Tag Archives: Penguin Australia

Ginger Meggs – Tristan Bancks and Jason Chatfield

Standard

Penguin Australia

May 2021

  • ISBN: 9781760894818
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 192
  • RRP: $24.99

When I was a kid, growing up in Sydney, my favourite part of the weekend was reading the Sunday comics. I started about four years old, when my Dad opened his Telegraph, and handed me the colourful insert and I was pretty much still reading them even when I was a teenager. Ginger Meggs was always a great favourite of mine. For my 5th birthday my parents took me to Taronga Zoo where the sweetest little monkey grasped my hand through its cage. On the way home I asked for a pet monkey (as you do) and my father replied that it was illegal to have monkeys as pets in Australia. Naturally I retorted ‘That can’t be true. Ginger Meggs has one!’. My father laughed rather a lot and said he knew Jimmy Bancks, the creator of Ginger (how I don’t know – but he did know an awful lot of people!) so I told him he should ask Mr Bancks where Ginger got his monkey from and then I could get one too. Needless to say, no monkey eventuated but I did acquire, soon after, a ginger kitten which I named Meggsie.

When Tristan announced he was writing this book to commemorate the centenary of Ginger Meggs, all those memories came flooding back to me as if they were just yesterday and so, of course, it gives me great pleasure to hold this very special book in my hands.

Tristan’s great-great uncle Jimmy was, without doubt, the best-known cartoonist in Australia and his legacy still lives on today, with Jason Chatfield now creating Ginger’s adventures which are published daily in 34 countries.

Naturally as times have changed, so have Ginger’s stories to give them a contemporary feel whilst retaining the irascible charm of the red-headed kid loved by young and old. When Ginger and his mate, Benny, build their new billy-cart, they ‘borrow’ wheels from the wheelie bin and when Ginger runs for class captain his opponent puts up a poster proclaiming, ‘Make our Class Great Again!’…….frankly, a tad more impressive than GM’s ‘Vote 1 for the Ginger Ninja’ (although to be honest, I think Ginger could do a far better job than our current PM).

Kids and adults alike will thoroughly enjoy these fresh new stories: Dead Man’s Hill, Lamington Billionaire, Ginger Meggs for PM and Father’s Day and, most certainly, will find the illustrated comic strip style timeline of Ginger’s history that follows absolutely fascinating. I have definitely enjoyed the laughs these new stories have provided over this very wet Easter weekend and have been plotting a celebration in our library for Meggsie’s centenary as well as offering our students the opportunity to showcase their comic creation skills.

You definitely won’t want to miss out on this superbly presented commemoration of an Australian icon – pre-order from any of the suppliers below:

BooktopiaAmazonDymocksQBDReadingsAngus & RobertsonAbbeysBoomerangCollinsFishpondHarry HartogKinokuniyaRobinsonsThe NileFind local retailersFind local retailers

Thanks Jimmy – for such a wonderful childhood memory that lingers today and thanks Tristan for bringing Meggsie to a whole new audience!

Hello and Welcome – Gregg Dreise

Standard

Penguin Australia

  • March 2021
  • ISBN: 9781760898328
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $24.99

With absolutely spot-on timing for Harmony Day 2021, multi-talented Gregg Dreise’s new book – which is a stunning companion to My Culture and Me – once again celebrates our First Australian people. In joyful celebration, as all are welcomed to corroboree, this gorgeous book provides insight and understanding into Welcome to Country acknowledgements, incorporating  traditional Gamilaraay language of the Kamilaroi people. No matter which country you and your readers are in, this is a universal celebration of Indigenous culture and tradition.

Gregg is one of the most well-received presenters I’ve ever enjoyed in my library as he told stories, played, sang, and drew for our younger students – not to mention making us all laugh a lot! Aside from that, he’s a great guy with a passion for sharing understanding and stories to strengthen our recognition of both ancient and contemporary Indigenous culture – oh! and he’s a Queenslander – yayy! – with both Kamilaroi and Euahlayi heritage.

These delightful Indigenous students welcome visitors to their gathering, acknowledge their Elders – past, present and emerging – with verve and vivacity that is both engaging and exciting. So many of our own students will delight in recognising themselves, as they too will have represented their beautiful culture in their respective school settings – including, of course, my gorgeous Wiradjuri grandies.

You can watch Gregg’s own lively reading of Hello and Welcome via Storytime, Better Reading Kids – and it would be a fabulous share for your kiddos and the perfect addition to your Harmony Day celebrations. Better Reading also has a wonderful activity pack you can share. Learn more about Gregg on his website.

Hello and welcome to our corroboree.
Hello and welcome to our gathering.
Father Sky, Mother Earth, together here with me.
Different colours, different people, together in harmony.

My highest recommendation of course for this new one – thank you Gregg for another superb book!

Early One Morning – Mem Fox. Illustrated by Christine Davenier

Standard

Penguin Australia

  • March 2021
  • ISBN: 9781761040030
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $19.99

It’s always a delight to see a new Mem Fox book and this one for very little people is no exception. Your littlest humans will thoroughly enjoy this little boy’s mission to collect his breakfast, as he walks around the farm in search of the source. There is no doubt that they will giggle along with the reading and guessing, and no doubt feel very superior that they know very well that it won’t be the tractor or the pony or the cow or the haystack that provides that elusive breakfast goodie.

The simple text perfectly underlines the ‘rambling’ nature of the little boy’s walk around his patch but these absolutely beautiful illustrations are killer. With wonderfully, almost retro, gentle and evocative illustrations completing this excursion into an enviable rural idyll, this will be such a huge hit with readers from toddlers upwards.

One never needs much of a hard sell for Mem’s books but needless to say it has a high recommendation from me – for either your personal shelves or in your collection.

Kensy and Max #7: Take Down – Jacqueline Harvey

Standard

Penguin Australia

March 2 2021

  • ISBN: 9781760898533
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $16.99

The countdown to Take Down is on! The kiddos are going to be wild with excitement to read this new adventure with the spies-in-training, as they set off for the World STEM championships in exotic Singapore. The team from the Central London Free School are thrilled to be in the finals for the world’s most prestigious STEM competition but when their grandmother, Dame Cordelia Spencer, falls victim to a poison attack, Kensy and Max are not so keen on going ahead with the trip. However, they are persuaded by their parents and friends that not only will they be safer in Singapore but that their obligation to the team is more important than sitting around in a hospital waiting room. Naturally, that proves dead wrong as the twins and their friends become embroiled with an illegal animal smuggling operation, the very dangerous villain who has been pursuing their family and the mystery surrounding their friend Autumn’s missing parents.

Once again Jacqueline Harvey has hit on a winning combination, combining the growing concerns around the illegal trade in exotic species and STEM, which is arguably the hottest topic in education at present, not to mention the reference to the dangerous nerve drug which was the subject of a recent (and huge) political attack. Kensy and Max prove themselves to be increasingly resourceful and creative and the growing emphasis on their friends’ skills and aptitudes, and their developing teamwork, will provide fans with more rich fodder for discussion and engagement. This underlining of family and friends being vital to our overall safety, success and achievements (no matter how talented we may be as individuals) is a valuable point of reflection for readers.

For those who have not had the pleasure of visiting Singapore it is a thoroughly delightful vicarious tourist experience, highlighting the best of the iconic sights and experiences to be found in this amazing city/country. Though the Kid has spent a week there, I’ve only had the brief encounter with a stop-over in the airport, sadly, and would love to see more of this vibrant and beautiful place – maybe one day!

There is never any need to ‘sell’ Jacqueline’s books, but this comes with my highest recommendation for your readers from around Year 4 upwards as the series gets edgier, more exciting and more in-depth with each new volume. Available for pre-order now, so don’t miss out – your kids will be waiting very impatiently for it to hit your shelves!!

The Time-travelling Caveman – Terry Pratchett

Standard

Penguin Australia

September 2020

  • ISBN: 9780857536020
  • Imprint: Doubleday Childrens
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $32.99

Oh Sir Terry how much poorer are we for your departure! This is our final offering from the master and one which will set many young readers on a journey of discovery for more of his completely anarchic and often absurd writing.

Previously unpublished this collection of stories originate from Sir Terry’s early days as a junior reporter writing for his local papers and are little gems in their own right.

Over a dozen stories have been unearthed and polished up to delight and entertain readers with a short introductory preface providing insight.

A crazy neighbour’s home-made rocket ship and a trip to Mars, a talking horse, an invasion of Britain by the little know Tropnecian nation, the titular time-travelling caveman and more are all bound to keep your kiddos in fits of snort laughing.

Ably illustrated by Mark Beech (in a style reminiscent of Quentin Blake) this lovely hardback edition would make a very splendid and welcome gift for a young reader of your acquaintance – or indeed, a TP fan of any age.

Highly recommended for readers from around 7 years upwards.

Hooray for Puffin’s 80th Anniversary!

Standard

Yes yes! the celebrations are well and truly underway – as you will have detected with some recent posts 🙂 but it’s not just about the always-fantastic titles, both classic and new. It’s time for excitement and give-aways too!

Did you know that if you buy two Puffin books from participating bookstores you too can have your own Puffin water bottle? I absolutely adore mine and you can have one just like it!

Participating local-ish stores include:

Dymocks, North Lakes, Chermside & Brisbane

Harry Hartog’s, Maroochydore

But wait – there’s more! One lucky Australian school will win a mural painted by Stephen Michael King and a visit from Andrew Daddo plus class sets of Atticus von Tasticus books to mark the release of the second book in the series! The individual student who creates the winning entry will receive a signed limited edition Stephen Michael King drawing and a set of books.

What are you waiting for? Get your kiddos onto it NOW! and happy happy birthday Puffin! We love you loads!

Puffin Books Australia

More Puffin Littles!

Standard

Penguin Australia

These new Puffin collections for the younger readers in your mob are just terrific! Not so long ago I reviewed Puffin Little Cook: Snacks which took its place with our cookbooks to aid The Kid in her learning to be self-sufficient. These would be just as useful in her home school program as though her reading competence has exploded spectacularly, simpler information texts are still the ones I supply. Beautifully designed and with a format that lends itself to clear understanding of big concepts, this series will not only intrigue younger readers but will prove a valuable component in relevant classroom units.

Puffin Little Scientist: The Solar System

July 2020

  • ISBN: 9781760897031
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $12.99

First up is this super exploration of our Solar System sectioned into easy-to-digest chapters starting with an overview and then of course details of our centrepiece, the sun. Following this, the planets are grouped together in their categories of rocky planets and gas giants concluding with a great section of fast facts. Each celestial body’s description begins with a simple fact spread and then goes onto to expand on various fascinating informational snippets.

Perfect for the budding astronomer, for your class unit on space for little ones or simply for those filled with scientific curiosity.

Puffin Little Scientist: Robotics

September 2020

ISBN: 9781760897680

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $12.99

Surely one of the hottest topics in schools with both little and big kids getting into this area of science, this is going to be a real boon for the programs involving those primary kiddos (such as those at my school).

Find out exactly what is a robot, what makes them work, robots in various settings e.g. home, agriculture, fire-fighting and more, programming and a whole lot more.

Aside from the kiddos, if like me you’re a bit of a robot novice this provides a terrific, easy-to-understand and comprehensive overview of this super interesting topic.

Puffin Little Explorer: The OceanSeptember 2020

ISBN: 9781760897666

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $12.99

From the heights of space to the depths of the sea, little scientists can explore underwater with this one, with facts that range from the biodiversity of the oceans to geographical features such as hydrothermal vents and seamounts. Readers will love the sections on Atlantis, the Arctic Ocean with creatures such as the narwhal (such a hugely popular creature with my students!) and additionally inspiration for protecting our precious oceans.

Again this would be a fabulous adjunct to any unit of work on the ocean as well your readers interested in the natural world.

Puffin Little Environmentalist: Composting July 2020

ISBN: 9781760897017

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $12.99

And last but certainly not least, particularly in view of the popularity of being more caring and mindful in our current parlous times, this valuable volume on the ways and means of composting will be gold for either units of work or indeed, your environmental group.

Carefully explaining the science of composting including concepts such as micro-organisms and the needed components as well as big issue ideas like greenhouse gases, your young activists will jump onto this and be keen to put their new knowledge into transformative action.

I can’t tell you how impressed I am with these little books. In my experience, quality and contemporary non-fiction for our youngest readers is not always easy to come by and these with their attractive design and clear format are just fantastic additions to your shelves.

Highly recommended for curious minds from around six years upwards as well as inclusion in your classroom.

Happy Father’s Day!

Standard

Whether you are celebrating a dad, step-dad, grandfather or the person who takes on the important role of a father figure – there are so many beautiful books which will add joy to your family’s or class’ marking of this special day. Here are some fabulous titles that will fit the bill perfectly!

I love Dad with the Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle

Penguin Australia

  • Published: 31 July 2017
  • ISBN: 9780141374376
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • RRP: $12.99

It’s not just that I have an absolute passion for Eric Carle’s work but these little gift books are just so darling! Even though I am now in a secondary library these little sweeties make regular appearances on my special little ‘sacred space’ table for inspiration or reminders.

This little kaleidoscope of colour expresses all the wonderful feelings that little people have for their dads’ special attributes. My clear favourite is the beautiful seahorse pair with their stunning rainbow-like shimmers.

This little charmer makes a perfect gift particularly for the littlest people and their daddies.

Peppa Pig: My Daddy

Penguin Australia

  • Published: 1 August 2011
  • ISBN: 9781409309062
  • Imprint: Ladybird
  • RRP: $9.99

This favourite has a delightful new look as Daddy Pig takes on that all important role of being the barbecue chef (or if you’re like my family – Tong Master!).

Everyone knows just how important Daddy is in the Pig family and how much Peppa loves him. Just like all dads Daddy Pig is not really perfect. Along with his many wonderful attributes he’s also a tiny bit clumsy at times and not really very good as a handyman for home projects but this just makes him all the more loveable – and no doubt for many littlies, more relatable!

We all know for little people, you just can’t go wrong with Peppa Pig so this one is a must-have!

My Dad Snores – John Williamson. Illustrated by Peter Carnavas.

Penguin Australia

  • Published: 6 August 2019
  • ISBN: 9780143793793
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $19.99

I got excited about this one when I got John’s latest Gumleaf newsletter a week or so ago and he had shared his video clip. I have to say – John is one of the very nicest people I’ve ever met and just saying, so is Peter Carnavas!

What an inspired pairing of creators this is and what an absolutely cracking gift for any family with a ‘snorer’ dad! This version of John’s song (which got many airings with my girls – we all loved John’s work) includes a new verse – increasing the hilarity even further.

If you are looking for a Father’s Day read to share with your minion troops this week – you can’t go wrong with this one. They will be falling about laughing and I am sure will be keen to share their own family ‘snorer’ stories!!

What do You Call Your Grandpa? Ashleigh Barton and Martina Heiduczek

Harper Collins Australia

  • ISBN: 9780733340864
  • ISBN 10: 0733340865
  • Imprint: ABC Books – AU
  • On Sale: 22/07/2020
  • List Price: 17.99 AUD

My final offering for your Father’s Day pleasure is this stunning new book that is not only a letter of love to all grandfathers but is inclusive and subtly informative. Little readers will be treated to an ‘around the world’ virtual visit to grandpas all over and learn their special titles in their own language. Given we have our own resident Nonno, this is one that appeals tremendously and in addition, in particular if your school like mine is a veritable melting pot of cultures and nationalities this will be a super exploration as well as lovely read-aloud.

Each beautiful double spread has a small rhyming verse to introduce the grandchild and grandparent and the book concludes with a list of the ‘grandfather’ names and a short explanation of their country of origin. Especially of note is the inclusion of one nomenclature in an Aboriginal language (Gurindji from the NT’s Victoria River region) and Maori as well as those from Europe, Africa, South America and languages such as Hebrew.

This is not only a superb inclusion for your Father’s Day collection but also for your HASS studies as it gives children an insight into cultural differences and similarities.

Highly recommended for readers from around 4 years upwards.