Ill. by Ben Wood. Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781742990880
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Animals, Farms, Safety. When Madge the cow notices a huge dark cloud over the farm, she invites the rabbit to shelter beneath her as the first large rain drops begin to fall. The farm dog passes by and takes shelter as well, then the mother hen and her chicks, while later an echidna rolls under her as well. Each addition causes a little mayhem at the start, but all settle down to shelter from the rain. When the rain stops Madge is presented with some flowers as a thank you and she tells them that what is important is that they are all in a safe place, while sometimes we are the safe place.
This is a charming story about safety, about putting aside differences to take shelter, to work together to be safe, and will encourage younger readers to discuss their safety within this carefully worded text. Martin uses repetition in some parts of the text which will encourage younger readers to predict what is happening next. The song she presents could be used as a learning tool to recite when this book is brought out for rereading.
I love the illustrations, Wood using mixed media and digital means to draw his characters, giving them amazingly human expressions. I adore Madge's udder which seems to leave the dog a little nonplussed, and figures a little more prominently when Spike crawls beneath her. What an introduction for parents and teachers to discuss where milk comes from, as few, if any, picture books show this important part of a cow's anatomy. Discussions too could evolve concerning the farm portrayed, comparing it with other picture books where Australian farms are drawn, and perhaps even discussing why Spike's animal status is not named. Perhaps this book is being aimed at an American market as well?
Whatever group of kids reads this, they will ask for it again and again as they absorb the playful humour of the farm animals sheltering beneath Madge the cow, make up their own song to go with the words and contemplate how they keep themselves safe.
Little, Brown & Company, 2014. ISBN: 9780316220750
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Themes: Whistle-blowing; Big Business & Corporations; Fraud; Terrorism; Family relationships; Belief and doubt; Science & Truth. The teenage protagonists in this story have become caught up in the...
Ill. by Sean Murray. Hot Key Books, 2015. ISBN 9781471405273
(Age: 13-15) Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus have created a dark underworld inhabited with hungry trolls whose favourite food is children! In the late 1960's in San Bernadino, California, nearly two hundred children...
Text, 2015. ISBN: 9781925240498
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. This book grips the reader and doesn't let go until after it has been read. Rebecca writes so well and the reader is drawn in to such an extent that the characters (from bikies to drag queens) are so real you can almost touch...
Ill. by Jamie Lenman. Bloomsbury, 2015.
Play the Game. How Hard are You? ISBN 9781472910974
Ultimate Quiz and Game Book - Know your Hard Nuts. ISBN 9781472910967
(Age: 8-12) Tracy Turner's Hard Nuts of History series showcases the tough men and women of...
Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760112486
(Age: 15+) Themes: Death & grief; Teenage romance; Coming of age; Relationships. Trinity Doyle's debut YA novel gives an insight into the world of grief. Lucy and her parents have been shattered by the drowning death of Cam - the wild-child...
Little, Brown, 2015. ISBN 9781408706893
(Age: secondary to adult) Highly recommended. Crime fiction, Stalking, Trolls. This latest crime story involving Dr Tony Hill and Carol Jordan has both of them in limbo. Carol has resigned from the police, distancing herself from friends,...
Simon & Schuster, 2015. ISBN 9781471132988
(Age: Adult) Recommended. Philippa Gregory's love of history underpins The Taming of the Queen. Kateryn Parr was the last of King Henry VIII's six wives: portrayed in this narrative as passionate, intelligent, devout and independent,...
Ill. by Claude Ponti. Pushkin Press, 2014. ISBN 9781782690252
(Age: Newly independent readers) Pockety is a tiny tortoise who leaves home at a very young age to live like a grown up. She meets Thumb who has also left home to live like a grown up and they build a hut together so they can....
Ford Street, 2015. ISBN 9781925000948
(Ages: 10+) Fantasy. This easy to read fantasy series again begins where the previous book, Dragonfall Mountain, left off. There is no recapping of the story to detract from the action which makes the series highly attractive to those students...
The Midnight Mercenary bk 3. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2015. ISBN
(Ages 8+) Science Fiction. The Gateway is a hotel with a difference as the family who purchase it discover in the first of the series. Written by a trio of writers this is the third book to explore the...
Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760111076
(Age: secondary to adult) Highly recommended. History, Early exploration of Australia, Spice trade. The role of the VOC (Dutch East Indies Company) in mapping Australia in the seventeenth century is vividly brought to life in this highly...
Ill. by Jules Faber. Random House, 2015. ISBN 9780857988379
Even though he is just 10 years old, Leo da Vinci is an inventor, artist, genius and founder of Fixit International Inc. dedicated to saving the world from super villains in cahoots with his friend Mina and sidekicks Isaac the...
Ill. by Lucinda Gifford. Lothian, 2015. ISBN 9780734416186
(Ages: 4-7) Frankie and his family have just moved into a new house. It looks dark and scary. Finn the fish does not really like his home in the pond. It is dark and scary. When Frankie reaches his hand into the murky pond for...
Five Mile Press, 2015. ISBN 9781760064273
(Ages: 4-8) This is a reimagined version of the classic Christmas tale The elves and the shoemaker and promotes the joy of giving rather than receiving. This is a nostalgic book - it is clearly set in the 'olden days' with clothing and house...
Lothian, 2015. ISBN 9780734416315
(Ages: 3-6) Very simple text is combined with vibrant, action-packed illustrations in this story inspired by the children's game duck, duck, goose. As two ducks venture further out into the river they encounter an incredible cast of characters, from...
Hodder & Stoughton, 2015. ISBN: 9781444796322
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. The blurb to this first book in a trilogy boasts 'This is a hell where no one can hide'.
This dystopian novel really does take you way down dark. It really is hell. Chan, the narrator, was born on...
Ill. by Alisa Coburn. Billie's Super Dooper Adventures
series. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2015. ISBN 9781760124441
(Age: 4-6) Highly recommended. Themes: Friendship, Imagination, Kindergarten, Jungle Animals. Sally Rippin's new series takes her fun-loving character Billie B Brown and...
Puffin Books, 2015. ISBN 9780143308546
(Age: Yr 2-4) "The creature's breathing was wet and crackly as it crept through the dark. The goat was standing very still. Actually, it was asleep. The creature's black shape leapt across the face of the full moon, crashing into the goat and...
Hachette, 2015. ISBN 9780733631603
Like most Australians, I had heard of the legend of Lasseter's reef of gold, discovered in the late 1890's but never located again. What I wasn't aware of was the amazing expedition undertaken in 1930 in an attempt to rediscover what was believed to be...