Book Bites: Too Cool For School
Here in Oz, Term One is in full swing. The first-day wobbles have stabilised and the tears have dried; well I can't speak for every parent but here's hoping! In case your tiny tot is still feeling a bit apprehensive about this big new adventure called school, cast an eye over these titles that address learning, dealing with change and forging friendships.
Let’s Go On a … series
This jolly new board book series is more suited to pre-schoolers but I just love the winning combination of Natalia Moore’s chipper illustrations and Welsh author, Rosalyn Albert’s rhythmic text. This series focuses on modes of transport with titles about ferries, trains and rockets. It’s fun and engaging, perfect to share with young children or for encouraging new schooler-goers to discover language.
Title: Let’s Go On a…series
Author: Rosalyn Albert
Illustrator: Natalia Moore
Publisher: New Frontier Publishing, Catch A Star imprint, $12.99
Publication Date: November 2019
ISBN: Rocket 9781925594881, Ferry 9781925594898
For ages: 0 – 4
Type: Board Book
Buy the Book: New Frontier Publishing, Booktopia
I’m Ready for…Preschool
The I’m Ready for… series is a sweet collection of concept board books ideal for pre-schoolers discovering the many new milestones that make up their young lives. I’m Ready for Preschool deals with first day at preschool situations from dressing for the occasion and break times to meeting the teacher and taking those first tentative footsteps towards new friendships. Jedda Robaard is responsible for the softly hued, Australiana inspired illustrations that add buckets of charm and comfort.
Title: I’m Ready for…series
Illustrator: Jedda Robaard
Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia, $12.99
Publication Date: October 2019
For ages: 3 – 5
Type: Board Book
Buy the Book: Booktopia, Readings
Kiki & Jax: The Life-changing Magic of Friendship
Kiki and Jax are best of friends but their differing habits and personalities get in the way of friendship from time to time. When Kiki’s hoarding and storing obsession results in chaos and clutter, it pushes the two friends apart. As is often the case with overzealous collecting, cleaning up and sorting out can be hugely daunting. Kiki is at first overwhelmed but thanks to Jax’s unwavering support, the two find a way to organise and reconnect. This little book tackles a big issue, one pertinent to adults and especially for those little ones often existing in an unregulated ocean of toys and mess. It’s a great tale for inspiring order and routine, an expectation children are likely to face within the first hour of school, without being didactic and bossy.
Title: Kiki & Jax: The Life-changing Magic of Friendship
Author: Marie Kondo
Illustrator: Salina Yoon
Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia, $22.99
Publication Date: November 2019
For ages: 3 – 7
Type: Board Book
Buy the Book: Pan Macmillan, Boomerang Books
Ollie and Augustus
School is all about change. So is life. Ollie is fearful that his best mate, Augustus a stick-loving bear of a dog, will get an attack of the lonelies when he has to leave him to start school. He tries in vain to find a substitute friend to keep Augustus occupied and happy but no one suits Augustus’ particular inclinations, indeed Augustus seems perfectly happy being left to his own devices.
Gabriel Evan’s perkily illustrated and beautifully told tale describes the kind of fretting that change can cause. Relaxed pencil illustrations scooter merrily across each page concealing a deeper meaning. We wonder if it’s really Ollie that can’t live a day without his best mate by his side. Is it he refusing to find a replacement, terrified of getting through the day by himself or is he truly worried about leaving his dog behind? Perhaps a bit of both. Augustus’ non-complacency provides not only humour but also reassurance for young people that change is not all bad and that true friendship is capable of withstanding anything. Perfect for little people dealing with big emotions and pet lovers. Highly recommended.
Title: Ollie and Augustus
Author: Gabriel Evans
Illustrator: Gabriel Evans
Publisher: Walker Books Australia, $26.99
Publication Date: September 2019
For ages: 4 – 7
Type: Picture Book
Buy the Book: Walker Books Australia, Boomerang Books
Having brought the sparkly unicorn-horned lunch box for back to school banquets, it’s now time to fill it. Lunchbox Express is a collection of time-saving, healthy hacks by popular lunchbox dad, George Georgievski designed to fill a lunchbox in 5 minutes. Packed with hints and back-to-basic explanations including budget breakdowns, this colourful manual is more fun than it sounds with full colour pages depicting actual lunchbox layouts brimming with scrummy looking fare. There are sumptuous suggestions for the fussiest of eaters secreted within with helpful variations to make lunchtimes colourful and fun. Recommended for those who tend to stick to the tried and true fodder (as I do because I want it to get eaten!), I urge you to give this a go. The key is to think of things that make your kids happy, like rainbows. So give them a rainbow (of colours, textures and food types) in their lunchbox every day. There’s even international and adult inspired lunchbox combinations to whet your appetite with easy, no-think recipes included. Yum!
Title: Lunchbox Express
Author: George Georgievski
Publisher: Pan Macmillan, Plum imprint, $24.99
Publication Date: July 2019
For ages: 6+ – Adults
Type: Non Fiction, Food Books
Buy the Book: Boomerang Books, Pan Macmillan
The Big History Timeline WallBook: Unfold the History of the Universe
The end pages of this incredible work of nonfiction echoed my immediate bafflement, ‘What on Earth is a Wallbook?’ Thankfully this mystery is swiftly dealt with. Quite simply, this is a time line of the history of planet Earth from the Big Bang to present day but not just any old time line. This one unfolds out into a whopping two-metre-long timeline imbued with hundreds of pictures and captions. However, despite the trillions of explosions, extinctions, inhabitations, and inventions that have taken place since 14Bn (14 billion years ago), this is a surprisingly detailed yet easy to navigate journey that streams readers through the natural history of Space, Earth, Sky, Sea and Land events, passing through the Stone Ages to eventually accent human civilisation on all continents of the world. You need not begin at the beginning of time as we know it. Choose any date and scoot up to see what happened at the time anywhere in the world! A nifty Magnifier is included for those like me with old eyes, plus a fun newspaper inspired Chronicle section highlights interesting and significant moments in history. If that’s not enough to satisfy science and history buffs, try the super Quiz to keep your brain sparking. The Big History Timeline Wallbook is just one of a half dozen or more from the Timeline Collection detailing Nature, Sports, Science and even Shakespeare! Fun and uber informative, this is a must for classrooms and inquisitives.
Title: Big History Timeline WallBook: Unfold the History of the Universe
Author: Christopher Lloyd
Illustrator: Andy ForshawPublisher: Walker Books, $26.99
Publication Date: February 2020
For ages: 6 – 14+
Type: Non Fiction Picture Book
Buy the Book: Boomerang Books