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Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth

Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth

Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth

Kate Gardner

Heidi Smith   

HarperCollins US, 2019

48pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780062741615

Spiders are creepy.
Porcupines are scary.
Bats are ugly.

Or are they . . .

This captivating book invites you to look beyond your first impressions at these awe-inspiring animals in the wild. On each page is an exquisite pencil illustration of a common creature that usually inspires an emotion in the viewer accompanied by a one word description that fits that emotion.  But when you turn the page, there is an equally exquisite but different picture of the same creature, this time with a few lines about its uniqueness that shows a completely different side to it. 

For example, sharks, particularly the great white, can shivers up the spines of those who like to swim in the ocean yet without them at the top of the food chain, the entire marine ecosystem would collapse.  Similarly, bats eat many insects – up to 8000 mosquitoes in a night – thus controlling the populations.

Something a little different to encourage us to look beyond the first impression and the reputation…

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

 

The Boy: His Stories and How They Came to Be

The Boy: His Stories and How They Came to Be

The Boy: His Stories and How They Came to Be

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Boy: His Stories and How They Came to Be

Oliver Jeffers

HarperCollins, 2018

168pp., hbk., RRP $A45.00

9780008294342

In 2004, Oliver Jeffers set out to do a painting of someone trying to do something impossible – a boy catching a star with a butterfly net – and that idea evolved not only into the  book How to Catch a Star but into a series of four stories including Lost and Found, The Way Back Home and Up and Down. 

Now collected into one collection, this book also offers a unique look behind the scenes at the development of each book. As well as a letter from Jeffers himself explaining how the series grew (and may still do so, although that is unlikely), it contains more than 100 distinctive sketches, notes and ideas that he has chosen from his archives that show  the thoughts, events and incidents that shaped the stories.

Apart from its inherent beauty, this book has much to offer about how stories grow in the minds of their creators, giving it an appeal and a use far beyond the target audience of the original stories themselves.  

Geronimo; the penguin who thought he could fly

Geronimo

Geronimo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geronimo: the penguin who thought he could fly

David Walliams

Tony Ross

HarperCollins Children’s, 2018

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

9780008279752

At the “bottomest bottom” of the world, amidst a huge colony of emperor penguins, little Geronimo is born and right from the get-go, all he wanted to do was fly! Despite his dad telling him that penguins don’t fly, Geronimo persisted in following his dream and whether it was using the icy slopes as a runway, the elephant seal’s tummy as a trampoline, or the spout from the blue whale’s blowhole as a launching pad, he was determined that he would overcome his not-made-for-flying-despite-its-wings body.  Despite the failures, Geronimo still dreamed of flying – a dream apparently shared by all penguins in their early lives.  But after a particularly devastating misadventure while trying to hitch a ride on an albatross, Geronimo has to admit that the dream was indeed, over and a single tear rolled down his face.

His father was so moved by that that he called a meeting of the whole colony and…

The theme of penguins dreaming to fly is not a new one in children’s stories but when it is in the hands of master storyteller David Walliams and the creative genius of Tony Ross the result is an hilarious adventure that will be a firm favourite with younger readers.  They will empathise with Geronimo as he tries everything to make his dream come true, and perhaps be inspired by his determination, perseverance and resilience. At the other end of the scale, older readers could identify their dreams and perhaps start investigating what it is that they need to do to make them come true while parents sharing this with their children will also want to be like Geronimo’s father, prepared to try anything and everything to help their child’s dream come true, supporting them, protecting them and helping them deal with the failures and disappointments that will inevitably befall them. 

An utterly charming book that celebrates dreams and making them happen.

Where Happiness Lives

Where Happiness Lives

Where Happiness Lives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Happiness Lives

Barry Timms

Greg Abbott

Little Tiger, 2018

24pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781848699519

In the beginning Grey Mouse is very happy and satisfied with his sweet little house which has enough room for each mouse to have fun, plenty of windows to let in the sun where he is safe and never alone. But one day while he is out walking he spots a much larger house that is hard to ignore, the home of White Mouse who invites him up to the balcony to view an even more impressive house high on a hill.  Together they set out to visit it, so focused on reaching their destination they are oblivious to all the sights, sounds and smells that surround them on their journey. 

 When they get there, it is indeed a house like no other, and they are welcomed in by Brown Mouse who delights in showing them round her magnificent mansion,  Grey Mouse and White Mouse feel more and more inadequate and its features are revealed until they come to a room that has a large telescope and they peek through it…

Told in rhyme and illustrated with clever cutouts and flaps to be lifted, this is a charming story for young readers who will learn a lesson about bigger not always being better, and the difference between wants and needs, as well as being encourage to reflect on what makes them happy.  It is things?  Or something else? Is the grass always greener?

Both the story and the presentation have a very traditional feel about them, making it perfect for young readers who relish the places books can take them. And with the aid of boxes, rolls and other everyday items they can have much fun creating their ideal home!

 

The Good Egg

The Good Egg

The Good Egg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Good Egg

Jory John

Pete Oswald

Harper, 2018

40pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9780062866004

The Good Egg is verrrrrry good. It does all sorts of things like rescuing cats, carrying groceries, watering plants, changing tyres, even painting houses.  If there is anything or anyone needing help, it’s there to assist.  Back in the store where it lived with another 11 eggs – Meg, Peg, Greg, Clegg, Shel, Shelly, Sheldon, Shelby, Egbert, Frank and the other Frank – altogether in a house with a recycled roof, things weren’t particularly harmonious because The Good Egg found the behaviour of the others confronting.  They ignored bedtime, only ate sugary cereal, dried for no reason, threw tantrums, broke things… and when The Good Egg tried to be the peace maker and fix their behaviour no one listened. It became so hard and frustrating that its head felt scrambled and there were cracks in his shell, so The Good Egg left.

As time went by, it began to focus on the things it needed rather than what it thought everyone else needed and in time it began to heal…

This is a sensitive story that explores finding a balance between personal and social responsibility so that the egg, or any person really, can live at peace with itself.  It’s about helping the perfectionist lower their expectations of themselves so they are not always struggling and feeling failure, and, at the same time, accept that those around them will always have faults and to be comfortable with those.  Self-perception is such a driver of mental health and self-imposed standards of excellence are impossible to live up to and so the spiral towards depression begins, even in our youngest students.  

A companion to The Bad Seed, John and Oswald have combined sober text with humorous illustrations to present an engaging story that has a strong message of accepting oneself and others for who we are, not who we think we should be. 

Great addition to the mindfulness collection.

 

Little People, Big Dreams (series)

Little People, Big Dreams

Little People, Big Dreams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little People, Big Dreams (series)

Muhammad Ali

9781786037336

Stephen Hawking

9781786037329

Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2019

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

New to the Little People, Big Dreams series, young readers can delve into the lives of these two men who, in their own unique ways, made such a contribution to the world of sport and science respectively. Presented in a picture book format and focusing on the childhood events that shaped their future decisions and success, the series is an excellent introduction to the biography genre.

As a child, young Cassius Clay had his bike stolen. He wanted to fight whoever stole his bike, but a police officer told him to control his anger, and learn how to box. After training hard in the gym, Cassius developed a strong hook and a stronger work ethic. His smart thinking and talking, inside and outside the ring, earned him the greatest title in boxing: Heavyweight Champion of the World while Stephen used to look up at the stars and wonder what else was out there. After gaining his education at Oxford University, Stephen went on to make a groundbreaking discovery to do with black holes: Hawking radiation. Although his health was declining due to MS, Stephen was more determined than ever to study and share his findings with the world. With his trademark voice and wit, Stephen brought science to everyone and became loved around the world.

Rather than a dry book of facts and figures, this series is intended to show our young students that even the most famous people came from ordinary beginnings, often similar to their own, and that it was a dream and the perseverance, determination and resilience to chase it that made the difference.  Perhaps they, too, have such a dream and with such inspiration could one day find themselves being in a series such as tis.

 

 

Fairy Stories for Little Children

Fairy Stories for Little Children

Fairy Stories for Little Children

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fairy Stories for Little Children

Susanna Davidson

Lorena Alvarez

Usborne, 2018

128pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781474951784

This selection of five well-loved fairytales – CinderellaGoldilocks and the Three BearsJack and the BeanstalkLittle Red Riding Hood and The Princess and the Pea – has been lovingly recreated in words and pictures to appeal to the young reader, either as a read-along or one who is verging on independence and knows the stories well enough to predict the text.

Fairytales never go out of fashion and there is always a new generation of children coming through to enjoy these age-old tales so a new, revamped version is just the thing for sharing with them. The illustrations in this edition are very modern although still retaining the charm of the past, making this a suitable book for those children who are older but who are learning English as another language, and who are expected to be au fait with these traditional tales.  They may even have similar tales in their own language that they can compare and contrast these with.  Cinderella, for example, has a version in many different cultures.

Similarly, the stories could be used to compare other versions of the same story or even the movie versions so their appeal is not limited to just emerging readers.

 

 

 

Cherries

Cherries

Cherries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cherries

Carrie Gallasch

Sara Acton

Little Hare, 2018

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

9781760128593

 As soon as the blossoms appear on the cherry tree in Spring, the children are eager to pick the fruit.  But, “It’s not time yet.” As the weeks pass and the cherries develop, the children indulge in all sorts of outdoor pastimes, but “it’s not time yet.” Until it is…

This is a joyful story of anticipation and family rituals as the extended family all take part in the waiting and the eating.   Young children will delight in recognising events that are familiar to them as well as starting to understand the passage of time, a complex concept for little ones.

The gentle words and pictures complement each other, just as they did in Stitches and Stuffing  and this has the potential to become a favourite. 

 

Old Friends, New Friends

Old Friends, New Friends

Old Friends, New Friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Friends, New Friends

Andrew Daddo

Jonathan Bentley

ABC Books, 2018

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

9780733338137

It’s a new school year and there is a whole class full of old best friends to greet and play with.  But excitement and fizzy tummies disappear when she realises that her new class is full of children whom she doesn’t know.  There is not one familiar face amongst them.  The happy tummy bubbles pop, turning to cartwheels instead; her smile dims and her hands are soggy.

But then she remembers some advice from her mum about being brave, and her grandfather about finding a smile somewhere, and tells herself that her very best BFF will always be herself and suddenly the light begins to shine and a whole world of possibilities opens up.

As the new school year gets underway, many children will be finding themselves in a classroom where they know no one whether that’s because of the way things have been sorted or moving to a new school and it can be a daunting and overwhelming proposition. So this is the perfect book to share to help children like that feel they can make the first step towards making friendships and that a class of 30 kids they don’t know is just 30 opportunities to open up new possibilities.  This is the advice I’ve given to Miss Moving-On-To-High-School because the strategies are just as relevant there.

When someone has lost their smile, give them one of yours.

The beginning of the year is the perfect time for a focus on friends and friendships and so the team who gave us When I Grow Up and First Day have done it again, with their finger on the pulse of what it is like to be a littlie.

 

A Parade of Elephants

A Parade of Elephants

A Parade of Elephants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Parade of Elephants

Kevin Henkes

Greenwillow, 2018

40pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9780062668271

Here they come ….one, two, three, four, five.  A parade of elephants who like to march and march and march.  Round and round they go, up, down, under, over, in and out – they march all day.  Until bedtime when they lift their trunks and trumpet and scatter stars across the sky.

From the butterflies and sun on the front endpage to the moon and stars on the back, this is a charming story that will help little ones learn to count and understand positional words.  They will enjoy being elephants and finding their own places to march though, up, under, in and out and over. Perfect for our youngest readers who will be able to match the words and pictures learning valuable concepts about how print works, this is a charming bedtime story as well as an early maths book! Promote it to your early childhood teachers and parent body who are looking for something delightful but different.