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


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. 




















Rise of the Mythix (series)

Rise of Mythix (series)

Rise of the Mythix (series)











Rise of the Mythix (series)

Golden Unicorn


Mighty Minotaur


Flight of the Griffin


Anh Do

Allen & Unwin, 2020-2021

200pp.,. pbk., RRP $A15.99

The tyrant known as the Soul Collector (who is a physically weak man filled with greed who boosts his energy with his daily rituals) hunts down anything that is beautiful, unusual or unique. Among is his collection are  The Holy Grail and Lucifer’s Ring, artefacts of Heaven and Hell which he has united in defiance against their creators.

Stanley is the Collector’s finder. He hates his master and wants to change his situation. He discovers an ancient text on Prophesies and Portents that speak of three instruments of power – The Golden Unicorn, the Minotaur and the Griffin, that will return in human form, unite, and restore balance and harmony to the Kingdom.

Kelly, who is trying hard to be an ordinary teenager and fit in with her peers,  finds that every day her powers are growing: she can run faster than the wind, she can hear people’s thoughts, she is not normal. So when he captures Kelly Smith’s mother and holds her hostage after Kelly and Stanley escape his attempts to capture them,  she knows she can’t linger in the shadows any longer. But who is she really? Can she be the one in the prophecy? Is she…the Golden Unicorn?

The Golden Unicorn, the Minotaur and the Griffin – Only these three united to a common purpose can fell him who seeks to triumph over all. 

Kelly didn’t believe in ancient prophecies. But now she must. And she needs to find the Minotaur.

Meanwhile, Minh knows something epic is going on. His body is changing; his strength is otherworldly. But he has no idea that this is just the beginning…

Kelly and Minh must help each other if they are to have any hope of rescuing the people they love. )The king of beasts and the lord of birds, together once more, will know a third companion, as the days grow dim.  The Unicorn, the Minotaur and the Griffin are united at last. Surely together they will be unstoppable!

But the Collector is not going to give up without an epic fight, and not all the beasts of legend are on the side of good …

Have Kelly, Minh and Jimmy met their match? Will the prophecy fail just when it looks most like coming true?

Anh Do is one of Australia’s most popular writers for young, independent readers for good reason  and this series is one that may well tempt the lover of Weirdo and Ninja Kid up to the next level of their reading journey, just because of his name alone. Fast moving, well-illustrated and moving within that superhero domain that is so popular right now, with characters that appeal to a wide audience, it is a series for more mature readers which may open them up to discovering more about these mythical creatures of ancient times. 


Super Geeks 1: Fish and Chips

Super Geeks 1: Fish and Chips

Super Geeks 1: Fish and Chips










Super Geeks 1: Fish and Chips

James Hart

Puffin, 2021

208pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


Zeek and Arnie are best friends. They do everything together. They love solving problems, inventing, playing video games, coding, reading comics, cooking (mostly Arnie) and planning WORLD DOMINATION (mostly Zeek).

But when Zeek puts a microchip in Arnie’s pet fish, Eleanor, things go horribly wrong . . . A super-intelligent Eleanor decides she’s going to become the supreme ruler of the world.

How will Zeek and Arnie stop Eleanor’s fish-bot army and prevent this power-hungry fish from achieving WORLD DOMINATION?

This is a new series likely to appeal to those who prefer screens and coding to print because it crosses both borders.  James Hart is the illustrator behind a number of popular series including Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables but this is debut as an author. The graphic novel format is ideal for the intended audience and the story moves along at a fast clip that has characters readers can identify with and lots of humour.

Something to offer those boys you are trying to reach out to. 


Over the Moon

Over the Moon

Over the Moon










Over the Moon

Wendy Wan-Long Shang

HarperCollins, 2021

208pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99



Fueled with determination and a passion for science, a bright young girl named Fei Fei builds a rocket ship to the moon to prove the existence of a legendary Moon Goddess. There she ends up on the adventure of a lifetime and discovers a whimsical land of fantastical creatures.

Based on the Netflix original animated film, this illustrated novel retells the story of Over the Moon and includes original concept art!

Directed by animation legend Glen Keane, and produced by Gennie Rim and Peilin Chou, Over the Moon is an exhilarating musical adventure about moving forward, embracing the unexpected, and the power of imagination.

Although I am unfamiliar with the screen version of this story, this novelisation offers an engaging tale of a modern young miss who likes both sides of the story – the one her mother used to tell her of the fantasy and the scientific explanation of the same phenomenon given by her father.  Does the moon change its shape because the Space Dog bites chunks from it until the Moon Goddess Chang-e makes him spit it out, or is there another explanation? There is a delicate balance that keeps the reader entertained as Fei Fei fulfils her quest, at the same time as offering the reader another, deeper layer to accompany the screen version.  

Just as very young readers like to connect with the print versions of their favourite screen characters, so too those who are older and independent.  The subtle nuances of the written word add substance to what might be lost in the whizbangery of the animation. 

This will be a great addition to those who have a focus on screen-print matches this year while offering a quality read to take our girls to new worlds. It also opens up the world of traditional tales that have carried the stories of generations over generations.

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz










The Wizard of Oz

Russell Punter & L. Frank Baum

Simona Bursi

Usborne, 2020

104pp., graphic novel, RRP $A16.99


The classic story of Dorothy, the Tinman, the Scarecrow the Cowardly Lion, the Munchkins and the Wicked Witch of the West has been beautifully reinterpreted in this colourful graphic novel, perfect for younger readers who have not yet made the journey from Kansas to the Emerald City and just in time to be a focus for the 2021 Book Week theme of Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds. 

Declared by the US Library of Congress as “America’s greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale.”, this is a story that all children should be familiar with given the references from it that appear in life today, and so to have it in graphic novel format which makes it accessible to newly independent readers and a whole new generation of children is a bonus. The full plot of the story is summarised here, and it could be wise to have the unabridged classic version available for those who are enticed to read that as well. 

















Jackie Kerin

Annie White

Ford Street, 2020

32pp., hbk., RRP $a24.95


Victoria, Australia in the 1850s and the word of the discovery of gold is spreading around the world. Among the tens of thousands of everyday fold who flock to the goldfields are two young English brothers and another two from Canada.  They decide to team up but they soon discover that despite the rumours, the streets are not lined with gold and nor is it just lying around to be picked up.

Searching for gold is hard work for little reward as you battle the elements, the environment, the crowds, the thieves, the law -and Ma Kilduff’s advice doesn’t really make things easier.  Still they persevere until one day…

This is the “inside story” of the discovery of the first large nugget to be discovered in Victoria, the  Blanche Barkly, taking the reader through the harsh, hard life that the goldfields afforded yet was accepted because of gold fever.  However as well as the story itself, in the final few pages the reader is taken on a journey that provides even more detail beginning with the impact that the goldrush and subsequent discovery of the Blanche Barkly had on the Dja Dja Wurrung, the traditional owners of the land., giving an interesting and original perspective that could be explored further in any curriculum studies of the topic.  Teaching notes are available but this lends itself to investigating  lines of inquiry such as…

  • How did the quest for gold impact the traditional owners of the land on which it took place?
  • How did it affect the environment?
  • Why did the government initially try to keep the discovery of gold a secret and did they make the right decision?
  • As the world’s second largest gold producer in 2020, what lessons have been learned  and what has changed  since the first discoveries? What differences would Ma Kilduff notice?
  • What has been the legacy of the goldrush 170 years on?

Alternatively, students could put themselves in the shoes of one of the characters from Ma Kilduff to Queen Victoria and research and retell the story from that personal perspective. Even just asking, “What did the author and illustrator need to know to produce this book?” would lead to some interesting investigations.

Hopefully the days of “This is Year 5 so it’s gold” and the meaningless study of facts and figures have disappeared so having s book as rich as this in offering different ways to learn about a critical part of Australia’s history is as precious as the metal itself. 



Atticus Van Tasticus 3: The Treasure of Treasures

Atticus Van Tasticus 3: The Treasure of Treasures

Atticus Van Tasticus 3: The Treasure of Treasures












Atticus Van Tasticus 3: The Treasure of Treasures

Andrew Daddo

Stephen Michael King

Puffin, 2020

288pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


Continuing the adventures of Atticus and his brave crew of The Grandnan,  this next episode in this rollicking series for newly independent readers who are looking for an escape from the confines of the bedroom to the high seas and the possibilities of their imagination takes them into a world of  rattling skeletons, ghosts, monsters from the deep, killer sands and a boiling hot tub as they try to figure out the Map of Half Maps in search of certain treasure. .. 

What began as a way to escape life in the coal mine when Atticus chose a pirate ship from his Grandnan’s treasure pile has turned into a journey of adventure, confrontation and self-discovery for Atticus and his band of ragtag friends that is proving to be the perfect escape from this year of uncertainty and unexpected events.  Will Atticus ever find the treasure and save his family or will this just be an ongoing adventure that keeps us entertained for many more episodes?  In this current world of day-to-day, just let’s enjoy it while we have it and wait for the next adventure. You can be sure Atticus has spotted one on the horizon with his trusty telescope.

Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure

Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Adventure

Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure











Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure

Jeff Kinney

Puffin, 2020

224pp., pbk., RRp $A14.99


For the fans of Greg Heffley , the wimpy kid who has struggled so hard to fit in with his peers in middle school, this second adventure told by Greg’s best friend Rowley will be welcome light relief as the days of winter and restrictions march on and on and on.  In this, Rowley imagines an epic adventure in which Roland and his best friend, Garg the Barbarian, leave the safety of their village and embark on a quest to save Roland’s mom from the White Warlock.

Using all the humour and visual techniques of the originals, this will appeal to Wimpy Kid fans as well as reach out to new ones – those newly independent reluctant readers who still need a lot of support and are happy to be part of the in-crown reading one of the most popular series for the age group in a long time.

Hound the Detective

Hound the Detective

Hound the Detective










Hound the Detective

Kimberley Andrews

Puffin, 2020

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


I’m Hound! And I’m a sleuth.

I solve all types of cases.

I sniff and snuff until my nose

detects the clues and traces.

Missing jewels, stolen cars —I always solve the crime.

And his latest case has been mysteriously delivered by post, sending him on a trail that takes him all over town on the scent of something mysterious – although that something isn’t disclosed till the very last page. 

Kimberley Andrews, the creator of the memorable Puffin the Architect has created another masterpiece that will have readers of all ages poring over the detailed illustrations as eagerly as Hound follows his nose,  searching for clues and other hidden treasures. With its clever rhyming text, there’s an unspoken challenge for the reader to find the solution before Hound does, ensuring close engagement with the mystery and offering the opportunity for prediction and speculation. One for a range of ages that reminded me of the fun my students had trying to solve the mystery in the Graeme Base classic, The Eleventh Hour.

We’re Going on a Treasure Hunt

We’re Going on a Treasure Hunt

We’re Going on a Treasure Hunt










We’re Going on a Treasure Hunt

Martha Mumford

Laura Hughes, 

Bloomsbury, 2020

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


Fresh from their Christmas elf chase, the four intrepid bunnies are off on another adventure, this time as sea-faring pirates looking for treasure. Boarding their ship they sail off to a desert island in search of the golden coins, encountering all sorts of creatures on their quest.  There are 10 coins to be found and young readers will delight in seeking them under the flaps as they pore over the detailed pictures and help the bunnies see what’s in front of them. 

Treasure hunts never lose their appeal, as has been proven with little walkers eagerly seeking teddy bears and rainbows on their lockdown outings, so as well as the fun of looking and lifting the flaps, they will enjoy the rhythm and rhyme of the text, repeated in a pattern with a lot of onomatopoeia to heighten the reading experience. With so much to see and do, this is likely to become a firm favourite that takes our youngest readers away from the grey days of winter to a summery sun adventure.