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The Viking Who Liked Icing

The Viking Who Liked Icing

The Viking Who Liked Icing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Viking Who Liked Icing

Lu Fraser

Mark McKinley

Bloomsbury, 2021

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

9781526603906

Leafling and Nut are sister and brother but they are not like each other because Leafling is the typical outdoorsy skilled warrior that is the stereotype of Vikings whilst her brother Nut much prefers to design and bake cakes.  When it comes to shooting arrows, rowing, swimming, and other physical pursuits Leafling excels whereas Nut does not.  He much prefers to slice and dice, mix and whisk and create the most mouth-watering treats.

So when Viking Sports Day rolls around, the day he dreads most of all, he prepares himself to be last again – although he would really like to be better than that.  And in the final event of the day, he gets his wish…

Told in a catchy rhyme that carries the story along at a pace that matches the charming illustrations, this is an original story about being true to oneself and being really good at the things you love best.  Even though this is a common theme in stories for our littlies, it is a message they need to hear and think about time and again as those early years can be a time of self-doubt as they witness such a range of activities being valued and rewarded, and they’re often not the things they’re good at. 

The characters, the plot, the action and the humour all appeal and eagle eyes will have fun examining the pictures for all the ways Nut incorporates all things Viking into his creations, such as using his helmet as a mixing bowl and there are more things to find with each reading.

Whether this sparks an interest in Vikings or baking with young readers, it deserves a place in the favourite bedtime reads pile and to add to the fun, there is an activity pack available. 

Cat Dog

Cat Dog

Cat Dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat Dog

Mem Fox

Mark Teague

Puffin, 2021

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

9781761045868

This is an hilarious story about a dog, a cat and a cheeky mouse, who because they are traditionally enemies, are always a combination that can have any number of outcomes and this one does.

Its format  will appeal to very young readers because each page is based on a question that the reader has to answer Yes or No to, ensuring they use the clues to make their prediction. And not everything is what it seems.  And with the ending in the reader’s hands,  there is so much scope for imagining ‘what if’.

Mem Fox is the master of creating stories that not only engage young readers but draw on all her knowledge and expertise of early reading behaviour to ensure they discover the joy of stories and reading and sharing them from the earliest age.  Teague’s depictions of the characters not only add to the intrigue but also add humour and a touch of whimsy.  Definitely one for the younger readers in your life, but also for those studying the art of the picture book because this is an example of the very best at their best. 

My Dad Thinks He’s Super Funny

My Dad Thinks He's Super Funny

My Dad Thinks He’s Super Funny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Dad Thinks He’s Super Funny

Katrina Germein

Tom Jellett

Walker, 2021

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

 9781760652234

When is a joke a Dad joke? When it’s fully groan. When someone rolls their eyes at Dad, he just rolls them back. My dad thinks he’s super funny. In this follow up to the bestselling My Dad Thinks He’s Funny and My Dad Still Thinks He’s Funny, Dad is up to it again. His audience has grown by one, and family life continues to provide an endless supply of fresh and brilliant comedic material for Dad. At least he seems to think so.

Dad doesn’t limit himself to just telling dad-jokes on Father’s Day-no family member or situation is off limits with this dad who seems to have more dad jokes than there are dads and whether they make you laugh or cringe, each page will bring a smile. And while it is just a fun story on its own, it is also an opportunity to look at humour itself – what makes us laugh, the nature and structure of puns and perhaps even the importance of laughter itself, especially during this tough time.  Humour is as diverse as the population and just as personal, but everyone will find something somewhere in this book to make them LOL or just cringe. 

 

Noah Wild and the Floating Zoo

Noah Wild and the Floating Zoo

Noah Wild and the Floating Zoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noah Wild and the Floating Zoo

Alexander McCall Smith

Nicola Kinnear

Bloomsbury, 2021

128pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781526605559

Noah and his sister Hatty live with their aunt and uncle, well mostly with their aunt because Uncle Loafy (a very good baker) is a sea captain and spends most of his time sailing to exotic places. To Noah’s great surprise, he discovers his uncle owns a zoo, given to him many years previously and managed by an old friend.  But the friend wants to retire and there is no one to take over the zoo. While most of the animals have been sold to other zoos, there are four left – Henrietta the llama from South America, Mrs Roo the kangaroo from Australia, Ram the tiger from India and Monkey Robertson from Africa. 

Uncle Loafy has decided he will return each one to their home country but although he has a boat and maps and charts , he doesn’t have a crew…  Before he knows it, Noah and his family are setting sail on a round-the-world trip returning the zoo animals to the places they were born.  But when they try to return Monkey Robertson, they’re in for a whole boat-load of trouble!

This is a light-hearted story that will appeal to young independent readers who like both humour and adventure.  It would also make the perfect read-aloud to younger students who are learning to follow a serialised story -something new to add to the tried-and-true toolbox.  

Monster Hunting for Beginners

Monster Hunting for Beginners

Monster Hunting for Beginners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monster Hunting for Beginners

Ian Mark

Louis Ghibault

Farshore Fiction, 2021

204pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9780755504367

Monster Hunting isn’t as easy as it looks. And Jack should know. Because an ogre has just appeared in his garden and tried to EAT HIS AUNT. (She was the winner of the World’s Worst Aunt competition, but that’s Not The Point).
After (sort of accidentally) defeating the ogre, Jack finds himself apprenticed to a grumpy, 200-year-old monster hunter called Stoop and heading off to Cornwall, where more ogres are causing havoc.  All he has are his wits, his catapult and a magical – sometimes unreliable – book called Monster Hunting for Beginners.

Jack’s a bit worried he might not be the hero everyone’s waiting for. But then again, how many terrifying, bloodthirsty monsters can there really be?

Any book that has a warning that it contains ogres, bogeymen, zomblings, and crusted hairy snot nibblers as its blurb and is written from an author from Ireland, the land most often associated with these sorts of creatures is bound to capture the imagination of its intended audience.  Add in an ordinary, everyday little boy who is little, clumsy, wears glasses, has weird hair and who is not built for trouble -so pretty much like most of the readers -who narrates the story as though the reader is part of it, and there’s a deeper attraction already. But add to that textual effects like illustrations, short chapters, and font changes that make this ideal for newly independent readers and it is not surprising that Jack has lots of positive reviews and a large fan base already.  

Jack is the sort of everyday hero that young readers relate to because their superhero role models are a touch out of reach, and they can appreciate that even they started somewhere. Overlaid with the adventures is wit and humour and all sorts of tips like looking for a secret door or tunnel if confronted by a monster and nothing else has worked, this is the first in a new series that will appeal to those who love their good vs evil stories and who secretly see themselves in the role of the conqueror whether they are 8 or 800!. 

Hattie and Olaf

Hattie and Olaf

Hattie and Olaf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hattie and Olaf

Frida Nilsson

Stina Wirsen

Gecko Press, 2021

184pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781776573189

Hattie, the  street-smart country girl who lives “just outside of nowhere, right next to no one at all” has wanted a horse more than anything. Her friend Ellen has three ponies. So when Hattie’s father finally comes home with a horse float, Hattie is ecstatic. But instead of a horse, out stomps Olaf—a donkey. Now Hattie not only has horse fever, she suddenly catches lying sickness as well.

This is the second adventure in this series about this young Scandinavian girl whose life is so similar to so many of her peers in Australia – they will relate to the isolation and the joy of being able to go to school because of the social contact it brings.  The banter between friends, the laughs, the pleasure in just being with others are all on offer in this funny story that is a great read-aloud or read-alone for independent readers. Even the longing for a horse is familiar and we all know the disappointment when a gift or experience turns out not to be what we imagined. 

Nilsson is an award-winning children’s writer from Sweden who has her finger on the pulse of what young readers relate to, no matter where in the world they live. 

Stop the Dad Jokes!

Stop the Dad Jokes!

Stop the Dad Jokes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop the Dad Jokes!

Adrian Beck

Simon Greiner

Puffin, 2021

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

9781761043086

It’s Father’s Day in Australia and that means it’s Dad Joke Day – those jokes that are so corny that eyes roll and the country resounds with loud groans.  Even a national television show had a joke-off with jokes like “Did you hear about the fire in the circus? it was in-tents!” and “Did you hear about the drummer who named his twin girls Anna1 and Anna 2?”

But they all pale into obscurity when compared to those in this new book by the co-editor of Total Quack Up and Total Quack Up Again. Dad in his element during a visit to the zoo with a joke for every creature they see – some familiar, some not-so – but all worth the eye roll and the groan as the puns and play on words keep coming.  But who has the last laugh?

Told in clever rhyme this is one that is perfect for lightening the mood at a time when many dads and their children are separated (because you’re always a dad no matter how old you get) or when many dads and children have seen a little too much of each other.  In Australia, at least, Father’s Day 2021 can be renamed Dad Joke Day! 

110 of the best jokes for kids that are genuinely funny

The Magnificent Hercules Quick

The Magnificent Hercules Quick

The Magnificent Hercules Quick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Magnificent Hercules Quick

Ursula Dubosarsky

Andrew Joyner

A & U Children’s, 2021

96pp., pbk., RRP $A4.99

9781761065712

One day while out shopping with his Aunt Alligator, Hercules Quick spies a magic box in a shop window, one that he knows he would love to own.  And while he is dismayed that he not only doesn’t have any money of his own in his piggy bank, he doesn’t even have a piggy bank, he is not daunted.  He gets out his paints and makes a sign offering to do jobs for his neighbours for 10c a task. He explains to Aunt Alligator that 10 cents a day will be a dollar in 10 days and that’s $310 in 10 months – surely enough to buy the magic box.

This is the second in this series about Hercules and because he hasn’t yet got enough money for the coveted magic box, he is still doing chores for his quirky neighbours – the very large Elk family who live on the floor above him in the three-storey big red brick house; Professor Calamari, the octopus who lived on the floor below; the turtle brothers Mike and Herbert who live on the roof and the mysterious Queen Claude who lives in the cellar. With such unusual neighbours it is no wonder the chores are also unusual and the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

This is a special Australia Reads publication that is retailing for just $4.99 so it is in reach of most people, perhaps even pocket money for those who take Hercules as their role model. Designed for  young, newly-independent readers who still need support with short chapters and lots of illustrations, as well as being a fun read it is also one with a message about saving and savouring the anticipation of waiting. It could also be the lead in to lessons about money providing a real-life focus that has purpose and meaning for the learner.  

Nelson:: Eggplants and Dinosaurs

Nelson:: Eggplants and Dinosaurs

Nelson: Eggplants and Dinosaurs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nelson: Eggplants and Dinosaurs

Andrew Levins

Katie Kear

Puffin, 2021

176pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

 9781761042294

Tucked into a bumbag around his waist was a variety of stuff that Nelson hated most, but which he needed often.  Because although he hated the taste and smell of vegetables (tricky when you are in a vege-loving and growing family) they gave him superpowers. So in that bumbag were broccoli  (for invisibility), pumpkin for a super strong voice and strength, a radish for teleportation (and a feather to make himself sick if he ever had to eat them.)

In this, the third adventure in this series for young independent readers, Nelson discovers the benefits of eggplants as he is called on to track down some of the worst thieves in town, thieves who have been stealing every book about dinosaurs from the local libraries. The only one left is his favourite from Kindergarten in the school library. But trialling the effects of eating an eggplant has disastrous consequences… Will Nelson be able to control his inner beast and use it to get out of danger?

This is the third in this fast-paced series that will appeal to those who are ready for novels but still needing the short chapters and liberal illustrations for a little extra support  With its premise that will resonate with many, characters that are easily recognisable and the type of exaggerated humour that appeals to its target audience,  Levins has created a series that children will engage with and parents will love, simply because it may encourage a lot more vegetable eating and the battles about eating the daily requirement may be over. Who knows what superpowers might be hidden in the rainbow on the plate?  At the very least the kids will be healthier! 

The Super-Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson

The Super-Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson

The Super-Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Super-Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson

This is going to be a Fiasco

Charlie P Brooks

Katy Riddell

HarperCollins, 2021

336pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9780008328085

These are the memoirs of ME, Holly Hopkinson, aged almost ten. I am writing the, so that, in the future, historians will have a real account of what life was like in the twenty-first century except without any of the rubbish adults usually put in, thank you very much. My dad just lost his job, which means me and the rest of my family have to leave London and move to the middle of nowhere, which is a TOTAL DISASTER! There’s no Wi-Fi, the local kids are FERAL and there’s animal poo EVERYWHERE.

But then for my birthday, my eccentric aunt gave me a magic pocket watch, which I can use to hypnotise and CONTROL people. I actually wanted a new phone, but I won’t complain because this new power is REALLY FUN and has led to the MOST unexpected things – including a visit to the QUEEN.

Maybe the countryside isn’t so bad after all…

This is the first in a new series (the second, A Little Bit Of A Big Disaster is due in early 2022) that will appeal to independent readers who will put themselves into Holly’s story and ride the rollercoaster with her. With text features interspersed with line drawings, this is one that is definitely going to Miss 10 as she battles being in isolation in lockdown.  (They’re allowed gifts by post so she will like that too!) She is the social butterfly who is missing the contact with her classmates the most and so this will be a new set of “friends” for her to engage with.