Showing posts with label school. Show all posts
Showing posts with label school. Show all posts

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

A Lot of Stuff Happens

A Lot of Stuff Happens by Adrian Beck, Oliver Phommavanh, Will Kostakis and Andrew Daddo (Penguin Random House) PB RRP $19.99 ISBN9780143794752

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Here is a collection of four books in one from some of Australia’s best-known contemporary males writing for children. The book is divided into four sections titled, ‘Dale’, ‘Ned’, ‘Sean’ and ‘Ethan’. Dale, for example, is written by TV producer Adrian Beck and begins with the words, ‘Press-studs are evil’. When you read the sentence below which contains the words ‘I once had a pair of pants with an unreliable press-stud fly’, you know to prepare for something humorous to happen.
Each of the four boys attend Monvale Primary where everyday stuff happens, such as friendships, ghost stories, the school play, disappearing hamburgers, new teachers, singing monkeys and lions, the first day at school, flags made of underwear, living up to older brothers and sisters, warring dinosaurs. Stuff that happens all the time!
The stories are related in first-person and are written in easy-to-access, informal language that demonstrates lots of wit and good humour. There’s action a-plenty in this fast-paced book which is sure to be a hit with readers aged 8 to 11 years.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Gummshoes Mission #1: The Nobbled Numbskull

Gummshoes Mission #1: The Nobbled Numbskull by E.J. Gore (Coppertop Press) RRP $8.99 ISBN 978-0-9873708-8-4

Reviewed by Elizabeth Vercoe This first book in the Australian series of adventures by the Gummshoe Gang has a big heart. It contains a familiar, important message hidden in the question of just who IS sabotaging the school’s star soccer player (and erstwhile bully) Nits – and why?

We are rapidly introduced to a large cast of characters including the ‘nerdy’ Frankie and Ollie who befriend a younger, also ‘nerdy’ Alex, and welcome him into the Gummshoe Gang. Together and separately, the three deals with challenging situations that are translatable to most school playgrounds.
There’s something for most kids in this story that centres on school and football, with a mystery to be solved and bullies to be thwarted. Unrequited tween love also makes an appearance, and the realisation that things are not always as they seem among children, and among adults too.

Author and primary school teacher EJ Gore’s own mission to equip young people with strategies for social inclusion, dealing with bullies and standing up for the ‘right’ thing, is a generous one that works. The characters recognise and build on their own strengths in a way that opens up possibilities for young readers’ own lives. These skills touch on the ideas of being a good friend, harnessing resilience and solving problems. Gore’s gentle, humour-laden writing style reveals a thorough knowledge of her readership and what will have them entertained. 

After initially having to re-read the opening in order to be clear about ‘who was saying what’, I was transported into the world of the book where I willingly stayed for the duration. There’s a lovely balance between mystery and drama in this story that will appeal to both boys and girls.

The end pages feature a word-search puzzle, and children are invited to become part of the Gummshoe Gang via a website. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Chook Doolan: Rules are Rules

Chook Doolan: Rules are Rules by James Roy, illustrated by Lucinda Gifford (Walker Books) PB RRP $7.99
ISBN 9781922244932

Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Chook Doolan is scared of everything. That’s why he’s called Chook, for chicken, because he’s not very brave. He always walks to school with his brother Ricky. Today Ricky is sick and Chook must go to school by himself. Dad can’t drive him as he’s running late, so he gives Chook some rules to follow for his own safety.

But Chook takes the rules literally, and without meaning to, upsets all his friends in his community. Can things get worse?

Joe, his best mate, comes up with a brilliant solution to rectify the damage done.

This is a brilliant series for early readers which carry themes of family and community, and being brave when attempting things for the first time. Each book has a specific problem Chook must address, and young readers will easily associate with his feelings of insecurity and fear. They will also applaud his successes and the way he keeps trying no matter how difficult he finds the challenge.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Gus the Asparagus

Gus the Asparagus by Kaylene Hobson illustrated by Ann-Marie Finn (Dragon Tales Publishing)
PB RRP: $19.95
ISBN 9780992523992

Reviewed by Yvonne Mes

The Green family (made up of a selection of adorable vegetables) love their peculiar little Gus the Asparagus just the way he is. But when Gus starts school it becomes clear that Gus doesn’t quite fit in and doesn’t understand the rules. And now Gus no longer wants to go to school.

Mum takes Gus to the Doctor who diagnoses him with ‘Asparagus Syndrome’. There is relief when everyone finally understands why Gus is different, and how they are able to support him.

This is an attractive book; the illustrations by Ann-Marie Finn, featuring vegetables with googly eyes are fun and strangely endearing.

The page where the vegetables at school are having a rolling competition and Gus tries to roll lengthways made me laugh and it illustrates perfectly just how differently Gus thinks. 

This short picture book has relatable characters for those families who live with a child with Asperger’s syndrome, and especially for the child itself.

The story, inspired Kaylene Hobson’s own experiences, however, is not a story of woe, instead it uplifts and recognises and accepts the eccentricities of the asparaguses’ around us.

Yvonne Mes is a children's writer and illustrator. Her picture books, Meet Sidney Nolan (Random House) and Oliver’s Grumbles (Dragon Tales Publishing) are scheduled for release in October 2015.