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Which Egg?

Which Egg?

Which Egg?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which Egg?

Roxane Gajadhar

Rob Foote

Little Steps, 2022

28pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

 9781922678584

When a huge wind blows the eggs of Stork, Parrot and Crocodile off their nests so they all end up in a jumble,  who knows which egg is which? Luckily, they have the sense and patience to wait for the eggs to hatch, and sure enough they are able to tell which baby belongs to which parent.

 Even though the theme of whose egg is whose is familiar, nevertheless it sets up all sorts of investigations for young children to follow.  Stork, Crocodile and Parrot each mentions a particular characteristic that their baby will have to enable them to identify them so not only could the child predict what that might be, but they could also think about what might be the significant indicator for other creatures they know, such as a zebra having stripes, and maybe setting up a parent-child matching game.  This could lead to them looking at themselves and their parents and seeing what of which they share.

More broadly they could start to develop their research skills by investigating which creatures hatch from eggs – clearly it’s not just birds. Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones was always my go-to text for this  and the children were always fascinated with what they learned, often leading into questions about their own origins.  

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 and which is becoming one of my favourite series for young readers because of the places they can go because of their reading.

Toodle the Cavoodle: Sniffle Snuffle

Toodle the Cavoodle

Toodle the Cavoodle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toodle the Cavoodle: Sniffle Snuffle

Richard Tulloch

Heidi Cooper Smith

Big Sky, 2022

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

9781922765772

Toodle the Cavoodle like to sniffle and snuffle because there were always lots of smells to tickle his nose.  

Sweet smells and sticky smells, muddy smells and messy smells, stink y smells, sweaty smells and could-be-good-to-eat smells…

But now the grandparents of Lillipilly Lane want to clean up the old abandoned scritchy-scratchy grass patch with its rusty cans, plastic bottles and old car and make it a safe play area for the sparkly-sandals girl and the other neighbourhood children.  Smelly sneakers grandpa and grubby-gumboots grandma shoo him away but can disaster be averted when he takes refuge in the old car?

This is a new picture book series for young readers – Whoops-a-diddle is due in December – that will delight dog lovers with its charming artwork and roll-off-the-tongue language that changes a simple story into a family favourite.  

Both the Australian Curriculum  and the new NSW syllabus have a focus on how the use of particular vocabulary promotes imagery and understanding of texts, and this is a perfect example of how the clever use of both alliteration and onomatopoeia combined with inspired design can invoke all the senses to make reading a 3D experience in the way that only print can.  Young readers will love hearing and playing with the language and then making up their own – have a look at their own shoes and think of how they would describe themselves, and then the  two words they would use for their grandpa or grandma or teacher or…? Have them lie in the grass and discuss how it feels or sniff the air and see what they can identify.  Apart from playing with language, there are extensive, AC-linked teachers’ notes available.

Taking it further is the hallmark of a quality read and this does it so well.   

 

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. 

 

 

Willa and Woof 2: Birthday Business

Willa and Woof 2: Birthday Business

Willa and Woof 2: Birthday Business

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Willa and Woof 2: Birthday Business

Jacqueline Harvey

Puffin, 2022

128pp., pbk., RRP $A 12.99

9781761043321

Willa’s best old-age-friend Frank hates birthdays, but that’s not going to stop her from throwing him the greatest surprise party ever!

Willa plunges headlong into party planning and things immediately start to go wrong. Why don’t older people look forward to and celebrate birthdays as enthusiastically as the young?  She’ll need all her problem-solving skills (with the help of Tae, her best same-age friend, and her trusty sidekick Woof) to save the celebration!

Can Willa pull off the surprise?

This is the second in this new series from popular Jacqueline Harvey, with the third, Grandparents for Hire due in January, ensuring young readers do not have to wait long between reads for the next episode to whet their appetite.  As with the first, it is created for younger readers who are consolidating their skills and need quality writing, interesting characters and relatable plots, supported by short chapters, a larger font and illustrations.  

In my review of the first one, Mimi is MissingI suggested offering it to a reluctant reader and asking them to read it and assess whether it will be worth buying the additions that follow, and so this could be the consolidation read – is the series living up to expectations?  To extend their thinking, you could invite them to think about what more they learned about the characters in this new story and have them build a summary of characters such as this, so others can get to know them and follow the relationships…

This could then become part of a bigger display called Select-A-Series created by students summarising their own favourite series to persuade others to extend their reading horizons, as well as giving real purpose and context for reading as they become more critical readers, encouraged to pause and think about what they are reading rather than skimming the pages and looking for what’s next.   To add depth it could become part of a poll to find the most popular series for the year, making and building on the display for the entire year ensuring student-centred learning and participation.  

Federal Minister for Education Jason Clare is currently spruiking a proposal for providing teachers with lesson plans, returning to a cookie-cutter approach that focuses on the subject rather than the student, so this could be a way of providing something that meets curriculum outcomes but in a highly personalised way, 

Quickly Slowly Day

Quickly Slowly Day

Quickly Slowly Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quickly Slowly Day

Martin Baynton

Rob Foote

Little Steps, 2022

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

9781922678515

Slowly up the steep steps, quickly down the slide

Slowly count to twenty, quickly try to hide.

The passage of time is one of the most abstract and difficult concepts for little children to understand, particularly when some things seem to pass quickly while others drag on and on. So this rhyming story featuring Baby Bear and his Mama introduces them to the vocabulary of ‘quickly’ and ‘slowly’ by sharing a day and showing the difference between the two terms.  Not only will young children relate to the activities, but they could also have fun classifying which of their own activities would be in the ‘quickly’ column and which in the ‘slowly’. This could be extended to embrace means of transport or animal movement, all the while consolidating and extending vocabulary in an interactive way.

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. With so much screen-based interaction for our littlies, taking the time to share a story and discuss it with them, is critical so they learn about the constancy of print and the potential that the stories offer, and particularly that they can return to them time and time again and even build their own stories.  

Slowly choose a book, slowly read the pages,

Slowly share the words, Let’s make this last for ages.

 

Peppa Pig: A Trip to the Moon

Peppa Pig: A Trip to the Moon

Peppa Pig: A Trip to the Moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peppa Pig: A Trip to the Moon

Peppa Pig

Ladybird, 2022

28pp., hbk., RRP $A16.99

9780241610664

Prepare for take-off! George and his friend Edmond love pretending to be astronauts.

But what will happen when they go on a trip to the moon?

Familiar characters are back in this print version of a popular episode enabling our youngest readers to put what they already know of the story into a retelling of it for themselves. As our littlest viewers start moving towards preschool and big school and the promise of learning to read, supports such as this go a long way to developing those expectations and early reading behaviours that promote success.  So as well as extending their vocabulary and developing concepts for places they will only know vicariously, but will meet in other stories, we should not under-estimate the role these sorts of cross-overs play as we endeavour to build readers. 

Tatty Mouse Rockstar

Tatty Mouse Rockstar

Tatty Mouse Rockstar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tatty Mouse Rockstar

Hilary Robinson

Mandy Stanley

Catch A Star, 2022

16pp., board book., RRP $A14.99

 9781922326553

Tatty Mouse wants to play in her brother’s band, but given they already have a guitarist, a saxophonist and a singer, she has to find a place.  Known as the ‘mend-it, make-it mouse”, and so, after consulting a book she decides on maracas and drums and sets to, using everyday objects from her home to make her own musical instruments.

The board book format lends itself perfectly to a lift-the-flap experience for our youngest readers as they follow Tatty Mouse’s instructions, perhaps making their own versions as they do because everything she uses is readily available.  

Catch A Star continues to recognise the need for even our youngest readers to have engaging stories that are sturdy enough in their own hands so they can mimic the reading of those who read to them, a critical step in becoming a reader, and this is no exception. The text is simple but the story can be followed without being able to read it because the pictures are colourful and clearly amplify what the words say, while the lift-the-flap and the invitation to do so adds to the engagement.  Above all, this format shows little ones the value of the constancy of print – rather than being a fleeting image on a screen, it is one they can return to again and again, not just to enjoy Tatty’s inventiveness but also to explore their own. 

 

Willa and Woof 1: Mimi is Missing

Willa and Woof 1: Mimi is Missing

Willa and Woof 1: Mimi is Missing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Willa and Woof 1: Mimi is Missing

Jacqueline Harvey

Puffin, 2022

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

9781761043314

Willa’s four-legged best friend is her albino wolfhound, Woof; her same-age best friend is Tae Jin whose name means “person of greatness” in Korean; and her old-age best friend is Frank Pickles who lives next door in the retirement village and is very old and very grumpy with crinkly skin and bags under his eyes.  Willa visits him almost every day and listens to his stories about how he used to race pigeons when he was younger, although now he only has Mimi in the aviary in his tiny back yard. 

So when Willa discovers Mimi is missing and she thinks it is her fault because she didn’t latch the cage properly, she is devastated and, after searching everywhere, hatches a plot to lure her home.  But when that backfires, she knows she has to confess to Frank – but then she discovers he is missing too…

Told by Willa herself with that typical young-person humour, this is the first in a new series from the author of Clementine Rose, Alice-Miranda, and Kensy and Max , created for younger readers who are consolidating their skills and need quality writing, interesting characters and relatable plots, supported by short chapters, a larger font and illustrations.  For me, one of its strengths is the small group of main characters who are interesting even though they don’t stray too far from what is expected allowing the reader to take in the whole story without having to think too much about who’s who and their relationships.  At the same time though, there are those who play a minor role in this story but who will most likely pop up again in sequels, establishing a network that will become familiar.  This is a key reason that series are particularly popular with readers – they can bring their prior knowledge of the characters to the page and get stuck into the story itself without having to be distracted.

While I think this is a series that is going to build into becoming as popular with young readers as its predecessors, why not offer it to a reluctant reader and ask them to read and assess whether it will be worth buying the additions that follow, ensuring that they support their judgement..  Giving them context and purpose for their reading could be just the bridge they need to cross…  (And if they’re not hooked, you’ve started a conversation about what they do like to read, as well as the opportunity to give it to others on a 2/3 basis for purchase.) 

Backyard Buddies

Backyard Buddies

Backyard Buddies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Backyard Buddies

Andy Geppert

Lothian, 2022

24pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9780734421470

There are lots of creatures and critters that live in our backyards that fascinate our young readers – things like butterflies, spiders, blue-tongue lizards and even pet rocks.  So this “somewhat factual introduction to the hoppy, crawly, wriggly, buzzy,[and] fluttery ” that little ones are likely to see will be a welcome addition to help answer their questions.  

Beginning with the front endpage offering a contents list that relies on the reader recognising the shape of the creature they want to investigate (encouraging visual acuity), each has its own double-page spread that has lots of pictures including visual cues about when to see it and whether it is safe to touch or not as well as an easily readable description.

Butterflies are like moths – just fancier.

They fly around during the daytime to show off their pretty, colourful wings. This is probably why moths prefer to only come out at night.

As well as offering our youngest readers an understanding that books can be about real things so their questions can be answered, thus introducing the concept of non fiction, like its predecessor Backyard Birdies , it could even inspire the young backyard naturalist to be more aware of their surroundings, perhaps starting a chart to record their observations and  beginning to develop their skills in data gathering, mapping and interpretation! To help parents and teachers encourage this exploration of the immediate environment, there are teachers’ notes that suggest activities that go beyond the pages to investigating life cycles, adaptation and even how humans interact with the creatures.  Even though they might have the ‘don’t touch” symbol, does that make them an enemy to be killed? Or does everything have a place? Scope for a range of ages… 

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur Hide and Seek

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur Hide and Seek

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur Hide and Seek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur Hide and Seek

Janeen Brian

Ann James

Puffin, 2022 

10pp., board book, RRP $A16.99

9780143777427

The dirty dinosaur is back and this time he’s looking for his friends – Bird, feathery and flittery, tweety and twittery; Bee, busy and buzzy, stripy and fuzzy – and all the others.  But it seems like they’re hiding from him and the young reader is going to have to think about where they might be in the landscape and lift the flaps to discover them!

Rhyme, rhythm, repetition, dinosaurs and interactivity – the perfect combination to engage young readers in endless hours of fun as they tell themselves the story over and over again, and delight in their success as they uncover the hiding places!!!  Who can be hoppy, water ploppy like Frog? Or slippery, silver tail flippery like Fish?

Once again, links to research and memes about the importance of reading with the very young are doing the social media rounds, and it’s books like this one that are going to be the hook,  And, to me, even more powerful than reading a story (1825 if one a day in the first five years; 5475 if you share a familiar, a first-read and a favourite) is offering one that they can then read themselves! 

This one is a winner!!!