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Dinosaur Questions & Answers

Dinosaur Questions & Answers

Dinosaur Questions & Answers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinosaur Questions & Answers

The Natural History Museum

CSIRO Publishing, 2021

64pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99

9781486315161

If you’re as old as the dinosaurs themselves, and even if you’re not, if you have had anything to do with young children you will know that the fascination for dinosaurs is universal and endless.  I wish I had the proverbial dollar for every time I have been told that a child is obsessed with dinosaurs and asked what did I have that was new.

So this new publication from CSIRO Publishing which targets those just beginning to discover these creatures and who have so many questions about them is perfect.  Tackling 50 most commonly asked questions such as ‘Which dinosaurs had the biggest teeth?’ and ‘Why did some dinosaurs have such short arms /’, both question and answers are in straight-forward language, give just the right amount of information and are accompanied by clear, colourful illustrations ensuring the young reader’s inquisitiveness is satisfied while demonstrating the power of books to seek the information we want. 

Many of our youngest readers will be experts on this subject before they come to school and even though according to formal tests they can’t yet read, they will have cut their teeth on this subject and know more about reading (and dinosaurs) than we give them credit for.  So this could serve as an excellent model to let this group create their own Q&A book to not only show off their own knowledge but to learn from their peers, empowering them in a way that few formal lessons could do.  It could offer a pathway into the information literacy process for them – what do I already know, what do I want to know, where can I find out, how can I share what I’ve discovered – and inspire them to investigate further. 

Bee Detectives

Bee Detectives

Bee Detectives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bee Detectives

Vanessa Ryan-Rendall

Brenna Quinlan

CSIRO Publishing, 2021

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

9781486313396

When Olivia and Hamish are woken by the scream of a chainsaw coming from their local park and see what looks like a cloud of smoke rising, they are very concerned that there is a fire.  But they soon discover that what they thought was smoke is a cloud of insects disturbed when their tree home fell.

With the help of the specialist Bee Team, they learn that the insects are Native Social Stingless Bees and because the hive contains the bees’ babies it needs to be rescued.  That evening, when the last of the bees is safely in the temporary hive, Hamish and Olivia are invited to take it into their backyard so they can learn about these bees and how they are essential to the well-being of the environment.  The children take on the challenge and they, and the reader, learn not only about the bees’ importance but also about the many other native bees that live in the garden, usually unnoticed.

While the plight of bees globally is gradually being recognised as becoming critical, most young readers associate them with the fluffy black and yellow bumblebees of their storybooks, not realising that Australia alone has over 1700 species of native bees, each of which needs protection.  With a special section giving the reader more information about these species, particularly those mentioned in the story, and tips on how to attract them to the suburban garden, this is an important publication to help young students develop their awareness of the role bees have and understand how they can promote their well-being. Using a story format accompanied by charming illustrations that also put the bees under a magnifying glass so they can be more than squiggles on a page means that this has the potential to be used as a springboard to an intriguing investigation as students start to identify the various species and search for them in their own surroundings.  As well as extensive teaching notes to assist this, students might also consider establishing a bee hotel to encourage the bees to stay.

 

Meet the Oceans

Meet the Oceans

Meet the Oceans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Oceans

Caryl Hart

Bethan Woollvin

Bloomsbury, 2020

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

9781526603630

In Meet the Planets,  young readers  were invited to join an aspiring young astronaut and her trusty dog to climb into a rocket and fly on a journey to meet the planets. This time, they are invited on board a submarine to travel the oceans and seas of the world to meet the creatures that live in them. From the icy reaches of the Arctic Ocean to the warmth of the Coral Sea, the diversity of life is explored with a strong theme of conservation as the children learn that any water they send down the plughole eventually reaches the ocean and the life within it. 

Bold bright pictures and a strong rhyming text carry the story and the journey along ensuring readers stay engaged as they are introduced to the water that covers 70% of the planet. A great introduction to what is beneath the surface that will come to mind each time little ones stand on the seashore and gaze.  

100 Things to Know About the Oceans

100 Things to Know About the Oceans

100 Things to Know About the Oceans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100 Things to Know About the Oceans

Lan Cook Alex Frith Alice James Jerome Martin

Parko Polo

Usborne, 2021

128pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781474953160

Do fish wear pyjamas? What’s the sound of an iceberg melting? How many sheep did it take to launch a Viking longship? Which is faster – a tsunami or a bullet train?

The answers to these and many more questions are available in this book that explores the history, science, environment and art of our planet’s seas and oceans. Beginning with a double-page spread that proclaims Planet Earth should be known as Planet Ocean because 71% of its surface is water and only 29% solid ground,  the reader is taken on an intriguing journey that covers everything from the one tiny sea creature that keeps us breathing to the sea that has no shore to the origins or mermaids and beyond. Using rich illustrations and bite-sized pieces of information, this book opens up the world both above and below the waves offering the reader at least 100 journeys to explore further, a journey they can take using the Quicklinks that are provided with these sorts of publications from Usborne.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Sadly, there are still some who believe that there is no need for a non fiction section in the school library collection because “everything is available on the Internet”.  This book, especially written for those emerging independent readers who are learning about their world generally and who don’t know enough yet to formulate specific questions, and its companions in this series. are the perfect way to show that there is a place for print beyond fiction.

While You’re Sleeping

While You're Sleeping

While You’re Sleeping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While You’re Sleeping

Mick Jackson

John Broadley

Pavilion, 2021

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

9781843654650

Night time.  Time to snuggle down under the covers, think briefly about tomorrow and drift off to the land of sweet dreams.

But night is not a time of peace and quiet for all.  There is much that happens.  Weather changes, animals hunt and there are many many workers who ensure that the wheels of modern life keep turning, and on the other side of the world children are going about their daytime life.

With its highly detailed imagery, which are fully explored in the excellent teachers’ notes, this book introduces the young reader to another world which exists side by side with their own.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

This world of the night-time worker will either acknowledge what they already know because they have a family member who works then (and thus they see their own lives in print), or expose them to a whole new concept helping them to understand how the world works and appreciate those who make it so.  Either way, it opens up a realm of possibilities to explore from children sharing their own experiences to investigating what causes night and darkness. Starting with a focus on things that are close to the child, it gradually encompasses a broader perspective to show that there is always much life and activity happening somewhere, and even though they might be asleep another child will be sitting in class. Perfect for this year’s CBCA Book Week theme.

This is an original concept that will capture the imagination with its intriguing cover -why is there a  bed floating over the town? – and the calm, undramatic text will soothe and comfort. 

Wombat

Wombat

Wombat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wombat

Christopher Cheng

Liz Duthie

Walker Books, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A26.99

9781760651374

Even though they can be destructive, ornery and bite the unwary really hard, wombats still rank high among children’s favourite Australian animals. So this new addition to the Nature Storybook series,  released today,  will be a welcome addition to the collection.

Given the bushfires of last summer and now the floods of this autumn, the plight of Australia’s native creatures has never been so precarious or prominent as young readers begin to understand the impact of these natural disasters on habitat and food supplies.  Therefore, this story about the life of a wombat, looking at the interesting way these animals build their homes, look after their family and protect themselves from predators is very timely. From the day breaking as she snuggles down in her burrow where the tree roots mesh to marking her territory as she is a solitary creature, to having to defend herself and her little jellybean-like baby against the dingo, Cheng has crafted the most compelling story, accompanied not only by stunning illustrations from Duthie but also lots of wombat facts as imagination and information sit comfortably side by side in this narrative non fiction format that makes so much available to our young readers. 

Chris Cheng is at his best when he meshes his meticulous research with his way with words and this sits very well along Python, his other contribution to this series and his many others stories for children, my personal, long-term, yet-to-be-beaten favourite being One Child

A must-have for any collection that meets the needs of any children with a liking for or an interest in these unique creatures.  

And if you would like to get your students started on writing faction, beginning with a wombat focus, then From Fact to Faction(e:update 011, 2012) written by me is available to Primary English Teachers’ Association Australia members.

 

Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo

Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo

Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo

Kylie Howarth

Walker, 2021

160pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781760652548

Originally, Bodhi did not share his parents’ love of the underwater world – his dad is a marine biologist and his mum an underwater photographer – and while they travelled the world together to explore what really happens beneath the surface, he preferred dry land until he discovered he had magical powers…

In the third in this series that introduces the reader to life beneath the waves and the hazards the inhabitants face,  the reader is taken to the Maldives where Fish Kid’s friendship with bestie, Emely, soon hits a snag during a tricky sea turtle rescue. Secretly wishing for powers of her own, Emely’s strange behaviour leaves Fish Kid wondering if their friendship and the super-sick turtle will survive. And if things weren’t bad enough, another turtle from the sanctuary goes missing. 

Full of action, adventure and humour, and all the techniques proven perfect for supporting those transitioning to longer novels, this series also includes fact boxes about the various creatures encountered and draws on the author’s personal knowledge of the world under the waves enriching the reader’s understanding and awakening an awareness to protect it. 

A powerful series that hopefully will inspire young readers to wonder and find out more, perhaps even be like Miss 14 who is currently studying oceanography and marine biology in Year 9 and undertaking her diver’s qualification!  The power of story to spark the “what if…” and while a mask and scuba tank aren’t quite the same as Bodhi’s powers, they work just fine!

 

The Plastic Throne

The Plastic Throne

The Plastic Throne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Plastic Throne

Amani Uduman

Kera Bruton

MidnightSun, 2021 

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

9781925227802

 

Denver flushes all kinds of things down the toilet but never stops to think about what happens to them once they are gone. One night, while he sleeps, the ocean begins to stir, no longer able to suppress its fury over how it’s being treated. Can Denver and his sister Maisy make things right before it’s too late? More importantly, is Denver’s solution to flushing things the best option or are there changes we can make in our everyday lives that would be better?

The problem of plastic in the environment is finally receiving the sort of attention it requires and this story helps focus young readers’ attention on both the issue and its solution.  Inspiring readers to not only think about their plastic usage, it also highlights the impact of the waste humans generate on the world, enabling the development of attitudes about sustainability from a young age. 

North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres

North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres

North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres

Sandra Morris

Walker Books, 2021

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

9781925381801

“Earth is divided into the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere by an imaginary line called the Equator.  One of the most important differences between the two hemispheres is the timing of seasons. Because of the hemispheres’ different angles and distances relating to the sun over the course of the year, their seasons – and their weather patterns – occur at different times.  In both hemispheres, animals deal with the changing seasons in various ways. Whichever hemisphere they live in, they need to be able to read the signs of the changing seasons to survive.”

But with climate change, many of those signs are changing and human activities are also having a massive impact, so more and more species are at risk as they are not adapting as fast as the changes.  This beautiful non-fiction picture book contrasts, month-by-month, some of the world’s most-loved Northern and Southern Hemisphere animals and the ways the climates in those regions affect the way they breed, feed, adapt, hide and survive. Using an element common to both focus creatures, such as camouflage, building a home, being armoured and migration. two are in the spotlight for each month showing how they deal with what they have always had and what they are now facing. 

It is an intriguing introduction to the environment and the continuing impact of climate change that will leave young readers with a greater understanding of how even the smallest action can have a huge effect.

From the detailed end papers which  have a clearly labelled world map showing the hemispheres, continents, countries, oceans and the animals mentioned in the book, including several from Australia and New Zealand to the supporting pages featuring a comprehensive glossary, index, further reading suggestions as well as  information on how individual readers can help, this is a must-have for any library collection and any unit of work that focuses on sustainability of the environment, animal adaptation and climate change, adding so much more to the reader’s understanding of the topic rather than the traditional “all you need to know about…”.

Look for this one in awards’ lists over the year.

 

 

 

Plantastic! A to Z of Australian Plants

Plantastic! A to Z of Australian Plants

Plantastic! A to Z of Australian Plants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plantastic! A to Z of Australian Plants

Catherine Clowes

Rachel Gyan

CSIRO Publishing, 2021

64pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9781486313211

While books about Australia’s unique fauna abound for readers of all levels, there are fewer that focus on our unique flora and even less for younger readers who are just developing an interest in the plants the populate our landscape. 

In this new publication from CSIRO, 26 of our well-known and not-so plants are in the spotlight offering an introduction to things we see daily and those that are not so common yet still readily seen in local environments. Maps pf plant ecoregions enable readers to identify what they are most likely to see where they live.  Each double page spread has a similar format with some detailed information using accessible language that speaks directly to the reader ensuring challenging scientific concepts are easily understood such as  the exploration of plant classification (families, genera and species) through the analogy of mixed lollies;  an interesting fact that goes beyond the scientific nature of the plant; and an activity that encourages the reader to discover more about what they have just read and engage with the plant.  There are beautiful biologically accurate watercolour illustrations of each plant and its parts, while the whole has all the necessary elements to encourage easy navigation and information literacy skills.   Comprehensive teachers’ notes are available spanning a number of the Australian Curriculum areas, including a focus on the use of the plants by indigenous people.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

If we are to have our students value our bushland then they must first know what there is to value (and there are pointers about how to explore it so that both explorer and environment stay safe) and so this is a must-have for any library collection and study that has the protection of our habitat at its heart.