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


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. 














Sally Sutton

Brian Lovelock

Walker, 2020

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


Rumbly wheels, grumbly wheels,

Hauling-up-the-hill wheels.

Wheels go fast, wheels go slow.

Shout what’s coming, if you know!

Little lads (and their sisters) are fascinated by things with wheels and so this new book from the creators of Ambulance, Ambulance and Dig, Dump, Roll will be welcomed by them. Using rhyming and repetitive text that invites them to use both the textual and pictorial clues to predict which wheels are coming and to yell out the prediction, this is a book to engage and entertain as it educates.  Large fonts, clear illustrations and the surety of repeated phrases means that this is one that the earliest little readers will be reading on their own in no time.  So empowering and meeting their expectations that they will be readers.


Where’s Peppa’s Magical Unicorn?

Where's Peppa's Magical Unicorn?

Where’s Peppa’s Magical Unicorn?










Where’s Peppa’s Magical Unicorn?

Ladybird, 2020

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


Peppa wants to play with her magical unicorn but she can’t find her anywhere! Is she hiding at the castle, the beach, or the end of the rainbow?

Peppa Pig and her family continue to be popular with our youngest readers and this interactive book is a new adventure that not only draws on familiar characters so it is easy for them to become immersed in the story straight away but also helps the transition from screen to print.  Not only does the child have some power over the story as they lift the flaps to discover where the unicorn is hiding, but they can also return to it again and again.  Even if they know what is hidden, the power of predicting and being right is exhilarating making this sort of format a read-and-read-again one. Perfect for beginning to build those critical concepts about print that are the foundations of reading.

Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Book of Fun

Willy Wonka's Everlasting Book of Fun

Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Book of Fun










Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Book of Fun

Roald Dahl

Puffin, 2020

144pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


With the extraordinary chocolate tycoon Willy Wonka as your host, join Roald Dahl’s best-loved characters for a bumper activity book that will keep boredom at bay and chiddlers at play.

Stuffed full of 365 marvellous activities, puzzles and more that will keep entertainment flowing for every day of the year, this book focuses on the characters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory bringing them to life so that when your child reluctantly finishes reading that story, there is more fun to be had. 

When Miss Nearly 9 discovered Roald Dahl’s The Twelve Days of Christmas in her Santa Sack (as well as a boxed set of all the books) she was beside herself and settled down for an afternoon of reading, regardless of all that was happening around her. So this title will be just as well-received when she opens her birthday surprises in a few weeks.  The activities in the Christmas book not only kept her enthralled but also inspired her to read some of Dahl’s not-so-well-known books and broaden her reading horizons so in contrast, this will help deepen her understanding of Charlie and his family and friends.  Have to be happy with that.

My Book With No Pictures

My Book With No Pictures

My Book With No Pictures










My Book With No Pictures

B. J. Novak

Puffin, 2019

40pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


Following the phenomenal reception to The Book with No Pictures , B. J . Novak now invites the reader  to collaborate in the writing of this new book.  In what has to be one of the most engaging cloze activities ever, the reader has to fill the gaps with the wackiest words they can think of so the story continues.  There are some suggestions offered (and some stickers) all of which are nonsense words, but nevertheless make sense overall.  But the reader can add whatever word they want and when they read it again, change them and have a whole new story.

As well as creating a LOL read,  putting the power in the reader’s hands ensures they will be engaged and entices them to look at the sorts of words that are required such as nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.  Cloze activities were one of the most powerful reading comprehension strategies I used as a classroom teacher but never did I offer one as crazy and inviting as this.  I wish I had.

Don’t tickle the hippo!

Don't tickle the hippo!

Don’t tickle the hippo!









Don’t tickle the hippo!

Sam Taplin

 Ana Martin Larranaga

Usborne, 2019

10pp., board book, RRP $A24.99


“Don’t tickle the hippo – you might make it snort!”  But, of course with its touchy-feely patch being too tempting to leave alone, the littlest reader is going to tickle it – and won’t they get a surprise when they do (if the adult has turned on the switch for the sound effects!). 

This is another series in this new generation of board books that invites the child to interact with the text and the illustrations, to find the fun in the print medium and start to build up an expectation that stories are fun, that they have a part to play in making them come alive and they have the power to do so.  Each creature makes its own sound when the patches are felt and the cacophony at the end of the book makes for a satisfying conclusion.  

It will become a firm favourite bound to generate a thousand giggles as the child is in control. 

Paddington’s Post

Paddington's Post

Paddington’s Post









Paddington’s Post

Michael Bond

R. W. Alley

HarperCollins, 2019

48pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99


Living with the Browns in London is very different from Paddington’s original home in Darkest Peru and there is much to see and do and absorb.  Using Michael Bond’s original stories, Paddington reflects on the changes and writes letters, draws maps, and creates other mementos, each of which is enclosed in its own envelope waiting for the young reader to discover and read. 

Since his 60th anniversary in 2018, there has been a resurgence in love for this childhood favourite and this is another opportunity to share the love with a new generation.  Children love stories that have letters that they can pull out and read – it adds an extra layer of intrigue and mystique – and this will be no exception.  It might even inspire them to write to Paddington and tell him about where they live and the things they like to do. 

Roald Dahl’s The Twelve Days of Christmas

Roald Dahl's The Twelve Days of Christmas

Roald Dahl’s The Twelve Days of Christmas










Roald Dahl’s The Twelve Days of Christmas

Puffin Books, 2019

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


The Christmas song The Twelve Days of Christmas has had many versions and interpretations over the centuries including originally being a game in 19th century to being a catechism song for young Catholics forbidden from practising their faith in England, but one thing is for sure – none is quite like this version that combines the traditional  lyrics with the literature of Roald Dahl. 

 . . on the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . . Three Naughty Muggle-Wumps, Two Smelly Twits
and Matilda in the library!

Focusing on the stories that have been children’s favourites over the years, “This gloriumptious book is packed full of:
– whipple-scrumptious recipes for festive feasting
– tricksy pranks guaranteed to get you on the naughty list
– amazing chrimbo activities to impress (or prank) your family
– jolly jokes that are even better than the ones in the crackers.”

Each day centres on a different book and there are activities, recipes, stories, poems and a host of other things that will keep the Dahl fan fascinated and occupied once the anticipation and excitement of December 25 has passed.  Combine it with a gift pack of the books themselves – Matilda, The Twits, The Enormous Crocodile, The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, James and the Giant Peach, The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me, George’s Marvellous Medicine,  Esio Trot, The Witches and a couple of twisted tales – and you have the perfect gift for the fan or to introduce a new reader that will keep them entranced for the whole holidays!



The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas Eve

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Christmas Eve

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas Eve









The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas Eve

Eric Carle

Picture Puffin, 2019

12pp., board book, RRP $A12.99


It’s a cold, snowy Christmas Eve and everyone is at home waiting for a special visitor…

Little ones will adore this new story featuring the Very Hungry Caterpillar as they lift the flaps to discover who is hiding behind.  With its northern hemisphere focus  offering the opportunity to talk about why Christmas is so different from here, they will enjoy searching for the VHC because although he doesn’t play an active role in the story, he does appear on each page sharing the precepts of the Christmas season in simple text and classic Carle illustrations which will help focus their thinking to predict the story and who might be hiding. 

A favourite friend in a familiar setting and a recognisable author – has to be a Christmas stocking winner.



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)

In the Jungle


On the Moon 


Hilary Robinson

Many Stanley

Catch A Star, 2019

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

Gregory Goose is very curious and this new series from Catch A Star encourages our youngest readers to examine each bright, detailed double-spread very carefully to find him in amongst the other creatures and characters. Apart from being an interactive activity for our youngest readers, it also helps develop their visual acuity, honing their eye for detail, an essential early reading skill as they learn to distinguish letters and words.

With the advent of handheld screens with so much activity and interactivity, young readers expect to be engaged with their entertainment rather than passive recipients, so books like this are an essential part of their library if they are to become independent readers – knowing that books and stories have something to offer them and can be fun and they can go back time and time again and discover something new without adult help builds a solid foundation of expectation and a sense of mastery that is crucial.  There is much more learning being done here than finding out about jungle creatures and space transport.