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Hot Dog

Hot Dog

Hot Dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Dog

Mark Sperring

Sophie Corrigan

Bloomsbury, 2022

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

9781408876114

On the fast food stand at the beach lies a hot dog – a sausage and bun – who is very glum as he watches all the real dogs gallivanting and cavorting in the waves and sand. How he longed to be like them with heads and tails and feet. But when the Mustard Fairy makes his dreams come true, will he be accepted by the other dogs? Or will he have to fight for his place in the sun?

How refreshing it is to just read a story for the share joy and silliness of it, to just savour the rhyme and rhythm rolling off your tongue with no underlying didacticism, although there could be a slight flavour of “be careful what you wish for.”  From the team behind Santa Jaws, Mince Spies, and Jingle Smells , this is another hilarious fast-paced romp that needs to be shared just for the fun of it, to entertain the reader and make them laugh.  And as our beach days approach, let our imaginations roam wild with what if… 

The Great Hamster Getaway

The Great Hamster Getaway

The Great Hamster Getaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Hamster Getaway

Lou Carter

Magda Brol

Bloomsbury, 2022

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

9781408878934

Imagine being stuck in a wire cage, riding a wheel that goes nowhere, eating food that is tasteless and having to live on wood shavings that get stuck in your toes!  No wonder Raffleton Grey was bored, dreamt of running on pebbles, splashing in the sea and going to the fair.  And so he devises a most elaborate escape plan and find himself not only outside, but in the company of Puckerford Brown, another hamster who has also escaped and is looking for adventure. 

And so they have their day out full of fun and food, but when night closes in, it is a different story…

The best thing about sharing stories with little ones is the joy in letting the words roll off your tongue, revelling in the pictures and finding out what happens in the end – and so it is with this story.  The rollicking rhyme and rhythm carry it along as Raffleten Grey plots his escape, puts it into action, and shares the most glorious day out with his new friend, and we hold our breath as the nighttime stalkers appear… 

This is the latest from the creator of both  There Is No Big Bad Wolf In This Story and There Is NO Dragon In This Story and Lou Carter has nailed creating stories that entertain and encourage children to revel in the printed word. Her ingenious plan for Raffleton Grey’s escape and then return are perfectly interpreted by Magda Brol and the whole is an engaging read with a subtle message of “be careful what you wish for” that has the happy, satisfying ending that young readers want. 

Where?

Where?

Where?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where?

Jordan Collins

Phil Lesnie

A & U Children’s, 2022

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

9781760526382

‘Where are you from?’ they say.
What they mean is,
‘Why is your skin that colour?’
‘Why does your hair look like that?’

I am from the mountains,
The seas and the sky.
I am from children of millions of years,
A timeline of humanity.
I am from this planet
And all others.

Being  African-American-Greek-Australian with  dark skin and curly hair, the author wrote this poem in response to a lifetime of being asked questions like, ‘where are you from?’ in an attempt to show, that, ultimately, we are all from the same place … “the primate who decided to walk upon two legs for the first time” and all those who have followed through time and generations. 

Powerfully illustrated by another who has also experienced that constant questioning, this is a book to challenge the reader’s thinking to look beyond the immediate physical appearance that makes us unique and consider all that has gone before to make us the same.  It is an opportunity for more mature readers to step beyond the multitude of stories that focus on who they are as individuals and the importance of being true to oneself, and look at a bigger philosophical picture of humanity as a whole with a shared heritage and history.

 

A Feather on a Wing

A Feather on a Wing

A Feather on a Wing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Feather on a Wing

Maria Speyer

UQP, 2022

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

9780702263255

Sometimes, when it’s dark and you’re lonely, the best thing to make you feel better is to have a big sister to reassure you that you are not alone.  Like a feather on a wing, a flower in a daisy chain, a raindrop in a shower, we are always connected to someone and together we make up a whole that has unlimited potential.

With illustrations as gentle as the rhyming text, imagery that calms as it connects,  and the whole put to music as an addendum, this is a charming story that not only soothes the little girl but also provides the reader with food for thought as they consider the connections in their own lives and the ‘something bigger’ that they are a part of.   Feeling alone, perhaps a little afraid, in the dark is such a relatable experience and in each spread not only does the big sister reinforce the concept of belonging, but gradually widens the circle so that it embraces shared sorties, toys, other children…

Through her use of metaphors, the big sister encourages her little sister to practise mindfulness, to be in the moment, to dream with her eyes open…

What wholes are you part of?

Teachers’ notes are available.

Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Fairy

Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Fairy

Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Fairy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Fairy

Rhiannon Fielding

Christ Chatterton

Ladybird, 2022

32pp., pbk., $A14.99

 9780241545591

Magical creatures live in the Land of Nod, but none of them is  keen on going to bed because they are having too much fun.  But sleep they must if they are to be ready for more fun tomorrow and so using rhyme and enchanting illustrations, author and artist take both the characters and the young reader on a calming countdown to bedtime leading them gently to the land of sleep.

Little Fairy Poppy joins her companions in trying to stretch out those last few minutes as she flits from leaf to flower delighting in her new found confidence as her wings grow stronger and allow her to fly high at last… But when Poppy spots a lost gnome far from his glade, she is determined to use her wings and get him to safety. But can she do it in time for his bedtime and hers? for there are only three minutes left… 

Beginning and ending with maps of The Land of Nod which are subtly different, and the appearance of a tiny creature on each page to encourage attention to detail, this stories follows the pattern of its predecessors, becoming a gentle lullaby to help draw the curtains on the day and help even the most rambunctious little one understand that everything needs to sleep at some time.

There is nothing as precious or as important as the bond established between parent and child through sharing stories during those ten minutes to bedtime so this is perfect for parents starting the bedtime story routine and wanting to complete it with the same story each night.

Group Hug!: A Collective Noun Safari

Group Hug!: A Collective Noun Safari

Group Hug!: A Collective Noun Safari

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group Hug!: A Collective Noun Safari

Andy Fackrell

Ford Street, 2022

40pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781922696007

Have you heard of a flamboyance of flamingos?  Perhaps a bloat of hippos or even an implausibility of gnus?

Wilbur is on a journey through his local zoo, visiting his favourite animals and discovering the wonderful words that describe groups of them.

Written in rhyme with a repetitive refrain, it is an entertaining way for students to investigate some of the more outrageous nouns, as they develop their vocabulary and perhaps even speculate on how the groups got their labels.  They might even investigate the noun associated with their favourite creature to create an extra page for the book, including illustrations that offer  similar extra information as the originals.   Teachers’ notes offer other suggestions for using this book in the English strand.

However, Fackrell has intended this to be more than a romp through a zoo to build vocabulary.  He is a strong supporter of The Lion’s Share, a fund backed by the United Nation’s Development Programme – its mentor David Attenborough –and its work protecting our most vulnerable wildlife groups. Thus, each spread features a supporting cast of unnamed species, all biologically correct to the ecosystem. For instance, in the Andes, alongside the Flamboyance of Flamingos there is a Knot of endangered, Lake Titicaca Water Frogs.

The endpapers of the hardback version are a definitive and fun reference source with a world map of all known collective nouns  drawn on the inside front, with the matching animal names on the inside back.

To learn more about the book’s creation, there is a Q & A with Andy Fackrell here. 

At the Pond

At the Pond

At the Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Pond

David Elliot

Amy Schimler-Safford

Candlewick Press, 2022

40pp., hbk., RRP $A34.99

9781536205985

The red-winged blackbird spreads his tail
and sings his hello morning song;
he has sung it since the bright
and misty world began.

When the soft pink of the dawn sun starts peeking over the pond, a new day has begun for all the animals who live in it and around its watery edges. The friendly duck family, the mysterious water striders, and the busy beaver are a few of the many fascinating and familiar animals included in this glowing poetic tribute to the lively ecosystem of the pond.

Pairing poems with pictures, this is an introduction to the animals and plants that call the pond home, and while they may not all be those that young Australian readers are familiar with, it sets up the opportunity to investigate what a local pond might have and would look like. Do we even call them ponds?  Or are they dams and billabongs? 

This is another invitation to look more closely at the world around us, especially those parts we tend to take for granted, to extend vocabulary and writing skills to describe it in poetry or depict it in artworks, or if that isn’t a strength, create a brief factual description using those included as a model.   

Out of This World: Star-Studded Haiku

Out of This World: Star-Studded Haiku

Out of This World: Star-Studded Haiku

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of This World: Star-Studded Haiku

Sally M. Walker

Matthew Trueman

Candlewick Press, 2022

48pp., hbk., RRP $A34.99

9781536203561

one minuscule speck
grows into the universe
a mind-boggling birth

Defined as a traditional Japanese three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count which often focuses on images from nature, haiku emphasises simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression making it an effective way to get students to focus on the essence of an object and then use succinct, descriptive vocabulary to portray it so every word has to work hard. 

In this stunning union of poetry, art and science, haiku is used to explore the universe through a lunar eclipse, beyond the orbiting planets, and into glowing galaxies and twinkling constellations out to Ultima Thule, the most extreme limit of the journey which “longs for a visitor with coal and a carrot”, and all accompanied by the most imaginative illustrations that are almost photo-like so that not only does the reader learn about the vast beauty of space but they are left in wonder and awe of its magnificence. The minimal text structure of haiku means just the nucleus of the phenomenon is offered as a teaser, leaving the reader with a tempting taste to learn more…

the Eagle landed

one giant leap for mankind

footprints in the dust

Some of this is offered in the comprehensive, well-researched final pages which explore such topics as constellations and astronomers, the birth of the universe, stars, the solar system, moons and eclipses, asteroids, meteors, and comets, but the whole offers an opportunity for students to engage in their own interest-driven investigation with the challenge of summarising their findings in their own haiku and artwork. 

Kind

Kind

Kind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kind

Jess McGeachin

Allen & Unwin, 2022

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

9781761066047

The publisher’s description of this book as a ” beautiful ode to the wonders of our natural world” is spot on.

In this book you’ll find

Many kinds of things

Some have slippery scales

Some have feathered wings

But kind is more than type

Kind is how you care

For creatures that you meet

And places that we share. 

There have been a plethora of books in the last couple of years that encourage us to take greater notice of our immediate surroundings, particularly as that has been where we have been confined to, and implore us to take greater care of where we step, what we see and how we act.  Leaving a shell on the beach means a lot to the little creature who seeks shelter beneath; not stepping on an ant means  even more to the ant! So this is another reminder to take the time to acknowledge,  appreciate and applaud Mother Nature, to remember that the real seven wonders of the world are at our fingertips.

But it is her final verse that really has great impact if we are to continue to be healthy and happy individuals who have the compassion, empathy, strength and energy to be kind to everyone and everything else. 

The Stuff of Stars

The Stuff of Stars

The Stuff of Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Stuff of Stars

Marion Dane Bauer

Ekua Holmes

Candlewick Press, 2022

40pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781536223583

Before the universe was formed, before time and space existed, there was . . . nothing. But then . . . BANG! Stars caught fire and burned so long that they exploded, flinging stardust everywhere. And the ash of those stars turned into planets. Into our Earth. And into us.

In a poetic text, Newbery Honor winner Marion Dane Bauer takes readers from the trillionth of a second when our universe was born to the singularities that became each one of us, while vivid illustrations by Caldecott Honor winner Ekua Holmes capture the void before the Big Bang and the ensuing life that burst across galaxies.

A seamless blend of science and art, this 2019 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner reveals the composition of our world and beyond—and how we are all the stuff of stars.

Sometimes you just have to use the publisher’s blurb because there are no better words or ways to describe a book.  

But as well as the beauty of this book itself, it also offers an opportunity to compare and contrast how the same phenomenon  can be viewed through different lenses and portrayed in very different ways, sparking not only a discussion about different literary devices but also how one’s purpose and platform can colour and construe our perceptions of the same event, and the implications for that in everyday life.