Dippy and the Dinosaurs (Dippy the Diprotodon, #2) – Jackie French & Bruce Whatley. Concept by Ben Smith Whatley.

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Harper Collins Australia

February 2020

ISBN: 9781460754092

ISBN 10: 1460754093

RRP 24.99 AUD

We’ve all been in love with Jackie’s wombats for years and now she and Bruce Whatley have provided us with another fabulous ‘wombat’ character to cherish.  Dippy made his first appearance last year and thoroughly delighted all his young readers. This BIG boisterous and happy diprotodont like his modern counterpart is uniquely Australian and eminently loveable.

Dippy’s new adventure follows his digging of a big hole – in fact a huge hole! – which serves as a super slide into a whole new landscape filled with strange and wonderful gigantic animals. Australia’s megafauna shows off in all its fascinating wonder as Dippy plays and flies and swims with his new friends. And just as all young ‘uns need to after such exuberance a refreshing rest is required by this young and curious creature.

Described as ‘deceptively simple’ this does indeed provide a portal to adventure and confidence for any little human.

Highly recommended for littlies from around 2 years upwards.

Lift and Look – Dinosaurs/Space

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Dinosaurs (Lift and Look)

Published: 01-02-2016

ISBN: 9781408864067

Imprint: Bloomsbury Activity Books

RRP: $12.99

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Space (Lift and Look)

Published: 01-02-2016
ISBN: 9781408864074
Imprint: Bloomsbury Activity Books
RRP: $12.99

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These beautiful sturdy board books are just an absolute delight!

With large lift up flaps they are perfect for small hands and will withstand much loving re-reading.

Little ones can begin to learn the names of some favourite dinosaurs as they explore where they are hiding or share a trip to the moon and come home again for a lively space party.

Vibrantly colourful illustrations are matched perfectly with simple text in large clear font.

I predict these will be great favourites with any small humans in your reading circle. Keep a watch out for forthcoming titles School and Garden.

Highly recommended for babies to toddlers.

Ten Terrible Dinosaurs – Paul Stickland

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Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780552572514

Published: 03/11/2014

Imprint: Picture Corgi

Extent: 48 pages

$14.99

The most extraordinary thing about this book – which is great! – is that when I first read it, my immediate reaction was that it was almost identical in its text as one I created for a maths resource when I was at uni doing my teacher’s degree!

Mine was pretty dodgy with cut out ‘lift the flaps’ of dinosaur wrapping paper images to hide the subtraction algorithm but it was quite astonishing how closely Paul Stickland’s writing and mine coincided! Perhaps I have missed my calling after all!

All that aside, this a fun book in the Dinosaur Roar series, which are not only fun reads but teaching tools as well. A story of diminishing numbers from 10 to 1 accompanied by wonderfully colourful illustrations of extremely expressive dinosaurs which Small and I very much enjoyed last night.

If you are looking for some new maths/literature resources for next year, this might well be a good choice for your Preps.

Check out Paul Stickland’s website and the Dinosaurs Roar website.

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The Unstoppable Flying Flanagan – Felice Arena

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Penguin Australia

29 March 2022

ISBN: 9781761044366

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $16.99

In a completely genius move, Felice Arena has combined his love of football (the AFL kind) and his skill with bringing lesser-known history to life. Set in Melbourne in the later years of WWII, this is the story of Maggie Flanagan who loves the game of football, and her team St Kilda, with all the passion of the most diehard fan. It is also the story of everyday life in Australia with the threat of war and invasion hanging like a pall, the constant worry about the menfolk away fighting, the rise of feminism and the history of women’s football.

Maggie practises her footy skills every day, using the precious football entrusted to her by her older brother, Patrick, who is away over the other side of the world, fighting for King and country. Football for girls is not only considered inappropriate – “unladylike” – but, indeed, risible by many people, mostly but not only males. So, when the new local priest suggests the children of Maggie’s school come up with some fund-raising ideas to support the troops, and Maggie proposes a girls’ football match, the shock and ridicule from many quarters soon squashes the idea.

If nothing else, Maggie is one determined young woman, and with Blessed Mary listening to her prayers, she knows she can succeed in this enterprise, despite the apparent obstacles. Over the course of just a couple of weeks, Maggie seems to uncover potential players for her match in the most surprising of places: the new ‘ice-woman’ delivering for the household ice-chests now that her husband has enlisted, or similarly the ‘milk-lady’, the usherette from the cinema, school nurse Nancy, Lizzie who lives with Miss Kelly of the corner shop, and even Sister Clare. Some of these have actually played football before, much to Maggie’s surprise. She also makes discoveries about her elderly neighbour, Grumpy Gaffney, and new girl, Elena, that not only give her much pause for thought but show her different ways of thinking.

Felice cleverly weaves into this snapshot of a significant time in our history, many of the prevailing attitudes and customs of the time – thankfully, most of them long gone the way of dinosaurs – as his narrative reveals how diverse people such as Maggie’s effeminate best friend, George, and Italian Elena were generally treated. The arrival of the ‘Yanks’ in Australia was divisive at the time and this too, is reflected in older sister Rita’s deviation from her steady boyfriend, seemingly dazzled by a tall good-looking American. Overall, there is much here that will provide some interesting discussions and comparisons for your young readers.

Like all of Felice’s stories, above all it is a cracking good yarn, with a plot that moves along at a brisk pace with a keen desire to find out what happens next. This, aside from anything else, will make this a fabulous tempter for your reluctant readers, particularly those who love their footy – whether boys or girls – and along the way they will absorb some valuable insights into a period of history that had great impact on the growth of our nation and our society.

Highly recommended for your readers from around Year 5 up to Year 7 – it will definitely be going up on my current Specky Magee anniversary display and will be part of my book talking with my kiddos over the coming weeks. Just in time for footy season – it’s a winner all round!

[Pre-orders available from the usual suppliers]

Caroline Magerl – Sunshine Coast Superstar

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Truly I am so very lucky to be able to count Caroline (and her lovely husband) as friends. She is not just a hugely talented creator of children’s books but an incredible artist. On her recent trip to London and beyond, as part of the Illustrators Exhibition at Chris Beetles Gallery, she delighted all of us with her gorgeous watercolours and photographs which formed a vicarious trip for we poor stay-at-homes.

How thrilled am I to be the recipient of one of these treasures?!! Today I received this beautiful gift in the mail to my utter astonishment and absolute joy. Thank you so much Caroline xxx. I can’t wait for our catch up to thank you in person for such a generous and thoughtful gift.

And in other exciting news, I can’t wait to go back up the coast as soon as possible and hopefully spot this gorgeous Sunshine Coast LIbraries bus tootling around with its colourful Caroline artwork. This is the library service that also celebrates children’s literature with the cutest story park benches all up and down the coast.

The Artist, and the Young Peoples Services Supervisor, went to town … in a beautiful Mercedes van.

Thanks Karen Gawen of/and

Sunshine Coast Libraries
and
First 5 Forever

Last time The Kid and I were up the coast we came across this beauty – one of my favourite picture books to share with small humans – who love to stamp and mess about like little dinosaurs.

And just in case you missed them – read my review of Caroline’s gorgeous new book Piano Fingers as well as Nop and Maya & Cat.

All of these marvellous books very highly recommended to you.

Our Country: Ancient Wonders – Mark Greenwood/Frané Lessac

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Walker Books

February 2022

ISBN: 9781760652241
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
Australian RRP: $26.99
New Zealand RRP: $28.99

What a talented partnership this couple is and how grateful am I that I’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk with them both, as well as see them present. Now this first in a new series from the always remarkable Walker house will be a highly sought-after addition to any collection: personal, classroom or library. In particular, this title is the perfect fit for middle primary HASS studies , and if you, as I would, opt for literature-based units wherever possible, add this to your list (as I would also employ such titles as Alison Lester’s Are We There Yet? and Tania McCartney’s The Gum Family Finds Home among others).

The travellers in this book cross our continent visiting beautiful and ancient wonders and the narrative of their journey is accompanied by succinct but informative additions along with lyrical ‘one liners’ of description. As always, Frané’s artwork is both sumptuous and evocative, embodying the rich and vibrant colours of our landscapes. And the endpapers (one of my hallmarks of excellence in picture books, always) are simply stunning!!

From Winton’s dinosaurs to the opals of Lightning Ridge, from the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road to Cradle Mountain and from Lake Mungo, where our First Peoples roamed, to our spiritual heart of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, this is an exploration of country that will both delight and entrance your readers. The richness of class discussions and activities that will arise from your shared reading will, I have no doubt, be hugely beneficial and impactful.

Highly recommended for readers from around Year 1 upwards – it is, without doubt, a must-have for your collection. Pre-orders are available now from all the regular suppliers.

Pink – Margaret Wild & Judith Rossell

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Harper Collins

July 2020

  • ISBN: 9781460757499
  • ISBN 10: 1460757491
  • Imprint: HarperCollins – AU
  • List Price: 24.99 AUD

It’s not easy to be different especially for small people and often the feelings of exclusion are very overwhelming. This gorgeous picture book illustrates perfectly that being different is OK and will empower young readers to not only accept but embrace their differences.

For little Pink being a different colour to all the other dinosaurs seems an almost insurmountable problem and one which makes her despair. It’s certainly no fun when you try to play hide-and-seek with your brown, green or grey peers and you stand out like a beacon. She certainly doesn’t feel brave and strong as her mother encourages her to be.

But when Pink tags after all the other juvenile dinosaurs and they become lost, the little dinosaur finds that not only can she be brave but her very difference can be a salvation.

This is a truly delightful book – as one would expect from two such talented creators- and both text and vibrant illustrations will not only fully engage little readers but enable them to their own self-acceptance.

Highly recommended for small peeps from around 3 years upwards.

Teaching notes

Plenty of Peppa!

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Penguin Random House Australia

More for the Peppa Pig fans coming your way! The Pig family and their happy adventures are the stuff little people’s dreams are made of really so it’s just as well the books just keep on coming to complement the television show.

George and the Dinosaur

9780241392478

January 2020

ISBN: 9780241392478

Imprint: Ladybird

RRP: $14.99

If you put together the Pig family and dinosaurs you’re bound to be on a winner! George Pig and his little friends are all fossil mad so it’s a really exciting outing when Peppa, George and Mummy Pig plus George’s friends all get to go on a beach exploration with Miss Rabbit the Fossil Hunter.

Miss Rabbit (think Mary Anning!) really knows her stuff when it comes to fossils of all kinds, not to mention dinosaurs and she’s pretty impressed with George’s friend Edmond and his knowledge as well.

While Peppa gets a bit discouraged not finding anything and turns to building a sandcastle, George finds a huge rock with mysterious promise.

Imagine the wild delight when the rock is taken to the museum, split open to reveal a complete dinosaur skeleton!

Peppa Pig: Super Peppa!

9780241411971

March 2020

ISBN: 9780241411971

Imprint: Ladybird

RRP: $14.99

Dinosaurs on one cover and a glittery sparkly rainbow on another – way to get those little ones grabbing a book off the shelf!

Peppa and her classmates are most excited to be doing some school work solely focused on them but when Miss Gazelle asks them to come in costume as their dream occupation of the future, Peppa is at a loss to think what she could be. After all, she’s not really super at anything is she?

But when she gets down to things asking her adult friends and her parents, she takes Mummy Pig’s advice about believing in herself to heart and discovers that she’s super at all kinds of things.

And when George starts playing with his Super Tato toy (yes I have one too!) Peppa is struck with inspiration for her costume.

Peppa Pig:  [the] Easter Bunny

9780241411827

March 2020

ISBN: 9780241411827

Imprint: Ladybird

Format: Board Book

RRP: $9.99

And not forgetting the littlest fans of all here’s a new board book to add to their collection.

Peppa and George decide they want to have a surprise Easter Egg Hunt for their friends and ask Daddy Pig for help. As always, Daddy is great at putting together costumes and soon the dress-up box has provided the wherewithal to transform Peppa into an Easter Bunny and George into an Easter Chick.

When the little friends come over the egg hunt they are mightily surprised when the Easter Bunny and Chick pop out of the garden!

Another really cute little book to share with the tiniest of your lap-sitters.

All three are bound to sure-fire hits with your young readers.

A Bunch of Books for Babies

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I seem to have acquired quite a few titles in the last few months which would all be very suitable for stocking up a baby’s bookshelf. Perhaps you have a new bub in your circle to whom to gift a personal library. If so any or all of these would be very appropriate and, I’m confident, welcome.

Hello Little Babies – Alison Lester

hello

Harper-Collins

ISBN: 9780733330414

ISBN 10: 073333041X

Imprint: ABC Books – AU

On Sale: 01/12/2016

List Price: 24.99 AUD

No matter where they are, what their cultural background, babies all have so much in common.  Whether they are sleeping, eating, playing or moving each little individual’s progress over their first year is a delight to their parents. Six tiny newborns are cuddled, encouraged, played with, read to and comforted by their mothers and fathers.

With Alison Lester’s usual delightful illustrations in a cameo style this will be a favourite read for little ones.

 

At the Zoo I see [Young Art Series] – Joshua Button/Robyn Wells

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Magabala Books

February 2017

ISBN:9781925360455

RRP $9.99

This delightful board book is the first in a new series from the wonderful Magabala people showcasing the artwork of young Indigenous artists. The format is extremely simple. Each page features an animal that might be seen at one of Australia’s zoos but each also uses an interesting adjective to describe these, broadening the vocabulary and aural experience of little listeners. Come and see the pacing jaguar or the queenly cassowary and be part of the great zoo adventure!

Highly recommended for little ones from birth to 3 years or so.

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I Can Use My Potty sticker reward book : Bloomsbury Activity Books

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Bloomsbury

March 2017

ISBN: 9781408879061

RRP $9.99

Well, if you’ve had children you’ve been through the toilet training routine. Some are so easy and some are just downright difficult!  It is entirely possible that something like this might help to encourage those who are finding it tricky to get the hang of the whole business.

Along with the text of the how, what, why etc of using the potty there are pages of ‘charts’ for stickers – for after naps, after meals and before bed and so on.

If this is a problem for anyone you know, it certainly would be worth a try!

Princess ; Lift-the-flap Friends

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Bloomsbury

ISBN 9781408864142

Pirates ; Lift-the-flap Friends

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ISBN 9781408864050

Like all lift the flap books, children will love discovering the hidden treasures that await. Each page has multiple flaps so there is plenty of fun to be had.  The flaps are a good size as well and these are nice chunky board books made to sustain lots of pawing!

Others in the series are Dinosaurs, Space (reviewed previously here) and Fairies.  These are a huge hit in our childcare centre and no doubt will be popular with small ones of your acquaintance.

 

 

Dozy Bear and the Secret of Sleep – Katie Blackburn. Illustrated by Richard Smythe.

dozy

Allen & Unwin

ISBN:9780571330195

Imprint:Faber Children Pb

May 2016

RRP $14.99

And to top things off, let’s put them to sleep. Bedtime can be an issue not just for little ones but for older children as well for one reason or another. Miss Small, not unnaturally, has often had some difficulties with sleep in the past two years since we lost her mum. It has taken a lot of reassurance and patience to arrive at a point where she is now sleeping happily in her own bed in her own room.

Dozy Bear wants to go to sleep. He knows he’s tired but he just can’t seem to get there.  With the help of some useful strategies from his parents and grandparents, Dozy discovers the secret to relaxing mind and body so that sleep can come blissfully.

This is a terrific book for ‘easing the drama of bedtime’ and I highly recommend it to any parent or carer who faces this problem.

 

 

 

Lift the flap fun from Bloomsbury

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Lift-the-flap Friends Dinosaurs – Peter Allen

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781408864166

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Imprint: Bloomsbury Child

 

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Lift-the-flap Friends Fairy – Peter Allen

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781408864159

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Imprint: Bloomsbury Child

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Bloomsbury seem to have a special knack for interactive books and these two lift-the-flaps will be very well received by little readers.

Each page has not just one flap to lift but often several – so much to explore and delight the teeny ones.

The illustrations are bright and cheery and the books are a sturdy format and a good size for lots of handling.

 

$12.99 is a very small price to pay for a whole lot of joy and re-reading! More stocking fillers but this time for the smallest from about 0-3 years.