Tag Archives: Imagination

Collecting Sunshine – Rachel Flynn & Tamsin Ainslie

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sunshine

Penguin Random House

9780143785187

September 3, 2018

Imprint: Viking

 

RRP: $22.99

Like all small children Mabel and Robert love to collect things on their walks (ahh yes, the days when I had to take snap lock bags with me for Small’s treasures) and they pick up all kinds of marvellous finds: beautiful stones, interesting sticks, seeds and berries (ours were often feathers!).

Mabel and Robert take a paper bag for their collecting but alas! when the rain comes pouring down the bag is a disaster and the collection is lost.

Undeterred, the pair determines to keep on collecting and so they find such delights as a bird song, a dog smell, the taste of a fence and the touch of a wall.  When they get home their collection is transferred to drawings and paintings which will continue to give them pleasure. The double page spreads and the divine end papers are a perfect foil for this gentle story and its themes.

This is not only a gorgeous insight into imagination and the magical world of little ones but a gentle reminder to all of us that is not ‘things’ that give us the greatest pleasures, rather the experiences and the memories we make.

Highly recommended for little ones from around Prep up.

Download an activity pack here.

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Pages & Co : Tilly and the  Bookwanderers –Anna James

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Harper Collins

ISBN: 9780008229887

ISBN 10: 0008229880

Imprint: HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks

On Sale: 18/09/2018

List Price: 9.99 AUD

Ever since Tilly’s mum disappeared when she was tiny, her home has been with her Grandma and Grandpa in their house/bookshop Pages & Co. Inevitably, given that circumstance, Tilly is the ultimate bookworm and constantly loses herself deep in a book, particularly her favourite ones like Anne of Green Gables. She wouldn’t be the only person in the world to do so but the day she happens to encounter Anne herself in the middle of the bookshop would definitely set her aside from the mainstream of readers. It is, after all, one thing to imagine ourselves as part of our favourite book and another altogether to have the characters come out from the book and then lead one inside their story. It seems however that Tilly is a bookwanderer, like her mother and grandparents and many others before her. It might sound thrilling and exciting and definitely is, but can also be dangerous and downright fatal at times as Tilly, and her friend Oskar find out when they both find themselves on the Hispaniola being threatened by Long John Silver.  Particularly it’s sinister when a strange character named Enoch Chalk keeps re-appearing both in real life and in fictional as if he’s stalking Tilly.

This is a superbly original story with a delightful cast of characters and some ingenious plot twists. As a debut novel it is certainly an appetizer for more from this author.  It is imaginative and beautifully written with some great imagery.

Highly recommended for readers from around ten years upwards.

“Our stories are how we will be remembered- so we’ve got to make sure ours are worth telling.”

Dogs Galore!

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A handful of doggy books for the canine lovers amongst us all…

My Dog Socks – Robyn Osbourne/Sadami Konchi

Ford St Publishing

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ISBN: 9781925272826 (hardcover)

9781925272833 (paperback)

Publication date: October 2017 (hardcover)

March 2018 (paperback)

Price: AUD$24.95 (hardcover)

AUD$16.95 (paperback)

 

Although it has taken me a while to get to this book that does not diminish its worth in any way. In fact it has been included in the 2018 CBCA Notable Books list and very deservedly.

Many educators of younger children despair of what appears to be a growing lack of imagination and imaginative play in our little people.

This is a beautiful expression of the magic of a child’s imagination as he and his ‘ordinary dog’ share adventures in the bush, on the farm or at the beach.  With a rollicking rhythm and rhyming text chockfull of wonderful onomatopoeic language this makes for a perfect read-aloud. Every child will want to share stories about their own pets after this dog’s ‘tale’.

Highly recommended for children from around four years upwards.

 

Rescue & Jessica: a Life-Changing Friendship – Jessica Kensky & Patrick Downes/Scott Magoon

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Walker Books Australia

ISBN: 9780763696047
Imprint: Candlewick
Release Date: April 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $27.99
New Zealand RRP: $29.99

Based on the true life partnership of double-amputee Jessica (injured in the Boston Marathon bombing) and her service dog Rescue this is a book which will give young readers a real insight into the difficulties of living with a disability and how so many people are assisted with a trained service dog.

While Jessica was an adult when she met Rescue the book centres on a little girl called Jessica who faces the same tragedy as the grown up in losing both her legs. Rescue starts out as a Seeing Eye dog trainee but doesn’t quite meet the criteria. However, when his trainer decides he would make a perfect Service dog all falls into place perfectly.

Telling each participant’s story turn about readers will follow the progress of each until the final very happy resolution. The book includes information about the non-profit organisation  that trains such dogs for service with those with physical disabilities, hearing impaired and autism.

This is a wonderful book to share with children in our pursuit of empowering them with empathy.

Recommended for readers from around Year 3 upwards.

 

Dingo – Claire Saxby/ Tannya Harricks

dingo

Walker Books Australia

ISBN: 9781925381283
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
Release Date: April 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99

This is a simply stunning addition to the series Nature Storybooks – narrative non-fiction intended to satisfy children’s thirst for knowledge on nature as well as their joy in stories.

As Mother Dingo leaves the den and her sleeping pups readers can follow her through the dusky Victorian Alps as she hunts for food for her growing litter. On each page is another fascinating fact about dingoes as well as the absolutely gorgeous and bold oil painting illustrations.

Another paragraph of general information concludes the text as well as an index for easy reference to specific points.

A fabulous addition to a collection to explore Australian native animals.

Teaching notes here.

Highly recommended for readers from around Year 1 upwards.

 

A Stone for Sascha – Aaron Becker

sascha

Walker Books Australia

ISBN: 9780763665968
Imprint: Candlewick
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $27.99
New Zealand RRP: $29.99

This is a beautifully executed wordless book which will invite much discussion in a shared reading. On the surface it’s a story about a young girl grieving the death of her dog – and who of us does not know that pain when one of our family pets goes over the Rainbow Bridge?  On a deeper level as one explores the double spreads it is an examination of the cyclical nature of time, history and civilisation as well as the rituals and customs of other cultures. Something as simple as a special rock can carry with it the memories of ages past and also seal the memories of the present with a special significance.

This is not a book to be lightly dismissed in a single reading but will demand peeling back layers over repeated sharing and conversation.

I would highly recommend this is a visual text for sharing with children from around Year 4 upwards.

The Dog with Seven Names – Dianne Wolfer

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Penguin Random House

9780143787457

July 2, 2018

Random House Australia Children’s

 

If you have someone like my Miss Small who fell in love with A Dog’s Purpose (and now is adamant about wanting a golden retriever!) this is going to be the perfect read.

It’s  not just the story of one special little terrier x dingo pup but a fascinating look at the impact of the Second World War on a part of Australia, that has been largely ignored by history texts.

When a little runty pup is born on a station in the Pilbara his chances of survival are slim. Elsie’s father is a tough boss with no time for sentiment but as times prove tough, he relents and gives Elsie the pup as her Christmas present. From that time onwards Elsie and her Princess are inseparable. All seems perfect but then the War creeps closer and closer to home and Elsie’s family must leave their home and her father refuses to countenance little Princess going as well.  Elsie is heartbroken and promises to find the little dog as soon as she can when the family is settled into their new home.

Meanwhile Princess is taken on by a stockman who assures Elsie he will find the little dog a special home. From Princess to just Dog, the little terrier survives many adventures and mishaps eventually finding refuge with Doc of the RFDS but also becoming a much loved mascot of the remote hospitals, their staff and patients. The tiny dog with an unwavering determination to be reunited with her Elsie sees much despair and terror but also hope and courage.

This is indeed a magical story filled with special moments and demonstrating the loyalty of rare and memorable animals. Readers will be both sad and happy along with Princess and also learn much about Australia’s history.

Highly recommended for readers from around ten years upwards.

The Dream Bird –  Aleesah Darlinson/Emma Middleton

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Wombat Books

ISBN: 9781925563337

Release: 1 April 2018

Price: $19.99 Hardback

 

For a family of insomniacs no explanation is needed about the difficulties sometimes of going to sleep – no matter how busy the day, or the level of tiredness. Young and old in my crew this is something we deal with constantly.

Over the years I’ve dealt with this problem from both a personal and a professional aspect. Many children have a real difficulty with calming down from their busyness of the day and sadly, I have seen some medicated to do so.

George is a child who finds it incredibly hard to switch off from his days and even though his family have strategies to offer, none seems to work for him. But Gran has the solution (as so often we Grans do!). She tells him a beautifully lyrical and soothing story about the Dream Bird who takes children on magical dream journeys to the places that are just right for each.

This is not just a story about getting children to sleep. It is an affirmation of the joy and comfort of bedtime stories, the power of imagination and of course, family love and tenderness.

Aleesah’s text is so beautifully wrapped in an almost ethereal swirl of illustrations which evoke the cross-over between reality and fantasy. Whether it’s leaping with leopards, swimming with mermaids or visiting a land of lollies and other yummy treats, every child deserves a Dream Bird to lullaby them to sleep.

Enjoy some insight into Emma’s illustrative process here.

Highly recommended for your little people whether as an addition to library shelves or as a charming gift to a special child.

Watch Out for Muddy Puddles – Ben Faulks/Ben Cort

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Allen & Unwin

ISBN :9781408867204

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Imprint: Bloomsbury Child

Pub Date: October 2016

RRP $14.99

Being Aussie I was not familiar with Ben Faulks’ name but UK readers will recognise it from his very popular television presence. This is his first picture book and is colourfully illustrated by Ben Cort, who also did the illustrations for Aliens Love Underpants and Shark in the Dark.

This is simply a very fun look at the eternal joy of splashing in  puddles but with a twist of imagination that invites young readers to picture what might be hiding in some of those tempting pools.

Watch out for muddy puddles!

Because you never really know…

What there might be lurking

down in the depths below.

Pirates, fossils deep in the earth, kissing frogs or a gigantic rubber duck all just might give you a surprise but really splishing, sploshing, splashing in  puddles is always just great fun.

Lots of onomatoepia and interesting vocabulary, rhythm and vibrancy will engage young readers from Prep-3.

Watch a trailer here and download activities here.

 

Grandparents are the Bomb!

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Random House Australia

Of course I can be a little smug since Small so often tells me  lovingly that I am ‘the best Gran in the whole world’. This little person and I have always had such a close bond and that was made even closer when Mummy became so critically ill and K came to stay with me. Since we lost Mummy the bond just gets deeper and deeper, closer and closer. Not only do I strive to make her as happy, settled and secure as possible but I actively encourage her natural curiosity and imagination, her innate desire to explore and observe and her acute intuition regarding life and people.

Here are two wonderful picture books that both celebrate the special-ness of grandparents. Long may we reign1

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Miss Mae’s Saturday – Justine Flynn/J.Yi

ISBN: 9780857988584

Published: 28/03/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $16.99

 

Every Saturday Mae has the boundless joy of adventures with her Grandma – the ballet, the zoo or the park. Everything is a new exciting experience.

 

But what to do when Saturday is dreary and rainy? Miss Mae is initially dubious when Grandma produces a huge cardboard box – with NOTHING in it! But is very quickly convinced once the epic adventures start – a safari jeep and being confronted by lions, a plane soaring through the blossoms in Korea or zooming through space  – this is the best Saturday ever!

 

This is a book which will be very special to both grandmothers and grandchildren and will promote the often overlooked simple imaginative play which children all love.

 

Check out the teaching notes here.

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Wild Pa – Claire Saxby – Connah Brecon

ISBN: 9780857988003

Published: 01/08/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

 

RRP $24.99

 

This lucky child also has a grandparent with pizzazz! No boring balding grandfathers here with their tidy garden obsessions or cups of tea with the newspapers.

The Wild Pa chases through the house, is groovy and groomed, prefers exciting food to beans and sausages and never minds when the house gets messy. Well, eventually he decides it’s time to clean up a bit but even that’s fun and then – the next adventure begins!

Claire Saxby’s delightful rhyming text and Dylan Thomas portrait like descriptors are always a joy to read aloud and Brecon’s illustrations jump off the pages with vibrancy and humour.

 

Both of these are bound to be great hits in your collection. I’m just a bit disappointed that we have already had our Grandparents Day for this year but will definitely keeping both in mind for next year’s fun.
Highly recommended for readers from Prep upwards.

 

The Cloudspotter – Tom McLaughlin

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Allen & Unwin Australia

Bloomsbury

March 2016

ISBN 9781408854976

RRP $15.99

Franklin is always alone but never lonely because he always has his clouds. That’s why he’s known as the Cloudspotter. When he is with his clouds he can be anywhere and anyone, do anything and imagine endlessly.

When Scruffy Dog comes along, Franklin is distinctly peeved. He doesn’t want or need anyone else encroaching on his cloudspotting and after attempts to rid himself of this annoying friend; he comes up with a brilliant airborne plan to send Scruffy Dog away.

But with Scruffy Dog gone, Franklin just doesn’t feel the same – with or without his clouds. Instead, he feels lonely and realises that perhaps Scruffy Dog was as well. A touching reconciliation ensures that two friends can both cloudspot – and imagine.

Friendship, imagination, sharing and loneliness – all of these are issues which will resonate in classrooms and libraries making this an extremely important read-aloud which will lead to many discussions with even the youngest children.

Another worthy addition for your shelves – recommended for children around Prep to Year 2.

The Adventures of Miss Petitfour – Anne Michaels

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Bloomsbury: Tundra Books

PenguinRandomHouse Australia

December 2015

ISBN 9781770495005

RRP $19.99

This beautifully presented hardback is packed with all things to delight girls from around 7 up as they begin their chapter book journey.

The quirky Miss Petitfour lives with her cats – all sixteen of them – and is always having adventures in between her baking delicious treats, making interesting objects and dancing. Her mode of transport around her little village is an umbrella with a marvellous ‘string of cats’ – as her precious felines all wrap each others’ tails to become a furry kite tail.

The text is very cleverly peppered with some challenging and unusual vocabulary which is not only explained directly to the reader but then utilised in each story to clarify meaning. The very sweet illustrations by Emma Block add some lovely visuals for the readers’ pleasure.

Five stories are presented full of the wonderful adventures, cheese eating cats and edible delicacies sprinkled throughout.

With the kind of eccentricity that so flavours classics such as Pippi Longstocking and Mary Poppins this little volume will be sure to entrance your younger readers.

The Cleo Stories: The Necklace & The Present – Libby Gleeson/Freya Blackwood

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ISBN: 9781743315279
Australian Pub.: October 2014
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: A & U Children
Suitable for ages: 5-8

RRP $16.99

You just know when you pick up a book created by this pair of very talented individuals, that you are in for a real treat. Certainly, this is no exception!

Cleo is six and like most little six year old girls loves her family and her friends very much. She also loves necklaces and presents and in these two stories, her imagination and ingenuity come to the fore – amid some tiny mishaps.

When my eldest daughter was this age, she came home from school one day asking for pink court shoes because ‘everyone’ at school wore them. So when I read The Necklace with Cleo asking her parents for a necklace because ‘everyone’ else has one, I laughed with the reminiscence. As Mum and Dad kindly point out, three friends do not make ‘everyone’ and necklaces are special presents, not everyday gifts. Undeterred, Cleo is inspired by her clearly much-loved Uncle Tom and comes up with a highly creative solution!

Cleo’s next dilemma is trying to think of just the right present for her Mum’s birthday. Having only a few coins in her piggy bank doesn’t allow for buying something expensive and flashy, she doesn’t want to ‘share’ in Dad’s present, she doesn’t think helping Dad cook dinner is much of a present so what can she do? She wants to give Mum a proper present, wrapped up and tied with a bow. Then once more, her imaginative little mind results in the most perfect present Mum could ever want!

This is a gorgeous book – with sweet gentle stories which will resonate with little people, especially girls, and the ever-beautiful illustrations of Freya Blackwood (oh those endpapers!!! Just lovely!).

I am put in mind of the simple but charming stories of Milly-Molly-Mandy from so long ago – stories which still engage young readers. I foresee this will be in the 2015 shortlist – and deserves to be.

Imagination, creativity and values which we should be encouraging and nurturing in our small humans imbue the text throughout.

If you have a special little girl in your life – this will make a treasured gift – and for your newly independent readers wanting to move into a lengthier picture book, a perfect addition to your library shelves.

Check out Libby’s website and also Freya’s.

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