Puzzles Down Under, by Richard Morden

Keep your eyes peeled if you go on walkabout in Australia because there are puzzles to be found all over the place!
Have a squiz at this puzzle and you might spot a sleeping koala, a lamington, a hat with corks and a Christmas beetle.

‘Puzzles Down Under is Aussie, Aussie, Aussie from the surfing kangaroo on the cover to the wallowing wombat on the back cover. In between, readers can visit a wide variety of Aussie landscapes and some of their occupants. There are puzzles that follow the burrows of animals, others that set a race between a fly and an ant as they chase the sauce trail all the way to the pie. From the outback to the ocean, from the cuddly to the downright dangerous, from the fish and chip shop to the back yard shed, follow trails, find differences and puzzle your way through.

Puzzles Down Under includes enough Australian slang to fill an Aussie dictionary. The scenarios are Australian, as iconic as a meat pie, although Richard Morden occasionally makes a feature of the bits that don’t fit. There is a volcano arising out of Sydney Harbour near the Opera House and there are bushrangers in the fish and chip shop. The colours reflect our landscape, and there is plenty of humour for young readers. Each page opening has at least two puzzles, often more. Recommended for 5-8 year olds.

Puzzles Down Under, Richard Morden
Black Dog Books 2008
ISBN: 9781742030494

Captain Cal Books 1 & 2, by Jan Dallimore

My name is Captain Cal and I am in charge of The Silver Pig – an Intergalactic Probe Spaceship.
My crew and I keep planet Earth safe from evil aliens and other space terrors. We were also the official tasters of my mum’s secret recipe chocolate cake.

When the call comes from BAIT (Bureau Against Interplanetary Trickery), Captain Cal and his crew, Co-pilot Ebby and Chief Navigator Dan, are ready for their first adventure. They launch The Silver Pig and set off to save the Earth from total destruction by the evil Bloggs (Biggest Losers of the Greater Galaxies). They land on Capricorn as an overheating The Silver Pig struggles to survive a massive space storm. The valiant crew must disable the Blogg spaceship and repel a multitude of the evil Bloggs.

The second adventure sees Captain Cal and his crew called on to save Earth from being buried beneath mountains of rubbish. The Grotts, messiest aliens in the Galaxy, keep sending all their junk to earth. The brave crew use the Centro-sucker Magnetised Vacuum Maximiser to suck up all the rubbish and dump it in a Black Hole. Unfortunately, they accidentally suck up a Grott. With the Grott headed for the Black Hole, it looks like the crew could be in strife.

This is a new series, pitched at emergent readers (particularly boys), with illustrations on every page. Exciting adventures are launched from the backyard, using simple props and a healthy dose of imagination. High tech solutions are achieved using low tech components. The main characters are introduced in each book and a Contents page lists chapters like ‘The Slosher Washer’ and ‘Hopping Mad’. The final pages offer extras like a quiz and space information. Add shiny covers and cartoon-like illustrations to the exciting and satisfying stories, and it’s easy to see these short chapter books finding a devoted readership. Recommended for 6-8 yo readers.

Captain Cal Space Warrior, by Jan Dallimore, ill Richard Morden
black dog books 2007
ISBN: 9781921167812

Captain Cal and the Grotts by Jan Dallimore, ill Richard Morden
black dog books 2007
ISBN: 9781921167829