Where’s Spot?

Where's Spot?

Where’s Spot?









Where’s Spot?

Eric Hill


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


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


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 


At the Fair


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


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.