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Marshmallow Pie (series)

Marshmallow Pie (series)

Marshmallow Pie (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cat Superstar

9780008355852

The Cat Superstar on TV

9780008355890

The Cat Superstar in Hollywood

9780008355913

HarperCollins, 2020

128pp., pbk., RRP $A9.99

Marshmallow Marmaduke Vanilla-Bean Sugar-Pie Fluffington-Fitz-Noodle is a big, fluffy (and grumpy) cat. He LOVES the easy life: lazing in the sunshine, eating Shrimp Crunchies and annoying Buster, the dog downstairs, from the safety of the balcony above. Now living with the shy Amelia in a top floor flat in the city, instead of the quiet country life he was used to, he already thinks he is a star, but Amelia is determined to make it official when she sees an advertisement for cats to audition to join a casting agency for film and television.  And so begins a life of grooming and training and the limelight…

This is a great new series for newly independent readers who still need some support and who love cats.  Given the photos that one sees on social media of cats in all sorts of finery, that would seem to be a very broad target market and so this series is going to please a lot of young readers.  Told by Marshmallow Pie himself, in the supercilious , no-fools-entertained, I’m-entitled voice that you just know matches his personality, the author of the Dotty Detective series brings her characters to life in a way that will delight those who have cats and who have been dreams for them.

With the first two available now, and the third due in time for that January holiday slump, this series will be a just-right introduction to the world of novels and the fun of getting to know characters over a period of time and adventures. 

The Puffin Book of Big Dreams

The Puffin Book of Big Dreams

The Puffin Book of Big Dreams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Puffin Book of Big Dreams

Puffin, 2020

256pp., hbk., RRP $A32.99

9780241438206

In 1940, Allen Lane, the founder of Penguin Publishing published four books for the children who had been evacuated to the country in wartorn England, and began something that 80 years on is still going strong in yet another time of world turmoil. Those four books were factual – War on Land, War at Sea, War in the Air and On the Farm – but within a year the first fiction was being published, amongst the early titles, Worzel Gummidge .

From the earliest days of those big dreams of establishing a publishing house dedicated to literature for children, to establishing the Puffin Club with its special badge, secret code and fundraising to purchase a piece of the Yorkshire coast to establish a Puffin sanctuary, hundreds of books with quality stories from both new and established authors in both picture book and novel format have been offered to our young readers all around the world. There have been many unique instances of recognition of both the books and brand along the way, and this compendium, published to celebrate this milestone birthday, brings together old and new in a collection of stories and excerpts that encourage newly independent reader to  dream wild, dream bold, dream far, dream brave, dream kind and dream forever.

As well as introducing new authors who may be the household names of the future, there are also stories from those familiar to a different generation who will delight in introducing their childhood favourites to their offspring, perhaps opening new horizons and genres to be explored and memories to be shared. Who could read about trogglehumpers, bogthumpers and grobswitchers and not want to find out more about what was aggravating The BFG? Wouldn’t my grandchildren like to know why I have such an affinity with this story and why I’ve shared it with nearly every child I’ve ever taught.

With more than 60 stories and poems in the collection, this one volume has the potential to become a year of bedtime stories as young readers follow byways and pathways into new worlds, realising the original dream of turning children into readers and making a little bird an instantly recognisable symbol of innovative, quality stories for generations.

IMO, this is the ideal book for the teacher’s toolbox, particularly a new graduate just starting on their journey because it is such a go-to for those times for a time-out and just experiencing joy and pleasure. Who knows where a rabbit-hole might lead….

Gold!

Gold!

Gold!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold!

Jackie Kerin

Annie White

Ford Street, 2020

32pp., hbk., RRP $a24.95

9781925804522

Victoria, Australia in the 1850s and the word of the discovery of gold is spreading around the world. Among the tens of thousands of everyday fold who flock to the goldfields are two young English brothers and another two from Canada.  They decide to team up but they soon discover that despite the rumours, the streets are not lined with gold and nor is it just lying around to be picked up.

Searching for gold is hard work for little reward as you battle the elements, the environment, the crowds, the thieves, the law -and Ma Kilduff’s advice doesn’t really make things easier.  Still they persevere until one day…

This is the “inside story” of the discovery of the first large nugget to be discovered in Victoria, the  Blanche Barkly, taking the reader through the harsh, hard life that the goldfields afforded yet was accepted because of gold fever.  However as well as the story itself, in the final few pages the reader is taken on a journey that provides even more detail beginning with the impact that the goldrush and subsequent discovery of the Blanche Barkly had on the Dja Dja Wurrung, the traditional owners of the land., giving an interesting and original perspective that could be explored further in any curriculum studies of the topic.  Teaching notes are available but this lends itself to investigating  lines of inquiry such as…

  • How did the quest for gold impact the traditional owners of the land on which it took place?
  • How did it affect the environment?
  • Why did the government initially try to keep the discovery of gold a secret and did they make the right decision?
  • As the world’s second largest gold producer in 2020, what lessons have been learned  and what has changed  since the first discoveries? What differences would Ma Kilduff notice?
  • What has been the legacy of the goldrush 170 years on?

Alternatively, students could put themselves in the shoes of one of the characters from Ma Kilduff to Queen Victoria and research and retell the story from that personal perspective. Even just asking, “What did the author and illustrator need to know to produce this book?” would lead to some interesting investigations.

Hopefully the days of “This is Year 5 so it’s gold” and the meaningless study of facts and figures have disappeared so having s book as rich as this in offering different ways to learn about a critical part of Australia’s history is as precious as the metal itself. 

 

 

The World of Roald Dahl

The World of Roald Dahl

The World of Roald Dahl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The World of Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl

Quentin Blake

Puffin, 2020

96pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99

9780241447970

Even though it is almost thirty years since Roald Dahl died, his characters are such household names with young readers that there are few who would not have read at least one of his stories.  And even though Dahl might have passed onto the greatest storyland, illustrator Quentin Blake is still with us and sharing his iconic graphics in this latest book that sets the reader all sorts of activities to do, games to play and puzzles to solve.

Beginning with a brief biography of Dahl including some fascinating facts like his birthday being September 13 and thus spawning annual celebrations on Roald Dahl Day ; and a similar though less familiar introduction to Quentin Blake, there are tips about bow to be a storyteller like Dahl followed by a host of other engaging, interactive pages that build on the stories and the characters bringing them to life. And once all the challenges have been completed, the successful reader can call themselves a World of Roald Dahl Superstar with an appropriate certificate.

Miss 9 adored the Dahl puzzle books and boxed set she found in her 2019 Christmas stocking and was so excited when her 2020 school year was devoted to exploring his works.  Imagine how much more she will bring and be when she discovers this one! In fact, with winter dragging on and Term 3 being the longest ever, she might discover it sooner than later! A reward for the days and days spent at home with none of her usual distractions.

Helping Our Planet

Helping Our Planet

Helping Our Planet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helping Our Planet

Jane Bingham

Usborne, 2020

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

9781474982764

As our students become more independent they start to hear the message about the plight of the planet more loudly and realise that even though they are still young, there is much they can do as individuals to contribute to the solution rather than the problem.

Focusing on issues such as saving energy, reducing waste, cutting down on plastic, water conservation, shopping and travelling thoughtfully and caring for the planet’s plants and creatures., this book presents more in-depth information that respects the reader’s growing maturity and understanding.  It includes a section on how they can make their voice heard so others take notice so rather than just becoming aware of the issue, they understand that they can also take action on a broader scale. 

By this age, students will also have a feeling for which particular area attracts them the most, so the accompanying Quicklinks  also offer a way forward for greater awareness an action. 

With information in manageable chunks alongside lots of illustrations, this is one for those who are ready to take their journey to the next step.  

Looking After Your Health

Looking After Your Health

Looking After Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking After Your Health

Caroline Young

Usborne, 2020

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

9781474982757

While we teach our younger students about eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep, the emphasis on maintaining physical health seems to drop off after those early years and while there is a growing awareness on encouraging positive mental health, our bodies don’t get much attention in literature for some time until puberty approaches.

This book is a part of a series from Usborne targeting those middle years readers from about 8 years, encouraging them to stay aware of and be committed to the issues they encountered at an earlier age.  Using information in accessible chunks accompanied by lots of black and white images, the book tackles aspects of good health such as diet, sleep, exercise,and mental health providing more in-depth information that respects the reader’s growing maturity, understanding and search for knowledge. As usual there are also the Quicklinks which offer more to explore.

Young people with questions that they might be reticent to ask for whatever reason will appreciate this book as well as those who are keen to maximise their well-being as they grow and develop. 

Atticus Van Tasticus 3: The Treasure of Treasures

Atticus Van Tasticus 3: The Treasure of Treasures

Atticus Van Tasticus 3: The Treasure of Treasures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atticus Van Tasticus 3: The Treasure of Treasures

Andrew Daddo

Stephen Michael King

Puffin, 2020

288pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781760892869

Continuing the adventures of Atticus and his brave crew of The Grandnan,  this next episode in this rollicking series for newly independent readers who are looking for an escape from the confines of the bedroom to the high seas and the possibilities of their imagination takes them into a world of  rattling skeletons, ghosts, monsters from the deep, killer sands and a boiling hot tub as they try to figure out the Map of Half Maps in search of certain treasure. .. 

What began as a way to escape life in the coal mine when Atticus chose a pirate ship from his Grandnan’s treasure pile has turned into a journey of adventure, confrontation and self-discovery for Atticus and his band of ragtag friends that is proving to be the perfect escape from this year of uncertainty and unexpected events.  Will Atticus ever find the treasure and save his family or will this just be an ongoing adventure that keeps us entertained for many more episodes?  In this current world of day-to-day, just let’s enjoy it while we have it and wait for the next adventure. You can be sure Atticus has spotted one on the horizon with his trusty telescope.

Nit Boy

Nit Boy

Nit Boy

 

Nit Boy

Tristan Bancks

Heath McKenzie

Puffin, 2020

288pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781760896300

Lewis Snow has the worst case of nits in world history. Everyone wants him to shave his head. But Lewis thinks of his nits as pets. He’s determined to keep his hair and his nits, whatever it takes.

Ned lives on Lewis’s head. He’s the first-ever jumping nit. His dad wants Ned to help nits take over the world. But Ned likes it on Lewis’s head. Ned’s vegan and hates the taste of human blood.

In the tradition of a number of other authors who have captured the imagination of boys of a certain age who like stories that are about bodily functions that are not normally the subject of polite, adult conversation, Bancks and McKenzie have developed a cast of characters and crafted tales that fit the criteria perfectly.  Who hasn’t started feeling itchy and anxious the minute a case of nits is confirmed in a classroom?  Starting with his explanation that nits are just the unhatched form of head lice, Bancks will capture the interest and imagination of that cohort who delight in seeing others squirm and will not only have them  reading from beginning to end and demanding more, but also starting a cult following of the series among their peers.

We know Bancks is a gifted author with unputdownable stories like Detention, Two Wolves and The Fall to his credit  so for all its wacky premise, there will be a quality story at the heart of this book and when combined with the talent of McKenzie that this will be a hit series with its intended audience.  The bonus is that there are two books in one in this release so readers will not have to wait for the next episode.

The World’s Worst Parents

The World's Worst Parents

The World’s Worst Parents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The World’s Worst Parents

David Walliams

Tony Ross

HarperCollins, 2020

312pp., pbk., RRP $A24.99

 9780008430306

In a time when everyone, especially our kids, need some light and bright and fun, this new release of 10 stories about embarrassing parents is very timely.

Walliams and Ross have collaborated again to develop and draw characters that so many kids can relate to – parents who just make you cringe with their words and actions and philosophies. Instead of just blending in with the other children, these kids’ parents make them stand out  and for all the wrong reasons.  Pinch your nose for Peter Pong, the man with the stinkiest feet in the world… jump out of the way of Harriet Hurry, the fastest mum on two wheels… watch out for Monty Monopolize, the dad who takes all his kids’ toys… and oh no, it’s Supermum! Brandishing a toilet brush, a mop and a very bad homemade outfit…

Walliams launched this series in 2016 with The World’s Worst Children. and two further volumes followed in 2017 and 2018.  The World’s Worst Teachers joined the collection in 2019 so this is an established series that has been entertaining children for some years now, once again combining Walliam’s zany humour with Ross’s wacky illustrations. 

Written during the UK lockdown with the explicit purpose of putting a smile on the face of our children, Walliams and Ross have nailed it. 

Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure

Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Adventure

Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure

Jeff Kinney

Puffin, 2020

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

9781760897888

For the fans of Greg Heffley , the wimpy kid who has struggled so hard to fit in with his peers in middle school, this second adventure told by Greg’s best friend Rowley will be welcome light relief as the days of winter and restrictions march on and on and on.  In this, Rowley imagines an epic adventure in which Roland and his best friend, Garg the Barbarian, leave the safety of their village and embark on a quest to save Roland’s mom from the White Warlock.

Using all the humour and visual techniques of the originals, this will appeal to Wimpy Kid fans as well as reach out to new ones – those newly independent reluctant readers who still need a lot of support and are happy to be part of the in-crown reading one of the most popular series for the age group in a long time.