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Train Party

Train Party

Train Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Train Party

Karen Blair

Puffin, 2020

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

9781760899578

No matter how sophisticated travel gets with electric cars, sleek yachts and even spacecraft, there is still a fascination with the old-fashioned steam train. And for little ones, riding on model trains can be a highlight they remember for ever. 

Still a talking point, 10 years on...

Still a talking point, 10 years on…

So this delightful story about a family birthday at a miniature railway park will be as timeless as its topic, particularly as the clever vocabulary choice means the rhyme and rhythm echoes that iconic clickety clack of wheels over train tracks.

Red, blue and green,

yellow and black.


Here come the trains!


Clickety-clack.

Written and illustrated by the illustrator of some of my favourite stories including the irrepressible Eve of the outback, this is one that little readers will love and demand over and over as they take themselves off on their own train adventure and plan their own party. There’s a map of the track on the endpages so they can see where the children go from the station under the trees, around the old shack, passing the pond, over the bridge… and, of course, through the tunnel. Finally, there’s the birthday cake  – what shape will it be? 

Green

Green

Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green

Louise Greig

Hannah Peck

Farshore, 2021

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

9781405299398

When winter snow turns the green grass of the hills to white, Ed revels in his favourite season.  Because that’s when he can get his sleek sled out of the shed and race the other children down the slope.  But instead of the fast sled of yesteryear his now seems old and dull and slow as new, shiny, purple, orange , yellow and red ones flash past. 

Discouraged and disappointed at no longer being the best, Ed takes his sled back to the shed where he spends days and days trying to perfect it.  The voice in his head tells him that it is fine but he ignores it and keeps on tinkering.  But something strange has happened while he has been tucked away all that time. There is blue peeping out of the snow and the blackbird is singing… and with a heavy spring shower the white is turned to green!  

Even though few Australian children will spend their winters sliding down the slopes, this is a timely story that introduces young readers to the emotion of envy, exploring how we can be so consumed by being bigger, better, and faster that we miss out on more important things like fun and friendship. Rather than valuing what now, we get carried away with the anticipation of what next.  It is another in a series in which little people can confront big emotions through story and learn about and from them. 

Told in rhyming text, as well as being a story about emotions, there is also an element of science that can be explored as Ed draws elaborate plans for his new sled to make it magnificent. But what does he sacrifice in exchange for the fancy-dancy add-ons? What are the essential elements a sled needs to glide swiftly over the snow?  And for those in warmer climes than mine, what is snow and why doesn’t it fall everywhere? Why doesn’t it fall all the time?  Why do the seasons change?

I adore books that become springboards for young readers to explore well beyond the pages, that help them make more sense of the world around them and broaden their horizons.  This is one of those. 

The ABC of Cuddles

The ABC of Cuddles

The ABC of Cuddles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ABC of Cuddles

Sophy Williams

Gavin Scott

A & U Children’s, 2021

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

9781760526115

A is for airport cuddle, when it’s time to go away.
B is for bear hug, when teddy goes astray.
C is for crying cuddle, a scary ghost went boo!
D is for daddy cuddle, when only Dad will do.

In these times when even the littlest person knows the phrase “social distancing”,  in fact, especially  in these times, the need for and the warmth of a cuddle is paramount.  And in this beautiful book for those littlest learners, cuddles between family members are celebrated in an entire alphabet of reasons. Using a menagerie of animals, Gavin Scott has captured the clever text perfectly making this a lilting lullaby that little people will relate to as they share the joy of contact with those they love, whether there is a reason or not. 

Alphabet books are a common part of a young child’s library and come in many formats, but regardless of whether this is used as a formal educational tool by getting them to suggest other reasons, the language has that connection and cadence that is so important to their literacy learning and the joy of the love that is demonstrated is palpable.

Ideal for giving to new parents to share. 

Who Fed Zed?

Who Fed Zed?

Who Fed Zed?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Fed Zed?

Amelia McInerney

Adam Nickel

Allen & Unwin, 2021

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

9781760524432

This is  a picture book about Ted, Ned and Fred, Fred’s dog, Jed, and Fred’s fish, Zed.

Zed the fish is white and red.
His poo hangs down in one long thread.
The main thing, though, is what Fred said,
‘NEVER, EVER FEED ZED BREAD.’

Because feeding fish bread can kill them and although Zed survives this incident there are other problems that he is faced with.

This is a clever story that will engage young readers with its rhyming text and retro feel.  Teachers may well pick up on it because it appears to feed perfectly into the current push for phonics and “sounding out” to be THE way to teach reading but within the first eight lines there are three different ways of spelling the “ed” sound demonstrating not only the complexity of the English language and its spelling, but also the trickiness in teaching by this method and the confusion children feel when confronted by it, particularly as English is full of such anomalies.

That said, young children will love to listen to the poem as it carries them along on a wave of rhythm and they will be surprised by its ending.  They might even be ready to explore how the author created that rhythm paying attention to elements such as the number of syllables, whether they are long or short, stressed or unstressed to make a beat and thus the cadence of our language.  They might even want to create a list of other words that rhyme with Zed that the author might have chosen, thus building their vocabulary and spelling knowledge.   

But above all, and most importantly, it’s a story that will resonate with any young readers who have either a goldfish or a dog with fleas, or perhaps both. 

 

Moose the Pilot

Moose the Pilot

Moose the Pilot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moose the Pilot

Kimberly Andrews

Picture Puffin, 2021

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

 9780143775379

Among the houses that Puffin the Architect designed for her friends,  was a treehouse at Lofty Lake and from there he flies his amphibian plane on all sorts of missions to help those who live in the surrounding mountains.  Regardless of the weather or the terrain, he is there to deliver whatever is needed. 

I’m Moose! And I fly a plane
with wheels, floats and skis.

I move parcels, food and folk
high above the trees.

But on this day, his adventures are even more exciting than usual – three fluffy youngsters need his help! But on his way there are others who need him to take special requests and pick up their goods – all of which come in very handy when he reaches his final destination.

It is hard to do justice to this intriguing book with its clever text and detailed illustrations in just a paragraph or two, but young readers will delight in following Moose’s trip as he moves around the mountains, looking for cues and clues in both the rhyme and the pictures.  

Children’s author Jackie French has said that when a child turns a page in a picture book there needs to be a new adventure to explore and Kimberly Andrews certainly has mastered the knack of that.  From cover to cover this is a book that is rich beyond measure and if you haven’t discovered Puffin the architect or another friend, Hound the Detective  then I urge you do so and provide the young readers in your life with hours of fun and discovery. 

My First Book of Aussie Animals

My First Book of Aussie Animals

My First Book of Aussie Animals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My First Book of Aussie Animals

Gordon Winch

Stephen Pym

Catch A Star, 2021 

16pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

9781922326232

Right from the get-go, our youngest littlies learn to recognise the iconic Australian wildlife – I’m currently making a library bag for Mr Almost-2 with an Aussie animal theme – and so this little board book from the creator of Can You Find Me? is perfect for not only consolidating their knowledge but also beginning their reading journey.  With its sturdy board book format,  lift-the-flap interactivity and repetitive, rhyming text they can discover the platypus, echidna, koala, kangaroo and possum in their familiar habitats while also being introduced to some less familiar creatures that share that same environment.

Not only does this approach start to develop those early reading behaviours that are the foundation of mastering print, but it also encourages them to look more closely at the trees and bushes around them and understand that even if they aren’t a home for something familiar, they are a home for something. And if they look carefully, they might just discover what that something is.  

There are indeed riches galore in this seemingly simple, beautifully illustrated book. 

Freaky, Funky Fish

Freaky, Funky Fish

Freaky, Funky Fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freaky, Funky Fish

Debra Kempf Shumaker

Claire Powell

A & U Children, 2021

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

9781760526733

Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by oceans, and within them live 15% of all the creatures that live on the planet including more than 32 000 species of fish.

Fish have fins and gills and tails. All fish swim and most have scales…

But not every fish is the same.  There are zappers, stingers, singers, shakers; dancers, and a whole host of others with strange characteristics that enable them to survive, and in this engaging book for curious, independent readers, Debra Kempf Shumaker has written an intriguing rhyming text which focuses on the traits of some of the weirdest fish that dwell there, rating each on the freaky/funky scale.  The slimy hagfish scores 5/5 on the freaky scale while the snotty parrotfish gets 5/5 om the funky scale.

However, this is so much more than a story that rhymes – from the front cover to the endpapers and every page in between, there are hundreds of illustrations of those fish and loads of information about them, all brought together in a most imaginative layout that not only engages the reader but satisfies their curiosity and encourages them to explore further. 

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Ideal for helping little ones explore the new worlds of beneath the waves. 

 

The Silly Seabed Song

The Silly Seabed Song

The Silly Seabed Song

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Silly Seabed Song

Aura Parker

Puffin, 2021

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

9781760899394

Jelly flubber! Wobbly gong!
It’s the Silly Seabed Song!

As the Rock Oysters sing their final song of the evening, and all the sea creatures sing and dance along, all little Turtle Hatchling Fred wants to do is sleep.  But how can he with all this laughing and giggling and NOISE??? It seems everyone who lives under the water has come to join in and the result of this “lullaby” is just a cacophony.  Or is it?

Once again, the author of Goodnight Glow Worms, and Meerkat Splash offers our youngest readers a charming story for bedtime with its lyrical rhyming text and appealing illustrations. 

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

As well as introducing them to a range of creatures that dwell in the ocean that they are probably not familiar with, there is also the challenges to find a range of them as they frolic with the party-goers amongst the seaweed and sand.  There’s a new little person coming to our family soon and this will be the perfect bedtime story for a proud grandfather to read!! 

 

You Can’t Take an Elephant on Holiday

You Can't Take an Elephant on Holiday

You Can’t Take an Elephant on Holiday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Can’t Take an Elephant on Holiday

Patricia Cleveland-Peck

David Tazzyman

Bloomsbury, 2021

32pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781408898567

With winter closing in, holidays seem like a tempting option right now but whatever you do or wherever you go, DON’T take an elephant with you. Or a cheetah, or a rhino, or a meerkat or an albatross for that matter.   Or any of the animals mentioned in this wacky book, because even though they just want to have fun, they are going to cause havoc.

This latest addition to the You Can’t Take an Elephant  series is as hilarious as the others and will delight both child and adult alike as they share it together.  Let the child think of then draw a scene from their favourite holiday spot and then add a favourite animal and a situation and there is the basis for a story.  Even better if it rhymes as this text does! Or explore how the author has used language to make the rhymes and play with their words so they do too. Imagine what a wombat might do if you took it to the beach with you!

A bit of fun to play with as the long winter terms drags on…

 

The King’s Birthday Suit

The King's Birthday Suit

The King’s Birthday Suit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The King’s Birthday Suit

Peter Bently

Claire Powell

Bloomsbury, 2021

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

9781408860144

King Albert-Horatio-Otto the Third
had SO many clothes it was simply absurd 

He had clothes for every occasion, even changing just to go to the loo, so when his birthday was on the horizon it was obvious he was going to need a new outfit.  But when fashion designers came from all over the kingdom with their finest collections, he could find nothing suitable. But then two arrived who declared they could  make an outfit of only the very BEST and most special cloth, one that only the most clever and wisest of all could see. So of course the vain king could not resist but the results were not what he expected…

This is an hilarious makeover of Hans Christian Andersen’s  traditional tale The Emperor’s New Clothes with Bently’s clever rhyming text and Powell’s illustrations bringing it to life for a whole new generation of readers.  It is rich, engaging and will have young readers utterly enthralled as they become engrossed in the details and they will love the risqué ending, because it is just a little bit naughty!  So much fun from cover to cover, yet offers so much to talk about whether “clothes maketh the man” and even the meaning of “sycophant”.