Showing posts with label primary aged students. Show all posts
Showing posts with label primary aged students. Show all posts

Friday, 21 September 2018

Australia Remembers: Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials

Australia Remembers: Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials by Allison Paterson (Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP $14.99 HB RRP $24.99 ISBN978 12925675771

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Primary schools all over Australia are sure to snap up this well-designed and comprehensive large format book. Filled with coloured pictures and photographs (some of them historical), the book takes the reader through the story of conflicts that Australia has been involved in. It shows how our country honours, thanks and remembers those who fought to protect others, or suffered in war and conflicts in the past.

It explains how, from a population of five million, over 416,000 Australians volunteered to serve their country in the AIF. And how more than 60,000 of the volunteers lost their lives. It examines the role of Anzac Day in our country’s history with numerous coloured break-out shapes that look at subjects such as the Western Front and the Middle East, mateship, the Diggers and the Anzac Spirit. It moves on to Anzac Day services, ceremonies and parades, with numerous quotes from serving soldiers and school children about subjects such as why the day is remembered. The reader is shown stories and photographs of the bugle call, dawn services, even the RSL.

A large section of the book is devoted to Remembrance Day (11 November) with details such as when the Armistice was signed, the silence of respect, even the ode of Remembrance and why poppies are important. More than one chapter is devoted to war memorials across Australia, with additional information about the Vietnam War (1962-73), Afghanistan 2001 (ongoing), and another war on terror, Iraq (1990-91) and (2003 – 2009).

At the back of the book there is more to inform the reader, including a map showing locations where Australians serve in conflicts and peace-keeping missions. There are numerous activities included, too, such as how to make a poppy, Anzac biscuits, a wreath and even how to create a war memorial. Like all good non-fiction books there is a glossary, index and bibliography with acknowledgements and a page about the hard-working author who has also written the 2016 ABIA and CBCA-longlisted title Anzac Sons: The Story of Five Brothers on the Western Front.

The book is highly recommended.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Rain Stones

Rain Stones by Jackie French, (Harper Collins) PB RRP $16.99
ISBN 9781460753170

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

The 25th anniversary edition of Rain Stones was recently released. It is Jackie French’s debut book, a collection of five short stories that have a unique Australian flavour. The stories, with a strong environmental theme, show a great love for our country. The imaginative and thought-provoking writing draws primary school aged readers into a world of adventure and freedom.
'Rain Stones tells of the hardship of drought and the desperate need for water: our hard dry land can be a tough place to live in. ‘Afternoon with Grandma’ touches on Alzheimer’s, dreams and determination.  ‘Jacob Saw’ warmly shows there are ways to see other than with one’s eyes.  ‘Dancing with Dinosaurs’ cleverly imagines the rolling hills of Canberra as dinosaurs come to life in their nightly dance. In ‘Dusty the Dragon’ a magical dragon is hidden in a sleepy bush valley.

There is a touchingly warm afterword from French about how her writing journey started and about the inspiration for each story.  The first story,  ‘Rain Stones’, French says, written out of a desperate need for income as well as to express her passion for writing.  Needless to say French’s talent shone through and her writing career took off.

Today’s children will enjoy the stories as they still manage to connect and touch readers.

The book is handy for teachers looking for stories that are distinctly Australian to share in their classrooms. These stories will surely lead to much discussion about what it means to be an Australian.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

This School is Driving Me Nuts!

This School is Driving Me Nuts! by Duncan Ball (Christmas Press – Second Look publishing) PB RRP $18.99
ISBN 9780994234032

Reviewed by Kel Butler

When I first received This School is Driving Me Nuts!, the re-release of Duncan Ball’s plays, I pulled it out at the breakfast table, recruited my partner and the kids and started reading them together as a family. Each of us played many zany roles, quickly reducing each other to tears of laughter and causing my son to announce in that moment that he wants to be a comedian! Now that’s what I call a success story.

In this collection of plays, Duncan Ball delights with his wickedly funny use of language and character, providing something for everyone. From a comedic monologue to a play the entire class can get involved in. Duncan Ball has tuned right into the minds and imaginations of primary schoolers everywhere, getting down to their level of grossness, throwing tons of mischievous cheek and taking the everyday pun to a whole new level.

This School is Driving Me Nuts! offers hours of engagement on a group level, making this book the perfect companion for every primary school teacher and teacher-librarian. It is a fantastic way to introduce kids to theatre and plays whilst making reading time even more fun.

Highly recommended in the home and at school.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Rhyming Plays for Primary Days

Rhyming Plays for Primary Days by Ann Budden (RIC Publications) PB RRP $34.95 ISBN 9781863119573

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This handy A4 page book is a collection of plays suitable for middle to upper primary students. Each play, written in the pantomime tradition, is based on a familiar fairytale or story, all with either a fun twist and a moral or a message such as the value of sharing or it’s not good to brag. It’s a well-thought out book in many respects. Plays can be adapted to accommodate varying cast members, for example the narrator’s role can be taken by a chorus of speakers, so it’s possible to cater for an entire class. As well, there are comprehensive teachers’ notes which provide play performance information such as how to use the plays in the classroom. At the back of the book is a glossary and vocabulary lists
At the beginning of each play, the cast is listed along with costume or prop suggestions as well as other helpful information such as stage set-up and points for discussion. Every play employs a narrator who sets the scene and also links scenes within the play. On each page there is a black and white cartoon illustration of one of the play’s characters. In keeping with the user-friendly nature of the book, the pages of all of the plays are printed on one side of the paper so that the book, if so desired, can be dismantled and pages photocopied to give all cast members their own script.

In ‘Rudolph to the Rescue’, Santa’s reindeer boast of their respective abilities; poor Rudolph doesn’t compare favourably, but of course when Santa needs a leader on the foggy Christmas night, Rudolph is just right for the job. At the end of this play is music – and lyrics – for a song to be sung by the whole cast.

‘Goldi Meets the Three Bears’ is set ‘way out in the Australian bush, where the eucalyptus grows.’ The ‘bears’ are actually koalas who tell Goldi, ‘We’re cute and cuddly marsupials! We’re koalas! We’re not bears!’
All of the plays such the two mentioned here employ gentle humour, and of course they are all to be spoken in rhyming verse (easier than prose for cast members to remember their parts).

This book ticks all of the boxes when it comes to providing the classroom teacher with a bunch of fun plays which are sure to be enjoyed.

Monday, 8 February 2016

The Bunyip in the Billabong

The Bunyip in the Billabong written by Elaine Ouston (Morris Publishing)
PB RRP $13.99
ISBN 9780994246301

Reviewed by Liz Ledden

The first in a new chapter book series called ‘Bush Tails’, The Bunyip in the Billabong tells the story of Matthew, an eleven year old boy who is enamoured of his grandfather’s tales about the elusive bush creature, the bunyip. His grandfather describes the bunyip as a large, walrus-like animal, with long black hair and a bloodcurdling howl that lives in a cave by a waterhole.

When some lambs go missing on their remote, rural property, Matthew is convinced it must be due to the bunyip. Matthew’s father mocks his belief in this supposedly mythical creature, yet his spritely grandfather supports Matthew, suggesting they camp by the billabong to be sure.

When Matthew hears strange sounds and sees ripples on the water’s surface, he’s more and more certain it must be a bunyip. On a subsequent trip with his older brother bearing scuba diving gear, Matthew discovers the truth.

The book’s traditional rural setting and characters are reminiscent of a bygone Australian era, with echoes of bush poetry along the lines of Waltzing Matilda evident. Matthew’s endless curiosity and determination would resonate with readers, and his grandfather and brother’s support is truly endearing. This is an entertaining story with enough mystery and rising tension to keep a primary school-aged reader hooked.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Mr Crikey and the Greedy Griffith

Mr Crikey and the Greedy Griffith by Matt Porter (Celapene Press)
 Paperback RRP $14.95
ISBN 9780975074282

Reviewed by Margaret Warner

Take one enthusiastic year 6 class, introduce a crazy relief teacher and you have a recipe for unexpected adventures and outcomes.

Students of 6B at Outback Creek have a problem. The local Swimming Hole, surrounded by bush that is home to many species of native birds and animals is about to be sold to developers.  6B wants to raise enough money to buy the property but failing that they hope that their next relief teacher might be a billionaire or just a millionaire who will buy the property and save the Swimming Hole and the bush habitat.

6B doesn’t get their millionaire relief teacher but they do get Mr Crikey who bursts into the classroom wrestling a gigantic green and brown snake. He’s a wildlife warrior and just the right person for the task when it comes to helping 6B with their creative solution to outwit the unscrupulous businessman Benjamin Griffith and their two wily classmates, Weasel and Radley.

Mr Crikey and the Greedy Griffith is a fun read with lots of humorous descriptions and situations. It is the fourth book in the Crazy Relief Teachers series and will be enjoyed by primary aged students.