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The Trip

The Trip

The Trip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trip

Paul Beavis 

Little Steps, 2022

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

9781922678621

When a little girl and her dog take a trip into outer space in their hot air balloon, they are quite comfortable until they see footsteps in the surface that are not theirs… Are they afraid or do they get together for a picnic?

 This is a deceptively simple book about the nature of inclusiveness because the story is told solely through the use of pronouns – me, you, us, mine, yours, ours,  and so on – and the reader really has to interpret the illustrations to tell the story making it perfect for encouraging those connections between text and picture that are critical early reading behaviours.  It also means they can tell the story using their own language as they expand on the illustrations to explain what is happening , particularly if the astute adult sharing it with them guides their reading with targeted questions to draw out the events. and thus enabling the child to return to the story independently when they wish, helping them to understand that they do have power over print and they can  read. They also learn that print stays constant – they can return to it again and again whenever they wish and take as much time as they like to absorb and tell the story.  

This is another story evolving from The Book Hungry Bears television show in which the main characters share picture books, hungry to learn all they can from those they settle down to share together, encouraging young readers to do the same. 

 

 

Meanwhile Back on Earth

Meanwhile Back on Earth

Meanwhile Back on Earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile Back on Earth

Oliver Jeffers

HarperCollins, 2022

64pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

9780008555450

“In all the cosmos, this one place in our solar system is where all of the people have lived for the whole time we’ve been people. We have always thought that Earth is so big that it’s best to divide it into smaller bits/ It seems we humans have always fought each other over space.”

And so, taking the well-known quote from Edgar Mitchell, Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 14 in February 1971, who said, ” From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, “Look at that…” as inspiration, Oliver Jeffers has created  this intriguing book in which a father takes his two children on a thrilling out-of-this-world adventure into space and invites them to look back at Earth and the conflicts that have taken place since the beginning of time.  

Calculating time using the speed that most people drive at (37mph or 60kph),  he drives the children to the various planets and then takes them back a similar amount of time in Earth’s history to show the conflict that was occurring at the time. So driving to the Moon would take a year and then a left turn would be a 78 year drive to Venus which would take them back to the middle of the 20th century and World War II. Each destination is tied to something catastrophic happening on Earth. 

While this is an interesting way of looking at history, the ultimate futility of conflict and encouraging young readers to strive for peace in the future, the concept is quite abstract, almost esoteric and thus more suited to older readers who have the maturity and ability to look at things from beyond their realm of personal experience. Although the text appears simple, and Jeffers has added some wit to lighten the load, and a timeline on the endpapers encapsulates both the time and space aspects of the journey, this is one best shared in a situation where discussion and clarification can take place. 

 

The Moon

The Moon

The Moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Moon

Sanlyn Buxner

DK, 2022

80pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

 9780241529065

It seems incredible that it is more than 50 years since almost every eye on Earth was turned towards the moon as its surface was disturbed by the first human footsteps and that is it almost 50 years since the last mission when Apollo 17 landed in December, 1972.

Yet now, as then, and indeed for thousands of years, the fascination with our planet’s nearest neighbour remains – a regular nightly sight that appears and disappears almost magically and which has such an impact on our lives.  In this new guide written and illustrated for our younger readers, that ‘magic’ and influence and impact is explained in accessible language and lots of photographs and diagrams that that age group can readily understand as it covers  the Moon’s formation and geography, the lunar phases, a history of NASA’s Apollo missions, the Moon’s effect on Earth’s tides and nocturnal animals, its place in our mythology, recent scientific discoveries, and so much more. It includes up-to-date images from space agencies such as NASA and ESA, combined with bold illustrations, info panels, timelines, and diagrams that help demystify and explain the wonder of the Moon with all that we have learned since those first tentative footsteps of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

As interest in moon exploration grows again with NASA’s Project Artemis with plans to have humans back on the surface in 2025,  with the first major step hopefully being conducted on November 14, 2022, this is one that your budding young astronauts with their own, realistic aspirations of one day going there, will be demanding. 

 

 

 

How to Survive on Mars

How to Survive on Mars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Survive on Mars

Jasmina Lazendle-Galloway

CSIRO Publishing, 2022

120pp., pbk., RRP $A29.99

9781486314669

For the last couple of weeks, students have been “dreaming with their eyes open” – dreaming of what they would like to be, do and go, and, for some, that would include travelling into space, perhaps even living on another planet, like Mars.

But how to survive? With not enough air to breathe, sunlight to keep  warm, or any available food and water, life on Mars would be a challenge… but it just might be possible! In this stunning new release, the reader is taken on a journey to the Red Planet to discover natural wonders like ancient polar ice caps, the highest volcano in the solar system and a 45-kilometre-wide impact crater that was once a Martian lake. Led by astronomer and member of the National Space Society of Australia, scientists, engineers, archaeologists, ethicists and science-fiction writers have joined together to explore the planet, consider the challenges and offer solutions so those with an interest and the dream can dream on.

Photographs, activities and quizzes make it an inviting read even for those without the dream, as space tourism gathers momentum and the first crewed Mars Mission, which would include sending astronauts to Mars, orbiting Mars, and a return to Earth, is proposed for the 2030s, just as these readers will be thinking about planning gap years or family holidays. What a change from the pilgrimage to the UK of my generation!

 

 

Shine, Star, Shine

Shine, Star, Shine

Shine, Star, Shine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shine, Star, Shine

Dom Conlon

Anastasia Izlesou

CSIRO Publishing, 2022

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

9781486316823

Open your eyes.

Someone shook a fizzy universe and a festival of colour sprayed out.

It’s a nebula – gas and dust squeezed ’til it sparks and this is how our Star is born. ..

Our star’s called the Sun and without her there’s be no life on this planet called Earth…

Using lyrical text and stunning illustrations, young readers share the journey around the planet by a boy and his cat to see how all life is touched in some way by the sun.  Whether it’s ripening the wheat on farms in Idaho, or providing warmth for Australian children to romp in “whale-blue waters” each day the Sun enables and encourages life to grow in one way or another, as it shines through days, seasons, years, even lifetimes…  

There have been many books in library collections that have the sun as their focus for information, but few would be as poetic as this one. while still having so much information packed into it , including some facts that explain the use of some of Conlon’s terminology such as “planet-turner” because of the Sun’s gravitational pull on the planets of the solar system. Indeed, that in itself could spark an activity as students consider some of the things for which the sun is responsible or necessary and then devise their own vocabulary.

As well as the imaginative text, the illustrations carry their own story that could be told without reference to the words as they are so rich in both detail and imagery. 

Teachers’ notes exploring the science as well as the language are available.

 

 

 

Out of This World: Star-Studded Haiku

Out of This World: Star-Studded Haiku

Out of This World: Star-Studded Haiku

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of This World: Star-Studded Haiku

Sally M. Walker

Matthew Trueman

Candlewick Press, 2022

48pp., hbk., RRP $A34.99

9781536203561

one minuscule speck
grows into the universe
a mind-boggling birth

Defined as a traditional Japanese three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count which often focuses on images from nature, haiku emphasises simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression making it an effective way to get students to focus on the essence of an object and then use succinct, descriptive vocabulary to portray it so every word has to work hard. 

In this stunning union of poetry, art and science, haiku is used to explore the universe through a lunar eclipse, beyond the orbiting planets, and into glowing galaxies and twinkling constellations out to Ultima Thule, the most extreme limit of the journey which “longs for a visitor with coal and a carrot”, and all accompanied by the most imaginative illustrations that are almost photo-like so that not only does the reader learn about the vast beauty of space but they are left in wonder and awe of its magnificence. The minimal text structure of haiku means just the nucleus of the phenomenon is offered as a teaser, leaving the reader with a tempting taste to learn more…

the Eagle landed

one giant leap for mankind

footprints in the dust

Some of this is offered in the comprehensive, well-researched final pages which explore such topics as constellations and astronomers, the birth of the universe, stars, the solar system, moons and eclipses, asteroids, meteors, and comets, but the whole offers an opportunity for students to engage in their own interest-driven investigation with the challenge of summarising their findings in their own haiku and artwork.