So that’s August done and dusted! The year is flying by, so make sure you carve out a little time to enjoy the good things in life… like these awesome children’s books! Welcome to the August 2020 Children’s Book Roundup!
Bear in Space – Deborah Abela and Marjorie Crosby-Fairall
Bear was different. While the other bears liked to run and shout, Bear preferred the quiet. Sometimes the other bears stared or called him names. Most of the time they left him alone. When that happened, Bear read. Bear loved to read, mostly about space. Did you know that space is very quiet? Bear loved to repeat facts about space. He would repeat them to whoever would listen. Which was mostly himself.
Bear build himself a rocket. Blast off! Bear flew in to space. Space was amazing, but soon, Bear felt lonely. Luckily, just then he spotted a small speck floating towards him. It was Panda, and she loved space just as much as Bear did. When it was time to fly home, Panda challenged Bear to a race. Bear had never been asked to race before and never in a rocket! Back on Earth, Panda and Bear made plans for a new rocket. They’d go further. They’d find new planets. The other bears watched. They didn’t laugh. They even asked questions about the rocket and space, that Bear answered carefully. After all space is hard to understand for some.
Bear in Space is a story of embracing differences, finding your way, and the magic of true friendship and finding your person.
Small Town – Phillip Gwynne and Tony Flowers
Gong Gong is a town so nice they named it twice. But everyone keeps leaving Gong Gong. Dad says its because we are a long way from anywhere. Mum says its because there are more jobs in the city. Milly’s basketball team has four Chloe’s and her, but when Chloe P’s family leaves for the city, Milly’s basketball team is too small to even be a team anymore. At school they talk about refugees. People with nowhere to live. Milly writes a letter inviting the refugees Gong Gong – there are empty houses and lots of jobs. Grandma says it needs more oomph so they make a video too. Soon there are cars on the road, then people in the houses. The town is abuzz again. And Milly has a basketball team again: two Chloes, Fahira, Hanan, Amina, Sharifa and Milly.
You Can’t Call an Elephant in an Emergency – Patricia Cleveland-Peck and David Tazzyman
You already know that you can’t let an elephant drive a digger. Do you also know that you can’t call an elephant in an emergency? He’ll blunder around and trumpet with glee. Then tangle the hoses and cause a flood and laugh as the fire crew slips in the mud. It also turns out that other animals are no more reliable in a range of emergency situations either. The highland cow can’t operate the snow plow and the llama as a lifeguard just doesn’t seem right. I’m beginning to wonder what any of these animals are good for really!
Hound the Detective – Kimberly Andrews
Hound the detective is on the case. Each clue leads him to the next until he arrives at his destination. What does he find there? His very own surprise party. It turns our Hound is always so busy detecting things, he’s forgotten his own birthday.
There are clues hidden in each of the pages as well as seventeen caterpillars hidden among the pages. I love the inside cover image: Hound’s underground, candlelit labyrinth house.
Nala the Koala – Penny Min Ferguson
Nala the koala is in search of a new home. Her old one is gone. Some are too sandy, too smoky or too scratchy. She can’t live in a field like Miss Kangaroo or in a burrow like Mr Echidna. Nala needs nooks for napping and gum leaves for gobbling. Somewhere safe to snooze and play. At last she sees a tree. Perfect…except there are no other trees around. She is all alone. Luckily some friends arrive to help work to replant the bush together.
A timely story, in light of our recent bushfires and the devastation this has wrought on the koala population.
The Bushfire Book: How to be aware and prepare – Polly Marsden and Chris Nixon
Staying on the topic of bushfires, The Bushfire Book teaches us about our great brown land’s weather and the bushfires that come with it. It addresses the concerns and fear that children and, indeed, everyone may feel during bushfires season. It teaches us that heat, fuel and oxygen are needed to start a fire, First Nation people’s knowledge about controlling bushfire, people that keep an eye on bushfire conditions and the three main ways to stay bushfire smart: 1) be aware, 2) prepare, 3) share. Importantly, it explains that it is okay to feel scared and what you can do about it.
As the book says, bushfires are a tough part of living in Australia, but it is worth the challenge!
Peppa’s Summer Holiday
More Peppa Pig! Lucky little Peppa Pig fans! In this adventure, Peppa and her family are off on a holiday adventure! Peppa says goodbye to all of her playgroup friends, who are all very excited because they are all going on holidays and all have big plans to swim in a swimming pool.
Peppa and her family arrive at the holiday destination, and Peppa soon finds her way to the pool. However, it isn’t long before some familiar faces begin showing up. What are the odds?
Ten Sleepy Sheep – Renee Treml
“Ten sleepy sheep walk back to the shed. Nine sleepy pups settle in bed…. Night-time has fallen and the farm is asleep, time for you to count your sheep.”
A beautiful, gentle bedtime board book for the littlest ones. With adorable illustrations of baby animals on a farm in the Australian bush going to sleep, Ten Sleepy Sheep is a serene introduction to the concept of counting down from ten.
My Best Friend is a Dragon – Rachel McLean
Every day is a blast when your best friend is a dragon. When snow makes it hard to play he melts it all away. When I can’t stack my tower high, he helps me build it to the sky. My Best Friend is a Dragon is a fun lift-the-flap board book.
Never Touch A Koala: Book and Jigsaw Set – Rosie Greening
Full of funny Australian animals doing funny Australian things. Never Touch a Koala is a hilarious rhyming story with wonderfully bold, bright illustrations.
The 48 piece fuzzy touch-and-feel floor puzzle is a delight. A dingo cooking on the barbie. A koala eating a gumleaf sandwich. A grumpy Joey wearing his swagman’s hat with corks and all.
This one is for ages 3+.
Kitty is Not a Cat: Lights Out – Jess Black
Kitty is Not a Cat: Teddy’s Bear – Jess Black
With Hannah just starting to be interested in junior fiction, we are on the look out for good junior fiction books and the Kitty is Not a Cat series fits the bill. We know Jess Black from The Tales of Mr Walker series. (We’ve read the books. That makes us old mates, doesn’t it?) I’m reliably informed that Kitty is Not a Cat has been made into a hit TV series, however we practically live under a rock with respect to tv show knowledge, which is to say, I have not seen it. The books, however, we have, and they are a blast.
Kitty lives in an adult-free world, learning what it means to be human from a group of kind-hearted but ill-informed cats. This, of course, is not without it’s mishaps.
In Lights Out, Kitty’s nightlight has gone missing. Unaware of why one could ever possibly be a little apprehensive about going to sleep, whatever the circumstances may be, her feline friends try to settle her down. But to no avail. Will the nightlight turn up, or will it be something else that saves the day?
In Teddy’s Bear, Kitty has a bear. It is not a teddy bear, but a real-life grizzly bear. Kitty and the bear are having a blast, but its not long before Kitty starts to realise that having a grizzly bear as a playmate may come with a few challenges.
There are two more books in the Kitty is Not a Cat series (Hired Hound and Bath Time) that we are looking forward to getting our paws on.
What Zola Did on Tuesday – Melina Marchetta
Lovable, adventurous Zola is back in the second book of this series. Zola lives on Boomerang Street with her mum and her Nonna. Today, Zola is trying to help Nonna knit a scarf so that she can keep an important promise to help a family in need. The trouble is, nothing ever goes quite to plan…
Mermaid School: Ready, Steady, Swim! – Lucy Courtenay and Sheena Dempsey
Well, it is easy to see the appeal of this one. An underwater school for mermaids that ride seahorses. I take it that you (or rather your little person) is with me. In this book of the Mermaid School series, it is sports carnival day. There is a new, strict PE teacher and he has brought back Golden Glory sports day with a outrageously tricky obstacle relay. Marnie Blue and her friends are horrified. Marnie, Perl and Orla are put in the same team and get training but it seems someone is out to ruin everything. Can the cheater be stopped?
Author of the immensely popular Wimpy Kid series, Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure is Jeff Kinney’s second book chronicling Rowley’s side of the story. Here, Rowley and his best friend, Garg the Barbarian, leave the safety of their village and embark in a quest to save Roland’s mum from the White Warlock.
Klutz: Make Your Own Glaze Craze Charms
This kit contains everything to make 27 charms of see-through jewelry. It comes with everything you need (thank goodness): the charm backs, all sorts of glitters, the glaze, the chain necklace, the embroidery floss and a whole sheet of really cool translucent designs. The sheet has designs for lots of different themes: butterflies, plants, cities, pop art and colour swatches. It even has instructions for a two part heart BFF charm: give one half to your BFF and keep the other for yourself. Oh. Em. Gee.
This one is for ages 8+.
Klutz – LEGO: Gear Bots
I am gobsmacked by the STEM resources available right now. Possibly because I’m a little jealous that I am no longer of the age to which these are targeted. Lucky I have kids, right?
Klutz – LEGO: Gear Bots comes with everything you need to make eight incredibly creative machines, including 62 LEGO elements as well as 10 sheets of papercraft to really complete the design. There is a DJ octopus, a flying pterodactyl, a yeti and much more. I’m telling you, I ache to be eight years old again. The book contains super-clear, completely illustrated step-by-step instructions, as well as frequently asked questions and trouble shooting tips. This is the epitome of hands-on learning about cams, cranks, axles and other mechanical engineering fundamentals with real-life applications. It comes with more than enough parts for open-ended creativity as your imaginations take flight and sets you up with the skills to build on.
This one is for ages 8+.