Continuing the adventures of Atticus and his brave crew of The Grandnan, this next episode in this rollicking series for newly independent readers who are looking for an escape from the confines of the bedroom to the high seas and the possibilities of their imagination takes them into a world of rattling skeletons, ghosts, monsters from the deep, killer sands and a boiling hot tub as they try to figure out the Map of Half Maps in search of certain treasure. ..
What began as a way to escape life in the coal mine when Atticus chose a pirate ship from his Grandnan’s treasure pile has turned into a journey of adventure, confrontation and self-discovery for Atticus and his band of ragtag friends that is proving to be the perfect escape from this year of uncertainty and unexpected events. Will Atticus ever find the treasure and save his family or will this just be an ongoing adventure that keeps us entertained for many more episodes? In this current world of day-to-day, just let’s enjoy it while we have it and wait for the next adventure. You can be sure Atticus has spotted one on the horizon with his trusty telescope.
Fresh from their Christmas elf chase, the four intrepid bunnies are off on another adventure, this time as sea-faring pirates looking for treasure. Boarding their ship they sail off to a desert island in search of the golden coins, encountering all sorts of creatures on their quest. There are 10 coins to be found and young readers will delight in seeking them under the flaps as they pore over the detailed pictures and help the bunnies see what’s in front of them.
Treasure hunts never lose their appeal, as has been proven with little walkers eagerly seeking teddy bears and rainbows on their lockdown outings, so as well as the fun of looking and lifting the flaps, they will enjoy the rhythm and rhyme of the text, repeated in a pattern with a lot of onomatopoeia to heighten the reading experience. With so much to see and do, this is likely to become a firm favourite that takes our youngest readers away from the grey days of winter to a summery sun adventure.
Ticked off that the neighbourhood boys refuse to let her join their game telling her she can’t be a pirate, presumably, because she is a girl, CeCe decides to talk to her grandfather about what it takes to be one. After all, he has been on a ship, unlike those boys, and he has lots of tattoos.
And of course Grandpa knows. Using his tattoos to take her on adventures and share his stories, he tells CeCe the qualities she needs to be a pirate. She has to be brave, be quick, be independent and be fun. But the most important thing a pirate can have is love. Will knowing this be enough to let CeCe join the boys in their pirate games?
This is a joyous celebration of the relationship between a little girl and her grandfather and the power of story and love. Each adventure that Grandpa shares is just a glorious burst of colour with lots of detail enabling the reader to put the words to the story Grandpa is telling, engaging them in a special way that helps them reflect on how they too, could be brave, independent, quick and fun, while teasing them with the veracity of Grandpa’s recollections. Was he really a pirate? One thing that is true is the love between the two, and really, that’s all that matters.
Monty lives on a perfect island in the middle of a magical sea. Sometimes the sea throws up something interesting … and Monty goes on an amazing adventure! It sounds idyllic but when the Laughing Traveller gives Monty, Tawny and friends the startling news that Scary Mary and her pirate crew are on their way, looking for a new island to call home, their peace is shattered. What can they do? There’s no way they can hide – especially when Bunchy accidentally turns the whole island stripy with her new magic wand.
It’s going to take one of Monty’s best ideas to save them!
Emily Rodda is renowned for writing the most divine series that really engage readers – how many boys did I turn on to reading when Deltora Quest was at its peak? – and this new one has all the promise of being another winner. It is directed at the younger, newly-independent reader and with at least two more episodes on their way, this is going to keep Miss 9 occupied over winter when she has finished her birthday books. It is time for a new generation to be introduced to this amazing author and her timeless body of work. Perhaps it could be your recorded read-aloud to share as a bedtime story with your students.
Here’s a sneak peek – the author reading the first chapter.
1750, when times were tough and teeth were rotten…
As part of an ancient family tradition, young Atticus Van Tasticus narrowly escapes a life down the coal mines – or worse, going to school – when he gets to choose the gift of a pirate ship from his Grandnan’s treasure pile. ..
Atticus has a taste for adventure, beauty and danger – “where any minute might be your last, and your next minute could be your best” – so he pulls together a crew of misfit friends, of both genders and hits the high seas to lead the life of a pirate.
Spiked with humour and dozens of quirky illustrations, including a continuing comic strip of a stowaway puppy, this is a book full of crazy adventures that will appeal to all those longing to escape the humdrum of school, home and homework. Daddo has moved on a little from his recent focus on picture books for the very young and created a quirky character who is really quite ordinary but who, with the help of a very rich grandmother, is able to make his innermost dreams come true because on his 10th birthday he is allowed to pick something from her wealth. Trouble is that his older brother and sister squandered their picks and now the future of the family is squarely on his shoulders. Choosing a pirate ship so he can search for treasure to replace what has been lost seems the obvious choice…
For independent readers who still need a little support, who appreciate and dream of crazy, out-there adventures and who like their illustrations to be more than just decoration, this is the first in a new series that will capture the imagination and the hearts of younger students and keep them reading.
A stormy night and the fast-flowing ocean current has uncovered and scattered the pirate’s skeleton all over the seabed and he is desperate to put himself back together. And with clever language and a rollicking rhyme, young readers not only help the pirate gather himself but also learn how their own skeletons go together and the correct names for all the bones.
Help me find my head bone,
the pirate’s flag-of-dread-bone-
I’m scouting out my skull.
But as he comes together, a danger even greater than storms and currents is lurking. Will this be his last hurrah?
From the scattered bones on the front endpaper to the complete skeleton on the back, this is engaging, entertaining and educational and little ones will love to have it over and over, soon chanting the rhymes for themselves. Lots of fun and lots of learning, the ideal way to introduce the body’s anatomy.find their own bones and the potential for the children to try to piece the body parts together for themselves.
And because I can, and because it fits, and may even spark an idea for a discussion with older readers…
Designed to be sung to the tune of the classic Row, Row, Row your boat…” this is an engaging story of all things pirate for very young readers as they join two seafaring pirates and their captain on a nautical adventure to find a treasure chest. From finding treasure to walking the plank, each activity has its own verse that they will love to sing over and over again, doing great things to develop their literacy skills as they engage with the text, use the bright pictures to bring their existing knowledge to the page and predict what the text will be about and understanding that there really is treasure in books.
Pug and Lady Miranda are off to the seaside! Pug is dreaming of naps under the beach umbrella, but when a little mishap means he has to wear an eyepatch, things quickly get a lot less snoozy! Soon Pirate Pug and his ragtag crew of friends find themselves on the trail of buried treasure. They have to reach the island where X marks the spot before the other pirates beat them to it. There’s just one problem – Pug is scared of water!
This is the fourth adventure in this series for newly independent readers who are ready for novels, but who still need the support of illustrations, short chapters and a larger font. Pug gets himself into all sorts of adventures, often with humorous outcomes, and young readers who like something a little wacky will enjoy both this stories and its predecessors.
Princess Scallywag and the Queen are out on the royal yacht enjoying the fresh air when they are invaded by three stinky, sweaty, no-good pirates waving their swords and determined to take them prisoner.
But three stinky, sweaty, no-good pirates are no match for the quick-thinking Queen and the persnickety princess, although it is touch-and-go for a while as they desperately try to save themselves from being made galley slaves, scrubbing the decks and walking the plank!
Recently there was a national furore because a 9-year-old girl considered the words of our national anthem, concluded they were disrespectful to the indigenous community and refused to stand for the song in a school assembly. Adults were outraged, claimed that this had to be the parents’ doing and recommended family counselling, suspension from school, and even a “kick up the pants” – bullying in a way that in the next breath they condemn. And yet we as teachers are striving to have students form opinions, express and justify them and the book reviewers I most admire – Megan Daley, Sue Warren, Margot Lindgren and Tania McCartney to name just a few – identify, celebrate and recommend those books we discover that have feisty, independent, thinking female characters that our readers can relate to.
So what then, would these conservative self-styled social commentators and political leaders make of Princess Swashbuckle? For this froggy princess (designed perhaps as a sideswipe at the saying about having to kiss lots of frogs to find a prince) has dreams to “one day rule the waves as a froggy pirate queen”, much to her parents’ dismay as they see her married to a handsome prince and leading a more conventional, traditional life. Disgusted by this thought, Princess Swashbuckle understands that she is so much more than her parents’ ideas, so she packs her bags and stows away on a pirate ship. Assuming leadership of the Stinky Fish abandoned by its captain, she tells the crew that they are “going on a mission to find NICE things to do.” News of her good deeds spreads far and wide but even swashbuckling princesses can get homesick…
Told in rollicking rhyme and rhythm and beautifully illustrated, this is a story to inspire young girls and boys to know themselves and follow their dreams to find their own version of happy. If that means bucking the conservative, conventional norm, then so be it. Being the change you want to see can be difficult. In the wake of the publicity given to Harper Nielsen’s protest, including a dedicated Twitter tag #sitwithharper, social media was flooded with alternative, more inclusive versions of the anthem including this one from Judith Durham.
Just as Harper started a conversation that might change thinking and Princess Swashbuckle changed Frogland forever, we need more of both of them – if only to inspire our girls and to show the right-wing,status-quo, stick-in-the-mud thinkers that young people do have thoughts and opinions and as future leaders, they need to be encouraged to express them, act on them and be acknowledged for their courage to do so.