Publication date: 11 Oct 2016
Imprint: Hodder & Stoughton
Many readers will be familiar with Miranda Hart’s work as a comedic actress; appearances in Absolutely Fabulous, Smack the Pony and of course, Call the Midwife and her own self-titled sitcom Miranda.
She had long been more a cat person than a dog person and relates some hilarious observations about dog owners. And then nine years ago Miranda met and fell in love with a tiny shih tzu/bichon frise cross puppy she named Peggy. The two became inseperable and Miranda’s recount of her life shared with Peggy is both funny, poignant and wise.
Throughout the ups and downs, insecurities, sadness, elation and day-to-day life of their time together, Miranda noted that her best life lessons were in fact taught to her by Peggy.
In this delightful memoir, the reader is introduced to Peggy who always has her own take on the situation and is pleased to share it with us.
This is a laugh-out-loud read so just be aware that fellow commuters may look askance at your snorts as you follow the travails of Miranda and her best friend Peggy.
This would make a fabulous Christmas present for someone who appreciates both the joy of dog-owning and the virtues of humour as an antidote for drab and uninspiring daily grinds.
Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s
Extent: 208 pages
– RRP $14.99
One thing we know as teacher-librarians is that you can never have too many animal stories. Younger readers especially eat up such tales whether crazy, realistic, whimsical or humorous. This new collection from Aleesah Darlison covers all those bases and with a text that is ideally suited to newly independent readers who are enjoying their first foray into chapter books.
Kasey rescues and nurtures a baby magpie, Grandpapa Cat tells his grandkittens the legend of Alvarado, King of Cats, we find out what happened next to Puff the Magic Dragon, Princess Pigletta is pignapped and so much more! Any young reader will enjoy the imaginatively told animal adventures in this collection and they would be ideally suited to the short ‘read aloud’ times after breaktimes.
This much-published award-winning author has definitely come up trumps with this fun anthology of 12 stories. Highly recommended for your shelves for both boys and girls of around 7 years up.
Check out Aleesah’s website here for more info about her, her books, author talks, resources and news.
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Two small animals are quite different – and also very alike! Pig and Pug are rather small, ‘petite and portable’ in fact. They are just the right size to fit in a pocket (for Pig) and a purse (for Pig).
Have you already noticed how similar their names are? Small certainly did as we read aloud. As the story continued she giggled at many other similarities as these two meet each other for the first time, name-call, poke, wrestle and eventually make friends – sort of.
I am equally confident your young readers will also delight in the many parallels between this pair of perky but rather pugnacious (or is that pignacious?) pets.
This is overtly a very simple picture book with a very narrow but effective palette of colour used for the illustrations (somewhat reminiscent of a Dick Bruna style). For those readers exploring the sounds of words and language, comparing and contrasting these, and finding likenesses this will be a popular choice. As a read aloud it will work particularly well with Preps/Kinders who are now moving towards some independent reading. Of course, at the start of next year it will be super as an introductory term read aloud, having children discern similar and different sounds/words.
Highly recommended for 0-5 years old.
With the plethora of dystopian fiction that has been overwhelming readers in recent years, this very amusing graphic novel is a welcome relief. A hilarious spin on the whole genre, this is perfect for Middle School readers with a discerning sense of humour.
Two dogs, Apollo and Brownie, usually have no more drama in their days than their running dispute about who is on the couch and who is on the floor. Until a day comes when unbeknownst to this pair, chaos descends on the world outside – the dawn of the apocalypse with everyone gone.
As dinner time draws nearer and there is no appearance of their humans, the dogs begin to fear that their owners might be ‘Gone for Good’ with the usual hysterical panic that most dogs seem to experience. But when dinner time comes and goes and the next day moves in with still no humans, the dogs realise that this time perhaps their panic was justified and reluctantly decide they must leave the house to find food. Just this scene alone as the two dogs are baffled by how they will unlock the front door was enough to make me laugh aloud.
How will these two cope with survival in the unknown wider world? And when they are faced with the dog-eat-dog scene for those animals who have survived the disaster, things become even more fraught.
I predict this will have huge appeal to both boys and girls and that it will be the kind of book where the recommendations fly along by word of mouth.
Highly recommended for readers around 11 and up.
Caesar the War Dog #3: Operation Pink Elephant – Stephen Dando-Collins
Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s
Extent: 288 pages
Everyone’s favourite canine hero, Caesar, is back and off on another serious mission with his buddy, Ben.
The Global Rapid Reaction Responders (GRRR) are shocked to find out that their friend Lucky, who is currently working for the Tanzanian Government as a wildlife ranger, has been kidnapped by notorious elephant poachers. These evil men, led by a particularly vile ‘General’, not only show a complete lack of compassion and morals regarding the elephants but also intimidate local villagers, kidnap children and force them to train as ‘soldiers’ and treat the wildlife rangers with contempt and violence.
It is up to the GRRR team to track down these nefarious wrong-doers and rescue Lucky and save the elephants. Ben and Caesar execute a risky parachute jump into a rough sea to meet up with the rest of team on HMAS Canberra and the adventure begins. On landing in Tanzania the team begin to put together clues and set upon the trail of poachers. Caesar’s expert nose is really going to be the advantage to Ben and his team as they track down their good friend and the illegal cargo of ivory.
These are terrific books for boys who are not so keen to read. They are fast-paced, with a vocabulary that is not too demanding. There is enough action and suspense to sustain the thirst for adventure without being disturbingly graphic. Stephen Dando-Collins has an effective connection with his readership and it has been my observation that when I suggest one of his titles to my boys, they are keen for more when they have finished.
In addition, this title encourages readers to think about several very important ethical issues.
Click here to read a sample.
Visit the author’s website.
Recommended for readers aged around 10 and up.