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The Whales on the Bus

The Whales on the Bus

The Whales on the Bus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Whales on the Bus

Katrina Charman

Nick Sharratt

Bloomsbury, 2020

32pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781526603432

Can you imagine whales on a bus riding round the town?  Or some goats on boats?  Dragons is wagons? Sheep in a jeep?  Perhaps bees on skis is more your thing? Well, Katrina Charman and Nick Sharratt have and the result is the most vibrant picture book with a familiar rhyme and rhythm that is not only going to enable our littlest readers to read this book for themselves but also put a song in your head and a smile on your face for the rest of the day. 

Because the concept is so familiar  and the pictures so clear and energetic, it won’t matter if your child can’t decode the words yet – they can work them out for themselves.  And voilà! They are reading.  Just like a real reader.  Such a huge boost to their confidence and self-esteem!

This book is just a joyful celebration of silliness in the boldest of colours that it will be loved and read over and over again – just like that song…

Atticus Van Tasticus 3: The Treasure of Treasures

Atticus Van Tasticus 3: The Treasure of Treasures

Atticus Van Tasticus 3: The Treasure of Treasures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atticus Van Tasticus 3: The Treasure of Treasures

Andrew Daddo

Stephen Michael King

Puffin, 2020

288pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781760892869

Continuing the adventures of Atticus and his brave crew of The Grandnan,  this next episode in this rollicking series for newly independent readers who are looking for an escape from the confines of the bedroom to the high seas and the possibilities of their imagination takes them into a world of  rattling skeletons, ghosts, monsters from the deep, killer sands and a boiling hot tub as they try to figure out the Map of Half Maps in search of certain treasure. .. 

What began as a way to escape life in the coal mine when Atticus chose a pirate ship from his Grandnan’s treasure pile has turned into a journey of adventure, confrontation and self-discovery for Atticus and his band of ragtag friends that is proving to be the perfect escape from this year of uncertainty and unexpected events.  Will Atticus ever find the treasure and save his family or will this just be an ongoing adventure that keeps us entertained for many more episodes?  In this current world of day-to-day, just let’s enjoy it while we have it and wait for the next adventure. You can be sure Atticus has spotted one on the horizon with his trusty telescope.

Bear in Space

Bear in Space

Bear in Space

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bear in Space

Deborah Abela

Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Walker Books, 2020

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

9781760651510

Bear is different. While all his friends were noisy and busy and never seemed to stop, Bear preferred his own company and the quietness and solitude of his books – particularly his books about space.  Because even though the other bears sometimes laughed at him and called him names, Bear was absorbing all he could learn about the mysterious place beyond the planet because he had plans…

This is a charming story for early readers that has so many layers.  Firstly, it is a tribute to those children who are more introverted, who are happy and complete in their own space and who single-mindedly pursue their dreams, prompting discussions about how there are all sorts of people in the world who may have different values and dreams to us. But it also shows how those dreams can be enriched and enhanced when they are shared with like-minded souls and friends, changing perceptions of relationships and how the world works.  It also has lots of facts about space embedded into it so as well as sharing Bear’s adventures, the reader also learns a little on the journey.

This is one of those perfect pictures books where the text and illustrations are seamless and one would be so much less if the other weren’t there.  Even though both themes of being a loner and having dreams of space travel have been visited in children’s stories before, this is a stand-out because of the story’s layers and that integration of words and pictures that entertain and educate at the same time. A marriage of imagination and information.

Big City Atlas

Big City Atlas

Big City Atlas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big City Atlas

Maggie Li

Pavilion, 2020

64pp., pbk., RRP $A24.99

9781843654599

During this pandemic the world seems to have shrunk as nightly news bulletins bring the tales of heartache from the world’s major cities into our lounge rooms.  Even though we can no longer visit the cities that are becoming household names even to our younger readers, we can join Penguin on this adventure as he journeys around the world getting involved in the activities they have to offer. 

Cities visited include San Francisco, Mexico City, Chicago, Toronto, New York, Washington DC, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Dublin, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Rome, Madrid, Cairo, Istanbul, Cape Town, Dubai, Mumbai, Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney and Auckland and the reader is invited to spot Penguin on the pages.

With the information provided in speech bubble chunks, this is an engaging book that will interest and intrigue all budding young jetsetters – who may actually be able to travel by the time they grow up!  

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Alice-Miranda in the Outback

Alice-Miranda in the Outback

Alice-Miranda in the Outback

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice-Miranda in the Outback

Jacqueline Harvey

Puffin, 2020

384pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781760891039

Alice-Miranda and her friends are off to the Australian Outback! They’re going to help an old family friend who’s found himself short staffed during cattle mustering season. The landscape is like nothing else – wide open and dusty red as far as the eye can see. It’s also full of quirky characters, like eccentric opal miner Sprocket McGinty and the enigmatic Taipan Dan.

As the gang settles in at Hope Springs Station, mysteries start piling up. A strange map is discovered indicating treasure beneath the paddocks, a young girl is missing and there are unexplained water shortages. Can Alice-Miranda get to the bottom of this desert dilemma?

It’s been 11 years since we first met Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones, and, in that time she has had many adventures around the world, entertaining so many young girls over that time with her positivity and perseverance.  Even those who started their own reading journey when Alice-Miranda first organised her own admission to Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies like to pop back and enjoy her new adventures.  This new adventure takes them into the Australian Outback, a new experience even for many Australian kids, and, within the context of an engaging story, offers them an opportunity to learn about the history of the country that extends beyond the First Fleet and the ugly, dirty streets of early Sydney.

So whether your girls are already avid fans or newcomers to this series, there is much to absorb them and the good news is, that unlike Clementine Rose,  Jacqueline Harvey is already planning new adventures. 

In the City

In the City

In the City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the City

Holly James

Hannah Tolson

Bloomsbury, 2020

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

9781526616241

Lucy and Oscar discover there are so many things to see and do in the city , starting with the train ride into the centre, visiting building, picnicking in the park, going on a bus ride and exploring the shops. In this interactive, look and find book, young readers are encouraged to use their observational skills to discover a wide range of elements featured in the illustrations, perhaps even compare and contrast them with what their own experiences of a city excursion. For those who do not live in a city, it helps develop the concept of city life and build vocabulary about what is there, setting them up to transfer this knowledge to other stories  that are set in cities so they have greater understanding, predictability and success with their reading. 

Books like this play a valuable role in helping children’s visual acuity as they search for items, while underscoring the need to search the illustrations for the detail because it is often something that is embedded in them that explains the text, or perhaps contradicts it. They learn that reading is so much more than decoding words. 

One for early readers as well as those learning English as they spot familiar objects and learn the names in their new language.

Roma the Road Train’s First Road Trip

Roma the Road Train's First Road Trip

Roma the Road Train’s First Road Trip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roma the Road Train’s First Road Trip

Debbie Camps

David Clare

Little Steps, 2020

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781925839524

The road from Darwin to Alice Springs is almost 1500 km long and travels through some of Australia’s most scenic but inhospitable country.  Getting freight between the two centres can be arduous and hazardous even for the huge road trains that make the trip regularly.

This story about Roma the road train’s first journey takes young readers through that  outback country showing off not only the countryside but also the life of the driver who makes it, one typical of the men and women who do it frequently as they earn their living.  Driver and truck become one as the journey unfolds, the driver attuned to every nuance of the motor, every sensation felt through the steering wheel and then every night time sound as he curls up in the bunk behind the cab.

If you have young students, boys or girls, who have a hankering to be a truckie, or are just wanting to demonstrate another different lifestyle found in this vast country, then the road train drivers, the distances they travel, the country they travel through and the sort of freight they carry offer that. 

Yellow Truck Road Train

Yellow Truck Road Train

Yellow Truck Road Train

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow Truck Road Train

Mandy Tootell

A & U Children’s, 2020

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

9781760525811

Distances are huge and roads are long in the Northern Territory and so are the trucks that travel them. Yellow Truck Road Train is just one of the vehicles that transport stock and freight across the landscape during the dry season and this book by a truckie’s wife not only gives an insight into that life but celebrates it.

Being the wife of a truckie, I appreciate the story of the drive, its ups and downs, its friendships and loneliness but I must confess it puts the trips hubby makes on the east coast into perspective for distance! Young readers aspiring to make the highway their home will enjoy the uniquely Australian aspects of this book and the h-u-g-e fold out at the end showing the anatomy of a 6-deck road train including a Kenworth T904 prime mover will fascinate them. Trucker language is also unique but there is a glossary to help out.

One to add to your Australia: Story Country collection to entice young lads, particularly, to read. 

 

Rusty Runs Away

Rusty Runs Away

Rusty Runs Away

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rusty Runs Away

Sally Scudamore

Lexie Watt

Little Steps, 2020

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781925839777

When the family go on their beach holiday without him,  Rusty the Australian terrier is perplexed,  but when Farmer Gruff and Grandma Jude whose care he has been left in are too busy to care, Rusty decides he will have a holiday anyway.  

But when he hitches a ride on a truck to escape the fast cars and sore paws, he doesn’t realise that he will end up far away from his home in Goondiwindi, Queensland – in Snowtown, South Australia!

Told in rhyme with different fonts distinguishing the different characters, this is based on the true story of a little dog on a big adventure.  Accompanied by clever, detailed illustrations, the reader is taken on a remarkable journey through some of Australia’s most isolated landscapes that will encourage young readers to get out the atlas and track his trail and with some calculations, determine just how far this little dog travelled.  

First-time author Sally Scudamore has continued the family tradition of storytelling, particularly now she lives in the UK and they are in Australia,  a tradition a lot of families may have implemented during these days of social distancing. Her debut book speaks of more to come. 

 

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

9781760892913

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.