Welcome to the October 2020 Children’s Book Roundup. This month there were a creatures galore, with lots of birds and lots of dragons, as well as rabbits, a few from Julia Donaldson’s imagination and humans (a human manual as well as a story about one or two). Settle in and enjoy.
Disclosure – these books were provided to Blog of Dad free of charge for the Children’s Book Roundup. For further information, please visit my disclosure statement
Stupid Carrots – David Campbell and Daron Parton
Betty doesn’t like carrots. This is tough when you are a rabbit. Now Betty is hungry and there is nothing but carrots. Always carrots. Betty shows us all the stages of hangry, from discussion to pleading to outright angry before being to too lacking in energy to eat anyway. When a steaming bowl of suspiciously orange soup is pushed her way, “What kind of soup?” Betty asks. “Yummy soup!” is the response, and it turns out it is.
Stupid Carrots is a lot of fun. It’s fast paced, brightly illustrated and, importantly for my preschooler, features the word “stupid” on several occasions.
Hello Jimmy! – Anna Walker
Go Go and the Silver Shoes by Anna Walker is one of Hannah’s all time favourite books, with Tilly also high on the list. When Hello Jimmy! Arrived on our doorstep Hannah could barely contain her excitement.
The illustrations are distinctly Anna Walker’s; crisp, elegant and stunning, drawing you so far in to the story you feel every word. And what words there are to feel in this book. Jack lives part time with his father. He can’t be there all the time. Sometimes they talk and sometimes they don’t but things have become quiet there lately. Dad doesn’t tell funny jokes any more. One day when Jack arrives he is surprised his dad has Jimmy, a talking parrot that arrived on the doorstep after a storm. Jimmy talks. Dad thinks he is amazing. Jack wished he was amazing too.
Anna dedicates Hello Jimmy! to her brother ” And for the child who feels lost. May you feel found and know you are loved.”
Busy Beaks – Sarah Allen
Busy Beaks is a colourful rhyming guide that introduces kids to some of Australia’s marvellous birdlife. This illustrations by Melbourne-based Sarah Allen are magnificent!
Scary Bird – Michel Streich
There was a new bird in the aviary. He looked scary! All the other birds freaked out, but the scary bird didn’t leave. He just went about doing his regular bird business, preening, eating and what not. The other birds worried. “Where is he going to live?” they said. “he’s gobbling up all our food!” they said. Scary bird even sounded different to the other bird. However with the passing of tie the birds found that scary bird wasn’t so different, or so scary, after all. But then something really and truly scary happened. A different new bird was there and he was terrifying!
Ahh, yes. It’s lucky that we, humans, are so silly, isn’t it.
You can find Scary Bird here.
What Zola Did on Wednesday – Melina Marchetta and Deb Hudson
In the third instalment of this sweet early reader series, Zola has a plan to help her friend Sophia’s missing turtle. As always, no matter how hard Zola tries to keep out of trouble, she just can’t make it happen! We enjoyed reading what Wednesday had in store for Zola in her life on Boomerang Street with her mum and her nonna. (You can also read about Zola’s day on Monday and Tuesday.)
Sing Me the Summer – Jane Godwin and Alison Lester
Sing Me the Summer is a celebration of the solace to be found in nature. It is full of nostalgia and warmth for the precious memories and experiences forged with family in the great outdoors throughout the four seasons of the year. The combination of Jane Godwin’s text and Alison Lester’s illustrations is a knock out.
Darwin’s Dragons – Lindsay Galvin
What a marvellous adventure. It’s 1835 and cabin boy Syms Covington is on a voyage of a lifetime to the Galapagos Islands with the world famous scientist Charles Darwin. Syms falls overboard during a storm and washes up on an island. Stranded on this unexplored island, h he looks up at a black silhouette. He tells himself it could be a huge hawk, a heron, or even an albatross; he’d seen all of those with Charles Darwin on the other Galapagos Islands. But he knew it wasn’t. Syms had made a discovery that could change the world. Now at stake was not only his own survival but the future of an undiscovered species.
Written by science teacher and author Lindsay Galvin, Darwin’s Dragons grounds the most fantastical creature, the dragon, in a world that is on many ways historically and scientifically accurate.
Darwin’s Dragons is a phenomenal story.
Dragon! – Maggie Hutchings and Cheryl Orsini
When Sam moves far away, Lena and Luka promise to visit. But aeroplane tickets are expensive and no matter how they tried, they just couldn’t save enough money. There had to be another way. They held hands and wished, and out of the sky felt a dragon like a big scaly raindrop. Plop! Sam was amazed when he saw Lena and Luka arrive ton the dragon’s back. He knew they were friends forever.
My Story Treasury – Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
One of the best partnerships is children’s literature – Donaldson and Scheffler – are back! This time with a collection of four fantastic tales for young readers to enjoy. This compilation is described as “four classic stories re-designed to help children who are gaining confidence in reading” and that certainly rings true with our four-year-old bookworm! The repetition is engaging and very entertaining.
My Story Treasury contains the delightful classics: Stick Man, Superworm, The Scarecrow’s Wedding and Zog & the Flying Doctors. There are also some activity pages for a bit of extra enjoyment.
Kay’s Anatomy: A Complete (and Completely Disgusting) Guide to the Human Body – Adam Kay
Written by award-winning writer, comedian and former doctor, Adam Kay, Kay’s Anatomy is an organ-by-organ tour of the human body. It introduces readers to the strange, surprising and sometime kind of gross world of how our bodies works and answers many of life’s probing questions (like ‘are bogies safe to eat’) along to way.
Your body is weird. My body is weird. Your maths teacher’s body is even weirder.
Kay’s Anatomy is aimed a readers aged 8 to 12 years.
Wild Symphony – Dan Brown and Susan Batori
Digital Fortress, Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code and… picture books??? Yes, it’s the same Dan Brown. And this isn’t any ordinary narrative picture book. It is a hilarious, musical romp through the animal kingdom. Wild Symphony can be enjoyed in traditional picture book form, or you can scan a QR code in the front and dive into the world of augmented reality. Each page has a designated song that automatically plays when the smartphone camera is pointed at it. And in typical Dan Brown style, the book is full of hidden surprises. Wild Symphony is definitely unique!
The Thank-you Present – Jane Martino and Annie White
Mindfulness is a big deal these days and Puffin have teamed up with Australia’s leading not-for-profit preventative mental health organisation – Smiling Mind – to develop a five-part collaboration. The Thank-you Present is the first book in this series and it is lovely. It explores the concept of gratitude, as two great friends learn the best thing about presents.
Back to Sleep – Zoë Foster Blake and Mike Jacobsen
Where do you go when your first children’s book is all about a fart trying (and failing) to make a new best friend? For Zoë Foster Blake, the answer is apparently to come up with another concept that is equally as whacky (although a lot less smelly) and just as sure to elicit laughs from little readers. Foster Blake obviously understands the pure joy that exists in the absurd and, as a result, the four year old in our house found the flipped roles of child and parent in Back to Sleep hilarious. I was just worried it might start giving her ideas…