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Alice’s Food A-Z

Alice's Food A-Z

Alice’s Food A-Z

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice’s Food A-Z

Alice Zaslavsky

Walker Books, 2021

148pp., pbk., RRP $A24.99

9781760654856

“Alice Zaslavsky has been described as “Andy Griffiths meets Heston Blumenthal,” and this book brims with her trademark energy and enthusiasm for all things food.”

Exploring everything from apples to zucchini, this book is designed to help young foodies understand food better and encourage them to go beyond their comfort zone of what they normally eat or cook with.  Whether it’s a new recipe for an old favourite (and there are 30 recipes included) or something completely new that sounds like it will make your stomach squirm, readers are encouraged to at least try new things because love it or hate it, there will be new memories created and stories to tell.

With lots of illustrations and a layout that will appeal to young readers, each food is introduced through all sorts of angles including the reason behind its name, where it comes from and what it looks like, fun facts, ideas for snacks, as well as extra interesting info that takes some of the mystery out of it. There are recipes for popular foods like chicken nuggets so you can be assured of what you are really eating (you can never unsee Jamie Oliver’s video about this); tips for setting up a lemonade stall and dozens of other bits and pieces that are fun while surreptitiously encouraging a healthier diet.

Originally published in 2015, and a CBCA Notable for the Eve Pownall Award in 2016, this is a new revamped edition that will garner new fans as so many of our students have taken up an interest in food and home cooking during the events of the last two years. With school-based kitchen gardens and other initiatives, many have noted the extending palate of children who have actually grown what they have eaten and with this book removing the mystery behind many foods, familiar and not-so, this is going to be a bonus for all budding cooks.  And I have two in my family!

And just in case you haven’t seen it…

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. 

What if … ?

What if … ?

What if … ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What if … ?

Lynn Jenkins

Kirrili Lonergan

EK Books, 2021

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

9781925820973

Issy’s mind was always very busy. She was always wondering “What if…” and then imagining all sorts of situations that scared her.  She worried about monsters in her cupboard, aliens taking her in the middle of the night, her bedroom floor turning to quicksand and sucking up both her bed and her.

But her wise mother recognises the anxiety her imagination causes and the power of those two little words, and as she tucks Issy into bed she takes her turn at the “What if…”” But instead of scary things, she takes Issy and her imagination on an amazing and humorous trip of people walking on their hands and wearing their undies on their head; of clouds of different colours that smell of fairy floss and popcorn… Then she invites Issy to try and when she takes her mind in a new direction, her anxiety vanishes.

This is another beautiful offering from the pairing that gave us stories like Tree, and the Little Anxious Creatures series as the author draws on her expertise and experience as a clinical psychologist to acknowledge children’s big feelings and then articulates them in a way that both resonated with the child and helps them develop strategies that empower them to deal with them for themselves.  Changing thinking from what if a storm brews, a tree crashes through my window and a vampire bat flies into my bedroom to what if there were hot air balloons that could take me anywhere I wanted to go following a path made by the stars is as powerful as those two words themselves. As Jenkins says, “we are the bosses of our brains” and thus we can choose what we want to think. Lonergan’s illustrations in soft pastel colours are as gentle as the story itself,  and would be the ideal model for little ones to think of their own what if and then illustrate it, thinking of the way colour can portray mood as much as any other element.  A physical reminder to look at whenever their mind starts to wander down dark paths…

There has been much talk about the impact that the last 18-20 months has had on the mental health of our children and so this book, and the others by this couple, are more critical to know about and share than ever.

As well as teachers’ notes, Jenkins shares the story herself.

 

A Trip to the Hospital

A Trip to the Hospital

A Trip to the Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Trip to the Hospital

Freda Chiu

A&U Children’s, 2021

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

9781760526702

Sadly, many of our children visit hospitals as patients more times than we like. either because of an accident or illness.  Even for adults, they can be intimidating places and even moreso if the visit is an unexpected emergency – ask me how I know!!!

But it can be made less traumatic if children know what to expect and so this book, based on an Australian hospital, is very timely and useful.  Following the journey three children, each being admitted for a different reason, the book’s purpose is to show that  hospitals are amazing places filled with clever people all doing incredible things, including making you feel better. The emphasis is on the people who may look scary because they’re wearing masks (although that’s not so uncommon these days) and that the tools and machines they use are there to help them. 

But as well as reassuring the would-be patient, with hospital admissions on the increase because of COVID-19, it also helps them understand what is happening to their family and friends who might also be admitted.

If we know what to expect in unfamiliar situations then our anxiety levels are lowered and we are much more able to cope.  This book certainly does that. 

Carly Mills Pioneer Girl : The Lady with the Lamp

Carly Mills Pioneer Girl : The Lady with the Lamp

Carly Mills Pioneer Girl : The Lady with the Lamp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carly Mills Pioneer Girl : The Lady with the Lamp

Jane Smith

Big Sky, 2021

120pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

 9781922488220

On a trip to Sydney before being sent to boarding school in Brisbane, country girl Carly Mills visits the sights and sites of Sydney’s past with her new friend Dora. At Customs House they are refused admission because the exhibits are being changed. but when Carly picks up two shawls that drop off a trolley she is told to keep them as they are probably being discarded.

But what she doesn’t realise is that hers has a magic of its own when she puts it on- it transports her back in time to meet some of the influential women in  history.

In this, the fourth in the series, Carly is in London on holiday and finds herself transported back to the mid-19th century where life and expectations for women were very different from modern times and she meets the iconic “lady with the lamp” Florence Nightingale recognised as being the founder of modern nursing, travelling with her to the battlefields of the Crimea.

Much has been written about Nightingale and her exploits and achievements over the years, but with nurses so much in the frontline of this new battle with COVID-19, this is a timely release that allows young independent readers to learn about the early beginnings of this profession and how far it has come because of the courage and determination of women like its subject. 

 This  series mixes fictional characters like Carly and real-life women who have shaped the world, thus bringing history alive in a more personal way. By becoming involved in the narrative, perhaps even putting themselves in Carly’s shoes, the reader understands how the lessons the characters learn can be applied to the modern world. Other in the series focus on Caroline Chisholm, Dr Lilian Cooper, and Dame Nellie Melba, with Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie and Miles Franklin to come.  

Pear of Hope

Pear of Hope

Pear of Hope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pear of Hope

Wenda Shurety

Deb Hudson

EK Books, 2021

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

9781925820867

At the bottom of Anna’s garden is an old pear tree that is her favourite place and secret hideout.  She loves being up in its branches, where it gives life and shelter to all sorts of creatures and allows her imagination to wander.  But as autumn and then winter roll in, it loses its magic and wonder, just as Anna does as she succumbs to a deadly illness. The tree stands bare and alone until one day Anna returns and gives it a soft hug. And together they start the journey back to wellness and fullness… 

Using the pear as a symbol of hope, as it is in many parts of the world, this is a delicate story of a young girl’s battle with cancer and chemotherapy tracing Anna’s journey in its illustrations more than its words so the reader really focuses on the parallels between tree and child. Just as the tree loses it leaves in winter but returns to its full glory as the warmer weather returns, so does Anna’s hope and resilience build until she is back able to celebrate her 10th birthday with her friends and family, under the shelter of the pear tree. 

While some of our students may be in Anna’s particular situation, there are many more who are facing other challenges and who need the reassurance that time will pass, and like the pear tree, they will prevail.  So this is one to share and talk about so each can take what they need from it. 

What is a Virus?

What is a Virus?

What is a Virus?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is a Virus?

Katie Daynes

Kirsti Beautyman

Usborne, 2021

14pp., board book, RRP $A19.99

9781474991513

If there is one word that children of today know as well as their name it is “virus”. So much of their lives have been affected by this tiny, invisible thing that has had such huge impact.  But what is a virus? Using the successful Lift-the-Flap Q&A format of others in this series, readers can investigate just what a virus is, discovering that there are many more than just COVID 19! They also learn the importance of the rules like social distancing, washing their hands and other personal hygiene issues, important because if they understand the why about the what they are more likely to comply. it also alleviates some of the fear that their imaginations can conjure up.

In the past we have been teaching our littlies about why they need to eat well, sleep long and play hard to have a healthy body and preventing illness has been a peripheral, but things have changed and this is an important addition to the collection so they can better understand this thing that is going to shadow their lives for a long time to come.

The Couch Potato

The Couch Potato

The Couch Potato

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Couch Potato

Jory John

Pete Oswald

HarperCollins US, 2021

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

9780062954534

There is nothing that Couch Potato likes more that slouching on the couch.  In fact it spends all its free time in the exact spot on its comfy cosy couch, and really, there is no reason to move.  With a range of gadgets – even one that fetches its snacks – and a wall of shimmering screens in front of it,  it can control its entire life all the time with a few taps and a couple of clicks.

Life is perfect until… there is a power outage! Suddenly everything goes dark and Couch Potato is forced to open the curtains to let some light in where it sees the outdoors for the first time in a long time and it is tempted outside…

This is a new addition to Jory John’s collection of modern cautionary tales for young readers joining The Good Egg , The Bad Seed. and The Cool Bean. Encouraging those who prefer to live their lives vicariously through the screen to get outside and enjoy the sunshine, fresh air and being actively involved with friends, it opens up investigations into a healthy lifestyle and the need for balance. A timely reminder given the events of the past year.

 

Where Does Poo Go?

Where Does Poo Go?

Where Does Poo Go?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Does Poo Go?

Katie Daynes

Dan Taylor

Usborne, 2021

12pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781474986434

This is an intriguing little book – just 12 pages of lift-the-flap questions and answers – that could have the most profound effect on the reader.  Answering questions about why humans and animals need to poo, what happens to it once it is expelled and the information that can be learned from it, it addresses a topic that young children are fascinated by from a young age.

But as important as the information is, it is the no-nonsense, matter-of-fact way it explores a normal. critical bodily function that has the potential to change attitudes. If we can show our children from the earliest age that this is not a topic for sniggers or embarrassment, but something that is an indicator of good health (or otherwise) then we are doing them an enormous service. For a few generations now, bodily functions have tended to be something not discussed, something to be kept private and definitely not done or shared in public and so, when doctors and other medical staff need to know, there is at least embarrassment, at worst a cover-up with all its consequences. Yet, as we have seen in the last year, it is the evidence of the COVID virus in effluent that has been one of the most powerful triggers for precautions to be taken. 

So to have a book explicitly written for young readers, that looks at this subject in the factual way it does that demonstrates that the body getting rid of its waste is essentially no different  from fuelling it in the first place is a great start to taking away the inhibition.

Sometimes books teach us so much more than their focus topic and this is one of those. 

 

I’m a Hero Too

I'm a Hero Too

I’m a Hero Too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a Hero Too

Jamila Rizvi

Peter Cheong

Puffin, 2020

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

9781761040115

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and most of them don’t wear capes – that’s the lesson we can learn from this pandemic that has rocked the nation, indeed the world.  In fact, in some countries people have stood outside at a certain time and applauded the local heroes, particularly the health care workers . However, while the children have joined in, many have been left bewildered about the changes in their lives. Children like Arty who doesn’t understand why he can’t listen in on Mum’s conversations any more; or why his dad is working at home and often grumpy; or having to be at the end of the skipping rope from Granny and not being allowed to play in the playground.   

Why are there all these changes?  Why can’t the world go back to the way it was?

When his dad finally explains that that can’t happen until people like Arty’s mum find a way to beat the virus, Arty realises he can do things that will help to beat it too. That he is not powerless and that he can be a hero fighting this invisible, supersonic virus by doing ordinary, everyday things like washing his hands properly and often; not touching things like supermarket trolleys and his face; coughing into his elbow and putting his tissues in the bin; and helping at home by getting dressed when he is told and waiting for his dad to finish his video calls before interrupting. He can even  draw beautiful pictures and post them to Granny.  And one day, if he and everyone else is a hero, things will change back to the way they were.

Our kids are remarkably resilient and if they understand why they have to do certain things they will adapt and adopt quickly, but sometime we adults forget the explanation.  This is a remarkable book that takes the time to talk to the children and show them how they too, can be heroes just by doing what they have been asked.  That while restrictions may be tiresome and boring, every little bit helps and together, we can defeat this insidious enemy. 

Share the story, and make a wall display in a cape-shape that details the things that our kids can do to be heroes and then let them look for their friends being heroes so they can add their name to the display.  Reinforce the everyday hero concept so they feel empowered and powerful. That’s the way to win.