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Look Up! Numbers, Colours and Shapes in Architecture

Look Up! Numbers, Colours and Shapes in Architecture

Look Up! Numbers, Colours and Shapes in Architecture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look Up! Numbers, Colours and Shapes in Architecture

Antonia Pesenti

Little Hare, 2018

48pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9781760125240

For the most part, our children are surrounded by buildings – manmade structures that are carefully designed and constructed to be as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional.  In this book, with the help of a little snail who carries is building on his back, young readers are encouraged to take a closer look at the features of these buildings and discover numbers, colours and shapes. 

Using 18 well-known buildings from around the world such as the Tate Modern in London, St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow and the Seattle Central Library, the various features are pointed out using a minimum of words – those that have been used are explained using colour or shape or numbers – as the visual elements of each are the most important. Very young readers can use these clues to find the parts of the building that matches them while starting to build the basic maths concepts. 

In the late 1980s maths trails were a much-loved phenomenon to help students understand the concepts of number and shape as they were encouraged to find examples of each in their environment as they followed a set of clues.  They loved the investigative nature of the quest, being in the outdoors and the challenge of completing their task before another team.  Students from Kindy to Year 6 could be found exploring their environment, eagerly talking numbers, shapes, measurement and other maths concepts So this book would be the ideal precursor to revitalising that activity. Older students could use it as a model for developing their own maths trail around the school or local area.

For those who have an emphasis on STEM its application is broad – creating models of the buildings featured or being challenged to construct buildings that feature four red towers that are pyramids (for example).  A double-page spread at the end identifies all the featured buildings so others might like to map the locations of the buildings and plan a journey to visit them, costing it for future reference.

Sometimes the seemingly simplest  of books offer the greatest wealth of ideas – and this is up there.  If nothing else, the book demonstrates that we are surrounded by mathematics – it’s not just something confined to a slot in the school timetable.

What’s That There?

What's That There?

What’s That There?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s That There?

Ros Moriarty

Balarinji

Allen & Unwin, 2017 

24pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781760297817

Australia is more than a landscape of endless red plains and grey-green gum trees, and in this vividly illustrated book younger readers are encouraged to look more closely at the landscape around them.

Using a predictable text pattern of both question and answer and repetition, the reader is invited to examine the bird’s-eye view of the landscape and engage with the illustrations to identify what it is the bird sees.

What’s that there?

“That’s the rushing river’s curly bend,” cries the sea eagle perched on a swaying, knotted branch. “There, look!”

And in stunning pictures, based on traditional Aboriginal designs and created by Balarinji established by the author and her husband, the astute young reader can indeed pick out the river winding through and the sea eagle from its on-high perch.  Or the hawk soaring over the “cliff face sharp with sun-scorched stones glinting”. Or “the dry, cracked billabong sleeping”  that the stick-bug clinging to the peeling tree bark sees.

As well as being a celebration of the country and its creatures, the poetic text and the stunning illustrations introduce landscapes that may be familiar but but are unseen as we race through life, not pausing to see things through artistic or linguistic eyes, Not only does it encourage us to slow down and think about what we are seeing, it also offers a different perspective.  What do the tops of the grey-green bush look like to the magpies, currawongs and crimson rosellas that are always flying over and around my house? What do they make of the dun coloured, drought-affected grasses that stretch between the trees? 

Understanding and using the bird’s-eye view perspective where things are seen from above, often an unfamiliar angle for our little ones, is a difficult concept to grasp and yet it is an essential skill of mapping and “unplugged coding” so this book is an intriguing way of introducing them to that concept, perhaps even challenging them to try their hand at interpreting their own surroundings from such a perspective. 

 For those who want to explore a different aspect, there is a translation of the English into the Yanyuwa language (spoken in families in Borroloola , NT) at the end which not only allows the young readers of those families to see and read stories in their own language as part of the author’s Indi Kindi initiative but also demonstrates that not everyone speaks English as their first language offering the opportunity to explore the languages spoken by classmates and families and celebrate the value of that first language.  

For a seemingly simple, 24 page book there is so much packed into this, it is a must-have in your collection.

More artwork created by Balarinji

More artwork created by Balarinji

Hello to You, Moon

Hello to You, Moon

Hello to You, Moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello to You, Moon

Sally Morgan

Sonny & Biddy

Little Hare, 2017

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99   

9781760125462

When little people draw the curtains on the day, snuggle down and close their eyes, little do they know that a whole different world is waking up. 

From the fading of the light  through to the twinkling black and on until the dawning of the new day, as the constellations shift across the heavens and Moon completes its journey for another night, across the world nocturnal creatures are getting on with their lives, each paying homage to that timeless orb that will outlast and outlive them as it has done for generations of their forbears. From the kangaroo coughing at the moon at dusk in an Australian desert, to the jungles of Asia where sun-bears snuffle and grunt and to the still silence of the extra-long Antarctic night where penguins scurry and honk, the planet is populated by species that prefer the cool light of the moon to the bright heat of the sun. And while not all of them are strictly nocturnal, nevertheless all respond to the moon through movement and sound that little ones will like to mimic. 

Stunningly illustrated in the details, textures and colours of the night, and building as a counting story, author and illustrators have brought the after-dark to life introducing the youngest readers to the nocturnal world in a way that will make them want to learn more about what else is up and about while they sleep and why they choose dark over light.  It may also encourage curiosity about the Moon – why does it change shape; where does it go in the daytime; why can we sometimes see it in the day and not at night – but my favourite activity is to get them to listen to the sounds of night falling and imagine those things that are tucking themselves in for the night as they are and those things that are waking and greeting their new ‘day’.  

Formal  teaching notes are available.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

In-Between Things

In-Between Things

In-Between Things

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In-Between Things

Priscilla Tey

Candlewick Press, 2018

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

9780763689834

In between the covers of this book is a rollicking story about a cat and a dog who explore all the things in between things in the house. 

The cat is between that table that’s green and the chair with the tear sitting right over there,

The dog is between the floor and the cat (and does not enjoy being in the middle like that!)

As well as exploring all sorts of physical things like the glass of the fishbowl between keeping the fish wet and us dry,  there are all sorts of hybrids like mixed colours, spoons and forks called sporks, skirts and shorts that make skorts,  and dancing with a jig and a wiggle makes a jiggle that makes everyone giggle! 

As well as learning the language of position which is such an important maths concept, young readers will delight in examining the highly detailed illustrations for more examples of in-between while at the same time enjoying the rhyme and rhythm of a story that takes an everyday concept and turns it into a story.

 

Roald Dahl’s 1 2 3

Roald Dahl's 1 2 3

Roald Dahl’s 1 2 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roald Dahl’s 1 2 3

Roald Dahl

Quentin Blake

Puffin, 2018

16pp., board book., RRP $A12.99

9780241330364

What happens when you mix the master storytelling of Roald Dahl, iconic bright illustrations by Quentin Blake and the time-proven format of a counting book?  You get a fantastic book for very young readers that introduces them to an author/illustrator combination that will delight them for years.

Using The Enormous Crocodile as its base, young children will delight in seeing all the other chiddlers gather to play in the park while at the same time, in true pantomime style, wanting to yell out at warn them about what they can see hiding in the bushes.  Counting books are plentiful, those that tell a story not-so, and those which build to a climax that is only resolved by a cunning lift-the-flap conclusion, rare.  This book ticks so many essential boxes in helping our youngest readers continue their reading journey with confidence and independence  knowing that the BEST books tell a story.  Miss 3 adored it and will be a Dahl/Blake fan for life, just like Miss Almost-12!

Jasper Juggles Jellyfish

Jasper Juggles Jellyfish

Jasper Juggles Jellyfish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jasper Juggles Jellyfish

Ben Long

David Cornish

Ford Street, 2018 

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

9781925736038

“By the corals of the ocean, where it’s quiet, calm and cool, 

an octopus named Jasper dragged his tentacles to school.

He felt that counting jellyfish was too much of a struggle.

“I just can’t do it,” Jasper said. “I’d rather learn to juggle.”

And so, with the help of some obliging jellyfish, he did.  First he tried throwing them all in the air but they splattered everywhere, so on the wise advice of freckle he started with just one, then two then three, then four.  But four proved a bit of a challenge so it was time for some more advice, this time from Curlywurly and soon Jasper discovered he could count way past the original five!

With its unique concept, rhyming text that is LOL funny, and bright bold pictures, this is a charming counting book that will engage the young reader because it has a real story to it.  It’s more than just pointing, matching and counting underscoring the book’s message that we can learn anything if we find a way that suits us.  And there is so much more in the story than just being able to count to 12, all of which would lend itself to some splendid artwork that could explain all that the children have learned while they’ve been having such fun.

Superb.

Let’s Visit the Olobobs

Let's Visit the Olobobs

Let’s Visit the Olobobs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Visit the Olobobs

Leigh Hodgkinson

Bloomsbury Children’s, 2018

12pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

9781408897621

Olobob Top is a children’s television series currently screening on ABC Kids in Australia. It follows a group of young creative creatures called the Olobobs. Tib, Lalloo and Bobble live in a big forest and have fun playing, exploring and solving everyday problems. In each episode, they work together combining shapes, colours and patterns to create a new character, who joins in with the Olobobs’ fun, while a friendly narrator encourages them to think for themselves to solve everyday problems using their imagination and creativity.

So this lift-the-flap book and its companion Make Your Own Olobob Home an activity book that demands their input will encourage very young readers to find their favourite characters in another medium.

Make Your Own Olobob Home

Make Your Own Olobob Home

Years ago I was somewhat sceptical about these sorts of books that were clearly spin-offs from movies and television but after seeing the joy of a little boy who suddenly discovered The Wiggles among the titles on the shelves of KMart and demanding that his mother buy it for him (if she didn’t, I would have) I realised their power and importance in discovering the joy of reading.  To discover favourite and familiar characters in books not only sets up expectations and anticipation but also encourages the child to bring what they already know to the text, to test what they expect and what happens against that prior knowledge and understand that books can be better because you can enjoy them at your own page, flick back and forth and return to them time and again is a critical step in the learning journey. 

Focusing on shapes, colours and patterns both of these titles (with several more to come over the next two years) encourage interaction and learning and demonstrate the rigorous quality required for books for even our earliest readers these days. 

 

Crash! Boom! A Maths Tale

Crash! Boom! A Maths Tale

Crash! Boom! A Maths Tale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crash! Boom! A Maths Tale

Robie H. Harris

Chris Chatterton

Walker, 2018

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

 9781406380514

Elephant is building a tower with his blocks.  He wants it to be as tall as he is and while he just manages it on his first attempt with four blocks stacked on their edges, it’s very wobbly!  CRASH! BOOM! Down it tumbles.  

After throwing an elephant-sized tanty, using all sorts of maths-related words, he has another look and another try.  This time he tries the same blocks, but flat this time… 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8!  And is stands until he crash booms it himself.  And then he looks at the other blocks in his tub…

Far from being a stand-alone subject in the curriculum that brings out the moans and groans, we are surrounded by maths concepts and even our youngest readers will enjoy this story as the illustrations are so evocative, the text is just a bonus!  Exploring 3D shapes; which stack, which don’t; counting the blocks as they are added and thinking about why one tower took 4 and the other 8; using the language of comparison and building towers that are as tall as, taller  than, shorter than other objects; even the dexterity and eye-hand co-ordination involved in the stacking – there is a wealth of activity in this seemingly simple book.  

Perfect for keeping the preschooler occupied for hours without a screen and learning at the same time!

Lego Animal Atlas

Lego Animal Atlas

Lego Animal Atlas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lego Animal Atlas

Rona Skene

DK, 2018

78pp., hbk., RRP $A35.00

9780241316573

No matter which part of the planet you live in, there will be fascinating and unique creatures to see and learn about.  From the blue-ringed octopus of Australia to guanaco of South America to the addax of Africa each continent and each habitat within that continent is populated with wildlife, familiar and not-so. In this new book from master children’s publishers DK< young readers are not only introduced  to these creatures but are also provided with the Lego blocks to start constructing some of them.

Beginning with building instructions for a mini giraffe, panda, penguin and kangaroo for which the blocks are provided, suggestions are then made for making body parts like noses, eyes, teeth and beaks using the reader’s own collection of bricks. And if the reader doesn’t have them, they are encouraged to use their imaginations to substitute what they do have.   There are tips on how and what to build with the emphasis on the fun of building rather than a perfect product. 

Readers are then introduced to the world’s major habitats and continents and the unique species of each.  As well as the clear photos and tips and tricks that will inspire building there is also a ‘model map’ with  a colour-coded key designating the different bricks used for each habitat.  So as well as making the unique creatures of Australasia, for instance, these can also be placed on a map base to show where they are found. 

Of course it wouldn’t be DK without lots of tidbits of interesting information about the creatures backed up with a comprehensive glossary and index which support the child’s information literacy development.  Learning is definitely fun! Because there are no step by step instructions for making the creatures apart from those for the giraffe, panda, penguin and kangaroo, just the clear photos and some suggestions for the trickier bits, challenging children to create their own instructions for a particular model using step-by-step photos using those initial instructions as an example would provide an authentic learning experience that would definitely stretch their skills, demonstrate their knowledge and be fun!

This would be a wonderful addition to those with makerspaces but because of the small parts provided it is only suitable for those over 6. 

Square

Square

Square

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Square

Mac Barnett

Jon Klassen

Walker Books, 2018

48pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781406378658

Each day, Square goes deep into his secret cave and takes a block from the pile below the ground, pushes it up all the stairs and out of the cave and stacks it on the other squares he has already made into a pile on the top of the hill.  Circle, whom Square thinks is perfect, admires his work so much and uses words like “sculptor” and “genius” and demands that Square makes a sculpture of her. 

But it is very difficult to make a square into a perfect circle and while he tries very hard, all he ends up with is rubble.  As the rain tumbles down and day turns to night, he continues to chip away until he finally falls asleep.  Despairing that he will have let his friend Circle down,. Square dreads her visit but then…

We first met Square in the initial book in this series, Triangle, and once again Barnett and Klassen have crafted an intriguing tale with few words and evocative monochromatic pictures. Being able to convey emotions, expressions and  exchanges through the use of basic shapes and eyeballs is a gift and the reader is encouraged to look closely at the illustrations to absorb all that is going on in the interactions between Square and Circle, and the internal battle Square ends up having.

And, as with Triangle,   the story takes the reader beyond the maths concepts of shape recognition and into the realm of philosophy.  What is perfection?  Is it achievable? It is OK for things to be less than perfect if we have given it our best shot?  Those children in our classes who are afraid to to start something in case it is not perfect on the first attempt or giving up in tears, frustration and even anger might draw comfort from Square’s persistence and perseverance and also understand that “perfect” has a different meaning for everyone. There could also be discussions about whether Circle’s expectations were reasonable – just because we are good at one thing, does that make us good at another?

Lots to ponder as we await the third in the trilogy, no doubt focusing on the perfect Circle.