Archives

The Best Mum

The Best Mum

The Best Mum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Mum

Penny Harrison

Sharon Davey

New Frontier, 2021

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

9781922326225

Everyone else seems to have the BEST mum – mums who can make fancy dress costumes, roller-skate; sing and dance, float like a fairy, even make rare, exotic sweets – but the little girl’s mum is a duffer at all of those sorts of things. But in the end it doesn’t matter because when it comes to cuddles and hugs, nothing can beat the love that comes with them.

So often we look at our mums, compare them to other mums and find them wanting.  Recent events have made me reflect on my childhood and think about how it was my best friend’s mum who taught me to knit (something I’ve picked up again to rebuild my arm and finger muscles) and to bake the best ginger fluff sponges, khaki cakes and banana cakes  (even though I’m not renowned as a cook of any type). But Helen’s mum was a stay-at-home mum, typical of the era, whilst mine was out breaking ground as she pioneered the way for female journalists in the world, particularly New Zealand and Australia.  Like this little girl’s mum she loved me deeply and whilst she didn’t show it by making me fancy dress costumes or roller-skating through the streets of Invercargill she showed it in a zillion other ways, ways that have shaped me all my life, and when it came to bedtime she gave the best cuddles too!

As the annual celebration of mothers comes around again, this is the perfect book and the perfect time to focus on all those things that mothers do daily to show and share their love each in their own unique, individual way.  The rhyming text and the bright, bold illustrations add to the joy of this time whilst validating those thoughts we have about others’ mums yet being so grateful for the one we have. 

Meet the Oceans

Meet the Oceans

Meet the Oceans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Oceans

Caryl Hart

Bethan Woollvin

Bloomsbury, 2020

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

9781526603630

In Meet the Planets,  young readers  were invited to join an aspiring young astronaut and her trusty dog to climb into a rocket and fly on a journey to meet the planets. This time, they are invited on board a submarine to travel the oceans and seas of the world to meet the creatures that live in them. From the icy reaches of the Arctic Ocean to the warmth of the Coral Sea, the diversity of life is explored with a strong theme of conservation as the children learn that any water they send down the plughole eventually reaches the ocean and the life within it. 

Bold bright pictures and a strong rhyming text carry the story and the journey along ensuring readers stay engaged as they are introduced to the water that covers 70% of the planet. A great introduction to what is beneath the surface that will come to mind each time little ones stand on the seashore and gaze.  

Let’s Build a House

Let's Build a House

Let’s Build a House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Build a House

Mike Lucas

Daron Parton

Lothian, 2021

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

9780734420329

There are many steps in building a house and it’s important that they be done in the right order.

In this charming story-in-rhyme by Mike Lucas (he who always writes such fabulous Book Week theme poems) young readers not only begin to understand how a house is built and the vocabulary associated with it,  but they can join in the rhymes and provide appropriate actions as they do.  It’s perfect for exploring and consolidating the concept of sequencing and learning the language of order – first, second, third, next, before, after, last and so on. 

But most of all it’s a love story between a father and daughter as they work together to make one of the most important things we need – shelter. 

Very different from both Vanishing and Olivia’s Voice , this is one to appeal to much younger readers especially if you give them the opportunity to tell you what they have learned or they have family members that they see in the illustrations!. 

Dream Big, Little Mole

Dream Big, Little Mole

Dream Big, Little Mole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dream Big, Little Mole

Tom Percival

Christine Pym

Bloomsbury, 2021

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

9781408892824

 

Little Mole looks on with envy at the birds soaring through the sky, the ducks swimming, the grasshopper leaping and the squirrely climbing.

“I wish I could do that,” she said with a sigh.  Wise Owl hears her and tells her that rather than envying the others, she should just be herself.  But when Little Mole decides her talent is digging and sets out to dig the biggest hole in the world, it seems that everything just turns to disaster – or does it?

This is a gentle story-in-rhyme for young readers that demonstrates the meaning of clouds having silver linings.  Although it appears that her digging only upsets Fox and Hedgehog and Rabbit and she decides to give up, a meeting with Otter spurs her on and the ending is most unexpected. Perhaps Little Mole’s talent is more important than digging the biggest hole in the world.

 

 

The Bird in the Herd

The Bird in the Herd

The Bird in the Herd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bird in the Herd

Kathryn Apel

Renée Treml

UQP, 2021

40pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780702262944

There’s a bird in the herd that stalks as it walks, eating slugs and the bugs that the herd stirred. 

After half a century as a teacher, most of it spent focusing on teaching our youngest readers to read, I am quite vocal with my criticism of the current push to have phonics as the basis of instruction and while I could write much about why, I won’t.  However, this is a clever and quirky read which mainly relies on rhyme, rhythm and  repetition to carry it along but central, and most importantly, there is a charming story at its core. 

Beginning with a bird stalking a herd of cows to snap up the slugs and bugs they disturb, the scene is tracked back through all its elements – there is so much more than just the cows wandering along the track- with a repetition reminiscent of The House that Jack Built until an ignorant, impatient idiot  upsets everything.  So rather than the traditional set of disconnected pictures with sentences declaring the cat sat on the mat and the frog sat on the log, this is one that young readers can not only apply their new knowledge of phonemes but can actively engage with Treml’s illustrations and their existing knowledge of farm animals to read it for themselves.  They learn that the best books tell a story that is worth reading, that the words and pictures are integral to each other and this reading thing is something they can master. Such empowerment. If only all that we asked our beginning readers to read were as good as this…

Teachers’ notes are available.

The Thing That Goes Ping!

The Thing That Goes Ping!

The Thing That Goes Ping!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thing That Goes Ping!

Mark Carthew

Shane McG

Ford Street, 2021

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781925804669

In the faraway town of Figgy-tra-ling, you may hear the faint ring of a thing that goes ping!

But this ting’s hard to find though its sound is quite loud

As the thing that goes ping can get lost in a crowd.

If you wish to know where you can find this ping thing

Let’s ask the good people of Figgy-tra-ling…

And so begins the quest to  discover this thing that goes ping, whatever it might be.  Moving through the town using rhyming couplets that instantly reminded me of a recent favourite, The Dingle-Dangle Jungle, the reader is taken on a journey that introduces a variety of creatures in a range of settings around the farm until eventually that thing that goes ping is revealed.  And it is a satisfying solution that makes the trip worthwhile!

This story works on a number of levels for all ages, particularly younger readers who are not only learning the names of common creatures but who revel in the sounds and rhythms of our language.  The rhymes roll off the tongue in a most satisfying way and with the repetition of the phrases and the very supportive illustrations they will not only be joining in but also be predicting the next text. Perfect for early reading behaviours, encouraging readers to suggest, write and illustrate their own resident of Figgy-tra-ling who could help the quest.  It is also excellent for using with students for whom English is an additional language as not only can they connect the English words with creatures they readily recognise, but again, the predictive text and the rhyme will help them explore the language easily.   As well, there are comprehensive teachers notes, song lyrics and even card games to download, making this the complete reading experience. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Float or Sink?

Float or Sink?

Float or Sink?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Float or Sink?

Kylie Covark

Andrew Plant

Ford Street, 2021

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

9781925804621

There is a stick in the creek bobbing along

Rolling on, light but strong.

What do you think?

Float or sink?

Most will answer “float” because who hasn’t whiled away some time putting sticks into the water and watching them start their journey to the unknown?

But what if there are those who see the stick as their personal raft, and climb onboard like a ladybug, a flea, a fly, a gnat, even a slug! Will the stick survive?  And is there danger lurking as it floats along, oblivious to its passengers and its surrounds?

The rhythmical text and the bold bright illustrations carry this story along as smoothly as the river current, encouraging young readers to make predictions about what will happen as they bring their scientific knowledge to the fore. So much potential for investigation of all sorts of things and lots of fun, but first and foremost a charming story. 

 

 

You can’t take an elephant on the bus

You Can't Take an Elephant on the Bus

You Can’t Take an Elephant on the Bus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can’t take an elephant on the bus

Patricia Cleveland-Peck

David Tazzyman

Bloomsbury, 2021

26pp., board book., RRP $A12.99

9781526620194

You can’t take an elephant on a bus and you shouldn’t put a monkey in a shopping trolley or take a tiger on a train ride.  Because if you do, they will cause havoc and this delightful rhyming story explores the hazards they create.  In fact there is a problem with every mode of transport for these exotic creatures except…

This is a fun-filled story that will have even the gloomiest child laughing out loud and wanting to suggest new ideas.  If you can’t ask a whale to ride a bike, then what would work – or not?  With quirky illustrations that are as funny as the text and a rich vocabulary that has been carefully crafted – the pig’s trotters totter – this is a surefire winner for young readers who are learning about the fun to be had in stories.

Ten Little Yoga Frogs

Ten Little Yoga Frogs

Ten Little Yoga Frogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Little Yoga Frogs

Hilary Robinson

Mandy Stanley

Catch A Star, 2021

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

9781922326126

Imagine learning some basic yoga poses at the same time as learning to count,  This is a bright, colourful, traditional rhyming counting book but with the twist of all the characters doing yoga and an invitation to the reader to join in.. 

One to one matching and the conservation of number are the foundation skills of early maths as children learn that no matter how it is arranged, a group of three (or whatever) is always a group of three, So we can’t underestimate the value of books such as these as they teach or reinforce the same concepts and eventually the child is mature enough to grasp them. At the same time, the rhyming format helps them predict the text so they have power over it. Win/win for littlies, in my opinion. 

 

Learning to Count (series)

Learning to Count

Learning to Count

10 Naughty Numbats

9781922265616

10 Bush Babies

9781922265623

10 Lively Lorikeets

9781922265630

Grace Nolan

Nancy Bevington

Big Sky, 2021

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

Learning to count, add and subtract is one of the key reasons little children believe they go to school and so this new collection of three readers endorsed by Australian Geographic will be a welcome addition to the resources to assist this . 

Focusing on 30 signature Australian creatures, each book encourages little ones to count, add or subtract as they use the rhyming text and charming illustrations for cues and clues.  Each illustration has a humorous twist to add to the fun of learning  and the concept for each page is clearly displayed as a conventional number story.  As well, there are extra activities at the end to reinforce the concepts and encourage the 1:1 matching and conservation of numbers that are the foundation skills of early maths.  

Never underestimate the power of these sorts of texts to encourage our little ones to learn much more than we ever set out to teach!