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Monster! Hungry! Phone!

Monster! Hungry! Phone!

Monster! Hungry! Phone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monster! Hungry! Phone!

Sean Taylor

Fred Benaglia

Bloomsbury, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99 

9781526606808

Monster is hungry and craves a pizza.  So he picks up his mobile phone to order one.  However, in his frustration he keeps dialing the wrong number…

This is a book for those who relate to the concept of reaching for the phone when they are hungry rather than on-hand ingredients.   Monster’s mood is captured in the bold colour palette, sharp illustrations and the heavy black font making it a not-so-restful book even though it is funny.  Perhaps an opportunity to discuss what else Monster could do rather than automatically order-in and maybe even a chance to teach about making a sandwich or other simple snack with all that following instructions incorporates. Opportunities to graph the children’s eating habits, favourite snacks, sandwich fillings and so forth – there is always maths embedded in stories if we just look, enabling this to be more than a one-off read. for both teachers and parents.

I Think That It’s a Monster

I Think That It’s a Monster

I Think That It’s a Monster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Think That It’s a Monster

Steven Krygger

Andrew McIntosh

Little Steps, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.95

9781925839951

The little boy is looking for a monster, and although several candidates appearing from the ocean, high in the trees and even the depths of the forest, none of them meet the boy’s criteria.  Physically they each meet the physical characteristics of a monster…

It’s tall and thin and dark

It’s standing on its hands

and its face looks like a shark!

Its legs are long and skinny

it has a million toes

its mooing and meowing

and dripping from the nose.

but the boy has his own definition and within it is a lesson for all of us who might view strange creatures or those who look a bit different with suspicion There is a lot of truth in the old axiom about judging a book by its cover, the meaning of which is itself an opportunity for discussion by older students.   

Told in rhyme accompanied by digital illustrations that give the story the feel of a computer game (the illustrator specialises in pixel art, 3D modelling and UI design, giving it a modern appearance that will appeal to young readers, this is a story for the ages that can offer reassurance to both children and monsters alike! 

Little Monsters

Little Monsters

Little Monsters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Monsters

David Walliams

Adam Stower

HarperCollins, 2021

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

9780008305741

Howler is a little werewolf with a big problem.  Whenever he tries to howl at the moon, his voice is really squeaky and not at all scary.  Because all the other werewolves laugh at him, his parents send him to Monster School so he can learn to be frightening.  

But Howler finds the school itself frightening- he’s not sure if the teachers or the students are the scariest, particularly when he can’t meet their standards for scary smiles, spooking, or growling.  The others laugh at him, his teacher mocks him and he is so woeful he gets expelled!

But on his way home back to the forest in shame, Howler meets some kids out on their annual Hallowe’en trick or treat fun, and he suddenly discovers that it is not only okay to be different but it is also quite useful. 

David Walliams has a knack of reaching out to those children who feel they don’t quite fit in and being able to encapsulate their anxiety and then alleviate it in stories that resonate and appeal.  Even though they might not aspire to be scary like Howler, nevertheless there is always something we’d like to achieve but not quite reach the peak we set. So this story that shows that the best we can do is good enough and that it can have its own rewards is very reaffirming. This is particularly so at this time when our students are heading back to school after a long absence and may be worried that they haven’t achieved all their peers might have because they haven’t had the same opportunities.  While it will have appeal as a story for those who celebrate Hallowe’en, it is one for a broader spectrum because of its life lessons.  

But even without going into that sort of depth, it is just a great story with illustrations that epitomise all that we imagine vampires, ghosts, skeletons, witches, ogres and werewolves to be! 

 

Monster Hunting for Beginners

Monster Hunting for Beginners

Monster Hunting for Beginners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monster Hunting for Beginners

Ian Mark

Louis Ghibault

Farshore Fiction, 2021

204pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9780755504367

Monster Hunting isn’t as easy as it looks. And Jack should know. Because an ogre has just appeared in his garden and tried to EAT HIS AUNT. (She was the winner of the World’s Worst Aunt competition, but that’s Not The Point).
After (sort of accidentally) defeating the ogre, Jack finds himself apprenticed to a grumpy, 200-year-old monster hunter called Stoop and heading off to Cornwall, where more ogres are causing havoc.  All he has are his wits, his catapult and a magical – sometimes unreliable – book called Monster Hunting for Beginners.

Jack’s a bit worried he might not be the hero everyone’s waiting for. But then again, how many terrifying, bloodthirsty monsters can there really be?

Any book that has a warning that it contains ogres, bogeymen, zomblings, and crusted hairy snot nibblers as its blurb and is written from an author from Ireland, the land most often associated with these sorts of creatures is bound to capture the imagination of its intended audience.  Add in an ordinary, everyday little boy who is little, clumsy, wears glasses, has weird hair and who is not built for trouble -so pretty much like most of the readers -who narrates the story as though the reader is part of it, and there’s a deeper attraction already. But add to that textual effects like illustrations, short chapters, and font changes that make this ideal for newly independent readers and it is not surprising that Jack has lots of positive reviews and a large fan base already.  

Jack is the sort of everyday hero that young readers relate to because their superhero role models are a touch out of reach, and they can appreciate that even they started somewhere. Overlaid with the adventures is wit and humour and all sorts of tips like looking for a secret door or tunnel if confronted by a monster and nothing else has worked, this is the first in a new series that will appeal to those who love their good vs evil stories and who secretly see themselves in the role of the conqueror whether they are 8 or 800!. 

Megamonster

Megamonster

Megamonster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Megamonster

David Walliams

Tony Ross 

HarperCollins, 2021

384pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99

. On a volcanic island, in the middle of shark-infested waters, stands The Cruel School. The lessons are appalling, the school dinners are revolting and the teachers are terrifying – especially the mysterious Science teacher Doctor Doktur.

When Larker is sent to the school, she quickly realises something very odd is going on… something involving Doctor Doktur, a pair of strange spectacles, and a ‘Monsterfication Machine’. And ultimately she finds herself face to face with a real life Megamonster.

There seems to be no escape – but for Larker, nothing is impossible…

Walliams has previously said that his current writing for children is done to put a smile on the face of his readers, and while this book appears somewhat dark from its synopsis. nevertheless it is a prime example of Walliams knowing his audience and what they want to read.  Using predominantly dialogue and a range of graphic techniques,  it is easily accessible to the newly independent reader and my informal research shows that Walliams is the go-to author at this time, particularly for boys.  

  One to suggest to your students in lockdown – it’s readily available online – or one to save to welcome them back. 

 

Love Monster and the Extremely Big Wave

Love Monster and the Extremely Big Wave

Love Monster and the Extremely Big Wave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Monster and the Extremely Big Wave

Rachel Bright

HarperCollins, 2021

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

9780008408329

Love Monster is going on an exciting adventure with his friends… to the beach! He can’t wait to be THE BEST SURFER IN THE WORLD! But as Love Monster gets closer to the extremely big waves, the less sure he is. Will he even have the courage to dip a toe in the ocean? Of course he does – after a bit of trepidation and consideration.  But that first wave dumps him so does he have the courage to try again?  

This is a story featuring a character who now has his own series on CBeebies, thus making him familiar to many young readers and encouraging them to read. It has a familiar theme of being afraid to try something new but having the courage to eventually have a go, perhaps inspiring those same young people to tackle something that has seemed like a mountain to them so they too, can feel the thrill and empowerment of achievement.

 

Flummox: How to Make a Pet Monster 2

Flummox: How to Make a Pet Monster 2

Flummox: How to Make a Pet Monster 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flummox: How to Make a Pet Monster 2

Lili Wilkinson

Dustin Spence

Albert Street, 2021 

208pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781760877392

After Artie discovered The Bigge Boke of Fetching Monsters in the attic of the spooky old house where he now lives with his mum, her new partner, and his step-sister and creating Hodgepodge who is now his best friend,  Willow decides that she wants to create her own monster so she, too can have a best friend.  

But things don’t always going according to plan beginning with Arabella Rose, the girl next door, coming to stay for the day, seemingly thwarting the opportunity to make a monster.  Immediately Willow takes a dislike to her  but the trouble really starts when she creates a monster using the fairy charm from Arabella Rose’s bracelet…

This is the second in this series, written for emerging independent readers with all the supports they need including lots of illustrations and other visual features.  Each character is credible so readers will engage with them and there is lots of humour and action to keep them reading. 

Monty’s Island 3: Elvis Eager and the Golden Egg

Monty's Island 3: Elvis Eager and the Golden Egg

Monty’s Island 3: Elvis Eager and the Golden Egg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monty’s Island 3: Elvis Eager and the Golden Egg

Emily Rodda

Lucinda Gifford

Allen & Unwin, 2021

176pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781760876999

Fans of this series will be delighted that there is a new release to fill their hours through the holidays, while those who are looking for something new that is pure escapism focusing on life on a tropical isle will be easily able to get the first two in the series – Scary Mary and the Stripe Spell and Beady Bold and the Yum Yams.

This time, Monty’s adventure starts when as usual, he is scavenging along the shore and finds a golden egg washed up on the island, followed by a pair of flying monsters who are very interested in watching the egg hatch. With his friends Tawny the lion, Bunchy the elephant who likes magic, Sir Wise the owl, Clink the pirate parrot, Marigold the human and owner of the Island Cafe, Monty sets out to solve the mystery and between them, Rodda and Gifford hook newly independent readers into an absorbing story that is just plain fun. 

Whether this is used as a read-alone, read-along or read-aloud, the series is perfect for engaging young readers and perhaps introducing them to all of Emily Rodda’s other works such as Deltora Quest, Rowan of Rin, and Rondo series. not to mention the 2020 CBCA Honor Book, The Glimme. There is a reason she has been one of Australia’s favourite authors for some time.

Go Away, Worry Monster!

Go Away, Worry Monster!

Go Away, Worry Monster!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go Away, Worry Monster!

Brooke Graham

Robin Tatlow-Lord

EK Books, 2020

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

9781925820393

It is the night before Archie is due to start at a new school and the Worry Monster has crept into his bedroom spruiking all the usual worries about getting lost, not making friends, doing maths all day and no sport that such monsters do.

Normally, Archie would call on his mum and dad to scare it away because it is scared of them, but this time he tries to have a go himself.  He thinks back to the things his mum taught him the last time, and summoning all his courage he applies them.  He takes a deep breath so his lungs make his belly grow bigger like a balloon; he thinks of the facts and tells them to the Worry Monster; he tells the Worrmy Monster to go away; and then he reads a book to ignore it and distract him.  But do his strategies work…

Worry Monsters have been out and about all this year, not just before big events like starting school and any stories that help our littlies develop strategies to send them on their way are welcome.  This one is beautifully written and illustrated and any child could put themselves in Archie’s pyjamas and feel empowered.

 

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Encouraging littlies to dig deep to find the courage and determination to send the Worry Monster scampering is an ongoing process because they’re not necessarily ready to do it at the same time as their siblings or peers.  So to have another book in the arsenal is valuable – sharing Archie’s story might just be the one that reaches a particular child.

 

Sherlock Bones and the Sea-creature Feature

Sherlock Bones and the Sea-creature Feature

Sherlock Bones and the Sea-creature Feature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sherlock Bones and the Sea-creature Feature

Renée Treml

Allen & Unwin, 2020

288pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781760525262

Sherlock Bones, a talkative tawny frogmouth skeleton, and his companion Watts, a mute, stuffed Indian ringneck parrot are joined by Grace, a sassy raccoon in the second in this series, with a new mystery to solve in their natural history museum home.  Drawing on his years as an exhibit in the museum, this time Bones is exploring a new exhibition focusing on the life between reef and shore. It includes a mangrove forest and shallow coral reef habitat. When Sherlock overhears a that a swamp monster has been sighted, he gathers his team to investigate. At first Sherlock Bones suspects Nivlac, a quirky octopus with a talent for camouflage–and tank pranks. But then, loud bellowing leads Bones and the team to the mangroves, where they find a horrifying long-haired green beast…

This graphic novel is quite different to the books for preschoolers that we generally associate with Renée Treml although her eye for detail is still evident as she includes an amazing amount of detail and information in the backgrounds of the illustrations. Nevertheless, with its humour and using the technique of Bones telling the story as a conversation with the reader, it is an engaging story for the newly independent reader in a format that offers much more than just a tale told well.  Treml’s skill as an illustrator is teamed with her environmental science degree to produce something quite different.