Hip Hip Hooray! by Tania McCartney

The big day is almost here…

Hip Hip Hooray! by Tania McCartney captures the excitement and fun of the birthday traditions we follow to celebrate our special day with family and friends.

Reading this delightful book is like unwrapping a ‘pass-the-parcel’ as each page of Jess Racklyeft’s playful water colour illustrations reveals a peek at animals around the world celebrating birthday traditions…orangutans in Borneo, chameleons in Madagascar, sloths in Costa Rico, zebras in Africa and echidnas in Australia.

Excitement builds from birthday eve when nobody can sleep a wink until the party begins. Guests arrive dressed in their shiny best, bearing gift-wrapped surprises and donning party hats. Fun-filled games and party food to nibble until it’s time to blow out the candles on the birthday cake and make a wish…Hip Hip Hooray!

How do you like to celebrate your birthday? 

What are some of the birthday traditions in your family?

profivideos / Pixabay

What do you notice about the endpapers? Take a close look at the names and addresses – they’re very clever!  See if you can match the animals in the story to their address. 

Click HERE and scroll down to see a fun augmented reality view of the front cover of Hip Hip Hooray! 

Happy reading…Hip Hip Hooray! 

Lamont Teacher notes

Publisher Notes

Happy first birthday!

My little bookish piece of the internet at Wild About Books is celebrating it’s first birthday today!

Thank you for following along or popping in to read my book recommendations. I hope I’ve helped you discover some great books to read.

Here’s to another year of reading and sharing fabulous kids’ books with you…

Happy reading!

 

Let Me Sleep, Sheep! by Meg McKinlay

Let Me Sleep, Sheep! by Meg McKinlay is so much fun to read! 

Do you lay in bed counting sheep to help you drift off to sleep? What would you do if two of those sheep landed in your bedroom with a THUD?

Amos is counting sheep when two annoyed sheep land in his bedroom. Felix and Walter as they prefer to be called (Not ‘One’ and ‘Two’), are not happy about being dragged away from their dinner and wool clipping. They insist the only way they will leave is if Amos builds a fence for them to jump over…

“If you want to count us, you need a fence. It’s in the rules.” 

Felix and Walter are VERY fussy about their fence. It can’t be too low, too high, too wobbly, too hard and definitely not boring! The mess in Amos’ room grows as he tries to build a perfect fence and the two wily sheep keep adding more crazy demands for drinks, a finish line and even a dance party.

“You’ll have to test it, of course.
We have to save our energy for the big jump.”

Will his fence pass the test so Amos can finally get to sleep?

suju / Pixabay

Leila Rudge’s pencil illustrations brilliantly capture the hilarious chaos as Felix and Walter take over Amos’ bedroom and turn the tables on him.

If you were Amos what would you have done?

What does the final illustration reveal?

How would you continue the story?

It might be time to design a fence for Felix and Walter and their sheep friends in case they land in your bedroom one night…

Happy reading!

Teacher notes

Leave Taking by Lorraine Marwood

Leave taking: (noun) the act of saying goodbye.

Leave Taking by Lorraine Marwood is a gentle and heart-squeezing verse novel about saying goodbye, cherishing memories and new beginnings. Toby and his mum and dad are leaving their family farm after the death of Toby’s younger sister Leah. ‘Deep Well Farm’ is the only place Toby has called home and it’s hard to understand why his parents want to leave.

Toby’s dad gives him a map of the farm he’d drawn as a boy and marked with his special places. Toby creates his own version of the map that he calls ‘Leave taking’. Armed with his map, a tent and sleeping bag and his trusty best friend,Trigger by his side, Toby uses his map to say goodbye to the chook house, Pa’s truck, the machinery shed and other places and things that hold a special meaning for both he and Leah. Toby’s map is on the back endpaper so you can follow along as he recalls precious memories and says his goodbyes.

Free-Photos / Pixabay

Toby reminds us that saying goodbye isn’t always easy, but the people and places we have loved will always be with us in our hearts and our memories.

Lorraine Marwood’s carefully crafted words in Leave Taking leave you feeling as though you have been wrapped in a warm and comforting hug.

(You might need some tissues as you read).

Leaving Taking is on the 2019 CBCA Short List: Books For Younger Readers

Happy reading!

Teacher notes

Cocoon by Aura Parker


Dawn and her friends have a plan!
They are going to eat as many leaves as they can,
weave cocoons and turn into moths so they can fly!
Easy peasy right?

Dawn the caterpillar discovers that changing from a caterpillar into a moth is not as easy as it sounds. Eating leaves all day long is the easy part. There are knots and tangles and Dawn’s patience is tested as she learns to use sticky silk threads to weave her cocoon…argh!! Finally tucked into her cosy cocoon, Dawn misses her friends and waits and worries that her wings may never sprout. What if she doesn’t grow them at all? Dawn reminds us to not give up on our dreams as she faces one final challenge before she can fly and chase the lights with her friends.

Aura Parker’s playful water colour and ink illustrations include tiny details that invite you to take a closer look. Cocoon’s vibrant endpapers are bursting with nature, but why are they different? Can you find the eggs, caterpillars, cocoons and moths that Aura has cleverly hidden in the endpapers?

Dawn is a delightful character and Aura captures her emotions with such simplicity. How do you think does Aura does this? Look at the illustrations for some clues.

Click on the picture to enlarge

One of my favourite pages is the dream cocoon that Dawn imagines with her own nectar pool and wing design studio. I wonder what you would include in a dream cocoon for Dawn? 

Explore HERE if you are interested in information that compares moths and butterflies.

If you enjoy being creative, Aura has designed a cocoon finger puppet for you to colour and make HERE

If you enjoyed reading Twig, you are going to love reading Cocoon too!

Happy reading!

CBCA Clayton’s Night

This week I was honoured to be invited to talk about Books for Younger Readers at the CBCA Victoria’s ‘Clayton’s Night’. It was a big challenge to only choose six of my favourite books from last year! We are lucky to have so many talented Australian authors writing books that make us laugh, spark our creativity, inspire and empower us.

These are the six books I chose and I have also written about them on the Wild About Books blog…

Tales of Mr Walker by Jess Black

The Mystery of the Magic Stones by Sally Rippin

Natural Born Loser by Oliver Pommavanh

Fearless Frederic by Felice Arena

Everything I’ve Never Said by Samantha Wheeler

His Name was Walter by Emily Rodda

Some other books I would also include are…

The Book of Answers by A.L. Tait

Missing by Sue Whiting

Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee

I wonder which books you would include in your favourite books from 2018…

that doesn't look like me! 365/11

Eric.Ray via Compfigh

Happy reading!

Catch a Falling Star by Meg McKinlay

It’s 1979 and the sky is falling.

Skylab, that is.

Skylab, the U.S. space station is starting to break up and will re-enter earth’s atmosphere. NASA can’t control Skylab’s path or predict exactly where the pieces might land. Western Australia is on its flight path. As everyone focuses on the sky, Skylab brings back memories that 12-year-old Frankie Avery has tucked away of nights in the Space Shack gazing at stars on clear cloudy nights with her Dad an amateur astronomer before he went missing.

As Frankie makes a solar system birthday cake for her little brother Newt, it reminds her of her family. Frankie, Newt and Mum are like the planets rotating around the sun in their own orbits, near each other but not touching. These days Mum is working long hours and doesn’t talk about Dad. Frankie feels like she is the one keeping their family together, cooking meals and watching out for Newt while keeping up with her school work and finding time for her best friend Kat.

Newt is an 8-year-old with a curious mind who inhales facts and loves doing science projects. When he starts obsessively gathering data on Skylab and tracking its every move, Frankie wonders what Newt is up to as she tries to keep her smart, but accident prone brother safe from harm. As Skylab tumbles to earth, Newt is torn between the scientific facts he knows are true and the wish he has in his heart. “Did you know,” he says, “that even if you wish for something really hard … I mean, really really hard… that it still doesn’t make any difference?” 

When Skylab finally crashes to earth it brings Frankie and Newt’s Dad back to their family in an unexpected way.

Catch a Falling Star is a poignant, and beautifully written story about wishing and hoping and holding on and letting go when you lose someone special in your life. It will touch your heart.

Find out more about Meg McKinlay who is a children’s writer and poet who lives near the ocean in Fremantle, Western Australia.

Happy reading!

Teacher notes

Lottie and Walter by Anna Walker

Every Saturday morning Lottie goes to her swimming class, but she is afraid to go into the water. Lottie watches the other children swimming and having fun, but Lottie has a secret. Only Lottie knows there is a shark hiding in the swimming pool that wants to eat her! 

One day Walter appears at the pool and Lottie discovers her secret friend loves books and  bubbles, eating fish fingers and playing hide-and-seek too. Most of all Walter loves to sing! When Lottie feels scared of the dark Walter quietly sings her to sleep…

Humbelly doo,
Lumbelly la,
Loopy loo!

Can her friend Walter help Lottie find her courage to jump in the pool so she can enjoy the pool party with her friends?

I was lucky to hear Anna Walker talk about Lottie and Walter. Anna’s idea for her story came from when she was little and her cousin told her there was a shark in her grandparent’s pool. When Anna was young she had lots of secret companions and decided a walrus was a perfect secret friend for Lottie. Anna wanted her walrus to sing and Walter’s song is one of her son Sam’s funny poems.

Anna’s ideas for stories come from her everyday life, travelling, her pets or even feelings and she paints or draws them in her visual diary. You can read more about how Anna created Walter and Lottie HERE.

Anna loves to bring her characters to life by making and knitting them and using them in stop motion videos. She is very talented, patient and humble.

Walter is wearing his party hat!

Can you tell that Anna loves drawing walruses?

Download your own Lottie and Walter activity pack and have fun creating Walter in different ways!

Thank you Anna, Lottie and Walter for reminding us that even though we might be scared at times, we all have the courage we need inside…

Happy reading! 

A Great Escape by Felice Arena

 Felice Arena takes us on a daring adventure set in Cold War Germany in 1961 when the government built the Berlin Wall that divided Germany into East and West and separated families, friends and neighbours for twenty eight years. 

Imagine your city has been divided by a wall and and your family is on the other side…

Peter stays with his grandparents when his parents and sister go on a trip across the border to the West. They wake to find the government is building a wall through their city. It is guarded by soldiers, tanks and fierce dogs so nobody can get through and people can no longer go to the West. Peter feels trapped and is scared he might never see parents and little sister, Margrit again. Finding a way past the wall will require courage and ingenuity. Peter and his friends Otto and Elke desperately want to escape, but whose daring plan will succeed…

A Great Escape is an exciting adventure story, but it is also a reminder of how strong the love of family can be, even when a wall tries to separate them. Peter’s story will tug at your heart.

United States Information Service, Department of State [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I was lucky to hear Felice talk about A Great Escape on it’s publishing day and he celebrated  by bringing Peter’s favourite Kalter Hund cake (also known as ‘Cold Dog’ cake!). Despite it’s name, it’s a scrumptious chocolate biscuit cake and you will definitely want more than one slice! Thanks, Felice!

Here’s the recipe if you would like to make it yourself. 

Felice explained that a visit to Berlin sparked the idea for A Great Escape as he wondered what if he had been there when the Berlin Wall was built…how would he have felt and what would he have done if he had been separated from his family? Stories often begin by writer’s thinking “What if….”

By chance, Felice also discovered his neighbour Peter was a guard on the West side of the Berlin Wall, and he could tell Felice about life in Berlin at that time. In fact, Felice named his main character after Peter and Peter’s dog, Otto became the name of Peter’s friend! 

As Felice was writing his book he gave it a ‘working title’ that eventually changed to A Great Escape. What do you think his ‘working title’ for his story might have been? 

Historical fiction books are portable time machines that can transport us back in time to experience places and events and help us to understand our world and ourselves a little more. 

I wonder where Felice will take us on our next historical adventure…what do you think?

Happy reading!

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables on the Lookout by Tim Harris

“So that’s why I needed to run away. I need to change. And the best way for me to turn things around is to be less like Vex Vron and more like you, Mr Bambuckle. I’m going to copy you.”

Vex Vron has run away! He has left a note and its up to Room 12B to work together to find him before his family and Mr Sternblast find out he’s missing. Trapped by the rules she strictly enforces, Miss Frost is not happy about having to help so she can save her job. However, something quite remarkable happens to Miss Frost and her silver hair during the search for Vex.

Canteen Carol once again finds she is no match for Mr Bambuckle, Myra learns a tough lesson about generosity from the Kindergarten kids and Vex Vron reminds us of the importance of being yourself. 

In so many positive and fun ways, Mr Bambuckle has transformed the lives of the students in Room 12B and the teacher we all wish we had, is going to receive the highest teaching award in the country. This means there is no way Mr Sternblast can get rid of Mr Bambuckle now! 

After much anticipation we finally get to see the mysterious Indian spark-maker beetle in action as it helps Mr Bambuckle reveal an important message for Room 12B and also for us…

TOFFLE TOWERS

Tim Harris has a new series called Toffle Towers coming out in August! You can read a short preview at the back of Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables on the Lookout or read more about it HERE and watch for the front cover to be revealed…

Happy reading!