The first of this batch of books for the tiniest reads is this delightful and gloriously vibrant lift-the-flap story.
What could be better than having a magical dragon as your best friend? This little boy romps through the pages with his dragon helping out with stuff like getting the lid off the cookie jar and when snow makes play difficult. Little ones will love lifting the flaps to see the solution to each problem.
With simple text and joyful illustrations this would be a hit for tiny humans from around 12 months upwards.
Ten Sleep Sheep – Renee Treml
Renee’s books are always beautiful with their gentle and heart-warming illustrations and this lovely counting book is no exception. Little ones can count down from ten as they visit all the sleepy animals on the farm. From ten sheep through pups and foals, chicks and ducklings even koalas until no one is left awake except the owl. What a beautiful bedtime book this is and will no doubt be requested time and again.
A gorgeously sleepy-time book perfect for babies upwards.
That’s Not My Narwhal – Fiona Watt
Harper Collins Australia
ISBN 10: 1474972101
Imprint: Usborne – GB
List Price: 14.99 AUD
Usborne continues the popular touchy-feely series with this new one which is just as cute as the previous but just a little more unusual in choosing an animal perhaps not so well known.
Little fingers will love the textures from the squishy tummy to the rough tail and the fuzzy spots. Their eyes will sparkle just as much as the narwhal’s horn as they explore each page with tactile delight.
Little ones from 12 months upwards will think this one a real treat.
Is there anything as much fun as introducing these little ones to the joy and wonder of books and reading? I think not.
Pick up these for a tiny one in your circle or for your early learning centre or kindergarten.
DC, you have completely smashed it with this thrilling conclusion to the trilogy – darker, edgier and gripping! I’ve watched with such joy as the Dead Gang monster misfits have grown from their funky beginnings to truly kickass warriors united in their mission to save not themselves but their world and all the myriad creatures who inhabit it.
The gang continues their mission of dragon egg rescue after their narrow escapes from Dr Franken’s torturous facility and amidst ongoing attack from all sides. The loss of Zorg and Jaakie are a real blow but they manage to keep their spirits high. Stoker, the vampire-formerly-known-as-Prince-Robert heads for the Isle of Giants with a human girl acquired for her mechanical ability, Roa and the enigmatic and cranky Erica, royal ogre bodyguard and the giant skunk aniwye (not the friendliest of creatures). Their goal is to protect Empress Kalthazar until the rest of the Dead Gang arrive with help.
The remainder of the group escape with the dragon egg they have acquired by a narrow margin and are completely taken aback when the egg hatches and little fin-flapping Karamas immediately becomes an important addition to their team. An encounter with the living giant heart of Monstro City, disarming ancient nuclear weapons, deflecting rogue ogres and taming clone Prince Robbie are almost all in a day’s work for this mob. However their encounter with the fearsome and treacherous Cyborg Warlord is almost a disaster for them all.
Will the gang survive intact to effect the rescue and revitalisation of the great Kalthazar? Will they be able to save not only themselves but Monstro City and, indeed, the entire world? More to the point – will Bruce, gnarly sexy spider-dude avoid being munched by a prospective bride and will PT EVER tell Greta just how he feels about her?
It’s like a mash-up of Tolkien, teen horror movies and Kotter’s sweat hogs on steroids! The addition of some excellent illustrations really enhance the narrative with the truly warped visualisations of the chief characters along with a nicely detailed map.
Again there are plenty of laughs throughout the tensely dramatic plot as well as moments of poignancy and important themes of loyalty, friendship, honour and resilience.
I have loved this series immensely and while I was of the understanding that this was to be a trilogy I won’t be disappointed to meet the characters again as they age to what one can only imagine to be an equally crazy adulthood!
Get onto it if you haven’t already! Your readers from around ten years upwards who relish a little bit of scariness along with a whole lot of great humour will love it.
ISBN: 9781925381412 Imprint: Black Dog Books March 2017 Australian RRP: $24.99
In 2002 Carole Wilkinson introduced us to a small downtrodden Chinese girl with no name and a marvellous world of beautiful, mysterious and terrible dragons. Set in ancient China where dragon hunters and warring feudal lords, oppression of the miserable poor and contemptuous dismissal of females were commonplace, the girl who became Ping the honoured dragon keeper is a heroic figure.
Six books later 400 years have passed in the history of the dragons and their keepers and now Ping’s descendant Tao, a young Buddhist boy partly trained as a monk, and Kai, the dragon Ping cared for as a hatchling are escaping from the dreaded Jilong, avowed dragon hater, and his horde of nomads.
They finally reach their destination, the dragon haven, where Kai is destined to fulfil his role as leader and Tao hopes to become dragon keeper for all dragons only to find much is amiss with the remaining dragons. A mysterious sickness afflicts the beasts and that is only the beginning of the many trials Tao must overcome before he, and Kai, can attain their desire and destiny.
There are, as usual, so many beautiful moments and themes in this latest instalment – the strength that resides within even the smallest of sentient beings, the connections between all living things, the loyalty and faith of friends, acceptance of differences and more. So much richness in Carole’s writing always has readers hooked in readers from the very start and so many of us have eagerly anticipated each forthcoming new adventure.
This is ostensibly (is that a perhaps Carole?) the final in the saga but we can all hope that we may yet get to find out if the future of the dragons is assured.
Read more about the series and Tao’s guide to dragons here.
Highly recommended for readers from around 8 years upwards.
It’s often not easy being the youngest in the family particularly when your older siblings are considered by all to be brilliant and talented. Arguably it’s even harder to be the baby of a dragon family without the hardened scales or working wings that would allow you to venture outside the family mountain cave.
Aventurine is not the most compliant of youngsters though and one day when she is really fed up with what she sees as the over-protective care of her mum and grandfather as well as the annoying superiority of her older brother, she takes it upon herself to squeeze through her usual spy hole in the mountainside and escape.
Emerging from her rocky nest with scratched and damaged wings and feet she begins to doubt the wisdom of her rebelliousness but presses on regardless. She soon realises it is not so easy to catch your own food or even know where you are and when she comes across a young man brewing chocolate she thinks she has finally found an easy target. Taking each other by surprise the youth offers her chocolate instead of him and Aventurine is immediately smitten by the overwhelming deliciousness of the concoction and, too late, realises that she has been tricked. Drinking the hot chocolate of a food mage she is transformed into a human girl and now finds herself even more helpless and inexperienced.
With an undaunted fiery heart, as per her family’s heritage, Aventurine undertakes the most amazing adventure of her life and winds up in the big city where despite all obstacles she becomes an apprentice chocolatier.
Overcoming tremendous twists and turns of fate, Aventurine finds herself with a second ‘family’ and her true passion – making chocolate. Naturally, her dragon family are not going to take the disappearance of their youngest hatchling easily and the climax of the tale sees a showdown between suspicious and ignorant townsfolk and the might of the dragons. Of course, this mighty girl reveals her true nature by saving the day – and her new hoard.
This is such an original story. It was an absolute pleasure to read and Aventurine is not the only strong female character to bring the adventure to life which makes it all the more appealing. Feisty females, enchantments, nasty villains, yummy chocolate, friendship, loyalty and love – this book has it all.
This will be getting a hugely positive book talk for the girls in my library.
Highly recommended for readers from around 9 years upwards.
With the surfeit of cookery shows most children will have seen at least part of one if not actually The Great British Bake Off. And they may well also be familiar with Jamie Oliver.
Now they can meet Flamie Oliver who attends the Ferocious Dragon Academy. Flamie is invited to attend the academy because he is very FEROCIOUS and the academy is where all scary dragons go to hone their deadly skills. There is just one small problem. Flamie really doesn’t want to be ferocious nor practise deadly skills. His passion is pastry and all he really wants to do is cook.
In fact, he is so enthralled with perfecting his culinary art, that when finals arrive, he fails all his tests miserably. Miss Puffitup the Head is not at all pleased and sets Flamie an additional test to make up for his abysmal marks. He is to kidnap a princess and EAT her! Argghhhh!
Flamie has no problem with the kidnapping part but as for the eating – well, that’s clearly just not going to happen. For a start, he can’t even think what other ingredients would combine with princess flavour.
Together the kidnapped princess and Flamie arrive at a solution which has all the other dragons as well as Miss Puffitup dead impressed and Flamie has no need to fret about failing his Dastardly Dragon Skills Degree. He’s the new star pupil of Miss Puffitup’s Brillant Baking Academy!
This is a fun read for children as well as a great reminder that it’s ok to be different and that everyone has different talents and personalities.
Highly recommended for young readers from around 5 years up
Oh George, why do you do this to me? I continually bomb out – repeatedly. I must be the most hopeless ‘choose-your-own-adventurer’ ever! But they are great fun – and the kids are eating them up. I have a bunch of girls who just love the interactivity of this series – and I know that boys are just as wild for them. Hopefully they’re better survivors than I am!
You Choose 9: Extreme Machine Challenge
Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s
Of course if you are attending the Extreme Machine Expo the highlight would be actually getting to drive one for real, rather than just the simulator demos. After all, it must be safe right? So which should you choose? Motorbikes, helicopters, jets, speedboats – so much variety it’s mindboggling. You are so excited by all the possibilities you don’t even notice those strange characters at first. But strange things are afoot and suddenly you are in the race of your life.
You Choose 10: In the Realm of Dragons
Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s
Naturally anyone who has always been obsessed by dragons is going to try and prove a legend about them. When you find out about the rumours of dragons right near your school camp you just have to try and discover the truth. And wow! When you come across two peculiar looking eggs, maybe the legend really is true! But just because you love dragons doesn’t mean they are going to love you right back does it?
Marmaduke the Very Popular Dragon – Rachel Valentine/Ed Eaves
Pub Date:June 2016
There would be very few children – or indeed adults – who have not been in the same position as Marmaduke at some time. Marmaduke and Meg are the very best of friends and the envy of everyone in the kingdom as a result. They are different but when they are together, differences don’t matter.
Then one day one of the princesses who has been watching from the safety of her tower gets up the courage to ask if she can join them to play.
And gradually all the other princesses, princes, dragons and even knights want to join in the fun as well. Marmaduke is a huge hit as he is affable and helpful and a great friend. But sometimes being a great friend to many people causes us to lose sight of our very best friend. And so it happens with Marmaduke and Meg.
But of course, there must be a happy ending for all and so it is. Marmaduke realise he has basically abandoned Meg in the sudden flattering flush of his popularity and makes amends.
Aside from being a quite delightful story, this would be a super book to share with those little ones who are, even halfway through the year, trying to come to grips with friendship issues.
Highly recommended for little people from Prep upwards.
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.
Without doubt the How to Train Your Dragon series has been a runaway success with avid readers from all over the world eagerly anticipating each subsequent instalment. The Dreamworks franchise which produced the movies has only built on the huge popularity of the books.
When I speak of the reader fans, I’m not just talking about children here. For those of us who love dragons, nonsense, crazy characters and absurd humour these books are pure delight.
The latest in the series is How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury and once again Cressida Cowell has provided us with a saga worthy of the Viking tradition as our intrepid hero Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third continues his quest to protect his people and their dragons in the face of the revolting and conniving Alvin the Treacherous.
You will no doubt remember the cliffhanger ending of the last episode when we were all left wondering if Hiccup truly was dead. But we all know that would be impossible – I mean to say, he’s the HERO! Yet his father Stoick the Vast and all his tribe saw him fall from the sky and believe that he is lost to them. Luckily that tenacious little Bog-Burglar Camicazi refuses to accept what would seem to be evidence and knows in her heart that Hiccup is alive and must be found. Not only must he be found he needs to get to the island of Tomorrow and be crowned the King of the Wilderwest. How can this happen when Alvin the Treacherous now holds all King’s Things.
As usual the adventure is full of twists and turns, danger and despair, surprises and secrets and above all, laugh-out-loud humour as we follow the exploits of all the characters we’ve come to know and love – or loathe!
Far be it from me to give away too much of the plot but suffice to say devotees will adore this book and Cressida’s quirky illustrations as much as ever.
Definitely a must for your shelves for adventurous readers from around ten years and up – read an excerpt here
Once upon a time, in the 1960s, there was a young cub reporter who worked for the Bucks Free Press covering such scintillating happenings as village fairs and other local events. Despite the rigours of such journalism, Sir Terry Pratchett began writing short stories for young readers which were also published in the newspaper.
This rather unostentatious beginning was to lead to the magical, fantastical world of Pratchett as we know it.
Sir Terry has trawled back over these stories from his youth and selected some for this volume – mostly exactly as they were written originally, with only a little tweaking here and there.
Of particular interest I think are Tales of the Carpet People and Another Tale of the Carpet People which of course later developed into Terry’s first novel.
Dragons and wizards, a lake monster, an adventurous tortoise called Hercules and pointy hats and magic spells a-plenty come together in a humorous romp through the young Pratchett’s imagination.
Whether you are a diehard fan or more selective of the many offerings penned by this master storyteller or even if – surely not! – you have never read a Terry Pratchett book, this is a terrific anthology which would sit well on shelves from primary to lower secondary or home. [Beautiful hardcover concealed by attractive dustjacket!]
“..that naive young lad on the motorbike and the grown-up me with my black hat and beard are the same person – and all we both ever wanted to do was write for people old enough to understand.
And to imagine…”
Clicking on his image will take you to a 2008 article where Sir Terry discusses his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.