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Flipper and Finnegan – The True Story of How Tiny Jumpers Saved Little Penguins

Flipper and Finnegan - The True Story of How Tiny Jumpers Saved Little Penguins

Flipper and Finnegan – The True Story of How Tiny Jumpers Saved Little Penguins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flipper and Finnegan – The True Story of How Tiny Jumpers Saved Little Penguins

Sophie Cunningham

Anil Tortop

Albert Street, 2022

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

9781761180071

Flipper and Finnegan are two of the Little Penguins that live on a Phillip Island, fishing in the surrounding ocean by day and bringing delight and joy to the thousands of visitors who travel to see their evening parade as they waddle up to their burrows.

But one day, when Flipper comes up for air she gets covered in something that is black and smelly and sticky – and Finnegan is nowhere to be seen…

And, if you’re a rescuer how can you keep so many penguins warm and safe so they don’t die of hypothermia or ingesting the oil on their feathers, while you painstakingly clean them one by one?

Based on the true story of a 2001 oil spill in Port Phillip Bay that affected the Little Penguins, this is a heart-warming story of how a nation pulled together to save the colony by knitting little sweaters to protect them while they waited their turn.  In all, 438 Little Penguins were affected by that oil spill and of those, 96% were successfully saved with the help of penguin jumpers, rehabilitated at the Wildlife Clinic and released back into the wild.

From the team who created Tippy and Jellybean – The True Story of a Brave Koala who Saved her Baby from a Bushfire, young readers can again learn of the perils – natural and manmade – that threaten our precious wildlife and while the disasters might be unavoidable, there is something that can be done to mitigate their impact.  By focusing on just two penguins and telling their story as an example of the other 436 penguins affected, their plight becomes more real and immediate and the reader connects with it more readily.  

While the penguin jumper project has been running for over 20 years, there are many that aren’t really suitable for putting on the penguins and so these are sold on penguin toys to raise funds for wildlife conservation on Phillip Island. Since 2012 the sale of these jumpers has raised $287,700 , going towards the  protection and preservation of the colony.  

A charming tory that will help raise awareness of the impact of humans on the landscape and to encourage our young readers to take only photographs and leave only (carefully placed) footprints. 

 

Willa and Woof 1: Mimi is Missing

Willa and Woof 1: Mimi is Missing

Willa and Woof 1: Mimi is Missing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Willa and Woof 1: Mimi is Missing

Jacqueline Harvey

Puffin, 2022

128pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781761043314

Willa’s four-legged best friend is her albino wolfhound, Woof; her same-age best friend is Tae Jin whose name means “person of greatness” in Korean; and her old-age best friend is Frank Pickles who lives next door in the retirement village and is very old and very grumpy with crinkly skin and bags under his eyes.  Willa visits him almost every day and listens to his stories about how he used to race pigeons when he was younger, although now he only has Mimi in the aviary in his tiny back yard. 

So when Willa discovers Mimi is missing and she thinks it is her fault because she didn’t latch the cage properly, she is devastated and, after searching everywhere, hatches a plot to lure her home.  But when that backfires, she knows she has to confess to Frank – but then she discovers he is missing too…

Told by Willa herself with that typical young-person humour, this is the first in a new series from the author of Clementine Rose, Alice-Miranda, and Kensy and Max , created for younger readers who are consolidating their skills and need quality writing, interesting characters and relatable plots, supported by short chapters, a larger font and illustrations.  For me, one of its strengths is the small group of main characters who are interesting even though they don’t stray too far from what is expected allowing the reader to take in the whole story without having to think too much about who’s who and their relationships.  At the same time though, there are those who play a minor role in this story but who will most likely pop up again in sequels, establishing a network that will become familiar.  This is a key reason that series are particularly popular with readers – they can bring their prior knowledge of the characters to the page and get stuck into the story itself without having to be distracted.

While I think this is a series that is going to build into becoming as popular with young readers as its predecessors, why not offer it to a reluctant reader and ask them to read and assess whether it will be worth buying the additions that follow, ensuring that they support their judgement..  Giving them context and purpose for their reading could be just the bridge they need to cross…  (And if they’re not hooked, you’ve started a conversation about what they do like to read, as well as the opportunity to give it to others on a 2/3 basis for purchase.) 

Wild Bush Days

Wild Bush Days

Wild Bush Days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Bush Days

Penny Harrison

Virginia Gray

Midnight Sun, 2022

32pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9780987380906

There’s a whisper among these ghosts, these craggy shadows on the hill. 

The song of a forgotten past, it tells of wild bush days, of rough and hungry times, a fierce woman tearing through the scrub…

Jessie Hickman was Australia’s bold, but little-known, Lady Bushranger. Raised in the circus during the early 1900s, she later turned to a life of crime and cattle hustling. Also referred to as the “Wild Woman of Wollemi” because she roamed the upper Blue Mountains and Lower Hunter in what is now the Wollemi National Park she used her skills as a rough-rider and tightrope walker to elude police (echoed in the illustrations in the final pages) and often hiding in a cave, deep in the mountains. 

In this lyrical and superbly illustrated new picture book, two young, modern-day adventurers go looking for that cave, accompanied by the whispers of the past calling them further on through the rough terrain, deeper and deeper into history until…

The concept of telling Hickman’s story through the eyes of the girls, the exquisite choice of language and layout and the illustrations which interpret the text bringing it to life and beyond, combine to not only introduce young readers to a little-known character in Australia’s bushranger story but also show how history can be told in a way that straddles both information and imagination, bringing it to life in a way that facts and figures don’t.  Certainly, I was off on a rabbit-hole chase to find out more…

At the same time, there is also the joy of having the freedom to explore the bush, to echo Hickman’s circus skills as the girls scramble through the undergrowth, climb rocks, traverse creeks over slippery branches, unperturbed about scratches or dirt or “danger”, inspiring a desire in the reader to just get out into the fresh air of the outdoors and explore. 

A contender for next year’s CBCA awards for sure.  

 

 

Remarkably Ruby

Remarkably Ruby

Remarkably Ruby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remarkably Ruby

Terri Libenson

HarperCollins, 2022

384pp., pbk., RRP $A17.99

 9780063139183

Ruby is moving to middle school, a whole new environment with a whole lot of new people to meet.  Which for some, will be an exciting opportunity, but very daunting for one who doesn’t have “the greatest social skills” , whose not into dances, social media or sports, and who is as tall as their money tree. 

More for the upper end of this readership, nevertheless it is a story that will resonate with many who find themselves having to change schools, and its first-person voice, diary-like entries and a format resembling a graphic novel make it accessible to any independent reader.

It is the 6th in the Emmie and Friends series, written to help young girls navigate those tricky tween years by showing them that the problems and issues they face are common and there are ways to work their way through them.  So while some may not resonate so much with Ruby (although many will),  there are others in the series that will definitely speak to them, making it a series that needs to be in the library’s collection as our young girls seek books about those just like themselves, with the same insecurities, confusion and peer pressure.

 

 

 

Jigsaw: A Puzzle in the Post

Jigsaw: A Puzzle in the Post

Jigsaw: A Puzzle in the Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jigsaw: A Puzzle in the Post

Bob Graham

Walker, 2022

40pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

9781529503319

When a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle mysteriously arrives in the post, the Kelly family take on the challenge and settle in for what becomes weeks and weeks of fun. But when they get to the end, there is one piece missing- is there anything more frustrating.

The astute reader will have followed the illustrations and knows what has happened to it, but the Kellys don’t and so they start what seems to be an endless and pointless search.  Will they find it and complete the puzzle?

Readers familiar with Bob Graham’s writing know that there is always more to the story than the text and the devil is in the detail so they will know to look closely at the illustrations and to read between and beyond the lines.  What is the significance of Katie and Kitty writing a thank you letter to their anonymous benefactor and putting it in the post? For those for whom he is a new discovery, these teachers’ notes will help unpack its many layers to reveal a story of the unquenchable hope and optimism and faith of young children. 

 

 

You Are 25% Banana

You Are 25% Banana

You Are 25% Banana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Are 25% Banana

Susie Brooks

Josy Bloggs

Farshore, 2022

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

9781405299084

With an intriguing title that is as eye-catching as the cover, this will capture the imagination of any casual browser, and once opened, so will the contents. 

Using both bold fonts and illustrations, this is a fascinating early introduction to genetics that explains how humans are related to every other living thing on the planet, including bananas; that our closest relatives are chimpanzees with a 99% match; yet while our “recipe” is the same as 99.9% of everyone else on the planet now or ever, it is the 0.1% that makes us unique.  Only identical twins have the same recipe!

One of the most common activities in early childhood classes is to graph hair and eye colour, or map heights and so this book goes a long way to helping children understand why they have the colouring or the build that they do.  Learning this at an early age might help alleviate the body image issues that still plague our kids, particularly as they get older, helping them accept their red hair and freckles more readily and even celebrate their differences rather than their lack of conformity to some media-driven, arbitrary, preferred look.  

For older students, it could help them understand the stupidity and futility of racism, particularly if they also watch the pioneering documentary Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes,  Whether our beliefs about human development are based on Glasser’s Basic Needs theory, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs or any other theory, the need for love and belonging is common, and physical acceptance is high – so the more we can understand the importance and influence of our genetic makeup from an early age, the more likely we are to value ourselves and others.  Therefore, this is an important book to start the conversation, even if we don’t like bananas! 

 

 

Backyard Buddies

Backyard Buddies

Backyard Buddies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Backyard Buddies

Andy Geppert

Lothian, 2022

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

9780734421470

There are lots of creatures and critters that live in our backyards that fascinate our young readers – things like butterflies, spiders, blue-tongue lizards and even pet rocks.  So this “somewhat factual introduction to the hoppy, crawly, wriggly, buzzy,[and] fluttery ” that little ones are likely to see will be a welcome addition to help answer their questions.  

Beginning with the front endpage offering a contents list that relies on the reader recognising the shape of the creature they want to investigate (encouraging visual acuity), each has its own double-page spread that has lots of pictures including visual cues about when to see it and whether it is safe to touch or not as well as an easily readable description.

Butterflies are like moths – just fancier.

They fly around during the daytime to show off their pretty, colourful wings. This is probably why moths prefer to only come out at night.

As well as offering our youngest readers an understanding that books can be about real things so their questions can be answered, thus introducing the concept of non fiction, like its predecessor Backyard Birdies , it could even inspire the young backyard naturalist to be more aware of their surroundings, perhaps starting a chart to record their observations and  beginning to develop their skills in data gathering, mapping and interpretation! To help parents and teachers encourage this exploration of the immediate environment, there are teachers’ notes that suggest activities that go beyond the pages to investigating life cycles, adaptation and even how humans interact with the creatures.  Even though they might have the ‘don’t touch” symbol, does that make them an enemy to be killed? Or does everything have a place? Scope for a range of ages… 

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur Hide and Seek

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur Hide and Seek

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur Hide and Seek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur Hide and Seek

Janeen Brian

Ann James

Puffin, 2022 

10pp., board book, RRP $A16.99

9780143777427

The dirty dinosaur is back and this time he’s looking for his friends – Bird, feathery and flittery, tweety and twittery; Bee, busy and buzzy, stripy and fuzzy – and all the others.  But it seems like they’re hiding from him and the young reader is going to have to think about where they might be in the landscape and lift the flaps to discover them!

Rhyme, rhythm, repetition, dinosaurs and interactivity – the perfect combination to engage young readers in endless hours of fun as they tell themselves the story over and over again, and delight in their success as they uncover the hiding places!!!  Who can be hoppy, water ploppy like Frog? Or slippery, silver tail flippery like Fish?

Once again, links to research and memes about the importance of reading with the very young are doing the social media rounds, and it’s books like this one that are going to be the hook,  And, to me, even more powerful than reading a story (1825 if one a day in the first five years; 5475 if you share a familiar, a first-read and a favourite) is offering one that they can then read themselves! 

This one is a winner!!!

Clarice Bean: Scram!

Clarice Bean: Scram!

Clarice Bean: Scram!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clarice Bean: Scram

Lauren Child

HarperCollins, 2022

176pp., pbk., RRP $A17.99

9780008541507

Clarice Bean Tuesday is 12, second youngest in an extended family that comprises her granddad, and her grandmother, her dad, her mother, her 16-year old brother Kurt, her 14 year old sister Marcie and her younger brother Minal Cricket Tuesday who is 5.  As with many larger families, life is often chaotic but on this particular day Clarice is feeling bored because nothing ever happens except for sometimes. And only on rare-ish occasions, which is hardly ever. There are times when even I can’t turn the nothing into more than it is. But there was one day in the holidays that began as a nothing day and then everything happened. Absolutely nearly everything.

Cranky and bored because it is the summer holidays and her brothers and sister are annoying, her best friend Betty Moody is away,  and Robert Grainger, her weird neighbour is boasting that he is looking after a rabbit. Everyone seems to be having more fun than she is. That is, until she finds that a puppy has followed her home and will not ‘scram’. Knowing that when her parents return from the wedding, they  will only make her try to find its owner, Clarice and her siblings all work together to look after the dog and hide it from them.

Written in Clarice’s 12 year-old voice, this is a series from the author of Charlie and Lola,  that has been around for over 20 years but with intermittent new releases, remains as popular as ever with younger newly independent readers. They will relate to the everyday events that Child skillfully makes entertaining and using lots of the formatting devices that support young readers to tackle longer reads, this new release could see the resurgence of the series amongst a new generation of readers.

Egg

Egg

Egg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egg

Clare Atkins

Harrison Vial

UQP, 2022

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

9780702265594

In a world where climate change has finally won, something strange washes up on the eggs’ island and  they are scared. Although it looks like them, it is different and they are afraid.   What if it hatches? What if there are more of them? Most of the eggs hope the newcomer will float back to where it came from, but in case it doesn’t they roll it to the tip of the island and build a wall around it.  

But Little Egg is not afraid and climbs to the top of the wall, its shadow providing a welcome speck of shade for the stranger. And strange things begin to happen…

This is a unique picture book, one of those special ones that looks like it is for the very young but which has issues and a message that span a much wider age group.  Is it about the ultimate impact of climate change, or the fear of strangers in our midst? Racism? Having to move and being shunned rather than accepted? Rejection? Belonging? Friendship and compassion? Or all of these?  Despite its seemingly juvenile appearance, this is one that has many thought=provoking layers that raise more questions than answers , yet all the while engaging the reader as they want to know what happens!

Comprehensive teachers’ notes will help you explore the issues with students, leading to all sorts of explorations, including the historic building of walls to keep people out (or in.), perhaps even leading to reading stories such as The Trojan Horse.  Is Little Egg a modern version of that? There’s a compare, contrast and consider activity right there!