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Do You Love Dinosaurs?

Do You Love Dinosaurs?

Do You Love Dinosaurs?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Love Dinosaurs?

Matt Robertson

Bloomsbury, 2021

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

9781526609533

Any experienced teacher or TL knows you can never have enough books about dinosaurs to satisfy the curiosity and cravings of young readers who are endlessly fascinated with them. It doesn’t matter that some had a deadly bite and others could run super fast or some had club-like tails and some were really smelly – dinosaurs continue to inspire wonder and for many, they are the pathway into reading as they seek to discover more and more.

From the ferocious hunters like Spinosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex to the gentle giants like Diplodocus and Titanosaurus, the speedy Velociraptor to the armoured Ankylosaurus, this brightly illustrated book introduces young investigators to all the weird and wonderful things that made dinosaurs so intriguing.  They can learn about the dinosaurs that laid eggs the size of footballs; the   fossilised dinosaur poo as long as their arm and even the  dinosaur that could outrun a racehorse.

But no one book can contain all that is known about these creatures so this is the perfect opportunity to tap into the child’s knowledge and ask them to create a page about their favourite dinosaur to add to it.  What do they know that Matt Robertson hasn’t included? Can they design a page that is as interesting as his so others will be drawn to it and want to read it? Then build a display of their contributions to share and encourage even more reading and learning! Perfect for at-home or at-school learning and putting all that knowledge to a purpose. 

Big Quiz Book: 1001 Brain Busting Trivia Questions

Big Quiz Book:1001 Brain Busting Trivia Questions

Big Quiz Book: 1001 Brain Busting Trivia Questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Quiz Book: 1001 Brain Busting Trivia Questions

National Geographic Kids, 2021

304pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99

9780008408961

Twenty years ago, while hanging out the washing, I had an idea for a quiz for students in Year 5 and 6 that would be about Australia and Australians and be made freely available online so students all over Australia could participate to develop their information literacy, their digital literacy and communication skills.  The Quizzard of Oz was a huge success both online and off when I eventually offered it on CD so schools weren’t tied to my timeframe of marking 150 quizzes each Monday night!  

When the name and concept were hijacked and patented by an app company, the quiz eventually morphed into Backpack Bear (because I didn’t have the means to fight a legal battle) and to this day, students are demonstrating their love of these sorts of trivia contests by eagerly competing.  

So this new publication from the ever-popular NatGeoKids  is the perfect addition to any teacher’s or family’s collection if they want to tap into this fascination.  Arranged in 9 categories (covering geography, history, creatures, science and technology, space, sport, music and the arts and food) there are 69 separate quizzes of multiple choice or true-false questions (including answers and a lot of fun facts) as well as a monster tie-breaker. While participants might guess at the answers, there is also scope to investigate them thoroughly and perhaps discover a whole lot more about the topic at the same time. 

Properly credited, the questions could become the basis of a new quiz set by a teacher to occupy students during this time of lockdown, encouraging both the student and their family to get involved in the research,  or for those what-do-I-do-when-I’m-finished? moments as an alternative to the ‘read a book” answer.  I know from my experience the hours it can take to build quizzes with questions so to have 1001 on tap would be very welcome.   And a link to the Nat Geo Kids’ website would be a bonus as there are even more quality activities there.  Suddenly, staying at home is looking very entertaining!

 

The Inside Day

The Inside Day

The Inside Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Inside Day

Jane Martino

Annie White

Puffin, 2021 

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

9781761040085

It’s one of those day when the classroom windows rattle and shake as rain drums on the glass and rather than being able to go outside to play, it’s going to be one of those no-good, long, boring, inside days. Milly and her friends feel as gloomy as the weather but Miss Fish has all sorts of ideas that will make them feel sunny inside even though they are stuck inside. And soon, even Milly has joined her classmates in focusing on the things that make them feel good and has forgotten about the sandpit and all the attractions that the outdoors offers.

This is a timely release as so many children are stuck inside, not just because it’s winter but also the current public health orders.   So it’s the perfect time for teachers to become Miss Fish, adapt her ideas and help children see the possibilities and potential of this enforced stay-at-home time. As well as encouraging students to be in the moment, she also wants them to say how they are feeling so there are lots of similes and vocabulary to explore and illustrate.  If something makes you feel like “colours are bursting out of your mouth” what would that look like if it actually happened?

The final two pages of the book are devoted to directing the reader to focus on their own feelings and there is an activity pack available as well. The icing on the cake is that Penguin Random House is one of the publishers who have agreed to extending the exemptions of the 2020 Storytime Agreement to this period of lockdown so the book can be read online to a class behind a password-protected platform. 

 

All About Diversity

All About Diversity

All About Diversity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All About Diversity

Felicity Brooks

Mar Ferrero

Usborne, 2021

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

9781474986649

“Being different from each other is called DIVERSITY”  and this entertaining book explores a range of ways people can be different such as what they look like, where they live, the sorts of families they live in, the foods they eat and the way they spend their time.  Using a two-page spread , lots of illustrations accessible text and speech bubbles, its design encourages the young reader to explore each vignette and learn something new each time. There is also a glossary to explain some of the trickier words as well as notes for the grown-ups that explain why promoting diversity and inclusion is critical for the healthy well-being of our children.

 

A peek inside....

A peek inside….

Although this is a topic that early childhood teachers focus on each year this books gives a real focus and explanation to those aspects that their students are most aware of, making it an excellent foundation for an ongoing unit of work.  Inspired by the stimuli provided, children could create their own class pages featuring themselves and their lives making it a powerful resource for both social and language development. 

Look Inside Maths

Look Inside Maths

Look Inside Maths

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look Inside Maths

Rosie Dickins

Bernedetta Giaufret & Enrica Rusinà

Usborne, 2021

14pp., board book, RRP $A19.99

9781474986304

Almost 40 years ago in a school where literacy and maths classes were streamed from Kindy onwards (an argument for another day) I was assigned a maths group deemed at the lower end of the spectrum and expected to teach them in a way that had already failed them for two years, killing not only their interest in maths but their belief in their being able to master the subject.  And so a new approach was needed. For the kids’ sake I was prepared to wear the wrath of the PTB who were determined that the be-all and end-all was an English text book series that even to me, spoke in riddles. Having had great success with a whole-language classroom, I decided to try a whole-maths classroom and for an hour a day while they were with me, my Year 2 students were immersed in maths that related to their everyday lives so they could see that it had purpose, meaning and relevance for them.  From this grew my first book, Maths About Me and later a sequel, Maths About My Year.  

Maths About Me

Maths About Me

By the end of that year my students could see why maths was important to them, how it drove so many aspects of their lives and their and their belief in their ability to conquer its abstraction reinstated. 

So to be asked to review a book that takes a similar approach by demonstrating through bright, busy illustrations and hundreds of flaps to lift and explore, the ubiquity of maths – numbers, shapes, measurement, processes and even a challenge to put what has been learned into practice was such a treat.  Even though it is in board book format, that is to ensure the durability of the lift-the-flap design and it has a place in any early childhood collection.  In fact, it could be used as a model for older students who might like to create their own page of how maths is embedded in their lives. 

There are those who believe that if you have a calculator you have all you need to solve maths problems (just like there are those who believe that all information is available on the internet) but it is that deep understanding of and engagement with the processes and the way they are embedded in everyday life that is the critical element of success.  If we can get our youngest students appreciating this through books like these, attitudes will change and competency soar. 

This is NOT a Book!

This is NOT a Book!

This is NOT a Book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is NOT a Book!

Kellie Byrnes

Aska

EK Books, 2021 

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

9781925820508

In this brightly illustrated book. the main character is convinced they’re not in a book How can they be when they are real?  After all, if this were a book, there’d be pages to turn … Oops! We’ve turned the page. But that’s not proof this is a book.

Even if there are pages to turn, there would be things happening and there would be a focus and other characters, a distinct time period and exciting settings, action to be involved in, problems to solve . yet, to him, there is nothing happening, despite what is being portrayed in the illustrations.

it is one of four books from this publisher – the others are The Art of Words  The Leaky Story and My Storee – that focus on metafiction, helping young readers become young writers. Told by the main character (who is deliberately not identified by gender) in a monologue, the text in this story says one thing whilst in the illustrations the opposite is happening, showing that all the elements  the character says should be in a book -main and subsidiary characters, settings, plots, problems, resolutions and so forth – are actually there. 

This is a novel way to help children turn their ideas into written stories to share with others and teachers’ notes are available.

 

 

Nestling Cockatoos: The Story of Squeak and Squawk

Nestling Cockatoos: The Story of Squeak and Squawk

Nestling Cockatoos: The Story of Squeak and Squawk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nestling Cockatoos: The Story of Squeak and Squawk

Angela Robertson-Buchanan

Wild Dog Books, 2021

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

9781742036076

When their tree-home was cut down leaving two baby sulphur-crested cockatoos alone because their parents flew away in fear, wildlife rangers rescued them and raised them until they were able to be independent.  Anyone who has heard the screech of these common birds of the bush will understand how well their names Squeak and Squawk suit them, and will enjoy following this photographic journey of their survival from just two weeks old.

Written for young readers,  this is a beautiful book written and photographed by a wildlife carer and  includes just enough information to give the intended audience what they need to know about these majestic birds. Teacher’s notes   encourage young readers to think about why young creatures need human help and what can be done to help them.

A great introduction not only to sulphur-crested cockatoos but also to how books can provide us with information and open new worlds. 

Pranklab: Practical science pranks you and your victim can learn from

Pranklab: Practical science pranks you and your victim can learn from

Pranklab: Practical science pranks you and your victim can learn from

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pranklab: Practical science pranks you and your victim can learn from

Chris Ferrie, Byrne LaGinestra, Wade David Fairclough

Sourcebooks eXplore, 2021

224pp., pbk., RRP $A24.99

9781728223742

It is school holidays, many children are stuck inside because of COVID or the weather and it won’t be long before the “I’m bored!” refrain starts. 

So this new book that features 25 experiments that disguise themselves as pranks will be the ideal solution because both the perpetrator and the victim can learn a lot about science in the process. Using everyday household items, kids can exploit the laws of physics, biology, and chemistry through entertaining (and perfectly safe) activities. Each prank is in a separate coloured section and includes easy-to-understand instructions, step-by-step diagrams, and diary-style illustrations. Additional notes in each prank explain the science behind the fun.

Each begins with a list that indicates the victim, the mess, danger and funniness levels, the degree of science involved and the materials required.  There are warning sfor any potential problems, clear instructions with easy-to-follow diagrams, as well as an explanation of the science and even the opportunity to learn and do more to extend knowledge and understanding, such as The Wet One examining why plastics can be problematic.  

Even though the authors are highly qualified scientists (Ferrie at the University of Technology, Sydney; LaGinestra and Fairclough both at Sydney high schools) they have brought both the science and language levels down to those in mid to upper primary offering a lot of learning and a lot of fun in the same package.  Recommend this to parents – who may at first hate you, but then will appreciate your dedication to their child’s scientific learning. 

Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish

Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish

Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish

Gina M. Newton

Rachel Tribout

CSIRO Publishing, 2020

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

 9781486311842

Where the Derwent River spreads out to meet the Tasman Sea on the southeastern coast of Tasmania lives Handstand,  a spotted handfish and one of just 1000 left of a species that the dinosaurs would have recognised.  A species of anglerfish, Handstand lures prey using a fleshy growth on her head, which acts like a fishing rod and lure, even including a “light” that attracts the worms and crustaceans on the deep sea floor. But even more amazing is that she has hands – pectoral fins that have adapted to allow her to walk along the seabed because without a swim bladder, she can’t swim. 

This is just some of the information contained in this remarkable book, told by Handstand herself, and introducing this highly endangered species to young readers.  Being one of the first marine fish species to be listed on the IUCN Red List , and one of just 14 species from the hundreds that used to be in the oceans (all of which are Australian). not only does Handstand raise awareness of her species for those looking to investigate a not-so-familiar endangered species, but she conveys a strong message of the need to protect and conserve both the marine environment and those that live within it. 

Presented in a way that engages the reader with Handstand’s story entwined and embedded with facts and accompanied by biologically-correct illustrations which have a childlike appeal, this book has been shortlisted for both the CBCA Even Pownall Award for Information Books for 2021 and the Wilderness Society Environment Award for Children’s Literature: Non fiction 2021, both accolades that are richly deserved because not only is the spotlight thrown on the future of the spotted handfish , but there is also a raised awareness of the needs of and threats to the ocean environment generally. If climate change, chemical pollution, rubbish, fishing nets and invaders like the Northern Pacific Seastar are threatening this tiny creature, then others must be at risk too. 

Extensive teachers’ notes are available and the book uses a variety of graphic techniques that students could adopt and adapt to bring their own reports to life, making it a book that as well as deserving its award nominations, definitely deserves a place in the library’s collection. 

 

Freaky, Funky Fish

Freaky, Funky Fish

Freaky, Funky Fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freaky, Funky Fish

Debra Kempf Shumaker

Claire Powell

A & U Children, 2021

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

9781760526733

Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by oceans, and within them live 15% of all the creatures that live on the planet including more than 32 000 species of fish.

Fish have fins and gills and tails. All fish swim and most have scales…

But not every fish is the same.  There are zappers, stingers, singers, shakers; dancers, and a whole host of others with strange characteristics that enable them to survive, and in this engaging book for curious, independent readers, Debra Kempf Shumaker has written an intriguing rhyming text which focuses on the traits of some of the weirdest fish that dwell there, rating each on the freaky/funky scale.  The slimy hagfish scores 5/5 on the freaky scale while the snotty parrotfish gets 5/5 om the funky scale.

However, this is so much more than a story that rhymes – from the front cover to the endpapers and every page in between, there are hundreds of illustrations of those fish and loads of information about them, all brought together in a most imaginative layout that not only engages the reader but satisfies their curiosity and encourages them to explore further. 

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Ideal for helping little ones explore the new worlds of beneath the waves.