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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!

 

Bat vs Poss

Bat vs Poss

Bat vs Poss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bat vs Poss

Alexa Moses

Anil Tortop

Lothian Children’s, 2019

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9780734418395

Meek lives with her three sisters, a gaggle of birds, lizards and other creatures next to a tumbledown terrace house. Everyone shares the space, and life is pretty sweet until the day a rude and messy fruit bat named Squabbles moves in – and demands everyone else move OUT.  And the creatures are thinking that’s what they will have to do when, at a meeting of all the residents, Meek has a plan.  It means putting her brave on and all the others working together but if it works, it will give them their peaceful home back.

Written in rhyme and charmingly illustrated by Anil Tortop in a palette that reflects the nocturnal life of the story’s characters, this is a story that may be familiar to readers who have had their lives disrupted by a bully who hasn’t learned how to behave well yet. But it is also a story of redemption, showing that sometimes being given a second chance is needed if bad behaviour is to change rather than just continue in a different setting. 

This is the perfect story to share at the beginning of a new school year when some children may be afraid of moving into their new class because of the reputations of some of their new classmates. And for those who have not learned acceptable behaviour skills in the past, it is confirmation that new starts can be made as they start to understand the impact of their actions on those they really want to be friends with, if they only knew how.  A great forerunner for talking about respect and responsibility and establishing class expectations and guidelines for the new year. 

Learn with Ruby Red Shoes Counting Book

Learn with Ruby Red Shoes Counting Book

Learn with Ruby Red Shoes Counting Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn with Ruby Red Shoes Counting Book

Kate Knapp

Angus & Robertson, 2018

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

9781460756911

 

One is for me. I’m one of a kind.

I’m separate from you and

I know my own mind.

Unlike a lot of counting books for early childhood which just have a digit and a word and the required number of objects (of whatever theme) beside them, this is more personalised as Ruby introduces the young reader to the things that she likes.  The rhyming format and the gentle pictures which earned the creator a shortlisting 2013 Children’s Book Council of Australia Crichton Award for Children’s Book Illustration, carry the story from page to page and do more than just teach counting and matching skills.

Ruby Red Shoes is fast becoming a popular figure with our littlest readers and the accompanying website with its activities, news, and opportunity to write to Ruby provides a broader experience.  

Also released at this time is the requisite alphabet book and in March 2019, two more books will be added to the series.

Coming soon...

Coming soon…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny’s Beard

Johnny's Beard

Johnny’s Beard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny’s Beard

Michelle Worthington

Katrin Dreiling

Little Pink Dog Books, 2018

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

9780648256304

Johnny was very proud of his magnificent, splendiferous, long, red beard and he spent many hours grooming it and making sure it was perfect. He washed it and combed it every day, and each day he walked over the hill and back again so he could enjoy the feeling of the cool breeze blowing through it, or it keeping him warm on cold, foggy days. 

On one cold winter morning Johnny met a twitchy little mouse on his walk and when he asked it what was wrong, the mouse told him its home was too cold and it would freeze when the snow came.  So Johnny invited the mouse to his house for the winter and soon the mouse was snuggled up in his wondrous beard.  Then he met a jittery rabbit who had the same problem so Johnny offered the same solution.  And then he met a shivering raven… and a family of hedgehogs… 

While the animals were all snug and warm, Johnny’s beard was tangled and it stabbed and pecked and tickled and poked.  What is he to do?

This is a charming, funny story that will have little ones imagining all the sorts of things that could have taken up residence in Johnny’s beard, while enjoying the descriptive language that bring both the beard and its residents to life. Katrin’s interpretation of the beard as so long and so thick and so red just adds to the appeal, setting up an opportunity for little listeners to describe the beards of those they know. 

However, it reminded me of the Edward Lear poem There was an old man with a beard and thus, a natural way to introduce little ones to his fun poetry. (He, himself, seems to have sported s splendiferous beard.)  What fun it could be to illustrate this poem as a group, or consider what Australian bird could have nested in it, while learning about rhythm as they try to fit the words in to maintain the beat. As well as learning the format of the limerick, there is also scope to explore rhyme beyond the familiar device of word families and examine all the combinations that could rhyme with beard such as feared, jeered, weird, scared, laird, paired and so on.  Young children love to explore language this way and have something interesting to contribute to the dinner-time conversation.

Given that many of his other poems, like The Owl and the Pussycat  and The Jumblies also inspire mind-pictures not only is there scope for lots of artwork but they are the perfect bridge between nursery rhymes that are familiar to the children and more ‘serious’ poetry within a natural context.    Enjoying the nuances of our language through a new medium as a natural extension of what they already know and love seems to be a win-win for me!

So what seems like just a fun story with bright pictures could lead to so much more and for that, this deserves a place in your collection and promotion to your teaching colleagues. 

Marvin and Marigold: A Stormy Night

Marvin and Marigold: A Stormy Night

Marvin and Marigold: A Stormy Night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marvin and Marigold: A Stormy Night

Mark Carthew

Simon Prescott

New Frontier, 2018

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

9781925594225

With the wind howling, branches swishing and all sorts of scary noises, Marigold Mouse is terrified and decides the safest place for her on this wild, stormy night is under her bed.  But she puts her brave on to let her neighbour Marvin in because he is just as frightened as she is and sometimes it’s better to be scared together. But when there is a bump, thump, boom at the door, will they be brave enough to answer it?

Stormy nights can be very frightening for little ones, so  this story that acknowledges their fears but also shows them how to be brave is perfect for sharing and reassuring them, particularly at this time when storms are common.  The third in this series about the mouse friends, the rhyme and rhythm carry the story along at the pace of the storm while the illustrations capture all the emotions of two fearful little creatures.

A great kickstarter for investigating storms, their noises and the things that frighten us.

 

Hush Say the Stars

Hush Say the Stars

Hush Say the Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hush Say the Stars

Margaret Spurling

Mandy Foot

Little Book Press, 2018

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9780648115663

Hush, say the stars, as they shine through the night.

All is still, all is quiet, sleep tight…

As night falls and the stars peek through, the farm slowly quietens as the animals bed themselves down for the night.  And so it is for the little boy as he snuggles down with his pet bunny into his cot.  It is time for the animals to sleep and time for him to.

Getting little ones to sleep at night can be tricky, particularly as the days lengthen and being awake and about is tempting, but this lullaby-like story is the perfect finale of the three stories that should make up the nightly bedtime reading routine.  With illustrations as soft as the text and the message, it is perfect for settling even the most awake child as they learn that everything needs to sleep and there is a ritual that is followed everywhere, even for the animals.  Even children living in the city could talk about the creatures that they know that are settling in for the night, as the stars shine over the country regardless of whether it’s rural or urban – they just see different things as they do. 

With its soft language and soporific rhyme, this is a must-have for any parent with a young toddler.  Pop it in their Christmas stocking – they will thank you for it, night after night.

 

 

Mince Spies

Mince Spies

Mince Spies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mince Spies

Mark Sperring

Sophie Corrigan

Bloomsbury, 2018 

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

9781408893463

Something or someone is destroying all the sweet Christmas treats in the supermarket and so the Mince Spies are sent on a mission to discover what is happening.  With puff pastry jet packs, shortcrust walkie-talkies and squirty whipped cream they foil the villains – with a bit of help from Santa.

This is a fun romp written in rhyme that moves along at a fast pace that little ones will like, although its outcome might be a little obscure for Australian children whose Christmas is in summer and thus whose Christmas dinner might not be laden with the winter vegetables familiar to English children. Nevertheless, something a little different from the regular Christmas story fare. 

Santa’s High-Tech Christmas

Santa's High-Tech Christmas

Santa’s High-Tech Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Santa’s High-Tech Christmas

Mike Dumbleton

Angela Perrini

New Frontier, 2018 

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

9781925594270

Santa has come into the 21st century in this hilarious story-in-rhyme from Mike Dumbleton.  No more making a list and checking it twice – as the presents are loaded he scans them on his techno-pad; parking is easier in his new-look sleigh and a rocket -pack gets him into high-rise buildings so quickly.  

But things start to go wrong when he drops his techno-pad and it no longer works.  Thank goodness Jasmin is there to help and she gets it going again.  But that’s not the end of his troubles…

With today’s young Santa-believers so used to and comfortable in their world of tap-a-screen, this is the perfect book to help them keep the faith.  Just this week Miss 7 was mixing the magic with her science and told me that Santa must have turbo-boosters on his sleigh to accomplish what he does in one night, and that the front reindeer would have tiny ones in their hooves so they didn’t plummet to the ground!!!  And of course, I agreed with her.  There’s always room for old and new ideas!

One to share just for the sheer joy of it .

The Sisters Saint-Claire and the Royal Mouse Ball

The Sisters Saint-Claire and the Royal Mouse Ball

The Sisters Saint-Claire and the Royal Mouse Ball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sisters Saint-Claire and the Royal Mouse Ball

Carlie Gibson

Tamsin Ainslie

Allen & Unwin, 2018

48pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781760523640

‘To all the Saint-Claires, you are hereby invited
To join me this Sunday, I’d be most delighted!
Dress in your best for a Royal Mouse Ball 
I’ll open the palace for mice, one and all!’

Queen Julie S. Cheeser has invited the entire village to her glamorous Royal Ball but the villagers don’t want to go because they are intimidated by the Queen’s beautiful gowns and feel they themselves have nothing that is appropriate to wear. But the sisters Saint-Claire, five French mice who love fashion and food have an idea and with some clever thinking and ingenuity all the guests are able to go, and feel comfortable with what they are wearing. 

This is a charming story, a sequel to The Sisters Saint-Claire, that will delight young readers who love to dress up and who can create amazing outfits from whatever is at hand. No rushing down to the shop for a ready-made costume for them. Written in rhyme and with delicate illustrations that inspire the imagination, it is perfect for newly independent readers.

We’re going on an Elf Chase

We're going on an Elf Chase

We’re going on an Elf Chase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re going on an Elf Chase

Martha Mumford

Laura Hughes

Bloomsbury, 2018

24pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

We’re going on an elf chase.
Come and join the fun.
Can we catch them all?
YES!
Run, run, run!

Four bunnies set off on a jolly Christmas lift-the-flap adventure to find ten little elves hidden under the flaps. You’ll have to run, run, run if you’re going to catch them all! And there are lots of obstacles along the way, from clippy-cloppy reindeer to roaring polar bears and flippy-flappy penguins. But if you do catch them, there is a lovely surprise waiting.

With its rhythm from the rhyme and repetitive text of this delightful story and lots of flaps to peek under, this will be a popular Christmas Countdown read for little ones.  Apart from the things hidden under the flaps, there is a lot of detail to explore in the pictures, perhaps starting a conversation about winter scenes that will be unfamiliar to most young Australian readers and even an explanation of why Christmas is in winter in some parts of the world. 

A great one for the Christmas stocking.