We wear ourselves out getting ready for it – with planning over months and are thoroughly but satisfyingly over it by the time it’s done and yet we wait impatiently for the next year’s theme so we can do it all over again!
Our preparations have been underway for weeks and our library looks super, our costumes are ready, the activities, quizzes and competitions sorted and we are ready to rock and roll.
So it’s seems fitting as I try to catch up with so many reviews that I present some of this year’s picture books that feature stories, reading, writing and books – here we go!
It’s a Story, Rory! – Frances Watts & David Legge
ISBN 10: 0733335934
Imprint: ABC Books – AU
List Price: 24.99 AUD
Like so many of my colleagues Parsley Rabbit’s Book about Books remains a staple in the first few weeks of the year as we introduce our littlest library users to the wonders that lay in front of them. Now we have a further addition to our program that will delight and inform young readers. In my opinion this is perfect to use as we introduce our Year 1s to narrative writing. It presents all the necessary structure of a story in a manner that is both entertaining and humorous.
Our clever narrator takes Rory and Millie on an adventure through – well, an adventure! Readers discover the purpose and role of characters, plot, setting, description and genres whilst being thoroughly engaged in the developing storyline. With humour, witty dialogue and fabulous illustrations beginning writers will be well equipped to undertake their own narrative journeys.
Highly recommended for readers from six years upwards.
The Magic Bookshop – Natalie Jane Prior/Cheryl Orsini
‘The Fairy Dancers is simply stunning … making it the perfect keepsake gift book’ – Children’s Books Daily
ISBN 10: 0733338321
Imprint: ABC Books – AU
List Price: 19.99 AUD
When Ben spends a rainy afternoon at his grandfather’s bookshop he expects to enjoy some biscuits and reading but certainly has no idea that he will be whisked away on adventures that are both wildly exciting and seemingly unknown to Granddad. Discovering a tiger, spending time in a lighthouse, becoming part of a magician’s act this collection of short stories illustrate perfectly the worlds inside books which only require the reader’s imagination.
If you are looking to enthuse younger readers and light up their own imaginative writing this is a perfect choice for a read-aloud. For children who are ready to move beyond easier picture books and ready to tackle something a little more challenging it will be an engaging read with lots of fun moments.
Recommended for readers from around 7 years upwards.
Sebastian and the Special Stack of Stories – Kelly Hibbert/Sue deGennaro
ISBN 10: 1460753461
Imprint: HarperCollins – AU
List Price: 24.99 AUD
When you are the smallest of all in a house full of kids and it’s time for some stories, the best place to be is cuddled up close to Mum. This rollicking rhyming book which is chockfull of some terrific onomatopoeia will have little ones bouncing along as its read.
Sebastian is the tiniest with several big brothers with whom to contend but he can carry the stack of books all the way to the sofa while the bigger boys all jostle and scramble for their favoured spot. There’s not much room left when Sebastian finally gets there except for that one tiny spot right next to Mum’s lap and what better place to be?
A fabulous read-aloud for little ones from as young as 2 years old.
It’s Not Scribble to Me – Kate Ritche/Jedda Robard
A great companion book to the one above as it’s also rhyming and full of wonderful language that will delight the little listener. As parents we’ve probably all experienced those random scribbles that seem to appear on furniture, floors and walls – if we’ve been lucky they’ve been done with something washable! – as grown-ups it’s sometimes easy to feel a little frustrated with the resulting artistic efforts.
But this book reminds us that these early efforts from our little people truly are the beginnings of their imaginative expression and while it’s unlikely any of us are going to advocate such decorative house-styling or even endorse it we can all probably find some ways to allow these early creative moments free rein which will satisfy both sides of the equation.
A delightful picture book which will no doubt lead to many hours of ‘not scribble’ I highly recommend it for readers from 2 or 3 years upwards.
My Storee – Paul Russell and Aska
This is for all the children out there who have wonderful stories to tell but are constantly reminded in one way or another of their ‘inadequacies’ to write them down. My girl Miss K is not dyslexic (well she could be but it’s not part of her official verification) but has struggled with language difficulties all her life. At 14 she is now beginning to read and write more confidently albeit still at about a Year 1 or 2 level. As a Year 1 teacher my children ‘wrote’ every day from day one (before the days of official Prep you understand) – their stories consisted of drawings usually at first but soon with attempted text approximations and moved on through invented spelling and so on as their confidence grew. They were never ever made to be feel inadequate but their efforts always recognised as worthy of sharing.
This is a book that should be shared over and over again with children and parents both. We need to start rejecting the negative restrictions and pressures put upon our children to be perfect and never ever make a mistake. Some of us spend half of each day encouraging our students to take risks and just express themselves in a way that will be positively received.
Highly recommended for children, parents and teachers from around six years upwards.
Just because you can’t spell doesn’t mean you can’t write