Little Word Whizz

Little Word Whizz

Little Word Whizz











365 First Words


An Interesting Word for Every Day of the Year


Dr. Meredith L. Rowe

Monika Forsberg

Magic Cat, 2022

112pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

Did you know a ‘cartographer” is a person who takes photos of cars?  That was the definition given to a colleague recently by a young child as they were introduced to the wonderful world of mapping.  Trying not to LOL, she explained its true meaning to her students, and it is unlikely they will forget it.  Once again proving that children are fascinated with new words – the longer the better.  Who knows a little one who can correctly identify and say the names of all the dinosaurs?

Talking is an inherent behaviour that children learn by listening to their mother tongue as everyday life goes on around them, picking up not just the vocabulary but the context in which it is used and the nuances of sound as it is expressed.  365 First Words offers parents a pathway to help their children learn the words associated with  common first concepts including colours, numbers and shapes, as well as parts of the body, things that go, animals and the world around us. Thus it also builds up the connections between the words in the groups so if a child goes to a farm or hears a story with a farm setting, their brain is wired for the things they are likely to see and the words for them.

However, because the words are in English – just one per item – it could also have a role in helping those with a different mother-tongue learn the English equivalents, or perhaps it could become the English-whatever first steps to learning another language.

Its companion, An Interesting Word for Every Day of the Year, takes vocabulary building to a more sophisticated level as it offers 52 fully illustrated scenes which provide  “a fun and supportive platform to introduce little readers to big words and extend their vocabulary, which studies have recently proven to be the biggest indicator of a child’s potential later in life.”  Building vocabulary has become a particular focus of literacy lessons in recent years (and so the wheel turns again) so as well as introducing the child to the particular words on the page (they have their meanings explained in a table at the bottom of the page) there is also scope to use these as starter-words to build synonyms and antonyms, providing a basis for both interesting speech and writing.  Students might also create their own scene from a medium of their choice and, using the book’s examples as a model, add appropriate words that extend their vocabulary and that of their peers.

Both books are based on common concepts but both offer wide-ranging opportunities in the hands of creative teachers. 

A peek inside...

A peek inside…



This is NOT a Book!

This is NOT a Book!

This is NOT a Book!










This is NOT a Book!

Kellie Byrnes


EK Books, 2021 

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


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.