Snowman and the Seven Ninjas

Once upon a swine…
… there rode a beauty queen.
One contest day, she was sitting on her black, spotted pet pig, smiling out at the audience while juggling her boyfriend’s chainsaws, blindfolded!
Accidentally, she sliced her fingers off!
Three buckets of blood squirted on the judges.
‘AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!’
My fingers,’ she screamed.

Snowman and the Seven Ninjas starts with Miss Bacon, a talent contest and a few accidental amputations. While stemming the blood flow, Miss Bacon makes a wish for a monster made of snow, with eyes as red as blood and muscles as big as the butt of this pig. That may be the end of her, but it’s the beginning for a snow monster- ah – man, judged best new talent. Thrilled at being the centre of attention, Snowman continues to hog the limelight. Superdude, who until now has been the star of his own show, is Not Happy. Add in Ninjas called Farty, Scabby and the like and the scene is set for plenty of gross and gory action. Snowman and the Seven Ninjas is highly illustrated and includes text types that appear to have no function besides adding to the mayhem.

Once upon a fairytale … no, this is like no fairytale ever. The pattern may suggest Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but that’s about as close as it gets. Snowman and the Seven Ninjas features guts, ego, gore, bad body odour and showing off, on high rotation. Those looking for the structure of Snow White will find it and they may even be inspired to fracture their own fairytale. From the chaos and the warning on the cover, to the impending arrival of a meteorite, there is craziness and punnyness galore. Perfect for newly independent reader who enjoys snowmen, ninjas, vampires with their literature.

Snowman and the Seven Ninjas, Matt Cosgrove
Scholastic 2017 ISBN:9781743811696

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

Aussie Pony Tales 3, by Sheryn Dee

There is nothing Jessie likes better than riding her horse Magic. So, one perfect day, she and Magic set off for a picnic in the bush. All goes well, until Magic decides to take a dip in the Murray River. Jessie knows she shouldn’t follow Magic in – but what if her horse drowns?

Bush Picnic is the first of the two stories in this chapter book for four to seven year old readers. In the second story, Magic falls sick after eating some poisonous weed, and Jessie helps Mum and Dad nurse him back to help.

This is the third title in the Aussie Pony Tales series. Each volume has two short tales about Jessie and Magic’s adventures on the family farm in the South Australian Riverland. They are sure to appeal to young readers, especially horse-mad girls.

Aussie Pony Tales 3: Bush Picnic/A Magic Mixture, by Sheryn Dee, illustrated by Matt Cosgrove
ABC Books, 2004

Pigs Don't Fly and Bears Don't Bounce, by Jackie French

Pigs don’t fly …. But sometimes they do like to wallow in the mud.
Bear’s don’t bounce … But they snooze all winter.

Two new lift-the-flap picture books, combining the talents of author Jackie French and illustrator Matt Cosgrove are sure to delight young prereaders and their parents. Each page combines a little fantasy – flying pigs, bouncing bears, jiggling giraffes – with a little fact, hidden beneath sturdy flaps. Each flap is half a page and the illustration on the main page is continued on to the flap, to show a connection between the fact and the fantasy.

French’s simple text makes these books quick to read and suitable for toddlers’ short attention spans, whilst Cosgrove’s vibrant illustrations are sure to delight.

The format of the two books is similar, with Pigs Don’t Fly concentrating on farm animals and Bears Don’t Bounce on wild animals.

Jackie French is a prolific author with many children’s titles to her name, as well as books about gardening and natural lifestyle. She makes regular appearances on television’s Burke’s Backyard.

This pair of books are sure to prove popular with youngsters and their parents.

Pigs Don’t Fly
and Bears Don’t Bounce, by Jackie French, illustrated by Matt Cosgrove
Koala Books, 2003

Bones Maloney and the Raspberry Spiders, by Glenda Millard

Bones Maloney might look tough, but his heart is as soft as a cherry brandy chocolate. Bones and his Jazz Doggies are the star attraction at Barker’s café every Friday night. But, if there is one thing that Bones loves more than singing it is the raspberry spiders that are served at Barkers. Unfortunately, he isn’t paid enough to be able to buy one. What would happen if his throat was too dry to sing half way through his performance?

This humorous picture book combines children’s fantasy with the blues scene for an effect that will entertain both children and their adult readers. The illustrations of Matt Cosgrove are awesome, with vibrant colours and adorable dog-characters ranging from chihuahuas to dalmations to mutts and hounds.

Most likely to appeal to readers aged 4 to 8, Glenda Millard’s story will have you hankering for a raspberry spider.

Bones Maloney and the Raspberry Spiders
, by Glenda Millard, illustrated by Matt Cosgrove
A Margaret Hamilton Book from Ashton Scholastic, 2002