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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: No Brainer

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: No Brainer

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: No Brainer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: No Brainer

Jeff Kinney

Puffin, 2023

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

 9780143778448

Up until now, middle school hasn’t exactly been a joyride for Greg Heffley. So when the town threatens to close the crumbling building, he’s not too broken up about it.

But when Greg realizes this means he’s going to be sent to a different school than his best friend, Rowley Jefferson, he changes his tune. Can Greg and his classmates save their school before it’s shuttered for good? Or is this the start of a whole new chapter for Greg?

Greg Heffley has a legion of fans as his popularity grows from when we first met him more than 15 years ago  and this 18th book in the series will not only delight them but also garner him a lot more as new readers learn about this young lad who struggles to fit in with his peers in middle school (Years 5-8 in the USA) and his loyal best friend Rowley Jefferson.  With their first-person narrative that echoes the voice and thoughts of so many boys like Greg, their cartoon drawings and humour, this addition to the series is available in paperback, hardback, audio book and ebook so regardless of the format that most appeals to a young reader, they can access it.  

This is one of those series that even reluctant readers will want to have because to be talking about it will mean being part of the “in-crowd”, important for those who otherwise struggle to belong, and for that alone it’s worth having in your collection. One to suggest to parents for the Santa Sack.

Fluff, Bullies Beware!

Fluff, Bullies Beware!

Fluff, Bullies Beware!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fluff, Bullies Beware!

Matt Stanton

ABC Books, 2023

216pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99

9780733342080

According to the official government report, Gilbert’s dad disappeared in outer space but Gilbert knows that the truth is his dad died while defending the Earth from an aggressive army of aliens that wanted to turn the planet into a poo-processing plant.   Whatever the reason, Gilbert’s dad doesn’t live with them any more and to compensate, Gilbert’s mum gave him a big fluffy bunny toy.  But this is no ordinary squishy soft toy – Fluff can talk and he has attitude.  

So when Gilbert’s underpants are found hanging from the school gate – everyone knows they’re his because his mum has written his name on them – it is time to get revenge on the bully who put them there, especially as every gate in the street sports a pair of them too …

And so begins another series from the popular Matt Stanton, written for young readers embarking on their independent reading journey with minimal text on each page and lots of illustrations that carry the story forward.  With series like The OddsFunny Kid  and Bored to his credit, Stanton his continuing the legacy of authors like Paul Jennings and Andy Griffiths who turned kids, especially boys, of a previous generation on to the fun of reading by knowing just what it was they wanted to read about and how they wanted to read – pared down text that wasn’t complicated and didn’t take a lot of time.  And with the second in the series due early next year, this is another win not just for Stanton but also all those boys who are still looking for a reason to read. 

The Daring Tale of Gloria the Great

The Daring Tale of Gloria the Great

The Daring Tale of Gloria the Great

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Daring Tale of Gloria the Great

Jacqueline Harvey

Kate Isobel Scott

Puffin, 2023

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

9781761043284

This is a tale of a chicken who wasn’t chicken.  In fact, Gloria was the opposite…

She was brave, she was bold, never did what she was told…

She ran her own face, she got in your face,,,

Then, one night she disappeared without trace! Although the family searched high and low when Gloria did not take her place on the perch, and feared the worst when they saw a no-longer-trim hawk circling, the other chooks were quite glad she wasn’t there because they didn’t really like her.  However, after a week they started to miss her and began accusing each other of being the one to scare her away. Will Gloria ever grace the henhouse again, or was that hawk not-so-trim for a reason?

This is an hilarious story from the versatile Jacqueline Harvey (Kensy and Max, Willa and Woof, Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose)made even more special by the glorious illustrations of Kate Isobel Scott, the second time the two have partnered to produce a picture book.  Young readers who also march to the beat of their own drum will resonate with Gloria as will those who can be intimidated by such leadership potential, while adults of a certain vintage will appreciate the reference to, perhaps inspiration for, Gloria  Gaynor’s immortal song, I Will Survive.

Because, thankfully, Gloria does survive and lives to rule another roost!!! 

The Ultimate Collection of Brilliant Bedtime Stories

The Ultimate Collection of Brilliant Bedtime Stories

The Ultimate Collection of Brilliant Bedtime Stories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ultimate Collection of Brilliant Bedtime Stories

R. A. Spratt

Puffin, 2023

400pp., pbk., RRP $A22.99

9781761340017

” There is so much in a child’s life that is beyond our control. Picking up this book and reading your young person a story is a precious thing. It is more than a silly tale, (although it is definitely that.) A story shares is a reassurance, a balm for the soul and, one day, a happy memory for you all to look back on fondly.  So much of parenting is hard.  But reading a story isn’t.  You can totally ace this”.  

For decades, new parents have been advised by the likes of wonderful authors like Mem Fox, of the importance of reading to our little ones since birth because not only do they hear and learn the sounds and rhythms of our language but it establishes that beautiful relationship between the reader and the listener as they are cocooned in a world of make-believe.  And now, in this dedication of her new book of short stores, Author Spratt reminds us that sharing stories is not just for the parents of the very young but an important, long-lasting bonding between parents and their older children too.

And to make this possible, she has written another collection of short stories to go along with Shockingly Good Stories and Astonishingly Good Stories to ensure that parents, grandparents, teachers and anyone else who cares has plenty of wonderful stories to share. As well as those told by the popular Nanny Piggins, and a new Friday Barnes adventure, there are many silly stories and tall tales from her own family life, often based on legendary characters the children will know through fractured fairytales,  that have the power to bring brief respite into busy lives and just “draw the curtains on the day” as those early bedtime episodes did.  

Through her series such as Nanny Piggins, Friday Barnes, and  The Peski Kids , and her weekly podcast, Spratt will be known to many of her intended 7-11 audience, and now this new book offers an opportunity for the whole family to share in the fun. 

Jawsome

Jawsome

Jawsome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jawsome

R. J. Timms

Albert Street, 2023

304pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99

9781761068591

Deep under the ocean in the Shallow Side of Chumville Finley the reef shark lives with his dentist parents Su and Shi, and his siblings, Dash, Smash, Crash, Flash , Splash and Bash.  During the day Finley goes to school with his mates Hunter the tiger shark, Gnash the pointer shark and Gilleon the lemon shark, but at night, they are secretly the super-famous rock band JAWSOME!  But not everything is cruisy. Can JAWSOME get to the bottom of an ocean of shady shark-nanigans while keeping their secret identities watertight?

This is a new series for those emerging readers who like a light-hearted read, peppered with pun humour and plenty of illustrations.  Verging on a graphic novel because as much of the action happens in the illustrations as it does in the text, it will also appeal to those students who like to be seen with thick books – it has over 300 pages because of the large font and copious graphics.  But woven among the puns and other fishy jokes are facts about sharks that will de-mystify and maybe un-demonise these creatures so there is learning as well as laughing, as well as a strong lead character that has to learn to face his fears of singing in public step up to help his mates.

One to look for and perhaps give to some reluctant readers to determine if it is worth adding upcoming additions to the series to the library’s collection. 

Hercules Quick’s Big Bag of Tricks

Hercules Quick's Big Bag of Tricks

Hercules Quick’s Big Bag of Tricks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hercules Quick’s Big Bag of Tricks

Ursula Dubosarsky

Andrew Joyner

A & U Children’s, 2023

224pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99

9781761067747

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.

But quirky neighbours mean quirky jobs and he has to work hard to  earn his money.  Will he reach his target?  And will he still want the magic box if he does?

In this compendium comprising the first two stories in the series, Ask Hercules Quick and The Magnificent Hercules Quick  as well as a new story, younger, independent readers can  enjoy meeting this little lad who is much like them and consider its message about saving and savouring the anticipation of waiting, rather than the more prevalent one-click, instant gratification society we seems to have moved to. It also includes instructions for some of Hercules’s magic tricks for those who have a hankering to try.  

Something whimsical and fun for a winter’s afternoon.  

Robodog

Robodog

Robodog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robodog

David Walliams

Adam Stower

HarperCollins, 2023

320pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99

9780008581435

Bedlam is one of the most dangerous places on Earth – home to a host of wicked villains, it has a huge crime problem. Nothing and nobody is safe from these evil criminals. The Chief of Police is stressed because she can’t  get ahead of it, and the entire city is now suffering. There is rubbish everywhere, smog in the air and pollution in the rivers.  Usually  the city Police Dog Training school trains excellent crime-fighting dogs to help her and the police force to keep the crims in check but even this isn’t working any more. She needs MORE. What could possibly help the city of Bedlam? And then she gets an idea!

At home, she asks her clever wife who is a Professor to build her the perfect dog. A dog than can do all the things the Police Dogs can, but even better! At first the Professor isn’t sure about building such a thing – a Robot Dog and their cat Velma is horrified at the idea. until now, she has had the Chief and Professor to herself and that’s how she likes it. Why on earth would they introduce a dog of all things to her happy household? She goes completely mad when the Professor presents Robodog!

The bedlam in Bedlam really steps up. There is a billion dollar robbery to be foiled, where only a rat who swears he’s a mouse can save the day. Velma is determined to wipe not only Robodog off the planet but every other dog in Bedlam, and suddenly every villain has escaped from Bedlam Prison. What is a Robodog to do?

Thoroughly modern, action-packed and easy to read with all sorts of illustrations that enhance and explain the text throughout, this is one for all Walliams fans, those who enjoy fast-moving slapstick humour and those who may be reluctant to tackle such a thick book, thinking they don’t have the skills to master it.  David Walliams is such a prolific author that this could become an opportunity to create a display of his works with your older, not-so-able readers taking the lead in providing a review or synopsis of each one to entice others to read them.  Not only does it give them a purpose for reading, but provides an opportunity to read at their level without stigma.  

 

 

Ratbags 2: Midnight Mischief

Midnight Mischief

Midnight Mischief

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight Mischief

Tim Harris

Shiloh Gordon

Puffin, 2023

192pp.,graphic novel, RRP $A14.99

9780143777458

Rats, in general, do not have a good reputation for being friendly and kind, and The Ratbags are no exception.  Their goal in life is to make trouble and to look for naughty things to do.  They ream of mayhem and believe rules are for losers.  Except for one – Jigsaw.  He got his name because he does not fit in, like a puzzle piece that won’t squeeze into place no matter how much you twist and turn it. Jigsaw likes both rules and humans so he doesn’t fit in with the other rats and they shun him. 

But things might change when a new pizza shop opens in town…

This is the second in this  new series from the author of titles like Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables and this time he has joined with illustrator Shiloh Gordon to create a series that is likely to appeal to young boys, particularly those who don’t choose reading as their first choice for free time.  With minimal text, cartoon-like illustrations, and lots of laughs,  the story moves along at a fast clip more like an animated television program than a print resource, driven by the characters rather than events.  

This time, having gained a reputation for being good because of rule-loving, leaf-collecting, piano-playing Jigsaw’s actions in the first book, the other Ratbags need to change this immediately and Ripple and Onion are the best ratbags for the job. But while performing some ratty mayhem, they fall into Cracker the cat’s claws… Will their midnight mischief turn them into a midnight snack? Or will Jigsaw find a way to save them? Again!

Despite the fun and naughtiness, just below the surface there are subtle messages about friendship,  peer pressure and having the courage to stand your ground.  ‘It’s not preached at all, but there’s a nice subtle message that we can be friends with other people, no matter what our belief system or no matter how different we are to them,’ says Tim Harris.

If the first one in the series captured your reluctant readers, they will be glad that this one is hot on its heels and there are at least two more to come… Best of Pets in July and Take Flight in September.

 

Bored: Evie Dreams Big

Bored: Evie Dreams Big

Bored: Evie Dreams Big

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bored: Evie Dreams Big

Matt Stanton

ABC Books, 2023 

240pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9780733342066

“My name is Evie and I’m making plans. Actual plans. I’m going to build my own house. I’m not talking about some silly treehouse either. I’m going to build a real house.

Only it seems everyone else who lives in Turtle Place has an opinion they’d like to share. Frog and Milo want to build something totally different, Mr Santos is grumpy, Mrs Katz is spying on us, my sister is the most annoying person on earth and my parents don’t believe in me at all. But I have a plan!

I have big dreams when I’m bored …”

This is the third in this series featuring the kids from Turtle Place who are very ordinary and do ordinary things and yet the creativity of Matt Stanton turns them into engaging reads for independent readers. We’ve already met Milo  and Frog and now it’s Evie’s turn who lives in a very nice two-storey house with her parents and two little sisters, so immediately you wonder why it is that she wants to build a new house just for herself…

Being bored is a common catch-cry in families just a few days into school holidays when the excitement of free time is worn off and the reality of the importance of the routine of school is realised, but it is often when we have the best ideas – or what seem like the best ideas.  So while Evie’s situation may not be the same, it is familiar and readers will relate well to her and her friends, which is always a must-have in any story for this age. Kids like to place themselves as active participants in the plot and this is one of Stanton’s strengths, and in this story, there is plenty of scope for opening up discussions about how they would deal with Evie’s situation, which so many will be experiencing. Is there a more practical solution than building a house so you can move out? At the same time, Stanton acknowledges the need for more independence as you mature, the need to have a space of your own, the need to have your concerns heard and acknowledged and your ideas and dreams supported, articulating them in a way that might help the reader speak to their own family. 

This might be just the book to rekindle the bedtime story ritual, so often abandoned when the child learns to read independently – certainly the parent won’t be bored and mat just learn something. 

 

 

 

 

Mulga Bill’s Bicycle: 50th Anniversary Edition

Mulga Bills Bicycle

Mulga Bills Bicycle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mulga Bill’s Bicycle: 50th Anniversary Edition

A. B. (Banjo) Paterson

Kilmeny Niland, Deborah Niland

HarperCollins, 2023

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

9781460763728

Twas Mulga Bill from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze’

He turned away the good old horse that served him many days;

He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen’

He hurried of to town and bought a shining new machine…”

But despite his boasting that “there’s none can ride like me”,  he finds getting on the penny-farthing difficult enough and that riding is nothing like he anticipated…

This is one of Banjo Paterson’s classics, an hilarious tale of misadventure, that was first brought to life for young readers by the illustrations of sisters Kilmeny and Deborah Niland in 1973 and has remained a favourite on library shelves for 50 years, often being the introduction to other works by Paterson for those same young readers. While Paterson’s words tell the story of Mulga Bill’s crazy ride, it is the action and expressions that have been captured in the illustrations that ensure the reader is totally immersed in the story, invested in the inevitable outcome – can anyone survive such an out-of-control ride?

While bicycles have certainly changed since this poem was first published in 1896, perhaps sparking an investigation into how they, or even transport and travel itself has evolved since then, Bill’s embracing the new technology remains the same for many.  There are always going to be the early adopters and the late bloomers and students might like to consider which they are and the pros and cons of each approach. Some have suggested that in the era that the poem was written, the “safety bicycle” would have been more common that the penny-farthing and that perhaps the illustrators used poetic licence with Paterson’s words to create something more appealing, opening opportunities to discuss whether it is okay to do this, or to rearrange historical events or geographical places and so forth to make a story more engaging.  Should the fiction have precedence over the facts? Some students may even have examples they can share as authors acknowledge their fiddling with the facts in many historical stories. 

Or they might just enjoy this 50th anniversary edition for the fun and laughter it evokes!