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Fearless with Dad: Teaching Notes

Fearless With Dad, Cori Brooke (author), Giuseppe Poli (illus.), New Frontier Publishing, 2015.

Review.

imageWhat a joyous celebration of the relationship between a boy and his Dad. Whether they’re real or imagined, the possibilities for adventure are unlimited. Enthusiastic, optimistic and brave, this little boy doesn’t hold back, as long as his dad is with him. Riding big waves, kicking goals, moon travel and fast cars, discovering how to be a builder, chef, rock star and superhero, through good times and bad, Dad is always there.

I love the heartwarming and positive feel of the text along with the variety and vivacious illustrations that make this book so endearing. The subtle humour and cheekiness, sense of spirit and obvious affection amongst the softly painted spreads allows for a wonderfully sensory experience. I hope Dads are ready for a wild ride this Father’s Day!

Discussion.

Before Reading:

What kinds of activities do you enjoy doing with your Dad?

Look at the cover. What does the word ‘fearless’ mean? What does this tell you about the kind of story this might be?

During Reading:

Do you think they really travelled to the moon and back?

What is ‘daggy’? What makes them ‘cool’?

What do you notice about the illustrations (colours, interpretations, media)?

After Reading:

What words can you use to describe the boy? Words to describe Dad? Are there any activities in the book that you have done with your Dad / special person?

What was your favourite part? Why?

What have you realised about the role of Dads? Are they always fun? Do they also teach important lessons? Do you think the boy could be brave without his Dad? Why or why not?

Educational Activities.

Science.

“Build a sturdy, wide bridge.”

Get your engineering hats on! It’s time to build!

Check out these awesome bridge ideas on pinterest and learn the physics of force and different kinds of structures.

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Technology.

“Travel to the moon and back.”

Get imaginative with a cardboard box! The possibilites are endless!

Check out these amazing box inventions from Tip Junkie.

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Numeracy.

“I can be a farmer.”

1. Get your beans out! Play an addition game of ‘Magic Beans’.

Outcomes: Know and count numbers up to 10. Add numbers to make 10.

Directions:

  1. Paint / texta any colour on one side of each of the 10 beans (dried lima beans or butter beans).
  2. Take turns to toss the beans in the air.
  3. Count and record the number of beans fallen on the plain side, and the number of beans fallen on the painted side. Example, 4 and 6 is 10, 7 and 3 is 10, and so on.
  4. Ask, what is the equation when they are all the same?
  5. Extension: Make equations for subtraction, by taking away the smaller amount of colour beans. Example, 10 take away 2 is 8, and so on.

Find a sorting and counting bean activity at The Imagination Tree.

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2. Get your rulers out! Measure your growing plant.

Outcomes: Observe growth by marking the heights of a plant over time.

Directions:

  1. In your garden bed or a jar, plant a seed or bulb.
  2. Place a measuring stick (strip of wood) next to your plant with the starting height and date.
  3. Continue to mark the growth at chosen intervals (every few days).
  4. Extension: Look for patterns in growth, race your plants against each other.

Check out this great article from Parents that explains these concepts.

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Literacy.

“A mighty and fearless superhero.”

Phonological Awareness: Ss words.

Find and write words and pictures in the text beginning with Ss on a Superhero Dad chart. Eg. Superhero, sunflowers, scarecrow, sturdy, star, serious, silly, sunglasses, sad.

Illustrate each word.

Write each word in a sentence.

Art.

“With my Dad… I can do anything. I can be anything.”

Colour in these awesome Fearless with Dad Activity Sheets from the story with your Dad. Experiment with different media including pencil, watercolour, crayons, etc.
IMG_9486 Fearless with Dad Activity Sheet 2

Thank you to Katie and Giuseppe Poli for providing these activity sheets to My Little Story Corner!

 

 

More Father’s Day book reviews can be found here.

Purchase Fearless with Dad from Boomerang Books.

Lessons by Romi Sharp.

© My Little Story Corner 2015.

www.facebook.com/mylittlestorycorner

www.pinterest.com/mylilstorycrner

All sourced resources have been credited. These lessons are for personal or classroom use only and are not permitted for commercial use without written permission.

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Books for Dad 2015

What makes your Dad / Granddad (or other special person) so special? What are your favourite things to do together? What important life lessons has he taught you? These are just a few picture books (trust me, there are heaps more!) that are perfect to celebrate all the special fathers and grandfathers this Father’s Day.

imageFearless With Dad, Cori Brooke (author), Giuseppe Poli (illus.), New Frontier Publishing, 2015.

What a joyous celebration of the relationship between a boy and his Dad. Whether they’re real or imagined, the possibilities for adventure are unlimited. Enthusiastic, optimistic and brave, this little boy doesn’t hold back, as long as his dad is with him. Riding big waves, kicking goals, moon travel and fast cars, discovering how to be a builder, chef, rock star and superhero, through good times and bad, Dad is always there. I love the heartwarming and positive feel of the text along with the variety and vivacious illustrations that make this book so endearing.

imageTime for Bed, Daddy, Dave Hackett (author, illus.), UQP, 2015.

It’s a role reversal of the hilarious kind. Coercing Daddy in to the bedtime routine is no easy feat for one little girl. She manages to help Daddy take a bath, put pyjamas on, and clean his teeth, but that’s when the fun and games start. In typical child-like behaviour, Daddy prolongs bedtime with a few more requests; horsey rides, checking for monsters, a story and songs, and finally one last snuggle. It’s enough to exhaust any little person! Extremely sweet, completely comical, utterly eye-catching cartoonesque pictures…it’s a winner.

imageDaddy, You’re Awesome, Laine Mitchell (author), Renée Treml (illus.), Scholastic Australia, 2015.

A gorgeous line up of baby animals forming special bonds with their daddies in playful ventures. Puppies chasing balls, bunnies building treehouses, owls spying bugs and monkeys racing bikes with their fathers, just to name a few. Written in fun rhyming couplets, each completed with the phrase, ‘Daddy, you’re awesome to me.’, and complimented with vibrant and adorable illustrations. Too sweet!

imageFly-In Fly-Out Dad, Sally Murphy (author), Janine Dawson (illus.), The Five Mile Press, 2015.

Dads can be superheroes in whatever shape or form, even if only to their children. For this young boy, life with dad may only be seldom, but when he’s home it is never boring. Dad is a Fly-in Fly-out dad, with a truck full of adventure stories to tell. But the little boy has his own stories to tell, too. When he’s home, we see a hands-on Dad helping with routines, involved in sporting events and taking the kids to the playground. I love all the little details, both in the text and the illustrations, that give this Dad and his family unique qualities. A very special, heartwarming story, particularly significant for those living with a FIFO Dad.

imageDaddy Cuddle, Kate Mayes (author), Sara Acton (illus.), ABC Books, 2015.

This is truly a book to treasure. It’s such a sweet story of an over-zealous early riser eager to wake Daddy for a play. In typical toddler language, the little bunny suggests every toy and accessory found to its blissfully unaware, snoring father. After a small outburst, bunny finally gets the affection and attention required. The ending is completely adorable; definitely a photo-worthy moment.

imageDaddies Are Great!, Meredith Costain (author), Polona Lovsin (illus.), Scholastic Australia, 2015.

Dog lovers will adore this book with its range of breeds enjoying quality moments with their pups; licking, swinging, climbing, digging, and cuddling. Special relationships are formed when daddies are caring, thoughtful, and loving. With beautifully soft and playful illustrations, this book is perfect for sharing intimate moments with your own pup on Father’s Day.

imageLucas and Jack, Ellie Royce (author), Andrew McLean (illus.), Working Title Press, 2014.

Powerful, evocative and intriguing. Jack, an elderly resident at the aged care home, inspires young Lucas to conceptualise the rich pasts of other people in the facility. Lucas always believed visiting his Great Grandpop was boring, but with a newfound glimpse into his childhood, Lucas becomes keen to bond with his great-grandfather and discover more about his fascinating story. With beautifully gentle and nostalgic illustrations, this book represents the importance of encouraging and celebrating meaningful memories and connections with our ageing relatives.
Interview with author Ellie Royce here.

imageMy Dad Thinks He’s Funny (2012), and My Dad Still Thinks He’s Funny (2013), Katrina Germein (author), Tom Jellett (illus.), Black Dog Books.

A hilarious, eye-rolling, side-splitting collection of ‘Dad jokes’ told from the perspective of the son, with bold, comical, retro-style illustrations.

Check out teaching notes / Father’s Day activities for My Dad Still Thinks He’s Funny on the website and on Pinterest

imageWhat’s Dad Doing?, Susan Hall (author), Cheryl Westerberg (illus.), National Library of Australia, 2013.

Gloriously interactive with its page-turning story, energetic illustrations and lift-the-flap fun, this book will keep you entertained. Pat Possum is looking for his Dad. When assuming he is involved in a typically-male oriented activity, we are pleasantly surprised when under the flap Dad is doing ‘motherly’ things. Rather than watching TV, Dad is bottle feeding the baby. He’s not mending something in the shed, he’s having a cuppa with Grandma. Some more housekeeping chores are done before Pat can finally play a rough-and-tumble game of footy with Dad. Complete with some possum facts in the back, this is an interesting look at parenting roles that families can relate to.

imageMy Dad’s the Coolest, Rosie Smith (author), Bruce Whatley (illus.), Scholastic Press, 2012.

This one’s a classic simply because how totally adorable and relatable it is. A range of animal babies tell us why their dad is the coolest. The author has used child-friendly language and human behaviours, which have brilliantly been matched to an animal. “…makes me laugh.” identifies with a clown nose-wearing puffer fish. “…and clever too.” represents a Einstein-like owl with glasses. There are strong rhinos, sandpit-digging moles, and hide-and-seek expert chameleons. Each spread beautifully illustrated and dedicated to each father, this book is humorous, lively and heartwarming.

imageMy Aussie Dad, Yvonne Morrison (author), Gus Gordon (illus.), Scholastic Australia, 2010.

Containing all the wonderful nuances that make Dad, the typical Aussie Dad. Different fathers are featured doing culturally appropriate dad things, even though they don’t do them quite so well. We see a Dad as a classy bloke in his stubby shorts and thongs, belting out songs in the supermarket. One Dad plays cricket on the beach, only to have the ball whack him on the nose. There are Dads who burn snags on the barbie, embarrassing Dads at footy matches, and Dads with very ordinary handyman skills. Hilariously entertaining, both in the text and the illustrations. But totally loveable!

imageI Love My Dad, Anna Walker (author, illus.), Scholastic Press, 2009.

Typically gorgeous gentle, watercolour illustrations by Anna Walker, with an equally tender rhyming story of Ollie and his loving relationship with his dad. A bit of baking, and some outdoor play, wrapping up with a piggyback ride to bed. This is one to keep; a must read for all the special days spent with dad.

Find some other Dad titles in the image grids below!
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Happy Father’s Day!

All books listed here can be purchased through Australia’s leading online bookstore, Boomerang Books. My Little Story Corner is not sponsored by Boomerang Books, only endorsed for a small percentage through affiliate links. These assist with the up-keep of the website and being able to provide free educational resources by a qualified teacher. Thanks!


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iF…A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers: Teaching Notes

ifjpg.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxiF…A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers, David J. Smith (author), Steve Adams (illus.), New Frontier Publishing, 2015.

Review:

Love numbers? Love facts? Love history? If you answered yes to any of these questions, and you love challenging your own thinking, then you will love this fascinating information book by David J. Smith and Steve Adams; ‘iF…A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers’.  

iF… looks at our world and Universe, and all the things that encompass them, in a scaled down way that provides the reader with the power to more meaningfully understand the relative sizes and relationships of big concepts. Teacher and author, (If the World Were a Village, If America Were a Village and This Child, Every Child), David J. Smith, identifies the use of scale and modelling as a valuable tool for numeracy development, and henceforth facilitating knowledgeable citizens.  

iF… begins with a table of contents and a foreward page outlining the concept of the book; ”Some things are so huge and so old that it’s hard to wrap your mind around them… (This book) scales down, or shrinks, huge events, spaces and times to something we can understand.”  
With tons of mind-blowing facts and statistics, enormous numbers and unique perspectives, the book takes us through planet sizes, to the history of life on earth, significant inventions, to food, water, living species, money, energy, our population and lifestyle choices.  
Learning about these topics is far from boring. Planets can be compared to different ball sizes. If Earth were a baseball, Mercury would be a ping-pong ball, Venus; a tennis ball, Mars; a golf ball, and Jupiter; an exercise ball. If 3.5 billion years of life forms on Earth were condensed into one hour, bacteria is first to arrive in one second,  dinosaurs appear after 56 minutes for 3 minutes only, and modern humans make an appearance with 0.2 seconds left to spare.        
Real-life materials demonstrate how each grand idea can be modelled in the classroom. The Inventions are laid out on a one metre long measuring tape and a 30cm ruler. The surface areas of The Continents are divided into percentages and pictorially spread across the two pages. The wealth of the population is represented with piles of coins and a world map. And your whole life activities can be shown in the form of a large pizza.  
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The illustrations by award-winning, Steve Adams, are absolutely incredible. The detail, perspectives, pictorial and graphic representations accurately depict the mammoth amount of information in an appealing and easy way for the reader to comprehend the ideas.   A fortune of research has been compressed in to this book, and any reader will certainly gain a wealth of knowledge back after reading it.

iF…, creative, challenging, eye-opening. It’s the kind of brain overload primary school children will love.  

Review by Romi Sharp

Discussion:

Before Reading:
Show students a toy or model of an aeroplane, car or large animal. Ask, Is this the actual size of a car, or elephant? How would you describe its’ size? What do the terms ‘scaled down’ and ‘proportional’ mean?
What other things are too large to hold in our hands? How might you represent these? What about concepts that can’t be held, such as time, distance or the population? How might you show events that occurred over billions of years?  

During Reading:
Discuss some of the concepts found in the book. Does it make sense?  

After Reading:
Is this text an imaginative, informative or persuasive text? How do you know?
What were the favourite / most interesting ideas? Were there any ideas that students want to know more about? Are there other ways to represent a particular topic from the book? What other ideas can you think of to explore that weren’t covered in the book? Perhaps something relevant to you.  
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Curriculum Activity.

Mathematics.

Learning Outcomes:
Measurement and Geometry.
Using units of measurement
 
Measure and compare the lengths and capacities of pairs of objects using uniform informal units(ACMMG019)

Number and place value
Recognise, model, represent and order numbers to at least 1000 (ACMNA027)

Design, Creativity and Technology Learning focus  
In response to simple design briefs, students develop basic design ideas based on their experiences of working with materials/ingredients and components. They talk about their design ideas and thought processes and start to represent these visually by using models, pictures and words. They consider that more than one solution may be possible and begin to give reasons for changes in their thinking. Students consider whether their design solutions work and are appropriate for the purpose for which they were designed. With guidance from the teacher and feedback from peers, they reflect on how they designed and made their products.  

1. Pose the question, ”If a blue whale were a watermelon, how would you represent other kinds of whales and sea life with pieces of fruit?”
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2. Make a list of whales and sea life. Research and write their sizes next to the name. Make another list with fruits of various sizes. Collect and measure each one and write the size next to the name.
3. Distribute fruits to correlating whale/sea creature with a visual display. Discuss and make comparisons. Brainstorm other ways can this information be represented.
4. Assessment Task:
Allow students to select a chosen method (eg. Graph, timeline, visual model with materials, etc), and work in a group to represent the information.  

Extension Ideas.
Learning Outcomes:

Civics and Citizenship
Learning focus

Students begin to participate in a range of class and school activities such as recycling, taking responsibility for class resources, and marking local and national celebrations and commemorations. They explore the purpose and benefits of school, community and national events. Students investigate the ways individuals, families, groups and communities can work to improve their environment.

1. Students to pose their own questions based on personal experiences and represent this visually (eg. Daily life activities as a puzzle, or, amount of rubbish collected in a week shown as piles of blocks).
2. Pose a new question in reverse. For example, select things that are miniature and represent them on a larger scale.

Lessons by Romi Sharp
© My Little Story Corner 2015.
For personal and classroom use only, not permitted for commercial use.
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What’s In My Lunchbox? Craft Activity

what's in my lunchbox imageBased on the picture book by Peter Carnavas (author), and Kat Chadwick (illus.),
New Frontier Publishing
, 2015.  

Find a review of What’s In My Lunchbox? (under W) here.  

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Australian Curriculum Standards:

English
Responding to literature
Discuss characters and events in a range of literary texts and share personal responses to these texts, making connections with students’ own experiences (ACELT1582)
Interpreting, analysing, evaluating
Read predictable texts, practising phrasing and fluency, and monitor meaning using concepts about print and emerging contextual, semantic, grammatical and phonic knowledge (ACELY1649).
Creating literature
Retell familiar literary texts through performance, use of illustrations and images (ACELT1580)

Health and Physical Education
Being healthy, safe and active
Identify people and demonstrate protective behaviours that help keep themselves safe and healthy (ACPPS003).  

Discussion:
Before Reading –
What might you find in your lunchbox today? What would you like to find in your lunchbox?
List healthy foods and sometimes foods. Categorise them into fruit, vegetable, dairy, animal, cereals, nuts and legumes, sweets.
Look at the book cover. What sort of things might this boy find in his lunchbox? What do you think he will do with them? What would you do if there was something you didn’t like?

During Reading –
Encourage children to join in…’‘Today in my lunchbox I happened to find…” Ask, What do you think might jump out next?

After Reading –  
Do you think this could be a true story? Is this possible? Why do you think the boy changed his mind about apples? What kind of muffin do you think the bear is holding? What are the clues? Do all eggs have chicks in them? What would you do if your brother or sister was in your lunchbox?

Follow Up Ideas:
– Play a memory game to list the items in order from first to last, without looking!  
– Brainstorm some ridiculous things that could be in your lunchbox.
– Design a placemat or a menu featuring your favourite foods.  

What’s In My Lunchbox? Craft Activity  

IMG_7739Materials:
Small recycled cardboard box (we used a crackers box)
Paint
Craft glue
Paintbrush
Scissors
Coloured pencils or textas
Long piece of ribbon
Paper
Sticky tape  

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Directions:
1. Cut a slit across the top of the box (use the large face side. Adult help required). Mix half craft glue and half paint (make enough to cover the box). Paint the whole box and allow to dry. Once dry, paint on details and decorate however you wish.
IMG_7740
2. Draw, colour and cut out each of the creatures that appear out of the lunchbox (apple, fish, egg and chick / chicken, bear, dinosaur, sister). Alternatively, make up your own things to jump out.   
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3. Stick each of the creatures onto the ribbon, starting with the first thing at the top and sticking down the rest in order of appearance. N.B. Be sure to place sticky tape right to the top and bottom edges of your paper cut out to ensure it comes out smoothly.  
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4. Through the opening flaps on the side of the box, place the ribbon with each paper cut out into the box, last thing to jump out going in first (eg. sister first, then dinosaur, etc). Pull the top of the ribbon through the slit to reveal the first paper cut out.  
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5. Pull the ribbon upwards to reveal each one. Try to guess what will be next before you pull it out.  
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Numeracy Extension:
Statistics and Probability: Chance
Identify outcomes of familiar events involving chance and describe them using everyday language such as ‘will happen’, ‘won’t happen’ or ‘might happen’ (ACMSP024).
Discuss the ‘likelihood’ of these things appearing in the boy’s lunchbox, using appropriate everyday language. With a partner, list and draw 10 things each that ‘might’, ‘won’t’ and ‘will’ appear in your lunchbox. Swap lists and state each item’s likelihood of being in the lunchbox.  

Literacy extension:
Sound and letter knowledge
Recognise sound-letter matches including common vowel and consonant digraphs and consonant blends (ACELA1458)
Write the first letter of each item in your lunchbox on a large piece of paper, and ask child/ren to place them next to the corresponding letter. Eg. egg next to E, fish next to F, and so on. Adult or child to write the word once sorted into letter categories.  

Purchase What’s In My Lunchbox? from Boomerang Books.

Lessons and photography by Romi Sharp.
For personal and classroom use only, not permitted for commercial use.
© My Little Story Corner 2015

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My Little Story Corner’s Favourites From 2014

I didn’t think I’d make a ‘best-of’ list this year, simply because there were just too many fantastic picture books to choose from. So, to make it easier on myself I enlisted the help of my recently-turned five year old daughter. What better critique can you get than an inquisitive preschooler (soon to be school girl)?

To give you an idea of how ‘experienced’ we are in the picture book department, my latest library record shows that we’ve borrowed a total of 257 children’s books in the year of 2014. Then there are the ones we’ve bought (which sadly doesn’t even come close to the borrowed figure, but let’s face it, noone can afford that!), plus the several books received from my wonderful literary magazine employers with whom I write reviews for. That’s ALOT of books!

So, of all the books we’ve managed to lay our hands and eyes upon, these are Miss 5’s top 12 picture books of 2014 (in titled alphabetical order)

Bza6SorCYAAMLHqDigby’s Moon Mission by Renee Price, illustrated by Anil Tortop (Tadaa Books, Dec 2014).

A popular book in our house, Digby’s Moon Mission is a humorous story of teamwork and diversity; of a curious boy who sets out to solve the mystery of the banana-thin moon. Exploring concepts such as rhyming words, the days of the week, and phases of the moon, the final surprise at the end was the point that had us enjoying this adventure to the moon again and again.

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go-to-sleep-jessie-Go To Sleep, Jessie! by Libby Gleeson, illustrated by Freya Blackwood (Little Hare, Nov 2014).

We’re huge fans of the Gleeson and Blackwood combination (as discovered after reading the gorgeous and emotive Banjo and Ruby Red, which also features in Go To Sleep, Jessie!). And the fact that Miss 5 also has a little sister made this book a real treasure in our household. Several anguishing attempts to settle baby Jessie to sleep seems like nothing will work. But in a heartwarming ending the girl narrator finds a way to give Jessie the comfort and love that she needed. Too sweet!

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hurry-up-alfieHurry Up, Alfie by Anna Walker (Scholastic, Sep 2014).

From another of our favourites, Anna Walker, author / illustrator of the loveable Peggy, this is a story we could both relate to. A young crocodile finds it difficult to focus on getting ready to go out when there are so many other distractions, and his agitated parent who is constantly reminding Alfie to get a wriggle on! A very cute and funny tale with whimsical, beautiful artwork by Anna Walker.

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mix-it-up-Mix it Up! by Herve Tullet (Chronicle Books, Sep 2014).

Not an Australian book but worth a mention. Miss 5 just loves the interactivity of this one, as we engage with the paints to splash, mix and transform from primary to secondary colours, and using light and shadow to create new shades. Fun, engaging and a clever way to learn about colours and colour mixing.

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oliverOliver and George by Peter Carnavas (New Frontier Publishing, Sep 2014).

Ok, so we love ALL of Peter Carnavas’ books! Hugely popular in our house were The Boy on the Page and The Important Things. Oliver and George is an adorably funny book about patience (or lack thereof) and friendship. Oliver is ready to play, but his bear friend George is busy reading. Oliver gets up to all sorts of antics to capture George’s attention, only to be faced with a surprising reaction each time. But will they ever be ready to play? We love how Peter promotes a love of books, and his illustrations are as always dramatic, expressive and sweet.

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22735715Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey (Scholastic, July 2014).

Another one from the talented Aaron Blabey, with his sick sense of humour, author of the award-winning The Dreadful Fluff (which Miss 5 loved), and The Brothers Quibble. Pig the Pug is a totally hilarious story of an absolutely greedy and selfish Pug, more than unwilling to share his toys and food with his flatmate, Trevor the sausage dog. A book full of tantrums, name calling and bad tempers, Pig ends up getting his just desserts for his inexcusable behaviour, which turns out to be sweet for only one; Trevor. With matching expressive and comical illustrations, Pig the Pug is a must read!

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9781921504631Scary Night by Lesley Gibbes, illustrated by Stephen Michael King (Working Title Press, Jul 2014).

A humorous and curious tale of three characters; a Pig with a parcel, a Hare with a hat and a Cat with a cake, setting off on a mysterious adventure in the pale moonlight. What a BIG surprise we got when we discovered where they were tip-toe creeping to on that scary night! Lots of fun with a hint of bite! Perfect for Halloween!

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2014-12-31-10-40-36--970769686The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak (The Dial Press, Sep 2014).

Published overseas, this book seemed to become an overnight sensation, and certainly was for us. Brilliantly able to capture the attention of young ones around the world, and it contains absolutely no pictures! A hilarious book full of silly words and proposterous phrases, making the reader sound like a ridiculous singing monkey with a blueberry pizza head. Be prepared for many reads, over and over, and over.

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thegreatgardenmystery9780857984166The Great Garden Mystery by Renée Treml (Random House Australia, Sep 2014).

We definately couldn’t deny our admiration of Renée Treml’s art, quickly becoming fans of her previous books, One Very Tired Wombat and Colour for Curlews. In The Great Garden Mystery, a most intriguing case that has the animals in the patch in disarray. Who’s been eating all the beetroot in the night? As the animal detectives study every clue, each one asserts their innocence, until it is the roo that seems most suspicious. But will this mystery ever be solved? Who’s the one with the square-shaped poo? A fun rhyming story that will bring out the detective in all of us!

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tim-and-edTim and Ed by Ursula Dubosarsky, illustrated by Andrew Joyner (Penguin Australia, Oct 2014).

Tim and Ed are identical twin koalas. They look the same and do everything together. Until one day when they spend the night apart. Written in exuberant rhyme, with equally lively pictures, Tim and Ed is a fun story about learning independence and uniqueness, particularly when you are a twin.

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vanilla-ice-creamVanilla Ice Cream by Bob Graham (Candlewick Press, Aug 2014).

Following the breathtaking perspective that captured a moment in time in Silver Buttons (favourite from 2013), comes another magnificent story by legendary Bob Graham. A tale of cause and effect; how a little swallow bird from India gets carried away across the ocean on a shipping container, reaching its’ destination that is Melbourne, Australia. There, the bird unintentionally sets in motion a series of events that lead to a baby’s first, delectable taste of vanilla ice cream. Stunningly captured moments. Delicious!

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whale-in-the-bathWhale in the Bath by Kylie Westaway, illustrated by Tom Jellett (Allen & Unwin, Oct 2014).

A comical tale, with equally comical illustrations, of a splashing whale in Bruno’s bathtub. We laughed when the massive whale continues to tell Bruno to come back later, and poor Bruno gets accused of lying and avoiding his bath. We loved the ending when finally Bruno has his wash (with the help of the whale), and when someone else faces the same problem.

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Well, the child has spoken. These are her top 12 picks of picture books published in 2014. If I had done my own list there would be at least another 10 or so… just have a look around my website and you’ll find some more amazing books by great authors. Looking forward to discovering more talent in 2015!

Happy reading!

– Romi Sharp 🙂


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Oliver and George: Teaching Notes

819-20140806152030-Cover_Oliver-and-George_option-2-1
Oliver and George
Peter Carnavas

Oliver and George: Question Time!

Before Reading:
What do you know about bears? How do they normally behave?
Look at the cover. Which character do you think is Oliver? Which is George? What can you see them doing? What do you think the boy wants to do?

During Reading:
Have your mum or dad ever told you ‘in a minute’ when you’ve asked for something?
Ask children to join in when reading, ‘George got so mad that he… didn’t do anything. George wasn’t mad at all.’
What do you think George will do? What will Oliver do next? Do you think George will get mad this time? Why did George get mad about Oliver taking his book?

After Reading:
How would you describe George? Why do you think he reacted the way he did?
How would you describe Oliver? Why do you think he behaved like he did? Could he have done something else to get George to play?
What would you do to get someone’s attention? What would you do if someone was pestering you?

Oliver and George: Learning Time!  

Writing.
– Write your own story using the following sentence starters.
Oliver ___________. George got so mad that he… didn’t do anything.
Oliver ___________. George got so mad that he… ______________.
George __________. Oliver got so _____ that he ________________.

Reading.
– Adjectives.
How would you describe Oliver? Cheeky, Funny, Eager…
What about George? Busy, Serious, Polite, Honey-Coloured…
Complete the Oliver and George_adjectives with lots of describing words (adjectives) for each character.
Oliver and George_adjective George Oliver and George_adjective Oliver

– Read other books by Peter Carnavas. Can you spot the differences and similarities between his writing style and illustrations?
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– Read other books about bears. How do these bears compare to George? Are they often polite or scary?
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Mathematics.
– Make your own puzzle.
Aims:
To promote spatial awareness.
To reinforce one-to-one correspondence.
To practise skills in patience and perseverence.
Download puzzle and see instructions here.
Oliver and George Puzzle 4 pieces Oliver and George Puzzle 4 pieces(bw)

– Measurement (Length).
Paper plane races (see Science activity).
Materials: paper, ruler / tape measure.
Directions:
1. After constructing your paper planes, set up a starting line and line up against your competitors.
2. Take turns to throw your paper planes as far as possible.
3. Using a ruler or tape measure, measure the distance (length) from the starting line to where the plane landed. Record.
4. Have a few turns to determine a winner!

– Measurement (Time).
George said, ”In a minute”.
1. Clock face: Identify hour hand, minute hand and second hand. Identify numbers and marks in between. How many marks in between numbers? What do each represent?
Make your own clock including the minute marks.
2. How long is a minute? How many seconds? Watch the clock and count each second until it reaches where you began. Does it feel like a long time to wait for something?
3. How many things can you do in a minute? List some activities, then have a turn to see how many times you can do that activity in one minute. For example, jumping on the spot, writing your name, bounce a ball, fold paper planes, and so on.

Arts / Crafts.
– Peter Carnavas has deliberately left white backgrounds to focus on the dynamics between the characters. Their actions are like a little skit. Notice their props and costumes!
Using old cardboard boxes, make some simple costumes and perform your own little play!
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IMG_6713 IMG_6714 IMG_6718
IMG_6724 IMG_6725 IMG_6726

You can also find some fantastic no-sew costumes at Red Ted Art:
http://redtedart.com/2013/09/04/no-sew-costume-ideas/
No-Sew-Costume-Ideas-ideal-for-Halloween-607x1024

Science.
”Oliver threw a paper plane at George. George got so mad that he… didn’t do anything.”
– Paper Plane Experiments.
1. Try make a variety of paper planes.
http://m.wikihow.com/Make-a-Paper-Airplane
2. Test out the aerodynamics of your different paper planes. Which ones go furthest?
http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/lessonplans/flight/paperairplane.html
https://explorable.com/paper-airplane-experiment
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Watch a video clip of Peter Carnavas drawing George the bear:
http://petercarnavas.com/2014/10/16/drawing-and-painting-george-the-bear/

Read a behind-the-scenes interview with Peter Carnavas:
http://blog.boomerangbooks.com.au/ready-to-play-peter-carnavas-bears-all-on-oliver-and-george

Oliver and George
Available for purchase from Boomerang Books ($22.49 + $6.95 shipping per order)

Lessons and worksheets by Romi Sharp 2014
All sourced resources have been credited.
These activities are for personal or classroom use and not permitted for commercial reasons.

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