Archives

Football Fever 1: The Kick-off

Football Fever 1: The Kick-off

Football Fever 1: The Kick-off

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Football Fever 1: The Kick-off

Kristin Darell

Puffin, 2022

144pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781761048067

It’s a new season for the Under 11s Merridale Fever! Kyra’s the star striker and can’t wait to meet the team’s new recruit, Sam – all the way from England. But Sam has a secret – he’s never played on a mixed team, and it’s shaking his confidence. Will advice from some very special football superstars help Kyra and Sam join forces so the team can kick off the season with a bang, or will it end in disaster before it even begins?

Suitable for newly independent readers, particularly those with a passion for football,  this is the first in this series, the beginning of  an expansive publishing program in partnership with Football Australia.  Featuring Commbank Matildas and Socceroos stars Sam Kerr, Ellie Carpenter, Mary Fowler, Rhyan Grant and Joel King – it is  part of the lead-up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ hosted by Australia and New Zealand in July-August, 2023.  

The second in the series, Half-Time Heroes, is due late November so readers can look forward to regular new releases as anticipation builds. 

 

PD McPem’s Agency for Mysterious Mysteries

PD McPem's Agency for Mysterious Mysteries

PD McPem’s Agency for Mysterious Mysteries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PD McPem’s Agency for Mysterious Mysteries

The Recorder Racket

9780645218084

The Puzzling Pet Parade

9780645218015

Anna Battese

Ruth-Mary Smith

Yellow Brick Books, 2022

64pp., pbk., RRP $A11.95

Penelope Delores McPem (aka PD McPem) and her puppy Scooter are staying with PD’s grandparents for the summer holidays which coinicides with her grandparents’ annual cleanup. 

While cleaning up the garage with Grandpa, PD finds a box full of things from the olden days, including Grandpa’s old brown trilby hat, his trench coat and a magnifying glass – everything PD needs to start her own Detective’s Agency!

In the first episode of this new series for emerging young readers,  PD’s most treasured treasure goes missing and she must use all of her new detecting skills to track down the culprit. Can she overcome a shoo-ing Granny, a double-crossing dog and a universe-chomping black hole to save her beloved recorder?

In the second, it’s West Bay Primary School’s annual Pet Parade and Miss Hartnett’s Year One class is excited to showcase their lovable companions.  PD McPem is particularly keen to show off her clever canine assistant, Scooter.  But the arrival of her new deskmate, Theodora Putkins, and her Rhinoceros Beetle Circus creates havoc when both Scooter and Mary the beetle are nowhere to be found! Can PD McPem’s agency for Mysterious Mysteries solve the puzzle of the missing pets before it’s too late?

With all the textual features needed to support those transitioning from instructional readers to more unstructured texts, this is a new series that will appeal to young girls who will see themselves as PD McPem and relate to the adventures she has,  as well as being introduced to the mystery genre, perhaps prompting them to delve further into it, maybe even with classics such as The Famous Five and The Secret Seven giving them common talking points with their parents and grandparents and starting conversations about their favourites.  Those who are traversing the “stepping stones” between reading materials love series because it means they can bring their prior knowledge of the characters and situations to the story so they can get stuck into the new adventure without having to figure out relationships and so forth, and so a new one to add to the mix is always fun.  

 

Smidgen: How to Make a Pet Monster 3

Smidgen: How to Make a Pet Monster 3

Smidgen: How to Make a Pet Monster 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smidgen: How to Make a Pet Monster 3

Lili Wilkinson

Alex Patrick

Albert Street, 2022

200pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781761067433

Life has changed dramatically for 11-year=old Artie.  He and his mum have just moved into a spooky old house with his mum’s new partner, and while he’s OK with that (even if he doesn’t know quite what to call the partner) he has also gained a sister – one who is a year older than he and who terrifies him.

Artie also likes to read his Junior Scientist magazine bur he is having trouble finding a quiet place to do so – he can’t read downstairs because his mother is renovating; he can’t read in the kitchen because David Cole (what he has settled on calling him that) is making dinner; and he can’t read in his room because Willow is being too noisy, shouting on her phone to her friends and playing her electric guitar “making sounds like someone is stomping on a bag of cats”. so he ventures up to the attic and that’s where he discovers The Bigge Boke of Fetching Monsters.  Unfortunately, before he has a chance to hide it, Willow discovers it and she insists on trying out the instructions.  Artie, who doesn’t believe in monsters at all because, like ghosts and skeletons and other things that live in haunted houses like his, they don’t exist, is very apprehensive but Willow is insistent. And the fun begins…

Now having made Hodgepodge , who is now Artie’s best friend, and Flummox  who has gone to live with their neighbour, Willow wants to try again.  But Artie is not so sure – perhaps they have pushed their luck too far and will get something not as friendly this time. 

Written and formatted for those who are newly independent readers with short chapters, larger font and lots of illustrations, this is the third in this series that will appeal to those who are a bit like Artie and a little afraid of what’s beyond their immediate world, as well as those like Willow who push on regardless – and even those who sit somewhere in between.  With its two predecessors, it’s a solid series to encourage young readers to keep reading.  Being able to bring prior knowledge to a story adds extra confidence and so this is one that should be read in sequence. although there is enough support built in for it to be a stand-alone. 

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.) 

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.

Little Ash (series)

Little Ash (series)

Little Ash (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Ash (series)

Ash Barty

Jasmine McCaughey

Jade Goodwin

HarperCollins, 2022

64pp., pbk., RRP $A9.99

9781460762783

There would be few in Australia who do not recognise the name Ash Barty, who have not admired her grace, sportsmanship and honesty, and who were not disappointed when she retired from professional tennis without defending her 2021 Wimbledon title.

She has become the role model for so many of our younger readers and so this new series about school, sport, friendship and family will be welcomed.  While not necessarily autobiographical, it shows Ash to be just like other kids, reinforcing the idea that even ordinary people can become extraordinary, and dreaming with eyes open is something that everyone can do.

Written and formatted to support the newly independent reader, each story addresses a common issue that kids face from having to choose between things they love to putting others before that love.  With four stories out now to whet the appetite,  and two more to come in November the series will be a perfect addition to your Stepping Stone collection bridging the gap between formal reading instruction materials and the world of independent reading. 

 

Cally & Jimmy (series)

Cally & Jimmy (series)

Cally & Jimmy (series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cally & Jimmy (series)

Twins in Trouble 

9781839130083

Twintastic

9781839130168

Twins Together

9781839131288

Zoe Antoniades

Katie Kear

Andersen Press, 2020-2022

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

Cally has a twin brother Jimmy who has ADHD, finds learning tricky because of the way his brain works and is always getting into some kind of mischief – which usually means double trouble! Thankfully their Greek granny is usually on hand to help – or add to the mayhem! 

Each book in this series has four stories, perfect for newly independent readers who are looking for something that they can relate to but is short enough so they can consolidate their new skills without taxing them with longer reads involving complex characters and plots. As well as being entertaining stories, they also give an insight into being a twin but more importantly, they help the reader understand the world of those whose brains are wired differently and whose thought processes are different to what is expected.  

A new series to add to your Stepping Stones collection. 

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.