Archives

Tashi and the Stolen Forest

Tashi and the Stolen Forest

Tashi and the Stolen Forest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tashi and the Stolen Forest

Anna & Barbara Fienberg

Kim Gamble

Allen & Unwin, 2020

96pp., pbk., RRP $A2.99

9781760878566

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, a little boy was finally born to a couple who so desperately wanted a child that after consulting Wise-As-An-Owl the wife sipped a special mixture made for her and within a year, Tashi was born.  Right from the start he proved to be very clever and had many adventures before finally fleeing from a wicked warlord, arriving in this land on the back of a swan where he became Jack’s special friend.  Every now and then he would share an adventure with Jack and then Jack recounted these to his incredulous parents.  And so the adventures and legend of Tashi were born…

For over 25 years, the stories have fascinated young, independent readers as they are the perfect introduction to the world of fantasy and the fantastic, including almost every Year 3 class I’ve taught since the stories were first published.  Presented in a paperback format that each contained two stories, they were perfect for real-alouds as well as read-alones, so much so that in 2001 my Year 3 classes led a national Book Rap that had students from all over the country answering the questions my students had posed about the stories via online activities and emails as the power of the Internet was gradually harnessed to connect children beyond the school walls.

And now it is time for another wave of emerging, newly-independent readers to get to know this magical little fellow who has such big adventures with a new story published at a special Australia Reads price so that more children can start reading. In this stand-alone, Tashi tells about the time the old forest disappeared, and Much-to-Learn was in danger of disappearing with it! And then the whole village was threatened … Could magic sand and a certain spell help save them all? Only someone as clever as Tashi could find a way to outwit the Baron – and solve the mystery of the disappearing trees.

For those who are unfamiliar with Tashi, or who want to make sure they have all the books ready for renewed interest, you can check the list of books here – promote them to your emerging readers who will appreciate the quality stories as they begin  their journey through novels which give them the confidence and satisfaction of reading a “chapter book” for themselves.

 

 

News Hounds: The Dinosaur Discovery

News Hounds: The Dinosaur Discovery

News Hounds: The Dinosaur Discovery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News Hounds: The Dinosaur Discovery

Laura James

Charlie Alder

Bloomsbury, 2022

128pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781526620583

Gizmo is a city dog, so when he moves to the village of Puddle with his journalist human he doesn’t know what to expect but, luckily he had Jilly, the wolfhound next door, to show him around. Even though Gizmo might not know the difference between a cow and a tractor he’s got a nose for a story, and so he starts The Daily Bark, a newspaper for the dogs of Puddle. Gizmo is the editor, Jilly (who knows everyone) is the lead reporter, and Bunty is the weather reporter.  Lola is the sports reporter, Bruno is the fashion and beauty expert while Bob, who is the station master’s dog, writes the travel news.

In this, the second in this series for young, newly independent readers transitioning to novels, Bob helps Diamond, a seemingly aristocratic Afghan hound jump off the train as she arrives with her new master, Mr Marcus, owner of the Curiosity Shop, and reputedly a cat person.  But in his efforts to outdo the other dogs in trying to impress Diamond, he unwittingly digs up a dinosaur bone… So he not only has the scoop of the century for The Daily Bark but also having to keep it same from others who want it so much more!

An engaging read for all those young readers who love dogs, who know they do more than snooze in the sun when their owners are absent and who are looking for a fast-paced story that is just right for them. 

 

Is There Anyone Better than Henrietta?

Is There Anyone Better than Henrietta?

Is There Anyone Better than Henrietta?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is There Anyone Better than Henrietta?

Martine Murray

A & U Children’s, 2022

384pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99

9781761067181

Hello everybody, it’s me, Henrietta. I have a baby brother, two white mice, a chocolate-coloured dog, a woolly mammoth, two long green socks with toes, one pickle-eating best friend, a bathtub for sailing in, and definitely a huge HUGE amount of discoveries to discover. And if anyone tells you I make things up, you’d better believe it…

Henrietta P. Hoppenbeek the First is the star of this compilation of four short stories – Henrietta: There’s No One Better, Henrietta the Great Go-Getter
Henrietta Gets a Letter and including Henrietta and the Perfect Night  the 2018 Honour Book CBCA Book of the Year Awards, Younger Readers category.

Perfect for newly independent readers who enjoy funny, short stories amply supported with illustrations so they are not overwhelmed with text, and stories that resonate with their own lives. 

Mary and Marcus The Crazy Dance and Other Stories

Mary and Marcus The Crazy Dance and Other Stories

Mary and Marcus The Crazy Dance and Other Stories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary and Marcus The Crazy Dance and Other Stories

Ursula Dubosarsky

Andrew Joyner

ABC Books, 2022

240pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9780733339844

Mary is the happiest panda in the world.  She loves to sing and dance and play the ukulele. and sometimes she says OINK for no reason at all.
But sometimes things get out of hand!
Lucky she has her best friend, Marcus the snake,  who does not sing or dance or play the ukulele or say OINK to help her out.

This is a collection of five zany stories perfect for the young reader transitioning to reading “chapter books”.  It uses all the supports that they need including large fonts, short sentences and complete stories as well as lots and lots of quirky  illustrations so the pages do not look overwhelming,  The characters are introduced to the reader at the beginning so the each story focuses purely on its plot and by using the same characters in each story, the reader carries that knowledge over to the next episode, learning to build on their understanding of them as they read further, all the while celebrating the friendship between these two completely different and unlikely  mates.  

A solid stepping stone. 

Amanda Commander: The Purple Invitation

Amanda Commander: The Purple Invitation

Amanda Commander: The Purple Invitation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amanda Commander: The Purple Invitation

Coral Vass

Heidi Cooper Smith

Wombat Books, 2022 

72pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

 9781761110771

Amanda Caomhánach (aka Amanda Commander) is really upset because it  appears she is the only girl in the class who has not received one of the glittery lavender invitations to the very popular Eve’s birthday.  The other two members of the Dolphin Squad Lucia Cazzoli (aka Rainbow Fudge) and Mai Le (aka Plum Flower) have both received theirs and are as vexed as Amanda as to why she has missed out. And so they devise a plan that will get Eve to give Amanda an invitation…

This is a new series for the newly independent reader, particularly girls, which focuses on the sorts of issues that eight and nine year olds face as they navigate the world of greater independence and making and maintaining friendships. Thus, it will resonate with many who will see themselves in the stories, and start to think about what they might do in the same circumstances.  Even though Amanda has been friends with Eve since Kindergarten and can think of no reason she would have been excluded, is surreptitiously pandering to her just for what she can get, the right/best thing to do?  Or are there other ways she could handle the situation such as asking Eve directly?   

Using all the textual devices that support those making the transition to novels, this is a series that will be a sound stepping stone.  

Wondermere (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do Not Disturb the Dragons

9781408894880

Do Not Mess with the Mermaids

9781408894910

Michelle Robinson

Sharon Davey

Bloomsbury, 2020-2021

224pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

In the first book in this series, the reader is introduced to “Two intrepid girls go from ladies-in-waiting to knights-in-action when they rip up the rule book and go searching for adventure!”

Wondermere is the luckiest kingdom in the land, all thanks to the dragons that nest on top of the castle. Nobody wants them to fly away, so everyone has to follow the rules and make sure everything stays the same  to keep the dragons happy.  But Princess Grace hates  the rules. They stop her doing everything she loves, like playing Troll-O and wearing trousers and training to be a brave knight.. Why do boys get all the fun?

Determined to prove that the rules are a load of old swamp-rot, Grace and her sister Princess Portia secretly enter the year’s biggest Troll-O. A couple of rule-breakers couldn’t possibly disturb the dragons … could they?

Then in the second, Don’t Mess with the Mermaids Grace has proved to the kingdom of Wondermere that when it comes to courage, determination, playing TROLL-O on unicorn-back and being a brave knight, she’s just as good as any boy! But now Wondermere is expecting a very important  visitor: the Mermaid Queen of the Outer Ocean. That means frilly dresses and best behaviour – and absolutely no rule breaking.  But when a purple dragon egg falls into the moat of Wondermere castle, Grace and her sister Princess Portia find themselves babysitting a big secret.  One teeny tiny little dragon called Dennis couldn’t possibly disturb the royal visit … could he?

This is a series for newly independent readers who are straddling the fantasy worlds of dragons, unicorns, mermaids and princesses but demanding more of their reading heroes than the traditional knight-on-shining-armour-to-the-rescue plots. So while they still have those things that have fascinated them for a number of years, they are wanting the females in the stories to be more like themselves, to have the can-do attitude and determination that they themselves have and to start showing the independence that they are also exhibiting.  

Incorporating all the formatting supports needed to transition to the independent reading of novels, this series fills the gap nicely, making a strong stepping stone. 

 

Genie and Teeny Make a Wish

Genie and Teeny Make a Wish

Genie and Teeny Make a Wish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genie and Teeny Make a Wish

Steven Lenton

HarperCollins, 2021

160pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9780008408206

Grant the genie is like most other genies because he lives in a lamp and is magical, but because he gets his words mixed up his wishes often go wrong.  So when he conjures up a large snake instead of a birthday cake for Queen Mizelda, he is literally tossed out of Genie Land. His lamp lands on Earth but it so bashed and battered he has to find a new home – which he eventually does, in an old teapot. 

Grant is very lonely until he meets the puppy, Teeny. Then Genie and Teeny are kidnapped by the evil purple-loving Lavinia Lavender, and find themselves on-course for a rollercoaster of an adventure – when all they really want is a place to call home…

This is the first in a new series of adventures  that is perfect for those just starting out reading novels.  There is an invisible narrator who speaks directly to the reader inviting them into the story as well as all the textual supports of short chapters, larger and more varied fonts, and plenty of illustrations. And being a series – Wishful Thinking is due in February 2022 and The Wishing Well in Aprilso there is the promise of more adventures to come is a bonus. 

What Zola Did on Sunday

What Zola Did on Sunday

What Zola Did on Sunday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Zola Did on Sunday

Melina Marchetta

Deb Hudson

Puffin, 2021 

96pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781760895228

Ever since we first met Zola a year ago,  readers have been following her adventures as she brings her community together and now all the connections reach their pinnacle at the St Otto’s Community Fete. Their is the stall of the knitting group that Zola and her nonna belong to; her friend Leo’s mum is going to be givng a demonstration about how police dogs work in the community; her other nonna will be hosting the organic produce stall and her mum will have the cake stall.  As well there are competitions and all sorts of other attractions.  Will Zola be able to get through the fete without any of the drama and strife she seems to attract?

This is the final in this series that has had young readers enthralled and Zola and her friends have become friends of the reader too.  And for those who have not yet met Zola, then there is a treat in store.  A must-have for anyone with a reader who is just embarking on novels but needs the textual supports as well as the familiarity of characters and situations to consolidate their skills.

The Tindims of Rubbish Island (series)

The Tindims of Rubbish Island (series)

The Tindims of Rubbish Island (series)

The Tindims of Rubbish Island (series)

The Tindims of Rubbish Island

9781838935672

The Tindims and the Turtle Tangle

 9781838935696

The Tindims and the Ten Green Bottles

9781838935719

The Tindims and the Floating Moon

9781838935733

Sally Gardner

Lydia Corry

Zephyr 2020-2021

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

Since the days of the Vikings, the Tindims have lived on Rubbish Island, recycling debris salvaged from sunken pirate ships and galleons. They have always lived in secret, caring for the creatures of the sea and helping messages in bottles to find the right tides. But now as plastic threatens to overwhelm their island home, the Tindims make contact with children for the first time ever to show them how to turn rubbish into treasure…

Join Skittle, her furry pet Pinch, her parents, Admiral Bonnet, Mug, Jug, Brew, Captain Spoons,  Granny Gull and Barnacle Bow on  Rubbish Island where they seem to find a use for every piece of rubbish that the ‘Long Legs’ throw into the water. For years they have lived by their motto: ‘Rubbish today is treasure tomorrow’.  Wander through its warren of underwater rooms, including a toothbrush library and a hospital for sick fish, climb its terraces overlooking the sea and scale Rubbish Mountain. Set sail with them on their first ocean adventure as they show keen young human ecologists how to help protect our planet for the future.

With the current focus on the environment and its sustainability, this is the perfect series to share with newly independent young readers who are looking for an engaging read that relates to their world but with a little bit of magic and escapism thrown in.   Described as The Borrowers-on-Sea , these tiny creatures turn trash into treasure. The first in the series introduced the characters as they deal with the menace of plastic; the second  is about Ethel B Dina, who looks after the fish hospital and loves to sing, needs ten green, glass bottles to complete her musical Bottleramma. But she is surrounded by too many plastic bottles which do not make music.  The third continues the tale of the bottles and finds Barnacle Bell and Granny Shell in trouble  as the terrifyingly tall Bottle Mountain tumbles into the sea and they are left clinging on tightly as they float off over the waves; while the fourth, due in September 2021, features a glow-in-the-dark squid, drawn by the light of the moon, has wandered far from its friends on the ocean bed to the lake on Rubbish Island. The Tindims are puzzled by their new shiny lake, but with the help of Spokes, Barnacle Bow and a rather special invention, they discover the squid and try to help it on its way home again.

The series is modern ,focuses on a theme that is close to the heart and minds of its target audience, that of making this world a better place by thinking globally and acting locally. There are not a lot of things that our youngest readers have the power to improve or change, but being environmentally conscious is one of them so this book which inspires them to be more aware is certainly within their realm. As well as the usual supports for young readers transitioning to more complex novels,  it is printed in dyslexia-friendly font with pictures on every page and perfect for the reluctant reader.

 

News Hounds: The Puppy Problem

News Hounds: The Puppy Problem

News Hounds: The Puppy Problem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News Hounds: The Puppy Problem

Laura James

Charlie Alder

Bloomsbury, 2021

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

9781526620545

Gizmo is a city dog, so when he moves to the village of Puddle with his journalist human he doesn’t know WHAT to expect. Certainly not FLOWERS. Or BEES. And he couldn’t have even imagined MUD. Luckily he’s got Jilly, the wolfhound next door, to show him around. But Jilly has a problem. Her puppies are going to be given to new owners far away. She’ll never see them again! Gizmo might not know the difference between a cow and a tractor but he’s got a nose for a story, and a great idea to help Jilly. What if the dogs of Puddle had a newspaper? And so begins The Daily Bark with Gizmo as editor, Jilly (who knows everyone) as the lead reporter, and Bunty as the weather reporter.  Lola is the sports reporter, Bob who is the station master’s dog writes the travel news and Bruno is the fashion and beauty expert.

Although this will appeal to both genders, it seems that when little girls grow out of unicorns they move on to dogs and dolphins and so this will especially appeal to them.  The author also wrote  the series about Fabio, the World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective and Pirate Pug  and seems to know just what young girls who are consolidating their new reading skills want and need.  Illustrated in colour and using a larger font, the characters and plot move along drawing the reader into the story and engaging them to the end.  Something new to keep them reading over these cold winter weeks.