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The Travelling Bookshop: Mim and the Baffling Bully

The Travelling Bookshop: Mim and the Baffling Bully

The Travelling Bookshop: Mim and the Baffling Bully

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Travelling Bookshop: Mim and the Baffling Bully

Katrina Nannestad

Cheryl Orsini

ABC Books, 2021 

224pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9780733341656

Imagine being a young girl travelling the world in an old wooden caravan pulled by a horse that decides where they will go and which seems to have magical powers that mean borders and mountains and oceans are no barriers.  And that caravan is full of books, because it, too, has a magic that means that it is like a Tardis with so much more on the inside than appears on the outside. 

That is the life of 10-year-old Miriam-Rose Cohen (who prefers Mim), her father and little brother Nat, Coco the cockatoo and Flossy the horse.  They travel to wherever they are needed, wherever there is a child in need of a book to make their world right again because “the line between books and real life is not as clear as people suppose.”

In this first episode of this new series inspired by her childhood dream of living in a double-decker bus, the author of the 2021 CBCA shortlisted We Are Wolves and the Lottie Perkins series, we are taken to a pretty Dutch village where Mim meets Willemina, a kind and gentle child, who is being bullied by Gerda. Mim is convinced that Willemina will be much happier if her dad would just find her the right book, but is it really Willemina who needs it? 

This is a brand new series that had me at its title, took a greater hold at the image of little Nat being secured to the caravan’s roof because his dad nailed his pants to it, and held me right through to the end with its quirky characters and madcap adventures that will transport any reader far away from this gloomy, long winter. It’s the stuff that allows the imagination to run wild and starts dreams -that just might come true. 

Leilong the Library Bus

Leilong the Library Bus

Leilong the Library Bus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leilong the Library Bus

Julia Liu

Dei Lynn

Gecko Press, 2021

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

9781776573325

The children are late for storytime at the library. Ever helpful, Leilong the enthusiastic dinosaur can get them there one time but riding a brontosaurus through the city can cause issues, When they finally get there, he is not allowed in because his  small head is the only part of him that fits and besides, he doesn’t have a library card.  Rules are rules!  So he must listen through the window. But he gets so excited by the story, he starts to shake the building. and risks destroying the library. When he is ordered out, the children walk out too –  and the library is left empty.  Is there a compromise?

No matter where in the world we live, children love and deserve stories and a quick internet search brings up lots of innovative ways that this has been achieved when going to a physical library is not possible.  From the packhorse librarians of Kentucky to the boom in tiny street libraries adults have found ways to get books into the hands of children, so why not a dinosaur?

This is a charming, unique story that will delight young readers and help them understand just how lucky they are to have access to such a wealth of stories right there in their school!!!

This is NOT a Book!

This is NOT a Book!

This is NOT a Book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is NOT a Book!

Kellie Byrnes

Aska

EK Books, 2021 

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

9781925820508

In this brightly illustrated book. the main character is convinced they’re not in a book How can they be when they are real?  After all, if this were a book, there’d be pages to turn … Oops! We’ve turned the page. But that’s not proof this is a book.

Even if there are pages to turn, there would be things happening and there would be a focus and other characters, a distinct time period and exciting settings, action to be involved in, problems to solve . yet, to him, there is nothing happening, despite what is being portrayed in the illustrations.

it is one of four books from this publisher – the others are The Art of Words  The Leaky Story and My Storee – that focus on metafiction, helping young readers become young writers. Told by the main character (who is deliberately not identified by gender) in a monologue, the text in this story says one thing whilst in the illustrations the opposite is happening, showing that all the elements  the character says should be in a book -main and subsidiary characters, settings, plots, problems, resolutions and so forth – are actually there. 

This is a novel way to help children turn their ideas into written stories to share with others and teachers’ notes are available.

 

 

Poo and Other Words That Make Me Laugh

Poo and Other Words That Make Me Laugh

Poo and Other Words That Make Me Laugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poo and Other Words That Make Me Laugh

Felice Arena

Tom Jellett

ABC Books, 2021

40pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9780733341427

There are some words that toll off the tongue so smoothly that you just want to say them again and again for the sheer joy of it.  My own two favourites are mugwump and ragamuffin, and in this hilarious book, Felice Arena has collected a whole lot more. Words like bumbershoot and wishy-washy and hullabaloo and, of course, poo!

Accompanied by Tom Jellett’s bold illustrations, this is a book that celebrates the sounds of our language as well as introducing a whole range of vocabulary for each word is real and has its definition included at the end. It invites the reader to contribute their own favourites and this, in turn, sets up the opportunity to play with rhythm with a voice orchestra.  Have small groups of children repeat a word over and over -its syllables will give the rhythm – and then combine them to make something magical.  Imagine the combinations if your EALD students added their favourite words in their language – and taught the others what they meant.

Books should be entertaining and this is indeed, that!

Scoop McLaren: Waves of Mystery

Scoop McLaren: Waves of Mystery

Scoop McLaren: Waves of Mystery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scoop McLaren: Waves of Mystery

Helen Castles

New Frontier, 2020

170pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781922326010

Scoop McLaren is the thirteen-year-old news editor of her own online newspaper Click! Her role model is her dad  (who runs his own newspaper too) and he has taught her that delivering the news is an extremely important job because people rely on it so they can be properly informed.  Together with Evie, her roving reporter best friend, the girls strive to keep the residents of their seaside village of Higgity Harbour informed while using their sleuthing skills to solve some curious mysteries along the way. 

This is the second episode in this series for independent readers and in it Scoop has another mystery to solve. When Fletcher, her childhood friend enters the Higgity Harbour top surfing competition, strange things start happening… It looks like someone could be out to stop Fletcher from winning! With her roving reporter, Evie, by her side, Scoop investigates all avenues. Can she track down and rescue her friend to solve this monster wave of a mystery once and for all?

Series remain popular with young readers as they become so familiar with the characters they not only see them as friends but also see themselves as being in the story, rather than an arm’s length observer.  So as our readers head back to the library to see what is new and exciting after the long summer break, new additions to favourite series are pounced upon starting the reading journey for the year.  This series is for those who like a mystery that has realistic, relatable characters and the promise of more episodes to come…the last page ends on a cliff-hanger ensuring another one won’t be far away.. 

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….