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Funny Kid Belly Flop

Funny Kid Belly Flop

Funny Kid Belly Flop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funny Kid Belly Flop

Matt Stanton

ABC Books, 2020 

272pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9780733340604

I have a confession to make.  Sometimes when I’m in the children’s book section I earwig on conversations, particularly those about what book to choose.  Truly, it’s because I want to hear what kids are choosing for themselves but sometimes I find myself joining in and making recommendations, particularly if it is a perplexed parent or grandparent. Last Saturday was one such occasion when a mum wanted something for her newly independent reader who was just stepping out into novels and liked “funny stuff.”  So I reached for Matt Stanton and said that she wouldn’t go wrong because everything he writes is funny. Whether it’s a picture book or a novel, Stanton’s philosophy is  “books inspire the imagination, imagination births creativity and creativity changes the world” and so he deliberately sets out to engage the reader in something they can relate to and enjoy.

This is #8 in this series about Max, his friends and family and his duck. Despite having 250+ pages, it is one for newly independent readers who are ready to tackle something a bit meatier but still with the support of short chapters and plenty of graphics, which showcase Stanton’s talent as a cartoonist as well as a writer. This time max and his mate Abby, who seldom agree, are determined that the upcoming swimming carnival has to be cancelled – Max because he doesn’t want to appear half-naked in front of an audience; Abby because she would rather train for the online maths Olympiad.  So when these two, who are usually at each other’s throats, team up, there can only be one outcome – fun and laughter.

Our students may be disappointed to see the school year end as they head for summer holidays and missing their mates but at least with authors like Matt Stanton on our team we can keep them reading and looking forward to the new year which will come quickly enough.  I’m sure the person who was getting the book I recommended will be on the look out for the others in the series. 

The Unwilling Twin

The Unwilling Twin

The Unwilling Twin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Unwilling Twin

Freya Blackwood

Angus & Robertson, 2020

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

9781460757536

Jules and George are the same in every way. It is quite impossible to tell them apart. They even have matching birthmarks on their bottoms. 

And like all twins, they do everything together including having a long, hot day at the beach.  But sometimes, even twins disagree…

This is a charming story for littlies that will help them believe in the fun and magic in books, for there is a twist to the story which they will delight in pointing out right from the start.  Eagle eyes might even spot it on the front cover!  Nevertheless, they will soon be immersed in it as they go to the beach with Jules and George and relive their own memories (or build their imaginations if going to the beach is just a dream.) The ending is LOL funny – Freya Blackwood hasn’t lost her ability to entertain with both words and pictures.

 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End

The Deep End

The Deep End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid:  The Deep End

Jeff Kinney

Puffin, 2020

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

9780143796084

Greg Heffley returns to delight readers in the 15th episode of this popular series, one that will resonate particularly this year because, like many Australian families searching for a summer holiday, Greg  and his family hit the road for a cross-country camping trip, ready for the adventure of a lifetime.  But things take an unexpected turn, and they find themselves stranded at an RV park that’s not exactly a summertime paradise. When the skies open up and the water starts to rise, the Heffleys wonder if they can save their vacation – or if they’re already in too deep.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a series that has gone from strength to strength since its inception over 12 years ago as new waves of young lads hear his story about trying to fit in to middle school and relate to it.  Written in the first person as a diary and liberally illustrated with stick-like figures it is an easy read that has hit the mark for reluctant and ready readers, ensuring they continue to find reading a pleasure.

A great one to pop in the Santa Sack to give a few hours of pleasure during those seemingly endless kilometres or the inevitable wet day stuck inside!

 

The Time-travelling Caveman

The Time-travelling Caveman

The Time-travelling Caveman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Time-travelling Caveman

Terry Pratchett

Doubleday Children’s, 2020

336pp., hbk., RRP $A32.99

9780857536020

For the newly independent reader who loves wacky humour, this is a brand new collection of short stories from one of the most popular authors for that audience at the moment.  

When Pratchett was just 17 and a junior reporter for his local newspapers, he started writing the stories in this book, often based on the people and incidents he was sent to cover for the paper, but embellished with a touch of Pratchett magic. With lots of crazy illustrations to enrich the text, this is a collection that will entice those straddling that decision of whether reading for pleasure is going to be a thing for them or not to keep reading.  Being short stories they are quick reads, complete in themselves and in a few minutes; but being Terry Pratchett they are well-written and well-rounded full of imagination and wit, perhaps leading the reader to more of his works like Father Christmas’s Fake Beard .

 

Pirate Stew

Pirate Stew

Pirate Stew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pirate Stew

Neil Gaiman

Chris Riddell

Bloomsbury, 2020

48pp., hbk., RRP $A22.99

9781526614728

Their parents are having a night out and so have hired a babysitter, but he is not your regular carer.

His hair was grey. His face was scarred.

Right leg a peg, left hand a hook.

He grinned a grin and said, “my card.”

It read

Long John McRon, Ship’s Cook.

Soon joined by others, each the quintessential stereotype of a pirate crew member, they set about feeding the children but it is no ordinary food they concoct.  They make pirate stew.

But rather than joining in the fun and games as all sorts of things are thrown into the pit, the children remain dubious, if not worried, , because if they eat the stew they will become pirates too. But nevertheless, a night of adventures lies ahead which gets even more interesting when their parents arrive home and hungry, devour the children’s bowls of uneaten pirate stew!

This is the most delightful tale from an author absolutely dedicated to getting children to read through entertaining stories, and so richly illustrated that it is impossible to summarise it in a few lines for a review.  Starting with two children who faces show what they think of their parents having a night out and who do not embrace the possibilities of having a pirate cook for a babysitter,  Gaiman’s rollicking rhyme and Riddell’s detailed illustrations offer an adventure that can be and demands to be read again and again and again. Just what was in those doughnuts?  The twist in the ending is unexpected and sets up a whole lot of opportunities for asking “what if…”.

Here’s a taste…

A wonderful opportunity for children and parents to find their treasure…. 

 

Time for Adventure, Daddy

Time for Adventure, Daddy

Time for Adventure, Daddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time for Adventure, Daddy

Dave Hackett

UQP, 2020

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

9780702262852

The little girl has a fun day of adventures and activities in mind, taking a picnic to explore the great outdoors while the sun is shining.  But Daddy has other things on his to-do list, like doing the laundry, picking up the toys and all the other chores that can fill in a day not spent at work. But when he finally relents and goes, the little girl gets more than she bargained for…

Using his iconic cartoon style in full colour, Hackett has added another to his series of stories that celebrate family life and encourage parents to seize the day and enjoy the time they can with their children. Both parent and child will enjoy sharing this book as it reflects daily life and both will see themselves in the situations. 

Role reversal books are hugely popular with our littlest readers as they feel themselves empowered as they imagine what could happen if they were in charge, so this book, and the others in the series, are perfect for getting little ones interested in books and the stories and adventures they hold. One to recommend to the parents of your preschoolers. 

Back to Sleep

Back to Sleep

Back to Sleep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Sleep

Zoë Foster Blake

Mike Jacobsen

Puffin, 2020

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

9781760897901

Just as he is drifting off to sleep, Finn hears a noise at his bedroom door.  In walks Mummy, and she is thirsty. Taking her by the hand and carefully guiding her around his Lego space station, Finn settles her back in bed with her water bottle.  Then just as he is settling down again, there is another noise.  This time it is Daddy who has had a bad dream, but as Finn guides him back to bed Daddy stands on the Lego…

This is a role reversal story of bedtime that will appeal to young readers who will see themselves and their nighttime antics in the actions of the parents.  Teamed with  hilarious illustrations which offer more each time you look at them, this is a bedtime story that will be shared over and over again as parent and child recognise the various mishaps which will no doubt spark memories and chatter. 

One of the most powerful ways to get little people interested in the magic of books is to write about situations in which they can see and place themselves, and this certainly does that.  One to recommend to your parents of preschoolers.

Molly Moores Has A House Like Yours

Molly Moores Has A House Like Yours

Molly Moores Has A House Like Yours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Molly Moores Has A House Like Yours

Kaliah Tsakalidis

Ross Morgan

Little Book Press, 2020

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

9780648591573

“There is a child named Molly Moores who has a house, just like yours with walls and windows and a timber floor. And a path that leads to a creaky door. 

But there’s a difference that you should note Around Molly’s house is a very deep moat…”

So begins an hilarious read for the little people in your life that just delights in the rhyme, rhythm and repetition of our language.  Using the familiar concept and contents of a fairly ordinary suburban house that young readers will recognise, each page has a twist to it that relies on the rhyme of the previous page. Little ears are encouraged to tune into that rhyme and try to predict just how Molly’s house might be different this time. While they may well come up with something that rhymes it is unlikely that it will be as wacky as the ideas that the author has imagined, ideas that are fun and madcap and which lead to all sorts of speculation.  Who has plants that grow rainbow trout?

Ross Morgan has interpreted the text into pictures that are as imaginative as the text, and the ending is just unexpected! But so much fun!

Children to learn to speak their native language by listening to the sounds and nuances of the language that is spoken around them, long before they are able to speak it themselves and to be able to share a story that revels in the fun of the spoken word and the visual impact is a surefire way of capturing their attention and having them share in its magic. Focusing on the rhyme to carry the story forward helps them develop their audial acuity, such a vital part of early reading behaviour.

This is a story to lift the spirits and just share in the joys of reading to our little ones.

Pea and Nut Go for Gold!

Pea and Nut Go for Gold!

Pea and Nut Go for Gold!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pea and Nut Go for Gold!

Matt Stanton

ABC Books, 2020

24pp., hbk., RRP $A17.99

9780733340680

Pea the panda and Nut the flamingo are best friends but they are also great rivals.  Anything Pea can do, the boastful Nut can do better!!  After the fun that was their version of The Great Australian Bake-Off,  the contest is on again…

This time, while Pea wants to sleep in the sun, Nut is keen to jump in the pool and because they can’t help themselves it quickly becomes a competition to rival any Olympic 100 metres final. except this race has no rules and what follows is the funniest romp little ones will enjoy in a long time – perhaps since the bake-off.

Matt Stanton has proven over and over that if a book has his name on it, it is going to be an engaging story that is full of laughter and love and this is no exception. His philosophy is “books inspire the imagination, imagination births creativity and creativity changes the world” and no matter the age group, he is bringing this to reality and these two lovable characters are proof.  It’s as though he said to himself, “Who are the two most unlikely friends I could pair up?” and the beautiful, elegant flamingo and the slow lumbering panda could not be more diverse, and having determined that, he has asked, “What are the craziest adventures these two could have?” 

As well as being sheer entertainment for our younger readers, this could also start a discussion about why we have rules, particularly appropriate at this time when we are being asked to follow so many.

In the meantime, it will be soon be time for our local pool to open for the summer and I am going to take careful note of those with whom I am sharing the water.  If there is a panda or a flamingo in sight, I will just sit back and enjoy the hijinks. The laughter will be as much exercise as a couple of laps. 

 

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…