Rocket Into Space, by Ragbir Bhathal & Johanna Davids

Maddy and Jack are going on a journey into space. They’re counting down and taking off on a rocket trip through the solar system. Along the way thy are going show readers what they see and share lots of intriguing facts.

Starting at the Sun, and going past Earth’s Moon, the travellers then stop at each of the other seven planets in the solar system before heading back to Earth. Each spread features illustrations, photos and facts, presented with interactive elements including flaps, tabs and dials. There are also back of book activity suggestions such as making a Solar System mobile and making a crater.

This sturdy offering is both informative and entertaining.

Rocket into Space!

Rocket into Space!, by Ragbir Bhathal and Johanna Davids
National Library of Australia, 2012
ISBN 9780642277510

Available from good bookstores, the NLA Bookstore or online.

Come on Everybody, Time to Play, by Nigel Gray & Bob Graham

Sunday morning.
No school today.
Where is everybody?
It’s time to play.

Come on Everybody, Time to Play!

It’s Sunday morning, which means no school – so why is the narrator of this story the only one up? That’s not really a problem, because she’ll soon have them all moving – cats and kittens, dogs and puppies, little brothers, and even Mum and Dad, will soon be awake and part of her games.

This is a lovely family story of waking up and spending time together. Told in catchy rhyming text which encourages prediction by even very young readers, and also supports guessing of what is under the flaps on some of the spreads. Sturdy card stock and a toddler friendly size ensure this will withstand frequent loving (and reading!).

First published in 2008, and newly released.

Come on Everybody, Time to Play!, by Nigel Gray & Bob Graham
Walker Books, 2012
ISBN 9781921529528

Available in good bookstores and online.

Who's Laughing? by David Bedford and Leonie Worthington

Hippo is trying to sleep but someone’s laughing is keeping him awake. This lift the flap book takes hippo (and young readers) through the jungle, as he finds who is laughing on each double page spread. The Heee-hawww! Heee-hawww! comes from donkey, while rrrah-ha-ha-ha! is lion and ubble! ubble! ubble!is turtle’s laugh. Hippo is pretty unimpressed, but kids will love the novelty of the different laughs and seeing who they belong to. They’ll also love the final spread where the laughter is coming from hippo himself and the cause of all the laughter is revealed – monkey is tickling everyone with a bright pink feather. Kids will have fun going back and finding monkey and his feather in the earlier pages.

Who’s Laughing is a bright offering with plenty of colour and lots of laughs for an early childhood audience. The flaps are fold-down style, part of the sheet of each right hand page, so are sturdy and likely to withstand repeat ridings and handling by small readers.

Suitable for ages 2 to 5.

Who's Laughing?

Who’s Laughing? by David Bedford and Leonie Worthington
Little Hare, 2006

The Gingerbread Man, illustrated by Kilmeny Niland

Run, run as fast as you can,
You can’t catch me—I’m the Gingerbread Man!

Youngsters love novelty books with flaps and folds, and Little Hare’s Storytime series is sure to delight, combining classic fairytales with the novelty of a flip the flap format.

The Gingerbread Man brings to life a traditional telling of the tale, with the illustrative skills of Kilmeny Niland and a flap to be lifted on every story. The flaps, which cover either the top or the bottom half of each page, open to reveal more text and cleverly use the non-flap half of the page, so that it forms half of each illustration.

My six year old, who was already familiar with the story, enjoyed the novelty of this version and insisted on flipping the flaps himself. The sturdiness of the pages means that repeated readings will not affect them and the solid hard cover adds to the appeal – this is a book designed for young hands.

Sure to satisfy.

The Gingerbread Man, illustrated by Kilmeny Niland
Little Hare, 2006

My Dad and My Grandad, by Jeannette Rowe

My dad…lets me dance on his feet.
My grandad…rides with me on his old scooter.

There is a range of dads and grandads in these two books as well as a range of children – but the important focus of both books is that of the child sharing time with one of the men in his/her life.

Each double page spread shows the child on the left hand page and the thing s/he does with his grandad or dad on the right hand page, partially concealed by a large flap. Some of the things shared are everday – My dad…helps me brush my teeth – while others are more adventurous (like riding on Grandad’s scooter).

It is lovely to see books which celebrate grandads and dads, and especially pleasing to see grandad reading stories to one of the children. The books might even encourage dads or grandads who don’t share books with their kids to do so – an important but sometimes missed part of early literacy.

Both books are alive with the colour always present in Rowe’s books. Lovely.

My Dad and My Grandad, by Jeannette Rowe
ABC Books, 2004

Dinosaur Dinosaur

Youngsters love dinosaurs and the bold, bright dinosaurs illustrations in Dinosaur Dinosaur are sure to appeal. Of equal appeal is the format of this offering, with a short sheet page in between each double spread not just concealing part of the text and illustration for a surprise, but also altering each double page spread so that it depicts two scenes.

At the same time as it explores the interesting subject of dinosaurs, Dinosaur Dinosuar also explores opposites – short and tall, fast and slow, smooth and rough and so on. The use of simple rhyming text encourages youngsters to guess at the text and to use the picture clues to do so.

A cute offering for both home and preschool.

Dinosaur Dinosaur, written and illustrated by Matt Cosgrove
Koala Books, 2004