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Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure

Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Adventure

Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure

Jeff Kinney

Puffin, 2020

224pp., pbk., RRp $A14.99

9781760897888

For the fans of Greg Heffley , the wimpy kid who has struggled so hard to fit in with his peers in middle school, this second adventure told by Greg’s best friend Rowley will be welcome light relief as the days of winter and restrictions march on and on and on.  In this, Rowley imagines an epic adventure in which Roland and his best friend, Garg the Barbarian, leave the safety of their village and embark on a quest to save Roland’s mom from the White Warlock.

Using all the humour and visual techniques of the originals, this will appeal to Wimpy Kid fans as well as reach out to new ones – those newly independent reluctant readers who still need a lot of support and are happy to be part of the in-crown reading one of the most popular series for the age group in a long time.

Super Sidekicks 3: Trial of Heroes

Super Sidekicks 3: Trial of Heroes

Super Sidekicks 3: Trial of Heroes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Sidekicks 3: Trial of Heroes

Gavin Aung Than

Puffin, 2020

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

9780143795902

Junior Justice (aka JJ) and his super sidekick pals are back in the third instalment in this graphic novel series . Having just saved the world they’ve now been invited to join H.E.R.O. – the Heroic Earth Righteousness Organisation – an exclusive club for the planet’s most famous superheroes. But before they can become members, the team must pass the hardest challenge in the universe, a test so scary and difficult only the truly heroic can survive.

With its graphic novel format ensuring an abundance of action this new episode will be welcomed by the growing body of fans of the series as students return to school and are eagerly seeking something new to read.  With the first two only being published in 2019, they are still available for those who haven’t yet met this band of mini superheroes so there’s opportunity to catch up if the series has escaped your notice.  Pitch it to those newly independent readers who like action and adventure as well as a feeling of being on the side of right, particularly at a time when movie theatres are closed and there is nothing new to take their attention and streamed reruns are rapidly losing their appeal. 

 

Landing with Wings

Landing with Wings

Landing with Wings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Landing with Wings

Trace Balla

Allen & Unwin, 2020

80pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

9781760296957

Mira and her mother are moving from their home near the sea to the goldfields of the Bendigo area, somewhere very foreign to Mira and she has no idea what to expect.  Her life is being turned upside down and she writes a farewell letter to her favourite tea-tree, beginning her recording of this new adventure which is scary but also a teeeeeny bit exciting. “Just a bit. It’s sort of like not knowing what’s on the next page and wanting to turn it to see what happens.”

Like Miri, Trace Balla loves to observe nature by sketching it and so, inspired by a story she saw about a refugee Syrian girl in an Australian detention centre whose future was equally uncertain, she has taken Miri on this journey of having her life upended and gradually discovering this new place, one that takes her back to her indigenous roots of the Dja Dja Wurrung people until she finally finds her home.

This is another intriguing graphic novel from the creator of Rivertime and  Rockhopping  that is just as extraordinary as those predecessors because of the levels and layers within the story. While  on the surface it seems like a personal recount of moving from one place to another, emphasised by the first-person narrative and hand-written font, there is also a bigger picture journey being told, that of anyone whose life is suddenly and permanently disrupted and having to find their place in a new landscape, whether that is physical, emotional or metaphorical. If they are lucky, they will land with wings and with the insight of someone like Trace Balla to guide them, they will learn to reflect on their experience and understand how it has shaped them just as much as the original catalyst.

A silver lining of this current situation of isolation is that we now have the time to read and appreciate this book in all its nuances, for we have each had our own journeys and this encourages us to revisit, review and reflect on them and their impact. It is just what we need at this time to get our lives back into perspective and see the whole rather than just the daily detail, yet, as Balla illustrates, it is the daily detail that builds up the whole. 

 

Danny Best: Watch This!

Danny Best: Watch This!

Danny Best: Watch This!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danny Best: Watch This!

Jen Storer

Mitch Vane

ABC Books, 2020

304pp., pbk., RRP $A17.99

9780733333361

Danny Best doesn’t just think he’s THE BEST.  He knows it! Best by name and best by reputation, he and his friends Fab, Clancy, Sticks, Dylan and Mae, plus trusty dog Pugsley, Danny turns every single day into one crazy adventure.

This is the fourth in this series  ( Full OnNever Wrong, and Me First)  written for “fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Weirdo” . With its mix of minimal text and monochromatic illustrations, this is another hilarious adventure that will appeal to boys moving from structured readers into the world of independence, wanting something that engages them but which doesn’t require long periods of solitary seclusion to absorb. Even though it has 304 pages, there are four separate stories within it, each told from Danny’s perspective and moving at a fast pace carried along by the graphics and the humour that its target audience thrives on.

If you’re looking for something to encourage your reluctant readers to read, then this is a series worth seeking out. 

Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Book of Fun

Willy Wonka's Everlasting Book of Fun

Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Book of Fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Book of Fun

Roald Dahl

Puffin, 2020

144pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9780241428139

With the extraordinary chocolate tycoon Willy Wonka as your host, join Roald Dahl’s best-loved characters for a bumper activity book that will keep boredom at bay and chiddlers at play.

Stuffed full of 365 marvellous activities, puzzles and more that will keep entertainment flowing for every day of the year, this book focuses on the characters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory bringing them to life so that when your child reluctantly finishes reading that story, there is more fun to be had. 

When Miss Nearly 9 discovered Roald Dahl’s The Twelve Days of Christmas in her Santa Sack (as well as a boxed set of all the books) she was beside herself and settled down for an afternoon of reading, regardless of all that was happening around her. So this title will be just as well-received when she opens her birthday surprises in a few weeks.  The activities in the Christmas book not only kept her enthralled but also inspired her to read some of Dahl’s not-so-well-known books and broaden her reading horizons so in contrast, this will help deepen her understanding of Charlie and his family and friends.  Have to be happy with that.

The Adventures of Anders

The Adventures of Anders

The Adventures of Anders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Adventures of Anders

Gregory Mackay

Allen & Unwin, 2019

456pp., graphic novel., RRP $A19.99

9781760632076

School holidays are about to begin and the class is introduced to Bernie the elephant who will be joining them in the new term. Anders the squirrel and his friend Eden befriend Bernie and so begins the first of their adventures – three altogether, collected into one volume. – as they  discover an unknown comet, explore an extinct volcano and find their way through a castle maze as they try to complete the over-holiday homework task set by their teacher. Who has homework in the holidays? 

There is a growing body of evidence of the value of graphic novels to support young readers and with the returned upsurge in popularity of Marvel and Dc Comics and associated events like Comic Con, the stigma previously attached to the format has pretty much disappeared and it is regarded as a genuine part of literature.  So if this is your first venture into this genre either as a reader or a purchaser why not start with an award winner? Individually, the stories have been have been shortlisted for the Angouleme Festival, the most prestigious comics awards in Europe, acknowledging the best comics published across the world. Anders and the Comet was also the winner of Australia’s Silver Ledger Award.

 

 

Super Sidekicks (series)

Super Sidekicks 1: No Adults Allowed

Super Sidekicks 1: No Adults Allowed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Sidekicks 1: No Adults Allowed

9780143795865

Super Sidekicks 2: Ocean’s Revenge

 9780143795889

Gavin Aung Than

Puffin, 2019

144pp., pbk., RRP $A9.99

 

“Superheroes have it easy. They don’t have to clean their secret headquarters, wash the alien bloodstains out of their costumes or be responsible for taking Super Mutt out for a walk. No, they leave all that for their sidekicks like me, while they get all the credit! “

But Junior Justice (aka JJ) is tired of all that – “Being a superhero sidekick isn’t as fun as you think. You do all the work, beat the bad guys and save the planet, only for your grown-up partner to get all the credit.”  So he and his sidekick pals, Flygirl, Dinomite and Goo, have decided to form their own super team. But before they can start saving the world they’ll have to prove to the adult heroes that they’re more than just sidekicks. And once the evil Dr Enok discovers his favourite pet Goo has left him to join a super team, the world might need saving sooner rather than later!

This is the first in a new series that will appeal to those who like lots of action and adventures in their stories and a graphic novel format making it an easy read for the newly independent reader. Given the popularity of superhero movies and the anticipation for Avengers: Endgame  with young and not-so-young projecting themselves into the roles of world saviours, this is a series that has the protagonists at a similar age to the reader so they will be able to take on their favourite role as they immerse themselves in it. 

The second, Ocean’s Revenge focuses on a problem that is thankfully getting more and more publicity – the pollution of our ocean with rubbish, particularly plastics, and the devastating effect that is having. The Mother of the Seas is sick of humans using the oceans as a junkyard, so she decides to give the land dwellers a taste of their own medicine. Children of the age that this series is aimed at are very aware of their environment and the impact that humans are having on it so this is an ideal discussion starter to raise awareness of the impact of plastic on it and perhaps even begin with some small projects to make a difference, because even a little helps. And knowledge is empowering and for young children to feel they have any power at all has to be the way forward because too many adults still have their heads in the sands and dismiss the issues. Introduce them to young fictional heroes like JJ and his Sidekicks and then to real-life ones like Greta Thundberg and show them they CAN  make a difference and the local, national and international media will take notice.

A timely series with an important message and the potential to have a huge impact.

Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal

Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson's Journal

Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal

Jeff Kinney

Puffin, 2019

224pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781760892517

“Rowley’s best friend Greg Heffley has been chronicling his middle-school years in thirteen Diary of a Wimpy Kid journals . . . and counting. But it’s finally time for readers to hear directly from Rowley in a journal of his own. In Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, Rowley writes about his experiences and agrees to play the role of biographer for Greg along the way. (After all, one day Greg will be rich and famous, and everyone will want to know his life’s story.) But Rowley is a poor choice for the job, and his “biography” of Greg is a hilarious mess.”

There would be few primary school readers (and even those a little older) who do not know the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , one of the pivotal series to get boys reading that I’ve encountered throughout my teaching career. So this new addition to the collection, in which Greg’s life is viewed through the lens of his best friend, is a welcome new chapter with a twist.

But as well as just being a fun read, one that so many can relate to, it’s also a chance to explore the concept of perspective.  Do others see us as we see ourselves? It reminds me of an advertisement on television where a fellow is called to a meeting and is giving himself negative self-talk  – this one…

But the reality is significantly different. So this book could be an opening into examining how others perceive us and perhaps tapping into someone’s mental health by having friends write about their friends. A skilled teacher who knows the students really well might have them write about themselves first and if necessary have conversations with the school counsellor.  Food for thought that might get someone who is struggling to open up.

But for those who just adore Greg and Rowley and their adventures, they can find out more about their creation here.

 

 

The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Three Musketeers

Russell Punter

Matteo Pincelli

Usborne, 2019 

104pp., pbk, RRP $A19.99

9781474938112

In 1844 Alexandre Dumas gave the world his story of Les Trois Mousquetaires and now 175 years on it is again being made available to young readers in graphic novel format so they, too, can share the adventures of  young  d’Artagnan after he leaves home to travel to Paris, to join the Musketeers of the Guard. Although d’Artagnan is not able to join this elite corps immediately, he befriends the three most formidable musketeers of the age – Athos, Porthos and Aramis, “the three inseparables,” as these are called – and gets involved in their adventures. Set in the France of 1626 when there was fierce rivalry between the republicans and the monarchists, and bound by the famous cry of “All for one and one for all” 

Graphic novels have proven to be an invaluable way of introducing young readers to the classic stories of old and this is no exception, and with the current thirst for high action, high adventure with superheroes, this is the perfect way to lead children’s reading on to something just as exciting while opening up a new world of literature.  To help with understanding the context because it is set in the real world but a different time, there are pages at the back that set the scene and Usborne have their usual Quicklinks page to help the reader explore even further. 

A must for independent readers seeking to expand their horizons, as well as an addition to a unit comparing superheroes past, present and future!!

Marvel Fearless and Fantastic! Female Super Heroes Save the World

Marvel Fearless and Fantastic! Female Super Heroes Save the World

Marvel Fearless and Fantastic! Female Super Heroes Save the World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marvel Fearless and Fantastic! Female Super Heroes Save the World

Sam Maggs, Emma Grange & Ruth Amos

DK, 2019

128pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780241357491

Superheroes continue to be as popular as they first were when they were introduced in comic form in the 1930s.  The historic nomination of Black Panther for the Golden Globes Best Picture award, the first in this genre to be nominated, and the current success of Aquaman at the box offices around the world, attest to this and this new release from DK focusing on the female heroes of the Marvel world demonstrates that women can also save the world.

It features 50 of the incredible female Super Heroes from the Marvel Comics universe, classified according to whether they are predominantly determined, daring, compassionate or curious , and inspires women of all ages to be powerful, passionate, and persistent.

In graphic novel format, the collection profiles dozens of aspirational female comic-book characters, all of whom use their strength, intelligence, and courage to help others. Fierce fan-favourites such as Captain Marvel, Gamora, and Jessica Jones feature alongside little-known faces from all corners of the Marvel comic-book universe. Young girls will also discover modern, diverse heroes they can relate to and look up to, including America Chavez and Kamala Khan. 

Illustrated with stunning comic-book artwork, each short biography is carefully curated to focus on the character’s abilities and achievements. This book for girls and women of all ages will create new fans of comics, as well as inspiring comic-book creators of the future. Further reading suggestions are given for each character, so readers can follow the adventures of their favourite hero into the panels of Marvel’s finest issues.

While all of those featured were created in the imagination of an author,  nevertheless they can encourage our girls to think about real-life heroines – those that inspire them to be braver, stronger, more influential – and examine how they achieve this without those superhuman powers of their fictional counterparts.  And while people like Anne Frank, Helen Keller and Florence Nightingale will always feature in “famous women” studies, there are thousands of more contemporary figures whose stories can be investigated and told, perhaps in the style of those in this book. Perhaps such investigations may even persuade our girls that they themselves are mighty and have the qualities that will make them their own superhero.

One for inspiration and aspiration.