Dr Boogaloo and The Girl Who Lost Her Laughter by Lisa Nicol

Can you imagine what your life would be like without laughter?

Dr Boogaloo is no ordinary doctor. Strange disorders and unusual complaints are his specialty. Dr Boogaloo is the doctor you see when you have Talks In Slow Motion Syndrome or You Can Only Sleep Hanging Upside Down Syndrome. Dr Boogaloo and his family use the most powerful medicine of all to cure patients…music! The Boogaloo Family Clinic of Musical Cures has never had a complaint that couldn’t be cured until Blue arrived. Ten-year-old Blue hasn’t laughed for 712 days!

Dr Boogaloo suspects Blue has No Laughing Syndrome and sends her to The Snorkel Porkel Crumpety Worpel Laughter Clinic to be sure. Unlike you and I, Blue doesn’t laugh or even giggle at the Tickle Machine, blooper reels, hula-hooping cats in bikinis, YouTube videos of epic fails, or even at Gassy Gus who can blow up balloons with his bottom.

Dr Boogaloo has two weeks to compose an urgent cure for Blue before she loses her laughter forever. Blue needs the right dose of the right music, but there’s no point listening to a jive if you’re in need of some boogie-woogie, and you can’t just substitute a toot for a blow! Blue patiently listens to talented musicians playing music and instruments she didn’t know existed and even summons the courage to swim with Leonard the Blues singing humpback whale in an attempt to help her laugh again. It isn’t until Dr Boogaloo has almost given up in despair that he finds the cure he needs for Blue in an unexpected place.

One of my favourite parts of the story is the daily ride Blue takes to the clinic on Bessie’s extraordinary iBike. This strange contraption looks like it has an entire orchestra collapsed on it and plays over a million tunes that change with the landscape as you ride along. It would be fun to draw or make your version of the iBike (and even include music and a matching landscape) after reading the fabulous description on pages 41-42.

This is a quirky, funny and sometimes sad story that celebrates laughter, friendship and the power and magic of music.

“Not everyone hears the right music – or knows how to listen. And they suffer terribly… if you don’t let your heart fly, your tune gets right out of whack. It’s a bit like spending your whole life indoors – it’s just not good for your health.” (Bessie)

These are some teaching notes

Happy reading!

Celebrating Australian Picture Books

Thanks to The Kids’ Bookshop, I spent an inspiring evening listening to the Andrew JoynerGus GordonAnna Walker and Jane Godwin talk about the process of creating their latest picture books.

I really enjoy hearing about what sparks an author’s ideas, where they like to write or illustrate, the process they follow and any other interesting tidbits of information I can share with readers.

Here are some little pieces of information I gleaned from the evening….

Andrew Joyner – The Pink Hat

The Pink Hat was inspired by the 5 million people in 82 countries who participated in the 2017 Women’s March

This is the first book that Andrew has created entirely on an iPad

Andrew does his thinking by drawing

Andrew once worked in a record shop and has a big collection of vinyl records he likes to listen to as he illustrates in his office space at home

Gus Gordon – The Last Peach

The Last Peach is Gus’ first book that is written completely as a dialogue

Gus was playing around drawing bugs to match a possible book title when he drew the two bugs that star in his latest book. A little dialogue between the bugs started in his head and their story was born

Gus chose to use a limited pallet of colours for this book and when collecting green papers for his collage he was amazed at the many shades of green that can be found

Gus wasn’t sure how the book would end. He found his answer when walking along a street in Paris and saw a vintage black and white picture with a bright orange sun…that looked like a peach to him!

Gus works in a gorgeous light-filled nook at home where he has an impressive set of drawers that hold his precious collection of vintage papers, cards, flyers etc that he uses for his collage illustrations

Gus enjoys listening to music as he illustrates 

We both come from the same area in country New South Wales!

Jane Godwin and Anna Walker – Go Go and the Silver Shoes

Go Go and the Silver Shoes is the seventh book that Jane and Anna have created together. They see the world in the same way and their words and illustrations complement each other

The name Go Go is thanks to Andrew Joyner!

Jane is an author and a book publisher

Jane prefers doing her writing alone and in silence or with just the sounds of the natural world

Anna works to scale with her illustrations (same size as the book) and it takes about a year for Anna to complete a book from the roughs through to the final illustrations

Creating collages reminds Anna of playing with her doll’s house when she was young and she is still very good at focusing and getting lost in her work

Anna enjoys working in a shared workspace at the Abbotsford Convent

Anna owns a pair of sparkly silver shoes just like Go Go!

We are lucky to have many talented Australian authors and illustrators! Thank you for a fabulous evening giving us a peek into your creative processes and for generously giving your time, Andrew, Gus, Anna and Jane…

Happy Reading!

Digger by Mike Dumbleton

‘A Digger for a digger, she said, hugging her brother. “I’ll keep him safe,” James promised, as he tucked the kangaroo into his top pocket.”

This story set in World War 1, was inspired by a photo Mike Dumbleton saw of French children tending the graves of Australian soldiers who died on the Western Front in the heroic battle for Villers-Bretonneux in April 1918. With its poignant watercolour illustrations by Robin Coucher, it is a gentle book that tells a powerful story.

When Annie’s big brother James goes to war, she stitches the name Digger on her much loved toy kangaroo to give him as a farewell present. James keeps Digger safely in the top pocket of his uniform. As the story unfolds, Digger becomes unstitched, torn and tattered during the fighting. When James is injured, he is cared for by a French family whose daughter Colette kindly mends Digger for him. Not long after, Digger is returned to Colette who sadly mends Digger again with love and care, even making him a little slouch hat, before he is returned safely to Annie in Australia. Digger brings comfort to Annie with the knowledge that on the other side of the world, Colette cared about her brother James, just as she had cared about Digger.

A beautiful tribute and reminder of the special connection that Australia shares with the French town of Villers-Bretonneux.

I’m giving one of my ‘tissue alerts’ for this story that will touch your heart.

Happy reading!

Some Teaching Notes for Digger.

Fearless Frederic by Felice Arena

Last year Felice Arena’s writing took a new turn when he released his first historical fiction novel. The Boy and the Spy took his readers on thrilling spy adventure set in Sicily during World War Two. I know there will be many readers excited to read his latest historical fiction novel Fearless Frederic.

In Fearless Frederic, readers are transported to Paris during the ‘Great Flood’ of 1910 when many people were made homeless as the water from the River Seine rose up through the sewers into their homes. The lives of Frederic, Claire and Thierry intersect in an exciting adventure where friendship and courage are central. They become the Floodwater Friends as they rescue others from rising flood waters, encounter a dangerous escaped zoo animal and battle against pickpockets and looters. Frederic learns important lessons as they work together like the Three Musketeers to stop art thieves and bring about justice for Frederic’s father.

You are going to be immersed in life in Paris in 1910 and swept up in this fast moving adventure.

Don’t forget to read the back of the book where Felice explains how he came to the idea for this story and the research he undertook to ensure his story is realistic and accurate. You can also read the back story of Fearless Frederic in this interview with Felice.

After reading Fearless Frederic, I have a list of places to visit and thanks to Thierry, the magnificent Sainte Genevieve library is at the top of my list!

Look closely as you watch the book trailer. Can you see a creature?

Here are some teacher’s notes

Happy reading!

Kensy and Max: Breaking News by Jacqueline Harvey

What would you do if you woke up in a strange place? If your whole life changed in an instant and you had no idea what was going on?

Jacqueline Harvey is the author of  the hugely successful Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose series and now you can meet her newest characters, Kensy and Max in their action-packed spy adventure series.

‘Breaking News’ is the first book in the Kensy and Max series. The story is like a carefully crafted jigsaw puzzle made up of missing parents, intriguing characters, mysterious events, suspicious looking grannies, cryptic codes, a strange new school, and family secrets all intricately linked and ready for the reader to piece together with Kensy and Max.

Resilient and resourceful twins, Kensy and Max Grey will appeal to readers who will enjoy following clues, cracking codes, solving mysteries and being part of the action alongside the twins. Like me at the end of the book,  you will also be waiting excitedly for more to be revealed about Kensy and Max and their exciting new life at the highly secretive Pharos in the second book.

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables by Tim Harris

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables by Tim Harris arrived on the book scene last year and has been a huge success. Mr Bambuckle is not your usual teacher. (I think there might be a bit of Tim in Mr Bambuckle!) Imagine being in Room 12B and arriving at your classroom at Blue Valley School to find a new teacher balancing on a unicycle on top of his desk, with mischievous green eyes, wearing a dazzling blue suit and who can flick a frypan from his sleeve and whip up bacon and eggs for the class for breakfast!

Mr Bambuckle’s way of teaching is not traditional and Mr Sternblast the principal desperately wants to get rid of him. The students however, thrive with Mr Bambuckle who has a way of knowing just what each of his students need. He encourages them to be creative, solve problems and become independent and brave. The Apps his students create can be a great spark for creativity in everyday classrooms. Mr Bambuckle is the only one who isn’t afraid of Canteen Carol and their conversation about buying a bar of chocolate is lots of fun to read aloud! Some of the student’s personal stories are revealed throughout the book and as readers we won’t be looking at our washing machines in the same way, some might like the idea of Parental Rental and for others, drone flying will definitely on the To Do list.

Mr Bambuckle and the Remarkables Fight Back

In the second book, Mr Bambuckle is replaced by the nasty Miss Frost who ‘makes Canteen Carol look like a teddy bear’. Miss Frost says that discipline is the new order. She gives detention at the drop of a hat, rips up perfectionist Victoria’s handwriting sheets into tiny shreds and tosses the stickers and stamps the students designed into the bin. Thanks to Scarlett’s magic fingers, she finds a creative way with PhotoCrop to get rid of Miss Frost so Mr Bambuckle can return to 12B.

The students in 12B have lots of adventures in this book. Many students will be relieved they don’t have a buddy like Albert’s buddy, Buster. Sammy’s dad’s mistake will get you thinking about whether 8 year olds should have the same rights as 18 year olds while some readers might like to take up Mr Bambuckle’s challenge and have fun acting out imaginative ways to enter their classroom!

Unfortunately it’s not the last of Miss Frost. Will Dodger be able to save the day? Find out in book three in September.

Happy reading!

Tom Weekly is back…looking a little different!

‘Every single word in these books is true. Except the stuff I made up.’

The Tom Weekly series by Tristan Bancks is back with a whole new look…new covers, bigger illustrations by Gus Gordon and more space inside. The first three rebranded books came out on April 1st.  This a perfect time to try out this funny and sometimes gross series if you haven’t read it yet! These books are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud, your stomach squirm and you will want to keep turning the pages to see what Tom Weekly gets up to next or how he manages to wangle himself out of trouble.

I also recommend these stories as great fun to read aloud to a class and they generate lots of creative ideas for writing with students.

Some of my favourite Tom Weekly stories are Toe, Scab, The Good Boy, Meatball and of course Ninja Librarians.
Do you have a favourite Tom Weekly story?

Fans of Tom Weekly will be excited to know that the next book in the series called ‘My Life and other Failed Experiments’ will be out on July 1st.

Happy reading!

Ninja Kid by Anh Do

Mum took a deep breath and put her arm around me. “We have something to tell you, Nelson,” she said. “We were waiting to see if anything would change today – on your tenth birthday – and it seems it has.”

Nelson Kenny Kane is a nerdy kid who is unfit, uncool and trips over…a lot. On his tenth birthday he discovers he can see perfectly without his glasses and does an amazing double front flip to get out of bed to escape a spider! Nelson’s life is about to change forever when his mum and grandma reveal he is a NINJA. With the help of his food loving cousin, Kenny and his inventor grandma’s crazy gadgets and inventions made from junk, Nelson begins his ninja training and soon learns that strength is not just about a person’s muscles. When the town of Duck Creek is terrorised by a terrifying Tyranno-Spider, it’s Nelson’s quick thinking that saves the day. However at the end of the action-packed day, Kenny is left with a big question…who was the angry man in the helicopter controlling the giant spider and why does he look familiar?

There’s lots of action, laughs, creativity and problem solving in this book. Fans of Weirdo and Hot Dog will definitely enjoy the adventures as Nelson transforms from Nerd to Ninja!

Happy reading!

Welcome to Wild about books

Welcome to Wild about books!

I am Kim Yeomans, a teacher librarian who is passionate about reading and connecting kids with books and authors. Some of you will know me from my old Library blog.

We are lucky to have so many talented authors and illustrators creating books for us to read. The Wild about books blog is a place for me to continue to share books I have enjoyed reading as well as letting you know about author or bookish events that make reading even more fun. I’d love to hear from you if you have read any of the books here or you might have book suggestions for me to read. This is a space that I hope will grow and be a place that celebrates books and reading.

Happy reading!