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The Lost Library

The Lost Library

The Lost Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lost Library

Jess McGeachin

Puffin. 2020

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

9781760892715

Oliver has just moved house and is surprised to find a book left behind in his new cupboard, one that is inscribed “Please return to The Lost Library.”  Being a book lover he knows he needs to do that, but where is this Lost Library? His family is too busy to help but his new friend Rosie knows who to ask and so they head to the local library to talk to the librarian. 

Before Rosie has a chance to ask, Oliver slips the book in the Returns chute and suddenly the floor opens up beneath them! Suddenly they find themselves hurtling down into the hidden depths of The Lost Library and all sorts of adventures as they try to find their way back again.  It’s amazing where your imagination, a good friend and the power of stories can take you…

This is another enchanting and different story from the author of Fly that will be read over and over as a new layer is revealed each time. 

Toffle Towers (series)

Toffle Towers (series)

Toffle Towers (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toffle Towers (series)

Tim Harris

James Foley

Puffin, 2020

256pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

Described as “Fawlty Towers meets Treehouse ”  this is an hilarious series for newly independent who like a bit of a challenge but still need some support with their reading.

Toffle Towers, a rundown, family hotel, has been inherited by ten year old Chegwin Toffle, a young lad with an entrepreneurial streak, a wild imagination and just enough common sense to change Toffle Towers from a boring hotel for grown-ups into an incredibly exciting destination for children (and their families). But running a hotel isn’t easy. Chegwin has a lot to learn, and his tendency to drift off into daydreams doesn’t help He has plenty of ideas. But can he turn his madcap daydreams into reality?

In the first in the seriesFully Booked   the reader meets Chegwin who has inherited the hotel from his great-uncle Terence and sets out to transform it so that is a money-spinner rather than a millstone.  Even with the competition from a nearby hotel, with the help of some new friends and the somewhat eccentric staff whose jobs he is determined to save Chegwin and his parents are focused on their goal, come what may.

The Great River Race continues the saga as  one by one, his hotel staff are ‘reverse mugged’ by two mysterious men. Chaos ensues and it’s Chegwin’s job to get to the bottom of these attacks before Toffle Towers loses all its hard-earned guests. Meanwhile, the town of Alandale is preparing for the annual Great River Race. Once Chegwin discovers his saboteur is no other than Brontessa Braxton,(no relation to me) owner of the rival hotel in town, Chegwin find himself preparing to go head to head with her in the Great River Race to save his beloved staff and Toffle Towers.

The latest in the series. Order in the Court sees Toffle Towers facing yet another challenge from Brontessa Braxton setting up a court challenge that can only have one winner.

Many of our students will be familiar with the writings of Tim Harris because they have shared his adventures of Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables   and so they will be delighted that there is another series that continues the fun and hilarity as they either envisage themselves in Chegwin’s shoes or are lining up to make a booking for this remarkable place once these travel restrictions are over.  In the meantime, all they can do is delve into their imaginations and enjoy the ride. At least that’s safe!

Ellie’s Dragon

Ellie's Dragon

Ellie’s Dragon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellie’s Dragon

Bob Graham

Walker Books, 2020

32pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

 9781406387629

Hidden among the boxes of eggs on the supermarket shelf, Ellie discovers a tiny dragon, so small it’s eyes are not yet open.  Because its claws tickled the palm of her hand she called it Scratch and made it a bed in a matchbox. But when she asked her mum for some match heads for its breakfast, her mum can only see the matchbox.

And so it is with all the adults in her world.  None of them can see Scratch even though as she grows her friends can and Scratch just becomes a normal part of their activities.  But, just like Jackie Paper and that other famous dragon, Puff, as Ellie gets older, Scratch begins to fade.  Until one day a little boy called Sam found him wandering in the High Street, a fully-grown, house-trained affectionate dragon just looking for a new home…

Bob Graham is a master storyteller who has been delighting young readers around the world for the best part of 40 years with so many charming stories like The Poesy Ring   and Home in the Rain , and this gentle story about growing up with an imaginary friend is just as inviting as all the others. His signature style in both text and artworks is there again for a whole new group of fans to enjoy as so many of them will relate to Ellie either as the very young girl or as she grows older.  There is a reason that Graham has won so many awards for his writing and it’s encapsulated again in this new book.  Perfect for invoking discussions about imaginary friends particularly at this time when so many of our little ones are deprived of the company of real ones, but also for thinking about the possibilities and pitfalls of providing a home for a dragon.  

In My Dreams

In My Dreams

In My Dreams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In My Dreams

Stef Gemmill

Tanja Stephani

New Frontier, 2020

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

9781925594928

It is amazing where our imaginations and subconscious take us when we sleep – we can float on marshmallow clouds,splash in jelly puddles and showers of strawberry rain… Or we can dive deep, chase fast fish and race against pirates… Even if those adventures are sometimes dark and shadowy, a blink of the eyes sends them on their way.

Author Gemmill has really let her imagination go wild as she retells the little boy’s nighttime adventures which Illustrator Stephani has brought to life in a riot of colour and fun while still maintaining the dream-like quality with the muted, merged backgrounds. From the gilded, bejewelled cover, and echoed in the rolling text, this is a delightful romp through the imagination to the very end, which just begs the input of the reader to tell and illustrate their own dreams.

 

A peek inside....

A peek inside….

Happiness is a Cloud

Happiness is a Cloud

Happiness is a Cloud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happiness is a Cloud

Robert Vescio

Nancy Bevington

Big Sky, 2020

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

9781922265715

Out for a walk with his father and dog, Jasper, Harry sees a flying pig! Well. it’s actually a cloud shaped like a flying pig and suddenly the walk is made more interesting as the two spot all sorts of shapes in the clouds overhead.  Even when dark, ominous ones roll in with menacing shapes like a rhinoceros and a wolf that make Harry shiver,  his dad shows him how they are good for the earth and all that grows in it.

 Just as the clouds change shape and colour so does Harry’s mood, particularly when Jasper disappears, and Vescio has cleverly mirrored these changes so young readers can understand that while they may be sad and unhappy now, there will come a change to happier times, just as the sun will always return to peek through and fill us with joy and hope again.  We just need to be patient and resilient to wait for it. That is the silver lining of clouds.

As well as being an engaging way to help young children understand the cycle of moods and feelings, this is also a wonderful way to build imagination and vocabulary as there are few things more peaceful than lying down and watching the endless patterns of clouds. Harry even touches on the question of what clouds are and why they can’t be touched, so that opens up another avenue of investigation while Bevington’s illustrations of Harry, his father and Jasper superimposed onto real cloudscapes will attract the artistic mind.

Living in a rural landscape with no pollution, reading the clouds to predict the weather and just appreciating their diversity of shape, colour, density and speed is one of the joys of the simple life. This book will connect our kids to these oft-overlooked phenomena while also showing them that there is always hope on the horizon.

This Is a Ball and Other Books That Drive Kids Crazy!

This Is a Ball and Other Books That Drive Kids Crazy!

This Is a Ball and Other Books That Drive Kids Crazy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Is a Ball and Other Books That Drive Kids Crazy!

Beck & Matt Stanton

ABC Books, 2020

176 pp., hbk., RRP $A35.00

9780733341076

Five years ago we were introduced to a book called This is a ball, a book guaranteed to engage because of its intriguing cover which promised something offbeat and delivered it!

This is a ball

Since then, Beck & Matt Stanton have gone on to create four other books in the series, including Did you take the B from my -ook?The Red Book, Wait ! and The Book that never ends , and now they are all together in this one collection.  Using block colour, large font, line drawings and text that appears simple but in reality, makes the reader read and re-read it and try to refute its truth because the brain is not reading what the eyes are seeing, these stories are worth reading over and over again across the years, 

Compendia like these are always good value and this is an opportunity to have a collection that will intrigue and entertain again and again, while engaging young readers in the power and fun of print.

Cinders and Sparks (series)

Cinders and Sparks (series)

Cinders and Sparks (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinders and Sparks (series)

Magic at Midnight

 9780008292119

Fairies in the Forest

9780008292140

Goblins and Gold

9780008292171

Lindsay Kelk

Pippa Curnick

HarperCollins, 2019-2020

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

Cinders lives a boring life with her selfish stepsisters and mean stepmother, doing the chores and tending to their every need, just like her traditional counterpart.  While they prefer to stay indoors all day listening to their mother read, Cinders would dearly love to be outside playing and although they can’t see the value of that she is allowed to do so once her chores are completed.  But something strange happens while she is outside –  her dog Sparks starts talking to her, her wishes start coming true and her fairy godmother, Brian, materialises.  (It’s been hard to track Cinders down because she is not on social media.)

And so begins a new series for young independent girls who are ready for a solid adventure story but still believe in magic and the characters of their childhood.  Easy to read, engaging and funny in parts,familiar characters and an ongoing quest make this a great read but at the same time, it has an underlying message that celebrates diversity and reaffirms that it is OK to be different. 

Miss 9 asked for The Worst Witch series for her birthday six weeks ago, and she is going to be thrilled when she discovers this series in her letterbox as a follow up because it will be perfect for her.  Thoroughly modern, thoroughly entertaining and just right for a winter read.

 

What a Lot of Nonsense

What a Lot of Nonsense

What a Lot of Nonsense

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a Lot of Nonsense

Sheena Knowles

Jonathan Bentley

Angus & Robertson, 2020

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

9781460756140

Dear reader, please take time to note
Two ways to read this book I wrote.
The first way is for everyone,
Just read the book, enjoy the fun.

The second way will challenge those
Who like to look beyond the prose.
Who’d like to ACT just like a ‘cat’
(And that’s an anagram, in fact).

Even though my littlies are now almost biggies (9 and 13) respectively and I’ve had to take a long hard look at the shelves bending under the weight of picture books for them in their special bedroom,  two titles that will never be moved on in my lifetime are Edward the Emu and Edwina the Emu. Albeit a little tired from being shared with every class I ever taught, they are classics for me and they will soon be joined by this new title from their author, Sheena Knowles.  It is delightful, funny and SO clever and Jonathan Bentley’s illustrations give it an extra layer of magic.

The opening rhyme says it all and from there on it is just a romp of fun and hilarity – why should you worry if a camel eats curry? – and the recurring image of Bear struggling to get dressed just ties it all together.  And then to weave the tapestry even more tightly is the use of anagrams, a fun word device that might set readers off an entirely new tangent as they discover another aspect of our language. Maybe students could write and illustrate their own couplet that contains an anagram and give their classmates a lift during this at-home time.

 

 

The Night of the Hiding Moon

The Night of the Hiding Moon

The Night of the Hiding Moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Night of the Hiding Moon

Emma Allen

Sher Rill Ng

NLA Publishing, 2020

4099., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780642279583

‘Late one night, Felix heard a thousand giants march across the sky and the round, silver moon went into hiding.’

Alone in his room, Felix is frightened – he imagines he can hear giants gathering on the rooftop. As a wild storm thunders through the night, Felix turns to his trusty torch, creating strong, brave shadow creatures who can keep him company and protect him from the ferocity of the wind and rain.

One by one, frolicking creatures crowd Felix’s bedroom. With his shadow friends impatient to play in the night, Felix must decide whether to stay, alone, or venture out shoulder to shoulder with his friends and confront his fears.’

Storms can be terrifying for young people (and not-so) and how well I remember being told that lightning was just the angels having a fireworks party and thunder, the clouds banging together – explanations I shared with both my son and my grandchildren when they crept into my bed seeking comfort. So Felix’s fear is understandable and will resonate with young readers and perhaps offer them some reassurance. It offers an opportunity to not only investigate the origins of storms but also to play around with shadows and discover how they are caused.

But being from the NLA, this story has the added bonus of extra pages and these one focus on the art of telling stories with shadows, particularly shadow puppets.  There are even instructions for making your own and patterns that can be used. In these times of schools not necessarily being in physical spaces, this is one that could be recommended to parents (it’s available for purchase online) to offer lots of creativity and fun as well as learning. 

There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake (40th Anniversary edition)

There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake

There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake

Hazel Edwards

Deborah Niland

Puffin, 2020

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

9781760896270

What do you do when there is a hippopotamus on your roof eating cake?  Well, you keep calm and carry on, of course.  It doesn’t matter whether its drawing with crayons, having a shower or wearing a bandage on its knee just like yours, there’s nothing outlandish or outrageous about having a hippopotamus on your roof.

When Dad notices that there’s a hole in the roof, his imaginative daughter decides that there is a hippopotamus up above eating cake that’s causing it. and even though it works part-time at the zoo it always returns to share the adventures she has had that day, even when she’s been in bother. Eventually men fix the leaking roof, but they don’t see it because it clambers down the ladder when they are not looking, but the little girl is convinced the hippopotamus will be back that night. In fact, it is likely it will be on the roof or accompanying her on adventures all through  her childhood.

When this was first published in 1980, it became such a favourite that it has been published continuously for 40 years and has evolved into a series of seven picture books, and inspired a young readers’ novel, classroom play scripts, a musical production for the stage and a short movie, as well as having been translated into Auslan and Braille.  There would be few children who have not been exposed to the story in one format or another. 

With its rhythmic, repetitive text and simple line drawings depicting the hippo as a friendly fellow, the appeal of this book and it premise of imaginary friends has been tested over time and this special anniversary edition has a special cover to make it a collector’s edition while also revitalising the character for another generation.