My Little Story Corner

For the love of picture books


5 Comments

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!
image image

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!


Leave a comment

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) is an organisation that fosters the engagement of literature in young Australians. Each year, the CBCA presents awards to exceptional books that make an immense contribution to children’s literature. In 2015 the CBCA will be celebrating its 70th year of promoting high quality Australian literature for children and young people (see www.cbca.org.au for more information).    

This year an outstanding list of books have been chosen as notables and shortlists for this prestigious award. Let’s have a look at the shortlisted books in the Early Childhood category.

snail-and-turtle-are-friends-293x300

Snail and Turtle are Friends, Stephen Michael King (author / illus.), Scholastic Australia, 2014.

Snail and Turtle like to do lots of things together. They like to walk and run and read (as you can imagine, very slowly and quietly). Whilst they are good friends, Snail and Turtle recognise their differences in their habitats, diets and favourite activities. But they find common ground in their creative painting pursuits, ‘even though Snail likes swirls and Turtle likes shapes and blobs.’
A very sweet story of friendship and celebrating differences, with equally gorgeous bold, colourful and textured illustrations by author / illustrator Stephen Michael King.  

_________________________________________________________________________________

9781921504631Scary Night, Lesley Gibbes (author), Stephen Michael King (illus.), Working Title Press, 2014.

Ready to be horrified? It’s time to hide! Let out a scream, it’s Scary Night! Lesley Gibbes and Stephen Michael King bring us a spooktacular tale of three brave friends that set upon a journey in the dead of night. Join them for a mysterious adventure!  

Hare with a hat, Cat with a cake, Pig with a parcel. Any guesses as to where they are tip-toeing to under the pale moonlight?   With Pig in front, the animal friends wander far over dark, rolling hills, traipse through the whispering woods and even dare to cross a snapping crocodile-infested creek. Shivering and squeezing each other tight, they continue on their way.
But where did they end up? Read the book and you will get a BIG surprise!
Scary Night is beautifully written in poetic prose. I especially love how Lesley Gibbes draws the reader in with her interactive, humorous question and answer play and repetitive phrases. She has also provided plenty of opportunity for teachable moments, including phonic awareness, prepositional language and rhyming words.   Engagement with the audience is further emphasised with Stephen Michael King’s gorgeous, Suess-like, expressive illustrations. The cool, moody colours are strong but not overpowering, with his use of accents in the bright full moon and the characters large, white terrified eyes. Just perfect to create the thrill of the night-time scene.  
Scary Night, a rhyming story of courage, determination and friendship, contains all the goodness of fun, adventure, suspense, and just a little bit of bite to keep its young readers entertained many times over. This read-aloud book is a real treat!

___________________________________________________________________________________

22735715 Pig the Pug , Aaron Blabey (author, illus.), Scholastic, 2014.

You can’t go past this eye-bulging, squashed nose little pug that graces the front cover of Aaron’s Blabey’s Pig the Pug. From the onset, we learn just how greedy and selfish this dog is, as he has already claimed the book as his own on the ‘This book belongs to…’ label. True to classic tantrum behaviour, Pig blatantly refuses to share anything with friendly sausage dog, Trevor. A kind gesture by Trevor sees Pig the Pug completely ”flip his wig”. Pig doesn’t learn his lesson gently. Should we laugh at his misfortune? Ashamedly, yes. 
With a distinguishable reference to the phrase, ‘When pigs can fly’, Pig the Pug cannot and receives his just deserts, which only turns out to be sweet for one… Trevor! With no choice in the matter, Pig is forced to play with his canine friend. And although not totally deserved, we can’t help but feel some compassion towards Pig, but we still sneak in a final little giggle nevertheless.  
Pig the Pug is delightfully told in fun, exuberant rhyme, with vivid, amusing illustrations.  A wildly funny read and a clear lesson in learning to share, suitable for all ages.

___________________________________________________________________________________

noni-the-pony-goes-to-the-beachNoni the Pony Goes to the Beach, Alison Lester (author / illustrator) , Allen & Unwin, 2014.

Following the original Noni the Pony the loveable pony is back and ready to set off to the beach with her companions; Coco the cat and Dave the dog. As far as cats go, Coco prefers to be nonchalant and stay dry. But like any typical energetic dog, Dave bounds off through the waves to find a whale, only to become stranded in the middle of the ocean. In her true heroic, caring manner, Noni is there to fish him out and return to the safety of the shore.
With Alison Lester’s characteristically gorgeous, endearing illustrations, and gentle, rhythmic wording, Noni the Pony Goes to the Beach is a fun, positive tale of friendship and all things magical about visiting the beach.  

___________________________________________________________________________________

go-to-sleep-jessie--1Go To Sleep, Jessie!, Libby Gleeson (author), Freya Blackwood (illus.), Little Hare Books, 2014.

A little girl cannot sleep while her baby sister occupies the same bedroom…and screams. No amount of comfort and pats from Mum settle baby Jessie. No amount of sweet stories and lullabies from Dad settle Jessie. The girl is frustrated beyond words, but when Jessie is taken out and all is quiet, she still can’t sleep, and finally comes to realise the perfect solution… A little bit of sisterly love and affection goes a long way.
A really gentle and endearing story that delicately explores the struggles of sleep-time routines. I love Libby Gleeson‘s descriptions of the baby’s behaviour, paired with the raw emotions of the older sister. I also love Freya Blackwood‘s whimsical and dynamic images that show these feelings with vignettes and contrasting tones of orange and blue.
Go To Sleep, Jessie! will melt your heart. It is perfect as a bedtime story at the end of the day, and especially for children who understand the joys and angst of having a younger sibling.  

___________________________________________________________________________________

9781742974620A House of Her Own, Jenny Hughes (author), Jonathan Bentley (illus.), Little Hare Books, 2014.  

Audrey proclaims to her dad, ”Your house is getting too small for me”. So, a most obliging father takes his little girl outside in search of a more suitable place to live. A house high up in the tree is perfect! After all, Audrey is bigger than she was yesterday.
Handyman dad gets to work on a beautiful circular staircase, a hanging bathtub for snorkelling, a spot for sipping tea, a comfy blue bed, chairs for guests and a stove – all at Audrey’s request. The tree house is magnificent! But what happens when Audrey realises that she might get cold and she’s run out of food? Once again, dad has just the right solution!

Jenny Hughes has created this wonderful dialogue between Audrey and her dad; an independent, knows-what-she-wants little girl and her accommodating father. The images by Jonathan Bentley are breathtaking as we watch via differing perspectives of this amazing renovation coming together up in the sky. The vibrant watercolours and textures add a gorgeous touch of energy that so brilliantly captures the dynamics of each scene.
‘A House of Her Own’ is an enchanting story of love and dedication, with a sense of big adventure but also affirming one’s sense of security, that is sure to get preschoolers reaching up to their bookshelves for another read, again and again.


Leave a comment

Bridie’s Boots: Teaching Notes

Bridie’s Boots, Phil Cummings (author), Sara Acton (illus.), Working Title Press, 2014.  

IMG_7839Review:  

Bridie’s five year old boots are the best. She can go anywhere and do anything in her boots, especially in her wildest dreams! But as the seasons change over the year, an almost six year old Bridie discovers that her boots no longer fit. In a gesture of goodwill, Bridie’s boots are packed and shipped to a new owner across the other side of the world. She, too, can go anywhere and do anything in her new boots. And Bridie smiles and continues of her charitable mission.
Illustrations by Sara Acton portray Bridie expressively and enthusiastically, as the little girl that she is. The fluid watercolour, ink and pastel paintings beautifully compliment Phil Cumming’s story with the movement of Bridie’s actions, the passing seasons and the journey of the boots.
‘Bridie’s Boots’ is a gorgeous, endearing book about maturing as a person, and thinking of the environment and others globally. It is also the perfect story for reinforcing the enjoyment and appreciation for the simple pleasures in life.

Discussion:

Australian Curriculum Standards:
Literacy

Respond to texts drawn from a range of cultures and experiences (ACELY1655)    

Before Reading:
Do you own something that you would like to keep forever? How is it special to you?
Look at the cover. Do you think Bridie’s boots are special to her? Why, and what might she do with them? Do you think she can keep them forever?  

During Reading:
What is the dog looking at in the cupboard? Do you think Bridie will wear her boots again after the year has passed? What is a shipping container? What do you put in there? Where does it go? What does the new girl like about the boots?  

After Reading:
Why did Bridie decide to send her boots away? Why not throw them in the bin? How did Bridie feel about giving up her boots in the beginning? How did she feel at the end? How was the new girl’s world and dreams different to Bridie’s? Why is Bridie giving away some of her toys?

Literacy Activity:
Jumping in Muddy Word Puddles

Australian Curriculum Standards:
Language
Know that regular one-syllable words are made up of letters and common letter clusters that correspond to the sounds heard, and how to use visual memory to write high-frequency words (ACELA1778)

IMG_7816Materials:
coloured paper,
scissors,
texta or pencils,
copy of ‘Bridie’s Boots’,
pair of boots (optional).

___________________________________________________________

Directions:
1. On coloured paper, draw and cut out ten puddle shapes (or as many as you see appropriate for level of child).
IMG_7817
2. Using either of the word lists given (or select your own words from the book), write one word per puddle shape.
IMG_7818
3. Spread them out across the floor.
4. Have the child put on their boots (optional) and listen to the instructions. Say, ”jump on the word ‘the’. If the child can correctly read the word they can keep the puddle. Carry on until all the words have finished.
IMG_7819
5. Extension: Once a word has been identified, ask the child to put the word into a sentence. Eg. for ‘boots’, ”Bridie wore red boots with little sailboats on them.”
6. Extension 2: Once a word has been identified, turn it over and ask the child to spell it out. Eg. for ‘boots’, ”b-o-o-t-s”.

Words from book: boots, best, feet, dry, sun, puddles, lands, winter, wet, days, weeks, months, year, rain.
Sight words: was, she, they, were, in, and, the, it, her, as, when, on, of, to, do, all, but.

Mathematics Activity:
Make a Seasonal Wheel

Australian Curriculum Standards:
Using units of measurement

Describe duration using months, weeks, days and hours (ACMMG021)

IMG_7831Materials:
2 x A4 sheets paper,
textas or pencils,
grey lead pencil,
ruler,
scissors,
plate,
split pin

_____________________________________________________________________
——————————————————————-

Directions:
1. Trace two circles around the outer edge of the plate by turning it upside down. Cut out each circle.
IMG_7830
2. On each circle, trace around the inner edge of the plate by turning it right side up.
3. Find the centre point of each circle with your ruler. On one circle, draw four equal quarters by ruling a horizontal line and a vertical line through the centre point, stopping at the inner circle.
4. Above each quarter in the outer section, write the months of the year. There should be three months per quarter, as per the following for the Australian seasons.

Summer = December, January, February
Autumn = March, April, May
Winter = June, July, August
Spring = September, October, November

5. In each quarter, write the corresponding season and draw an appropriate picture.
IMG_7832
6. On the second circle, cut out the outer circle and one quarter of the circle. Write a title and decorate.
IMG_7833 IMG_7834 IMG_7835
7. Place the top circle above the bottom one and insert the split pin through the centre of each.
IMG_7836
8. Your Seasonal Wheel is ready to spin!
IMG_7837 IMG_7838
Extension: Discuss the months of the year and their corresponding seasons. Discuss appropriate activities, clothing, food, and so on for each season. What did Bridie do in each season? Mark the seasons on a calendar. What special events occur in what season?

Science Activity:
Rain Cloud in a Jar

Australian Curriculum Standards:
Earth and space sciences

Observable changes occur in the sky and landscape(ACSSU019)
Questioning and predicting
Respond to and pose questions, and make predictions about familiar objects and events(ACSIS024)
clouds7-resized
Find instructions here: http://www.tobyandroo.com/diy-rain-clouds-one-best-science-activities-for-kids/

Find a great selection of relevant teaching ideas and craft activities at:
Http://www.pinterest.com/mylilstorycrner/bridies-boots-teaching-notes

Lessons and photography by Romi Sharp
© My Little Story Corner 2015
For personal or classroom use only. Not permitted for commercial use with written permission.
https://www.facebook.com/mylittlestorycorner
http://www.pinterest.com/mylilstorycrner


1 Comment

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.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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!

___________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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!

_________________________________________________________________________________________

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!

_________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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!

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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!

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

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 🙂


Leave a comment

Scary Night: Teaching Notes

9781921504631
Scary Night
Lesley Gibbes
Illustrated by Stephen Michael King

Scary Night: Question Time!  

IMG_6895Before Reading:
Have a Halloween style goody bag filled with related items or pictures. Eg. bats, ghost picture, owl, crocodile, bear, pumpkin, cake, hat, parcel. Ask children to guess how these items might appear in the story. Ask, what do you know about Halloween? How do you feel about the dark night?
Look at the cover. How do you think the characters feel about where they are? What do you think the title is telling us about the story? Do you think it will be a story that is…funny? scary? serious?

During Reading:
Where do you think they’re going? Why is it a ‘mystery’?
Ask children to join in to answer the questions (‘Were they scared?’, ‘Did they shake?’, etc), the loud roaring and screaming, and the repeating lines (‘Did they give up? Of course they didn’t!’, ‘tip-toe creeping in the pale moonlight’)  

After Reading:
How did you feel about the story? Were you afraid? Why do you think the friends kept going when they were so frightened? What would you do if you were scared? Where did the friends end up going to? Why do you think they were going to a party in the night? What do you think ‘tickled pink’ means?  

Scary Night: Learning Time!  

Dramatic Play.
– Re-enact the story with some props; cake, hat, parcel and background items.
Characters include: Cat, Hare, Pig, crocodiles, bear, Goat.
– Alternatively, make the characters into puppets for a puppet show. Shown here are the characters drawn, coloured and cut out, taped onto black painted pop sticks, tip-toe creeping in front of a painted background.     
IMG_6915 IMG_6914

Writing.
– Write your own play for ‘Scary Night’. What kind of scary places, creatures and animals would you meet? Will you be going to a party or somewhere else?
– Write a creative answer to the question:
But where were they going in the dead of the night, tip-toe creeping in the pale moonlight? They were going to _____________. Illustrate.
– Make an open-the-flap-door card. On the front write
”Turn the handle. Sneak inside. Count to three and shout…”
Inside the door flap write your own word that the friend might shout. Who will be behind your door?
Shown is a lid from a baby wipes packet for the door. Alternatively, to make a flap-door, cut three lines in the centre of the paper, leaving the longer left side attached as the hinge.  
IMG_6899 IMG_6900 IMG_6902

Reading.
– Phonics.
Make a chart with each character and the first letter of their name. Eg. ‘C’ for Cat. List all the ‘c’ words that you can think of.
Repeat with ‘H’ for Hare and ‘P’ for Pig. Decorate.
– Complete the worksheets. ‘What Can Cat Carry to the Party?’, ‘Follow Pig along the Path!’, ‘Would you Dare to Scare a Hare if You Were a Bear?’ Download Scary Night Reading Worksheets   
scary night worksheet c scary night worksheet p scary night h

– Rhyming words.
Find and list the rhyming words in the story. Brainstorm other words that rhyme with… night, cave, roar, stairs, pink.
– Adjectives.
Find and list the adjectives in the story. Eg. scary, pale, snapping, cool, bold, grizzly, sharpened. Can you think of any more to describe the characters and setting in the story?
– Read other Halloween stories. How do they compare in terms of ‘scariness’?  
IMG_6863

Mathematics.
– Space / Location.
Make an obstacle course with props and furniture.  Use prepositional language as you use each piece of equipment.
Materials: cushions, chairs, block towers, blue material, dark sheets, table, paper.
Eg. over a hill (cushions), through the woods (blocks), across a creek (material), past a cave (sheet over table), up a mountain / stairs (boxes), behind a gravestone (chair), under the moonlight (paper on wall).
Here we have Porcupine with a present, tip-toe creeping on a mysterious journey.     
IMG_6965 IMG_6966 IMG_6967

– Number: Ordering numbers, Number Place, One to one correspondence.
Match the number order. Download Scary Night Number Order Worksheet
scary night number order

– Number stories.
Make up number stories about the characters. Use materials such as counters or toys to help.
Eg. There was one friend and three more came to his party. How many friends altogether?
There were five bats and two bats flew away. How many bats are left?  

Science.
– Heaps of fun Science Activities for Halloween can be found at:
http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/60117/halloween-home-science
halloween-science-KAB
– Static Powered Dancing Ghost or Bat
Instructions: http://www.sciencebob.com/blog/?tag=dancing-ghost
Teaching tips on Static Electicity: http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/26688/static-electricity    
static-ghost1
– Haunted Halloween Ice Hand Melts
http://happyhooligans.ca/salt-and-ice-experiment/  
IMG_4253-1

Art / Craft.
– Waterpaint and crayon relief pictures. Make spooky pictures using crayons and thinned black water paint.   
IMG_6908 IMG_6909 IMG_6910

– Halloween crafts from Red Ted Art:
http://www.redtedart.com/page/4/?s=halloween
easy-halloween-craft-puppet

Bat Crafts:
http://www.redtedart.com/2014/09/10/bat-crafts-kids/    
25-Cute-Bat-Crafts-for-Halloween-and-Bat-Lovers Handprint-bat-flying-over-moon-craft-300x275 bat-crafts

Cute pom pom bats:
http://www.redtedart.com/2014/09/22/bat-crafts-pom-pom-bats/
Bat-Pom-Pom

– Halloween Shadow Makers:
http://www.minieco.co.uk/halloween-shadow-makers/
shadow-makers-2

– Paper Cat Crafts:
http://krokotak.com/2014/10/three-cats-stories-in-paper/
cover1

Purchase Scary Night at Boomerang Books.

Lessons and photography by Romi Sharp 2014.
All sourced resources have been cited.
Lessons for personal and classroom use only, and not permitted for commercial use.
www.facebook.com/mylittlestorycorner