Monthly Archives: April 2018

See Hear: There’s Magic All Around You. What Can You See? What Can You Hear? – Tania McCartney & Jess Racklyeft

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seehear

EK Books

March 2018

9781925335675

RRP $24.99

From the dream team that brought you Smile Cry (Crystal Kite Award 2017 and 2017 CBC Notable Book) comes another beautiful and whimsical book for little people. A sensory exploration of the world around us using the senses of sight and hearing is a perfect way to have children calm from their busy day and take notice of the wonder that surrounds them. Engaging with this depth of sensory delights is often overlooked in favour of having small people do more phonics or reach another ‘reading level’. It’s well and truly time to teach them about being human as well!

Heavenly horses…..squiggly rain……buzzing blossoms….” all combine to give readers a really magical experience and give rise to many various points of discussion.

One of the greatest gifts we can give to children is to ‘wonder’ at the bounteous offerings of their world and encourage their appreciation of all that it can offer.

Highly recommended for your collection whether in a kindy, child care centre or lower primary school – as well as a splendid gift for special little people in your circle.

Find teaching notes here.

 

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The Little Library Cookbook – Kate Young

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Harper Collins Australia

ISBN: 9781784977672

ISBN 10: 1784977675

Imprint: Head of Zeus – GB

On Sale: 18/09/2017

RRP: $39.99

What an absolute delight for bibliophiles this book is! So many people love cookbooks (whether to use to their purpose or just to peruse) and for a book-lover this is magical!

Comprising over 100 recipes inspired from the author’s own bookshelves, one can cater for everything from morning tea to supper and everything in between with a literary flair.

What do you fancy? Perhaps Paddington’s marmalade (yum!) or chocalatl a la Northern Lights, a sweet posset as in Joan Aitken’s Wolves of Willoughby Chase or something more substantial like the Godfather’s spaghetti and meatballs – it’s all here in glorious detail.

Most of my review books are donated either to my own library or to worthy recipients but this one is going straight to that bookshelf of culinary holiday expectations in my pantry.  In the meantime some green (pesto) eggs and ham may well feature on an upcoming weekend breakfast menu.

This would be a handsome addition to your library shelves but probably an even better one to your own personal collection.

 

 

Can I Touch Your  Hair? : Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship – Irene Latham & Charles Waters,  Sean Qualls & Selina Alko

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January 1st 2018 by Carolrhoda Book

ISBN: 9781512404425
ISBN-10: 151240442X

Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group

RRP $29.99

 

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few children’s poetry books come my way of late and this is certainly one of the most interesting.

In a world where we are constantly reminded of the intolerance and bigotry of some it is incumbent upon us as educators to guide our students towards accepting and embracing differences.

When Irene and Charles are put together to complete a poetry project, neither is very thrilled. One white, one black with seemingly nothing in common, they are both reluctant and reticent at first. But as they choose topics to write about – school, family, church, friends and so on – they begin to see points of similarity and more than that commonalities that develop into an unexpected friendship.

Cleverly written by authors who are themselves black and white, this book explores a theme of turning ignorance into understanding and takes it further.

Not only is this a volume worth sharing with students but it could easily become a fascinating springboard into shaping similar experiences for our own children.

Recommended for children from around Year 4 upwards.

 

The Dream Bird –  Aleesah Darlinson/Emma Middleton

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Wombat Books

ISBN: 9781925563337

Release: 1 April 2018

Price: $19.99 Hardback

 

For a family of insomniacs no explanation is needed about the difficulties sometimes of going to sleep – no matter how busy the day, or the level of tiredness. Young and old in my crew this is something we deal with constantly.

Over the years I’ve dealt with this problem from both a personal and a professional aspect. Many children have a real difficulty with calming down from their busyness of the day and sadly, I have seen some medicated to do so.

George is a child who finds it incredibly hard to switch off from his days and even though his family have strategies to offer, none seems to work for him. But Gran has the solution (as so often we Grans do!). She tells him a beautifully lyrical and soothing story about the Dream Bird who takes children on magical dream journeys to the places that are just right for each.

This is not just a story about getting children to sleep. It is an affirmation of the joy and comfort of bedtime stories, the power of imagination and of course, family love and tenderness.

Aleesah’s text is so beautifully wrapped in an almost ethereal swirl of illustrations which evoke the cross-over between reality and fantasy. Whether it’s leaping with leopards, swimming with mermaids or visiting a land of lollies and other yummy treats, every child deserves a Dream Bird to lullaby them to sleep.

Enjoy some insight into Emma’s illustrative process here.

Highly recommended for your little people whether as an addition to library shelves or as a charming gift to a special child.

The 1, 000-Year-Old Boy – Ross Welford

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Harper Collins Australia

January 2018

ISBN 10: 0008256942

Imprint: HarperCollins – GB

ISBN: 9780008256944

Pages: 400

List Price: 14.99 AUD

 

Alfie Monk is not your average eleven year old boy. He is ‘proficient in Old Norse, Old English, Middle English and Modern English, plus French, Latin and Greek (ancient and modern, though they are not so dissimilar), and [has] a smattering of Welsh and Scots Gaelic’. He has a very faded and blurred tattoo between his shoulder blades and two curious scars on his arm. He speaks with a curious unrecognisable accent. And his teeth are just terrible, which is to be expected if they have been in use for a thousand years.

On the other hand, Aidan Linklater is pretty much a regular eleven year old boy who has just moved to ‘Dumpsville’ due to a bad financial investment by his father, he has a rather annoying seven year old sister and his parents are continually arguing. He is pretty despondent about the move and the shift in his friendships.  His new neighbour is a rather odd girl called Roxy Minto who appears to be very intuitive but also a little weird.

Roxy it is, who shows Aidan an old stone house hidden away in the woods behind their houses – and the strange woman and boy who live there. This is Alfie and his mother Hilda.  When Alfie – Alve – was eleven he was witness to the last horde of Vikings attacking England. With his father killed, Alve and his mother have three most precious possessions left. Livperlers or life-pearls. His father had owned five and had died trying to protect the remaining three – one for his Mam and two for Alve when he gets older. But boys will be boys and Aidan not only uses one life-pearl on himself but when the other is accidentally broken, uses it on his cat Biffa rather than waste its precious alchemy. Now he too is a ‘Neverdead’ just as his father was and his mother is. He will live forever though is not immortal.

Though the secret of eternal life has been sought after for thousands of years, Alfie/Alve would probably tell anyone that it’s not all it may seem. And now Alve yearns to grow up, raise his own family, grow old and be ‘normal’.

The unlikely friendship of these three children becomes the answer to Alfie’s dilemma. This is a narrative filled with adventure, tragedy, humour and acceptance.

At times I felt achingly sad for Alfie in his eternal struggle to find friends and build relationships but at other times this was replaced by the joy of reading the development of true and unconditional friendship.

Told alternately in both boys’ voices is a clever device which not only allows each his own narrative but further serves to illustrate the contrast between the articulate and wary Alfie and the rather bumbling, ingenuous Aidan.

It’s a cracking read that I devoured in one sitting and I would highly recommend it to readers from around ten years upwards.

 

Fabio the World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective: The Case of the Missing Hippo – Laura James

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Bloomsbury

March 2018
ISBN: 9781408889312
Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

RRP  : AU$12.99

Like many others I am addicted to great detective fiction be it books or TV shows and also like many others my favourite sleuth is the one and only Hercule Poirot (as in David Suchet not – you know who KB bleuggh). So you might well imagine how delighted I was to read this new book from the creator of Captain Pug and discover a flamingo version of HP!

Fabio politely tipped his hat. ‘Fabio, the world’s greatest flamingo detective at your service, Madam.’

He’s no hulking giant but a mere pink slip of a thing and very very clever. Really he just wants to sip his pink lemonade and listen to the jazz music at his favourite venue, the Hotal Royale. His constant companion Gerald the giraffe, a gentle soul but also a complete duffer accompanies him.

However, there is no peaceful interlude for Fabio as the nightclub launches its talent show, he is roped in to being one of the judges and the likely winner of the show, a brilliant jazz-singing hippo goes missing.

There are plenty of suspects including Fabio’s fellow judges – a slippery python car salesman and the bizarre knitting secretary bird, Enid, owner of the local ballet school among them.  The local Lake Laloozee Chief Inspector Duff is no match for Fabios’s superior intellect –‘it’s a matter of logic’ – and this crime unravels faster than Enid’s knitting in the calm flamingo’s capable hands – errr, wings.

This is really good fun and the fluoro pink and green combination used throughout the design and illustrations is fantastic.

Highly recommended for readers from around 7 years upwards who enjoy a spot of sleuthing and a lot of laughs.

Planet Middle School – Nikki Grimes

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Bloomsbury

ISBN: 9781619630123
ISBN-10: 1619630125

Format: Paperback
Imprint: Bloomsbury Childrens Books
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Publish Date: 2-Jan-2018
Country of Publication: United States

RRP AU $14.99

Joylin Johnson has an uncomplicated life at 12 years old as she has had all her life. Baggy jeans and t-shirts, plain ponytail and a passion for basketball which she regularly plays with the neighbourhood boys make her completely happy. But stuff is changing; her body, her sudden attention to cute boys, her best basketball buddy’s ‘different’ attitude towards her and her bestie’s interest in her best basketball buddy. It’s all very confusing as is trying out make up, pierced ears, skirts and heels.

Nikki Grimes uses short poems to perfectly capture Joy’s adolescent anguish in a very easy to read and engaging verse novel. It is in turn heartfelt and humorous with some real laugh-out-loud though cringe worthy moments.

Though very American it is still easily accessible and relevant to tweens in this country as Joy struggles with her identity issue until finally realising that actually being just you is the best plan.

Grimes is an award winning author of several books and this one earned a Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal. Read more about Nikki Grimes here.

Highly recommended for middle to upper primary girls.

 

Count with Little  Fish – Lucy Cousins

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Walker Books Australia

ISBN: 9781406374193
Imprint: Walker
April 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $11.99
New Zealand RRP: $13.99
This has to be one of the cutest board books I’ve seen in a long time! We all know Lucy Cousins vibrant and expressive illustrative style and this underwater journey with some very funky fish is just a delight.

Babies and toddlers alike will be entranced with the rhythmic text, alliteration, and onomatopoeia following the antics of Little Fish and his finned friends. Count from 1 to 10 with some very cute and colourful fishies with your favourite tiny person!

Perfect as a gift or for your kindy shelves this is a great little fun book!

Missing – Sue Whiting

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Walker Books Australia

ISBN: 9781760650032
Imprint: Walker Books Australia

March 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $17.99
New Zealand RRP: $19.99
Right from the get-go this novel is full on with its action, mystery and poignancy. Thirteen year old Mackenzie is at a difficult time in her life leaving primary school and off to a private girls’ high school away from friends. A tough time for any young girl but all the more when your mother has gone missing on a scientific expedition and has not been heard of for months.

 

Kenzie’s father has been an absolute mess since the disappearance, her grandmother sad but resigned and Kenzie herself has managed to convince herself that the only explanation that fits is that her mother has been placed in a witness protection programme.

 

Now 116 days after her mother’s disappearance her father has taken Kenzie to Panama in a desperate attempt to find his wife.  Kenzie is just as desperate not to solve the mystery in her conviction that it will bring about a dire result for her mum.

 

Jungles, bats, strange food and customs, dead ends, unhelpful police and a father who behaves like a crazed person – it’s all too much to bear. But circumstances have a way of unfolding at their own pace and when Kenzie’s dad ends up in hospital with typhus she and her new acquaintance Carlo take matters into their own hands following an unexpected lead.

 

This is a completely gripping read – a real page turner with believable characters and emotions. On a personal note, as a Shire girl, it was somehow intriguing to read of Kenzie catching a train from Kogarah or shopping at Westfield Hurstville – my old stomping grounds but it is the fast-paced plot and the slowly unfurling chain of events that keep the reader intrigued right to the very end.

Highly recommended for readers in  Upper Primary/Lower Secondary.

 

Oma’s Buttons – Tania Ingram/Jennifer Harrison

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Penguin Australia

9780143786573

April 2, 2018

Viking Imprint

RRP$24.99

 

We grandmothers know there is a special bond between us and our grandchildren – some of us even more so than others.  Tania and Jennifer have produced a beautiful book which encapsulates just one aspect of this relationship.

 

So many of us would have experienced the joy of rummaging through the ‘button tin’ – my mother had one and I had one (and still have some of those buttons squirreled away). And it’s quite true that these humble little artefacts can evoke such powerful memories. To share those memories with a special child is one of the greatest gifts an older person can impart particularly when those we love are no longer with us.

 

Essentially a simple narrative about Ruthie spending time with her Oma and the discovery of the button tin of memories, this demonstrates so beautifully the importance of reminiscing and remembering especially in families. More importantly in my opinion it reminds us that sharing our time with our little ones is not always about outings and treats, that often it is the simplest of pastimes that have the most impact.

 

This is a delightful book to share and would be perfect for discussing special family traditions, memories and histories. The stunning realistic illustrations are just a perfect match for the story.

Highly recommended for readers from little ones as a read aloud to older newly independent readers.