Sunday, 30 June 2013

Possum Magic - 30 years young

Nine publishers rejected it over 5 years.
It was first released in 1983.
It has been reprinted 10 times in 12 months.
30 years later and it has sold more than 3 million copies in Australia.

The all time classic Mem Fox's Possum Magic. What hasn't been written about this iconic piece of Australian children's literature?

Thirty years on and this book remains dear to many Australians here and abroad.Beautifully re-released for this special anniversary - bound in red cloth and in a full coloured slip case, this edition is bound to be loved by many generations to come.

Possum Magic 30th Anniversary Edition
Written by Mem Fox
Illustrated by Julie Vivas
Hard cover, slip case 
$24.99 RRP

New release board books introduce the very young to the animals of Possum Magic, as well as simple counting. Possum Magic Animals and Possum Magic Numbers - simple board books that have spring boarded from the original text and illustrations.

Ideal for babies and toddlers.

Possum Magic Animals

Written by Mem Fox
Illustrated by Julie Vivas

Board book

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Meet...history in the making

Random House has released a new series of picture book titles just in time for the introduction of the new Australian Curriculum: History. This discrete subject area will no doubt spawn a whole new industry of books and other resources exploring all that has shaped our background.

The first two titles in the series tell the stories of Australia's most notorious bushranger and Australia's first saint. Polar opposites they may be, but subjects of endless fascination, nonetheless.

Meet...Ned Kelly and Meet...Mary MacKillop bring history to life. Beautifully illustrated with simple narratives, these picture books are peppered with historical facts. Both books also come complete with a timeline detailing the key events in their respective lives.

Befitting the more dramatic life of Ned Kelly, Janeen Brian has written his story entirely in verse with frequent use of varying font size and style for emphasis, while Sally Murphy tells the tale of Mary MacKillop in a more traditional narrative style.

Interesting lives...interesting stories. Looking forward to meeting more Australians who have shaped our history.

Teacher notes also available on the Random House Website for Ned Kelly and Mary MacKillop

Meet...Ned Kelly
Written by Janeed Brian
Illustrated by Matt Adams
Random House
Hardcover $19.95

Meet... Mary MacKillop
Written by Sally Murphy
Illustrated by Sonia Martinez
Random House
Hardcover $19.95 RRP

Highly recommended for primary aged students.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Ten great apps for toddlers

The words 'long haul' and 'toddler' uttered in the same sentence are enough to send me into a cold sweat...

I have been recently asked about some apps that would engage a toddler while sitting in the confines of an aircraft cabin for an interminable amount of time...firstly, I can only sympathise. A quick flick through my other blog will attest to this fact.

One of my blog posts had the auspicious title, 'Technology is my friend', sprouting the genius that was Steve Jobs when it comes to the joys of the long haul. Followed soon after by my teaching career inevitably leading me to ensuring that school was in, so that time was well spent while 24 000 feet in the air.

And then...all of this culminated in a blog post to end all blog posts for travelling tots - the ultimate travelling tot packing list. Don't leave home without it!

So, if after digesting all of that, you still think it's a good idea to travel with short people, then here are my top ten apps for travelling tots:
  1. Play School Art Maker - it's free, it's Play School, it's fun, what more do you want?
  2. Kid Art for iPad - 99c of fabulous artistic fun!
  3. Drawing Pad - $1.99 for that little bit more artistic fun!
  4. Toddler Counting - 99c - very popular with kids, personally I find the overly American accent somewhat off putting!
  5. Bananas in pyjamas - free to 99c - because you can never have enough fruit in night attire - Beach fun is free while Bubble Time is only 99c.
  6. Press Here : The App - $1.99 - the fabulous book by Herve Tullet just got better! If you don't know the book - do yourself a favour! App not available in Australia just yet - but I am working on it! 
  7. Eric Carle's My Very First App - $3.99 - colours, numbers, shapes and more all with Carle's distinctive artwork.
  8. Kidzstory by Stepworks - 99c per story - large selection of classic traditional stories, great illustrations and all narrated by kids. Read to me, read myself and interactive screens. Highly recommended series.
  9. Smule Magic Piano - free and a bit of fun - for the frustrated musician in all of us!
  10. Toy Story - free - for all those Woody fans, wherever you are!

Good luck!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Jacko and the beanstalk

Written by Kel Richards
Illustrated by Rob Ainsworth
Scholastic Publisher
RRP $13.99 Soft cover

An Aussie twist to a classic fairy tale, written in verse, this is a rollicking read. Full of onomatopoeia, it is best read aloud. Colourful, detailed illustrations engage young children as they look for the detail. A sense of humour weaves its way through this new rendition on an old classic.

Recommended for 4-8 years

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

When books come to life...

Thanks to the Queensland Literary Awards, I was introduced to the most amazing British artist today, by the name of Jonathan Wolstenholme.

A love of books, particularly old ones, provides the inspiration for his amazing, quirky artworks.


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Treasure Box

Written by Margaret Wild
Illustrated by Freya Blackwood
Penguin, 2013
Hardcover RRP $24.99

recently came across this book when I borrowed it from our local library to read it to my daughter. Admittedly, I borrowed it more for myself as the two names on the front cover captured my attention, alongside Freya Blackwood's ethereal illustrations.

After returning the book, I was on a mission to buy it for my own treasure box of children's picture books. Sadly, this mission was to not be realised. Despite only just being published, it was out of print. A month later, Penguin announced it would do another print run. How could they not?

The Treasure Box is a book that will haunt you. 
The Treasure Box is a book that will keep you coming back. 
The Treasure Box is a book that invites you to find something different every time you open its pages.

It opens with the evocative line...

When the enemy bombed the library, everything burned.

Margaret Wild beautifully delivers the story of Peter and his father, as they contain their own story within a treasure box, while a war rages around them. The story is one of survival, courage and determination. Freya Blackwood's illustrations will touch the souls of readers, young and old. She masterfully and gracefully moves from sepia tones to brighter shades as hope is delivered. Collaged remnants of texts feature in many illustrations, subtly moving between languages, giving the reader just a hint of time and place.

What I love best about this story is the symbolism of the book; the story of Peter and his family's home...their treasure. A book that survives another day to tell its story to generations that follow.

And just like the book in the story, this one will be read, and loved.

Highly recommended for ages 5 years to adult