How to Be Invisible

How to Be Invisible

How to Be Invisible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Be Invisible

Nick Bland

HarperCollins, 2024

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

9781460764060

When Bunny arrives at the park wearing Grandpa’s hat, he thinks it has made him invisible. But Bird can still see him!  The more Bunny tries, the less invisible he seems. The best friends enjoy the hat even if it’s not magical. But are they sure it’s not a magical hat? Grandpa has a surprise for them!

This is the second in this series for our earliest readers who are just learning about the joy of stories in print, and they are going to be delighted to meet up with characters they already know, while impressing the grown-ups around them by not only saying the word “invisible” but knowing its meaning!  Can there be anything more empowering than learning and using such a big word? And in such an enjoyable way?

In my opinion, the real heroes in this world are those who can entertain, engage and educate our little ones so they have a strong platform on which to base their future formal learning, and Nick Bland is among those. His ability to take something simple and everyday and spin it into something magical through the clever use of words and pictures is amazing, the envy of others, and a gift that our youngest readers are grateful for. On their behalf, I say thank you.

 

 

 

How to Avoid Being Eaten By Sharks … and other advice

How to Avoid Being Eaten By Sharks … and other advice

How to Avoid Being Eaten By Sharks … and other advice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Avoid Being Eaten By Sharks … and other advice

John Larkin

Chrissie Krebs

Walker Books, 2024

160pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781760657451

There is one absolute sure-fire method to avoid being eaten by sharks. Don’t go in the ocean. When you enter the ocean, you are in the shark’s domain. If a shark plonked itself down next to you on your sofa and started eating your Twisties, then it would be in yours.

If young male readers, particularly, take one piece of advice this year, then this would probably be it.  But there is lots of other important information that everyone should know in this book, and all of it presented in an hilarious way that is going to engage even the most reluctant reader.  Much like those crazy books of fascinating facts that present the most obscure information in a way that makes the reader wonder how they didn’t know it already when clearly they should have, this delves into the realms of whether the Earth really flat, translating parent speak, the tricks of passing  a creative writing test, and , importantly, how to avoid being abducted by aliens.

Drawing on his own childhood, Larkin offers the young reader wisdom they didn’t know they needed, complete with facts, figures, hints and other trivia, which all work together in an engaging narrative style augmented by lots of carefree illustrations to lighten the mood. Each chapter is quite random in its focus but nevertheless the whole comes together in one of those books that everyone will feel they have a need to read. And if it gets those not-so-keen readers started and looking for others in a similar vein, then it has done its job and been worth the price of admission.

The Crayons Love Our Planet

The Crayons Love Our Planet

The Crayons Love Our Planet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Crayons Love Our Planet

Drew Daywalt

Oliver Jeffers

HarperCollins, 2024

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

9780008560898

Our planet is a colourful place…white ice caps, green trees, blue oceans and skies, brown soil . . . and more! And each crayon is delighted to share their part in keeping it colourful, especially Beige who pops up constantly to highlight his contribution,  like a little toddler desperate not to be overlooked.

This is a funny addition to this series for young readers, as they are encouraged to look at the world around them and its colours and begin to develop an appreciation for their environment and their responsibility towards it. It opens up opportunities for some elementary data collection as natural elements and objects are classified according to colour as well as art appreciation as they discover the myriads of tints, tones and shades of the hues of the colour wheel represented in Nature.

As well as being lovable characters in themselves, the Crayons always have adventures and experiences that can lead to greater learning, and this one is just as promising as all the others. in the series. 

One Little Dung Beetle

One Little Dung Beetle

One Little Dung Beetle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Little Dung Beetle

Rhiân Williams

Heather Potter & Mark Jackson

Wild Dog, 2024

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

9781742036656

Australia is rich with fascinating beetles that all have a job to do. Using counting rhymes, young readers are introduced to some of these unique species and identifying the roles that each type of beetle plays in the environment including the dung beetle, the once-iconic Christmas beetle and some with the most remarkable colouring.  

With stunning endpapers, and accurate anatomical illustrations throughout, this offers an insight into the prevalence of beetles in the landscape and the critical role they perform in keeping it healthy and vibrant.  Teachers notes  offer further resources and links to investigate further, including the world of entomology, while also guiding young readers through the process of distinguishing a non fiction title from a fictional one, and how to use the cues and clues to prepare themselves for getting the most from it.

But while its format might suggest an early childhood audience, there is also scope for older readers to springboard their own investigations – why was the dung beetle introduced to Australia and were all introduced species as successful? Why do some have such remarkable colouring?  Why have all the Christmas beetles disappeared to the extent there is now a national count?  

Even if the reader is a little young to appreciate all the information, much of it embedded in the illustrations, they will enjoy practising their counting skills as they try to find all the beetles as well as the number of holes nibbled in the title number.  The pictures also include other creatures so there is also the opportunity to investigate the concepts of “more” and “less” and other early maths basics. 

With its focus topic which will encourage little ones to look at their environment with fresh eyes as well as its format, this is one that offers so much more than first meets the eye.  Give it with the gift of a magnifying glass and see the joy and wonder explode. 

 

Dinosaur in My Pocket

Dinosaur in My Pocket

Dinosaur in My Pocket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinosaur in My Pocket

Ashleigh Barton

Blithe Fielden

Lothian Children’s, 2024

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

9780734422668

James loves two things more than anything in the world: dinosaurs and miniatures. every day he plays with his toy dinosaurs and admires his collection of teeny tiny things on his shelves. But while he has an assortment of things like an elephant, a horse and even a mountain, he doesn’t have a miniature dinosaur. So when his class goes on an excursion to a museum and James finds a miniature dinosaur in the gift shop, he can’t help himself: he has no money so he steals the dinosaur. But, instead of feeling happy to be able to add it to his collection,  as the day continues, his guilt grows. And so does the dinosaur!

The only thing that can cure James’s guilt – and shrink the dinosaur back to its proper size – is doing the right thing. But how will his parents’ respond?  Will he be in BIG trouble?

There will be few children who haven’t been tempted by something they really want, so this is a cautionary tale that can open up discussions of knowing and doing right from wrong, the feelings they are likely to experience if they do succumb and how they might get what they want in an honest way.  It might also spark a discussion about the response of James’ parents – if they had yelled at him and punished him, would he have been likely to own up or be more scared of the consequences?  At a time when many seem to have a problem owning their behaviour, taking responsibility for what they have done and accepting the consequences, this could be an ideal ice-breaker.

 

Anzac Ted (10th Anniversary Special Edition)

Anzac Ted (10th Anniversary Special Edition)

Anzac Ted (10th Anniversary Special Edition)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anzac Ted (10th Anniversary Special Edition)

Belinda Landsberry

Exisle Publishing, 2014

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

9781921966569

 

Anzac Ted’s a scary bear

And I can tell you why.

He’s missing bits, his tummy splits,

He only has one eye.

 

His fur is torn and dirty

And he hasn’t any clothes.

He doesn’t hear with just one ear;

He should have two of those.

 

His head is kind of wobbly

And his legs are rather slow.

Perhaps it’s due to one or two

Encounters with a foe!

So begins an enchanting story-in-rhyme about a very special teddy bear – one that doesn’t win prizes in the toy show and sometimes makes the other children cry when he turns up for Show’n’Tell.  He isn’t shiny and new and he can’t change into something else and the other kids in the class just ridicule him.  But Anzac Ted has a story – a story that no other child’s toy has about why is he so old and torn and how brave he has been.

With a gentle touch on both text and illustration, Belinda Landsberry has crafted a delightful story about a bear who has seen better (or worse) days that is just perfect to introduce the youngest children to the stories of ANZAC and why there is such a focus on this special day on the calendar.  With a clever shift of colour tone between now and then, there is a seamless transition between the two eras of Anzac Ted’s life tied together with the love and reverence with which he has been passed down through the family and clearly will continue to be so. The unconditional love of the boy for his teddy is obvious and it remains constant despite the opinions of his peers.  Perhaps if his story were told, Ted would have all the votes at the toy show. But really, some heroes don’t want, need or get medals or accolades. 

On my Pinterest board Remembering Gallipoli  I’ve pinned over 150 titles of books about World War I for the primary-aged student and Anzac Ted is one of just a handful suitable for sharing and exploring with the K-2 brigade to help them understand.  It offers just a broad overview from a family perspective – Grandpa Jack leaves home and even though he’s 21, his wife pops his childhood teddy is his case … “For luck.” She said, “take Anzac Ted. I know he’ll bring you home.”  And even though we think of soldiers as being big and brave and daring, there are times when they are lonely and afraid and Anzac Ted brings them comfort and courage.

Now 10 years on from its original publication which was timed for centenary of this special commemoration, and with a special cover and including additional content such as a page of information on the history of the ANZACS and the shared experience of ANZAC and Turkish soldiers, as well as a ‘How to draw Anzac Ted’ activity page. to celebrate its endurance, this story remains a must-have and a must-share in your collection.

Dragonboy and the 100 Hearts

Dragonboy and the 100 Hearts

Dragonboy and the 100 Hearts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dragonboy and the 100 Hearts

Fabio Napoleoni

Little Brown, 2024

40pp., hbk., RRP $A32.99

9780316462211

It’s raining outside and Dragonboy and his stuffed-animal friends are stuck at home, feeling as gloomy as the weather. For them, the only fun is to be exploring outside and they aren’t particularly interested when Dragonboy suggests exploring inside.  And even though Darwin the sloth was noticing something unusual, they paid him no attention. When they venture into the attic and discover a lot of old toys and games, their day brightens and as they play together, but Darwin’s feelings are hurt…

This is another in this series for very young readers who are learning about friendship and kindness and building relationships through everyday acts of kindness that have nothing to do with material things.  Each time one of the characters shows kindness, a tiny red heart appears and they are invited to count how many they find (there are 100) and think about what it was that triggered it. 

Something a little different that encourages young readers to understand that there are many ways to be a good friend. 

Computer Technology for Curious Kids

Computer Technology for Curious Kids

Computer Technology for Curious Kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Computer Technology for Curious Kids

Chris Oxlade

Nik Neves

CSIRO Publishing, 2024

128pp., hbk., RRP $A32.99

9781486318360 

It’s 1996, lunchtime in the library of a new government primary school in Canberra, and rather than the students you would expect to find there, there is a group of staff members lined up for their turn on the one computer that is linked to a local internet service via a dial-up line.  It’s long before the department gets a LAN let alone a WAN, but these teachers are encouraged to be there by their enlightened, visionary principal (who has even hired an ICT coach for the teachers) as each one waits their turn to send an email to a colleague, to feel the thrill of having received one, and marvelling at this new way of doing business and its potential.

Fast forward nearly 30 years and nothing has moved quite as fast as the development of the technology and the impact it has had on the global community, even beyond.  Now, instead of the wonder of email, encyclopedias on CD-ROM and being able to prepare a program without the trusty white-out on hand, we have terminology like artificial intelligence, smartphones, social media and cyber-security as part of our everyday vocabulary and our youngest students are participating in programming, playing video games and making movies using drones in a realm that was once reserved for the boffins and nerds. 

So this new release from CSIRO Publishing in their Curious Kids series, is as much a journey through time as it is one of discovery. Taking the young reader on a trip that covers the history of computing, hardware and software components, data and apps, programming, communications and their ubiquity in daily life, this explains all sorts of things at their level of understanding, using text and illustrations that are straightforward but not overly technical or complex.  For example, “image editing” is described as “editing photographs, perhaps to make then brighter or darker; to get rid of unwanted parts or to remove imperfections” followed by simple explanations and examples of the ways that people do this as they resize photos, or crop them to make the subject more prominent, or removing things like trees that seem to be growing out of a person’s head.

Similarly, the way computers are used to make life simpler, even being a central part of many of the toys and games the child plays with is explained as so many things are just taken for granted because they have always been in the child’s life, much as the telephone, radio and television were for previous generations. Just as their parents might not be able to recall a time when there wasn’t instant entertainment available in the room with the click of a remote, so too our little ones can’t imagine life without their friends and their activities being visible on a screen. 

Whether this is a trip down memory lane for some, a way of understanding these “new-fangled computers” for others, and explanation of the how, what and why for those with a need to know, or the opening of a door to further explanation,  this is a fascinating dip-and-delve book that has something or everyone. 

 

 

11 Ruby Road: 1900

11 Ruby Road: 1900

11 Ruby Road: 1900

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Ruby Road: 1900

Charlotte Barkla

Walker Books, 2024

192pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781760657949

Ever since her Great Aunt Mildred picked the vacant block on the new housing development as a child in 1863 because she loved its giant Moreton Bay fig tree, it has belonged to Dorothy’s family and now they have moved from the country to the city to live in the house and run the store that Mildred’s mother established.

But city life  is very different to the rural one Dorothy has known. Ruby Road is bustling – full of families and children, horse-drawn carts and even a mysterious dog – and there are many other changes such as having to go to school and crossing swords with Miss Armstrong who insists on perfect printing of letters and needlework , despite Dorothy’s love of writing stories which she does in her secret writing room. Meeting a young Asian boy who also likes to write stories, Dorothy not only finds an outlet and audience for her imagination, but is also exposed to prejudice and racism, particularly towards the Chinese who were blamed for “taking all the gold” from the gold rush and inspired the White Australia Policy, as the colonies united to become one country. Inspired by a declaration by her Aunt Esme that she wouldn’t marry and be the possession of a man, Dorothy dreams of being a famous actress and independent and writes a play that she persuades the neighbourhood children to perform. But then a conversation between her mother and Esme about women having the right to vote and have a say in their lives, inspires a change of focus… and hopefully, a change in thinking for many.

Somewhat akin to the concept of Nadia Wheatley’s classic, My Place, this is the first in a series tracing the stories of the occupants of 11 Ruby Road in Brisbane, introducing young independent readers to the lives of those who lived in the times, as well as the genre of historical fiction.  It opens up many avenues of Australia’s history to explore – federation, racism, the status of women- all of which give today’s children an insight into how things were and an opportunity to investigate how and why they have changed.

A series worth following and offering to those investigating or interested in this country’s history in a way that makes it meaningful and accessible.

My Encyclopedia of Very Important Dinosaurs

My Encyclopedia of Very Important Dinosaurs

My Encyclopedia of Very Important Dinosaurs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Encyclopedia of Very Important Dinosaurs

Dorling Kindersley, 2018

228pp., hbk., RRP $A32.99

 9780241316177

If there is one thing every teacher librarian knows about collection development, it is that you cannot have too many items in your 567.9 section – that’s the section where you will find little and a-bit-bigger ones, gathered as they pore over the stories and information of those fascinating creatures that ruled this planet until 65 000 000 ago. 

So this publication from the non fiction experts will be a welcome addition as it is written especially for those who are almost independent readers but still need lots of illustrations and accessible text.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

It includes everything from an in-depth exploration of the triassic, jurassic, and cretaceous periods and how fossils are made, to detailed profiles of popular dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rexTriceratops, and Stegosaurus, to more unfamiliar species such as MicroraptorGuanlong, and Spinosaurus.

For decades DK have had the best reputation for delivering quality non fiction for young readers and this is no exception.  Pitched perfectly for its intended audience, it will satisfy the curiosity of those with a passing interest, while leading others on to more complex texts.