Christmas Countdown Crunch Time! Days 17 - 24!

I’ve been indulging in (almost) daily posts, savouring some of my standout reading recommendations for Christmas this year but like any Christmas feast, the time has come to harness gluttony and reduce mouthfuls to meaningful bite-sized tastes. So here is a super quick, but delicious, sample of some more cracking good reads to cram into your kids’ stockings this year. They sure beat lumps of coal!

There’s A Zoo InMy Poo

The title alone entices further inspection. But as we all know, or should, poo is life and maintaining a healthy gut system is key to happy poos and happy YOU! This book explores the microscopic stew of your inners, examining up-close and personal the zoo of bugs your gut harbours and how and why they are super critical for good health. As head zookeeper, it’s a tricky job keeping every bug happy but this nifty guide for youngsters is brilliant for explaining what to feed your bugs (recipes included!) and how to keep them strong and diverse. Explicit and excellent, this book takes poo to the next (fun) level.

Title:  There’s A Zoo In My Poo
Author:  Professor Felice Jacka
Illustrator:  Rob Craw
Publisher:  Pan Macmillan, $24.99
Publication Date:  July 2020
Format:  Hardcover
: 9781760783044
For ages:  5+
Type:  Non Fiction Picture Book, Junior Non Fiction

Buy the Book: Pan Macmillan, Boomerang Books

Scientists Who Changed the World: Charles Darwin

Older readers will soak up scientific facts with glee in this stylish and sleek non-fiction series sporting several well-known scientists. Rachel Carson, Albert Einstein, Galileo Galilei, Stephen Hawking and Sir Isaac Newton are but some of the scientists featured, each of whom have changed our world and thinking in some brilliant way. The names and contributions may be familiar to young people, but the stories behind their ideas and theories are revealed in this series with unambiguous detail creating an enviable resource library. Each title introduces these great people with a brief but grabbing biology, gradually guiding the reader through a profusion of facts and achievements and what their impact on the scientific world meant and still means for mankind. Photographs, line drawings and a student-friendly extended references section complement this superlative series.

Title:  Scientists Who Changed The World: various
Author:  Anita Croy
Publisher:  EK Books, $24.99
Publication Date:  May 2020
Format:  Hardcover
: 9781925820706 (Charles Darwin) various
For ages:  6+
Type:  Non Fiction Picture Book, Non Fiction for Older Reader

Buy the Book: EK Books, Boomerang Books

Robots: The Future Is Now

Ears prick and heartbeats quicken whenever the word, robots is uttered. Kids seem to adore the notion of artificial intelligence as a means to avoid making ones bed and walking the dog. But what are robots really? And how can we safely harness their technology for the greater good? This book is a brilliant resource for primary aged kids that explores the mythology, current and future impact robots have on society. Even the concept of Uncanny Valley is conveyed in kid-friendly fashion. I love this although find the whole AI thing slightly unnerving. Still, this is one book that is sure to win praise in the robotics class.

Title: Robots: The Future Is Now
Author:  Charles Hope
Publisher:  Wild Dog Books, $24.99
Publication Date:  June 2020
Format:  Hardcover
: 9781742034799
For ages:  7 – 10
Type:  Junior Non Fiction

Buy the Book: Wild Dog Books, Boomerang Books

Maths Mutts series: All About Time

Maths Mutts is a picture book stylised ‘raise-the-question’ type junior non-fiction series. And it has dogs therefore oodles of ‘aww ooh’ appeal but importantly it covers essential maths-related concepts; in this case, time. Readers are advised from the get go what to expect, what they will learn and things they can ponder over later. I love how full coloured images of puzzling pups adorn every page encouraging youngsters to explore and ‘try it for themselves’. Exercises are simple enough for lower grade-aged children and reinforce how to tell the time, measure it and understand its machinations…something I still struggle with! All About Time concludes with a reminder that time is constantly moving forward and can never be repeated (without a TARDIS in any case), therefore we should all spend it in the most enjoyable ways we can, like giving your dog a good pat. Timely advice indeed.

Title:  Maths Mutts: All About Time
Author:  Charles Hope
Publisher:  Wild Dog Books, $24.99
Publication Date:  October 2020
Format:  Hardcover
: 9781742035994
For ages:  5 – 8
Type:  Junior Non Fiction

Buy the Book: Wild Dog Books, Boomerang Books

Show Me The Money

Even small children cotton on to the concept of value and exchange so it’s little wonder we all hold a fascination for money. We all crave for more of it but think little of handing it over for things we deem ‘must-have’. This insightful production encourages children to slow down and take a closer look at their pocket money, in particular the people and imagery used on Australian currency. After a brief visit to colonial times, Show Me The Money, instructs readers about currency in circulation, its current security features and then most impressively, explains each side of every note in detail. Not only will this encourage a closer look at what is normally just stuffed into wallets or back pockets but also a deeper appreciation of the painstaking design incorporated into our unique medium of exchange, not to mention how helpful this will be in trivia quizzes! A handy timeline and glossary complete this fascinating show-and-tell experience that is ultimately a story of colonised Australia.

Title:  Show Me The Money
Author:  Sue Lawson and Karen Tayleur
Publisher:  Wild Dog Books, $24.99
Publication Date:  October 2020
Format:  Hardcover
: 9781742035898
For ages:  7+
Type:  Junior Non Fiction

Buy the Book: Wild Dog Books, Boomerang Books

Playing With Collage

Most of us are familiar with Jeannie Baker’s stunning picture book classics, most of which feature her artful illustrative collage creations. Now for the first time, the artist shares her secrets in the sumptuous feast of tips and tricks. What you need and how to find it is broken down into step-by-step discussion accompanied by equally detailed photographs. Baker addresses the reader from a first person point of view creating a real teacher-student vibe that is both inviting and intimate. Specifics are chunked together in four main sections: Paper, Out In Nature, On The Beach and In The Kitchen and the materials displayed need to be seen to be believed! Who knew vermicelli might make a gorgeous display. This book fosters creativity in spades and will give young art-and-crafters endless projects to work on. Almost too good to leave out on the craft table!

Title:  Playing With Collage
Author:  Jeannie Baker
Publisher:  Walker Books, $27.99
Publication Date:  June 2019
Format:  Hardcover
: 9781406378665
For ages:  5+
Type:  Non Fiction

Buy the Book: Walker Books, Boomerang Books

Dr Seuss’s Horse Museum

A horse is many different things to many different people. So is art… Art. It’s not just short for Arthur you know and in this incredible illustrated non-fiction work based on a manuscript and sketches by the renowned, Dr Seuss, children and adults alike will learn about art, horses and most profoundly, themselves. Andrew Joyner’s jolly illustrations are faithful to Seuss’s original sketches which escort the reader through a museum of wonder, speculation, revelation and actual horse-inspired art by real artists. Several artistic styles are discussed in conversational kid style; so clear and engaging even an art boob like me can learn something new. Great lengths are taken to encourage viewing art and indeed life from different perspectives. This is after all what makes us unique and what makes every artist’s impression of a horse so singular and special, too. Look it over. Think it over. Talk it over; a credence of life that suggests there is no right or wrong way to judge or enjoy art. This is a book to enlighten, entertain and charm in ways to great too measure. Highly recommended for budding artists, philosophers, lovers of Seuss and horses and admirers of fine art. Brilliant.

Title:  Dr Seuss’s Horse Museum
Author:  Dr Seuss
Illustrator:  Andrew Joyner
Publisher:  Penguin Random House, $ 27.99
Publication Date:  September 2019
Format:  Hardcover
: 9780241425725
For ages: 7+
Type:  Illustrated Non Fiction

Buy the Book: Boomerang Books, Booktopia

Fearless Footsteps: True Stories ThatCapture The Spirit of Adventure

Intrepid Times introduces this colourful and stirring collection of travel anecdotes, recollections and harrowing incidents with the notion that ‘the difference between travel and adventure is the presence of fear’. I couldn’t agree more. Even a leisurely sojourn can morph into a heart-racing experience of dread when heightened by feelings of isolation and anxiousness brought about by an inability to understand the language, culture or motivations of the land through which you are trekking. But without this kind of innate unease, the edge of adventure is eroded. Excitement and a sense of triumph are sometimes best savoured after your guts have roiled a little with terror.

This is why I wrote about one of my fearful travel encounters and why I am deliriously proud to have it included in this anthology. But perhaps more telling, is how much I’ve enjoyed travelling again, albeit vicariously, through the tales of others. These true stories about staring down fear full in the face told through the eyes of fellow travellers, trekkers, and hustlers of life keen to, well … live… are truly emotional and inspirational. Not only do they entertain and enthral (some causing audible gasping), they demonstrate the sheer tensile strength of the human will and our ability to endure. A quality, like this book, to value and revere and one adults and young adults alike will relish.

Title:  Fearless Footsteps: True Stories That Capture The Spirit of Adventure
Author:  Dimity Powell, Various
Editors: Nathan James Thomas and Jennifer Roberts
Publisher:  Exisle Publishing, $29.99
Publication Date:  November 2020
Format:  Paperback
: 9781925820577 
For ages:  15+
Type:  Non Fiction Anthology

Buy the Book: Exisle Publishing, Dimity Powell (for signed copies), Boomerang Books




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