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Freddy the Not -Teddy

Freddy the Not -Teddy

Freddy the Not -Teddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freddy the Not -Teddy

Kristen Schroder

Hilary Jean Tapper

EK Books, 2022

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

9781922539090 

Jonah’s favourite toy is Freddy, but Freddy is not a teddy – he might have been a funky duck, a peculiar platypus or even a punk rock penguin – and that causes a problem when there is to be a Teddy Bears’ Picnic at school.  Does Jonah take Freddy who means so much to him, or a teddy that he finds hiding, forgotten, under his bed?

This is a heart-warming story that will appeal to all our young readers who have a favourite stuffed toy that is not a teddy, especially if they have had to make a decision about whether it “fits the brief” for an occasion like a Teddy Bears’ Picnic.  Jonah’s solutions to both his own problem and that of Cassie will inspire them to be brave enough to be themselves despite peer pressure. 

 

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Velveteen Rabbit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Velveteen Rabbit

Margery Williams Bianco

Hélène Magisson

New Frontier, 2021

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

9781913639891

Sitting at the top of the Boy’s Christmas stocking is a stuffed rabbit, sewn in a snuggly fabric called velveteen, and by far the most impressive present amongst the nuts, oranges, chocolate almonds and a clockwork mouse.  But in a time of new-fangled mechanical toys the wonder doesn’t last long and the Velveteen Rabbit is soon discarded for toys with more whizbangery and it sits forlorn and forgotten in the nursery.

Wondering what it has done to deserve this fate, it confides in wise Skin Horse that he longs to be a real rabbit.  Skin Horse tells him that toys do become real when they are loved by children.  But the chances of that happening seem unlikely until the Boy becomes ill with scarlet fever and his nanny gives him the rabbit for company…

Reimagined with new illustrations in the softest of palettes, this is a classic story  first published in 1922, that epitomises this year’s CBCA Book week theme of Dreaming with eyes open.  It is not only quite an intense story with a number of twists and turns meaning it is probably one better shared and discussed with a child over a few sessions, but as with the stories of that era, it was intended to teach young children lessons about life and there are a number of these embedded in the narrative.  So it throws up issues such as whether one’s looks really matter – it is who we are rather than what we look like; that there are hills and dales and ups and downs in everyone’s life and having the resilience to see them through shapes who we are and builds us for the next drama; that loving someone can be painful and that it can mean letting them go; to be careful what you wish for because the grass may not always be greener; and most importantly, IMO, is that who we are is enough.  We don’t need to depend on the validation of others for our self-worth and confidence.

It might even spark a philosophical discussion about reality – what is real and how do we distinguish between the various versions of reality that the author presents with such conviction and so convincingly? If reading is dreaming with your eyes open, where is the border? 

 

Peppa Pig: Where’s George’s Dinosaur?

Peppa Pig: Where's George's Dinosaur?

Peppa Pig: Where’s George’s Dinosaur?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peppa Pig: Where’s George’s Dinosaur?

Peppa Pig

Ladybird, 2022

10pp., board book., RRP $A14.99

9780241543542

George is looking for Mr Dinosaur but he can’t find him anywhere and he’s distressed.  So Mummy Pig suggests they retrace their steps through the day, but no matter how promising things look, what’s revealed under the flap is not Mr Dinosaur.

In a book reminiscent of the advertisement for a particular brand of car in which a family retraces their steps in search of Gonzo the missing toy rabbit, little ones can not only follow George’s search as they resonate with his rising distress but they learn that there can be a logical sequence of events to follow rather than throwing a tantrum. So that when they misplace something, parents can draw on George’s experience to guide them in theirs.

Again, the use of a familiar plot, favourite characters and a lift-the-flap technique mean the book will engage even our youngest readers and those crucial concepts about the value of print will continue to develop.  There’s something special about quietly observing Mr Nearly 3 taking himself off to a quiet spot and retelling himself the story using his own vocabulary as he recounts George’s adventures.  But there was also something disconcerting when at the conclusion he said, “I bet his mum put it there out of her bag,” suggesting that maybe he had been exposed to that advertisement once too often!

Toy Mountain

Toy Mountain

Toy Mountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toy Mountain

Stef Gemmill

Katharine Hall

EK Books, 2021

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

9781925820966

Sam is getting bored with playing with the same toys every day – toys that had been played with by his Grandma and while sturdy and reliable, they didn’t have the whizbangery of the toys made in the Tiny Hands toy factory towering over the town, high in the clouds at the end of the rainbow.

So when his mum arranges for him to become a toy tester for the factory he is very excited and day after day boxes and boxes of toys arrive at his house for him to play with and give his opinion about. He immediately discards his old favourites for the new ones but are they all that they are cracked up to be?  Why do all the bells and whistles quickly turn to a sad plonk, plonk, plonk as the toys break and become an ever-increasing mountain of broken plastic junk?

While being a toy-tester might seem like the dream, this is an important story to share about appreciating what we have and taking care of it because shiny and new isn’t always the best choice. There is also a broader message about the amount of plastic that is produced each year, the 79% of that which ends up in the oceans or in landfill. and thus, being aware of and responsible for the amount of waste we create as individuals.

So while children marched in protest at COP26, here, in one story especially written for the young is a direct way that they themselves can make a difference and show the way for others around them.

The Boy and the Moonimal

The Boy and the Moonimal

The Boy and the Moonimal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Boy and the Moonimal

Debi Gliori

Bloomsbury, 2021

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

9781408892916

When the boy discovers the moonimal in the toyshop, straight away the boy hugs him tight and because moonimals are made to be hugged tight,  they become inseparable.  They played together and went everywhere together. But one day the boy trips over in the woods and because he broke his glasses he couldn’t see Moonimal lying amongst the leaves.

Convinced the boy will come back for him he lies there for many days and nights until he is discovered by some rabbits, who see him as special because although he looks like them, he has three ears.  And so, instead of snuggling in with them he sleeps alone, rather than being hugged tight.  The adventures for Moonimal are just beginning … snatched by a large bird, dropped in the river, discovered by deer… will he ever be found by the boy again?

Again Debi Gliori has created a charming story for our youngest readers that will resonate with them as the tale of a lost toy is all too familiar.  But telling it from the toy’s point of view is unique and while there is sadness and even intrigue, it is always tinged with hope through Moonimal’s belief that he will be reunited.  The illustrations are full of details that not only enrich the text but offer something new to discover each time the story is read – as it will be, over and over. 

The New Baby’s Bunny

The New Baby's Bunny

The New Baby’s Bunny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Baby’s Bunny

Philippa Brown

Krista Brennan

Little Steps, 2020

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

9781925839029

Each time a new baby is born into the family, Nanna knits a new baby bunny.  Each is distinct in its colouring and becomes a favourite with the recipient.  But the fourth bunny is a bit different – it has a grey body but no eyes.  Nanna says she can’t decide what colour to use and leaves the task to the family.  Each comes home from the haberdashery shop with their choice of buttons, but will any of them do the job and be perfect?

This is a charming story for young readers that shows an unusual way of having siblings become involved in the birth of a new baby so they feel part of the process.  It offers opportunities for them to talk about special toys and gifts they have received and will perhaps even pass on to their own children.  But it is also a powerful statement about gift-giving – it is not the fanciest, most expensive gift that is necessarily the most treasured.  It is often those made with love and time and a personal connection that stand the test of time. 

Boo!

Boo!

Boo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boo!

Margaret Wild

Andrew Joyner

Puffin, 2019

24pp, hbk., RRP $A19.99

9780670078073

‘Boo!’ said the baby to the monkey in the cot.

‘Boo!’ said the baby to the penguin in the yacht . . .

Babies love to play peek-a-boo and these ones have a lovely time playing with their toys. But…

What happens next?

Turn the page and see…

Ready, steady, count- 

One, two three!

This is a delightful book for the very young who are learning the fun that can be had in picture books.  The constant repetition of the word BOO will encourage them to join in as it is shared with them, and they will just ROFL at the ending.  Maybe not one for bedtime because it encourages raucous rollicking fun, but nevertheless, one for building up that unique relationship between reader, child, stories and books!

 

52 Mondays

52 Mondays

52 Mondays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

52 Mondays

Anna Ciddor

Allen & Unwin, 2019

208pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781760523480

Melbourne in the hot summer of February 1964 , in the hot car on the way to Nana and Zayda’s and Anna clutches the library book she can’t wait to read. It’s called Hitty: the life and adventures of a wooden doll and it not only inspired young Anna to own her own antique doll, a dream that lasts 52 Mondays, but also inspired the older Anna, the author, to tell the tale of the joys and disappointments of her real-life childhood search for the doll.

Based on her own life and following the success of The Family with Two Front Doors  which tells the story of  her own family, the Rabinovitches who “dance, laugh and cook their way through an extraordinary life in 1920s Poland”, the author takes the readeron a journey through the life and times of children growing up in 1960s Melbourne.  No computers, no Internet or social media, in many homes, not even a television set – just the day-to-day adventures of children who had to seek and make their own fun.  For those like me it is a trip down memory lane to the days of warm school milk, Mr Whippy, and desks in rows in schools, while for more modern young readers it is an insight into the lives of their grandparents -something very different to that which they know.

Whichever, it is a very readable story about a little girl with a dream, parents who understand and support it, the  highs and lows of following it, and the determination and resilience  required to achieve it. 

 

 

It’s Not Scribble to Me

It's Not Scribble to Me

It’s Not Scribble to Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Not Scribble to Me

Kate Ritchie

Jedda Robaard

Puffin Books, 2018 

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

9780143790136

Little Teddy loves to draw – crayons, paints, pencils, even stencils (and the permanent markers if he can reach them) are all his favourite tools of trade.  But while paper is nice, it’s not big enough to hold all of his drawings and so he uses other nearby surfaces like the wall,the bathroom tiles and even the toilet seat lid -wherever the colour takes his imagination.  Like most parents, his parents get annoyed at having to continually clean up but Teddy doesn’t see his work as scribble.  Each one is a personal masterpiece inspired by his surroundings and begs them to understand that his marks are the “colourful, magical, bountiful, beautiful, whimsical, wonderful world” in his head.

On the surface, this is a fun book that will be a familiar scenario for many preschoolers, written in rhyme to engage them and perhaps even consolidate their knowledge of colours. Its theme will resonate with many parents and they might even have discussions about what else Teddy could have drawn that was green, red, yellow or black.

But it is also a very useful tool to teach slightly older readers about perspective – that what one sees as beautiful artworks, another sees as scribble and vice versa.  Little children are still very much in the world of the here and now and what they can see, so to start to view things from another’s perspective is a critical step in their development, particularly as they also have a very strong sense of justice and what’s fair. Taking someone’s pencil without asking may be seen as “theft” by one little one, while really it’s just using something that’s needed and available by another one used to sharing without asking. 

Little Miss Muffet might have been frightened by the spider, but how did the spider feel about her sitting right where he was in the process of building his web? 

Little Boy Blue probably shouldn’t have fallen asleep while he was supposed to be watching the sheep, but what if he had been up all night helping a little lamb be born?

Seeing another’s point of view is an essential element of the development of Ethical Understanding  and it’s not too early to start our littlies thinking about the perspectives of those around them, perhaps even exploring the old adage that “there are always two sides to a story.”

 

LEGO Super Heroes Visual Dictionary

LEGO Super Heroes Visual Dictionary

LEGO Super Heroes Visual Dictionary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEGO Super Heroes Visual Dictionary

Elizabeth Dowsett & Arie Kaplan

DK, 2018

128pp., hbk., RRP $A35.00

9780241320037

Since 2006 when it first released its Batman-themed sets, LEGO, a contraction of leg godt which means “play well” in Danish, have offered fans construction sets related to the popular superheroes so they can learn to read and follow instructions and develop their fine motor skills as they make the intricate models from the movies, then use their imagination to build new stories and adventures with their creations.

 This visual guide to the minifigures, vehicles and sets of the Superhero world offers lots of background information about the characters culminating in a behind-the-scenes chapter which features concept art and an interview with the LEGO DC Super Heroes creative team.

Like its predecessors that have been linked to popular movies and characters, this is a book that will have young fans poring over it, talking about what they are discovering, wanting to learn more and reading to do so- engaging in all those behaviours that show that print offers them something and that reading for pleasure is a worthwhile thing to do.  Guaranteed to hook young reluctant readers, appeal to more independent fans and even offer suggestions for the Christmas stocking as each model has details of its release date, set number, and the number of pieces and minifigures that come with it. There is even a Yellow Lantern Batman included!