Ready to Read Series: Extreme Animals; Slithering Snakes … and more!

Ooh! Look at the holographic covers!

Dinosaurs, sharks, bugs, extreme animals, snakes and machines. Three of these titles are Level 1, for beginner readers and the other three are Level 2, for newly independent readers. Images are photographic (ahem except of course for the dinosaur title which is illustrated) and the text is informative, delivered in short sentences. The main narrative is in rhyme, with text boxes providing extra information. There is a guide at the beginning for parents wishing to assist their child in learning to read. Each title also includes a quiz page, to help cement any new information and provide structured opportunities to be sure the information was absorbed. There’s also a illustrated dictionary.

This new series of readers from Scholastic is guaranteed to find many fans in the classroom and at home. Each cover is holographic featuring title, a main image and five images along the bound edge of the book. Each image changes when the cover is moved. Think snakes and dinosaurs opening their jaws wide. Deliciously scary. The covers will ensure these books are chosen from any pile, and the content will keep them there. The need for information will entice the reader from word to word, page to page. The dictionary, key words, sight words and quiz will keep readers coming back. They will ignite new interests and feed existing interests. A great addition to any school reading program and to any home. Recommended for children learning to read.

Bugs (Ready to Read)
Bugs, Scholastic Australia 2012 ISBN: 9781742831183

Extreme Animals (Ready to Read)
Extreme Animals, Scholastic Australia 2012 ISBN: 9781742831169

Slithering Snakes (Ready to Read)
Slithering Snakes, Scholastic Australia 2012 ISBN: 9781742831176

Mighty Machines (Ready to Read)
Mighty Machines, Scholastic Australia 2012 ISBN: 9781742831190

Dangerous Dinos (Ready to Read)
Dangerous Dinosaurs, Scholastic Australia 2012 ISBN: 9781742831213

Sharks (Ready to Read)
Sharks, Scholastic Australia 2012 ISBN: 9781742831206


review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs, by Helen Martin and Judith Simpson

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs is a sturdy board book introducing dinosaurs to small children. The text is sparing and the illustrations gentle. Size comparisons are demonstrated very clearly in illustrations where the text indicates ‘small’ and ‘tall’ etc. Accurate names are used, but so too are descriptors like ‘spiky tail’ for the Kentrosaurus and ‘three sharp horns for Triceratops. The narrative text is rhyming, and different font sizes are used to help differentiate between the narrative text and labels and the like. Illustrations are pastel coloured with plenty of white space to allow close examination of each of these remarkable creatures.

Dinosaurs continue to entrance generation after generation of young children. The ABC Book of Dinosaurs is a new title for the very young in a series that includes the beautiful ‘Animals’. The ABC Book of Dinosaurs offers accurate information in a very simple style without overwhelming the illustrations or ‘dumbing down’. Danny Snell’s illustrations have smiling faces…even the big-toothed Tyrannosaurus Rex appears almost friendly. A beautiful book. Recommended for toddlers and dinosaur fans.

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs [Board book]

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs , Helen Martin and Judith Simpson, ill Danny Snell
ABC Books Harper Collins 2009
ISBN: 9780733324796

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Dinosaur Knights, by Michael Gerard Bauer

Tens of millions of years before the earliest humans would tread the same earth, a giant theropod lowered its snout to the forest floor and sniffed.
It was almost time.
A second, more urgent, need now joined the bitter hunger already clawing away in its stomach. The big dinosaur arched its neck skyward and stared with unblinking eyes through the edges of the forest to the flood plain below. Soon a small parcel of air laced with promise of warm flesh and brittle bone streamed through its nostrils.

Dinosaur Knights brings together the past, the even further past and the near future. An ambitious team of scientists, backed by private interests, hope to transport a live dinosaur to the future by stretching time. A sceptical investigative journalist has been flown in from Australia to record the anticipated culmination of years of research. The viewpoint changes constantly as the reader experiences life in the different time zones. In the future, the journalist seeks to understand the motivation for wanting a live dinosaur. In the middle ages, twin boys of complementary natures (one a would-be warrior, the other a would-be healer) struggle to save their father from a corrupt official. And in the prehistoric past, a carnivore dinosaur hunts. Tension escalates as a thread is pulled through all three times.

Knights, dinosaurs and modern science are an unusual combination given their existences didn’t ever overlap. Or did they? Bauer postulates a scientific ‘what if?’ and creates a film scene-like story where the impossible happens. The short chapters and scene-shifting from time period to time period keeps the pace a-cracking. Symbols at the start of each chapter make it clear which period is hosting the action. Then it changes when the dinosaur is stranded in the middle ages and the chapter headings cue the viewpoint character/s. Quotes from Einstein accompany each of the three parts. Along the way, morals and ethics are examined – in an age appropriate way – and provide ample opportunity for discussion. In the future, the scientist and the journalist both investigate in their own way. In the middle ages, two boys suffer for the politicking of others in the castle and in the time of the dinosaurs, the therapod seeks to survive. A thrilling story which lasts beyond the final words. Recommended for upper primary readers.

Dinosaur Knights

Dinosaur Knights, Michael Gerard Bauer
Omnibus Books 2009
ISBN: 9781862917958

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

One-o-saur, Two-o-saur and In-o-saur, Out-o-saur, by David Bedford & Leonie Worthington

These two colourful books each deal with a basic learning concept using bright dinosaur pictures and simple text.

One-o-saur, Two-o-saur is a simple counting text, from one to twelve. Simple rhyming text and the bright illustrations of Leonie Worthington show the dinosaurs doing simple things, some more dinosaurly than others. For example one-o-saur is seen hopping on one leg, whilst on the next page two-o-saurs are hatching from their eggs.

In-o-saur, Out-o-saur is a book of opposites with even simpler text (one word a page) and, again, the bright, humorous illustrations of Leonie Worthington. Each double page spread presents a pair of opposites – in-o-suar and out-o-saur; awake-o-suar and asleep-o-saur.

This is a cute pair which will appeal to the very young.

In-o-saur, Out-o-saur and One-o-saur, Two-osaur, both by David Bedford & Leonie Worthington
Little Hare, 2005

My Dearest Dinosaur, by Margaret Wild and Donna Rawlins

My dearest Dinosaur,
Such news! The egss have hatched and we have seven little ones.
I wish you could see the wriggly, tiggly rascals. But where are you?
We are here. Here!

As a mother dinosaur begins the journey into new motherhood, she must also cope with the absence of her mate, who has disappeared whilst off looking for a safer place to live. As she raises her youngsters, she keeps her partner informed of their progress and shares her longing for his return.

Whilst the text is written as if a diary or letters to the absent father, the illustrations, by the talented Donna Rawlins, show mother and babies that are not anthropomorphised, allowing the reader to know that there is no letter or diary. Instead, Wild is giving us an interpretation of the dinosaur’s emotions, allowing readers to connect in a way that would be unlikely with a non-fiction explanation or a thrid-person telling of the tale.

Through both word and illustration, young readers are offered an insight into the daily life of the dinosaurs and of the terrain of the times, with forests, rivers, swamps and plains all depicted. The topic of extinction is also touched on, with the dinosaur mother dreaming of the start of the ice age.

This is not a cheery bedtime tale – the dinosaur babies grow up and leave the mother alone, still searching for her mate – but it is not overly maudlin either. It is most likely to appeal to young dinosaur fans in the early school years and would be a useful classroom resource, both for the dinosaur theme and as an example of a story through letters.

First published in 1992, My Dearest Dinosaur has been rereleased in paperback format.

My Dearest Dinosaur, by Margaret Wild and Donna Rawlins
Scholastic, first published 1992, this version 2005

Grannysaurus Rex, by Tony Wilson and David Cornish

My granny had started to grow. By the time she stopped growing she was a dinosaur.
‘I am Grannysaurus Rex!’ the dinosaur roared. ‘Now it is time to rampage.’

The young character in this book has a Granny who spoils him. She is also a Granny with a sweet tooth and a lolly bag to feed it.

When the boy has a day out with Granny, she brings her lolly bag and the pair have fun eating sweets and playing dinosaur games in the park. But when they take a break, the sugar from the lollies starts to take its toll, and the boy has a sugar-nightmare in which he sees Granny evolve into a dinosaur and go on a rampage. Only when Granny explains what is happening does he relax and join in.

Grannysaurus Rex is a fun, dinosaur filled offering with plenty of realistic dinosaur illustrations form David Cornish and a whimsical storyline from Tony Wilson. Young dinosaur lovers will love spotting the different dinosaurs, a list of which is provided under the book’s dedication. Adult readers will enjoy the simple text and the sly message about the perils of too many lollies.

This hardcover offering is a first picture book for both author and illustrator.


Grannysaurus Rex, by Tony Wilson and David Cornish
Omnibus, 2004

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

How To Keep Dinosaurs, by Robert Mash

What do you give to the person who already has one of everything? A pet would be nice – especially if it were a dinosaur. But if you are planning to do so, perhaps you should start with this book, a complete guide to the care and breeding of every conceivable breed of dinosaur.

With chapters devoted to every type of dinosaur – including Dinosaurs for Beginners, Dinosaurs for Security Work and Dinosaurs for Eggs and Meat – as well as chapters devoted to the best places to buy your dinosaur and how to deal with common ailments and cures, this is a superb guide. The photo-like illustrations will give insight into the asthetic qualities of possible purchases.

A useful volume for the dinosaur enthusiast – novice or expert.

How to Keep Dinosaurs, by Robert Mash
W & N Illustrated, 2003