It’s True! Sports Stinks, by Justin Kemp & Damian Farrow

There are sports facts galore in It’s True! Sport Stinks, written by two sports scientists. If you think that keeping your eye on a fast-moving ball is almost impossible, you’re right. If you think that putting a crocodile in a pool will make you swim faster, meet the coach who agrees with you. From tennis, football, cricket to car racing and pro wrestling, learn the secrets of moving faster, jumping higher and surviving your favourite sport.

The titleIt’s True! Sport Stinks, combined with the cover art featuring a prostrate tennis player surrounded by balls, set up the expectation that this book will be about sport failures/accidents, sport smells. While there are some elements of both in this book, there is a lot more as well. All the popular sports are here, as are less well known sports like Paralympic skiing. There’s information about increasing performance and the ways some athletes cheat. The content is varied, informative and entertaining. Recommended for mid- and upper-primary readers.

It’s True! Sports Stinks by Justin Kemp & Damian Farrow, with illustrations by Heath McKenzie
Allen & Unwin 2006
ISBN: 1741148545

It's True! The Vikings Got Lost, by David Greagg

Vikings have a reputation as being fierce invaders who plundered and pillaged. But did you know they also ate pizza, took spa baths and got lost? In this humorous, but fact-based, offering, young readers can learn all sorts of facts about Vikings and their ways.

In just 88 pages author David Greagg covers a vast amount of Viking history – from their lives at home, to their travels and their wars, as well as a look at their mythology, their form of written communication (runes) and more. This is complemented by the humorous illustrative work of Binny Hobbs.

The Vikings Got Lost is part of the It’s True! series, from Allen & Unwin, providing insight into a vast array of non-fiction subjects for primary aged readers.

Good stuff.

It’s True! The Vikings Got Lost, by David Greagg, pictures by Binny Hobbs
Allen & Unwin, 2006

It's True! You Can Make Your Own Jokes, by Sharon Holt

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Max who?
Max my brain bulge to read this book!

Kids love telling jokes, and for all young jokesters this book has plenty to offer. It is much more than just a book of jokes – although there are plenty included – being instead a book about the history of jokes and joke-telling, and a guide to making up jokes.

Author Sharon Holt gives young readers insight into how different kinds of jokes are written, and includes step by step workshops to help them create their own. She also gives plenty of examples to show just how jokes are created, as well as an insight into why jokes make listeners laugh.

The text is accompanied by the humorous illustration work of Ross Kinnaird and is part of the highly popular It’s True! Series.

Loads of fun.

It’s true! You Can Make Your Own Jokes, by Sharon Holt, illustrated by Ross Kinnaird
Allen & Unwin, 2006

It’s True! Everest Kills by Kim Wilson. Pictures by Andrew Plant

Here are some ways Everest can kill you: Avalanche; mountain illness; falling; freezing.

Despite the dangers, the hunger to reach the summit of Mt Everest continues unabated. This non-fiction title charts the history of man’s quest to reach the highest point on earth. Wilson assembles a fascinating collection of facts and anecdotes for this new offering in the ‘It’s True!’ collection. Fact boxes and often humourous cartoons by Andrew Plant enhance the reading experience.

It’s True! Everest Kills tells how to breathe where there is no oxygen and how to dress for success. It includes many tips for the aspiring climber. This book is light-handed but never underrates the challenges faced by those who would conquer the mighty mountain. Upper-primary readers will enjoy this book

It’s True! Everest Kills by Kim Wilson
Allen & Unwin 2006
ISBN: 1741144140

Three 'It's True' Titles

The successful It’s Trueseries continues to educate and inform Australian children, and the latest releases from Allen & Unwin will not disappoint.

It’s True! Your Cat Could Be a Spy traces the history of spying through the ages, from the Trojans with their wooden horse, to the Ancient Romans, and Japanese ninjas. There are plenty of inside secrets of spying, including codes, and gadgets, sure to appeal to any budding 007.

It’s True! Space Turns You Into Spaghetti is an intriguing insight into the universe – from neighbouring planets, to distant galaxies. Mysteries of black holes, the possibilities of life on other planets, and the science behind space travel are all explored in simple language.

It’s True! You Eat Poison Every Day is an exposition of the myths and mysteries surrounding poisons – including the poisons that are in everyday objects, including food, and true tales of murders and attempted poisonings throughout history.

Each of these three offerings provides an intriguing insight into a different aspect of science and history, using down to earth language and cartoon-style illustrations adding a touch of humour and making the books accessible even to reluctant readers.

Suitable both for school and library collections as well as private reading.

It’s True! Your Cat Could Be a Spy , by Sue Bursztynski, pictures by Mitch Vane
It’s True! Space Turns You Into Spaghetti, by Heather Catchpole, pictures by Heath McKenzie
It’s True! You Eat Poison Every Day, by Peter Macinnis, pictures by Bettina Guthridge
All from Allen & Unwin, 2006

It's True! A Bushfire Burned My Dunny Down, by Tracey McGuire

Making children’s non-fiction both educational AND entertaining can be a big ask, but Allen & Unwin’s new It’s True! series achieves a balance between the two with aplomb.

The latest offering in the series is A Bushfire Burned My Dunny Down. Its title hints at its irreverence and non-traditional approach. The contents of the book do not, however, ignore the serious nature of the subject matter. Bushfires cause massive damge every year and author Tracey McGuire knows first-hand how fierce and traumatic they can be. McGuire’s own family were directly effected by the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983, and these experiences are featured in the book, as are McGuire’s father’s experiences in an earlier fire in 1969 and the experiences of Lucky the Koala in the huge bushfires of January 2003 in Victoria and the ACT.

It is the use of first-person recount that gives the book its edge. We aren’t simply being told about the impact of fire, but rather shown it and being given the opportunity to relive it with those who have experienced it first-hand.

A Bushfire Burned My Dunny Down is peppered with facts and tips – from how to survive a bushfire, to detailed koala facts, as well as cartoon-style illustrations by the talented Bill Wood, making it user-friendly for primary aged children.

A Bushfire Burned My Dunny Down is quality non-fiction reading for primary aged children.

It’s True! A Bushfire Burned My Dunny Down, by Tracey McGuire
Allen & Unwin, 2004

It's True! Series

This new series from innovative publisher Allen & Unwin is exciting. Here at last is a non-fiction offering which kids will love to read – for the sheer pleasure of it as well as to learn. With so many non-fiction offerings providing information in a format which encourages searching just for whatever answers a child is seeking, it is refreshing to find one which is deisgned to be read cover to cover, for the sheer fun of it.

Written by authors many children will already be familiar with, the books are full of interesting facts, gory details and funny tidbits, supported by cartoon-style illustrations. The text is accessible but not patronising and written in kid-speak.

The first three titles in the series include Pigs Do Fly by author/illustrator Terry Denton, which explores the history of flight, The Romans Were the Real Gangsters by John and Joshua Wright, sharing some of the gorier bits of Roman histroy and There are Bugs in Your Bed, by Heather Catchpole and Vanessa Woods, examining the insect world. All are suitable for school libraries and as classroom readers, but are equally likely to appeal for private reading.

Allen & Unwin is to be commended for the work put into developing this outstanding new series.

It’s True! There are Bugs in Your Bed, by Heather Catchpole & Vanessa Woods, illustrated by Craig Smith
It’s True! The Romans Were the Real Gangsters, by John & Joshua Wright, illustrated by Joshua Wright
It’s True! Pigs Do Fly, written & illustrated by Terry Denton
All from Allen & Unwin, 2004