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The Goblins’ Revenge

The Goblins' Revenge

The Goblins’ Revenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Goblins’ Revenge

Andy Prentice

Tom Knight

Usborne, 2024

288pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99

9781803706467

For 93 years the land of Sibele has been ruled by the evil wizard Darkmoon, and now he is hunting down the last few rebels who dare to oppose him, and the only one who can save them and end his reign is the reader. With a horde of undead warriors on the trail and a series of blood-curdling dangers ahead , it would be a terrifying task for anyone – but you’re just a goblin, which makes things even more challenging. Confronted by menacing monsters, ghostly magic and a thrilling race against time in this spectacular fantasy adventure gamebook, the reader becomes the hero whose decisions and choices determine the outcome.  

Decades ago the choose-your-own adventure genre hit the shelves and were an instant success with those who like to insert and immerse themselves in the stories, and this 21st century version combines that genre with the gaming craze, combining three loves of the current generation – video games, fantasy and a story in print which becomes a new adventure with every choice made. 

It begins with instructions on how to play complete with items, weapons and abilities, a logbook to keep track of the relevant details of the quest as  well as all the other things needed to play a game and complete a quest in this modern era.  There are crucial picture puzzles to solve along the way, and although a computer is not needed to play, there are links to an online dice roller if physical dice (needed to play the combat system) aren’t available as well as a printable logbook.

I am the first to admit that this is not my sort of game and my granddaughters gave up in frustration as they tried to teach me some of theirs, but nevertheless, this seems to be something that teacher librarians should be aware of so they can capture the imagination and minds of those engaged by this sort of activity, thus demonstrating that the library has resources that are relevant to them. In fact, while the publisher suggests this is suitable for 9+, it could be one to give to your gamers for feedback on suitability both for reading /comprehension age as well as future releases in the series.  

Dingley the Dancing Dinosaur

Dingley the Dancing Dinosaur

Dingley the Dancing Dinosaur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dingley the Dancing Dinosaur

Karleigh White

Aleksandra Szmidt

Little Steps, 2023

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

9781922833709

With his razor-sharp teeth, blistering roar and height, Dingley’s parents want him to be the next leader of the dinosaur pack, but all Dingley wants to do is dance.  But it seems a Tyrannosaurus Rex is not built for dancing – he always trips over his feet or bumps his head on low-hanging branches – and so he sets off to find his dancing groove.  However, after trying tap dancing with Trixy the triceratops, break-dancing with Benny the brachiosaurus, and the salsa with Sally the stegosaurus, Dingley decides that dancing is not for him and despondently, he heads for home.  And then he meets Bella the brachyceratops on her way home from ballet practice…

There have been many stories written for young readers about believing in yourself and finding your unique place in the world, but the premise of a dancing dinosaur is one that will reel in all those with a love of these creatures. As well as the characters and theme, it could be fun to explore the alliteration as they try to think of a name and dance style for their particular favourite dinosaur while others might want to learn more about Bella the brachyceratops , a species they may not be familiar with.  

And to top it all off, imagine the impact of a mural made by the students of the dancing dinosaurs talent show as they retell the story and add their own characters.  Fun!!!

 

Chico the Schnauzer

Chico the Schnauzer

Chico the Schnauzer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chico the Schnauzer

Taryn Brumfitt

Puffin, 2024

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

9781761343988

Chico the Schnauzer has a very distinctive appearance with his salt-and-pepper coat, cheeky eyebrows, fabulous moustache, and really big beard.  He loves anything that starts with ch, particularly Chelsea and Charlie and when they go to work in the morning, he likes to stand at the gate and say hello to all his friends.  But one day, when the gate is left open, he ventures through it and goes to play with them all.  Susie the Sausage Dog, Penelope the Poodle and Digby the Dalmatian and all the others invite him to play with them and Chico is amazed at how different they are and how well they can do certain things – many of which he finds a bit tricky.  

But instead of envying them their skills, he is proud of what he can do and shares his talents with them.  At the end of the day, he is tired but happy because he knows that everyone is different and that he has his special talents too.

Author of Embrace Your Body,  and 2023 Australian of the Year, Taryn Brumfitt has been recognised around the world for her efforts in getting people, especially young ones to not only accept who they are and what they look like but to celebrate it, and this book follows that theme.  Chico admires what his doggy pals can do but also shows his strengths as well.  It’s a message our young readers need to hear over and over it seems, as anxiety levels continue to grow as expectations seem to compound.  They are invited to reflect on what their ‘AH-MAZING’ bodies can do and share this. Perhaps an opportunity for a photo display of each class member’s unique skills as part of the the customary getting-to-know-us activities for the new school year. 

Ready, Set, Big School

Ready, Set, Big School

Ready, Set, Big School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready, Set, Big School

Jan Stradling 

Jedda Robaard

ABC Books, 2023

24pp., hbk., RRP $A22.99

9780733342875

Maurice has a funny feeling in his tummy – because while he is excited to be starting big school, he is also nervous because of the new people he will meet, the new things he will do and the new routines he will have to learn. But his Play School friends are feeling the same way, especially after Mr Bao comes to talk about some of the things to expect, so they all go home to practise the things they will need to do – trying on new shoes, putting on their uniform, packing their backpack, using a checklist to make sure everything is included, and even learning how to introduce themselves to new friends.  

And then it is time for THE day,,,

This is another in the excellent Mindfully Me series in which the familiar characters of Play School put themselves in the shoes of children facing common situations and offer suggestions and strategies for coping with what might arise.  As many young readers are about to take this big step themselves, this is another story to share to show them that not only will they be okay but the apprehension they are feeling is common to everyone so they are not alone. But being prepared is a big start to building resilience and doing the sorts of things Maurice does will help them feel in control. 

Giovanni

Giovanni

Giovanni

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giovanni

Crystal Corocher

Margeaux Davis

Wombat Books, 2023

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

9781761111235

In 1881, four-year-old Giovanni and his family and local villagers leave the Veneto region of Italy bound for Australia having been promised “paradise” only to find that they are in the hands of a people smuggler with a rickety boat, little food and no real concern for their safety, let alone comfort.  Eventually stranded on a beach in Noumea, they were in despair of ever reaching Australia dying in huge numbers from bad food, mosquitoes, undrinkable water and back-breaking work in the monsoon season. 

But hearing of their plight, Sir Henry Parkes, the “father of Federation” but then colonial secretary of NSW sent a boat to rescue them and 22 families eventually settled on the NSW north coast in what was to become known as New Italy and the start of the Italian migration to Australia that continues today.

Told by the great-granddaughter of Giovanni, with a concurrent Italian translation by Jada Valpato,  this is a story meticulously researched that tells of an almost-forgotten part of Australia’s migration history, making it one for both younger and older readers, particularly those of Italian heritage.  Coupled with links to resources such as the New Italy Museum, this is definitely one for the collection for both your Italian families as well as any study of Australia’s immigration history. 

 

Under the Red Shawl

Under the Red Shawl

Under the Red Shawl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the Red Shawl

Vikki Conley

Martina Heiduczek

New Frontier, 2023

32pp., hbk., RRP $A26.99

9781922326829

On the day that Salim was born everyone was leaving town, looking for a safer place, and so Mama wrapped him tightly in her red shawl and, with a few precious things packed onto the donkey, joined the exodus…

Based on many stories told by children in Africa and the Middle East to the author during her work with World Vision, sadly this is more than just Salim’s story and as we watched the families fleeing Gaza, it is one that is common and continuous.  While the reasons for leaving may differ, nevertheless there are several constants regardless of the people involved – there is the love of parents for their children that protects the little ones regardless of the hardships that the adults might encounter and endure; the friendliness of strangers and the willingness to open their doors; and the belief that there is a better, safer place somewhere.

So while this is Salim’s story of a journey, it is also the story of so many – including that of many of our students.  

While there will be those with anxiety about starting a new school in the new year, or moving to another town and having to leave and then build friendships, that can be put onto perspective somewhat by imagining what it would be like to have to leave and have no idea where you’re going or what you might face.  How do you keep your dreams alive?

As with Amira’s Suitcase, Vikki Conley has brought the reality of the world of the refugee child right into the realm of more fortunate children, but has tempered it with layers of love and friendship and hope for they are the elements that connect us regardless of belief or circumstance.

 

I Try

I Try

I Try

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Try

Susie Brooks

Cally Johnson-Isaacs

Farshore, 2023

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

9780008648282

One of the common complaints from kindergarten teachers is that new-to-big-school children often demonstrate little resilience – the ability to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again, solving the problem through trial and error.  And they need to develop special lessons and programs to teach this  to compensate for the helicopter parenting where all the child’s potential problems have been eliminated in advance by over-zealous adults and thus the child hasn’t had the opportunity to learn to cope with setbacks and sadness.  So this book would seem to have been written especially for them to aid in those lessons.

Addressed directly to the child reader, it offers ways to encourage them to be adventurous and learn something new; be brave and do something tricky; be strong and don’t give up.  Using examples from the animal kingdom, this book motivates little ones to try new things, build their confidence and become resilient in all aspects of life.  If you’re too short to reach, ask someone to help; if something doesn’t go as you expected, try again; if you’re afraid, take the first step….  The cute and relatable cast of children work together and support each other, showing that there is always help around, especially when venturing into the unknown.

With anxiety levels apparently at an all0time high amongst our children, one of the kindest and most powerful things we can do is help them develop the belief in themselves and the strategies they need to face new situations so these simple suggestions provide an excellent starting point for that.  

Erin Hanson Poetry

Erin Hanson Poetry

 

Giant-Sized Butterflies On My First Day of School

Giant-Sized Butterflies On My First Day of School

Giant-Sized Butterflies On My First Day of School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giant-Sized Butterflies On My First Day of School

Justin Roberts

Paola Escobar

Putnam, 2023

33pp., hbk., RRP $A34.99

9780525516439

When a little girl wakes up on the first day of school, the butterflies in her stomach feel positively giant-sized! She really wants her mom to stay with her, on this first day. As she and her mother make their way to school, her mother explains how the butterflies are a good thing. Everyone gets them (including parents) and they are a sign of something exciting happening—that we’re about to learn and grow from a new experience and they can help us through it.
So with the butterflies as her guide, the girl soars into her first day.

As little ones’ thoughts turn to the next big step in their lives – moving from preschool to big school – it is natural that there are going to be nerves and anxiety as the transition will be daunting for many. So this is another one to add to that collection to share to reassure them that their feelings are natural but they can be managed if they look through a positive lens.  Even though it is American, it carries the universal message that everyone shares a fear of the unknown to some degree and that, in itself, can bring peace and calm.  It also reassures them that they are old enough and brave enough to take this step, and it will only be a short time with new and familiar friends  before their butterflies have disappeared. 

 

 

 

A Footy Tail

A Footy Tail

A Footy Tail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Footy Tail

Alex Johnston

Gregg Dreise

A & U Children’s, 2023

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

9781761180316

A fluffle of Bunnies play at the park.

They sprint and they tackle from dawn until dark,
They always train hard, but it’s never enough . . .
the other teams are just bigger and stronger. It’s tough!
Dispirited and disheartened, the bunnies fear the opposition who have sharp teeth, loud barks, can fly high and even breathe fire.  But then along comes Crow with wise advice, encouragement and the vision and means to introduce some new players – a croc called Alex, a goanna called Cody and a kangaroo named Trell…
Inspired by the South Sydney Rabbitohs, written by NRL star Alex Johnston and illustrated by celebrated First Nations artist Gregg Dreise, this rhyming picture book about an underdog team of bunnies who are up against the stronger teams of animals is a wonderful story of unity, togetherness, resilience and teamwork.
This is a picture book for any young Rugby League fan, not just Rabbitohs supporters, particularly those whose own teams need a boost if they haven’t reached the heights they have dreamed of.  While they may not have a Russell Crowe to swoop in and rescue them, nevertheless there is a strong message of the importance of practice and self-belief so they approach each game with a can-do attitude.  Importantly though, it also offers opportunities to discuss not just the feelings of winning and losing, but also how to win and lose. Our elite sports people are role models of behaviour both on and off the field for so many of our young students so they can learn so much about accepting defeat (something parents often try to protect them from) and being generous in success (is win-at-all-costs the best mantra) by watching our their heroes behave.  How did the bunnies think and feel before and after each game when they were losing all the time and how did that change when the other creatures joined them?  What is the meaning of the saying “There is no I in TEAM?” What is Alex Johnstone trying to teach them by writing this story? How can they take what they have learned from it and share that with their teammates?

What to Do When You’re Not Sure What to Do

What to Do When You're Not Sure What to Do

What to Do When You’re Not Sure What to Do

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to Do When You’re Not Sure What to Do

Davina Bell

Hilary Jean Tapper

Lothian, 2023

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

9780734422088

Remember a time when you have had to attend a function or a meeting and everyone else seems to know someone, but you know no one?  Or you’ve built up the courage to do something new and different but you don’t know where or how to start?

Imagine what that might be like for our little ones as they navigate the big and not-so-big situations that they encounter for the first time as they have so little previous experience to draw on.

This is the companion to the highly-recommended What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say  and it is just as gentle, encouraging and positive as its predecessor. Whether it’s stepping on to an escalator for the first time or into the waves at the beach, these situations can be confronting but the constant message is to have a go, even if it means finding a “you-shaped space” to catch your breath and then reflect on your bravery.

As with the first,  the cover of the book depicts the idyllic freedom of childhood that we all imagine for our children, but the front endpage is more realistic. Getting on to a bus and there is only one seat left and that’s next to a stranger,  but then, the back endpage shows that a simple act of kindness can go a long way to making things feel safe and welcome. And so it is with the rest of the book, whether it is the child in the new circumstance or the one reaching out to make another feel safe.

Preparing our little ones with strategies for what they might encounter in a particular situation is essential if we are to help them build resilience and empathy, and have the courage to tackle the world beyond the family with confidence and this book goes a long way to help us as the adults as well as the children to do and be the best we can.