Springboard to Maths and Science, by Kerrie Shanahan

Did you know that:
– A game of hide and seek can help build maths concepts and vocabulary?
– A train ride can help children learn about numbers and time?
– Cleaning out a cupboard can become a game of sorting: by size, quantity and colour?

Springboard to Maths and Science explains these ideas and much more. Released just in time for the start of the new school year, the book is aimed at parents of children aged four to six who want to help their chidlren develop a strong foundation in maths and science concepts.

This is not a workbook, but a comprehensive guide to the kinds of skills any parent can help their child develop – often through activities which they may already do, and always without special equipment or programmes.

Author Kerrie Shanahan is a primary school teacher and mother of two, and take sthe time to explain what works and why. The book is filled with simple ideas, short-cut tips and extension activities.

Springboard to Maths and Science is the first title in a planned series of six from Ibis Publishing.

Springboard to Maths and Science, by Kerrie Shanahan
Ibis Publishing, 2004

Let's Eat, by Ana Zamorano and Julie Vivas

There are seven people in Antonio’s family – Mama, Papa, Granny and Grandpa, brother Salvador, sister Alicia and, of course, Antonio, the youngest. Soon there will be another family member – Mama is going to have a baby any day now.

Antonio tells us about lunchtime in his house. Every day Mama calls the family to lunch. It is a noisy and happy affair as each member of the family brings their own personality to the table. When the family is at the table, Mama is happy. But this Monday, things start to change. Papa says he is too busy working to come to the table. On Tuesday, Alicia is too busy to come. On Wednesday it is Salvador who stays away. Things are different and Mama doesn’t like it. Soon, however, it is Mama who is missing from the table. When she returns, it will be with the new baby. Perhaps then she will be happy.

Let’s Eat is a delightful picture book offering, drawing on Ana Zamorana’s Spanish heritage and Julie Vivas’ superb illustrative skills. Vivas uses varying perspectives and angles to draw readers into the family meal and to prevent the lunchtime scenes becoming visually repetitive.

This would be a wonderful story for the classroom – for cultural studies, family values lessons and food-based themes. It makes an equally appealing offering for home reading and sharing.

Let’s Eat! was first published in 1996 and has been reprinted several times – a testament to its quality.

Let’s Eat!, written by Ana Zamorano, illustrated by Julie Vivas
An Omnibus Book from Scholastic Australia, 2004

The Green Mill Murder, by Kerry Greenwood

It was eleven by the Green Mill’s clock when the cornet player went into a muted reprise in ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’, and one of the marathon dancers plunged heavily and finally to the floor at Phryne Fisher’s feet. She stumbled over him. His partner dropped to her knees with a wail.

There is no prelude to the murder in this book. The murder takes place in paragraph one and the rest of the book is devoted to the business of solving the mystery and wrapping up the side dramas which arise as a consequence.

No-nonsense amateur sleuth, the Hon. Phryne Fisher is at the scene of the murder and, of course, decides she will solve it, especially when her dance partner, Charles Freeman, disappears from the scene. Although he seems the prime suspect, Phryne is quite sure he isn’t guilty. She isn’t, however, sure who is, nor how they managed to stab a man without coming near him. Phryne, however, delights in a good mystery and will pursue it relentlessly until it is solved.

This is Phryne Fisher’s fifth msytery and, like its predecessors, provides plenty of action. As well as the mystery of the murder, there are the additional puzzles of Charles Freeman’s missing brother and the absentee husband of one of the band members. Like all of author Greenwood’s offerings, there is a plethora of fine food, good music, quality wine and – of course – beautiful men, all of which Phryne Fisher is devoted to.

Phryne Fisher is a woman before her time in 1920s Melbourne, with tastes and attitudes that shock some of her more conservative peers, but the money and class to get away with them. She is a strong, liberated woman, but certainly not averse to partaking of male assistance when required.

The Greenmill Murder was first published in 1993 by McPhee Gribble and has now been republished by Allen & Unwin.

An absorbing read.

The Greenmill Murder, by Kerry Greenwood
Allen & Unwin, 2005

A Month of Sundays, by James O'Loghlin

When is a travel book not really a travel book? When the traveller does not need to take time off from work and when he returns home at the end of each day to sleep in his own bed. A Month of Sundays is about one such traveller – James O’Loghlin – who, with his partner and young daughter sets out to explore the city in which he lives.

When their neighbours on both sides embark on building projects seemingly designed to cause maximum noise and disruption, O’Loghlin and his partner, Lucy, decide not to get mad, and not to get even either. Instead, they will leave home each day to escape the disturbance. They will use the time to explore the Sydney they live in, to get to know it more intimately. They will use the time to visit places they’ve never seen and to rediscover suburbs they thought they knew.

A Month of Sundays is a record of these travels, but it is more. It is also a record of O’Loglin’s personal journey – both in the time-frame of the book and in the years before. It is a serious book, but it is also very witty. O’Loghlin’s view of the world is both insightful and comic.

James O’Loghlin is a comedian who used to be a criminal lawyer. He is known as the face as the ABC’s New Inventors and is also heard on ABC Radio. This is his second book. Readers will be grateful that he took the time to write it – and to live it.

Wonderful reading.

A Month of Sundays, by James O’Loghlin
Allen & Unwin, 2004