9781761040085

It’s one of those day when the classroom windows rattle and shake as rain drums on the glass and rather than being able to go outside to play, it’s going to be one of those no-good, long, boring, inside days. Milly and her friends feel as gloomy as the weather but Miss Fish has all sorts of ideas that will make them feel sunny inside even though they are stuck inside. And soon, even Milly has joined her classmates in focusing on the things that make them feel good and has forgotten about the sandpit and all the attractions that the outdoors offers.

This is a timely release as so many children are stuck inside, not just because it’s winter but also the current public health orders.   So it’s the perfect time for teachers to become Miss Fish, adapt her ideas and help children see the possibilities and potential of this enforced stay-at-home time. As well as encouraging students to be in the moment, she also wants them to say how they are feeling so there are lots of similes and vocabulary to explore and illustrate.  If something makes you feel like “colours are bursting out of your mouth” what would that look like if it actually happened?

The final two pages of the book are devoted to directing the reader to focus on their own feelings and there is an activity pack available as well. The icing on the cake is that Penguin Random House is one of the publishers who have agreed to extending the exemptions of the 2020 Storytime Agreement to this period of lockdown so the book can be read online to a class behind a password-protected platform. 

 

Green

Green

Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green

Louise Greig

Hannah Peck

Farshore, 2021

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

9781405299398

When winter snow turns the green grass of the hills to white, Ed revels in his favourite season.  Because that’s when he can get his sleek sled out of the shed and race the other children down the slope.  But instead of the fast sled of yesteryear his now seems old and dull and slow as new, shiny, purple, orange , yellow and red ones flash past. 

Discouraged and disappointed at no longer being the best, Ed takes his sled back to the shed where he spends days and days trying to perfect it.  The voice in his head tells him that it is fine but he ignores it and keeps on tinkering.  But something strange has happened while he has been tucked away all that time. There is blue peeping out of the snow and the blackbird is singing… and with a heavy spring shower the white is turned to green!  

Even though few Australian children will spend their winters sliding down the slopes, this is a timely story that introduces young readers to the emotion of envy, exploring how we can be so consumed by being bigger, better, and faster that we miss out on more important things like fun and friendship. Rather than valuing what now, we get carried away with the anticipation of what next.  It is another in a series in which little people can confront big emotions through story and learn about and from them. 

Told in rhyming text, as well as being a story about emotions, there is also an element of science that can be explored as Ed draws elaborate plans for his new sled to make it magnificent. But what does he sacrifice in exchange for the fancy-dancy add-ons? What are the essential elements a sled needs to glide swiftly over the snow?  And for those in warmer climes than mine, what is snow and why doesn’t it fall everywhere? Why doesn’t it fall all the time?  Why do the seasons change?

I adore books that become springboards for young readers to explore well beyond the pages, that help them make more sense of the world around them and broaden their horizons.  This is one of those. 

Goal!!!

Goal!!!

Goal!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goal!!!

Lydia Williams

Lucinda Gifford

Allen & Unwin, 2021

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

9781760526146

When we first met Lydia Williams in Saved!!!, she was trying to master all sorts of sports with only the native animals to help her.  Now her family have moved to the city which is big and intimidating and without her old friends, she couldn’t practise her goalkeeping skills. Feeling lonely and alone, she goes to the city zoo to cheer herself up but even the animals don’t want to know her, until the fleetingly fast gibbon steals her ball…

Using the metaphor of the zoo animals with their superior skills to show how listening to and learning from others is the best path to self-improvement, Lydia shows how she worked on her game so that she is now the Australian Matildas first-choice goalkeeper making her debut at just 17, and plays for Arsenal in the UK.  With the Tokyo Olympics on the near horizon and hopefully the Matildas making the nightly news regularly, they have become the role models for so many of our young girls and their matches around the world are eagerly followed.  Thus, this and Saved!!! are both perfectly timed for sharing with them to inspire their aspirations.

How did those NSW and Queensland representative rugby league players rise to shine above the rest? 

Even for those whose dreams may be as far from being a champion soccer player as you can get, the message of listening, learning, friendship and teamwork permeates everything so it is one for everyone. 

 

Florence and Fox

Florence and Fox

Florence and Fox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florence and Fox

Zanni Louise

Anna Pignataro

Walker, 2021 

32pp., hbk., RRP $A25.99

9781760651350

When Fox uses Florence’s hammer, she gets cross with him saying that he can’t borrow it because “Today is not Sharing Day.” In fact, Sharing Day is not for hundreds of days so Fox will just have to wait.

Fox is bewildered because he has never heard of Sharing Day but he doesn’t say anything.  That afternoon, however, as they play in the sandpit, Florence asks Fox if she can borrow his bucket. Fox reminds her it is not Sharing Day but after some thought Florence says that sometimes it okay to share even if it is not Sharing Day.  Will Fox share or will he stick to the rules?

This is a story for young readers who are learning to share their things and who can sometime be temperamental about it.  Told in authentic child-like language it is almost like eavesdropping on a conversation, one which nearly every adult will have overheard in some form over time, and Anna Pignataro’s illustrations with their naïve elements are the perfect accompaniment. 

A great opportunity to open up a discussion about sharing, something little ones find so hard to do. 

Turning Cartwheels

Turning Cartwheels

Turning Cartwheels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turning Cartwheels

Amy Adeney

Amy Calautti

EK, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A32.99

9781925820515

Emma is desperate to join queen bee Carly’s Cartwheel Club. Week after week Emma lines up for a try-out, only to be told that she hasn’t made the cut. When Emma is finally accepted, she finds that Carly’s rules and requirements take all the joy out of cartwheeling, and being part of the gang isn’t as awesome as she expected. And so she takes matters into her own hands…

This is a story that could have taken place in Any School, Anywhere and so it will resonate with a wide range of readers. At a certain stage the need to belong, to be part of the in-crowd becomes the driving force in a child’s life but so often, once in, things aren’t as rosy as expected.  Emma’s solution to her dilemma shows imagination and resilience and could be a suggestion for those who are struggling with the constantly changing friendship groups that dominate those middle primary years. It brings that subtle social bullying to the surface to be examined and exposed for what it is, putting those who practise it on notice, while alerting the Emmas about its existence and how it is manifested.

An excellent addition to your collection and lessons about what friendship and bullying is, taking the reader into the realm of how friendships change as children get older. Things are sometimes more than they seem. 

Ten Little Yoga Frogs

Ten Little Yoga Frogs

Ten Little Yoga Frogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Little Yoga Frogs

Hilary Robinson

Mandy Stanley

Catch A Star, 2021

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

9781922326126

Imagine learning some basic yoga poses at the same time as learning to count,  This is a bright, colourful, traditional rhyming counting book but with the twist of all the characters doing yoga and an invitation to the reader to join in.. 

One to one matching and the conservation of number are the foundation skills of early maths as children learn that no matter how it is arranged, a group of three (or whatever) is always a group of three, So we can’t underestimate the value of books such as these as they teach or reinforce the same concepts and eventually the child is mature enough to grasp them. At the same time, the rhyming format helps them predict the text so they have power over it. Win/win for littlies, in my opinion.