Tag Archives: Bravery

Funny Kid Peeking Duck [Funny Kid #7] – Matt Stanton

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Harper Collins Australia

April 2020

  • ISBN: 9780733340598
  • ISBN 10: 0733340598
  • Imprint: ABC Books – AU
  • List Price: 14.99 AUD

Matt Stanton’s Max has become one of the most popular characters in Australian kids’ lit in recent years – with the first debuting at #1 Australian kids’ book in 2017. The Funny Kid continues to garner enthusiastic fans not only in Australia but now around the world.

The antics of this boy, along with his family and friends, and not forgetting Duck, are like the most hilarious comic strip ever in novel format and while the illustrations are highly amusing too, it is the wit and humour of the text that provide the biggest belly laughs.

Poor Max finds himself caught up in a dare predicament with his friends after somewhat snarky Abby calls him out on being afraid of heights. Suddenly there’s pressure to ride the Tower of Dying Deathly Doom, the scariest ride at Adventure Park to be witnessed by all the gang. Max’ plan to go to Adventure Park solo – well, with Duck of course – and just pretend he’s ridden the ride backfires badly and when his parents (typically) mis-read his actions as running away due to their preoccupation, the whole dare escalates to new heights (so to speak). A hellish road trip with all his friends, Duck gone missing and an encounter with Bad Skulls, the dancing motorcycle gang combine to provide the reader with another side-splitting episode in the life of Max the Funny Kid.

There will be plenty of snort-laughs in this one and any copy on your shelves is guaranteed to be on high-rotation with your readers. In fact, probably best to have back-up copies in my opinion to avoid scrimmages as they are coming back through returns.

Highly recommended for your kids who like a good laugh-out-loud read – don’t they all? – suitable for all from around 8 years upwards.

 

 

 

The Night of the Hiding Moon – Emma Allen & Sher Rill Ng

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9780642279583

National Library of Australia

March 2020

ISBN:   9780642279583

RRP: $24.99

‘Late one night, Felix heard a thousand giants march across the sky and the round, silver moon went into hiding.’

Many children are fearful of storms – especially when they are ferocious. The Kid was one of these and would quite literally turn white and visibly tremble. It took a couple of years to build her up to a point where now she almost enjoys a storm – except for when they are really wild and then she will always sit quite close!

When Felix can’t cope with the tremendous crashing and the horrid dark he decides to put his torch to good use and create a ‘light’ friend. What follows is a cavalcade of strong and brave shadow creatures and all are impatient to play. A little uncertain at first, Felix is soon frolicking with them all, confronting his fears of the night and becoming empowered in his own resilience.

Readers will be truly enthralled with the wonderful traditional shadow shapes and will be uber-excited when they reach the end of the book to find some fabulous information on shadow puppets in general and their cultural importance in Asia. To top that off they will able to create their own shadow puppets with the templates and instructions which conclude the book. Puppetry is a dramatic art which never fails to engage children of all ages (our own Year 9 students have been creating puppet play scripts and using some fabulous ‘muppets’ to perform them). Shadow puppets are possibly one of the simplest to achieve with ready-to-hand materials at home which is a big plus and very handy in these times!

Perhaps readers could create their own scripts which echo the bravery and imagination in Felix’ story and then perform them for family.  Alternatively, they might like to recreate favourite stories using shadow puppets. This would certainly be a very rich learning experience all round.

I would highly recommend this for children from around 6 years upwards and the follow-up for families who are looking for a different activity to reduce a little screen time.

You could even make a theatre for your puppet play…

 

The Good Hawk: (Shadow Skye – Book 1) – Joseph Elliott

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Walker Books Australia

February 2020

ISBN: 9781406385854
Imprint: Walker
Australian RRP: $16.99
New Zealand RRP: $18.99

 

Enter a fabulous new adventure-fantasy series that will not just enthral readers with its ‘difference’ being set in a fictional parallel landscape but with its wonderful celebration of another type of difference. Agatha and Jamie are of the Clann-a-Tuath, one of the clans on the isle of Skye and a clan which has abandoned the practice of marriage or child-raising by defined parents. In this clan the whole community takes responsibility for children who are assigned to roles as they grow older. Jamie has become an Angler going out on the boats to fish – which he hates because of his terrible sea-sickness. Agatha is assigned as a Hawk, one who watches from vantage points to protect the clan from invaders. Agatha too has some difficulties with her role although she is closely supervised because as the reader realises from the start, Agatha is ‘different’. Some refer to her as ‘broken’ but others in the clan accept her difference and help her to develop her strengths, such as Maistreas Eilionoir.

In complete contradiction to their long-held customs the clan has arranged a marriage between Jamie and a girl of the clan Raasay in order to (so they think) ensure a strong alliance. In fact, they have been duped and clan Raasay betray them to the deamhain from far-off Norveg, ruthless barbarians with cruel intentions.

So begins an epic quest as Agatha and Jamie, the lone survivors of the attack, determine to track, find and rescue their captured clan members. To the mainland of Scotia where people have long been wiped out by a dreadful plague released upon them by the evil King Edmund in the south the pair flee, reluctantly taking along a captured deamhan who claims to be a prince in his own land, as a bargaining chip. Along their way they encounter a strange tribe, riders and companions of shaggy Highland cattle, who become allies and even stranger a mad Queen who has somehow survived plague and shadow beings alone in her castle for forty years. The rescue is arduous and long and always fraught with danger but throughout both Jamie and Agatha, who may be ‘broken’ but also has special powers, prove themselves as worth heroes over and over again, despite all odds.

This is fantastical, creepy, at times violent, but ultimately a wonderful tale of bravery, loyalty and compassion.

Elliott draws on his experience of working with children with special needs to create a memorable character, in Agatha, who is able, intuitive, fiercely loyal, sweet and funny in spite of, or perhaps because of, her Down’s Syndrome. Jamie is equal to her in many of these attributes and is able to conquer his fear, which is after all the true measure of courage, and draw on hidden strengths.

Readers from around 12 years upwards will love this for its unusual settings and characters, the use of adapted and invented languages and the full-on adventure of the rescue mission.

Maple the Brave – Chloe Jasmine Harris

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Walker Books

May 2019

ISBN: 9781925381924
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
Australian RRP: $24.99

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I feel terrible for taking so long to get to this beautiful book on my vast review pile because it really is a joy (what can I say, it was the term from hell!)

Chloe’s debut picture book as both author and illustrator clearly indicates that she will be force with which to be reckoned.

The premise of the book about facing fears and developing resilience is so timely and the detailed illustrations will have children poring over them to gain every beautiful aspect.

Maple is very solitary in her tree house in the woods because she’s scared of everything, particularly the animal noises from below but when she finally steps out of her comfort zone she finds that rather than terrifying her animal neighbours are both kind and friendly.

She finds her courage and returns to her tree house with a new sense of bravery and confidence.  If you are looking for books that will empower children, particularly girls, this is ideal.

It will seem strange to say because the illustrations are quite contemporary in style but they do remind me of artists such as Pixie O’Harris with portrayals of imaginary forest friends and scenes.

I love this and it will definitely be a ‘go to’ and shared with my colleagues in the Junior school enthusiastically.

Highly recommended for readers from around 3 years upwards.

The Good Thieves – Katherine Rundell

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9781526608130

Bloomsbury

ISBN: 9781526608130
Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

RRP $14.99

I have quickly become a fan of Katherine Rundell’s writing. After The Wolf Wilder and especially The Explorer (still the most visited blog post I’ve put up!) it would be hard to ignore such magical and adventurous narratives.

Once again Katherine has put a group of children, all quite dissimilar, into a position where they forge bonds and achieve significant outcomes despite all odds.

The New York of the 1920s – speakeasies, brilliantine hair, the rise of gangsters – is not the best place for children but to Vita it is a challenge rising up to meet her. She and her mother have travelled from England to ‘rescue’ her grandfather. Jack has lost his beloved wife and also his grand family home which has been swindled from him by an unscrupulous character with certain Mafia connections.

Where her mother is more concerned with the mundane such as sorting Jack’s bank accounts and passports, Vita determines to pursue justice and restore her grandfather’s property.

Her early attempt is fraught with danger and difficulty but in the course of it she runs across Silk, a girl about her own age, who has ‘skills’ which are useful in the course of recovering property. Next she encounters two boys from a circus performing at Carnegie Hall who also have amazing attributes and so the plan begins to take shape.

It’s a narrative that is packed with tension and excitement, bravery and daring and it will completely entrance readers from around the age of around ten upwards.

Vita is not your average heroine. With a crooked foot from an early bout of polio she is not physically strong, but her mental attitude along with her unerring accuracy with throwing (marbles, stones, knives), not to mention her perfect planning skills make her a formidable team member of the ‘good thieves’ gang.

Don’t miss this one! It’s a ripping read and your kids will love it!

Fabish: the Horse that Braved a Bushfire – Neridah McMullin/Andrew McLean

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ISBN: 9781925266863

Allen & Unwin

Imprint: A & U Children

August 2016

RRP $24.99

 

When we read of the most calamitous events in history it is the displays of courage and heroism that lift us up from despair and provide us with hopefulness for the future. In many cases it is the bravery of humans that so inspire us but at times it is an exceptional animal.

Fabish was not a very successful racehorse during his days on the racetracks but he had a big heart and smart sense which he put to the very best of use during the horrific Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria.

Following his retirement from racing, Fabish became a ‘mentor’ for yearlings at Tampirr Farm not far from Healesville. He proved perfect for the job as he kept them steady and showed them what was expected of potential champion racehorses.

When the raging bushfires began their deadly encroachment across the district trainer Alan knew he would be hard-pressed to keep the stabled horses safe and decided to risk saving Fabish and the yearlings by releasing them from their paddock.  He had no idea just how ferocious those fires would be and when at last the danger passed and he surveyed the wreckage of the property he despaired of ever seeing Fabish or the yearlings again. Yet miraculously as the smoke cleared and the ash drifted down from the hills came Fabish leading his seven young charges, all of them without even a singed hair.

An amazing true story which has a powerful impact and is so beautifully illustrated by Andrew McLean, whose talent for portraying the Australian landscapes is unsurpassed.

Highly recommended for readers from around seven and up and would certainly earn its place in any learning situation focused on natural disasters or Australian history.

Below is a photo and extract from the Let’s Go Horse Racing website in 2010 when Fabish was honoured before the start of the Healesville Picnic Races.

A year ago this Sunday fire roared through the township of Narbethong, approximately 21 kilometres from Healesville, and across Tarnpirr Farm, a 500 acre horse property owned by trainer Cliff Brown and his father Don.

Amazingly, none of the valuable racing stock on the property was lost, nor injured, thanks to the bravery of trainer and farm manager Alan Evett and the instincts of Fabish.

The 14-year-old grey gelding, who was prepared by premier trainer Mick Price during his racing career, sprung into action to save seven yearlings he was ‘mentoring’ in an outer farm paddock.

famish and the yearlings

Max the Brave – Ed Vere

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Penguin Australia

Published:27/08/2014

Format: Hardback, 32 pages

price: AUD $19.99

ISBN-13:9780723286691

ISBN-10:0723286698

Publisher: Penguin UK

Imprint: Puffin

Coming hard on the heels of Small and I cooing over a very small, very playful black kitten at the pet shop on Saturday, we shared this absolutely gorgeous book from Ed Vere.

This is Max.
Max is a fearless kitten.
Max is a brave kitten.
Max is a kitten who chases mice.
But what does a mouse look like?

Max is the sweetest tiny black kitten with loads of personality. Off he goes to discover Mouse because after all how can he bravely hunt an animal if he doesn’t know what it looks like?

Children will just love Max’ quest as he comes across the various animals trying to discover Mouse.

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I was not familiar with Ed Vere’s work until seeing this book but just adore his illustrative style and will certainly be looking out for more. This one is a keeper as we are very much ‘kitten’ folk!

Big and small people alike will enjoy this clip of Ed demonstrating how to draw one of his popular characters.

Highly recommended for little people from around 3 years up!