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The Viking Who Liked Icing

The Viking Who Liked Icing

The Viking Who Liked Icing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Viking Who Liked Icing

Lu Fraser

Mark McKinley

Bloomsbury, 2021

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

9781526603906

Leafling and Nut are sister and brother but they are not like each other because Leafling is the typical outdoorsy skilled warrior that is the stereotype of Vikings whilst her brother Nut much prefers to design and bake cakes.  When it comes to shooting arrows, rowing, swimming, and other physical pursuits Leafling excels whereas Nut does not.  He much prefers to slice and dice, mix and whisk and create the most mouth-watering treats.

So when Viking Sports Day rolls around, the day he dreads most of all, he prepares himself to be last again – although he would really like to be better than that.  And in the final event of the day, he gets his wish…

Told in a catchy rhyme that carries the story along at a pace that matches the charming illustrations, this is an original story about being true to oneself and being really good at the things you love best.  Even though this is a common theme in stories for our littlies, it is a message they need to hear and think about time and again as those early years can be a time of self-doubt as they witness such a range of activities being valued and rewarded, and they’re often not the things they’re good at. 

The characters, the plot, the action and the humour all appeal and eagle eyes will have fun examining the pictures for all the ways Nut incorporates all things Viking into his creations, such as using his helmet as a mixing bowl and there are more things to find with each reading.

Whether this sparks an interest in Vikings or baking with young readers, it deserves a place in the favourite bedtime reads pile and to add to the fun, there is an activity pack available. 

The Curse of the Vampire Robot

The Curse of the Vampire Robot

The Curse of the Vampire Robot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Curse of the Vampire Robot

Graeme Base

HarperCollins, 2021

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

9781460754696

Deep in the Scottish Highlands, many years from now …

Gertie Gif, a lowly cleaning droid from the village of Loch Lan, sets out on an heroic quest to liberate her fellow robo-folk from the curse of a legendary, battery-draining laptop who lives in the castle on the hill.

Will Gertie and her little software-wolf companion succeed in cleaning out the vampire’s corrupted heart?

Or will the Curse of Voltoid remain forever hanging over the valley?

In this new release from the amazing Base, he combines an old-fashioned tale of good versus evil with 21st century techno-speak to produce an intriguing, clever story that marries the very old with the very latest.   In a castle high on a hill overlooking the valley dwells the dreaded Voltoid , “a giant laptop, black as night, with wings and pointy teeth” who sweeps down into the village to drain the resident robots of their power in order to recharge his own. Then, as in true tales of old, an unlikely hero volunteers to confront the enemy and in in clever rhyming text, an epic encounter ensues.

“In time, the tale become a myth and finally a meme

with feature films and merchandise…

A total data stream. 

Deviating from his familiar full-colour illustrations, this time Base has kept to black and white but with the typical exquisite detail that make his illustrations as rich as both the concept and the text.  This is one for more mature readers who can appreciate the subtlety of the words and the connections between them and the pictures. 

So much food for thought…                              

Noni the Pony Counts to a Million

Noni the Pony Counts to a Million

Noni the Pony Counts to a Million

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noni the Pony Counts to a Million

Alison Lester

Allen & Unwin, 2021

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

9781760524395

Former Australian Children’s Laureate Alison Lester first introduced us to Noni the Pony in 2011 and it was shortlisted for the CBCA Early Childhood Book of the Year.  This was followed by another adventure Noni the Pony Goes to the Beach.in 2014 and then Noni the Pony Rescues a Joey  in 2018. So she has become a favourite of  many preschoolers over time, and this new adventure, written in rhyme and beautifully illustrated, will become a favourite too, particularly if today’s preschooler has an older sibling who remembers the earlier stories.

Little people know that learning to count is a sign that they are growing up and Noni the Pony is no different.  So as she watches her farm  friends play and frolic, she counts them – all the way to a million!! And while most counting books just introduce the words for one to ten, this one includes the concepts of dozens, hundreds, thousands and a million – as the stars shine overhead on what has been a very busy day.  

Featuring all the vital elements that help develop young readers’ concepts about print, this is one that they will be able to read to themselves within a very short while because the illustrations support the text so well, adding another layer to their belief that they will be a successful reader.  Who could ask for more?

The Witchling’s Wish

The Witchling's Wish

The Witchling’s Wish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Witchling’s Wish

Lu Fraser

Sarah Massini

Bloomsbury, 2021

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

9781408899953

 

Above the misty mountains, below a glowing moon

lived  lonely little witchling, with a wibbly, wobbly broom…

While she could tolerate most things, her loneliness was beginning to get to her and she realises she needs a friend.  And because she can’t grow one, or sew one she decided to magic one instead. But what happens when she needs something that is already a friend to someone else?

This is a heart-warming story that has a universal message about friendship that will have wide appeal.  The illustrations are just perfect, enhancing the rhyming text perfectly making it an ideal read-aloud particularly as our little ones return to the classroom and have to navigate making friends all over again. Loved it. 

Hello World

Hello World

Hello World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello World

Lisa Shanahan

Leila Rudge

ABC Books, 2021

24pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9780733340826

There would be few in Australia who have not held their breath these past few days as the search for little AJ Elfalak went on and then let it out in relief when the autistic, non-verbal three-year old was found after four days.  It was a time to hug family, small and bigger, a little tighter and see the world just a little more brightly today.

And that’s exactly what this new book by Lisa Shanahan and Leila Rudge does.  It is early morning and the toddler wakes in her cot and greets the world with a enthusiastic “Hello world.”  Then the reader joins her greeting all the things in her day with repetitive rhyming text that encourages them to predict the words, relate to the events through the charming illustrations and talk about their own experiences.  Perhaps even create their own day’s story with the help of a parent and a camera.  

This is just a pure celebration of viewing the ordinary through the eyes of a young one, to relive the joy in what has become a bit ho-hum and maybe even rediscover our own joie de vivre as winter finally rolls away.

Rumble, Rumble, Dinosaur

Rumble, Rumble, Dinosaur

Rumble, Rumble, Dinosaur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rumble, Rumble, Dinosaur

Katrina Sharman

Nick Sharratt

Bloomsbury, 2021 

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

9781526603395

Rumble, rumble, dinosaur!
Wake up dinos near and far

Using the familiar tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, our youngest readers will delight in this book about dinosaurs created just for them. They can share the adventures of  a whole host of different dinosaurs throughout the course of one exciting day in the jungle … from the friendly brontosaurus to swooping pterodactyls, the gigantic stegosaurus, and of course the FEARSOME T. Rex – all heading for the dino feast.  But then, at the end of the day, just like little children, they must all rest.

The rhyme and rhythm are the perfect complement to the bright bold illustrations which offer an introduction to these creatures that endlessly fascinates children of all generations, enticing them to join in with noise and movement and get the most out of it. 

The Adventures of Mittens

The Adventures of Mittens

The Adventures of Mittens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Adventures of Mittens

Silvio Bruinsma

Phoebe Morris

Puffin, 2021

32pp., pbk., RRP $A17.99

 9780143775850

Mittens is the most famous cat ever to parade the streets of Wellington, New Zealand with his noble nose and fabulously fluffy tail in the air. Mittens is on a mission to leave no corner of the CBD unexplored, no passerby unsmooched, no business, school or residence uninspected. He naps in shop windows, hails cars, crosses busy roads on the green light and, like any self-respecting cat, he lives for attention – but only when he’s in the mood for it.

The Turkish Angora caught the the attention of the world when, just by being his inquisitive and charming self, his antics cheered up Wellingtonians during the 2020 lockdown. Wellington’s mayor awarded Mittens a Key to the City and HRF (His Royal Floofiness) was even nominated for New Zealander of the Year!

With thousands of followers on a Facebook page, a hit song, and an exhibition of fan art called Floofy and Famous, this book of how he touched the heart of so many building social bridges during his wanderings brings to life has been written by one of his guardians, a family of four, using a days-of-the-week format and rhyming text .Even those who have not met Mittens, and don’t know Wellington but do know cats will resonate with that arrogant, I’m-doing-you-a-favour attitude that emanates from Mittens. For those who detest the idea of cats roaming freely, there are tips for how to keep them at home and the fact that Mittens has raised a lot of money for both animal welfare and mental health charities through his profile, may mitigate that. 

Mittens came to fame because of the lockdown in Wellington during 2020, providing a daily connection to people in isolation and thus his story could be the springboard to getting children to talk about their pets, their lockdown connections and how they coped and are coping, perhaps even considering how they can reach out to those in their community even more isolated than they are.  Perhaps when restrictions are lifted it can be a time to forge new friendships with all ages…

Where Are You, Magoo?

Where Are You, Magoo?

Where Are You, Magoo?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Are You, Magoo?

Briony Stewart

Puffin, 2021

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

9781760896911

The lovable Magoo is back in another hilarious story that epitomises the fun and mischief that a puppy can get into.  Just how many places can a dog hide?  And what mischief can he make while he is there?

Like its predecessor, shortlisted for the CBCA Early Childhood Book of the Year 2021, this has the repetitive text, rhyme and rhythm that appeal so much to young readers and which are such an important foundation of their early reading behaviour as they are encouraged to pick up the book and read it to themselves. Its sturdy format, clear text and engaging illustrations will endear it to child and parent alike, but most importantly its strong, funny storyline with a lovable character already known to them will make it a go-to favourite to be read again and again.

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.