Tag Archives: Animals

Begone the Raggedy Witches (The Wild Magic Trilogy: Book 1) – Celine Kiernan



Walker Australia

ISBN: 9781406366020
Imprint: Walker
Release Date: April 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $16.99
New Zealand RRP: $18.99


Just wow!! If you have readers who love HP or other magical worlds they are going to love this new series. Set in Ireland with a close family of three generations but one that has secrets. Mup lives with her mum, baby brother, dad (when he’s not away working on oil rigs) and great aunt.  But the night that Aunty Boo lies in hospital on her way to leaving this earthly realm strange things befall this family. First Mup sees the ‘raggedy witches’ leaping from tree to tree, following their car all the way home. Then as she tries to go to sleep she hears the witches enter the kitchen and despite her Aunty’s spirit telling her not to go downstairs, of course she does. Her Mam is surrounded by the horrible and frightening creatures and it’s as if she’s been bewitched into leaving with them to go to some other place. It’s only at the last minute that Mup and Aunty are able to prevent this but the witches don’t give up easily. Their next move is to kidnap Mup’s dad.  When Mup realizes that her Mam is the heir to the evil Queen of Witch’s Borough, she also realizes that she too is a witch and suddenly the whole family are embroiled in a rescue mission to save her dad and the long-enslaved inhabitants of her mother’s true world.

Men and women who can transform at will, ravens that rhyme and cats that talk, illegal magic and outlawed clans, the tyrannical Queen and her evil pack of followers are all part of the mix against whom Mup and her family must do battle. This is one exciting fantastical ride through a new world. It was a one sitting read for me and no doubt others will find it just as compelling.

The next instalment will be just as intense I predict because we all just know that nasty grandmother and Queen is not going to ‘go’ quietly!

Highly recommended for your middle school readers both boys and girls.

A First Book of Animals – Nicole Davies



Walker Books

ISBN: 9781406359633
Imprint: Walker
October , 2016
Australian RRP: $29.99
New Zealand RRP: $32.99

Divided into five sections: Big and Small, Colours and Shapes, Animal Homes, Animal Babies and Animals in Action, over fifty animals are presented in poems and simply glorious illustrations in this beautiful book. The author is both a biologist and a children’s writer so you can be sure that the information presented in this verse style is accurate as well as engaging.

It is big and bold as well as beautiful and young animal lovers will be entranced by the glossy pages and their contents.  The animals featured are from all around the world so this would present a wonderful opportunity to map their locations.

Perfect not just for the pleasure of the book but a superb addition for units of work focused on animal life.  Just take a look at some of these sample pages.

Highly recommended for primary libraries and small animal lovers.



Lexi & Lottie #1: Trusty Twin Detectives – Melanie Alexander



Penguin Random House


May 29, 2017

Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $12.99


If you’re looking for something new for your early independent readers this might be just the thing. Ignorant as I am of TV shows in the main, apparently this is based on a kids’ show of the same name.  The author writes for television and also has teaching experience so clearly knows her audience.

Kid detectives and animals (vets/zoos) are very popular trends at present and this follows that appeal with a colourfully illustrated and easy to read narrative.

The twins live at an animal park which caters for creatures who are unable to survive in the wild. The arrival of two white tiger cubs is a great cause for celebration and publicity but when one of the cubs is stolen, it’s a case for the twins to crack. Enlisting the help of their Grandpa George, best friend Fred and clever pet mouse Mozart, the girls are sleuthing all over town to locate poor missing Pounce.

There are some rather cute inserts into the text of the girls’ notes on the case as well as interspersed animal facts.

All in all a useful addition to your Easy Reading collection.


Vet Cadets : Bks 3 & 4 – Rebecca Johnson



Penguin Random House

31 July 2017

Imprint : Puffin (AU YR)

RRP $14.99

This new series from Rebecca Johnson is perfect for those who have graduated from Juliet Nearly a Vet with girls who are just a little older and perhaps with a slightly more exciting setting. The three main characters – Abbey, Talika and Hannah are the newest recruits at boarding school Willowvale in its Vet Cadet program. So each book combines all those great things that girls especially love to read about – boarding school, friendships, animals and adventures. They are easy to read and quickly finished for the most part and each also has fun facts about the featured animal/s and other useful information. My only slight criticism of these two is that in one book MrMcPhail’s rescue dog is referred to as a cattle dog and in the other as a border (actually on one page a ‘boarder’) collie. I’m not trying to be pedantic but it is exactly the sort of detail I know my girls would pick up on!

Saving Itsy Bitsy

ISBN 9780143782735


When the school’s sow Henrietta has her litter of adorable piglets there is one tiny runt which looks like it won’t make it. However, the three girls are determined to save Bitsy and with dedication and help from sympathetic staff the tiny piglet begins to thrive and is able to go back with the rest of her family.

Those of us with a soft spot for piglets will especially warm to this feel-good story.

Alongside the struggle to save Bitsy there is the mystery of a spate of cattle thefts to be resolved. The girls with their quick minds and powers of observation are able to assist in a happy outcome with this as well.


Clever Chicks

ISBN 9780143782742


In Book 4, the girls’ science teacher Mrs Parry sets the task of raising and training day old chicks to prove that they are not ‘bird brains’. There is a lot of advocacy about caged hens and unethical egg production along the way which can only be a good thing. No doubt after reading this there will be many breakfast tables around Australia where hard questions are asked!

I have to add that this assignment seems to be the most arduous school work to appear in the books – I’m sure lots of girls would want to join the ranks at Willowvale if that’s the case!

In addition to their chicken lobbying, the girls face a trauma when a game of horseback hide-and-seek takes a sinister turn when a horse on the neighbouring property is diagnosed with Hendra virus. Will the girls’ horses be alright? It’s a worrying time for them all.


All in all these are lots of fun with, as to be expected, a real scientific flavour throughout. Rebecca has a winning way of integrating her passion for science  with her narratives and you can be sure that there will many readers who begin to dream of such a career path after experiencing it vicariously.

Highly recommended for your readers from about 8 – 13.

PS Certainly Miss K loves the idea of being ‘nearly a vet’!




Truly Tan: Trapped! (Truly Tan, Book #6) – Jen Storer



Harper Collins


      ISBN: 9780733334122

      ISBN 10: 0733334121

      Imprint: ABC Books – AU


     RRP 16.99 AUD


Confession time: Truly Tan is up to number 6 and I’ve not read any. In my defence, they are never on the library shelves long enough to snaffle one and since I taught my students how to reserve a book, they are even harder to snare!

So now having at last got my hands on one I can truthfully say I can easily see the great appeal to my girls who are such huge fans.

Tan’s family are exuberant and just a wee bit eccentric. They live in a beautifully ramshackle house in the country where animals, paddocks, creeks and bush are integral to their lives.

Tan, who fancies herself as a terrific Super Spy, is delightfully quirky and while mega-confident about her espionage techniques is also just a little uncertain of her status in the family, feeling undervalued and overlooked as the youngest of four girls.  However this doesn’t stop her quick mind and creative thinking when it comes to solving the latest unexplained mystery.

In this new adventure Tan is looking after the neighbour’s house while Mrs Topple is on a cruise. Along with her BFF Gloria she becomes embroiled in a stealth investigation of some mysterious happenings: a spooky white flash that appears and disappears, a gypsy caravan, a strange orange car and a shadowy figure all play their part in Tan’s latest triumph of undercover action.

There is a load of fun to be had in these – family, friends both old and new, clues to puzzle over, and problems to solve. I predict this latest will be every bit as popular as the first five and fans will be eagerly anticipating the next instalment!

Tan’s diary entries are hysterical IMO – I love the opening description of which pen she is using (along with any defects said pen may have)!

Highly recommended for readers from around 8 years upwards.


Animasaurus – Tracey Turner, illustrated by Harriet Russell



Bloomsbury UK

Imprint: Bloomsbury Child

ISBN 9781408884850

RRP:  $26.99

Did you know:
A shark as long as a bus roamed the oceans?
Hamsters with horns once burrowed the Earth?
Giant armadillos grew to the size of a family car? 

Oh yes, this very much satisfies my love of engaging information books for children!  Explore the world of ancient giant beasts as you’ve never done before with each one compared with its modern counterpart.

Have you ever heard of the Titanic Snake? No? I’m sure you do know the green anaconda though.  What about the Therizinosaurus, which once roamed the Mongolian plains with its claws that were almost a metre long? Compare this with the cassowary, which has some of the longest claws in the modern animal world.

Full of fascinating facts, startling statistics and intriguing illustrations this will be a treasure trove for boys and girls aged from around eight years up – especially those lovers of ferocious beasts!

Highly recommended for primary readers with a passion for the weird and wonderful.

Fright Club – Ethan Long



Bloomsbury Publishing Australia

Published: 01-09-2016

ISBN: 9781681190433

Imprint: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

RRP: $9.99   –

This is one of the cutest board books I’ve seen for ages. Forget about sweet and pretty – this one is just in time for Halloween and a fun story for little people.

The local Fright Club led by Vladimir the vampire are busily practising their ‘ghoulish faces, scary moves, chilling sounds’ in their clubhouse when there comes a knock at the door. A sweet fluffy bunny asks if she can join the club and is promptly rejected. The monsters continue with their very amateurish spookiness and there is another knock at the door. This time the cute bunny is accompanied by her foxy lawyer citing discrimination about being excluded and pretty soon all the woodland creatures are picketing the Fright Club. Of course eventually the monsters have to give in and let them all join – and who knew? Those little animals can be quite scary when they want to be!

This is just great fun with a load of good devices to talk about if you did want to share it with older ones; speech bubbles, onomatopoeia etc but basically it is a just a hoot for Halloween.

Check out the trailer here.

Mulga’s Magical Musical Creatures – Mulga



Hachette Australia


Publication date: 27 Sep 2016

Imprint: Lothian Children’s Books

RRP $19.99


What a joyous riotous romp through the creative process of a musician! A dream of all kinds of animals playing every type of instruments inspires a musician to write a new performance piece.


There is so much to genuinely like about this little book. The gorgeous hardcover with its sculptured figures in relief, the wild psychedelic colours (which make me immediately think of Jimi Hendrix!?) and the funky rhyming text.


I feel sure that every music teacher is going to want this but it is a fantastic read aloud or read alone just for small people as well – I’m already planning a combined library/music session using this with our Preppies!


I love it – and now I want Mulga’s colouring book as well!  You’ll find two freebie colour in downloads here including Harley the Hipster whose portrait can also be spotted in this book.


Get into the kaleidoscope world of Mulga now!


A Hungry Lion or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals – Lucy Ruth Cummins



Simon & Schuster

  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers |
  • 40 pages |
  • ISBN 9781471147074
  • May 2016


There once was a hungry lion, a penguin (Well he was just here…), a little calico kitten (I could have sworn I just saw him…), a brown mouse (Now wait a second…), a bunny with floppy ears and a bunny with un-floppy ears (Okay this is just getting ridiculous), a frog, a bat, a pig, a slightly bigger pig, a wooly sheep, a koala, a hen, and also a turtle. Hey! What’s going on here…

It appears that a group of animal friends are getting together to play – but as each page is turned and more and more of the smaller animals disappear, one wonders what might be happening to them. Just how hungry is that lion?

But never fear, they are all sneaking off to prepare a surprise party for their favourite hungry lion – but oops! This party doesn’t just start with a surprise! Who else could be hungry?

The illustrations are gorgeous and the text full of wit with some great opportunities for predictions.

A hugely funny but somewhat dark debut picture book which will have young readers intrigued with some trepidation but lots of giggles.


Highly recommended for young readers from around 3 years and up.

I’ll Never Let You Go – Smriti Prasadam-Halls/Alison Brown



Allen & Unwin Australia


March 2016

ISBN 9781408839010

RRP $14.99

If you have a special little person with whom you want to share your unconditional love or simply to read aloud to your little humans as a reminder of how much they are cared for, this is a perfect and heartfelt book.


When you aren’t sure, you’ll feel me near,

When you are scared, I will be here.

When you are high, when you are low,

I’ll be holding your hand and I’ll never let go.


With beautiful illustrations of parent/child animals – from lions to kangaroos, this is a delightful exploration of that intense love we have for our small ones.

With a gentle rhyming text, this will be a soothing and loving bedtime read for many parents and their children – a reassurance that no matter what, naughty or nice, happy or sad, brave or scared, we are right there at their side.

If only we adults had someone to read us just such a book and comfort us with a enduring supportive presence, how much more peaceful our lives would be.


This is just right for a special gift or just as a lovely addition to your personal or library shelves.

Highly recommended for little listeners from babies upwards.