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! 

Roald Dahl’s Imaginormous Challenge

It all begins with an idea…

Roald Dahl’s stories often began as tiny ideas scribbled into his ‘Ideas Book’ before they became his much loved stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches and The BFG.

Roald Dahl’s Imaginormous Challenge is looking for creative and exciting story ideas from 5-12 year olds across Australia

Could it be YOU?

HOW TO ENTER:
Submit your BEST story IDEA in under 100 words
You can only enter once
by
16 April 2019

PRIZES:
CHOOSE which major prize you want to apply for
Your story idea turned into a book
Your story idea turned into a theatre creation
Your story idea turned into a Minecraft world

Roving reporter and reviewing the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory play

There are also FIVE libraries of Roald Dahl books to be won

All the information you need is at
Roald Dahl’s Imaginormous Challenge Australia

fly high

stuart anthony via Compfight
Let your imagination take flight…

Judith Rossell – Adventures in Illustration

If you live near Eltham then give yourself a treat over the holidays and visit Judith Rossell’s ‘Adventures in Illustration’ exhibition at the Eltham library with your family. It’s in the community gallery until January 20th.

Judith Rossell is a writer and illustrator of children’s books. You might know her best from her award-winning Stella Montgomery novels or for her whimsical illustrations of Bogtrotter written by Margaret Wild.

Today I discovered that Judith also loves mazes and puzzles and has created and illustrated some fabulous maze and puzzle books. This is an illustration from one of the books.

Bogtrotter is a picture book I have loved sharing with classes in the library so I was excited to see my favourite illustration on display.

It was fascinating to see close-ups of Judith’s detailed sketches and final illustrations from her Stella Montgomery series including the sketch and final illustration of the front cover of her latest book Wakestone Hall. You can look through folders of Judith’s work and explore her illustrating process. I’m looking forward to reading this book over the holidays!

Judith is also a crafty person and you will be impressed with her ‘House for Miniature Students’ created from recycled and re-purposed materials. Make sure you read the information about some of the pieces Judith has used. (My photo of the house doesn’t do it justice.) You can also see Judith’s mini handmade Christmas trees decorating the fireplace and a model of her dream beach house. Once again, Judith’s love of detail is on display! (I wonder if Judith’s past life as a scientist is coming out?)

Judith grew up in Eltham and it is wonderful that her work is on display at the Eltham Library Community Gallery. I hope lots of families visit Judith’s exhibition and writers, illustrators and creators of all ages will be inspired.

Workshops with Judith Rossell

Book into these creative workshops with Judith as part of the Summer Reading Club.

Thank you Yarra Plenty Library for making reading, writing and creating so much fun!

Happy creating!

Mamie by Tania McCartney

We know her as May Gibbs, the creator of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, but to her family, she was known as ‘Mamie’ (pronounced May-me). This year is the 100th birthday of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (1918-2018).

In her exquisite picture book, Tania McCartney brings a young Mamie to life in a magical modern day setting.

Mamie is a little girl with a big imagination who ‘could draw as soon as she could walk’. Her world is filled with fairy friends and singing and dancing in made up plays until her life is turned upside when her family ‘moves to the bottom of the world’. Accompanied by her Scotty dog, Mamie explores and draws her strange new home of ‘shimmering bushland’, but Mamie misses her magical friends until one night she dreams of a little fairy with a gumnut on his head…a bush fairy.

Like me, I know that you will be spending a lot of time pouring over the many tiny details in Tania’s vibrant illustrations that lovingly capture the essence of May Gibbs as a little girl and celebrate the power of imagination. Mamie is one of my favourite books this year!

I was very lucky to win a copy of Mamie. Thank you, Tania! 

You can download some activities for Mamie here

Happy reading!

Ho! Ho! Ho! There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Christmas Cake by Hazel Edwards

Our roof is noisy!
Thump!
Thump!
Thump!

Our favourite hippopotamus is back and this time he’s having lots of fun getting ready for Christmas in There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Christmas Cake. A perfect book to add to your Christmas collection!

Deborah Niland’s classic illustrations show hippo busy writing his present list (that’s a LOT of cakes), having messy fun icing his large Christmas cake, doing a special Christmas cake dance, some Christmassy dressing up and singing Carols by Cakelight. The little boy in the house below is also excitedly getting ready for Christmas with his family and has made a scrumptious Christmas present for his hippopotamus friend.

What does your family do to get ready for Christmas? Do you have a favourite activity?

There are lots of fun Christmas activities for you to download in this Hippo Christmas Activity Pack

Hazel Edwards wrote her first hippopotamus book There’s A Hippopotamus on Our Caravan Roof Eating Cake in 1980 and this is the seventh book about her much loved hippopotamus. These days, Hazel is often called ‘The Hippo Lady’! 

Do you have a favourite hippopotamus book by Hazel?

Happy Christmas reading! 

Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee

Karen Foxlee, will take your feelings on a roller-coaster ride when you read Lenny’s Book of Everything as Lenny and her brother Davey burrow their way into your heart and remind you of the wonder and preciousness of life.

On the day Davey Spink was born his mum had a ‘dark heart feeling’ and felt ‘something’s not right’. Her feeling is right when Davey turns five and starts growing faster than he should. Davey is diagnosed with gigantism, a rare condition that causes him to keep growing. By the time Davey is seven he is man-sized and this is harmful for his health. Lenny is very protective of her younger brother, but she has her own challenges and it’s not easy being the sister of ‘the giant’. 

Lenny, Davey and their mum who works two jobs don’t have much, but they have each other. Their mum wins a free subscription to Burrell’s Build-It-At-Home Encyclopedia and Fridays become the highlight of the week when each new volume arrives. The encyclopedia transports Lenny and Davey to places beyond the walls of their tiny apartment and brings knowledge and the wonder of the world into their lives. 

The B volume fuels Lenny’s fascination for beetles and her dream to become a coleopterist and the bird section introduces Davey to golden eagles. He even invents his own imaginary eagle called Timothy who sits on his shoulder and he feeds him imaginary crumbs. When the C volume arrives they discover Canada. Lenny as ‘chief imagineer’ imagines them travelling to Bear Lake. Planning their adventurous trip there and the log cabin Davey wants to build, carries them through the ups and downs of Davey’s health until the day Lenny and Davey squeeze goodbye in Morse Code.

Karen Brownlee exquisitely weaves the story and its characters together using the volumes of Burrell’s Build-It-At-Home Encyclopedia with Lenny as the narrator. As you read, think about how Karen’s words make you feel, how she describes her characters or the images she creates in you mind with her carefully chosen words.

If you have read Wonder by R.J. Palacio or Ugly by Robert Hoge you might also like Lenny’s Book of Everything. Auggie, Robert and Davey’s stories give us an opportunity to walk in their shoes and help us to understand a little more some of the challenges of living with a disability. 

Click HERE to read this National Geographic Kids’ interview with Karen Foxlee.

Look closely at the front cover. How does the image connect to the story? Click HERE to see how the cover was created. This is a rare novel with endpapers. Why do you think they have been included?

Click  HERE to read an extract of Lenny’s Book of Everything.

Happy reading and a BIG TISSUE ALERT!

Teacher notes

Monsters by Anna Fienberg and illustrated by Kim Gamble and Stephen Axelsen

If you worry about monsters in your bedroom then Tildy and Hendrik have a plan for you…

Tildy knows there are monsters in her bedroom. They are hiding under her bed, reading her books and playing with her games. They’re big and bold and bossy and sail into her bedroom on the moonlight. Only Tildy can see the monsters. She sleeps with one eye open and the monsters are making her miserable. Hendrik, a new boy arrives at school and also knows about monsters. He becomes Tilda’s friend and has a plan to help Tildy deal with with her monsters.

Monsters isn’t a scary book. It is a warm and playful and encourages us to be brave. Part of the story is set in Kim Gamble’s childhood garden, where as a child he would lie for hours on his back looking up at the clouds, seeing ships, dragons and monsters. Kim Gamble and Stephen Axelson have let their imaginations run wild to create an array of monsters that cheekily play and hide on the pages of the book.

How many different types of monsters you can find? Draw the monsters that hide in your bedroom or use your imagination to create and draw your own scary, funny, fierce or friendly monsters. 

Kim Gamble is one of my favourite illustrators with his whimsical water colour illustrations. You will know Anna Fienberg and Kim Gamble from the much loved Tashi series they created together. In this video, Kim uses chalk pastel to create a scene for Tashi and the Golem. It’s magical!

A Final Note:

Sadly Kim Gamble passed away in 2016 before he finished the illustrations for Monsters. In a beautiful example of friendship, his childhood friend and illustrator Stephen Axelsen finished the illustrations for Anna and Kim’s book.

Thank you for giving us one last book to read and treasure Anna, Kim and Stephen.

Happy reading!

Teacher Notes