Nellie is all dressed up in her dinosaur costume because today is a Dinosaur Day. But it is also her Aunt Daisy’s wedding and she is supposed to be the flower girl and wearing her special purple dress. While some parents might exert their parental power, Nellie’s try a more negotiated approach, as stubborn as any preschooler, Nellie refuses to change and despite her parents’ pleading she stands her ground. Can a compromise be reached with Aunt Daisy having the pretty flower girl at the wedding of her dreams?
This is a funny yet familiar story that will resonate with both parent and child – parents because we can all remember some of the monumental battles we have had with stubborn, determined little people, the child because the adult world does seem to have some weird rules and expectations and having to wear a purple dress to a wedding is just one of them.
It’s refreshing to see a girl in the lead role in a book about dinosaurs and Tom Jellett has captured Nellie’s obsession with them and her feelings at being told no perfectly. You can feel the tension in the air as powerful wills meet even though voices are not raised (except as a dinosaur roar) and the parents remain calm. Lots of discussion points about feelings, doing what others expect, negotiating and compromising and whether clothes really do “maketh the man”.
Guff is a somewhat weather-beaten soft toy. With both an eye and an ear missing, patches and fraying edges he looks like he has had a hard life, when, in fact he has had a loved life. Given to the little girl when she was very tiny and he was as new and pristine as she was, he’s been with her every step of her growing-up journey and has survived the nearest of near misses like being left on the bus, floating out to sea and even going through the washing machine.
With its sparse text the real story of Guff is told in the pictures with insight and humour – the mother’s expressions are exquisite and the love and the special relationship amongst mother, daughter and toy just exudes from the page.
Guff is the toy we’ve all had, the constant companion that has given support and comfort when we’ve needed it – our best friend and confidante. Guff is there in all our childhood memories, intertwined with our adventures and misadventures. Guff makes it OK to go on your first sleepover or your first school camp with him close by your side even if you are in Year 4 or 5. Guff is the warmth and comfort of Linus’s security blanket and just as acceptable. He is the toy we will treasure and pass on to our children and tell them stories about.
Guff is Aaron Blabey’s latest masterpiece, not just a story for little people to listen to as they snuggle down with their Guff but one that will evoke memories for the storyteller and generate even more stories .
Guff is precious and very special – both the book and the toy.
He is such a clever puppy. He knows his name already. He hears it from dad so often-when he frees the morning paper from its wrap; brings Dad’s slippers; helps dig the weeds from the garden… And of course walks where you visit the neighbours and the butcher are proof that he is well-loved. NOMAX ! NOMAX! NOMAX!
So why, then, is the name on his bowl so different?
This is an hilarious story that will resonate with anyone who has welcomed a puppy into their home. With its rhyming text exemplifying the pace and the action, it follows a typical day in the life of a new puppy learning a family’s ways – with the words telling one story (from Max’s perspective) and the pictures telling another. Miss 6 adored it and there were some precious moments when we heard “No Max!” being shouted from the bedroom as she read it to her almost-independent self and laughed out loud when she realised the joke halfway through. You know a book has hit the mark when that happens.
There are teaching notes available that focus on the dichotomy between pictures and text opening the way for a discussion about the concept of perspective, but this will quickly become a favourite with the early childhood sector because it is just so much fun.
Anteater is hungry and as usual, his very l-o-n-g twisting, twirling tongue is searching for ants. But Anteater is tired of wriggling, tickling, stinging, fighting, biting ants so he picks on one in particular and starts to dream of the ways he might devour it. Perhaps served in a sandwich or sucked up in a straw; sundried or salted, smothered in sauce or sliced like salami… But the ant has other ideas and sorts Anteater out, well and truly…
A funny, engaging story that explores all the ways an ant could be eaten – who knew there were so many terms starting with “s”? Great for getting the tongue around and the ending will delight those who like the little guy to win. An entertaining story in itself, it would also be perfect for those who explicitly teach phonics focusing on a letter-of-the-week or those who are introducing students to alliteration. If you have to do that stuff, it may as well be fun! Students could also have fun investigating the various methods we use to cook things, why we cook things and the changes that occur when heat is added.
Inspired by their favourite television character Fred Fantastic, Ace Detective, Dotty and her best friend Beans have formed the Join The Dots Detective Agency. They have special badges that they wear underneath their coat collars so they don’t blow their cover and are ably assisted by Dotty’s dog McClusky to solve mysteries that seem to occur.
Guided by Fred Fantastic’s tenets of
Stay Frosty. Always be on the lookout
Follow That Hunch. If you’ve got a funny feeling you may be onto something important
Use Your Noodle. Think
A Light Bulb Moment. A sudden genius idea
Get Proof. You must have the evidence before you can solve your case
Jeepers Creepers Use your Peepers
in this episode they set out to solve the strange noises that Dotty hears in her hallway at night. When she opens her door and can’t see anything she is almost convinced to believe in ghosts and that her house is haunted. But by using the clues, conveyed through secret notes written in invisible writing, they are able to identify what is really going on…
This is a new series that is perfect for the newly independent reader with its layout, illustrations, larger font, shorter chapters and humour. The pace is rapid and the use of a variety of fonts highlights key ideas and actions without the need for a host of words. Girls will relate to her feisty nature but boys will also find the situations familiar and appealing. Others in the series are Dotty Detective, The Midnight Mystery, andThe Lost Puppy.
A worthwhile new series to get for those who are beginning their independent reading journey.
“It’s not much fun being a princess: you have to be prim, proper and obedient. Princess Peony lives in a world full of magical creatures – hags, trolls, giants and fairy godmothers – but her father’s strict rules leave her feeling bored and lonely. She wants to learn how to DO things, and cooking’s at the top of her list. But when Peony borrows a recipe book from the public library, the king has the old librarian who tried to help her arrested for “speaking out of turn”. Can Peony stand up to her father and make things right?”
The publisher’s blurb sums up this engaging story very well. Despite being somewhat of a misfit in her family shunning shoes and pretty dresses to better herself, she counts down the days till her 13th birthday when she is allowed an unescorted “educational” visit but is dismayed to find that her plans to again visit the library which she first discovered when she was nine, are thwarted by Mrs Beef who believes a visit to the family’s mausoleum to study her ancestors would be much better for her. But she manages to escape, makes her way to the library and there her adventures really begin…
For independent readers who like their princesses to have some attitude but also compassion, this is a new take on the more traditional tale. Lovers of familiar fairy tales will see it still has many of the features of the originals with a tyrant king with old-fashion views; older, self-absorbed sisters who treat the youngest one with disdain; the mean, miserable governess with the iron fist; fairy godmothers who can grant wishes; a neglected old hag who is cranky that her invitation to the new prince’s christening has not arrived; dark gloomy dungeons where innocents sit forgotten for years; a talking cat… and only one person who can save the day when trouble threatens. But they will also like the determination, compassion, resilience and self-reliance of Peony who is more like them and isn’t relying on a handsome prince to get her out of bother.
Vivian French’s storytelling is accompanied by a sprinkling of illustrations that add charm and character, making this ideal for a bedtime read-along or read-alone for the 7+ age group.
Tomorrow is a very special day for Ella -it’s her birthday party. She finishes writing the invitations and hurries through the woods to deliver them to her friends. But she is so excited she doesn’t realise she has dropped one and that it is picked up by a wizard. And so begins a remarkable journey for the invitation, one that means Ella is going to have the best celebration ever! Wizards, pirates, a princess and all sorts of interesting guests turn up – and each has a tale to tell about how they got there!
Written in rhyme which keeps the pace and action moving at a fast clip, this is a charming story that will engage and delight. Laura Hughes’s bright detailed illustrations are sheer pleasure and the invitation almost comes to life leaving the reader to wonder where it will land next.
As well as engaging young readers in its fun and light-heartedness, it’s also a great vehicle for focusing on sequencing and mapping the story. Positional words such as first, next, after can be explored as a map of the invitation’s journey is constructed. And for those who feel they have to, there is also an opportunity to investigate rhyming patterns as many of the couplets end with words with the same sound but a different spelling pattern.But I think the children will have much more fun thinking of the unique gifts that each character might give Ella for her birthday.
Mosquitoes can bite all kinds of people–ballerinas, chefs, babies, even you and me. But they can’t bite . . . NINJAS! Mosquitoes might be quick, but ninjas are quicker. Mosquitoes might be sneaky, but ninjas are sneakier. And mosquitoes might be hungry, but ninjas are . . . hungrier!
And Ninjas certainly don’t bite mosquitoes unless…
With a particular television program inspiring mini-Ninjas in playgrounds all over the country, this is an amusing book that pits the greatest scourge of mankind against the power of a Ninja. As well as learning to be Ninjas from an early age, children also learn to recognise that familiar whine of the female mosquito looking for blood and how to slap them dead as soon as they can so they will relate to the peskiness of these creatures and be glad that it meets its end, even if in an ugly way.
The cartoon-like illustrations expand the minimal text very well, adding a lot of character and expression particularly to the mosquito who is clearly intent on doing evil, While there is no actual violence portrayed there are several instances where the mosquito comes off second-best and the reader can use the clues to conclude just what has happened. Perfect for getting young readers to examine the illustrations to make the most of the story.
This is one reader, highly allergic to the venom of these creatures, who would be very glad if MANY mosquitoes were harmed in the making of this book!
Oh my goodness! A mighty tricky, sticky thief has been spotted on the loose. It’s The Chunk. He’s silent like a cloud, walks on tippy-toes, has HUGE hands and feet and a bulbous twitching nose. His purple fur streaked with pink covers his gleaming eyes and even though he is very tall, he’s very good at disguise! And his passion is chocolate – no matter where it is or how it is, he can find it and steal it.
This is a lovely romp in rhyme searching out that elusive chocolate monster, that mysterious, invisible creature who manages to discover and devour any chocolate in the house or even the neighbourhood. Everyone is warned to be on their guard because who knows where he will turn up next – and with 100 000 chocolate bars as a reward, who wouldn’t be watching for it.
This is a hilarious standalone story that little ones will love but it also offers some great teaching opportunities, the first being to give the children the description of the monster without showing them Laura Hughes’s interpretation and challenge them to draw what the words suggest. Even though they are all working with the same words, each picture will be different because of each individual’s previous experience so it is a great introduction to the notion that we all perceive events in a different way depending on what we already know and believe and our role within them. As a follow-up, share A. A. Milne’s The King’s Breakfast and have the children draw the King!
Back in the days when we could have fun at school, Year 3 did an investigation into chocolate which transcended curriculum borders and this book would be an ideal starting point for a similar investigation, Why is chocolate so loved? Would the book have the same appeal if it were a broccoli monster? Does a chocolate a day keep the doctor away? Why, if not for a fly no bigger than a pinhead, would there be no chocolate?
There are riches more yummy than chocolate itself in this book!
“This book is about worms. (I can only draw worms.) “
And so that’s just what we are presented with. Bright hot-pink worms (except for one yellow one because he lost his pen) that mix and mingle and get to know each other and have adventures, all of which the reader has to imagine because the author can only draw worms. Set on white page juxtaposed with some really bright backgrounds the reader is drawn in, but while the blurb suggests that the book is “hilarious” and guaranteed to have children howling with laughter” I think there is a gap between the age of the reader that it visually appeals to and that able to grasp the humour.
It’s different, it’s quirky, it’s definitely bright and young readers will love to join in the counting aspect as Mabbitt brings this most humble creature to life., encouraging them to use their imagination to fill in all the missing illustrations because he can only draw worms.