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Pages & Co (series)

Pages & Co (series)

Pages & Co (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tilly and the Bookwanderers 

9780008229863

 

Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales

9780008229900

 

Tilly and the Map of Stories

9780008229948

HarperCollins, 2018-2020

400+pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

 

 

“From outside on the busy north London high street, Pages & Co looked like an entirely normal bookshop. but once inside it didn’t quite make sense how everything fitted inside its ordinary walls. The shop was made up of five floors of corners and cubbyholes, sofas and squashy armchairs, and a labyrinth of bookshelves heading off in different direction.  A spiral staircase danced up one wall, and painted wooden ladders stretched into difficult-to-reach corners.  Tall arched windows above made it feel a little like a church when the light spilled in and danced on the air. When it was good weather the sun pooled on the floor and the bookshop cat – named Alice for her curious nature- could often be found dozing in the warmest spots.  During the summer the big fireplace behind the till was filled to bursting with fresh flowers, but at is was October, a fire was roaring there…”

Does this not conjure up every booklover’s dream of a magical place, a bookstore where magic and mysteries, adventures and escapades beckon?  And for it to be the home of Tilly who prefers the company of book characters to the people in real life and, although not having been outside London, is a seasoned traveller within the pages of the books that abound on the shelves just shouts that this is going to be a series for booklovers and readers that will deliver all that is expected and more.

But what if your favourite characters could not only come out of the books and have real-life conversations with you but could also take you back into the book to have your very own adventure within the story? Tilly discovers that this is part of her relationship with her books and that, unlike other series where it is a secret power, this one is shared by her family,  There is much more to her grandfather and grandmother and the family’s history and lives than she ever imagined. Bookwandering is what this family does, and it might explain the mysterious disappearance of her mother and the absence of her father.

Created for independent readers or perfect for classroom read-alouds, this is a series that really needs to be read from the first one in order so that the subsequent adventures have context but it will have the book lover hooked from the start, regardless of their age, and wishing they too could bookwander into the magical, mystical world of their favourite characters.  I just loved it!!! Once your students know about it they will be queuing up!

 

Wreck This Picture Book

Wreck This Picture Book

Wreck This Picture Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wreck This Picture Book

Keri Smith

Puffin, 2020

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

 9780241449455

Wreck This Picture Book seems like an odd title for a book, conjuring up images of scissors, crayons and sticky fingers working their worst. But rather it is an invitation to the reader to not treat a book as a holy grail to be placed under glass or left on the shelf untouched.

“A book becomes more beautiful and alive when it is explored regularly” changing each time the reader reads it because the reader themselves, has changed.  Yesterday’s read might have been in a peaceful calm place with the reader in a tranquil mood; today’s read the exact opposite. To be totally engaged with the story requires being totally engaged with the container it is in so we are encouraged to use all our senses to explore the book from listening to the sounds it makes to taking a deep sniff of its unique smell to leaving a secret message for the next reader.  Because it is what we bring to a book – our beliefs, attitudes, understandings and emotions – that bring it alive for us and make it memorable, or not. 

This book shows our readers that reading is not a passive activity that just involves decoding lines of text, but is one that requires involvement, reading between and beyond the lines not just along them and making connections and conversations.  It inspires you to think about how you read as well as what you read, and see that to-be-read pile as an opportunity for adventures a=plenty.

 

Untwisted: The Story of My Life

Untwisted: The Story of My Life

Untwisted: The Story of My Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Untwisted: The Story of My Life

Paul Jennings

Allen & Unwin, 2020

336pp., hbk., RRP $A34.99

9781760525828

When you give a story to someone else to read, it is like sending out your love. If it is rejected it is a horrible experience. It takes courage to reveal your own soul to just one person, let alone put it into print. You make yourself incredibly vulnerable.” 

But since 1983 when he was searching for a lighthouse in a stormy sea of a marriage breakdown, being a single dad to four children, and an uncertain professional future because of the change in his personal circumstances, Paul Jennings has been making himself vulnerable and to the harshest of critics – children. 

And since 1985 when his first short story collection Unreal was published, generations  of kids have been grateful that he has had the courage to show his vulnerability. He has shared 125 individual stories and sold 10 000 000 copies of them, changing the reading lives of hundreds of thousands of kids. And I, as a teacher and teacher librarian for 50 years have been privileged to see those changes and the impact they have had.

Forty odd years ago the children’s literature world was starting to change and while there were the established authors like Southall and Thiele (both heroes of Jennings) there was  no one like this person who offered short stories that could be read in a sitting that brought a world of kids’ humour and interests to life. No one who touched on “unmentionable” subjects in a way that challenged more conservative teachers to read them aloud when the kids demanded them and certainly no one had reluctant readers, mostly boys, demanding time to read, lining up at the library door to be the first to get the new release, talking about books and reading in a way they never had before.  But here, in my classrooms, it was happening – this former lecturer in Reading Education and Children with Special Needs put his professional knowledge to work, wittingly or not, and wrote the sorts of stories that these readers were craving (even if they didn’t know it because they had already written themselves off as readers.)

And perhaps, with this memoir that shows that Jennings was no silver-spoon kid, the reading journeys of another generation will take a new turn as they explore new ground.  This is not a book written for children specifically; it is not one of those that picks out the salient turning points in a life and condenses the achievements into a quick-read factual account but it is one about someone whom the children know and love; whose work they are directly familiar with and which may open up the world of autobiographies and biographies to them. 

There have already been many reviews and articles and so forth written by luminaries of the literary world about this book, its contents and quality, that I don’t need to add to them. Suffice to say that it is as engaging as his stories and that in the hands of an independent aficionado of even a young age, it could be a turning point. Jennings himself says that he believes his journey as a writer has been a journey about seeking love and acceptance starting as a six-year-old dressing as a pirate for the attention it afforded him, a journey that cast him as the “silly son” who finally returns home to discover himself because he has learned what is important. So, if him, then why not me? As he says, a real story is told, not plotted.

The Lost Library

The Lost Library

The Lost Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lost Library

Jess McGeachin

Puffin. 2020

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

9781760892715

Oliver has just moved house and is surprised to find a book left behind in his new cupboard, one that is inscribed “Please return to The Lost Library.”  Being a book lover he knows he needs to do that, but where is this Lost Library? His family is too busy to help but his new friend Rosie knows who to ask and so they head to the local library to talk to the librarian. 

Before Rosie has a chance to ask, Oliver slips the book in the Returns chute and suddenly the floor opens up beneath them! Suddenly they find themselves hurtling down into the hidden depths of The Lost Library and all sorts of adventures as they try to find their way back again.  It’s amazing where your imagination, a good friend and the power of stories can take you…

This is another enchanting and different story from the author of Fly that will be read over and over as a new layer is revealed each time. 

The Puffin Book of Big Dreams

The Puffin Book of Big Dreams

The Puffin Book of Big Dreams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Puffin Book of Big Dreams

Puffin, 2020

256pp., hbk., RRP $A32.99

9780241438206

In 1940, Allen Lane, the founder of Penguin Publishing published four books for the children who had been evacuated to the country in wartorn England, and began something that 80 years on is still going strong in yet another time of world turmoil. Those four books were factual – War on Land, War at Sea, War in the Air and On the Farm – but within a year the first fiction was being published, amongst the early titles, Worzel Gummidge .

From the earliest days of those big dreams of establishing a publishing house dedicated to literature for children, to establishing the Puffin Club with its special badge, secret code and fundraising to purchase a piece of the Yorkshire coast to establish a Puffin sanctuary, hundreds of books with quality stories from both new and established authors in both picture book and novel format have been offered to our young readers all around the world. There have been many unique instances of recognition of both the books and brand along the way, and this compendium, published to celebrate this milestone birthday, brings together old and new in a collection of stories and excerpts that encourage newly independent reader to  dream wild, dream bold, dream far, dream brave, dream kind and dream forever.

As well as introducing new authors who may be the household names of the future, there are also stories from those familiar to a different generation who will delight in introducing their childhood favourites to their offspring, perhaps opening new horizons and genres to be explored and memories to be shared. Who could read about trogglehumpers, bogthumpers and grobswitchers and not want to find out more about what was aggravating The BFG? Wouldn’t my grandchildren like to know why I have such an affinity with this story and why I’ve shared it with nearly every child I’ve ever taught.

With more than 60 stories and poems in the collection, this one volume has the potential to become a year of bedtime stories as young readers follow byways and pathways into new worlds, realising the original dream of turning children into readers and making a little bird an instantly recognisable symbol of innovative, quality stories for generations.

IMO, this is the ideal book for the teacher’s toolbox, particularly a new graduate just starting on their journey because it is such a go-to for those times for a time-out and just experiencing joy and pleasure. Who knows where a rabbit-hole might lead….

Beware! Ralfy Rabbit and the Secret Book Biter

Beware! Ralfy Rabbit and the Secret Book Biter

Beware! Ralfy Rabbit and the Secret Book Biter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beware! Ralfy Rabbit and the Secret Book Biter

Emily Mackenzie

Bloomsbury, 2020

32pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781408892091

Ralfy Rabbit loves to read but when his new baby brother arrives,  his peace is constantly shattered and he can not find anywhere quiet to read and enjoy his stories.  He finally ventures to the library which works well until he is embarrassed to find a huge bite taken out of his library book!  

Using his special detective kit he sets out to find who is responsible but when he discovers the culprit (along with several other books with bites taken out of them), the solution isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. 

All lovers of books and reading can relate to Ralfy’s dismay when he finds his precious books damaged, and this is a charming story for early readers who have younger siblings who haven’t yet learned about taking care of things.  And once they discover who the biter is, they can have fun predicting how the problem might be solved. What would they do if they were Ralfy?

The Battle of Book Week

The Battle of Book Week

The Battle of Book Week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Battle of Book Week

Kate & Jol Temple

Georgia Norton Lodge

Allen & Unwin, 2020

206pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781760875572

It begins when Alice Toolie becomes a library monitor and demands that Jimmy Cook  returns a library book, Princess Snow Cone and the Snuggle Panda Sleepover which she claims he has had forever and consequently banning him from borrowing any library books until it is returned.  Jimmy Cook denies all knowledge of the book but is desperate to maintain his borrowing privileges as he needs to learn as much about space as possible before his upcoming voyage there.  The conversation sparks a furious exchange of notes and messages and continues as Jimmy eventually gets the signatures he needs to a petition to become a library monitor himself and thus have unlimited access to the books.

But when Book Week is imminent and the two are required to work together to organise activities, particularly a visit by two unknown-to-them authors, the rivalry and hilarity reaches new levels as each tries to claim the glory. Ms Murtle, the librarian, fires them, and the only way they can get their positions back is to win the Book Parade – but that means having to work together…

 This is an engaging easy read told in the notes and messages between Alice and Jimmy that will have those newly independent readers thoroughly entertained and looking for the others in the series if they have not yet discovered them.  With its humour, format and clever graphics it is the perfect forerunner to this year’s CBCA celebrations as Alice and Jimmy decide who will be the unicorn’s bottom! Who comes out on top and is the disappearance of Princess Snow Cone and the Snuggle Panda Sleepover resolved?

Boo Loves Books

Boo Loves Books

Boo Loves Books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boo Loves Books

Kaye Baillie

Tracie Grimwood

New Frontier, 2020

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

9781922326027

Phoebe is not the most confident reader in Miss Spinelli’s class and does whatever she can to avoid it for fear of showing her inability to both her teacher and her classmates. But Miss Spinelli is smart and knows what is behind Phoebe’s reluctance and so she organises an excursion to the local animal shelter. Phoebe’s tummy is in knots until she meets Big Boo who is just as nervous as she is.  And then the magic happens…

Many of our younger readers believe that “real” reading is making no mistakes at all, and rather than display their lack of confidence, choose not to read at all because they fear being judged by their audience.  So finding someone or something to read to that does not judge, does not comment, but just enjoys the sound and the rhythm of the words can often be the key to unlocking the reader within.  This is a charming story that will not only give many of our students a confidence boost as they relate to Phoebe but also up conversations about what a “real” reader does, including making those inevitable mistakes. 

And while it might not be possible to visit a dog shelter or have a dog visit the classroom, there is always a teddy who is willing to listen! 

I Don’t Want to Be Quiet!

I Don't Want to Be Quiet!

I Don’t Want to Be Quiet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Want to Be Quiet!

Laura Ellen Anderson

Bloomsbury, 2020

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

9781526602442

Being quiet is not on her agenda.  She wants to be loud.  Chatting, humming, stomping, drumming, slurping, burping – whatever the activity it has to be done at the maximum number of decibels. Until she goes to the library, picks up a book and learns the lessons of silence…

While “put yourself on mute” is likely to be a widely understood and commonly used phrase in the weeks to come, it probably wouldn’t have any effect on the little girl in this rollicking rhyme which is the antithesis of children being “seen but not heard!”  She barrels through her days at the top of her lungs creating the sweet sounds of silence once she has passed but making those around her wish they could mute her while she is there.  She reminds me of me when I was little, the only girl amongst eight boys and needing to be noticed! 

In fact, Laura Ellen Anderson seems to have such a knack of reminding me of my childhood in her stories with I Don’t Want to Be Small  and I Don’t Want Curly Hair that I’m beginning to wonder if she is, in fact, my mum writing using  nom-de-plume. (Only because I know she is no longer with us, am I sure it’s not!)  In the meantime, our young readers are treated to another fast-paced story that will resonate with them, and perhaps they too, will learn the value of listening.  It’s an important lesson to learn.

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

9780241428139

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.