You can read my review of the The What on Earth Institute of Wonder now at Kids Book Review!!
Ford St Publishing
If you are looking for a really great rhyming book for your littlies that will also engage them in a guessing game, this is going to be a real hit!!
In the faraway town of Figgy-tra-ling, you may hear the faint ring of a thing that goes ping!
What could be the mysterious thing that goes ping? Well, take your kiddos on a super quest of discovery with a bunch of wacky animals until the mystery is revealed. I’m sure the children will be super excited when they find out!
Mark Carthew’s lively text is superbly accompanied by Shane McGowan’s quirky illustrations and I would certainly be capitalising on both to create some shared illustrated writing, as I’m sure the kids would have loads of ideas of their own. And to top off all this fun, Ford St has a wonderful stash of activities as a bonus including song lyrics, card games and teaching notes.
I’m giving this a high recommendation for your small peeps from around Prep upwards and think you will all greatly enjoy a sustained mileage from the reading.
Harper Collins Australia
ISBN 10: 0008389101
Imprint: HarperCollins – GB
This is another one to add to your collection for a unit of work on the environment although I also think this would work perfectly for little ones’ Christian Studies if yours is a church school as mine is.
It’s not just an examination of what a small person might express about their love for the world around them but IMO a glorious way to express gratitude to the Creator for this wondrous world.
Delightful double spreads each feature one particular sentiment as extremely sweet woodland creatures scamper around doing their own busy investigations. How super would it be to have your class create their own similar books, whether as individuals or as a combined class collaboration! Since this one features animals from all around the world perhaps their focus could be a version which showcases our own native fauna and of course, what is so beautiful about our own part of the earth.
Little ones from as young as two will love this both for its text and the artwork in which they will love to point out the various animals.
Recommended for small humans in the Foundation years.
Harper Collins Australia
- ISBN: 9781460756140
- ISBN 10: 1460756142
- Imprint: HarperCollins – AU
- List Price: 24.99 AUD
Lots of fun with this one – but then you would expect no less from the author who gave us Edward and Edwina Emu!
While little ones will love this for it’s rollicking rhyming text and wonderfully colourful and quirky illustrations, teachers and librarians will also be thrilled with its potential for a great interactive teaching opportunity.
Threaded through the text are a number of anagrams so this is a superb way to introduce these to younger readers and spark off some fun with finding or creating more.
Instigating that love of language for its own sake is such an integral part of what we do and having a ready-made ‘primer’ with which to do this is always a gift.
At this particular moment in time it will be a super way to introduce a new element of language into lessons as the initial introduction to anagrams is something that could be pursued independently while learning in a remote-teaching situation.
Teaching notes will be greatly appreciated I’m sure and I have no hesitation in recommending this highly for kiddos from around 5 years upwards.
Ford St Publishing
This is just a delightful picture book not only for its lively and rhythmic text and glorious illustrations but also for the potential to begin an investigation into the richness of the Amazon wildlife and habitat. Certainly my first thought was how this would make a fabulous focus for a classroom integrated unit – geography, environmental studies, animals and their attributes, vocabulary, conservation, art and writing all easily fit into this topic. And just imagine transforming the classroom into a jungle!
Every child will find an animal that they love in this romp through the jungle and what a terrific springboard that would make to beginning simple research skills. A very handy list at the back of the book helps to identify each depicted animal and the text itself reveals some great information about many of these so this could very easily be expanded for a chosen inquiry.
Many of you will have already added this to your shelves but if you haven’t I strongly recommend that you do and make sure you promote it to your foundation class teachers who will greatly appreciate such a rich topic for their students.
Very highly recommended for little humans as well as those teachers keen to provide their classes with an immersive learning experience.
Introducing an absolutely fabulous new series for your newly independent/emerging readers that will take them all over Australia to meet a diverse array of characters and visit iconic destinations.
Not only will this be the perfect share for those units on Australia for Junior school kiddos but is a superb introduction to diversity, inclusion and current topics expressed in an easily relatable manner.
Aussie Kids: Meet Zoe and Zac at the Zoo – Belinda Murrell/ David Hardy
From a NSW Zoo to a Victorian lighthouse, or an outback sheep farm in WA to a beach in QLD, this junior fiction series celebrates stories about children living in unique places in every state in Australia.
8 characters, 8 stories, 8 authors and illustrators from all 8 states!
Published: 4 February 2020
First up let’s meet Zoe and Zac – two ‘almost twins’ as they share the same birthday who are from Dubbo. (Fancy that, I lived there for twelve years and two of my daughters were born there!). These two lucky kids live within the well-known Western Plains Zoo and for their 7th birthday they will spend the day with Zoe’s zookeeper mum helping out with all the animals.
It sure is a lot of fun and also hard work feeding the hungry lions, giraffes and meerkats and poop-scooping large mounds of elephant dung but the most exciting part of the day is discovering why Amali the lioness has not turned up for her food.
Who better to write this first instalment than Belinda Murrell who grew up in a vet surgery and whose love of all animals shines through in so many of her highly popular titles? David Hardy’s illustrations are exactly right for the intended readership full of life and just a little on the cheeky side.
Aussie Kids: Meet Taj at the Lighthouse – Maxine Beneba Clarke/Nicki Greenberg
Published: 4 February 2020
Set in Victoria, Taj and his family have not long been in Australia and like so many refugees have their own struggles both in leaving their homeland and also in settling into a completely new country, community and society.
When Taj gets despondent about feeling out of place, his Mama reminds him to ‘believe’. It’s very hard to do so at times and Taj doesn’t even want to wear his favourite lightning bolt t-shirt, which has given him his nickname. His Dad is worried as well as he can’t find work – any work – but again Mama is there to reassure and urge him to ‘believe’.
Gradually things start to improve, Mama is learning English at the local library (Yayy! For libraries!) and Taj is beginning to enjoy his new school. They are starting to adapt to different foods and different sounds and different people but Dad still can’t find a job.
Until one day Dad comes home and suddenly the little family is packing up excitedly and driving a long way south along the Great Ocean Road until they arrive at their new home and Dad’s new job – a lighthouse and Dad is the new lighthouse keeper!
The new community welcomes the family and soon Taj is not only wearing his favourite shirt again but also a life-savers cap as he joins the local Nippers.
Again a terrific story introducing young readers to the wealth of diverse cultures and people in our big beautiful country. Maxine and Nikki have created a warming and relatable story for migrant and Aussie born kids alike.
At the end of each book is a double page of fun/interesting facts – in the first about animals in the second about lighthouses.
This is going to be an outstanding series to get onto your shelves and into the hands of your readers from around 7-9 years.
Highly recommended for Junior libraries and personal collections!
February 28, 2020
The preservation and sharing of First Australian languages and culture is of paramount importance as nations strive to not only keep their traditions intact but also to impart knowledge and understanding. Where better to start than with our youngest readers then?
This delightful little board book has been created by long-time artist Jill Daniels, from the remote community of Ngukurr. Jill is a Ritharrnu and Madarrpa woman from the South East-Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.
A simple bilingual counting book which features animals found on her country on beautiful double spreads with their names in both English and Ritharrnu, Jill’s traditional language, this will both delight and teach young children.
There is a comprehensive guide to pronunciation of sounds, spellings and the animals’ names which will aid those not familiar with this language.
Educators, librarians and caregivers alike will relish the opportunity to share this beautiful example of early cultural literacy and artwork.
Highly recommended for little people from birth to prep age
|Imprint:||Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Yep, you did read that title correctly! It’s not for the ‘squeamish or faint-hearted) but it is completely and utterly engrossing (haha grossing!) and often rather humorous. Wildlife researcher Montgomery passes a tyre-treaded rattlesnake as she is jogging one day and on the impulse of all good scientists – why?- goes back to pick it up so that she can investigate the mystery of how rattlers can retract their fangs without biting themselves.
After dissecting that first snake and satisfying some of her curiosity about these remarkable animals and, indeed, finding out more than she had ever known, Montgomery sets off on a ‘roadkill’ journey. She met with researchers and collectors, she helped with dissections and examinations, she found out there is a wide, wide world of biologists who are just as interested in dead animals as live ones.
These are the folks who are helping save animals from diseases and impacts from introduced species and human activity. There is the scientist who identified a new species of bird just from one wing, a boy who rebuilds animals from the bones up, the researchers trying to find a cure for the cancer that is threatening the Tasmanian Devils and more.
It won’t be to everyone’s taste but I’m pretty sure that will only apply to adults. I think there will be many readers both boys and girls who will not only appreciate the science of it but the gruesome-ness and the irreverence.
Harper Collins Australia
ISBN 10: 0310766362
Imprint: HarperCollins – US
List Price: 13.99 AUD
When a tiny hippo was born prematurely at Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden in January 2017 she became an internet sensation. Weighing only 29 pounds this little fighter survived and thrived and has become an inspiration to many for her plucky personality and perseverance.
Now Fiona’s story has been brought to children by acclaimed New York Times artist, Richard Cowdrey via what could well be the most endearing board book ever.
Taking inspiration from Fiona’s own adventures as she grew from undersized newborn, not expected to live, to healthy happy hippo youngster this charming book details milestones such as learning to walk and swim and being introduced to her parents.
Fiona’s first year, filled with loving support from her caregivers and her legion of fans, has been translated into a joyous expression of her tenacity and grit.
Just as Fiona online captured the hearts of many so too will this book, giving children not only a fascinating and fun look at the little hippo baby but a meaningful lesson in perseverance and friendship.
Highly recommended for little ones from baby upwards.
Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
This book answers all the big questions, like: do sausage dogs eat sausages? Why has my cat done a poo-poo behind my wardrobe? And, how can I persuade my parents to get me a pet?
If you have some reluctant readers in your pack this would be a perfect book with which to tempt them! For a start, there’s no need to start at the beginning and keep on until the end. This is the sort of book that can be picked up and dipped into at random, choosing the choicest most chortle-provoking snippets.
It could be said that there are numerous facts strewn about throughout the text but they are far outweighed by the total hilarity of some of the passages. For example:
Generally speaking, the only thing a hamster will attack is a sunflower seed, but if you are unlucky enough to get a BAD-TEMPERED hamster, you’ll find that dressing up as a bird of prey and swooping around the utility room should make it run back into its little house. Hamsters can growl though. Search for ‘angry hamster’ online.
As well as James’ very humorous writing the comic illustrations by Rob Jones break up the text with the result that this is a great book for those who are daunted by scads of print – the ‘chunks’ are very well dispersed among the plethora of cartoon-style line drawings.
Anything to do with animals, especially in humorous situations or the focus on the freaky aspects always seems to go down a treat with kids – just look at the popularity of some TV shows on this subject! – so to my mind there is no doubt that this would be a real tempter for those kids that just roll their eyes at the thought of reading a whole book.
Recommended for kids from around eight years upwards though capable younger readers would also enjoy it.