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Noisy Tom

Noisy Tom

Noisy Tom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noisy Tom

Jane Martino

Annie White

Puffin, 2021

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

9781761040078

No matter what he does, Tom is noisy.  There is not an activity that he does that is not accompanied by boisterous, enthusiastic sound effects. “When I’m playing, noise just spills out of me. “

But one day at the park when he sees two girls playing on the swings and not making any noise at all, he is puzzled. When he asks them whether they enjoyed the swings because they did not make a sound, they tell him that they enjoy the feel of the movement, the sensation of the cold air on their faces and although Tom also enjoys that, he is still confused.

Although he learns that there are lots of ways to express your feelings, loudly and quietly, and it is different for each person, for him loud wins.  

This is the third in this series that focuses on young children, enabling them to understand their feelings and responses and be a pre-emptive strike towards positive mental health. Our youngest readers will enjoy its exuberance and will see themselves either as Tom or one of the quieter characters.  Most importantly, they will begin to understand that being different is OK and being yourself is paramount.  

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.

Peep Inside How a Recycling Truck Works

Peep Inside How a Recycling Truck Works

Peep Inside How a Recycling Truck Works

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peep Inside How a Recycling Truck Works

Lara Bryan

Giavana Medeiros

Usborne, 2021

14pp., board book, RRP $A14.99

9781474986083

From rubbish into the bin to recycled products in the playground, this little lift-the-flap book tracks the journey of recycling, providing the perfect introduction to this practice which is a normal part of everyday life now. 

Joining the 16 other books in this series, Usborne continues to bring quality non fiction to even our youngest readers offering them a book that is sturdy and small enough for little hands as well as a format that is engaging and fun.  Anyone who knows the power and persistence of a young person’s questions will welcome being able to share this title, and the others, with them so they have the answers they seek from a clear and authoritative source written with them in mind so they learn the value of information in print .  Perfect for preschoolers as it acknowledges those who prefer non fiction even at that age..

Little Owl’s Bathtime

Little Owl's Bathtime

Little Owl’s Bathtime

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Owl’s Bathtime

Debi Gliori

Alison Brown

Bloomsbury, 2021

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

9781526613875

Little Owl is back in another adventure that will resonate with our youngest readers as he tries everything he can think of to continue playing King of the Castle and avoid having a bath. Bathtime means the end of the day and the end of the fun. But Mummy Owl has a few tricks up her sleeve and entices him to wallow in Bubble Mountain and play with the Giant Invisible Penguin, so much so that Little Owl doesn’t want to get out. 

As with the others in this series, Gliori and Brown have combined to create a story around a familiar activity that the target audience will recognise and get great fun from.  Even if they can’t outwit their parents who are trying to bather them, they will have a host of new excuses to try out, while their parents may get some tips to deal with the situation without needing tears and tantrums.

Can You Do This?

Can You Do This?

Can You Do This?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can You Do This?

Michael Wagner

Heath McKenzie

ABC Books, 2021

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

9780733335723

No matter what amazing feat Little Brother Mouse does,  including the most amazing aerobatics in an air race, Big Brother Mouse scoffs at his efforts and says he can do the same thing in his sleep.  As Little Brother Mouse pushes himself further and further he also gets more and more despondent believing that he will never be as good as his big brother. 

But his Big Brother telling the truth?  Can he really do what Little Brother challenges him to?

Sibling rivalry and the desire to do what older siblings can is often the inspiration for little ones to grow up fast and take risks and this story is a prime example of that.  But is it always wise or are their times when we need to wake for our bodies and brains to be in sync with each other?  Young readers with older brothers and sisters will relate to this story but perhaps it should come with a large label proclaiming DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!

 

Sometimes Cake

Sometimes Cake

Sometimes Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes Cake

Edwina Wyatt

Tamsin Ainslie

Walker, 2020

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

9781760650421

Audrey and Lion are best friends and when Audrey sees Lion with a balloon she assumes it is his birthday.  Even though it isn’t, it must be someone’s somewhere so they celebrate anyway.  Together they move through the week celebrating special things until the day Lion looks forlorn because he seems to have nothing to celebrate.  To cheer him up, Audrey pulls together all the things they enjoy and she has a party just to celebrate their friendship because sometimes it’s about acknowledging the ordinary rather than the extraordinary.

Like other reviewers, I found this to have some of the overtones of the simple logic of Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends, a logic that little people love because it is so literal.  With its soft watercolour illustrations, it is one that preschoolers will enjoy because they could be Audrey or Audrey could be their friend. It also opens up the possibilities for talking about the why and how of  celebrations and how some families do things a little differently, even though cake may be the common element!

A CBCA Picture Book of the Year Notable for 2021.

 

 

Where’s Brian’s Bottom?

Where's Brian's Bottom?

Where’s Brian’s Bottom?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s Brian’s Bottom?

Rob Jones

Pavilion Children’s, 2021

12pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

9781843654667

Brian is a very long sausage dog. So long he’s lost his bottom!  Can you find Brian’s bottom? Where could it be? Have you looked in the hallway? Has Pauline the parrot seen it? Maybe it’s in the living room, with Alan the hamster? Or perhaps in the kitchen with hungry Dave the tortoise? In the bathroom with Gavin the goldfish? Oh where could it be?

Regular readers of my reviews will know that I am a fan of board books that tell stories and engage our very youngest readers in the fun of them, developing an expectation that the written word will bring something special as they snuggle up with others in their lives to share. So this one with its l-o-n-g concertina foldout that winds through the house from front door to bedroom is a must-share and as a bonus, on the reverse side is another body adventure that invites the child to add their description of  where Brian’s bottom might be. 

This one really does encourage those early reading behaviours and concepts about print that are the critical foundations of early reading and deserves to be in every little reader’s library.

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.

Where Does Poo Go?

Where Does Poo Go?

Where Does Poo Go?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Does Poo Go?

Katie Daynes

Dan Taylor

Usborne, 2021

12pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781474986434

This is an intriguing little book – just 12 pages of lift-the-flap questions and answers – that could have the most profound effect on the reader.  Answering questions about why humans and animals need to poo, what happens to it once it is expelled and the information that can be learned from it, it addresses a topic that young children are fascinated by from a young age.

But as important as the information is, it is the no-nonsense, matter-of-fact way it explores a normal. critical bodily function that has the potential to change attitudes. If we can show our children from the earliest age that this is not a topic for sniggers or embarrassment, but something that is an indicator of good health (or otherwise) then we are doing them an enormous service. For a few generations now, bodily functions have tended to be something not discussed, something to be kept private and definitely not done or shared in public and so, when doctors and other medical staff need to know, there is at least embarrassment, at worst a cover-up with all its consequences. Yet, as we have seen in the last year, it is the evidence of the COVID virus in effluent that has been one of the most powerful triggers for precautions to be taken. 

So to have a book explicitly written for young readers, that looks at this subject in the factual way it does that demonstrates that the body getting rid of its waste is essentially no different  from fuelling it in the first place is a great start to taking away the inhibition.

Sometimes books teach us so much more than their focus topic and this is one of those. 

 

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.