Two TV Spin-Offs from ABC Kids

If there are kids in your house, chances are that you know who Angela Anaconda and Bob the Builder are. The pair are regulars from the ABC for Kids afternoon line up. Now, ABC Books has two offerings for young fans which would make perfect Christmas gift ideas.

Angela Anaconda is the queen of one-liners and silly jokes, so it is little surprise to see a book full of them. Angela Anaconda: My Book of Stupid Jokes is crammed full of silliness – jokes, puns, knock-knocks and more. Complemented with illustrations of all the show’s characters – Angela herself, Johnny Havati, Gina Lash, Gordy Rhinehart, even Nanette Manoir and Mrs Brinks.

Perfect for young fans of the show (some of the jokes would be unclear for anyone who hadn’t watched it), this little book has a nice little price too – just $5.95 (rrp).

For Bob the Builder fans comes the Bob the Builder Bumper Book, Volume Three. This a part story book, part activity book, with plenty of tales based on episodes of the show, along with picture puzzles and introductions to all the members of Bob’s team.

The range of stories will cater for children of differing ages and abilities, with variations in the numbers of pictures and words. There is also a rhebus story (a story where some of the words are replaced with picture clues) and even a Christmas story.

Unlike some activity-style books, there are no activities which require the child to draw in the book, which ensures its longevity. There are also plenty of opportunities for parent-child interaction, with many of the activities inviting children to ‘talk about’ or ‘discuss’ the pictures.

At just $12.95 (rrp) this, again, would be a great Christmas gift.

ABC Book titles are available from ABC Shops and Centres, online and in other good bookstores.

Angela Anaconda: My Stupid Book of Jokes, by David Lewman
ABC Books, 2003

Bob the Builder Bumper Book Volume Three, by Brenda Apsley
ABC Books, 2003

The naming of Tishkin Silk by Glenda Millard

Griffin Silk, was born on an uncommon day, 29th February. His father thinks he’s likely to be an ‘uncommon boy’, but Griffin is not sure that would be a good thing. Maybe if he was common and ordinary, he wouldn’t have to worry about his secret. Griffin lives in a loving home with his father, many colourful sisters and his grandmother, Nell. Until now, all the children have had home schooling, but because his mother has gone away, as has his baby sister, Griffin must attend the local school. Griffin finds school challenging until he meets Princess Layla, who helps him discover the courage to share his secret.

Caroline Magerl’s beautiful cover art and internal sketches capture perfectly the tone of this story. The language is gentle, Griffin’s voice is strong. When tragedy strikes a family, each member is affected differently. Each looks for an answer to that which is so often unanswerable. The Naming of Tishkin Silk by Glenda Millard (ABC Books 2003) provides many opportunities for discussion and shared experiences. But most of all, it is a compelling read. 9-12 year old readers will enjoy this most, though there is much in this book to interest readers outside this age.

The Naming of Tiskin Silk, by Glenda Millard
ABC Books 2003

The Saddle Club Friendship Book

Kids’ television series, The Saddle Club, has attracted a great following, especially among girls in the 8-12 age group. Originally based on the books by Bonnie Bryant, the TV series has now produced its own spin-offs.

The Saddle Club Friendship Book features the stars of the television show, who share their opinions of freindship and their experiences of working together. The book also includes questionnaires, room for messages from friends, a section to include friends’ contact details, pages for thoughts, dreams, memories, secrets and more.

This is a great offering for primary aged girls and would make an excellent birthday or Christmas gift from friend to friend.

The Saddle Club Friendship Book
ABC Books, 2003

Zoo Album, by Richard Morecroft & Alison Mackay

In Zoo ALbum, young readers can:
– Meet Bruce, the Andean Condor who was afraid to fly.
– Find out why South American people make kebabs out of Poison Arrow frogs.
– Find out what it means when a Sumatran Tiger “prustinates”
– And get to know the 4-metre Anaconda with a ticklish tummy.

This brilliantly designed book provides a colourful and personal introduction to an intriguing range of animals. A collection of stories about real-life zoo animals, with stunning illustrations by Karen Lloyd-Diviny, Zoo Album is, as the title suggests, akin to a photo album.

All the animals featured in the book live, or have lived, at Taronga Zoo in Sydney or Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo. The life-like illustrations capture intimate moments in the day to day lives of animals including Haoko the Gorilla, Kusomano, the Black Rhino, Spike the Echidna and more.

This delightful title is a must-have for every young animal lover and, of course, an invaluable addition to school libraries and classrooms.

Zoo Album, by Richard Morecroft & Alison Mackay, illustrated by Karen Lloyd-Diviny
ABC Books, 2003

Bringing Reuben Home, by Glenda Millard

Cinnabar and Judah are stunned when Cinnabar’s grandfather Reuben makes his request. He wants the teenagers to help him escape the confines of the domed city. In spite of their shock, the friends are determined to help Reuben. But time is short. Reuben’s cessation date is coming. If they don’t act soon, it will be too late for Reuben.

New Carradon is a domed city where conditions are strictly controlled. Population growth is tightly contained and only those who are deemed genetically compatible are allowed to reproduce. When a person outlives his or her usefulness, he is ceased, with a cessation party to mark the occasion and to say goodbye to loved ones.

Cinnabar has never been oustide the city walls, but Reuben remembers the old city and is determined to take his wife’s ashes there before he dies.

Judah and Cinnabar need to figure out a way to smuggle Reuben out of the city. In doing so, they uncover more about their own pasts than they ever suspected could be true. Bringing Reuben home will be only the beginning of a whole new life.

The setting of this story is familiar – the concept of a domed city is the basis of many science fiction stories. What chills and intrigues is this city’s approach to population control. The prospect of a planned cessation – a bizarre expiry date – has the reader squirming. Millard manages to create a rich contrast between the cold, sterile emotions of the protected city and the warm emotions of the outside. She does this without preaching or over-analysing. Instead, the story is fast paced, with plenty of action and intrigue.

Millard’s novel for younger readers, The Naming Of Tishkin Silk has gathered wide acclaim. Bringing Reuben Home, for an older audience, will also be well-received.

Bringing Reuben Home, by Glenda Millard
ABC Books, 2004

Baby Boomsticks, by Margaret Wild

When a teeny-tiny mum and a teeny-tiny dad have a great big baby, they are very proud. He is a wonder and a joy. But Baby Boomsticks is so big that the other villagers won’t let their babies play with him. They are scared of a baby who is bigger than the houses and bigger than the trees.

So Baby Boomsticks has no friends, which makes him very sad. But one day, something happens. The village is flooded and only Baby Boomsticks can save his mum, his dad and all the other villagers. The other villagers soon see that Baby Boomsticks is a hero.

Baby Boomsticks is the latest picture book offering from award-winning Aussie author, Margaret wild. The illustrations by David Legge are a delight, with gouache and oil paintings of a delightfully cherubic Baby Boomsticks and his dwarfish neighbours.


Baby Boomsticks, written by Margaret Wild, illustrated by David Legge
ABC Books, 2003

Bananas in Pyjamas: SPACE BANANAS

Reviewed by Tash Hughes

This story is about the Bananas In Pyjamas and Teddies of Cuddles Avenue.

The Bananas overhear the Teddies wishing to meet space people, and decide “it’s tricking time!”

Next morning, the Bananas dress up and trick Morgan and Lulu into entertaining space Bananas. Just after their friends see through their trick, Amy arrives and believes they are real Space Bananas.

The Bananas promise Amy a ride in their space ship that night. Amy is very excited and enjoys her trip, until she notices Morgan and Lulu amongst the stars out her window! In usual good humour, she accepts the joke on herself and leads them all into a new game of space travel.

Like the TV shows about the Bananas and Teddies, this book appeals to young preschoolers as they love the characters. Again like the show, though, the story line and text are perhaps suited for a slightly older age group. Younger children will enjoy the pictures and an abridged version of the story more than an actual reading of the text.

Fun story with bright illustrations that show friends playing together with good humour and intentions.

Bananas in Pyjamas: SPACE BANANAS by Richard Tulloch & Leonie Worthington
ABC Books, 1997

Whose? Four Book Set, by Jeanette Rowe

Jeanette Rowe’s Whose Nose?, Whose Ears?, Whose Feet? and Whose Tail?hav already established themselves as popular with the preschool set. Now, though, these titles are available as a four book set in mini-book format.

These four small format lift the flap books with the same colourful illustrations, are packaged in a clear carry bag, adding to their novelty value for youngsters and gift-purchasers alike.

Very cute!

Whose?, by Jeanette Rowe
ABC Books, 2003

Wicked Jokes and Wicked Rhymes & Knock Knocks

What do you call a sick bird?
An ill-eagle.

What does a hippy pea say?
Peas dude!

Kids love jokes, and these two little books are filled with jokes contributed by kids from all over the world. From the plain silly to the hilarious, kids of all ages will find plenty of jokes they haven’t heard, as well as revisiting some they have.

The jokes have been chosen by webmistress Kate Booker, from those contributed to her highly succesful website wicked4kids. With 70 000 children visiting the site every month, wicked4kids is a great success. Booker, in recognition of the popularity of the jokes section of the site, invited children to contribute jokes for consideration and received an overwhelming response. The result is these two books.

Each book has 125 pages of jokes and is small enough to be slipped in a pocket or backpack. At just $7.95 (rrp) they are also a great buy!

Wicked Jokes 4 Kids and Wicked Rhymes & Knock Knocks 4 Kids, by Kate Booker (&Kids)
ABC Books, 2003