Look Inside Maths

Look Inside Maths

Look Inside Maths











Look Inside Maths

Rosie Dickins

Bernedetta Giaufret & Enrica Rusinà

Usborne, 2021

14pp., board book, RRP $A19.99


Almost 40 years ago in a school where literacy and maths classes were streamed from Kindy onwards (an argument for another day) I was assigned a maths group deemed at the lower end of the spectrum and expected to teach them in a way that had already failed them for two years, killing not only their interest in maths but their belief in their being able to master the subject.  And so a new approach was needed. For the kids’ sake I was prepared to wear the wrath of the PTB who were determined that the be-all and end-all was an English text book series that even to me, spoke in riddles. Having had great success with a whole-language classroom, I decided to try a whole-maths classroom and for an hour a day while they were with me, my Year 2 students were immersed in maths that related to their everyday lives so they could see that it had purpose, meaning and relevance for them.  From this grew my first book, Maths About Me and later a sequel, Maths About My Year.  

Maths About Me

Maths About Me

By the end of that year my students could see why maths was important to them, how it drove so many aspects of their lives and their and their belief in their ability to conquer its abstraction reinstated. 

So to be asked to review a book that takes a similar approach by demonstrating through bright, busy illustrations and hundreds of flaps to lift and explore, the ubiquity of maths – numbers, shapes, measurement, processes and even a challenge to put what has been learned into practice was such a treat.  Even though it is in board book format, that is to ensure the durability of the lift-the-flap design and it has a place in any early childhood collection.  In fact, it could be used as a model for older students who might like to create their own page of how maths is embedded in their lives. 

There are those who believe that if you have a calculator you have all you need to solve maths problems (just like there are those who believe that all information is available on the internet) but it is that deep understanding of and engagement with the processes and the way they are embedded in everyday life that is the critical element of success.  If we can get our youngest students appreciating this through books like these, attitudes will change and competency soar. 

Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows

Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows

Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows











Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows

Denis Knight & Cristy Burne

Lothian Children’s, 2021

250pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95


Wednesday Weeks never wanted to be a sorcerer’s apprentice. She’d rather study science than magic. But when her cloak-wearing, staff-wielding grandpa is captured by a power-hungry goblin king, Wednesday must find a way to embrace her magical heritage and rescue him from the dreaded Tower of Shadows.

Luckily, she’s not alone. Her best friend Alfie is a prime-number fan and robotics expert who’s all-in on Wednesday’s epic plan involving parallel universes, swords of power, and a wise-cracking talking skull.

But it’s going to take more than science, magic, and the world’s cutest robot to take down this bad guy. Because the goblin king is playing for the ultimate prize – and Wednesday and Alfie just walked into his trap…

In a world of magic, can science save the day?

Independent readers who love a story that combines magic and science with great adventure will adore this new series that does just that.  Drawing on the skills of Knight who loves science fiction and fantasy, and Burne who loves science and who has a mission to ” blend STEM and creativity to enthuse, engage and empower” this is a story featuring a smart, feisty female and her best friend who find themselves having to use real-life science to save themselves from the predicament they get into as they travel the Nine Realms, inspiring the reader to perhaps take a greater interest themselves.  This is made possible with the addition of a few activities included at the end of the book and with several more in the teachers’ resources, it is an ideal story to promote to your science and maths enthusiasts. 

Described as being perfect for those who love  Nevermoor, Artemis Fowl and The Witching Hours, the even better news is that Wednesday Weeks and the Crown of Destiny, the second in the series, will be out in September, so not long to wait.  

Let’s Build a House

Let's Build a House

Let’s Build a House










Let’s Build a House

Mike Lucas

Daron Parton

Lothian, 2021

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


There are many steps in building a house and it’s important that they be done in the right order.

In this charming story-in-rhyme by Mike Lucas (he who always writes such fabulous Book Week theme poems) young readers not only begin to understand how a house is built and the vocabulary associated with it,  but they can join in the rhymes and provide appropriate actions as they do.  It’s perfect for exploring and consolidating the concept of sequencing and learning the language of order – first, second, third, next, before, after, last and so on. 

But most of all it’s a love story between a father and daughter as they work together to make one of the most important things we need – shelter. 

Very different from both Vanishing and Olivia’s Voice , this is one to appeal to much younger readers especially if you give them the opportunity to tell you what they have learned or they have family members that they see in the illustrations!. 

Rajah Street

Rajah Street

Rajah Street










Rajah Street

Myo Kim 

Walker Books, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A25.99


Junya lives on Rajah Street with his mum and dad and little-bit-older brother. He loves to sit at his window and watch the goings-on in Rajah Street as it gets busier and busier throughout the day, He sees the clouds passing overhead, kookaburras singing and skateboard riders zipping by and his mother patiently answers all his questions about them.  

But mostly he is looking for the garbage trucks because he loves them the most, and while he knows they come on Wednesdays, he is not sure when Wednesday is.  But he remembers things that have happened on other Wednesdays so when they happen again, he figures that today is his lucky day. And he is prepared to watch and wait.

Stepping into the world of the three-year-old, where fact seamlessly merges with fantasy, this is a delightful story that explores a child’s curiosity and imagination when it is teamed with observation and hope. The illustrations explore this mixture perfectly and young children will have no trouble recognising Junya’s world as similar to their own where anything is possible.

One to encourage our little ones to look through their window and explore all that they see, perhaps even to make their own story of the significant events that herald each day of the week so they begin to develop their perspective of time passing..

Learning to Count (series)

Learning to Count

Learning to Count

10 Naughty Numbats


10 Bush Babies


10 Lively Lorikeets


Grace Nolan

Nancy Bevington

Big Sky, 2021

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

Learning to count, add and subtract is one of the key reasons little children believe they go to school and so this new collection of three readers endorsed by Australian Geographic will be a welcome addition to the resources to assist this . 

Focusing on 30 signature Australian creatures, each book encourages little ones to count, add or subtract as they use the rhyming text and charming illustrations for cues and clues.  Each illustration has a humorous twist to add to the fun of learning  and the concept for each page is clearly displayed as a conventional number story.  As well, there are extra activities at the end to reinforce the concepts and encourage the 1:1 matching and conservation of numbers that are the foundation skills of early maths.  

Never underestimate the power of these sorts of texts to encourage our little ones to learn much more than we ever set out to teach!

Maths Mutts – All About Time

Maths Mutts – All About Time

Maths Mutts – All About Time












Maths Mutts – All About Time

Charles Hope

Wild Dog Books, 2020

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


“Time can be expressed as a moment or a measurement.”  It is something that rules our lives in so many ways, yet it can also be one of the most difficult concepts to teach because it is so abstract.

This picture book uses a range of busy dogs to lead a investigations into all sorts of aspects of time for newly independent readers, inviting them to participate in some activities and answer questions that will help them understand the concepts better.  It offers ideas for the reader to explore including the answers to questions such as What is time? How do we use it in our everyday lives? Is time the same all around the world? What are the different units of time, and what devices do we use to measure them?


A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Even though it is so abstract, learning about time starts very early in a child’s life (think today, tomorrow, yesterday) and it is such an engrossing topic to cover embracing every curriculum area, not just maths.  So any resource that offers ideas and activities to help our students master it is a blessing. 

Mini Rabbit Must Help

Mini Rabbit Must Help

Mini Rabbit Must Help










Mini Rabbit Must Help

John Bond

HarperCollins, 2020

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


Mother Rabbit has written a very important letter to Granny Rabbit and Mini Rabbit offers to take it to the post box. His mother agrees he can do this but he has to be very careful and he also has to get to the post box before five o’clock because that is the last collection.  So Mini Rabbit packs some cake, some slime and a stick and sets off… What could possibly go wrong?

Not only is this a charming tale that will make young readers laugh at all the mishaps Mini Rabbit has, but they will also have fun predicting what might happen next.  It is also excellent for mapping the events of the story to help them understand sequencing and the language of time.  

A new series from a British creator that will become a favourite.



Tashi Picture Books

Tashi Picture Books

Tashi Picture Books











Alphabetical Tashi

80pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99


My First Tashi Colours 

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


My First Tashi 123

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


Anna & Barbara Fienberg

Kim, Arielle & Greer Gamble

Allen & Unwin, 2020

Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the publication of the original Tashi story, are three early childhood books which introduce the very youngest readers to the characters and settings while also helping with those basic concepts of  number, colours and the alphabet.

Because the original stories are perfect family read-alouds at bedtime, this collection will be ideal for introducing younger readers to that magical world that carries the stories along, or to assist those who are learning English as an additional language to learn the basic words using titles that are not as babyish as more traditional concept board books.  The original stories were illustrated by Kim Gamble, but since his passing his daughters have assumed the mantle and there is a seamless transition between the old and the new bringing the traditional monochromatic drawings to life in vivid colour.

With his own website and television series, Tashi is a perennial favourite who deserves his place in the legends of Australian children’s literature.


Bedtime Daddy

Bedtime Daddy

Bedtime Daddy










Bedtime Daddy

Sharon Giltrow

Katrin Dreiling

 EK Books, 2020

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


It’s 7.00pm and it’s time for bed. No more screentime or playtime and regardless of the protests, it’s time. But it takes perseverance and patience to work through all the diversions and distractions – getting into PJs, teeth brushing,, toilet time, stories and questions, one last drink and the inevitable monsters that need despatching…

Parents and younger readers will really resonate with this story and the beautifully illustrated scenes with lots of detail will be so familiar, but they will also love the twists in the tale that make it stand out from other stories on the topic.

Because it is such a familiar routine, there are lots of opportunities for discussion as young listeners compare, predict, and make connections with their own experiences and those of the characters. However, there are also strong teaching aspects such as time, day and night, moon phases, the need for sleep and so on that offer lots of opportunities for this to be more than a bedtime story with comprehensive teachers’ notes and activities available to assist this. 

As our youngest littlies’ lives start to return to normal and regular routines are reinstated, this has great potential to help them re-establish those as they create sequencing charts that they can follow and tick off each time they are completed.  Parents will love it.

Ten Little Figs

Ten Little Figs

Ten Little Figs










Ten Little Figs

Rhiân Williams

Nathaniel Eckstrom

Walker Books, 2020 

32pp., hbk., RRP $a24.99


Ten little figs are on my tree. 

I love figs and they’re all for me

Nestled amongst the rough leaves of the sandpaper fig are ten juicy figs, each one a tempting morsel of delight for the little boy.  But he is not the only one with his eye on them, and one by one, the creatures in the backyard carry them off for their own enjoyment.  Soon, there is only one left and it is too high for him to reach… will he get any figs at all?

In the tradition of count-backwards stories, this is another clever rhyming tale that will help our littlest readers understand both the number system and the concept of subtraction, while they predict what might be the next creature to spoil the little boy’s anticipation. Set in a backyard garden big enough for a tree, with the shadow of the city looming nearby,  the illustrations depict a scene that may not be known to every city child but nevertheless for those who do, the temptation to go outside to the fresh air and explore what is there is strong.  Who knew there were so many little creatures all with their hearts set on having figs? And all there for the seeing if you just look with close eyes.

This is a charming debut for this Australian author which combines so many elements that young readers will return again and again to discover something new.  Even if they don’t have the luxury of their own garden, this is one they can share and put themselves in the picture. And if they are not familiar with figs, perhaps that’s something that could go on the shopping list, a bit of research for a recipe, some cooking…and more in-context, meaningful learning accomplished!