Lenny’s book of everything by Karen Foxlee

You don’t become someone perfect just because your brother is dying. You stay the person you are and all your good and bad bits are magnified.

It’s not often that you come across a book that you cannot put down, or one that you constantly think about.

Lenny’s book of everything by Karen Foxlee is one of those books.

It’s also one of those books that will make you laugh and cry in one paragraph. And one that you will need to keep the handkerchiefs close by…..

This story is written with magic interwoven into the world of the main character – Lenny and her little brother Davey.

Lenny is a young girl who is an ordinary big and bossy sister who loves (yet at times) loathes her little brother. She loves the idea of adventure yet loves the safety of home. Her brother Davey is such a sweet and loveable character who comes out with the best lines in the story – “Holy Batman!” making sure that you break into a smile even at the most difficult moments.

The other characters make this story rich and colourful – firstly their mother Cynthia Spink, hard working and worn out, Mrs Gaspar the dream weaving Hungarian lady who looks after the children while their mother works, mean Mr King, the fruit shop owner, mysterious Mr King and of course Great Aunt Em.

A host of other characters and events play important roles in the story of Lenny, highlighting her love of the encyclopaedias that arrive on their doorstep alphabetically, the dreams she and her brother have of escaping to Great Bear Lake and of course the harsh reality that they have to deal with – Davey having Gigantism.

The story is always so joyful yet there is  the ever presenting unknowing of if Davey will ever stop growing.

This is a story to be read by children over the age of ten but I loved this book and I highly recommend any adult who loves a good book (along with a few hankies).

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How to Bee by Bren Mac Dibble.


Have you ever wondered about what life would look like if there were only a small amount of bees left in the world?

This is a very real problem and one book that made me shudder with the possibility of being real.

Meet tough, smart and vibrant Peony, an ten year old farm girl who works in the Goulburn Valley of NSW, Australia. Peony works hard on the farm, manually removing bugs from crops as pesticides have been banned – however becoming a Bee is what she dreams of. Being a Bee is one of the most important roles in this futuristic society as the young and nimble need to do the job the bees once did – pollinating flowers.

Peony lives with her grandfather and sister but the community around them and the bond they all have is amazing and something to aspire due despite the poverty they live in. Peony’s mother wants more than farm life and takes Peony off to the city to earn real money. Despite her utter dislike for city life, huge disparity being rich and poor and still the utter disregard for the hard work of farmers, Peony learns about the importance of friendship, family and kind acts.

How to Bee brought a tear to my eye and although it may seem like a bleak outlook from the start it shows how strong the human spirit is and the need we all have to belong and live in harmony.

Perhaps if the big supermarkets and chemical companies read this story they would start to change how they see the world and start to think more about the impact we are having on the future.

There are some areas of the world where this form of pollination is already happening today – I’m not sure if we want this to spread to all areas of the world. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/humans-bees-china_us_570404b3e4b083f5c6092ba9?section=australia

So what can you do?

Bee and Me

The Book of Bees

Bee

Oxfam Shop

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!

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

Don’t look down don’t look down don’t look down.

The air felt thin. ‘Step boldly,’ Morrigan whispered.

Then she closed her eyes. And jumped.

This is one book that you need to read. It has been described as a mixture between Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland – truly magical and mysterious.

Morrigan Crow, a cursed child who is doomed to die very soon is swept away by a ginger haired man in a spider looking contraption to Nevermoor. A place where everything is run on Wunder, nothing is what it seems and even shadows can play games with you.

Morrigan has been chosen to join the Wundrous Society – but first she must make it through four difficult trials where what you think will happen is often the complete opposite.

Along the way Morrigan makes many new friends, discovers power within herself and learns to believe in the person she is – not what others have told her she is.

Nevermoor is one of those books that will make you stay up late and keep your heart racing as Morrigan and her friend Hawthorne embark upon each trial. You will never want to leave the enchanted world of Nevermoor and the Deucalion Hotel – and you will be waiting with baited breath for the second book.

The magic of Nevermoor will weave into your bones, showing you that magic can be wherever we look and that the power within ourselves is something we need to harvest and believe in in order to make a positive difference in the world we live in.

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend – a book for adults and children – and one to read now!

Ruby Lane by R.J.Simon

A fast paced adventure story that you won’t want to put down – Ruby Lane by R J Simon is a brand new quirky tale for young readers.

Ruby, our main adventurer is a wonderfully creative thinker – who just can’t stop thinking! She has a wild imagination and would much rather be up through the night  creating things instead of sleeping!

Luckily it is school holidays and Ruby is off to her Grandma’s for a week of excitement. She hops on the ferry but due to her late night antics she nods off until the ferry pulls into the wharf near her Grandma’s home. Ruby begins her walk but soon discovers a cat that talks like a pirate and talking lemons – certainly not the usual things she finds on the way to grandmas!  The pirate cat convinces her to help him return a very special book to the great Poet Gerry and she agrees.

From here the reader is taken on a very magical, fun, weird and crazy adventure all over the island. She meets many intriguing creatures along the way as she helps Pirate Cat on his quest.

Ruby Lane is a very fast paced book and although Ruby is at first portrayed as someone who can’t slow down, she is a very clear thinker who is not only brave but kind.

You’ll love the quirkiness of Pirate Cat – but be warned he does talk in pirate lingo throughout the whole novel so for those of you who don’t think you can handle more than one ‘me hearty’ you might struggle a bit.

Only someone with a vivid imagination and fun filled ideas could create a book like this. R.J.Simon has used so many different ideas to bring this story, the magical land and it’s characters to life.

I had lots of fun reading this story and was endlessly surprised by what happened next!

So what else can you do with this story?

  1. Read it out loud – see if any children can relate to Ruby – her creative thinking and endless imagination. Recall a time when you had a wonderful idea that wouldn’t let you sleep!
  2. Learn how to speak like a pirate. Wednesday 19th September is International talk like a pirate day!
  3. Draw a map of the island. What do you think it looks like?
  4. Ruby meets so many amazing characters in this story. Do they have anything in common with each other? Do they all have anything in common with Ruby?

There are many more activities you can do with this book so head over to R J Simon’s website and have a look around: http://www.booksbyrjsimon.com

Take a step inside

Have you ever wondered – why we still need books and why we still need a library?  


Perhaps you might think that the internet has everything we need so why use up the extra space and paper? 

Australian Children’s Laureate Leigh Hobbs has recently been discussing the importance of libraries and the vital role they play in our children’s lives. Not only do they foster a positive reading culture but they allow children to see beyond their interest.

The internet can be a very closed space and we can search and be shown only what we want to see. When a child enters the library they do gravitate towards what they like but they can also be easily shown books by the librarian, parents or teacher that might be a little bit different and might just stretch their world a little further.  Libraries promote a sense of community and hopefully encourage people to take care of the books that they need to share with others.

Perhaps next time rather than buying a book or downloading one, step into your library and see what else is on offer!

Our school library

Our  library is a place to mingle with different types of books and pick up new books that you may never have thought you liked.


Our library has a Non-Fiction section focus each week – a chance for children to learn about new topics and the books available. 

Our  library is a place to sit still and listen to books being read out loud.

Our library is a place to share book reviews, try out books and ‘shop’ for free.

Our  library is a place to be creative, learn about how a library works and see how author’s think.

Our library is a place where all children can access books at their level and their interest.

Our  library is a portal to different worlds, different times and different people who might just resonate with you and inspire you to take yourself on a different path in life.

Our library books can be accessed online from any student login or accessed any day of the week at school.

 

What do you like about your school library?

The lengths some bears go to

Bollo had had enough.

Every book he read was boring.

His friends told him to try picture books.

BORING!

His little boy told him to try books based on facts

BORING!

His grandma suggested he try audio books

OH HIS EARS!

But that was until he was accidentally locked in the library.

The lights went out, the door clicked shut and the place went quiet.

Bollo looked around but there was no one in sight, no one that is until the books started watching him.

One by one he noticed aliens googling their eyes at him, monsters waving their furry hands and a Mopoke hooting at him.

He crept closer to each book and noticed the shimmer on some covers, the sparkle on the pages and the magic smell.

He hesitantly moved his hand over shelves of picture books, rows of audio books and reams of graphic novels.

He heard stories rumble from within books on low shelves, fact reciting from books on high shelves and constant mumbling from magazines on the back shelf.

With a dash of colour here and there, Bollo found books that were beyond boring. He found books that would transport him to another time, books that would teach him things he never knew possible and books that would give him ideas on how he could change the world.

And so when the lights came back on and a friendly hand picked him up, Bollo thought  that  just perhaps, books were not so boring.

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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!

Snap review: Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables by Tim Harris

Mr Bambuckle is every student’s idea of a dream teacher and perhaps some teacher’s wish they could be more like Mr Bambuckle!


I loved the way Tim Harris presented each short story and through each short story we were able to meet the different students in 12B.

I particulary loved the story of the washing machine as I know that in my childhood I was once afraid of the noise the washing machine made.

Tim Harris has a great ability to make children laugh, connect with the characters and perhaps learn a lesson or two as they read.

This book is also a great way to show students the many different ways stories can be presented.

A great book to read out loud to your class – and perhaps inspire some great storytelling amongst a group!

Snap reviews:A most magical girl by Karen Foxlee

 I’ve always loved adventure stories and magic stories so A most magical girl by Karen Foxlee was a great find!


Shortlisted in the 2017 CBCA, this story takes the reader on a magical journey through a part of London I am sure you never thought existed.

Fairy walls, troll holes and shadows that chase are all part of a journey that Annabel must undertake if she is to save London from being taken over by …..and his machine which will turn the world we know it into darkness and evil times.

This story will be devoured by young readers and I think girls will love the fact that the three heroes of the story are all females who show intelligence, bravery and friendship.

This would be a great way to get your students or children thinking about the possibilities of the magical world and what might lie beneath our city streets!

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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

Battle of Bug World by Karen Tyrrell

Superstorms destroying back gardens, Disappearing bees, record temperatures causing heat waves across the country and a strange looking tornado forming above the house next door. Who can save the earth from doom and destruction?

That’s where our superhero, young Rosie comes in!


Rosie is a superhero, she possesses superpowers that come alive when she sings but in Songbird Book #2, The Battle of Bug World, she has lost her voice and is up against a super terror!

I have not read the previous song bird book so it took a little while for me to get into the story and the characters, perhaps a chapter dedicated to getting me in the zone would have been handy but I figured it out and once I did, I really enjoyed this novel written for 7-12 year olds. (To tell you the truth I read most of the book in one evening as I just couldn’t put it down!!)

Rosie is the hidden eco hero in all of us. She is normal girl, just going to school and hanging out with her friends, but she has worries about the state of the planet and the total disregard so many people seem to have.

As the story begins we discover that Rosie’s sister, Raven, is missing and it is up to her to find out where she is and save her! The Battle of Bug world is jammed full of non-stop adventure which makes it a difficult book to put down as you just need to find out if Rosie and her friends can save planet Earth!

Songbird, The Battle of Bug World really brings up the issues of how complacent many of us are in terms of looking after the world we live in. Many of us just assume we can keep going on with our daily lives without any consideration for the future. We can’t, and through this story it is only the superheroes who can save the day – but I’m sure many of us can be superheroes and start to make small differences now, before the bees disappear, the weather becomes erratic and natural life is just inside a bubble.

Songbird, The battle of Bug world is written from Rosie’s perspective and in her youthful language so young children will find it easy to identify. Many children will also enjoy the constant references to songs that Rosie has to sing in order to unleash her powers.

Songbird, the battle of Bug world is an inspiring story for young readers. They will see that they can make a difference in the world they live in and don’t always have to rely on the adults to solve problems or to take action.

Inspire your little eco warrior today!

So what can you do at home?

Karen Tyrrell has some excellent resources here http://www.karentyrrell.com/free-teacher-resources-free-kids-activities/

 

 

 

 

The Fall by Tristan Bancks

Wow. I’ve literally just finished this book and I’m blown away by this action packed, adrenaline pumping and hair raising crime thriller- The Fall by Tristan Bancks. 


As a librarian I try to read as many books as I can but this one, as soon as it arrived, I couldn’t put it down. 

The main character, Sam- a want to be crime reporter is visiting his Dad, Harry Garner (a real crime reporter).

 But in the middle of the night Sam hears raised voices and witnesses a body fall from the apartment above his. His father is missing and Sam, using his amateur detective skills is determined to find out who killed this man as soon as he can. 

Enlisting the help of his Dad’s dog, Magic and his neighbour, Scarlet, he finds out more than he bargained for and lands himself in more trouble than he thought. 

The Fall is a gripping story that not only is an amazing read but it teaches the reader many tips about being yourself, believing in yourself and living life with open eyes, open ears and an open heart. 

I loved the Ten Commandments of life that Sam creates on reflection of the dramatic events that happened that fateful evening. 

They are something that all young readers should aim to live by. 

Can’t wait for some more great suspense raising reads by Tristan Bancks. 

Squishy Taylor and the Tunnel of Doom by Ailsa Wild and Ben Wood

Do you love adventures?

Do you love the environment?

Well – Squishy Taylor and the Tunnel of Doom is the story for you!


Shortlisted in the EACL book awards for 2017, Squishy Taylor and the Tunnel of Doom not only takes the junior reader on an adventure through Melbourne’s stormwater drains but also highlights the importance of looking after the world we live in.

Squishy and her Bonus sister’s afternoon at the park takes a mysterious turn when they stumble upon some hazardous waste hidden in some nearby drains. Squishy and her sisters may be young but with problem solving and determination they are determined to get to the bottom of this horrible mess – and save the place they live in from destruction.

Ailsa Wild writes with enthusiasm and pace and younger readers will enjoy reading this on their own, especially with great images by Ben Wood to accompany the detective girls at work. Within this great story there is a message to young children that they can make changes that improve the world they live in and do not always need to rely on adults to make those changes.

There are currently 8 novels in the Squishy Taylor series – an excellent read to inspire some future detective work!