Dinosaur Trouble #1 and #2, by Kyle Mewburn & Donovan Bixley

There is only one reason why Arg is bored:
1. He is never allowed to do anything exciting.
Arg is not allowed to go hunting with his dad. He is not allowed to explore the jungle, or play by the lava pits. Arg’s mum thinks everything is too dangerous.

Arg is bored AND hungry. He isn’t allowed to go hunting, or do anything else interesting. But when Mum brings home some eggs, Arg finds out this egg is more interesting that expected. There’s a cute dinosaur inside. Arg’s the only one who knows, and he wants to keep it that way so that his new friend isn’t eaten.

The Great Egg Stink is the first book in the new Dinosaur Trouble series, featuring cave boy Arg and his Stone Age family. the second book, The Lava Melt shake, shows Arg figuring out a way to stop lava from wiping out the village.

Both books are easy to read, short chapter books with black and white illustrations on every spread, and lots of humour mixed with action.

Suitable for newly independent readers, each book stands alone.

Dinosaur Trouble: The Great Egg Stink ISBN 9781775433668
Dinosaur Trouble: The Lava Melt Shake ISBN 9781775433675
By Kyle Mewburn & Donovan Bixley
Scholastic, 2017

Slowcoach Turtle, by Kyle Mewburn

Tilda scrambled up the steep, overgrown bank towards the apple orchard. It was hard work. her fringe was plastered to her sweaty face. But her eyes were shiny with excitement. She could see the frame of the old flying fox peering over the top of the bank.

Slowcoach Turtle is book three in the Pop Hooper’s Perfect Pet series for newly confident readers. Main character Tilda lives life at a breakneck speed and is a little annoyed that her best friend Nat doesn’t seem to want to play at her pace. They have an argument and Tilda goes off on her own, wishing she had a monkey to play with. Cue the arrival of Pop Hooper and his wonderful road train full of pets. He promises her a monkey if she will look after a turtle for 24 hours. Tilda is less than enthusiastic about the turtle which although slow, keeps wanting to escape. She can’t wait until the 24 hours are up and she can get her monkey. The wait seems even longer because she’s still not friends again with Nat. Heath McKenzie’s humourous illustrations add to the fun.

Pop Hooper is very good at matching pets with children…much better than the children initially think. He gently encourages the children realise that the pet they thought perfect may not be their perfect pet after all. Not by telling them, but by giving them a pet that seems to bear little resemblance to their expected perfect pet. Tilda discovers that being slow isn’t such a bad thing, in fact it’s the very characteristic that made Nat such a good friend. Chapters are short and most openings are illustrated, perfect for young readers.

Slowcoach Turtle (Pop Hooper's Perfect Pets)

Slowcoach Turtle Kyle Mewburn ill Heath McKenzie
Little Hare 2010
ISBN: 9781921541230

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Funny Little Dog, by Kyle Mewburn

Flyn hung upside down from the oak tree, with his limbs wrapped tightly around a branch. He held his breath and carefully turned his head so he could scan the park. The boys were standing directly below him. Flyn could have dropped an acorn down Toby Downer’s collar. But that was the last thing Flyn wanted to do.
He just wanted to get to school without a fight.

Flyn is not having fun. His route to school involves passing the school bullies and they delight in tormenting him. What he needs is a big, tough dog to do all the things he can’t. Then the bullies would leave him alone. Enter Pop Hooper and his amazing collection of pets. On the side of each wagon, Pop Hooper’s Pet Express promises ‘Perfect Pets Guaranteed’. Flyn stops running away from the bullies and chases after Pop Hooper. He knows exactly the sort of dog he needs, a dog called ‘Chomper’ who will be brave where Flyn is not.

Funny Little Dog is the second title in the ‘Pop Hooper’s Perfect Pets’ series from Little Hare. The magical Pop Hooper seems to appear where he is needed, with the perfect pet. But he can’t find the pet Flyn describes so asks him to look after Pumpkin. Pumpkin has none of the attributes Flyn is sure he will need, and lots of characteristics sure to make his life worse. Poor Flyn! But Pumpkin allows Flyn’s nature to shine through his anxieties. Although it is Pop Hooper who chooses Pumpkin for Flyn, it is the boy who shows his true character and ample reserves of bravery when necessary. Funny Little Dog is a lovely mix of humour and seriousness, complemented by Heath McKenzie’s black and white illustrations on most openings. Recommended for newly confident readers ready for a slightly longer story.

Funny Little Dog (Pop Hooper's Perfect Pets)

Funny Little Dog (Pop Hooper’s Perfect Pets), Kyle Mewburn ill Heath McKenzie
Little Hare 2009
ISBN: 9781921272769

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

the eleventh sheep, by Kyle Mewburn & Claire Richards

When Sian can’t sleep, she likes to count sheep.
From one to ten, then start again.
The Eleventh Sheep waits, every night. Waits, unwanted, just out of sight.

Sian, a young girl, counts sheep to help her get to sleep. She counts from one to ten while the poor old eleventh sheep waits patiently just out of sight for her to count just one more. Then one night the eleventh sheep can wait no longer. It leaps, unbidden. As Sian has already fallen asleep, the eleventh sheep falls ‘out of her dream and onto her bed’. Together Sian and the eleventh sheep play and adventure. And every night she sleeps cuddled up to the eleventh sheep. It becomes clear that the eleventh sheep is not completely happy. Between them, Sian and the eleventh sheep to find a way to put things right.

Getting to sleep can be a tricky thing sometimes. There are all sorts of strategies employed to facilitate sleep, but one of the most well-known must be counting sheep. Kyle Mewburn has delivered a simple and fun text that invites children to take a leap of faith, just as the sheep do in Sian’s imaginings. Claire Richard’s colourful illustrations are warm and friendly. Sian recognises that although she can now sleep without counting sheep, her companion is not as content. There is a gentle lesson here about how what we do can affect others, even inadvertently. But mostly, it’s a fun story, with some counting opportunities, and a little twist at the end. The Eleventh Sheep is a square format hardback. Recommended for preschoolers.

The Eleventh Sheep, Kyle Mewburn Claire Richards
Scholastic 2008
ISBN: 9781741691337