Tag Archives: Pets

A Little Fishy-ness

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9780241411797

Peppa at the Aquarium [a lift-the-flap book]

Penguin Random House

June 2020

  • ISBN: 9780241411797
  • Imprint: Ladybird
  • RRP: $14.99

This is another gorgeous board book which will delight your littlest readers as they discover all kinds of surprises under the flaps on each page – some of them with more than one!

Peppa is worried about her goldfish. Poor Goldie seems sad but how does one cheer up a goldfish? Peppa, being an intuitive little piglet, thinks perhaps Goldie is lonely so the Pig family go to visit the aquarium to get some advice on finding a friend for their little pet.

Luckily Miss Rabbit is there to show them around and tell them about some marvellous aquatic creatures and best of all, they find a special friend for Goldie.

It’s simple but with wonderfully colourful illustrations and those flap-surprises will enchant little readers from as young as babies upwards to around 4 years old.

Baby Shark: Adventure Down Under

9781760897970

Penguin Random House

  • Published: 19 May 2020
  • ISBN: 9781760897970
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $14.99

I defy anyone to tell me that they are unfamiliar with Baby Shark! Aside from all the hyped up little kids singing it there have been plenty of big kids and even some adults (I’m looking at you Lily!).

What a phenomenon it has been so there’s no doubt that young readers will love this colourful, entertaining and informative book that explores the variety of sharks found in Australian waters – doo doo doo doo doo doo!

Each double spread features another of our sharks and includes: tasselled wobbegong, Port Jackson, shortfin mako, great white, hammerhead, pygmy and more with salient details about each.

You won’t need to coax your readers to engage with this one as a read-aloud. They will be singing along from the first page!

Whether you are buying this for your collection or perhaps as a great gift for a child you know overseas, it’s a great way to share some simple information in a really fun way.

Highly recommended for all Baby Shark fans from around 2 years upwards.

 

 

I Need a Parrot – Chris McKimmie

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I-Need-a-Parrot-cover

Ford St Publishing

September 2019

9781925804287

RRP: $24.95

Another one that got missed on my review shelves which of course is completely remiss of me as it is both a Notable and a Short List title in the 2020 CBCA Awards list.

I think we’ve all been there. When the kid repeatedly asks for a certain pet and often is very persuasive. At the moment, I have one who thinks that nagging for a dog is going to work (very wrong!). While this kid’s arguments in favour of his proposed parrot are very convincing, once it is pointed out that what a kid wants and what a parrot needs are two very different things, the tack changes completely. Like all McKimmie books this is loaded with humour despite a very simple text and the illustrations, in his always recognisable style,  are just hilarious.

In light of our current circumstances there is much to be had about discussing the difference between needs and wants, and even though this is frequently a focus in foundation classrooms, it is arguably more vital just now.

Like all his books McKimmie has really hit a sweet spot with young readers here and I would highly recommend it for your readers (though no doubt you’ve already snaffled it up for your Book Week celebrations!) from around 4 years upwards.

Click to access I-NEED-a-Parrot-Teacher-Notes.pdf

The Bookworm – Debi Gliori

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Bloomsbury

 

ISBN: 9781408893036
Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

 

9781408893036

 

 

What could delight a teacher-librarian’s heart more than a book about a bookworm? Little Max really really wants a pet of his own but his parents are not very keen. They reject his suggestion of a puppy or a kitten because they chew things or they smell stinky and they certainly scoff at his request for a dragon because they don’t exist.

So Max finds his own pet. Not your average pet of course, this is a strange and lumpy worm who it appears just love to be stroked and to listen to stories at bedtime.

But Max’s worm starts to grow and seems to be quite unusual. Its lumpy back develops into spikes and it begins to breathe smoke. It also along the way chews stuff and can be a bit stinky!

Of course Max’s new pet is really a dragon and eventually is big enough to fly away on its own but it does still love to visit and hear a good story so Max in content. Besides he has a new pet on which to focus – he’s taken up his parents’ suggestion of a goldfish but why does that fish have such sharp teeth?

Debi Gliori’s books are always a joy to read and share and this is no exception.

This is a delightful uncomplicated read and children will readily embrace it and I have no doubt, will be able to discuss very animatedly their own ideal pet – whether one they have or one they want.

Highly recommended for readers from around four years upwards.

Animal Crackers

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Now that the pile of review novels is finally getting to a stage that could be described as semi-tamed, it’s time to get stuck into plethora picture books. So here are some animal-focused ones to get into – because we all know that our little readers just love a great animal story and we love them because so often they send such positive messages.

flatcat

Flat Cat – Hiawyn Oram/Gwen Millard

Walker Books Australia

January 2019

ISBN: 9781406371543
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99

“If you love something, set it free” – that was my first thought on reading this book. My second thought was the memory of buying my beloved Burmese cat, Possum, many years ago. I was determined that he would be an ‘inside’ cat but after two weeks of completely shredded flyscreens, I realised that was not in his nature and so he became an inside/outside cat and was my best friend for the eight years of his life.

Sophie loves Jimi-My-Jim and gives him everything you might think a cat could desire – toys, special food, sparkly collars, beds and even clothes. The one thing that Jimi-My-Jim is missing is freedom. He is never allowed outside and gradually he becomes ‘Flat Cat’ because he so morose at seeing the outside world only through a window. When one day by accident, Flat Cat manages to get hold of the front door keys, he is off and away and discovers a world full of other cats, life, excitement, joy and another very special cat – Blanche.  While at first the consequences prove to be difficult for both Flat Cat and Sophie, they are overcome and Flat Cat is able to pursue his new life – with the joy of the freedom plus the joy of being Sophie’s special friend.

This offers a serious point of discussion about when, if ever, it’s acceptable to reject the rules in place and certainly gives ‘helicopter’ parents an opportunity to examine their practices.

I certainly recommend it for young readers from around six years upwards – but would suggest that it could also be a valuable addition to parent information nights!

goodrosie

Good Rosie! – Kate de Camillo. Pictures by Harry Bliss

Walker Books Australia

October 2018

ISBN: 9781406383577
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99

 

I really meant to get to this one sooner rather than later because I truly adore Kate di Camillo’s work. This is such a departure from her novels but is truly enchanting and endearing.

We all need friends and Rosie is no exception. She has a good life with her human, George, but is lonely without doggy companions. Sometimes it seems that she and George don’t have much in common, for example, an intense interest in squirrels. When George takes Rosie to the dog park for the first time, she is somewhat overwhelmed. She has never seen so many dogs before and she feels confronted and scared. She is even more so when Maurice, a very large St Bernard approaches shaking his toy bunny with such vigour it’s a wonder the toy’s extremities still exist. But then the tiny Fifi with her sparkly collar doesn’t seem a kindred spirit either.

It takes an unfortunate incident between Maurice and Fifi to help Rosie realise that sometimes friends come in different shapes and sizes and that we don’t all ‘click’ at first sight.

Formatted in a graphic novel style, this is a lovely reminder about unlikely friendships but moreover about overcoming prejudices and feeling anxious.

A fabulous book for sharing with young readers to kick-start conversations about acceptance and building relationships.

 

Saying Goodbye to Barkley – Devon Sillett/Nicky Johnston

barkley

EK Books

978-1-925335-96-5

$24.99

Losing our furbabies is difficult. For children who have grown up with a special pet it is arguably even moreso. Super Olivia and her trusty sidekick, Barkley, have always been a team. As Olivia carries out her amazing super-hero deeds, Barkley is always right by her giving his all. When Barkley is no longer there, Olivia feels her zest for super-sleuthing and action-heroism has also gone. But after her grieving she realises that Barkley would not want her to give up her passion in life, nor forget his extraordinary assistance. Olivia knows what she must do as a true super-hero for whom rescues are a daily event. She must rescue a new sidekick.

Spud is white, fluffy and adorable – and absolutely useless at fighting crime and uncovering dastardly plots but Olivia loves her anyway.

This is not a story about replacing one pet for another but a beautiful way of describing that eventually we can heal from our losses and find joy in other ways, events and companions.

Highly recommended for readers from around six years upwards.

 

 

The Funny Life of Pets – James Campbell and Rob Jones

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9781408889947

Bloomsbury Australia

September 2018

ISBN 9781408889947

Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

RRP: $12.99

 

This book answers all the big questions, like: do sausage dogs eat sausages? Why has my cat done a poo-poo behind my wardrobe? And, how can I persuade my parents to get me a pet?

If you have some reluctant readers in your pack this would be a perfect book with which to tempt them! For a start, there’s no need to start at the beginning and keep on until the end. This is the sort of book that can be picked up and dipped into at random, choosing the choicest most chortle-provoking snippets.

It could be said that there are numerous facts strewn about throughout the text but they are far outweighed by the total hilarity of some of the passages. For example:

Hamsters

Generally speaking, the only thing a hamster will attack is a sunflower seed, but if you are unlucky enough to get a BAD-TEMPERED hamster, you’ll find that dressing up as a bird of prey and swooping around the utility room should make it run back into its little house. Hamsters can growl though. Search for ‘angry hamster’ online.

As well as James’ very humorous writing the comic illustrations by Rob Jones break up the text with the result that this is a great book for those who are daunted by scads of print – the ‘chunks’ are very well dispersed among the plethora of cartoon-style line drawings.

Anything to do with animals, especially in humorous situations or the focus on the freaky aspects always seems to go down a treat with kids – just look at the popularity of some TV shows on this subject! – so to my mind there is no doubt that this would be a real tempter for those kids that just roll their eyes at the thought of reading a whole book.

Recommended for kids from around eight years upwards though capable younger readers would also enjoy it.

The Adventures of Catvinkle – Elliot Perlman

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catvinkle

Penguin Random House

9780143786368

October 1, 2018

Puffin

RRP $19.99

 

Well regarded author of adult books Elliot Perlman has ably proven that he can turn his hand just as easily to writing for children with this first book for younger readers. It is delightfully whimsical and carries a literary flavour of its Amsterdam setting within its text with an enviable ease (very reminiscent of Annie M. G. Schmidt’s beautiful classics).

 

Catvinkle is a much pampered only pet of a charming barber in Amsterdam. She is exceedingly beautiful and certainly talented in some ways but also very definitely selfish and rather casual with the truth. When her owner Mr Sabatini brings home a rather forlorn and neglected Dalmation named Ula, Catvinkle is extremely unimpressed to say the least. An intruder into her cosy parlour and water bowl and a dog to boot is the last thing with which she wants to contend. It will completely ruin her social standing in Kittens Anonymous for one thing!

 

Ula’s sweet nature and compliant personality win Catvinkle over slowly (of course her delicious musky smell which acts intoxicatingly on the cat helps) but it also endears her to others as she breaks down barriers between not only cats and dogs but dogs and dogs!

 

The subtle themes of anti-racism, anti-bullying, acceptance, tolerance, friendship and loyalty are delivered in a wonderfully funny story where cats who baby-shoe dance, fly with tail propellers and llamas who play backgammon are quite the norm.

 

Readers from around eight years upwards will delight in this magical story of animals whose lives seem to mirror those of humans.

 

 

 

(Axel Scheffler’s) Flip Flap Pets – Axel Scheffler

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9780857636805

July 2016

Allen & Unwin

Imprint: Nosy Crow

ISBN 9780857636805

RRP $ 15.99

Flip flap books have always been popular with kids as they make all kinds of crazy combinations.

I knew this one was going to be a sure fire winner at our house for sure because we are the household with the menagerie. I was right! Small went crazy when she saw so many of her own pets included in this fun book including cat, lizard, budgies, goldfish and even stick insects!

We have had loads of fun going back to this again and again and trying out all the different combinations with many giggles (there are 121 possible combos!). Somehow I don’t think this one is going to make it out of the house as my review copies mostly do!

“What do you get if you cross a lizard with a budgerigar? Well, that would a lizerigar!”

Look out for the others in this series: Farm, Safari and Jungle. I guarantee they will entertain for many hours!

 

My Dog Dash – Nicki Greenberg

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dash

ISBN: 9781760110673

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Imprint: A & U Children

May 2016

RRP $24.99

 

This is an absolute hoot of a book and I can’t wait to read it aloud (with Small in the house and Miss Mouse sleeping over, it will be a great opportunity this weekend)!

If you’ve ever owned a puppy you will be all too familiar with the peccadilloes of Dash as his young owner shows him off and enjoys her beautiful pet.

Dash is not a very good pupil at puppy school, is a bit slobbery and tends to make a mess (with help of course!) in the house but is very friendly  and loves walkies time. When Dash goes missing everyone is out all night looking for him only to find that Dash has met another ‘dog’ up the road – PUPPIES!

Now if you want to know what makes this so different from other dog stories, I’m not going to tell you.  Suffice to say that when you see it, you will understand the hilarity!

This is a prime example of illustrations adding far more meaning to the text.

Highly recommended for little humans in need of a few chuckles!

Pugly Bakes a Cake – Pamela Butchart, illustrated by Gemma Correll

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pugly

 

ISBN: 9780857635990

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Imprint: Nosy Crow

Pub Date: March 2016

 

I guess we all know that pugs are pretty cute (and pretty fashionable) right now. If I hadn’t got a toy poodle myself I probably would have got a pug – although my eccentric teaching colleague who had a wardrobe of outfits for hers and attended all the ‘pug parties’ in Brisbane at one time did kind of put me off a little.

 

Moving right along, newly independent readers are going to love this book. It’s a HOOT! Last night I read this aloud straight through to The Divine Miss M who is having a sleepover and she thought it was great! She was able to predict and infer as I read which was pretty impressive as well.

Pugly and his nemesis Clem (Clementine) the cat are rivals for the undivided attention of their owner Maddy who is eight years old.

Being a pug (no offence to pug owners), Pugly is not the sharpest knife in the drawer and Clem can very easily put it over him. Especially as Pugly’s only ally is Clive the fish – and Pugly doesn’t speak or understand fish-bubble.

Inspired Pugly decides he is going to the first dog to ever bake a cake and thus win paws down The Great British Bake Off, be on TV and meet the Queen (as you do when you’re famous). This plan will seal his status as Maddy’s favourite pet he is sure.

However, with Clem ‘advising’ him chaos reigns in the kitchen and elsewhere, as Pugly heeds all Clem’s ideas, goes mental at the Evil Squirrel outside on the fence and more.

This is a laugh a minute book and not only proved a terrific read aloud (took about half an hour or so) but perfect for those readers beginning their individual reading journeys. Lots of capitalised words and extra large fonts give them the opportunity to incorporate tone and expression into reading as well.

Get onto this one – it will be a great favourite with Year 1 to around Year 4 for sure!