Archives

My Best Friend Is a Dragon

My Best Friend Is a Dragon

My Best Friend Is a Dragon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Best Friend Is a Dragon

Rachael McLean

Penguin, 2020

14pp., board book., RRP $A13.99

9780593093993

Way back when, when I had the Dream Team and we were learning to write persuasive letters, I read the class a story about a dragon – can’t remember which one – but I do remember telling them that the dragon had appeared in the school playground and they had to write a letter to the principal explaining all the reasons that we should let it stay! Thirty years on, I still remember some of them like using its tail as a ladder to climb so they could slide down its back and bounce off its neck!  Now, in this board book for our youngest readers, Rachael McLean seems to have gathered up all those reasons that my students thought of to produce this delightful little story of a boy whose BFF is a  dragon and all the things they do together in a day. But to add extra interest, the dragon’s contribution is hidden behind a flap creating a golden opportunity for the little one to summon what they know already about dragons to predict how this one might help.  If walking feels too slow, how could it help? If your room is dark at night, what could it do?

Books like this that not only entertain but encourage the child to actively engage with the text are so important in developing those early skills and behaviours that are the foundation of reading independently in the future, so this is an ideal one to recommend to your parent body who have young families and who want to give them a head start.  

Big City Atlas

Big City Atlas

Big City Atlas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big City Atlas

Maggie Li

Pavilion, 2020

64pp., pbk., RRP $A24.99

9781843654599

During this pandemic the world seems to have shrunk as nightly news bulletins bring the tales of heartache from the world’s major cities into our lounge rooms.  Even though we can no longer visit the cities that are becoming household names even to our younger readers, we can join Penguin on this adventure as he journeys around the world getting involved in the activities they have to offer. 

Cities visited include San Francisco, Mexico City, Chicago, Toronto, New York, Washington DC, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Dublin, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Rome, Madrid, Cairo, Istanbul, Cape Town, Dubai, Mumbai, Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney and Auckland and the reader is invited to spot Penguin on the pages.

With the information provided in speech bubble chunks, this is an engaging book that will interest and intrigue all budding young jetsetters – who may actually be able to travel by the time they grow up!  

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Hound the Detective

Hound the Detective

Hound the Detective

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hound the Detective

Kimberley Andrews

Puffin, 2020

32pp., pbk., RRP $A17.99

9780143774655

I’m Hound! And I’m a sleuth.

I solve all types of cases.

I sniff and snuff until my nose

detects the clues and traces.

Missing jewels, stolen cars —I always solve the crime.

And his latest case has been mysteriously delivered by post, sending him on a trail that takes him all over town on the scent of something mysterious – although that something isn’t disclosed till the very last page. 

Kimberley Andrews, the creator of the memorable Puffin the Architect has created another masterpiece that will have readers of all ages poring over the detailed illustrations as eagerly as Hound follows his nose,  searching for clues and other hidden treasures. With its clever rhyming text, there’s an unspoken challenge for the reader to find the solution before Hound does, ensuring close engagement with the mystery and offering the opportunity for prediction and speculation. One for a range of ages that reminded me of the fun my students had trying to solve the mystery in the Graeme Base classic, The Eleventh Hour.

That’s Not My Narwhal

That’s Not My Narwhal

That’s Not My Narwhal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s Not My Narwhal

Fiona Watt

Usborne, 2020

10pp., board book. RRP $A14.99

9781474972109

A little board book in this popular series that encourages children to explore both language through its repetitive text and their sense of touch through its textured patches actually has the potential to appeal to a much wider audience as students get ready to enjoy the 2020 Book Week theme of Curious Creatures, Wild Minds. 

This almost mythical creature, which actually lives in the cold waters of Greenland, Canada, and Russia is rapidly becoming the “creature-du-jour” with young readers looking for something more exotic than the unicorn which has become a bit ho-hum.  So even though this book in this popular series explores why none of the five narwhals depicted is the reader’s narwhal, the question that begs to be answered is, “What IS a narwhal?”, a question that could spark an interesting investigation and perhaps lead to a presentation entitled This is My Narwhal satisfying the Critical and Creative Thinking outcomes of the Inquiry strand, as they pose questions to identify, explore and organise information and ideas. 

I love discovering books written for littlies that have application across the ages and this is surely one of them, and a most timely release. 

We’re Going on a Treasure Hunt

We’re Going on a Treasure Hunt

We’re Going on a Treasure Hunt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re Going on a Treasure Hunt

Martha Mumford

Laura Hughes, 

Bloomsbury, 2020

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

9781408893395

Fresh from their Christmas elf chase, the four intrepid bunnies are off on another adventure, this time as sea-faring pirates looking for treasure. Boarding their ship they sail off to a desert island in search of the golden coins, encountering all sorts of creatures on their quest.  There are 10 coins to be found and young readers will delight in seeking them under the flaps as they pore over the detailed pictures and help the bunnies see what’s in front of them. 

Treasure hunts never lose their appeal, as has been proven with little walkers eagerly seeking teddy bears and rainbows on their lockdown outings, so as well as the fun of looking and lifting the flaps, they will enjoy the rhythm and rhyme of the text, repeated in a pattern with a lot of onomatopoeia to heighten the reading experience. With so much to see and do, this is likely to become a firm favourite that takes our youngest readers away from the grey days of winter to a summery sun adventure.

In the City

In the City

In the City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the City

Holly James

Hannah Tolson

Bloomsbury, 2020

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

9781526616241

Lucy and Oscar discover there are so many things to see and do in the city , starting with the train ride into the centre, visiting building, picnicking in the park, going on a bus ride and exploring the shops. In this interactive, look and find book, young readers are encouraged to use their observational skills to discover a wide range of elements featured in the illustrations, perhaps even compare and contrast them with what their own experiences of a city excursion. For those who do not live in a city, it helps develop the concept of city life and build vocabulary about what is there, setting them up to transfer this knowledge to other stories  that are set in cities so they have greater understanding, predictability and success with their reading. 

Books like this play a valuable role in helping children’s visual acuity as they search for items, while underscoring the need to search the illustrations for the detail because it is often something that is embedded in them that explains the text, or perhaps contradicts it. They learn that reading is so much more than decoding words. 

One for early readers as well as those learning English as they spot familiar objects and learn the names in their new language.

Where’s Spot?

Where's Spot?

Where’s Spot?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s Spot?

Eric Hill

Puffin,2020

24pp., hbk., RRP $A16.99

9780241446850

It’s dinner time and Mama Dog is looking for Spot.  Where can he be? Under the rug? Behind the door? Inside the clock? He’s playing hide-and-seek and there are so many places a little puppy can fit into.

As well as having the joy of lifting the flaps to discover Spot’s hiding place, our youngest readers can also have the fun of predicting where he might be and whether he could be in the places Mama looks, at the same time learning important place words like under and behind and so on.

This is the 40th anniversary of the publishing of this first in the series about this little dog and so it is in a stunning ruby foil cover that attracts the eye as much as the illustrations. Judging by the number of requests for Spot-related fabrics and so forth on a FB group I belong to, this little fellow is as popular as he was when he was first introduced all those years ago. And given the stories have sold 65 million copies in over 60 languages, his appeal is universal.

To add to the delight, there are activities to be done so children can party at home with Spot during these shut-down times, and share in this special reading of the story.

Perfect for starting our very youngest on their reading adventures.

 

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.

Gregory Goose is on the Loose! (series)

Gregory Goose is on the Loose! (series)

Gregory Goose is on the Loose! (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gregory Goose is on the Loose! (series)

Up the Mountain 

9781925594942

At the Fair

9781925594959

Hilary Robinson

Many Stanley

Catch A Star, 2020

20pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

These are the latest additions to this series which focuses on the young reader focusing on each double-page spread to find Gregory Goose. As well as developing their visual acuity as they hone their skills searching for him, by having each story in a specific setting that may already be familiar to the child or is likely to become more familiar as their reading journey progresses. site-specific vocabulary is developed so they learn about the sorts of things they would expect to see in each venue.  This is a critical aspect of early reading development because it helps them broaden their horizons but also focuses their attention on the setting, bringing to mind likely possibilities of what unknown words could be.

For example, while not many Australian youngsters will have had personal experience of what mountain life is like, by using the first-letter cue of “s’ (“get your mouth ready for…”) and using the pictures and the knowledge they have gained from books like these, they are more likely to transfer what they know to a new situation and be able to use the context to identify words like snow, snowmen, snowballs, skis, sled, and slope. 

With their bright, clear illustrations that have lots going on, this is a series that will draw children back to it many times as they discover something new each time, and each time developing their feeling of mastery over this format and skill known as reading. 

What seems like a simple hide-and-seek book actually has a vital place in those early reading behaviours and building concepts about print. 

 

 

We Catch the Bus

We Catch the Bus

We Catch the Bus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Catch the Bus

Katie Abey 

Bloomsbury, 2020 

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

9781526607195

A companion to We Eat Bananas and We Wear Pants this is another interactive picture book for young readers encouraging them to find their favourite characters driving or riding on all sorts of transport.  Monkeys flying planes, llamas riding scooters – whether it’s buses, planes, trucks, trains, diggers, cars, bikes, boats, emergency vehicles, tractors or rockets; little ones can hunt for their favourites and hone their visual perception skills as they search the highly detailed illustrations for all sorts of things, including Monkey who is the star of the earlier books. 

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

As with the others, each double-spread contains speech bubbles, many of them questions that readers can respond to such as counting the red vehicles or searching for the chameleon.  

This is a series of books that keeps on giving as there is so much on offer there is something new to look for and discover with each reading. Even without adult guidance, little ones can pore over the pictures and maybe imagine themselves as part of their favourite.  They learn to search for the details that offer clues to the meaning of the text in a very humorous setting, an important early reading behaviour. 

A great one for preschool or parent recommendations.