Bear Make Den, by Jane Godwin & Michael Wagner, pictures by Andrew Joyner

9781760110017.jpgBear make Den. Den good. Den great. Den just right… Den not done!
Den need… Chairs! Wait. Den need… Table! Den still not right!
Den need… oh!

Bear has made himself a Den, band he loves it, until he realises it is missing something – or, in fact, some things. First it’s chairs, then a table, a bed, and more. Finally, with the Den fitted out and decorated, Bear realises what the Den really needs – more bears.

Bear Make Den is a gently humorous story told in very few words. Kids (and adults, too) will love the playfulness and even the very young will see the clues as to what is really missing, in the second, empty chair, the double bunk bed, the couch and so on. The underlying message about the importance companionship is a good one.

The text , by Jane Godwin and Michael Wagner, is ably supported by the artwork of Andrew Joyner, with Bear’s expressions , mostly happy but also puzzled, determined and more, an absolute delight.
Sure to please all ages.

Bear Make Den, by Jane Godwin & Michael Wagner, and Andrew Joyner (ill.)
Allen & Unwin, 2016
ISBN 9781760110017

Maxx Rumble Grand Final fever, by Michael Wagner

“This is it!” said our coach. His eyes were red and bulging. His eyes were popping. “This is the biggest game of the year.”

It’s been a pretty memorable football season for Maxx Rumble and his team, the Stone Valley Saints. Now they are in the Grand Final – against the Outhouse Rodents.

But the Rodents are up to their usual tricks. They will stop at nothing to win the game, even locking the umpire in the change rooms and substituting him with a fake. Maxx has to figure out what is going on before it’s too late to save the game.

Maxx Rumble: Grand Final fever is the ninth title in the Maxx Rumble footy series, with each book telling the story of one game in the season. There are loads of laughs, with comic illustrations by Terry Denton, and plenty of action.

Great for beginning or reluctant readers.

Maxx Rumble: Grand Final fever, by Michael Wagner, drawn by Terry Denton
Black Dog Books, 2006

Maxx Rumble Football Series

It had been close all day. We were down to the last few minutes. They were in front by 4 points.
I was at full-forward. I’d already booted 2 goals…I mean 6…no, make that 9 goals. The Bullies decided to double-team me. That’s when they put two players onto one.
They sent their two biggest players to take me on.

Maxx Rumble loves sport. He loves everything about it – but most of all, he loves winning. As we follow his season playing for the Stone Valley Saints, there are plenty of wins to be had. But it doesn’t all go Maxx’s way. First he is Crunched!, then he is Slammed! and, in the most important game of the season he is Dogged!

Every book of this delightfully funny series pits Maxx against some challenging opponents. The fast-paced, wickedly humorous text of author Michael Wagner is matched by the comic illustrations of Terry Denton on every page.

Likely to appeal to all kids, these offerings will especially work their magic with reluctant readers, who will relish the short length and accessibility of the stories.

Crunched!, Slammed!, Flattened! ,Smashed! ,Twisted! ,Stretched! ,Winded! and Dogged!
All by Michael Wagner, illustrated by Terry Denton
Black Dog Books, 2004

Dog Wars, by Michael Wagner

FINE! BE LIKE THAT! I’ll tell you the whole story, the full, complete story—the flea wrestling, Mum and Dad, the fights, all the trouble I caused, the war, everything! THEN WE’RE OUTTA HERE! OKAY?

The humans might call it Grandview, but to the dogs who live there, their suburb is known as Dogland. The dogs have their own sets of rules and their own way of sorting out problems and the humans are none the wiser. But when a flea on the lookout for adventure and excitement lands on Strongdog, the toughest dog of all, things start to change.

Dog Wars is a hilarious dog story with a very big difference – it is narrated by a flea. This sassy character, Faydo T. Flea, tells the story of his adventures onboard Strongdog, who he controls through subtle direction in his ear. Wagner uses this device for maximum silliness. Kids will love it and even adults will laugh out loud.

Each dog character is distinct and dog lovers will recognise their own dog breeds there, from the feisty poodle to the shifty dachshund and the dirty, but happy, mutt. Dog Wars is a dog-lover’s delight.

Dog Wars, by Michael Wagner
Black Dog Books, 2004

Maxx Rumble Cricket Series, by Michael Wagner

“How is THAT, umpire?” screamed Happy. “That’s gotta be out! Oh, come on, ump! Be reasonable. He was SOOOOO out! What are you doing to me, ump?”
“You haven’t even bowled the ball yet, Happy,” said umpire Freddy.

Maxx Rumble loves sport and he and his team mates have been training hard for the new cricket season. But Maxx’s team, the Stone Valley Saints are, well, saints compared to some of their opponents. It seems some people will stop at nothing to win a game of cricket.

In Rattled!, the captain of the Princely Pigdogs whinges constantly, then manages to completely rattle Maxx when it’s his turn to bat. In Sledged , the star of the Sproilt Bats, Thelma Thatcher uses all her skills to put people off. In fact, in each of the eight books of the series, the opposition team uses every tactic available to outwit Maxx’s Saints.

Each book is a quick read, self-contained and full of laughs. The comic illustrations by Terry Denton on every page add to the fun. Read alone or as a series, these are plenty of fun for sports-mad youngsters.

Sledged!, Rattled! , Cheated!, Bugged!, Hammered!, Whacked!, Spooked!, and Tricked! all by Michael Wagner, illustrated by Terry Denton
Black Dog Books, 2004 and 2005