Beware the deep dark forest by Sue Whiting and Annie White.

It wasn’t a carnivorous plant.

It wasn’t a venomous snake.

It wasn’t a bristly wolf or a deep ravine.

It was worse. Much, much worse. 

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If you love an adventure and a bit of alliteration then you will love Beware the deep dark forest by Sue Whiting and Annie White.

Rosie is off to find her dog Tinky who has run off into a forest full of scary things. With only bravery in her backpack, Rosie is determined to find it – despite warnings from her Grandmother and Father.

Teacher’s will not only love reading this story to their class because it is a wonderful story, they will also love it because of the literacy devices!

There is alliteration

There are so many great adjectives of varying degrees

And there is a great plot to engage with.

The illustrations are a great way to explore visual literacy  – look at the colours, Rosie’s expressions and the use of different types of font.

We have loved reading Beware the deep dark forest by Sue Whiting and Annie White and thinking of many new ways we could describe the snakes, plants and wolf!

Check it out now:

Buy from fishpond right here…..
Beware the Deep Dark Forest

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Charlie’s Adventures by Jacqueline De Rose-Ahern and illustrated by Sophie Norsa.

Charlie’s adventures in South Africa by Jacqueline De Rose-Ahern and illustrated by Sophie Norsa.

Have you ever wanted to visit South Africa but the thought of the long flight with small children was too much?

https://www.derose-ahernstories.com/

You will either be satisfied just reading this book or will be more inspired to head on over there after reading the adventures young Charlie has with his family in South Africa.

As you follow Charlie’s journey you will learn a little of the local lingo, meet the animals that live on the savannah, walk through the city, taste the local produce, dance to some music and of course help Charlie to solve the riddles in order to find hidden treasure!

After Charlie visits a new place in South Africa, he receives a clue which he needs to hold onto in order to solve the final riddle.

The characters talk about a map which they use to move around South Africa and I would recommend pulling out a map so children can see where they might be travelling to as they visit different places.

There is an added bonus in this story – a postcard at the back! Children love reading postcards and this one is blank, leaving space for children to write their own thoughts about this mini holiday!

Charlie’s adventures in South Africa is part of series of travel books for children (which I haven’t’ read, but would be interested in seeing as it is a different way to ignite interest in other countries and its people.) In Jacqueline’s other books he visits Australia, Hawaii and England.

Teacher’s will also love this book as it looks at a country in a different way – through the people and the eyes of a child. It will encourage an interest in maps and perhaps ignite some postcard sending!

What can you do in the classroom? 

– We looked at where South Africa was on the world map, then where is was in Africa.

– As I read the book I showed matching images from South Africa – to make connections.

– As I read I asked the children to listen to and look for clues.

– After we read the children in Kindergarten drew what they thought Charlie saw on his adventure. You can see below what they have drawn and written.

Join my facebook group – Growing Globally and socially conscious children – a closed group where we share ideas on how we can talk about big issues with young children through simple activities. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/sociallyconsciouschildren/about/

And join in on the Book Blog tour running this week!

blogtour

Jane Doe and The Cradle of all Worlds by Jeremy Lachlan

Wow – Every time I picked up this book I knew that my heart would be racing, I’d be skipping words and I’d be turning the page before I had even finished reading it.

It’s just one of those books that you shouldn’t read before bed if you need to relax!

Jane Doe and The Cradle of all Worlds is a cross between some of my favourite stories: Narnia, Indiana Jones, Nevermoor and Pan’s labyrinth.

It’s fast paced and action packed but the characters are so enchanting that it is not only the adventure you will want to read about, you’ll also want to get to know these character’s so much better.

The protagonist – Jane Doe is a young teenager who hates the town she lives in as the people have blamed her for anything bad that has happened for as long as she can remember.

Jane’s luck changes (well she might not see it that way!) when the largest earthquake to hit the town starts and her father, who has been bed bound and speechless since she was little opens the door to the mysterious manor and leaves without saying a word.

The manor is filled with rooms that change, rooms filled with traps and rooms that may haunt you forever. But all Jane knows is that she needs to save her father and bring him home – the only problem is that the doorway to home has been sealed and it is only through the help of an interesting character name Hickory and a mysterious girl that she may someday find her father and make it out of the manor – alive (and sane)

Jane is a character that all young readers will love, she speaks their language, thinks what they would be thinking but also shows courage and determination is the most difficult times. She will give those readers who aren’t into the bigger and longer fiction stories a reason to keep turning the pages with her sarcastic remarks and interesting thought bubbles.

Jane Doe and the Cradle of all worlds is only the first book in this series and it is one that readers will be waiting for!

BUY NOW FROM FISHPOND

The Cradle of All Worlds: The Jane Doe Chronicles

GO ON AN ADVENTURE – ECO STYLE!

 

The chronicles of Jack McCool: The Tomb of the Emerald Scarab by R.E.Devine

“I’m coming Finn,” he whispered as he stared up into the darkness of the attic. “But this time it’s you who needs to help me.”

R.E.Devine has written another action packed page turning book in the Jack McCool series. Book 2 – The tomb of the Emerald Scarab takes us back to Jack with his new knowledge of being the Prince of Tara and the only one who can save Eireann.

But being a teenager, Jack just wants to relax back into normal life for a little while despite Miss Medusa still hating him and Oscar constantly bullying him.

We visit Jack again as he prepares for a visit to the museum to see some ancient Egyptian artefacts and although the bus ride and the company are not quite what he expected – what happens when they are in the burial chamber room cause him to rush back to Eireann and Finn as soon as he can.

Rory is missing, the emerald stone is calling him and a strange smell is bothering him.

Where will he head off to in order to find his friend and jewel? Can Finn help him this time and who else will he find on the way?

Another great read by Ruth Devine and I can’t wait to read book 3…

Watch this space!

Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster

If you had one wish what would it be?

Esme Silver lost her mother 7 years ago and has just witnessed her father remarry a women she doesn’t like at all. She is not only upset at her father for remarrying but also upset that he wants to move on when she can’t. Her mother went missing 7 years ago for no apparent reason and it is this unknowing that draws Esme to a small cottage she has been told to avoid for the last 7 years after her father and his new wife depart on their honeymoon.

Not only does Esme discover more about her mother, she also discovered another world – and this world has many more links to her mother than she would like to think.

When Esme steps into this other world, she makes many true and good friends in the city of Esperance who help her to find out what has happened to her mother. She shows determination, clever thinking and a strong will as she journeys through a city which constantly surprises her with it’s twists and turns around every corner.

Esme’s wish is a marvellous story and a definite page turner. It is full of magic and wonder,imagination and marvel, creativity and friendship. Not only does Esme travel Esperance to find her mother, she travels through it to also save the city from certain destruction.

Esme’s wish by Elizabeth Foster is a book for readers aged 11 and up and perhaps one that may have a sequel….who knows? Perhaps I will have to ask Elizabeth Foster herself…..

So what else can you do with this book?

– Draw a map of Esperance and surrounding islands after you have read the book

– Make a list of the different gifts people can have. How do people have gifts in our world? Are they as revered as they are in this story? Are all gifts equal in this world and our own?

– What is a pearl made out of? Why are they precious? Can you find any stories throughout history related to pearls?

– As you read list the metaphors and similes and other types of figurative language. This book is rich in this type of language and a great way to study how you can add more to your writing.

There are so many more wonderful activities to do with this book – it’s a great book to share or read as a group!

Little mouse’s Sweet Treat by Shana Hollowell

What lengths do your children go to to grab themselves a sugary treat?

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The little mouse in this book travels all over his neighbourhood to find a delicious sweet snack meeting different animals and their taste buds along the way.

A sweet, simple, fun and engaging story, Little Mouse’s Sweet treat will not only engaged your child it will also expose them to rhyme.

Rhyming is one important aspect of learning to read so having these types of books read out loud to your child is setting them up for an easier path when learning how to read.

The watercolour illustrations are beautiful and my three year old loved looking at what the different animals were doing as the mouse spoke to them.

My one year old niece asked for the story to be read over and over again, enjoying the pictures, the sing song of the rhyme and the curiosity to see what the mouse ended up eating!

Little Mouse’s sweet treat is a lovely read for younger children and one which early readers will also like to read out loud.

You can buy your copy here: Amazon

The chronicles of Jack Mc Cool: The Amulet of Athlone by R.E.Devine

Ever wondered, ‘What’s special about me?’. Jack did and soon discovered that heroes come in all shapes and sizes, even ones with sticky-up hair and an unending supply of dodgy one-liners.

Jack Mc Cool is funny, full of energy and bright- but he is also forgetful and gets in trouble from his teachers. He lives with his family and goes to school – just like any other ordinary teenager.


But this all changes the day he tries to escape the annoying requests from his brother to help him prepare for his school play.

Jack climbs into the attic of the house and in an effort to escape his brother, stumbles upon a trunk – which looks like a great hiding place but ends up being something completely out of the ordinary.

The Amulet of Athlone is the first book in a series of 6 which takes the reader on an magical adventure back in time to the Kingdom of Eireann to recover 6 powerful gems that will restore peace to the Fianna people.

Ruth Devine’s writing is fast paced and action packed. Each chapter in The Amulet of Athlone leaves you with a cliff hanger, subtly recaps what has happened and allows you to really get to know the characters.

Ruth was inspired to start writing this series of 6 by her three sons, who all have ADHD. She wanted to create an adventure story with a quirky main character that not only would her boys want to read about but also other children who may be reluctant readers or have ADHD.

You’ll feel like you know each of the characters by the end of the book and if you’re like me, be quite happy to join Jack and Finn on the next quest. You’ll be amazed by the magical spells and tricks played by evil banshees and mesmerised by the description of the places Jack visits. You’ll also see how important family, friends and positive support  are to all children, especially those who are a little bit different and don’t always fit what the teachers at school or society expect from them.

The Amulet of Athlone is a great start to this 6 book series and I can’t wait to read the rest!

Teacher notes coming soon – Watch this space!

Dungzilla by James Foley

Now you’ve got me thinking Sal…why don’t you use a bunch of Dung Beetles to clean Joe’s nappies? 

Ah, the friendly Dung Beetle – how I wish I could employ a couple of these poo lovers to clean out our nappy bucket so I didn’t have to deal with the washing of poo and wee on a weekly basis. But the risks of the Dung Beetle turning into a Dungzilla are real in our scientific household so for now….I’ll just keep my gloves on.


Dungzilla by James Foley is a highly entertaining graphic novel about a young girl – Sally Tinker (Formerly of Brobot) who is the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve. In this story she has invented a resizenator and whilst trying it out on a humble slice of pizza she accidentally hits her friends pet Dung Beetle. And you can only imagine what a giant Dung Beetle might get up to.

The humour entwined with adventure make this story one which you can’t put down. The comic style story allows younger readers to follow along with more enthusiasm as they can see the characters and gain more insight into how they are feeling and acting as each scenario unfolds.

James Foley has also included some great facts about the Dung Beetle within the story which we loved reading and inspired some extra research on this scat loving creature. We even learnt some extra words that also mean poo as we read along and some ideas on how we can create our own resizenator.

Dungzilla, filled with humour, action and great illustrations is a must read book for younger readers and those who are just starting to read on their own. But why Dungzilla on a blog about sustainability you ask – well building awareness of the small creatures in our world is just as important as awareness about the big ones.

Without Dung Beetles our world would be a lot stinkier, filled with more methane and germier.

Dung Beetles are endangered in some areas of the world due to loss of habitat, land being over farmed, more chemicals on the land and poorer quality poo due to poorer food sources.

Check out these links:

Why we need Dung Beetles

Feral animals endangering the Dung Beetle

So what can you do at home?

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Go on an insect hunt and find out which insects live in your neighbourhood. Is there a way you can attract more beneficial insects to your backyard or local park?
  • What is a Dung Beetle? Find out some more facts and history about the humble Dung lover.
  • Why do we need insects? What might our world look like if we didn’t have beetles and bugs?

LITERACY

  • Create your own comic strip about a science invention that doesn’t work out as planned.
  • Look at how James Foley uses comic strips to create suspense and humour. How can you add that to your own creation?

EXTRA TEACHING NOTES HERE: Fremantle Press

Soon by Timothy Knapman 

Soon by Timothy Knapman and Patrick Benson is a beautiful story that highlights the importance of parenting and how we can build our children’s trust and confidence if we lead by example, care for them and show them what confidence is. ⠀


Raju the elephant and his mummy go on an adventure through rivers, forests and mountains but Raju always wants to know when he is going home. ⠀

“When can we go home again?” 

“Soon”

It is only when he returns home that he can reflect and see how important that journey was and how much fun he had. His mother not only looked after him when there were dangers but also showed him the world around him so that he may want to be a part of it himself. ⠀

Soon warms your heart with the mother’s love for her son and her want to show him the world. ⠀

The story is easy to read and easy to listen to. Your child can follow the repetitive nature of the questioning by Raju and the approach the mother takes with each difficulty they come across.

How does this link to parenting? 

We can’t wrap our children in paper bags so

  • allow them to see the world
  • protect them from dangers but let them know what is out there so they become caring global citizens.
  • read to your children so they become aware of global issues in a nicer way as opposed to finding out on the news.
  • inspire them
  • lead by example. Do what you want the world to be. Use less plastic, respect animals and love the outdoors. We need more people in this world who care about the future for everyone – not just the now.

Sustainability and conservation 

  • Elephants need our protecting due to deforestation and hunting. Check where your products come from to ensure they do not support this!
  • Elephants have been used by humans for many different activities. Create a timeline to show the relationship -both negative and positive – between humans and elephants.
  • Do conservation groups really help elephants? Investigate different conservation groups and how they use their money.

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Soon

Grandpa’s BIG adventure by Paul Newman

Grandpa’s BIG adventure by Paul Newman and illustrated by Tom Jellett is a story of adventure told by a grandfather to his grandson – and what a great story he tells!


Grandpa is teaching his grandson how to swim (and his grandson is a little apprehensive like many young swimmers are) and to help ease him into the water he tells him of a great adventure he once had when he swam around the world.

The story grandpa tells is amazing and one which we all want to believe in, even when he tells of the time he met the Prince of Whales!  The illustrations highlight the wonderful adventure with brilliant colours and quirky illustrations and tell more of the story to a young readers eyes.

If we all had a grandpa like this who ignited imagination we would never fear anything as we would know that someone has gone through these emotions before – such an important message for young children.

What can you do with this story? 

Geography ~ Numeracy ~Literacy

  • As you read this story pull out a map of the world and look where you could swim to.
  • Look at all of the different bodies of water in the world.
  • Where do people swim? Where don’t people swim? Work out reasons why! 

 Numeracy 

  • Measure distances between countries and bodies of water.
  • Pose problems – if grandpa swam 1km an hour, how long would it take him to swim to New Zealand from Australia? 

 Self awareness 

  • Can you tell a tall story that would help encourage someone?
  • Do you think grandpa did any of the things in this story?

Literacy

  • Look at the inside back and front covers – what else did grandpa do whilst on his adventure? Can you add some extra tales to this story?
  • How do the illustrations change the meaning of the text? Read this book without looking at the pictures – ask students to tell you what they can see in their minds and then show them the image. Give students a sentence (or they create their own) where the sentence can have more than one meaning. 

Word play and extension 

  • Idioms – there are so many wonderful idioms in this story, try and find them! Then explore some more ambiguous sentences and draw your own illustrations.