Tag Archives: School

Kensy and Max #4: Out of Sight – Jacqueline Harvey

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9780143791928

Penguin

September 2019

ISBN: 9780143791928

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $16.99

Just as life for the intrepid and resilient twins seems to be settling with both their parents and their grandparents restored to the family, the London house habitable again and being back at school with their friends, things start hotting up.  Their upcoming first Pharos review is doubtless a tad stressful given there’s no wriggle room for inadequacies and the school play looms large but there’s far more to it than that. They appear to be not only surrounded by deception and mystery but for the first time ever each is keeping a big secret from the other.

As well there is annoyingly inquisitive new student Blair, new Drama teacher/Pharos agent/”world famous actor” Mr Theo Richardson and some missing journalists with which to contend. The twins’ training in stealth, disguise, parkour and coding are all about to become far more necessary than just for the upcoming review!

When it becomes apparent that there is a large-scale operation focused on thefts of valuable pieces and that somehow there’s a connection to both the new Drama teacher and the missing journalists, the Pharos kids are galvanised into action.  Given the skills, expertise and native intelligence the twins and their friends are able to apply to a dangerous situation the review could seem an anti-climax.

Once again, readers will revel in the excitement of this series. Each book gets a little edgier with the twins (and their friends) demonstrating real independence, quick thinking, teamwork and bravery.

Jacqueline Harvey has proven over and over her ability to connect with her readers by providing exactly the right adventures that appeal to the middle school kiddos upwards. It’s certainly no wonder that her fan base just continues to grow and that each new book is greeted with such enthusiasm.

Highly recommended for readers from around 9 years upwards.

All Are Welcome – Alexandra Penfold/Suzanne Kaufman

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welcome

Bloomsbury Australia

February 2019

ISBN: 9781526604071
Imprint: Bloomsbury Children

RRP: $14.99

I deliberately saved this one to time with Harmony Day since it is a perfect expression of what we want to convey to our children as they grow up in a world where so many adults are blindly ignorant of the true meaning of one humanity. What I didn’t expect was that this review would come hard on the heels of one of the most heinous acts of butchery in the name of that hate-fuelled blindness so close to home.

 Kia Kaha, Christchurch –we stand with you.

kiwiheart

This delightful book follows a diverse group of children through their school day reiterating that all are welcome despite their various races, religions or backgrounds. With lilting rhymes the children embrace each other whether they are listening to stories, making art, playing or learning each spread repeating the refrain that ‘All are welcome here.’.

The brightly coloured illustrations show children from many different backgrounds and include both adults and cultures in likewise fashion.

Children will love the pure joyousness of this as a read-aloud or to savour themselves.

We’re part of a community

Our strength is our diversity

A shelter from adversity

All are welcome here

It’s my thought that perhaps we should send a copy to our governments and let them take note of what we want for our communities and our children.

Highly recommended for all from about four years upwards.

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Little Lunch: Triple The Games– Danny Katz/Mitch Vane

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littlelunch

Walker Books Australia

ISBN: 9781760650278
Imprint: Black Dog Books
March 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $12.99

The kids from Little Lunch really do crack me up! As I’ve said before I reckon I’ve taught every one of them at one time or another.  The fun continues for fans of the popular TV show with this latest instalment of another three stories.

Sport-obsessed Tamara needs to find a new walking buddy for the school walkathon. Her last year’s partner, Melanie, is definitely off the list for stopping to rest and, for goodness sake, tie up her shoelaces. Of course, Melanie has taken herself off the list anyway because when she fell Tamara didn’t even stop to help her up. But finding a suitably competitive buddy is difficult and after all this is all about winning and getting your name on the gold cup – oh and of course raising money for the school’s African sponsor-child.  Still, despite her obvious sporting superiority, Tamara finds it difficult to find the right applicant and things start to look a little desperate.

And on the note of competitiveness is the school talent show.  Rory’s plan to shut the girls into the toilets so that he can resume his rightful place as Atticus’ magic assistant does not quite work the way he imagines it will and so the chaos continues with identical songs, costumes and snarky sniping until of course it all unravels relatively neatly – well, sort of.

Definitely my favourite is Rory declaring himself Prime Minister. Since he spends most of his time outside the principal’s office he’s taken on acting as a deputy principal but feels he has more to offer. The ensuing anarchy, Mrs Gonsha’s attempts to divert the drama into learning about democracy and the hilarious outcome is worth the read. Vote for Rory!

Highly recommended for your readers from around 8 years upwards!

Chook Doolan series – James Roy. Illustrated by Lucinda Gifford

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Walker Books

Sometimes it can be tricky finding those transition type books for the little ones who are ready to take on their first chapter books. I have found the Chook Doolan series to be ideal for this and I know that many people will already have some in their collection. Now we have four brand new titles to share with these excited emergent readers as we support their journey into independent reading. These all firmly focus on topics relevant to the readers: family, friends, school and particularly becoming confident. Although the main character is a boy I have found that little girls equally enjoy the stories so this is a great series to have for both.

On the Road

ontheroad

ISBN: 9781925381566
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
June 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $7.99
New Zealand RRP: $9.99

Chook’s mum says she needs a break so the family is off the country for a few days to visit Aunty Liz.  A mini-holiday is usually quite fun but Chook and his brother Ricky are less than keen to be told they need to be nice with their cousins who are tiny twin girls. They each have their favourite toy – Ricky, his soccer ball and Chook, his chess set but neither is interested in the other’s games. What a surprise is in store for them when they get to know their cousins again!

Unhappy Camper

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ISBN: 9781925381573
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
June 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $7.99
New Zealand RRP: $9.99

Everybody is excited about the school camp. Well, except for Chook because as we know Chook isn’t very brave. He’s terribly worried about snakes and really anxious that he’ll be homesick. He really doesn’t want to go on camp at all! But things move along with Mum buying what he needs like a torch and a beanie and Ms Rashid explaining things like activities. Chook is still resistant but his friend Joe is persuasive and when Mum tops off his packing with a huge bag of jelly snakes for a midnight treat, Chook is suddenly keen. And what a surprise when he finds out where the camp is!

Up and Away

upaway

ISBN: 9781925381580
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
June 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $7.99
New Zealand RRP: $9.99
Chook really wants to be a pilot like his dad when he grows up but how will he ever cope with such scary things as talking to strange people and flying to new places?

Dad has a great idea and takes Chook to visit his work and find out a lot more about flying and aeroplanes. Since Chook loves to know how things work this is a super idea. Once he knows more about the ins and outs, he is able to use his knowledge in just the right way to soothe a little girl taking her first flight – just as a real pilot would!

Let’s Do Diwali!

diwali

ISBN: 9781925381597
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
June 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $7.99
New Zealand RRP: $9.99

This is my favourite and I think lots of people will be able to use this when you are looking at festivals from other cultures. Chook’s class are pairing off to do presentations on festivals. Normally Chook would work with Joe but he has chicken pox so Chook teams up with Praj Patel instead. Praj is very softly spoken and Chook, well Chook is just scared of talking in front of everybody. But Praj loves Diwali and he invites Chook to go to the celebrations with his family. Of course, Chook is nervous about that as well! But the boys have a fantastic time and Chook really enjoys seeing new things, wearing different clothes and eating delicious Indian food. Their presentation is a huge success!

 

I highly recommend this series to you for your readers from around six years upwards. Perfect for developing emotional intelligence, good fun to read and totally relatable to kids.