Hello World

Hello World

Hello World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello World

Lisa Shanahan

Leila Rudge

ABC Books, 2021

24pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9780733340826

There would be few in Australia who have not held their breath these past few days as the search for little AJ Elfalak went on and then let it out in relief when the autistic, non-verbal three-year old was found after four days.  It was a time to hug family, small and bigger, a little tighter and see the world just a little more brightly today.

And that’s exactly what this new book by Lisa Shanahan and Leila Rudge does.  It is early morning and the toddler wakes in her cot and greets the world with a enthusiastic “Hello world.”  Then the reader joins her greeting all the things in her day with repetitive rhyming text that encourages them to predict the words, relate to the events through the charming illustrations and talk about their own experiences.  Perhaps even create their own day’s story with the help of a parent and a camera.  

This is just a pure celebration of viewing the ordinary through the eyes of a young one, to relive the joy in what has become a bit ho-hum and maybe even rediscover our own joie de vivre as winter finally rolls away.

Making Friends: A Book About First Friendships

Making Friends: A Book About First Friendships

Making Friends: A Book About First Friendships

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Friends: A Book About First Friendships

Amanda McCardie

Colleen Larmour

Walker, 2021

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781406394542

Sukie is starting a new school and shares the concerns of every child in the same situation – will she make friends.  But she soon learns that making friends can happen in all sorts of ways, big and small, even unexpected.  However, it is not enough to make friends – you have to work on maintaining the friendships by respecting others’ differences as well as the things you have in common.

So many children who have been restricted by stay-at-home orders in parts of Australia are separated from their friends right now – even though they have visual contact through online sources or audio through the phones, it is the physical, spontaneous face-to-face contact they are missing and which is impacting on their mental well-being.  Even Miss 10, the family social butterfly, is  worried that she will be forgotten and won’t have any friends when school eventually returns.  

If nothing else, this time at home has demonstrated the critical role schools play well beyond the formal academic teaching and this book would be a worthwhile addition to any teacher’s toolkit as they help their students navigate making friends and being friends again after such a long social isolation. It has a wider reach than just supporting those who will be starting a new school as a new year approaches.  Readers are invited to agree, disagree and add to the situations in which Sukie finds herself – should be embarrassed and uncomfortable that Mikkel refuses her help with his jigsaw puzzle or is it OK to say no sometimes? And cleverly, illustrator Colleen Larmour has included a picture of someone sharing kindness on almost every page, opening up not only an opportunity to look closely but also the concept of doing a random act of kindness every day.  

Our children are negotiating a tricky time at the moment, different but just as confronting as children in past generations, and the strategies and coping mechanisms we help them to develop now will play a large role in how they will survive and thrive. This book has a role to play in that. 

Stop the Dad Jokes!

Stop the Dad Jokes!

Stop the Dad Jokes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop the Dad Jokes!

Adrian Beck

Simon Greiner

Puffin, 2021

24pp., hbk., RRP $A17.99

9781761043086

It’s Father’s Day in Australia and that means it’s Dad Joke Day – those jokes that are so corny that eyes roll and the country resounds with loud groans.  Even a national television show had a joke-off with jokes like “Did you hear about the fire in the circus? it was in-tents!” and “Did you hear about the drummer who named his twin girls Anna1 and Anna 2?”

But they all pale into obscurity when compared to those in this new book by the co-editor of Total Quack Up and Total Quack Up Again. Dad in his element during a visit to the zoo with a joke for every creature they see – some familiar, some not-so – but all worth the eye roll and the groan as the puns and play on words keep coming.  But who has the last laugh?

Told in clever rhyme this is one that is perfect for lightening the mood at a time when many dads and their children are separated (because you’re always a dad no matter how old you get) or when many dads and children have seen a little too much of each other.  In Australia, at least, Father’s Day 2021 can be renamed Dad Joke Day! 

110 of the best jokes for kids that are genuinely funny

The Magnificent Hercules Quick

The Magnificent Hercules Quick

The Magnificent Hercules Quick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Magnificent Hercules Quick

Ursula Dubosarsky

Andrew Joyner

A & U Children’s, 2021

96pp., pbk., RRP $A4.99

9781761065712

One day while out shopping with his Aunt Alligator, Hercules Quick spies a magic box in a shop window, one that he knows he would love to own.  And while he is dismayed that he not only doesn’t have any money of his own in his piggy bank, he doesn’t even have a piggy bank, he is not daunted.  He gets out his paints and makes a sign offering to do jobs for his neighbours for 10c a task. He explains to Aunt Alligator that 10 cents a day will be a dollar in 10 days and that’s $310 in 10 months – surely enough to buy the magic box.

This is the second in this series about Hercules and because he hasn’t yet got enough money for the coveted magic box, he is still doing chores for his quirky neighbours – the very large Elk family who live on the floor above him in the three-storey big red brick house; Professor Calamari, the octopus who lived on the floor below; the turtle brothers Mike and Herbert who live on the roof and the mysterious Queen Claude who lives in the cellar. With such unusual neighbours it is no wonder the chores are also unusual and the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

This is a special Australia Reads publication that is retailing for just $4.99 so it is in reach of most people, perhaps even pocket money for those who take Hercules as their role model. Designed for  young, newly-independent readers who still need support with short chapters and lots of illustrations, as well as being a fun read it is also one with a message about saving and savouring the anticipation of waiting. It could also be the lead in to lessons about money providing a real-life focus that has purpose and meaning for the learner.  

Always

Always

Always

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always

Morris Gleitzman

Viking, 2021

320pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99

9780143793243

Once I escaped from an orphanage to find Mum and Dad…

Then I had a plan for me and Zelda…

After the Nazis took my parents I was scared…

Soon I hoped the Nazis would be defeated and they were…

Maybe there will peace and happiness for Felix at last…

Now Zelda learns her grandfather’s story…

Always stay hopeful…

In this incredible series that has been 16 years in the writing, Gleitzman has tackled the most confronting of issues in the world’s recent history spotlighting the prejudice, the persecution, the racism, the horror, the violence, the death and the ever-present fear that was the reality of the times and which form the stories of their grandparents and their great-grandparents who are at the root of today’s multicultural Australia.

And now the final chapter has been written…”I’d always known that this story would take us back to where we first met Felix, and that we’d be taken there by his own voice, as we were that first time in Once. But in Once Felix was ten years old. In Always he’s eighty-seven.”  But from the very first chapter the prejudice, the persecution, the racism, the horror, the violence, the death are still there.  Has history taught us nothing? Or has it taught us but we have failed to learn?

In these current times of lockdowns and restrictions those who are older try to help our younger ones cope with the isolation by saying things like, “At least you’re not sleeping in a train tunnel because there are bombs dropping on your home” but whilst a fact of life for so many at the time, it is  too far removed for them to understand.  So this series with the story told by those who were there, who lived it at the same age as they are brings home what that sort of deprivation is, and perhaps gives them hope of better things to come. It is a story as relevant now as it was when it first began and even though those original readers, those who “have now grown old but are still young” will want to read this final chapter.

The impact of the series, its well-knownness, the power of Gleitzman’s words, story and vision will attract more readers and reviewers and nothing that I can write will enhance what already exists. It is time for me to renew my first acquaintance with Felix from all those years ago, follow his journey all over again and then savour the full circle of his life.  In the story of the writing of this final chapter, Gleitzman says “I hope you feel it was worth the wait.”  All I can say is, “It absolutely was!”

 

 

 

Nelson:: Eggplants and Dinosaurs

Nelson:: Eggplants and Dinosaurs

Nelson: Eggplants and Dinosaurs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nelson: Eggplants and Dinosaurs

Andrew Levins

Katie Kear

Puffin, 2021

176pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

 9781761042294

Tucked into a bumbag around his waist was a variety of stuff that Nelson hated most, but which he needed often.  Because although he hated the taste and smell of vegetables (tricky when you are in a vege-loving and growing family) they gave him superpowers. So in that bumbag were broccoli  (for invisibility), pumpkin for a super strong voice and strength, a radish for teleportation (and a feather to make himself sick if he ever had to eat them.)

In this, the third adventure in this series for young independent readers, Nelson discovers the benefits of eggplants as he is called on to track down some of the worst thieves in town, thieves who have been stealing every book about dinosaurs from the local libraries. The only one left is his favourite from Kindergarten in the school library. But trialling the effects of eating an eggplant has disastrous consequences… Will Nelson be able to control his inner beast and use it to get out of danger?

This is the third in this fast-paced series that will appeal to those who are ready for novels but still needing the short chapters and liberal illustrations for a little extra support  With its premise that will resonate with many, characters that are easily recognisable and the type of exaggerated humour that appeals to its target audience,  Levins has created a series that children will engage with and parents will love, simply because it may encourage a lot more vegetable eating and the battles about eating the daily requirement may be over. Who knows what superpowers might be hidden in the rainbow on the plate?  At the very least the kids will be healthier! 

Let’s Get Ready for School

Let’s Get Ready for School

Let’s Get Ready for School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Get Ready for School

Jane Porter

Carolina Rabei

Walker, 2021

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781529502343

It’s time to go to big school but what will it be like?  How will the day be filled?  What are the expectations?

Using a double-page spread for topics such as getting ready, how to get there, what will happen and even why we go to school, this book follows six children as they begin this new adventure in their lives. The text speaks directly to the child and there are plenty of illustrations to help them imagine this new adventure they are about to embrace.

Even though it is an English production, both the anxiety that children feel and the activities of the new entrants’ classroom are universal and so this translates to the Australian situation well, including a page for the children to talk about the concerns they have..  

With big school getting larger on the horizon for our little ones but visits to those early childhood classes limited in some states, this is an opportunity for parents to start preparing their child for what can be expected and if there are online orientations, for classroom teacher to use it as a way to guide their viewers through the first days.  They might not be able to show their own classes in action but this is a suitable substitute. 

A Trip to the Hospital

A Trip to the Hospital

A Trip to the Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Trip to the Hospital

Freda Chiu

A&U Children’s, 2021

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

9781760526702

Sadly, many of our children visit hospitals as patients more times than we like. either because of an accident or illness.  Even for adults, they can be intimidating places and even moreso if the visit is an unexpected emergency – ask me how I know!!!

But it can be made less traumatic if children know what to expect and so this book, based on an Australian hospital, is very timely and useful.  Following the journey three children, each being admitted for a different reason, the book’s purpose is to show that  hospitals are amazing places filled with clever people all doing incredible things, including making you feel better. The emphasis is on the people who may look scary because they’re wearing masks (although that’s not so uncommon these days) and that the tools and machines they use are there to help them. 

But as well as reassuring the would-be patient, with hospital admissions on the increase because of COVID-19, it also helps them understand what is happening to their family and friends who might also be admitted.

If we know what to expect in unfamiliar situations then our anxiety levels are lowered and we are much more able to cope.  This book certainly does that. 

Frankie Goes to Kindergarten

Frankie Goes to Kindergarten

Frankie Goes to Kindergarten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frankie Goes to Kindergarten

Peta Baxter & Connie Hemmens

Marjorie Gardner

Ford Street, 2021

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

9781925804683

It’s an exciting day for Frankie – it’s his day for kindergarten.  But Frankie isn’t a timid, shy child about to take his first step on a new adventure – he’s a dog who goes with his owner, the Kindy teacher, to join in all the fun of meeting up with friends, playing inside and out, visiting the pets. listening to stories, having lunch and quiet time and learning all sorts of new things.  His mate George the cat would like to go too but he is deemed too little, so he hops in a box…

Written by two experienced kindergarten teachers based on their own kindy – Frankie belongs to Miss Peta – this is a joyful introduction to the kindy/preschool day that will be a new adventure for many of our littlest readers very soon. Many of them will experience trepidation rather than anticipation so this story with its bright, bold illustrations will be excellent for helping to prepare them and pave the way.  Even though there might not be a Frankie (or a cheeky George) to join them, nevertheless all the activities will be there awaiting them as will the welcoming teachers and lots of new friends to play with.  

With lockdown and restrictions, preventing many of the face-to-face orientations that usually start about this time, so this would be the ideal story to share as alternative preparation.