Bluey and Bingo’s Fancy Restaurant Cookbook

Bluey and Bingo's Fancy Restaurant Cookbook

Bluey and Bingo’s Fancy Restaurant Cookbook












Bluey and Bingo’s Fancy Restaurant Cookbook


Puffin, 2022

32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99


Fancy an omelette? Some fish and chips?  Perhaps a pavlova? Or even a duck cake for your birthday?

All the familiar characters of the popular Bluey series, have come together to share their favourite foods in this easy-to-follow recipe book that might start young readers off on a culinary career! Beginning with the usual safety and hygiene tips and the necessary equipment list, including an adult helper, budding young cooks are stepped through each recipe with the help of their familiar friends.

With a sturdy spiral binding and wipe-clean pages, as well as opening up the world of food made at home, there is also all the literacy and maths of interpreting recipes, such as the vocabulary of cooking, sequencing, measuring, following instructions, time management and so on.  To tempt the taste buds before buying,  there is even a free recipe on offer.

When this generation grows up, this might be the one recipe book that they share with their own littlies as they proudly share where their cooking journey began!!!

One World: 24 Hours on Planet Earth

One World: 24 Hours on Planet Earth

One World: 24 Hours on Planet Earth












One World: 24 Hours on Planet Earth

Nicola Davies

Jenni Desmond

Walker Books, 2022

40pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99


It is one minute to midnight, Greenwich Mean Time, April 21 and as the clock strikes midnight there, the reader begins an amazing journey around the world to see what is happening in other places at this precise time, whether that be having breakfast or even afternoon tea.

But this is not the more common snapshot of what people are doing at a specific time. but a glimpse at what the natural wildlife are up to, the threats they face and in some cases, what’s being done to mitigate them.  We travel to the polar bears in the Arctic; to sea turtles in India struggling to the sea after they’ve just hatched;  to kangaroos fighting both the climate and each other in Mutawintji National Park in NSW; and so on around the world as different species respond to the time zone of their environment.

The date was chosen because at that time of the year there is something exciting happening in the animal kingdom around the world, and coincidentally it was Earth Day, celebrated since 1970 “to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. and act as a call to action to acknowledge that “the clock has struck and it is time to make a difference together”. Accompanied by stunning illustrations, each of which includes the two little children who are taking us on the journey so that there is a storyline rather than just a time-lapse diary, the reader is introduced to creatures like the polar bear whose plight may be familiar as the warming planet melts their icy home to the not-so familiar owl monkeys of Ecuador whose habitat is being destroyed in the search for oil.  And while it might seem impossible for a young reader in Australia to help them, nevertheless there are things that each of us can do to  daily to make a difference. So books such as these  which raise awareness in interesting, fascinating ways are perfect for helping us to think globally and act locally.  

And there is always the sideline of investigating why it’s midnight in Greenwich but midday in Sydney!

Let’s Build a Backyard

Let's Build a Backyard

Let’s Build a Backyard











Let’s Build a Backyard

Mike Lucas

Daron Parton

Lothian, 2022

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


Chug! Chug! Chug! That’s the sound of the tipper truck.

Bang! Bang! Bang!  That’s the sound of the nails being hammered into the fence.

Sing! Sing! Sing! That’s the sound of the birds in the big tree that offers shelter and shade to countless living things and which must be protected.

In this charming companion to Let’s Build A House, Dad and his daughter are back again, this time building the backyard from bringing in quality topsoil to building a bee motel to planting the vege patch, installing a frog pond and planting bright flowers that feed on stinky chicken poo.  Using simple rhyming sequences and repetitive text, Mike Lucas and Daron Parton have once again combined to bring the complex task of creating a backyard haven for the family and wildlife alike into the realm of our youngest readers.  The bond between father and daughter is just as strong as she helps him with all the tasks – imagine the fun of being allowed to control the bobcat – with the final spread showing them sharing the joy of their labour together, suggesting that there is no mother in the story, a situation many will relate to.

As well as introducing young readers to all the tasks involved in creating a backyard and the order in which they must be done, the story opens up the opportunity for students to dream with their eyes open and plan their own backyard.  What features should it have so that it is perfect for playing and relaxing while still being a safe haven for the local wildlife and environmentally sustainable?  Teach them about bird’s-eye-view maps and drawing to scale so things fit. Big concepts for little children but made thoroughly accessible through this must-have book. (And if the prospect of a backyard is not feasible, how could the school playground be improved in a similar way? )


The Encyclopedia of STEM Words

The Encyclopedia of STEM Words

The Encyclopedia of STEM Words












The Encyclopedia of STEM Words

Jenny Jacoby

Vicky Barker

CSIRO Publishing, 2022

112pp., pbk., RRP $A27.99


Not so long ago, the word ‘stem’ referred to the major vertical shoot of a plant that bears buds and shoots with leaves and with roots at its lower end to anchor it. (It had other meanings too, but that’s the one with which primary school kids were most familiar.)  Now though, in schools  it more commonly refers to the interdisciplinary approach to teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, thus bringing these topics and their vocabulary into the realm of even our youngest students.

So words like ‘hypothesis’, ‘viscosity’ and even ‘yangchuanosaurus”  now roll off tongues as a matter of course, and concepts such as inertia, electromagnetism and bioluminescence sit alongside the more traditional ones of the primary classroom like photosynthesis, evaporation and metamorphosis. But sometimes such words are easier to say than understand so this encyclopedia explains 100 words that are common to young scientists, arranged in alphabetical order and each with its own page so there is space for illustrations and text so the meaning and the concept’s application is clear.  To make it even easier, there is a contents page, an both an index and glossary so navigation is simple if the reader is looking for a specific term.  

But as well as being a ready reference in itself, it just begs to be a model for students to build their own definitions and explanations.  Imagine the power of a Word Wall that has more than just vocabulary, one that is built and added to at point of need, written and illustrated by the students themselves. Maybe even extending the Word Wall to a display of working models so that as well as the science there are also the technology, engineering, and maths aspects that can be exploited.  And who wouldn’t want to watch an episode of Lego Masters and try to explain the STEM as well as the story? 

Books like this that actively engage readers in building on them are essential tools in the kits of teachers, libraries of schools and bookshelves of families.  This one is a must-have. 


Get Ready, Mama!

Get Ready, Mama!

Get Ready, Mama!









Get Ready, Mama!

Sharon Giltrow

Arielle Li

EK Books, 2022 

32pp., hbk., RRP  $A24.99


Getting Mama ready for the day can be a challenge… you’d better watch out that she doesn’t sneak back into bed, try to distract you with cuddles, get breakfast all over her top, or… wait, is Mama watching TV?! Learn how to get Mama up and ready despite her mischievous delaying tactics with this essential guide to dealing with morning mayhem! Little ones will delight in the cheeky role-reversal that sees a young girl doing everything she can to get her reluctant mother out of the house, and teachers, particularly will enjoy the twist in the tale.

But apart from being a funny story that will resonate with everyone who has ever wanted “just five more minutes”, this has great value in maths and literacy lessons that focus on sequencing and its vocabulary, as well as time. Identifying the essential tasks and routines that must be done, sorting them into order, allocating sufficient time for each, comparing and contrasting breakfast menus., looking for hacks that might shortcut the morning rush (although sleeping in your school uniform which was the preferred choice of one previous student is not recommended).. it’s a story that will resonate widely with every child.  Teachers’ notes are available.


How to Count to ONE

How to Count to ONE

How to Count to ONE











How to Count to ONE

Caspar Salmon

Matt Hunt

Nosy Crow, 2022

32pp., hbk., RRP $A22.99


You know how to count, right? GREAT! There are LOADS of fun things to count in this book. Whales, baboons, rainbows, pyramids…There’s just rule. You must ONLY ever count to ONE. So don’t even about THINK bigger numbers. OK?!

Following in the footsteps of a number of other books that really engage our youngest readers as they not only learn the concepts that are the book’s focus, but also a host of early reading behaviours, this is a masterpiece that ensures that the reader listens carefully to the instructions and then develops their visual acuity as they follow them, searching for that ONE item on the page they have to find and count.  They can’t be distracted by all the other things going on – there is just one of whatever it might be, such as the one duck rollerblading amongst all the other ducks.  Some are more obvious than others but there are also some tricky ones that will really make the reader focus on the picture’s detail, encouraging them to be discerning and also give illustrations more than just a brief glance.  There are always cues and clues within that enrich and enhance the text.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

As well as being great fun for the young reader – and there is the chance for them to show their prowess with counting – if your school has a buddy system where older students become the companions of your youngest, this would be a great joint activity with the older kids creating their own page to contribute to a class book to share. Each little one could have their own copy as a memento of the relationship, and perhaps even be inspired to male their own page to share too. 

Books that teach so much in such a fun way are gold; books that keep on giving even moreso!  

We Are One: How the World Adds Up

We Are One: How the World Adds Up

We Are One: How the World Adds Up













We Are One: How the World Adds Up

Susan Hood

Linda Yan

Candlewick, 2021

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


This is another one of those rare books for which the publisher’s blurb describes it best…

One can be one thing all on its own—one star, one stream, one stick, one stone.

But those on their toes, those using their smarts, know one can be more than the sum of its parts. 

Consider the two slices of bread that make up one sandwich, or the three lines of poetry that form one haiku, or even the ten years that form one decade. From one to ten, from sandwiches to centuries, every part is necessary to the whole.

In this fascinating concept book, a simple rhyming narration aimed at younger children is complemented by informational panels about subjects like the four compass points, the five acts in Shakespeare, the seven colors of a rainbow, or the nine innings in baseball. Award-winning author Susan Hood and debut children’s book illustrator Linda Yan offer a mind-expanding look at early math concepts such as part/whole relationships, fractions, and addition—while underlying themes of cooperation, peace, and kindness make this beautiful volume one to be enjoyed by anyone at any age.”

This celebration of numbers illustrates how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, while every part is critical to the whole! From one to ten, around us are things that cannot be without every part: seven days make a week, six sides make a snowflake, five acts make a Shakespeare play, and so on.  It is a perfect demonstration of the meaning of synergy – the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects – which is an abstract term usually too large for little minds but the repetition of the little girl in each of the illustrations and showing how she is directly connected to each of the examples give it a real-world application that is easily understood.  

As well as the informational panels at the base of each page, there is a comprehensive list of sources and resources that give more information about each of the concepts as well as some especially for kids that offer explanations of some of them like the seasons and the braille season.  There is also a comprehensive list of other things that occur in groups of a specific number offering an opportunity for the reader to create their own page, such as the  eight reindeer that pull Santa’s sleigh, or the eight phases of the moon. The emphasis is always on how many work together to make one.

If I were still in a school this would definitely be the starting point for my maths program for the year to show the children how they are surrounded by numbers and other mathematical concepts, setting up an investigation that will resonate with them and provide purpose and focus for the year’s learning. 




Earth is Big

Earth is Big

Earth is Big











Earth is Big

Steve Tomecek

Marcos Farina

What On Earth Books, 2021 

48pp., hbk., RRP $A34.99


Even though Earth is our home and for most of our history it was the only place we knew existed.  But once scientists began to study outer space, they discovered that our planet is just one of many in the universe and despite it seeming big to us, it is really very tiny compared to the rest of space.

Nevertheless, our planet is quite different from the rest of the known worlds in the solar system because over billions of years different processes have moulded and shaped it like no other. And to understand it better those scientists began to compare it with the rest of the universe resulting in this informative, very readable book that introduces us to our big, small, heavy, light, cold, hot, wet, dry, fast, slow, round, jagged planet as well as the language and tools of measurement in a most meaningful way.

Using easy-to-read diagrams, charts, timelines and other infographics, comparisons connect together a broad range of familiar subjects  including animals, space, rocks and minerals to STEAM topics such as physics, chemistry, mathematics and measurement helping the reader understand concepts like how big is big and how old is old so they begin to grasp how important  measurement  is to our perception of things and how comparison permeates nearly everything we do.  For example, soap bubbles are some of the roundest objects in the universe or that when it comes to population, humans are vastly outnumbered by chickens!

This is an important stand-alone book for any teacher wanting to show the importance and application of measurement to our everyday lives but it is also a really valuable adjunct if you are following the Ancient Worlds  , BANG! The Story of How Life on Earth Began  investigative series. Again it offers students information and opportunities to explore and explain, show and share those areas that fascinate them most. It has all the critical elements of a quality information book including a glossary, index, links to other sources and so on as well as offering a model of how to present what could be dry, boring facts and figures in an engaging way. 


Twelve Little Festive Frogs





Twelve Little Festive Frogs

Twelve Little Festive Frogs











Twelve Little Festive Frogs

Hilary Robinson

Mandy Stanley

Catch A Star, 2021 

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

The twelve little frogs who taught our young readers the initial poses of yoga are back in their version of the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas.  

However, their interpretation involves a giant game of pass the parcel in the woodlands, one that can go on and on even after the first 12 days! Like the song, and its predecessor, this is a counting book with lots of opportunities to predict what might come next as well as counting those who are already there. 

While it is set in the snowy regions of the northern hemisphere, it is an opportunity to talk about why what the frogs do is so different to our little ones’ experiences and perhaps even create an Australian version which would give it a wider audience and a meaningful activity for those last wind-down days!

Scientists Who Changed the World: Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking











Scientists Who Changed the World: Stephen Hawking

Anita Groy

EK Books, 2021

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


Stephen Hawking advanced our understanding of the universe more than any other scientist of his day. He spent his entire career chasing the idea of the “Theory of Everything: to explain the entire universe relating to the Big Bang Theory. His book A Brief History of Time was designed to explain physics to the general public, not just scientists, and this made him one of the most famous scientists in the world. 

This new additions to this series about the scientists on whose shoulders today’s generation stands is timely, Apart from anything else, it demonstrates there are almost as many fields of science as there are people investigating and that they all started as ordinary kids, just like the readers. 

Using accessible text, colour illustrations and an appealing layout, young readers are introduced to Hawking , his discoveries and his their early life and how that influenced the path he took. But when I think of Hawking, the image I see is him in his wheelchair having been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neurone disease at 21, and speaking by controlling a computer with his cheek after he lost the ability to speak.  That alone, as a model of resilience, of one who never gave up, whose body may have failed but his brain didn’t, is a reason to share his story with our students. 

When other teacher librarians ask for suggestions for biographies of contemporary people that are interesting and accessible for primary students, this series is always mentioned.  So it’s one to have in your collection as the fascination with science grows exponentially at a time when we are so dependent on it.