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The Trip

The Trip

The Trip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trip

Paul Beavis 

Little Steps, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781922678621

When a little girl and her dog take a trip into outer space in their hot air balloon, they are quite comfortable until they see footsteps in the surface that are not theirs… Are they afraid or do they get together for a picnic?

 This is a deceptively simple book about the nature of inclusiveness because the story is told solely through the use of pronouns – me, you, us, mine, yours, ours,  and so on – and the reader really has to interpret the illustrations to tell the story making it perfect for encouraging those connections between text and picture that are critical early reading behaviours.  It also means they can tell the story using their own language as they expand on the illustrations to explain what is happening , particularly if the astute adult sharing it with them guides their reading with targeted questions to draw out the events. and thus enabling the child to return to the story independently when they wish, helping them to understand that they do have power over print and they can  read. They also learn that print stays constant – they can return to it again and again whenever they wish and take as much time as they like to absorb and tell the story.  

This is another story evolving from The Book Hungry Bears television show in which the main characters share picture books, hungry to learn all they can from those they settle down to share together, encouraging young readers to do the same. 

 

 

Meanwhile Back on Earth

Meanwhile Back on Earth

Meanwhile Back on Earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile Back on Earth

Oliver Jeffers

HarperCollins, 2022

64pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

9780008555450

“In all the cosmos, this one place in our solar system is where all of the people have lived for the whole time we’ve been people. We have always thought that Earth is so big that it’s best to divide it into smaller bits/ It seems we humans have always fought each other over space.”

And so, taking the well-known quote from Edgar Mitchell, Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 14 in February 1971, who said, ” From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, “Look at that…” as inspiration, Oliver Jeffers has created  this intriguing book in which a father takes his two children on a thrilling out-of-this-world adventure into space and invites them to look back at Earth and the conflicts that have taken place since the beginning of time.  

Calculating time using the speed that most people drive at (37mph or 60kph),  he drives the children to the various planets and then takes them back a similar amount of time in Earth’s history to show the conflict that was occurring at the time. So driving to the Moon would take a year and then a left turn would be a 78 year drive to Venus which would take them back to the middle of the 20th century and World War II. Each destination is tied to something catastrophic happening on Earth. 

While this is an interesting way of looking at history, the ultimate futility of conflict and encouraging young readers to strive for peace in the future, the concept is quite abstract, almost esoteric and thus more suited to older readers who have the maturity and ability to look at things from beyond their realm of personal experience. Although the text appears simple, and Jeffers has added some wit to lighten the load, and a timeline on the endpapers encapsulates both the time and space aspects of the journey, this is one best shared in a situation where discussion and clarification can take place. 

 

Back On Country: Welcome to Our Country

Back On Country: Welcome to Our Country

Back On Country: Welcome to Our Country

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back On Country: Welcome to Our Country

Adam Goodes

Ellie Laing

David Hardy

A&U Children’s, 2022

24pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781761065088

Mum is taking David and Lucy on a road trip to visit her family and they are as excited as they are curious for this is their first time back on Country and there are so many special places to see, things to do, stories to hear and words to learn. This is their time to reconnect with their Aboriginality, and learn about their land and culture and how they fit within it from their Elders. As the children find out, it can be very emotional and spiritual as they learn of the generations who have gone before and how those ancestors continue to influence and impact their modern lives.

The third in this series, which includes Somebody’s Land and  Ceremony, young readers continue to learn about what is behind the Acknowledgement of Country that has become an integral part of the day in so many schools now.  As with the others, this is a story from the Adnyamathanha people of the Flinders ranges in South Australia, the country of author Adam Goodes. with  stunning illustrations and text featuring both English and Adnyamathanha words (which are explained in a visual glossary on the endpages).  As well as the introductory background notes on the verso, there is a QR code that leads to a reading of the story as well as teachers’ notes  available to download. 

In my opinion, this series is one of the most significant publications available to help our young children understand and appreciate the long-overdue recognition of our First Nations people in schools, so that when they hear a Welcome to Country or participate in an Acknowledgement of Country they do so with knowledge of and respect for all that is contained in the words.  

 

Amazing Animal Journeys

Amazing Animal Journeys

Amazing Animal Journeys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing Animal Journeys

Jennifer Cossins

Lothian, 2022

58pp., hbk., RRP $A26.99

9780734421432 

Each year we watch in wonder as whales transverse the humpback highways , but who knew that the humble monarch butterfly (the North American species) is on a journey that takes four or five generations to complete?

The monarch’s is just one of the amazing journeys shared in this new book that  focuses on 25 animal species from Australia and around the world including that of the Arctic tern which has the longest migration of all birds, flying from the Arctic to Antarctica and back each year, and that of the wildebeest in east Africa which is so vast it can be seen from outer space?

Once again, Jennifer Cossins has given young readers a fascinating insight into the natural world, an insight which includes  The Ultimate Animal Alphabet Book The Ultimate Animal Counting BookA-Z of Endangered Animals and Book of Curious Birds . The endpapers offer a map of some of the journeys that are covered, demonstrating that the natural world is constantly on the move, and each double page spread introduces the migratory journey of a creature from tiny to enormous, some familiar but many not so.  It includes the New Zealand longfin eels that travels upstream navigating waterfalls and dams with its unique climbing abilities, as well as the bogong moth which uses the Earth’s magnetic fields and the light of the moon and stars to navigate deep into the Snowy Mountains of NSW, although, as the author outlines, that journey is becoming more difficult with a wider impact on other wildlife. 

The more we know about the creatures with whom we share this planet, the more we are likely to be aware of their needs and necessities and thus, hopefully, begin to tread with a lighter step.  Through her works that are so interesting and readable for young readers, Jennifer Cossins is making a significant contribution to that awareness.  

Dirt by Sea

Dirt by Sea

Dirt by Sea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dirt by Sea

Michael Wagner

Tom Jellett

Puffin, 2022

40pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781760894061

When Daisy’s family join in a rendition of the national anthem while watching television, little do they know the impact it is about to have.  Because Daisy hears the lyrics as “dirt by sea” rather than “girt by sea” and even though her grandparents and father explain that “girt by sea” means being surrounded by ocean, when she looks out the window all she sees is “girt by dirt.”

It is then her dad realises that he has never taken her to the beach, let alone the ocean, and the trip he and Daisy’s mum made in their old Kombi van are fading into distant memory.  So on Christmas Day, Daisy’s gift is that old Kombi, and on Boxing Day, she and her Dad set off…

Drawing on their own experiences of childhood and adulthood road trips with families, this is a round-Australia adventure for those with the skills to be able to read and follow its graphic novel format. It starts with Daisy’s blank map of Australia on the front endpage and finishes with a completely filled in, colourful one at the back detailing their trip from south-western Queensland to Airlie Beach and beyond around the country’s coastline.

But this is more than just being a travelogue or tourist brochure. Carried along in the conversations between the two, it becomes a personal journey of development for Daisy, her relationship with her dad as he relives his life with Daisy’s mum whose absence is both noticeable and unexplained, and also Daisy’s realisation that she misses her family, and for all it might by “girt by dirt” there is still no place like home with the people and things you love and how they have helped you become who you are. By the time they make it home, neither Dad nor Daisy are the same people who left, and there is a bond between them that the reader knows will endure long into their futures. 

As the blurb says, they discover so much more than the sights and sounds of the wild and wonderful Aussie coast. 

 

How to Survive on Mars

How to Survive on Mars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Survive on Mars

Jasmina Lazendle-Galloway

CSIRO Publishing, 2022

120pp., pbk., RRP $A29.99

9781486314669

For the last couple of weeks, students have been “dreaming with their eyes open” – dreaming of what they would like to be, do and go, and, for some, that would include travelling into space, perhaps even living on another planet, like Mars.

But how to survive? With not enough air to breathe, sunlight to keep  warm, or any available food and water, life on Mars would be a challenge… but it just might be possible! In this stunning new release, the reader is taken on a journey to the Red Planet to discover natural wonders like ancient polar ice caps, the highest volcano in the solar system and a 45-kilometre-wide impact crater that was once a Martian lake. Led by astronomer and member of the National Space Society of Australia, scientists, engineers, archaeologists, ethicists and science-fiction writers have joined together to explore the planet, consider the challenges and offer solutions so those with an interest and the dream can dream on.

Photographs, activities and quizzes make it an inviting read even for those without the dream, as space tourism gathers momentum and the first crewed Mars Mission, which would include sending astronauts to Mars, orbiting Mars, and a return to Earth, is proposed for the 2030s, just as these readers will be thinking about planning gap years or family holidays. What a change from the pilgrimage to the UK of my generation!

 

 

Animal Migrations

Animal Migrations

Animal Migrations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Animal Migrations – Flying, Walking, Swimming

Diane Jackson Hill

CSIRO Publishing, 2022

80pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9781486315413 

Every year hundreds of thousands of animals trek across kilometres of land, traverse entire oceans or fly from one end of the planet to the other, and then back again. 

While drawings from the Stone Age period show hoofed animals travelling across the African savannah and  the Ancient Greeks were aware that the local birdlife disappeared and reappeared at certain times, today’s scientists are still asking questions and learning the answers as these annual journeys take place centuries on.  But why do they do this?  Where do they go? How do they find their way? How do they last the distance? How do they survive extreme weather and hungry predators? How do they navigate a landscape that includes rivers, mountains, oceans, cities and towns? 

These are the sorts of questions that our budding naturalists ask and which are answered in this new publication in an accessible layout that has lots of photos and other illustrations as well as text that is written to meet the needs of the intended audience without being too babyish or scientific. It explores the migrations of mammals, birds, insects, fish, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans and aquatic microorganisms, as well as their effect on our world, and how we can help these migrating animals.

With all the supports expected of a quality non fiction text, including a glossary, index and suggestions for further investigations this will be a valuable addition to any school library.

Wild Bush Days

Wild Bush Days

Wild Bush Days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Bush Days

Penny Harrison

Virginia Gray

Midnight Sun, 2022

32pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9780987380906

There’s a whisper among these ghosts, these craggy shadows on the hill. 

The song of a forgotten past, it tells of wild bush days, of rough and hungry times, a fierce woman tearing through the scrub…

Jessie Hickman was Australia’s bold, but little-known, Lady Bushranger. Raised in the circus during the early 1900s, she later turned to a life of crime and cattle hustling. Also referred to as the “Wild Woman of Wollemi” because she roamed the upper Blue Mountains and Lower Hunter in what is now the Wollemi National Park she used her skills as a rough-rider and tightrope walker to elude police (echoed in the illustrations in the final pages) and often hiding in a cave, deep in the mountains. 

In this lyrical and superbly illustrated new picture book, two young, modern-day adventurers go looking for that cave, accompanied by the whispers of the past calling them further on through the rough terrain, deeper and deeper into history until…

The concept of telling Hickman’s story through the eyes of the girls, the exquisite choice of language and layout and the illustrations which interpret the text bringing it to life and beyond, combine to not only introduce young readers to a little-known character in Australia’s bushranger story but also show how history can be told in a way that straddles both information and imagination, bringing it to life in a way that facts and figures don’t.  Certainly, I was off on a rabbit-hole chase to find out more…

At the same time, there is also the joy of having the freedom to explore the bush, to echo Hickman’s circus skills as the girls scramble through the undergrowth, climb rocks, traverse creeks over slippery branches, unperturbed about scratches or dirt or “danger”, inspiring a desire in the reader to just get out into the fresh air of the outdoors and explore. 

A contender for next year’s CBCA awards for sure.  

 

 

Ducks Overboard!: A True Story of Plastic in Our Oceans

Ducks Overboard!: A True Story of Plastic in Our Oceans

Ducks Overboard!: A True Story of Plastic in Our Oceans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ducks Overboard!: A True Story of Plastic in Our Oceans

Markus Motum

Walker, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781529502831

January, 1992, and far out in the Pacific Ocean in the middle of a ferocious storm, a shipping container slips silently off the deck of a cargo ship and gradually sinks to the bottom of the sea. Unlike many of these containers which sink and remain forever on the seabed, this one has been damaged by the storm and it it goes to its watery grave, it releases its cargo – thousands and thousands of plastic ducks, frogs, turtles and beavers – and they are left to travel the world’s seas, taken by wind and current.

Based on true events, this innovative story tracks the journey of one of those 28 000 little ducks as it travels on ocean currents to meet sea life and discovers the rubbish from humans that endangers our oceans., highlighting the growing problem of plastic pollution. Trapped in the vast wasteland that is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the little duck thinks it is doomed but another storm frees it and it eventually washes up on a beach where someone is actually doing something to address the problem…

With 40% of plastic that is produced designed for single use only, and an estimated 8 000 000 tonnes of it finding its way into the oceans each year, some scientists are estimating that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.  While recent, and upcoming bans on the sale of single-use plastic items will hopefully contribute to diminishing these statistics, stories like these that bring the problem into the lives of our students so they are aware of it from an early age are essential.  As well as explaining how the oceans’ currents enable these “plastic islands” to form, there are suggestions to enable individuals to make a difference such as recycling or organising a beach cleanup, but it might also spark discussions about what could be done at the class or school level, such as a toy swap or a Nude Food Week, especially if before-after comparisons are done as part of a maths challenge.  

Team this with others like Oceans of Plastic The Plastic Throne and Toy Mountain    so that even our youngest can start to make a difference.  

   

Leilong’s Too Long!

Leilong's Too Long!

Leilong’s Too Long!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leilong’s Too Long!

Julia Liu

Bel Lynn

Gecko Press, 2022

28pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

9781776574339

Leilong the brontosaurus is a very good school bus, and the children are all ready and waiting as he goes from building to building to collect them.  But being a brontosaurus in a modern city of cars and buses and trucks and people can have its drawbacks and Leilong finds himself banned and confined to the school gymnasium.  He is so upset that he cries and cries… and finds himself a new career!!

Young readers first met Leilong when he took them to  library storytime and they will be happy that he returns in another adventure. What if Leilong arrived at their school?  What uses could he have?  Have them write letters to the principal to persuade them that Leilong should stay…