Category Archives: Childrens books

What is Poetry? – Michael Rosen

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poetry

Walker Books

ISBN: 9781844287635
Imprint: Walker
February 1, 2017

Australian RRP: $14.99
New Zealand RRP: $16.99

 

Many years of working as a successfully and highly regarded poet has given Michael Rosen some great insights into the ins and outs of poetry in its many forms. This is basically a handbook for either teachers or students who are keen to pursue a deeper understanding of poetry; how it works, how it makes us feel and how to write it.

To begin with Michael looks at a selection of classic poems with careful analysis of form, language and technique. I have to say I felt he needed to do some deeper research into Waltzing Matilda and its origins as a couple of comments were, in my opinion, inaccurate.

The second part of the book sees Michael examining his own writing, elaborating on his intentions and writing process.
Along the way Michael gives young writers some great tips on both writing and performing poetry.  Additionally he includes useful websites and an appendix of poets.

This is certainly a valuable addition to your store of poetry books and though aligned to English National Curriculum standards will work very well in a classroom setting here.

Recommended particularly for classroom use for Year 4 upwards

ANZAC Day 2017

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Two books which it seemed appropriate to save for this year’s commemoration – both of them not to be missed.

 

Kokoda: Younger Readers edition – Peter FitzSimons

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OCT 25, 2016 | 9780734417435 | RRP $14.99

Hachette Australia

Imprint: Lothian Children’s Books

Journalist Peter FitzSimons has proven himself as Australia’s top non-fiction writer, consistently leading bestseller lists. The original edition of Kokoda was described as ‘engrossing narrative’ (Sydney Morning Herald) and its success with the audience spoke for itself.

In some inspired publishing, this edition has been produced for young adult/teen readers and will be a valuable addition to any library, particularly in the study of Modern History and Australia/Asia relations.

In 1942 young Australian soldiers – so young that many were still teenagers – were confronted by a campaign that was so seemingly impossible that it still beggars belief.  Faced with the Imperial Japanese forces these legendary diggers took on some of the wildest and untamed terrain in the world and became a force with which to be reckoned.

Take a look inside here. It is quite simply un-put-downable.

Highly recommended for secondary students from Year 7 upwards.

Sachiko – Caren Stelson

sachiko

ISBN: 9781467789035
Imprint: Lerner PG – Carolrhoda Books
Walker Australia-HEDS
November 1, 2016

Australian RRP: $27.99
New Zealand RRP: $29.99

No doubt many of us would think we are pretty familiar with the tragic history of the atomic blasting of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. We’ve shared many recounts and also more fictionalised accounts of this terrible time.

This non-fiction totally changed my understanding of this event and its hideous aftermath.

Sachiko Yasui was six years old when Nagasaki was ripped apart on August 9th 1942. In the process her family and their after-life was also torn to shreds.

The clouds parted

Pikadon!

Toshi. Aki. Ichiro. They are gone now.

So is Misa.

My father.

My mother.

I nearly died too.

So Sachiko began a talk to primary school children fifty years after the event. Through all her struggles in the intervening years she had kept quiet about her family’s tragedy and the ongoing problems she and her parents faced.

Since that time she has continued to share a message of the importance of peace to schools and groups.

Caren Stelson spent many hours in interviewing Sachiko and researching primary sources to construct what is the most moving history of this disaster I’ve ever experienced.

She has used photographs of both Sachiko and Nagasaki to illustrate the non-fiction narrative as well as including copious references, notes, glossary and more.

Again, this is an important book for the study of modern history but more than that it is a testament to the faith that can endure and salvage a person’s life from circumstances more dire than any of us can imagine.

Highly recommended for readers from around 12 years upwards.

 

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

potty

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

princess

Bloomsbury

ISBN 9781408864142

Pirates ; Lift-the-flap Friends

pirates

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.

 

 

 

Owl Bat Bat Owl By Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick 

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Walkowlbater Books

ISBN: 9781406364392

October 2016

Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99
This is another deceptively simple picture book but has a great message. With no words Fitzpatrick still clearly tells the story of what happens when two different families share the same living space. Mother Owl and her babies live on top of a branch and Mother Bat with her little ones move in to the underside of the branch.

How can two such very different families co-exist? But all over the world mothers are mothers and kids are kids and a stormy night which threatens them all soon sorts out the problems that each may have at first anticipated.

Even toddlers will be able to discern the plot of this delightful story.  Perhaps we should get some politicians to read it as well?

Recommended for little humans from around 2 years upwards.

Triangle – Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

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triangle

Walker Australia

ISBN: 9781406376678
Imprint: Walker

March 14, 2017
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99
You know when you see these two names that you are going to laugh a lot over what appears a deceptively simple picture book.

Meet Triangle who lives in a triangular house with a triangular door amongst lots of other triangle shapes.  One day Triangle thinks up a sneaky trick to play on Square so off he goes through the triangles, the not-triangles to get to the squares and Square’s house.  And the trick works really well – so well that Square gets very cross and chases Triangle all the way back to his house. Then he tricks him right back – or does he?

Klaasen’s illustrative technique is always so expressive despite its seemingly spare and subtle style. Even the youngest of children can ‘read’ his character’s expressions in my experience.

Highly recommended for Prep upwards.

Nanette’s Baguette – Mo Willems

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nanette

Walker Australia

ISBN: 9781406376210
Imprint: Walker
March 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $16.99
New Zealand RRP: $18.99

Anyone who has been in a primary school library will have noticed just how often Mo Willem’s books are borrowed. Always a delight in both text and illustrations, this is no exception. And if you are looking for a kickstart for a rhyming activity or an innovation writing exercise, this would be perfect.

When Nanette gets to get the baguette there is an abundance of ‘et/ette’ rhyming words along the way with lots of hilarity to go with them.

Gorgeous illustrations constructed from paper and card as well as photographic images will enchant the reader as they empathise with Nanette’s struggle to get that warm, fresh crunchy baguette home safely.

Check out behind the scenes with Mo here.

Highly recommended for children from Prep upwards.

Not all Superheroes wear Capes – Quentin Kenihan

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9780733635359

SEP 27, 2016 | 9780733635359 | RRP $32.99

Hachette Australia

Those of us of a certain age will vividly remember when a tiny boy with a huge personality was first interviewed by Mike Willesee on television. The whole nation was immediately in love with a little boy facing enormous health issues.

When Quentin was born his parents were told that he wouldn’t survive for 24 hours. That baby is now over 40 and this is his memoir of his unexpected life, warts and all.

Over the years as Quentin moved in and out of the public eye Australia still embraced him warmly, though it would be fair to say that very few of us realised the struggles, mental and physical, that Quentin faced on an ongoing basis.

While his genetic condition has caused more physical pain and issues than most of us can even imagine, there have been battles with deep depression, alcohol and drugs, rejection from family and friends and colleagues, difficulties with work and more. There are no holds barred here as Q relates all of these in a very matter-of-fact manner. While he has had many moments of self-pity there is no evidence of it now. Rather here is a man who has triumphed over more adversity than one person deserves, and emerges still positive, still optimistic and still determined.

Quentin’s wit and humour, not to mention his blunt outspokenness, shine through his recollections, making this a highly engaging read. His unabashed name-dropping is a delight as are his exploits all over the globe.

Thank you Quentin for sharing your life with us, although it was often not your choice, many of us feel inspired and enriched knowing your story.

Recommended reading for secondary students and adults alike.

 

 

 

The ABC Book of Food –  Helen Martin/Judith Simpson. Illustrated by Cheryl Orsini

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ABC

Harper-Collins

  • ISBN:9780733334269
  • ISBN 10: 0733334261
  • Imprint: ABC Books – AU
  • On Sale: 01/03/2016
  • List Price: 99 AUD

Yes this was published last year and no, I hadn’t lost it! But for some reason it only came to me recently. Since today I’ve already looked at butterflies and seeds I thought it might just complete the day’s reviewing.

An informative and colourful picture book which takes a look at our food, where it comes from, how it’s processed, where it’s sold and how we might eat it.  Small children will identify with aspects like picnics and farmers’ markets and shops that sell just one kind of food (with a little puzzle contained in the illustrations). It even mentions the sorts of foods that some people can’t eat e.g. dairy or nuts.

All in all it’s a pretty useful book that will engage young readers and encourage discussions about healthy food and eating which is always a positive.

Recommended for readers from around 3 years to 7 years.

What Will Grow? – Jennifer Ward. Illustrated by Susie Ghahremani

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whatwillgrow

Bloomsbury Publishing Australia

Imprint: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

February 2017

ISBN: 9781681190303

RRP: $19.99

 

In my experience children love to garden and they are fascinated to see seeds sprout and grow – especially when they can eat the end results!

This charming book with a very simple but engaging rhyming text and fabulous richly coloured illustrations will be very well received by young gardeners, particularly as it gives information on planting the seeds mentioned. Whether big or small, pointed or round, fluffy or striped each seed is a wonder is itself and the surprises that arrive are always exciting.

Containing four gatefold pages opening up to examine those larger plants like the always popular sunflower or a huge pine tree this will provide real entertainment and learning for little readers.

Highly recommended for readers from about 3 upwards.

The Butterfly Dance – Suzanne Barton

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butterly

Allen & Unwin

Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 9781408864845
ISBN-10: 1408864843
1st April 2017
RRP $24.99

Butterflies are very important in our house. We know when we see them that Mummy is watching and we can send her our messages.

So this beautiful happy book was very well received. Not only is it sweet and pretty but there is a lovely message as well.

Dotty and Stripe are the very best of caterpillar friends. They do everything together – chewing leaves, exploring and playing. One day the time comes for them to make themselves silky hammocks and sleep. What a surprise when they wake to find themselves transformed into butterflies! Flitting and flying around is very exciting but then they realise that all the dotty butterflies are in one part of the meadow and all the striped ones in another. They think they should hang out with their own kind but they miss each other dreadfully. What a relief to eventually find that in another part of the meadow all kinds of butterflies dance together!

Beautifully elegant illustrations swirl throughout as does the text. This is a visual delight.

Whether we are dotty or striped, being different to is no hindrance to being best friends or even being part of a larger group, that’s for sure.

Highly recommended for little people from around 3 years to 7 years.

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