Storymaze: The Wooden Cow, by Terry Denton

Nico wants nothing more than to be the surfing champion of the universe. He’s been training hard and is sure he can win. All he has to do is get to the planet Friesia on time and intact.

With some help from his M.I.T., a nifty device which can transfer them through both space and time, Nico gets to Friesia with his friends Mikey and Claudia. Unfortunately, they’re four thousand years too early and they land in the middle of a crisis in Friesia City. Nico and Mikey are trapped outside the city and Claudia and the M.I.T. are inside, but not together. Can they solve the crisis AND be reunited?

The Wooden Cow is the third Storymaze book, following on from the success of The Eye of Ulam and The Ultimate wave. Terry Denton’s unique combination of cartoon-strips, rude narrators and pure silliness, has kids laughing as they turn the pages and looking for more when they’re finished.

The Wooden Cow is suitable for readers aged seven to twleve, including reluctant readers.

Storymaze: The Wooden Cow, by Terry Denton
Allen & Unwin, 2002

Cry of the Karri, by Errol Broome

Aiden has been looking forward to this bush walking weekend for ages. Now that he’s here he’s not so sure. His friend Titch is being bossy and showing off, his socks are causing blisters, and worst of all, his step-sister is in hospital – and it’s his fault. When he is lost, things get even worse.

Aiden finds himself drawn into the family of another boy who was lost in the bush two years ago. They mistakenly think Aiden is their son, and Aiden is caught up in their lives and in the other boy’s mystery. Will he suffer the same fate or will he be able to bring some peace to both families?

Cry of the Karri is a novel of adventure and intrigue, with just a hint of the supernatural. As Aiden searches for answers about his own life he is caught in the parallels between his life and that of the missing boy, Dugald. The novel will appeal to children aged ten to fourteen, especially boys.

Errol Broome grew up in Western Australia and now lives in Melbourne. Her earlier children’s novels have received many awards and nominations. Cry of the Karri is another excellent offering.

Cry of the Karri, by Errol Broome
Allen & Unwin, 2001

Little Lunch Two, by Danny Katz

Tamara Noodle loves the monkey bars. She can do almost as many tricks on them as a REAL monkey. She can hang upside down, she can twozees and even threezees. But what happens when someone else wants to use the monkey bars?

The three new stories in Little Lunch Two are just as silly as those in Little Lunch were. The cheeky stories of Danny Katz are again well complemented by the clever illustrations of Mitch Vane.

Even the most reluctant of readers will find the stories both accessible amd, just as importantly, sude-splittingly funny. Katz has a way of seeing the school yard through the eys of a six year old.

Roll on Little Lunch Three!

Little Lunch Two, by Danny Katz, illustrated by Mitch Vane
Black Dog Books, 2002

Little Lunch, by Danny Katz

Mrs Gonsha has a huge bum. So huge and wobbly that it looks like a gigantic beanbag made out of porridge. So, when Mrs Gonsha decides she wants to slide down the slide, the kids warn her that her bum is too big. When she ignores their warning, disater strikes. How will the kids get Mrs Gonsha unstuck?

The Slide is just one of three funny stories in Little Lunch. Each tells the tale of what happens to the kids of Mrs Gonsha’s class in the fifteen minutes that is little lunch.

Kids aged six to nine will love these stories for their silliness and irreverence, and because they can digest each story quickly. Parents and kids will love them because their kids will be reading – and enjoying it.

With the wit of author Danny Katz and the clever cartoon-style drawings of illustrator Mitch Vane, Little Lunch is a winner from innovative new publisher Black Dog Books.

Little Lunch, by Danny Katz, illustrated by Mitch Vane
Black Dog Books, 2001

Chimpanzee, by David Kennett

How do chimpanzees show they are frightened? What’s the difference between a chimpanzee and Tarzan? Why did a chimp go to space in a rocket?

Author/llustrator David Kennett provides the answers to these questions and more, in a format accessible to newly independent readers.

With simple yet informative text and a range of illustration forms, Chimpanzee is suitable for students in the early years of primary school, although it would also be appropriate for much older students with reading diffulcties.

Solos give newly independent readers a reading experience which bridges the gap beteen picture books and chapter books, with short paragraphs and an abundance of illustrations. There are 32 fiction titles and 14 non-fiction titles in the series, and Chimpanzee is one of six Solo Wildlife titles.

Chimpanzee is suitable both for classroom use and for home reading, as well as school and public libraries.

Chimpanzee, written and illustrated by David Kennett
A Solo Wildlife book, from Omnibus Books, an imprint of Scholastic Australia, 2002

Killer Whale, by David Kennett

How does a killer whale find its way in the dark? How can killer whales be told apart? What causes killer whales to swim onto land?

In this new title from Omnibus/Scholastic, David Kennett gives youngsters the answers to these questions and many more.

Combining clear illustrations and diagrams with simple texts, Kennett provdes a wealth of information in a manner accessible to children in the early years of primary school.

Interesting facts and figures are complemented by a variety of diagramatic representations including maps, comparisons and close-up views.

Solos give newly independent readers a reading experience which bridges the gap between picture books and chapter books, with short paragraphs and an abundance of illustrations. There are 32 fiction titles and 14 non-fiction titles in the series, and Killer Whale is one of six Solo Wildlife titles.

Killer Whale is suitable both for classroom use and for home reading, as well as school and public libraries.

Killer Whale, written and illustrated by David Kennett
A Solo Wildlife book, from Omnibus Books, an imprint of Scholastic Australia, 2002

Magpie Mischief, by Jon Doust and Ken Spillman

As well as helping kids cross the road to school, the Crosswalk lady likes to help birds. She likes all birds, but has a special soft spot for the magpies who nest near the school gate.

Most of the kids who use the crossing have made freinds with the magpies too, but not Ben and his bumcrack buddies. They like to tease the magpies, and Ben has been trying to steal a magpie egg since grade three. So it’s no wonder that the magpies divebomb them during the nesting season.

Ben’s Dad is a shire councillor and when he hears about the magpies,he decides something must be done. The magpies must be eradicated.

The town is divided, but no one knows what to do. It is up to the children to find a solution.

Magpie Mischief is a fun quick read for children aged seven to twelve. The product of the combined talents of Jon Doust and Ken Spillman and with illustrations by Marion Duke, Magpie Mischief is a great read.

Magpie Mischief, by Jon Doust and Ken Spillman
Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2002

Gypsy Magic, by Moya Simons

School holidays are meant to be fun, but Becky isn’t that thrilled with the outlook for hers. Her Mum and Dad have gone to New Zealand and she’s been left with her babysitter, Mrs Amati, who has a chrystal ball and says she’s a gypsy. All of Becky’s friends are out of town and the only kids left to play with are a strange girl called Zara and a painful boy called Josh.

But when there’s a bank robbery in town, the three chidlren are on their way to solving it, with a touch of gypsy magic. Mrs Amati’s crystal ball could be the key to turning Becky’s holiday around.

Moya Simons lives in New South Wales and has written lots of great books for chidlren, including Whoppers and Dead Average. Gypsy Magic will appeal to readers aged nine to twelve.

Gypsy Magic, by Moya Simons
Omnibus Books (a Scholastic imprint), 2002

Tashi and the Haunted House, by Anna Fienberg and Barbara Fienberg

There’s a light in the window of the haunted house, and Tashi is going in.

Tashi is back and has two new adventures to share in Tashi and the Haunted House. In the first story Tashi finds Ning Jing hiding in the haunted house, scared of her nasty cousin Bu Li. Tashi comes up with a spooky plan to scare him right out of the forest. In the second, Tashi is confronted by two mysterious creatures in the village square. Tashi knows the demons are back and they want to beat him. Can he outwit them, and save the village school?

Tashi is an appealing character from a magical far away land, the creation of Anna Fienberg and her mother Barbara. This is the ninth book in the Tashi series, and is sure to convince those who are not yet Tashi fans to read the whole set.

Brought to life in the illustrations of Kim Gamble, Tashi shares his adventures with his friend Jack and the whole family.

Anna Fienberg is the author of many popular and award-winning books for children, including Joseph, shortlisted for the 2002 Children’s Book Council Awards, and Horrendo’s Curse. Her mother, Barbara Fienberg, is the chief plot-deviser for the Tashi books.

Kim Gamble is an award-winning artist. He has illustrated many of Fienberg’s books as well as those of other authors, including Margaret Wild.

Tashi and the Haunted House is sure to delight youngsters aged 6 to 10.

Tashi and the Haunted House, by Anna Fienberg and Barbara Fienberg, illustrated by Kim Gamble
Allen & Unwin, 2002

Plotless Pointless Pathetic, by Joshua Wright

Egads! There’s trouble afoot in the land of Sausagopolis.

Somebody has been writing naughty poetry – poetry sure to corrupt the minds of innocent, straight-laced citizens.

But don’t fear, dear reader, because help is at hand – Sir Glame, knight hero, and his trusty sidekick Bill (actually a talking horse) – are on a quest to stop the evil Saucy McRascal, author of the Big Book of Fun

This is, however, no traditional fantasy-quest story. The title, Plotless Pointless Pathetic gives more than a little hint to the true nature of the story.

Author Joshua Wright fills the book with corny jokes, inexplicable plot twists and plenty of general silliness. Cartoons on every page provide distractions and humour.

As Glame and Bill blunder their way through the quest, they encounter colossally scary monsters, scrap trucks and freaky fuzzies, who talk cute but act mean.

This hilarious book will appeal to children aged 8 to 12, athough older readers will also find some laughs.

Plotless Pointless Pathetic is the first book from Joshua Wright. One suspects it won’t be his last.

Plotless Pointless Pathetic, by Joshua Wright
Allen & Unwin 2002