The Cow Tripped Over the Moon by Tony Wilson ill Laura Wood

Hey diddle

You all know the riddle,

A cow jumps over the moon.

It happened, all right,

On a crisp, cloudless night

On the second last Friday in June

Hey diddle

You all know the riddle,

A cow jumps over the moon.

It happened, all right,

On a crisp, cloudless night

On the second last Friday in June

The first time the cow tried to jump over the moon, was disastrous. Embarrassing. And as for the fiddler cat? Some practice wouldn’t go astray there either. Luckily they were among friends and friends help friends. So begins a night of getting it right. Some training, some direction, some practice and support all help to make the night a success. Along the way, there’s plenty of fun. Illustrations are full bleed and full of nighttime blues, reds, golds and more. Endpapers feature patchwork paddocks.

The Cow Tripped Over the Moon revisits the popular riddle ‘The Cow Jumped over the Moon’ and explores just what happened before ‘opening night’. This delightful nonsense has at its heart a reminder that things don’t always go perfectly the first time. It explores the nature of friendship, the value of persistence, failure and success. Young readers will come for the silliness, and that’s as good a reason as any to get lost in a story. Recommended for pre- and early-schoolers.

The Cow Tripped Over the Moon, Tony Wilson ill Laura Wood
Scholastic Press 2015
ISBN: 9781743623534

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

www.clairesaxby.com

Pup Patrol 1: Farm Rescue; Pup Patrol 2: Bush Rescue; Pup Patrol 3: Storm Rescue by Darrel & Sally Odgers

‘Baaaa! Baaaaaa! Baaaaaddddd!’ Sheep in a panic make a pawful lot of noise.

‘Can we take the boat to rescue them?’ James shouted. (He had to shout over the noise of the rain, the sheep and the river.) ‘Stamp and your dog work well together. They can help by keeping the sheep in a bunch.’

‘Too Risky, yelled Glen Pepper. Rain dripped off his long nose. ‘Look at that!’

He pointed as a whole tree tore past us on the flood. ‘If that hit the boat, we’d tip over!’

Rusty, the old Border Collie, barked once, sharply. Then he growled, ‘Do something! Quickly!’ to Glen.

Glen stared at the sheep and shook his head. Rain poured down. It was like having a big bucket of water tipped over us.

‘Why are humans so slow?’ said Rusty. ‘Those sheep need help!’

‘Baaaa! Baaaaaa! Baaaaaddddd!’ Sheep in a panic make a pawful lot of noise. Pup Patrol #1: Farm Rescue

‘Can we take the boat to rescue them?’ James shouted. (He had to shout over the noise of the rain, the sheep and the river.) ‘Stamp and your dog work well together. They can help by keeping the sheep in a bunch.’

‘Too Risky, yelled Glen Pepper. Rain dripped off his long nose. ‘Look at that!’

He pointed as a whole tree tore past us on the flood. ‘If that hit the boat, we’d tip over!’

Rusty, the old Border Collie, barked once, sharply. Then he growled, ‘Do something! Quickly!’ to Glen.

Glen stared at the sheep and shook his head. Rain poured down. It was like having a big bucket of water tipped over us.

‘Why are humans so slow?’ said Rusty. ‘Those sheep need help!

Stamp (full name: Barnaby Station Stamp of Approval) is a young border collie and this is his story. He is travelling around Australia with James. James is taking a year off before going to university. James uses the CB radio in his Fourby (ute) to maintain regular contact with his parents at home. Each title includes a list of characters, glossary and many doggy puns. Most openings include black and white illustrations.

In Farm Rescue they take shelter on Pepper Plains when they encounter floods. There Stamp meets Rusty, an older border collie. When the floodwaters rise, it’s up to them to save some sheep. At the end of ‘Farm Rescue’ James adopts another dog, a young and wild pup he calls Ace.

In Bush Rescue, James, Stamp and Ace visit a vet in Jasper. Unfortunately, there’s a bushfire raging and there’s no time for anything but emergency services. James helps out at the vet and together they are involved in pet and wild animal rescue.

In Storm Rescue , James, Stamp and Ace head north into far north Queensland in search of adventure. This time the adventure comes in the form of a cyclone and all three are kept busy with rescues and more in the Atherton Tablelands.

Pup Patrol is told from Stamp’s perspective and Stamp and all the animals he encounters can talk to one another. Stamp is well-behaved and skilled at working with James. Ace, on the other hand is young and a little wild. But between them, James and Stamp teach him how to behave. Each adventure presents a different part of Australia experiencing extremes of weather. There are plenty of insights into dog behaviour and dog training. And there are many puns to set readers giggling. (Perhaps also to encourage them to invent some of their own?) Recommended for newly independent readers ready for chapter books.

Pup Patrol 1: Farm Rescue (ISBN: 9781743622995), Pup Patrol 2:Bush Rescue (ISBN: 9781743623008), Pup Patrol 3: Storm Rescue (ISBN: 9781743623015), Darrel & Sally Odgers Scholastic Press 2015

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

www.clairesaxby.com

Hurry Up Alfie! by Anna Walker

Good morning, Alfie. It’s time to get dressed.

The sun is shining and we have a busy day.

Alfie’s not here.

Oh, that’s a pity, I thought Alfie might like to come to the park with me. Bert will be there.

Good morning, Alfie. It’s time to get dressed.

The sun is shining and we have a busy day.

Alfie’s not here.

Oh, that’s a pity, I thought Alfie might like to come to the park with me. Bert will be there.

Alfie is a young anthropomorphised crocodile. Mum says they are going to the park and that Alfie needs to get ready. Alfie finds all manner of distractions get in the way. First there’s breakfast, then the process of getting dressed. Mum offers to help but Alfie wants to do things Alfie’s way. Illustrations are a mix of pattern and collage and more. Mum is relentlessly patient and encouraging, but time is running short. Eventually, Mum and Alfie reach the park, ready to play.

Hurry Up Alfie is a delightful observation of a day in the life of a small child. Alfie is easily distracted but simultaneously easily entertained. Meanwhile, the reader can see both familiar and different elements in this particular home and its routines. There are plenty of details to pick out and they will enjoy watching Steve McQueen the cat as he joins in or stays safe from Alfie’s antics. Parents will recognise the challenges, and the futility of trying to hurry an imaginative and self-entertaining child. Recommended for pre-schoolers.

 

Hurry Up Alfie, Anna Walker Scholastic Press 2014 ISBN: 9781742839912

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

www.clairesaxby.com

How I Love You by Anna Pignataro

Far in the bush, Little Koala and Mummy were playing.

Little Koala hugged Mummy very tightly and said,

‘This is how I love you, Mummy.’

Far in the bush, Little Koala and Mummy were playing.

Little Koala hugged Mummy very tightly and said,

‘This is how I love you, Mummy.’

Little Koala shows his mother how he loves her. Other baby Australian animals follow suit, expressing their love for their mother in their own special ways. First the day animals, then the night animals declare and show their love. Finally, it’s bedtime for Little Koala and his Mummy shows just how much she loves her baby. Illustrations are soft watercolour with pencil outlines. Habitats are indicated in vignettes, but mostly the images are of the animals themselves. Paper stock is a rich cream, endpapers are a lovely night-blue.

This is a lovely gentle book to be shared with small children, while they are curled in the reader’s lap. Each animal shares a little of its habitat and behaviour before snuggling with mother. In the final pages, it’s made clear that no matter how much the young love their mother, their mother loves them more. An introduction to Australian animals for the very young. Recommended for pre-school children.

 

How I Love You

How I Love You, Anna Pignataro Scholastic Press 2014 ISBN: 9781742838182

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

www.clairesaxby.com

10 Green Geckos by Phillip Gwynne ill by Lloyd Foye

There were ten green geckos living in our house,

but when one green gecko got taken by a mouse,

there were only nine green geckos living in our house.

There were ten green geckos living in our house,

but when one green gecko got taken by a mouse,

there were only nine green geckos living in our house.

Based on the rhyme, 10 green bottles, and offers a decreasing count as geckos one by one leave the house. The method of their leaving is humourous and the ending makes clear that no green geckos were harmed in the making of this story. Illustrations are colourful, full page and funny. The geckos have personality. Numbers are offered in words and symbol.

This is a delightful piece of nonsense and very Australian. Anyone who has ever slept in a room with a gecko will recognise the noises they make. The geckos may be stylised, and their activities fanciful, but there is plenty for a pre-schooler to chuckle at as they access counting in both words and numbers. Recommended for pre-schoolers and early primary children.

10 Green Geckos
10 Green Geckos, Phillip Gwynne ill Lloyd Foye Scholastic Press 2013 ISBN: 9781742833484

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

www.clairesaxby.com

Escape from Cockatoo Island by Yvette Poshoglian

Olivia has been sent from the orphanage in Newcastle where she grew up to Biloela on Cockatoo Island in the middle of Sydney Harbour. At Biloela, she is to learn the necessary skills for a house servant, before being placed with a Sydney family. The industrial school is more like a prison than a place of learning and Olivia struggles to survive here. The only compensation is that she meets new friends. Her needlework skills may be improving, but she is a long way from the school’s version of ‘employable’. Her writing skills must remain hidden, so she writes her diary at night under the covers. As her friends find families, Olivia begins to believe she will never escape from this island. Historical Notes at the end of the novel give background to the existence of this prison school on an island, and the reason there were so many girls there.

Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour

8th August 1879

Tonight I clutch you to my heart, dear copybook. Thankfully your soft leather folds and my precious quill and ink were protected as we rowed from Kelly’s Bush and pulled ashore at the Fitzroy Dock.

Although the water was choppy and my petticoats got wet, I had you tucked safely into my bodice so that no one could find you. Your pages stayed dry and my name, Olivia Markham, hasn’t blotted on the front page where I wrote it last Christmas Day.

Olivia has been sent from the orphanage in Newcastle where she grew up to Biloela on Cockatoo Island in the middle of Sydney Harbour. At Biloela, she is to learn the necessary skills for a house servant, before being placed with a Sydney family. The industrial school is more like a prison than a place of learning and Olivia struggles to survive here. The only compensation is that she meets new friends. Her needlework skills may be improving, but she is a long way from the school’s version of ‘employable’. Her writing skills must remain hidden, so she writes her diary at night under the covers. As her friends find families, Olivia begins to believe she will never escape from this island. Historical Notes at the end of the novel give background to the existence of this prison school on an island, and the reason there were so many girls there.

Escape from Cockatoo Island is a new offering in Scholastic’s My Australian Story series. Each title puts a fictional character in a particular place in Australian history. Escape from Cockatoo Island is told in first person and the reader has the opportunity to travel with the main character through their experiences. Olivia has been fortunate to be able to read and write, as so many of her companions cannot. Although she has been very accepting of her life so far, she begins to long for more. Other possible outcomes for Cockatoo Island residents are showcased in her friends and acquaintances. The reader also learns a little about ‘street arabs’ and other children who end up at the school. Recommended for upper primary readers.

Escape from Cockatoo Island (My Australian Story)

Escape from Cockatoo Island , Yvette Poshoglian Scholastic Press 2013 ISBN: 9781742832456

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

www.clairesaxby.com

Available from good bookstores and online .

Boggle Hunters: Game On by Sophie Masson

Eleven thousand metres up in the night sky, Sam Fetch sat slumped in an aeroplane seat, feeling very sorry for himself. How could his parents have been so cruel as to send him off like an unwanted package to some English relatives he hardly knew? Frankly, he didn’t care if he never got to know them. It was so long since he’d last seen them – more than six years, when he’d been only five. They may as well be total strangers. Why did he have to go there? Sam thought crossly.

Eleven thousand metres up in the night sky, Sam Fetch sat slumped in an aeroplane seat, feeling very sorry for himself. How could his parents have been so cruel as to send him off like an unwanted package to some English relatives he hardly knew? Frankly, he didn’t care if he never got to know them. It was so long since he’d last seen them – more than six years, when he’d been only five. They may as well be total strangers. Why did he have to go there? Sam thought crossly.

He was certain it would rain every day, and it would be weird spending every minute indoors with people he hardly knew.

Sam’s parents are bird-watching in the Arctic for the summer, and because he complained so much last time, that they’ve found somewhere else for him to be. Only that’s promising to be even more dull and boring than bird-watching. He remembers only little about his English cousin, but what he remembers he doesn’t like. Not that Jenny’s much more thrilled when she discovers that she has to look after Sam. Her parents have been called away on an important mission and she’d much rather have gone with them. After all, she’s a Boggle Hunter too. Boggles are nasty pests, a ‘by-product of the cold war that has always existed between the rival faery tribes known as the Fays and the Grays. Boggles are created by Grays to cause havoc in our human world, while Fays must constantly work at detecting and destroying boggles before they cause that havoc. When Sam and Jenny re-meet, they are no keener to spend time together than previously. Both have plans and are happy to agree to go their separate ways. And those ways are as far from each other as possible.

Boggle Hunters: Game On is the first title in a new series for young readers. Fay and Gray folk are warring faeries with very differing views on the importance of Earth and humans. Boggles are responsible for all sorts of earthly disruption from computer glitches to crop failures. There are secrets everywhere and the reader must be constantly alert for clues as to who is on the side of good and who supports evil. Sam and Jenny find their own way and make their own decisions, but the ways they choose do not always lead where they expect. Computer gamers will enjoy Grim’s Castle which captivates Sam. Fantasy readers will track Jenny’s adventures and race to the conclusions with her. Recommended for mid- to upper-primary readers.

Boggle Hunters

Boggle Hunters: Game On, Sophie Masson
Scholastic Press 2012 ISBN: 9781741698510

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

www.clairesaxby.com

This book is avaialable online from Fishpond. Buying though this link supports Aussiereviews.

Animal Rescue: Elephant Alert by Jackie French

It’s a tough old world when even your guinea pig thinks you’re boring.

It was hot in Leo’s backyard, even in the shade by the guinea pig cage. Alan Nesbit Kirk wrinkled his pink nose. ‘Were there screams and clashing swords?’

‘No,’ said Leo. ‘Not in maths class.’

‘Not even any fire-breathing dragons?’

Leo sighed. He didn’t want to think about school on a Sunday afternoon.

‘Nope.’

Alan Nesbit Kirk gave the whisker twitch that meant, ‘Nothing interesting ever happens to you.’

It’s a tough old world when even your guinea pig thinks you’re boring. But that’s Leo’s lot. He doesn’t really fit in at school. He’s not that interested in football, loves reading and can speak animal. Speak animal? Yes, animal. He knows what animals are saying and can respond. Not exactly the sort of skill that’s going to win points in the playground. But suddenly, classmate-who-hardly-speaks-to-anyone Mozz sends a skateboard riding robot gorilla to invite him over to her house. Suddenly life is about to get much more interesting. Not safe, not dull and boring, quite scary really, but interesting. She needs his help to help rescue some elephants from the threat of a tsunami.

Jackie French takes animal rescue to a completely new place, with superfast jet travel, animal-talking and an apparently robotic gorilla. ‘Elephant Rescue’ is a wild romp across the world, with little time for any anxieties of a reluctant hero. Because although Leo gets involved in this adventure, and although he acknowledges it had to be done, he’s far from convinced he really wanted to be there. There are themes of conservation, and doing the right thing even if you’re not feeling all that brave. There is comedy in every character, from Leo’s food obsessed mother, to Mozz’s brilliant and eccentric inventor grandmother. An absolute hoot! Recommended for confident independent readers, or perfect as a read-to.

Elephant Alert (Animal Rescue)

Elephant Alert, Jackie French Scholastic Press 2012 ISBN: 9781741698480

 

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

www.clairesaxby.com

Animal Rescue: Gorilla Grab by Jackie French

Leo can talk to animals. It’s a skill that’s could win friends at school, if no anyone believed you. But no one does.

‘Hshh-shoo!’ sneezed Mum. She stopped by the guinea pig cage and blew her nose.

Leo looked up at her. His guinea pig looked up too, a shred of lettuce wedged between his teeth. Alan Nesbit Kirk twitched his whiskers. ‘Is hshh-shoo! the sound humans make when they are about to attack zombies, with swords?’

‘No,’ Leo signalled, hoping Mum didn’t wonder why he was twitching his nose at his guinea pig. ‘Mum doesn’t do swords. She just has a cold.’

‘Does she karate chop them instead?’ the guinea pig asked.

Leo can talk to animals. It’s a skill that’s could win friends at school, if no anyone believed you. But no one does. Except Mozz and her grandmother. In his first jet-flight adventure, he and sort-of-friend Mozz helped rescue some elephants. This time, gorillas are in danger from man diseases and Mozz and Leo are going to vaccinate them. In their quest to vaccinate all the gorillas, they encounter more than they expect. They are in a race to outrun poachers, and then there’s the dilemma of what to do with a sick baby gorilla. Leo isn’t convinced that he should be anywhere near Africa or enormous gorillas but Mozz makes it difficult for him to refuse to help.

‘Animal Rescue: Gorilla Grab’ is the second in Jackie French’s new series of chapter books. It blends real life animal conservation issues with wayout inventions and talking animals. The action proceeds almost faster than Mozz’s jet. On one level, these are wild and whacky adventures, but there are also very clear conservation messages and themes about fitting in, finding your own specialness and surviving at school. Every main character in ‘Animal Rescue: Gorilla Grab’ has their own talent, their own wackiness. There is a warning at the back about the plight faced by the endangered Mountain Gorillas, and some factual information about them. Recommended for confident independent readers.

Gorilla Grab (Animal Rescue)

Gorilla Grab, Jackie French
Scholastic Press 2012
ISBN: 9781741698497

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

www.clairesaxby.com

Red Plane to the Rescue, Melissa Firth, Cheryl Orsini, Scholastic Press

A red plane, a blue plane and a yellow plane are planning a display. Together and separately they perform their tricks. Up and down, even swapping planes, with a ‘Chucka chucka chucka, vroom vroom vroom! Zing zing zow, zoom zoom zoom!

A red plane, a blue plane and a yellow plane are planning a display. Together and separately they perform their tricks. Up and down, even swapping planes, with a ‘Chucka chucka chucka, vroom vroom vroom! Zing zing zow, zoom zoom zoom! When it looks like disaster has struck, the aerobatic team become a rescue team, bringing everyone safely into land. Illustrations are in bright, primary colours set on solid colour pages.

Imaginative play is so important for children, and Red Plane to the Rescue is a wonderful example of the heights and drama that can be achieved in play. Young children will follow the movement of the planes as the story is being read, and it won’t be long before they’re joining in the refrain. Then they’ll be flying their own planes, toy or imaginary. Teachers will have children zooming their planes all around the place. Great fun for pre- and early school-age children.

Red Plane to the Rescue

Red Plane to the Rescue, Melissa Firth & Cheryl Orsini
Scholastic Press 2011
ISBN: 9781741698534

Other titles by this duo: Frederik Goes Bananas

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

www.clairesaxby.com

This title is available from good bookstores or online from RFishponde.