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Bluey: Christmas Swim

 

 

 

 

Bluey: Christmas Swim

Bluey: Christmas Swim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey: Christmas Swim

Bluey

Puffin, 2021

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

9781761041204

It’s Christmas Day and it’s the perfect weather for a family swim! Bartlebee is Bluey’s new toy – how will he cope with his first Heeler Christmas? He finds them a bit rough and ready and wants to go home but a few words from Aunt Frisky, also new to the family, reassures him. 

Based on the television episode of the same name, this is another adaptation of the adventures of these much-loved characters that will appeal to our youngest readers and help them understand that there is fun and joy in books as they meet characters with whom they are familiar and to whom they can return time and again, unlike their fleeting screen counterparts.

They are also more likely to be familiar with the fun and games of Bluey’s family as they celebrate in the typical Australian style, sparking conversations about how different places celebrate differently and how in some countries, the landscape is covered with ice and snow rather than the sunshine we are used to. 

Bluey is always a favourite and this is one to add to the collection. 

Moonlight, Goodnight

Moonlight, Goodnight

Moonlight, Goodnight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moonlight, Goodnight

Elisabeth Sophia

Katrina Jambrak

Little Steps, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A28.95

 9781922358561

Everywhere across the land, across the waters, too …
Some very sleepy creatures are waiting just for you.’

Owl follows the setting sun on a magical flight around the world as creatures on both land and sea settle down for the evening in this lyrical lullaby that eventually arrives home to wish the child goodnight.

Accompanied by rich illustrations of the vast and various landscapes in the gentle muted tones of nightfall, the child is taken on a journey that shows them everyone and everything needs to sleep as the shadow of night engulfs the world . Cleverly though, Jambrak keeps the star-filled sky the same colour throughout helping the child to understand that no matter where or who we are we all sleep under the same sky. So even if they are separated from family and friends, there is that continuity. of being wrapped in the same blanket.

A peek inside...

A peek inside.

One for little ones who are becoming aware of nighttime and the need to rest, and who need something soothing to settle them. 

 

I Have a Magic Ball

I Have a Magic Ball

I Have a Magic Ball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Have a Magic Ball

Nisrine El-Choueifati

Amy Calautti

Little Steps, 2021

32pp., pbk., RRP $A19.95

 9781922358738

“Grab a ball that’s boring, find a ball that’s plain, please grab a ball so you can play this game …’”

The concept of a magic ball has been one that has fascinated for centuries and this book invites young readers to find balls in their lives and imagine what they could become or do or… From snowballs to fireballs, there are so many different sphere shaped objects in our lives and each has a story to tell about how it became or what it might become.

Designed to encourage children to use their imagination and think about the what-ifs and what-might-bes , it has the potential to be the story starter for many wondrous tales, limited only by the storyteller’s power to imagine. Even sitting in a circle with just one ball, perhaps a balloon, with each child offering something before 1-2-3 CHANGE…

Something different for our youngest readers to help them understand they can be story makers as well as takers.

 

 

Old Grandpa’s Book of Practical Poems

Old Grandpa's Book of Practical Poems

Old Grandpa’s Book of Practical Poems

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Grandpa’s Book of Practical Poems

Peter Macinnis (curator)

Amazon, 2021

337pp., pbk., RRP $A22.00

ebook $A4.00

9798583706266

Imagine having at your fingertips a comprehensive collection of the poems that are most often quoted, or pop up in allusions and crosswords. 

This collection carefully curated by wordsmith Peter Macinnis includes rhymes, brief and not-so from Britain, North America and Australia and in his words, should be “read aloud: adult to child; child to child; child to adult.” While he believes it is a collection that  “young people of all ages can benefit from encountering” it is, “above all, a work of love, both of language and also of grandchildren, official and unofficial, everywhere. “

However, IMO, it is one that should be in the collection of all educators and school libraries because it provides such ready access to all those verses that we know snippets of but can’t quite recall the whole thing.   Grouped under these rough headings: Short, Sweet and Sour; Pieces to Get the Tongue Around; Parodies; Fun with words; Adventures; Stories; Travel; Myths and Other Animals; Books and the arts; Seasons; Love and beauty; Funny; Society and its oddities; Nature; Science; Sport and The game of war, it spans works such as The Elf and the Dormouse (particularly topical given the weather we are experiencing on the East Coast and that which is predicted for the summer) to Banjo of the Overflow, a parody of my favourite Clancy of the Overflow,

This is the third edition of this work, again as carefully and meticulously researched as any who know Peter expect, and for many has proven to be the turning point in their relationship to poetry. There is something special about sharing something so personal as poetry preferences with those you love., be they children, grandchildren or your students. How many times have I had fun with young ones exploring Southey’s The Inchcape Rock (p59)  and the inglorious fate of Sir Ralph the Rover? Sometimes words with no pictures to shape the imagination are exactly what is needed. 

This anthology is the perfect vehicle for whenever you and yours need to just shut your eyes, listen and watch the images on the screens of your eyelids. 

Somebody’s Land: Welcome to Our Country

Somebody's Land: Welcome to Our Country

Somebody’s Land: Welcome to Our Country

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Somebody’s Land: Welcome to Our Country

Adam Goodes

Ellie Lang

David Hardy

A & U Children’s, 2021

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

9781760526726

When the white people came,
they called the land
Terra Nullius.
They said it was nobody’s land.
But it was somebody’s land.

Every day across Australia, young people will say and hear the Acknowledgement of Country recognising the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional custodians of the land on which they are living, learning or playing.  But what does that Acknowledgement actually mean?  Is it just a recitation made almost meaningless by repetition, said without a lot of thought?  Or is there a deeper understanding that has come from really considering the words and phrases? Who are those Elders, “past, present and emerging” that we pay homage to and why do we do that?

In this beautifully illustrated book, the creators seek to show that despite what Captain Cook and his colleagues thought about it being “nobody’s land” it was, indeed “somebody’s land” and that the culture and connections to it by the First Nations peoples stems back tens of thousands of years, allowing them to celebrate their ancient sovereignty. 

Each double-page spread  begins with the same sentence, “For thousands and thousands of years, Aboriginal people lived in the land we now call Australia’ and then through both easily accessible text and vibrant illustrations shows how the land nurtured and supported them and how they, in turn, connected to and cared for it, clearly showing the fallacy of Terra Nullius, which is also repeated on each page. Thus young readers can begin to not only understand the concept and context of the words but appreciate the depth of their meaning. That despite it appearing vast and empty, it has always been somebody’s land. By showing how and why the First Nations people have such a respect for and relationship with Country, it is the beginnings of a bridge between the upcoming generation led by the present and emerging Elders so that they can walk with the First Nations people “in a movement of the Australian people for a better future” – a bridge that will span four more additions to the series. 

 “It was Aboriginal Land. It is Aboriginal Land. And always will be Aboriginal Land.”

Toy Mountain

Toy Mountain

Toy Mountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toy Mountain

Stef Gemmill

Katharine Hall

EK Books, 2021

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

9781925820966

Sam is getting bored with playing with the same toys every day – toys that had been played with by his Grandma and while sturdy and reliable, they didn’t have the whizbangery of the toys made in the Tiny Hands toy factory towering over the town, high in the clouds at the end of the rainbow.

So when his mum arranges for him to become a toy tester for the factory he is very excited and day after day boxes and boxes of toys arrive at his house for him to play with and give his opinion about. He immediately discards his old favourites for the new ones but are they all that they are cracked up to be?  Why do all the bells and whistles quickly turn to a sad plonk, plonk, plonk as the toys break and become an ever-increasing mountain of broken plastic junk?

While being a toy-tester might seem like the dream, this is an important story to share about appreciating what we have and taking care of it because shiny and new isn’t always the best choice. There is also a broader message about the amount of plastic that is produced each year, the 79% of that which ends up in the oceans or in landfill. and thus, being aware of and responsible for the amount of waste we create as individuals.

So while children marched in protest at COP26, here, in one story especially written for the young is a direct way that they themselves can make a difference and show the way for others around them.

Bluey: Sleepytime

Bluey: Sleepytime

Bluey: Sleepytime

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey: Sleepytime

Joe Brumm

Puffin, 2021

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

 9781761041198

It’s bedtime in the Heeler household and while Bluey is fast asleep, Mum finishes off the final story with Bingo.  As she turns out the light, she reminds Bingo that she is always there if Bingo needs her but Bingo really wants to do a Big Girl sleep and wake up in her own bed.  But will she?

Based on the television episode of the same name, this is a story that will resonate so deeply with the adult sharing it as the familiarity of children waking in the night, moving into their bed, wanting water, hogging the blankets, having good dreams and not-so that it will seem like there has been a camera in their own bedroom.  

Using a large format including foldout pages, now our young readers can return to their favourite bedtime episode time and again now it is in print format, while parents can use it to remind them that they are going to have a Big Kid night and stay in their own bed. And those that wish can also take their child on a journey through the night sky .

The connection between print and audiovisual versions of the same stories with their familiar characters and settings already in place is strong as children build their knowledge about what to expect from both formats.  To have such a superb series such as Bluey available whenever the child wants to return to it is such a bonus. 

Mr Men Little Miss in Australia

Mr Men Little Miss in Australia

Mr Men Little Miss in Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr Men Little Miss in Australia

Roger Hargreaves

Mr Men, 2021

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

9781761044342

Mr Topsy-Turvy is very excited – the Mr Men and Little Miss are heading  ‘up over’ . Little Miss Somersault is a little confused and then she realises he means Down Under. 

There is much to discover when they arrive in Sydney and make their way around the coast to visit the iconic sites, sights and scenery – Little Miss Somersault is excited about a game of cricket, Mr Tall is keen to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Mr Silly thinks he might enter the Melbourne Cup -before they head inland to the centre.

It’s 40 years since little ones were first introduced to these bold characters created by Roger Hargreaves, wrapped in their distinctive packaging of a bold block-colour illustration on a white background in a book the perfect size for little hands. Even after his death in 1988, his son Adam continued what his father started and the characters are as popular now as they were all those years ago.  So to have the whole crew come to Australia and go places and do things that will resonate with so many of our young readers is just perfect, setting them up to be fans and ensuring lots of reading ahead as all the previous titles remain available. With the characters being readily recognisable each time because of their consistent shape and colour,,their personalities reflected in their name and the antics they get up to told in a distinctive direct, unfussy narrative style,, even our youngest readers can develop and bring knowledge to new reads, so they will be pleased that Mr Wrong is still getting it wrong when he swims between the wrong flags and Mr Silly ends the story in a silly way.  

As parents and grandparents, we must never underestimate the power of sharing stories like this with our littlies, particularly if they are those we ourselves enjoyed.  The connections that that makes to the adult, the story  and literature is general are multi-faceted. Loving the books our parents loved can set us up for life. 

Where’s Wally? The Super Six

Where's Wally? The Super Six

Where’s Wally? The Super Six

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s Wally? The Super Six

Martin Handford, 

Walker Books, 2021

Boxed Set, RRP $A54.99

9781406396744

One of the most recognisable characters in children’s literature with his red and white striped hat and jumper and blue jeans, children have been poring over incredibly busy double-page spreads to find Wally hidden amongst the myriad of characters since 1987. And in my 50+ years of teaching, there have been only a handful of books (the Harry Potter and Goosebumps series are the only ones that spring readily to mind) that have had such a profound influence of children’s desire to learn to read. For even though there is very little text in these books , the powerful messages of books being fun and entertaining, and the essential skills of visual acuity and the perseverance to examine detail are crucial to successful reading development and engagement.

Such was the popularity of the series in my school library 20 years ago, it spawned a year-long activity for which students investigated a popular Australian destination and then wrote clues so their peers could discover where Wally was this week.  The display, which included the clues, pictures (scenic calendars are a great source) and a map that tracked his journey) was always ready for the Monday lunchtime crowd and entries were collected with the winner being drawn on Friday.  The prize was simply being the contributor to a future adventure within Australia for Wally, a prized reward.  And in the meantime I haunted second-hand bookshops constantly looking for copies to replace those that were so loved and used, they just wore out. And there was always a queue of reserves for new releases. 

So almost 45 years on, to have a boxed set which includes Where’s Wally?, Where’s Wally Now?Where’s Wally? The Fantastic JourneyWhere’s Wally? In HollywoodWhere’s Wally? The Wonder Book and Where’s Wally? The Great Picture Hunt as well as a puzzle and a poster so another generation can discover and enjoy the delights of books that entranced their parents is wonderful.  And at less than $10 per book, it is also a bargain. As lockdowns and restrictions have seen a resurgence in family time with board games, cards and so forth making a comeback, this is the ideal gift to continue that as families pore over the pages together and parents relive memories of fun times at school. 

Little Days Out: At the Park

Little Days Out: At the Park

Little Days Out: At the Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Days Out: At the Park

Sally Anne Garland

Catch A Star, 2021

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

 9781922326324

Whenever my littlies came to stay, they always asked to go to the park in town where there is a lovely playground for them to climb, slide, swing, run around and make new friends.  There were always other kids there and even more after a major refurbishment, even more when it became one of the few places open during lockdown, and even more again when restrictions were lifted.  Adults and children alike made it their meeting place. 

This new book in this series captures the fun and excitement perfectly and  its lift-the-flap format ensures that not only will our youngest readers resonate with the adventures but, because it is a universal experience, be able to predict what might be hidden.  Unlike some books that take children to ‘familiar’ places that really aren’t because they feature elements very different to the Australian experience, the fun of parks and playgrounds is common and easily recognisable so this one has a place wherever it’s read.

Catch A Star continues to recognise the need for even our youngest readers to have engaging stories that are sturdy enough in their own hands so they can mimic the reading of those who read to them, a critical step in becoming a reader, and this series is no exception.  Perfect as a gift or a day-care library, it will help develop those essential concepts about print that need to be developed long before the child tries to construct the text on the page.  And being on such a familiar topic makes it even moreso.