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‘You are a stubborn, and extremely annoying young lady, but I really do believe that once you put your mind to something you are unstoppable.’

It’s 1942 in Melbourne. Life is changing. Men have gone to fight overseas; women have stepped into men’s jobs and twelve year old Maggie Flanagan dreams of playing football. But that’s against the rules.

When Maggie’s school is chosen to run a fundraising event for the troops, Maggie doesn’t want to bake or sew with the other girls and only boys can participate in the billycart derby. Why do boys have all the fun? Maggie is teased when she suggests an all-girl charity football match, but she's not going to give up.

“Could you even imagine? Sheilas playing footy!”

Surely she can’t be the only girl in Melbourne who secretly wishes they could play football. On her quest to find players, Maggie discovers school nurse Nancy, Marian the milk woman, Ivy who drives the ice truck, Miss Kelly and others who share her football dream. Word spreads, support comes from unexpected people and Maggie’s prayers to Mary are answered with enough players to field two teams, the Mighty Mis-fits and the Fighting Belles. But will people want to pay to watch two all-girl teams play footy?

The Unstoppable Flying Flanagan celebrates football, friendship and being yourself. It is a story heartwarmingly woven together with characters finding the courage to follow their own paths and supporting each other along the way. Maggie and Gerald’s friendship is a delight and as you eagerly turn the pages you will find yourself cheering on an unexpected winner at the billycart derby, watching The Wizard of Oz at the Astor while munching on a threepence bag of lollies, tapping your feet to the jitterbug at the Capitol Theatre, and barracking for the Mighty Mis-fits and Fighting Belles at Elsternwick Park.

Read the beginning of The Unstoppable Flying Flanagan  here

Felice Arena has written another inspiring historical fiction story filled with heart and humour, engaging characters and a level of detail that brings the story to life and immerses us in Melbourne, 1942.

Maggie would love that women now play football in the AFLW.

A-women.

Happy reading!

 

 

Justin Chase barely survived Monday and now has to deal with what Tuesday has in store for him…

Going viral online would be a dream come true for some kids. But not if it’s a video of you as Poo Boy unleashing a Code Brown in the pool. Thanks to his nemesis Marvin, this was not the way Justin Chase wanted to begin Tuesday, despite his dad being proud of his internet fame.

School photo day is about to collide with the Super Science Spectacular and for Justin Chase this Tuesday is going to be a hair-raising, teeth-shattering disaster!

Justin’s track record for school photos is not a good one, especially keeping his eyes open. He’s determined to redeem himself and his attempts to practise his photo face and unleash his inner supermodel are hilarious! Will it be The Smokey Shoulder, The Steel Jaw Lock or Perky Pout? Using hair removal cream to style his hair doesn't help, neither does knocking out a tooth and a bee sting. Can Pierre, the famous fashion photographer weave his magic to capture a perfect photo of Justin?

The Year 6s are looking forward to being ‘scienced’ by the Super Science Squad and Justin quickly discovers human eyebrow hair is extremely flammable! Will Justin be able to save the school from blowing up when he accidentally creates a Blue Whale Toothpaste sized experiment?

This teacher librarian's favourite scenes are the outstanding book displays in the library where the school photos are being taken. Beware of the book vending machine though! Can you spot Matt Cosgrove’s picture books in one of the library displays?

I love taking photos, avoid having my photo taken and dreaded my school photos. Watching Justin's disastrous school photos had me breaking out in a sweat (and snort laughing). I'm definitely remaining on my side of the camera!

Look out for Fun Facts at the back of the book, how to draw Captain Fluffykins and make your prediction for Wednesday where there is going to be an S.O.S. (Seriously, Objectively, Sucky) situation!

Eva Amores and Matt Cosgrove have created another clever, witty and hilarious adventure for Justin Chase.

Good luck if you choose Worst Week Ever: Tuesday! for your class Quiet Reading time because it will have you laughing and groaning loudly!

Happy reading!

My favourite teacher, Mr Bambuckle is back at Blue Valley School balancing on his unicycle and greeting his students with Dutch pancakes in one hand and a jug of hot chocolate in the other. I wish I was in room 12B!

Unfortunately Principal Sternblast is up to his old tricks. Is Miss Frost in on it too?This time he’s plotting to turn Blue Valley School into an exclusive selective school. Students who can’t meet the new academic standards will be forced to leave!

In his own mysterious way, Mr Bambuckle knows exactly what needs to be done and encourages his students’ creativity, problem solving and teamwork to stop the new building. Even the four new students from Blue Valley Grammar and Canteen Carol have their part to play. Will the students of room 12B be able to stand up and join forces to save Blue Valley School?

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables Join Forces is the fifth book in the series by Tim Harris with his trademark heart and humour, this time with an environmental twist. James Hart’s illustrations capture the story’s shenanigans and silliness, the new students share their intriguing stories, crazy conversations with Canteen Carol continue and this time your creativity will be challenged with 21 ridiculous uses for a cardboard box. I like number 15!

Mr Bambuckle also reveals an exciting surprise for book six...

Happy reading!

 

Jackdaw Hollow is searching for his place in the world…

Orphaned as a baby when his doting parents are tragically struck by lightning, Jackdaw Hollow is taken in and raised by the headmistress of Direleafe Hall. When he gets older and discovers what really happened the night of the storm, Jackdaw is determined to give his life meaning and purpose by finding his calling.

“I have to be special, somehow, to make up for everything.”

The ghost girls of Direleafe Hall want to help Jackdaw and introduce him to Angeline, a wildling girl they hope will be his friend and help him find his calling. The gentle, lonely boy with an unruly brain, who loves reading, birds and trees and stars is the opposite of fierce Angeline, with fire in her eyes, hair flying free, whose destiny is to join the circus. Jackdaw teaches Angeline to read and write, but more than anything he wants to save her and almost loses sight of his destiny as he tries to be her hero. 

Kate Gordon has written a story of destiny, friendship and self worth as Jackdaw Hollow learns to live more fully, open his heart and embrace his own place in the world.

Rachel Tribout's stunning cover captures Jackdaw Hollow with his black-button eyes searching for the thing that will make him shine.

All of the pieces click into place in The Calling of Jackdaw Hollow to masterfully complete the circle of these exquisite other worldly stories  The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn and The Ballad of Melodie Rose.

I have so enjoyed entering the world of Direleafe Hall and meeting Wonder Quinn, Melodie Rose, Jackdaw Hollow and Hollowbeak.

Happy reading!

 

Twas the night before Easter
And the rain wasn’t stopping.
The beach house was quiet,
Then I swear I hear hopping…

A rainy Easter long weekend stuck inside the beach house isn’t much fun. So when a young girl spots the Easter Bunny delivering eggs, it isn’t just EGG-citing, it’s a perfect opportunity to volunteer as a Helper Bunny and make the family Easter egg hunt EGGS-tra fun.

Poor Easter Bunny doesn’t know what he’s letting himself in for…

Cracking HARE-larious puns, along the way, she hides her family’s eggs in unexpected places from the henhouse to the pool, inside Uncle Rodney’s favourite wig, snuck in Clara’s bling, in Dad’s underpants and even ties some to Gran’s speedy cat!

Has she gone too far with her jokes and egg-pranking when the Easter bunny begins to look more like a hot cross bunny and her family are far from amused?

Adrian Beck and James Hart are a fabulous and funny team. Adrian is in his element weaving groan out loud Dad jokes into the mayhem with James’ bold, colourful illustrations adding to the HARE-larity. The Unfunny Bunny will have you CRACK-ing up as it takes you on a wild hunt for Easter eggs hidden on every page.

The Unfunny Bunny is an EGG-cellent accompaniment as you munch on your own Easter eggs!

Happy reading!

Kathryn Apel has written a story that that will slide straight into your heart.

Lucy and her dad move a lot so it’s hard to make friends. They don’t have much money, but they have each other. 

‘It's just
you and me, Lucy. We
don't need nobody else.'

When Lucy discovers Snail while looking for treasure in the park she finds a friend to keep her company and share her secrets. Snail knows Lucy doesn’t like being a new kid at school wearing someone else’s faded, smelly uniform and shoes. It’s hard when you’re shy and don’t feel confident and Lucy often wants to crawl inside a shell and hide.

This place is different. Miss Darling her new teacher 'looks nice, smells nice and acts nice' and makes learning fun. The class Inquiry unit ‘How Can I Help?’ sparks great excitement as Lucy's classmates are challenged to help at home, find ways to reduce rubbish in the community and become daring Toad Busters.

Lucy grows in confidence as she feels included and gets to know her classmates, but it’s popular Tahnee, who encourages and listens to her and squeezes inside Lucy’s shell to become her friend. When Lucy's dad has an accident, it's the people in the community who reach out with kindness to care for them. This place feels like home. But can Lucy convince her dad to stay?

“I don’t want to go, Snail,”
I whisper,
feeling like a stodgy glob
of squidgy putty – with all my
happiness squished       out.

I am in awe once again of Kathryn Apel’s skill in weaving together similes, metaphors, alliteration, imagery, rhyme and shape poetry with compassion and creativity to tell Lucy’s story in What Snail Knows.  

The gorgeous front cover by Mandy Foot, beautifully captures Lucy and Snail’s friendship along with the delicate black and white sketches throughout the book featuring snail and special moments in the story.

If you enjoyed What Snail Knows then you might like to read Kathryn's other verse novels Bully on the Bus and Too Many Friends. In fact, Tahnee was a character in Too Many Friends.

Verse novels are the best!

Thank you for the copy of this book to review University of Queensland Press.

Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

Teacher notes

If you think you've had a bad week, wait until you read about Justin Chase's Worst Week Ever...and it's only MONDAY!

Matt Cosgrove (creator of Macca the Alpaca) and his wife Eva Amores decided to write their first book together during lockdown. Perhaps that explains the hilarious predicaments, snort-laughing humour and lack of toilet paper!

When 12 year old Justin Chase's mum marries Step-Dracula, Justin and his psycho cat Captain Fluffikins have to move in with his embarrassing plumber dad, kleptomanaic dog Nickers and his naughty nan who can crochet anything.

A day that starts at 5am is always going to be a long one. Add a kindy-size new school uniform, a gut-churning green cleansing breakfast smoothie, last minute crocheted bathers, a ride to school in a giant toilet on wheels and Maths Monday, how much worse could it get? Prolong the agony with some buttock bursting explosions, a toilet paper stealing school bully, a  pair of rapidly unravelling crocheted bathers threatening to reveal way too much, topped off with a massive toilet blockage and an unexpected romance. Thank goodness Justin's new best friend Mia is looking out for him. No wonder an exhausted Justin is in bed at 8.30pm...until he hears an ear-piercing buzz at 11.59pm.

This fun story with twists and turns and many laugh out loud moments is taken to another level with Matt's brilliant illustrations filled with creativity, humour and details that you might (or might not) want to to pore over. I'm still testing my eyesight on page 20, remain traumatised by the School 2 Pool bus ride (which reminds me of a Year 6 Camp bus incident with sausages) and I'm trying to picture cute quokkas and not imagine the deleted scenes for Code Brown in the pool.

If you're having a bad week, this book will turn it into a great week!

Watch the book trailer below and have fun with some Worst Week Ever activities here

Get ready for the release of TUESDAY on April 1st when things really blow up! Read about what's in store for Justin here and look for story clues in the cover below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy reading!

Buzzing with rhyme and humour, Mozzies Vs Flies is the ultimate Aussie rivalry!

Life is orderly in the small, dusty country town where Fuzz and the Flies rule the light and Cozzie and the Mozzies own the night. Until the School Barbeque is advertised at 5.30pm. In that fuzzy time between day and night, who has rights to the School Barbeque?

No Mozzie would budge and no Fly would back down. A battle is the only way to decide. Plans are mapped out and training commenced with each team's eyes on the champion's prize...the School Barbeque. 

A swarm of mosquitoes,
and an army of flies,
were ready to rumble
and took to the skies.

How will this buzzing, zipping, zooming battle of the bugs end? Who will enjoy the delicious delights of the School Barbeque? 

Sarah Speedie has written a fun book to read aloud with its lively rhyme and  quirky storyline. Rebel Challenger's bold, energetic illustrations and fabulous facial expressions capture the Mozzies and Flies and their desperate antics to win the battle for the ultimate prize.

All I will say is...think carefully about the time of your next barbeque!

Have fun designing your own hat to keep the Mozzies and Flies away or try your hand at some colouring sheets

Check out the Mozzies Vs Flies book trailer

Happy reading!

 

 

April’s town is grey and gloomy. People are too busy to stop and look around. April’s grandma was never too busy and said “The world is full of wonders!” Grandma loved flowers and even knew their secret language which gives April an idea to help happiness bloom in her town and encourage everyone to slow down.

This whimsical story is wrapped in endpapers of floating dandelion seeds perfect for making wishes. It also includes a beautiful hand painted glossary of the Korean language of flowers. Magnolias are one of my favourite flowers and they mean ‘You’re precious’. Which flower would you choose to give to a message to your friend?

Sally Han’s colourful illustrations and gentle story remind us to slow down and appreciate the beauty of nature, especially flowers. Tiny Wonders speaks to my heart because one of my joys is photographing the tiny wonders in nature I discover on my walks. I think April would love these flowers…

Thank you for the copy of this book to preview University of Queenland Press

Happy reading!

 

 

My Brother Ben is a story of birds, boats and the bond brothers share. An ode to nature and a reminder that not all heroes wear capes.

Luke is a quiet boy who loves sketching birds and thanks to his Aunty Gem, is becoming an expert at recognising their calls. His big brother Ben is bold and brave as he climbs on the roof or leaps out of the huge twisted paperbark Jumping Tree into Cabbage Tree Creek.

Despite their differences, Luke and Ben stick together like Apostlebirds, especially since their father moved away. The brothers share a dream of owning their own boat to explore the channels and secret inlets of Cabbage Tree Creek. The perfect opportunity arises when the local council runs a competition to celebrate the creek and first prize is a boat.

Luke and Ben come up with a plan to win, but it is threatened when Ben starts high school and the boys begin to drift apart.  When Ben and Frankie become friends, the trust the brothers share is tested, especially when Ben starts sneaking out of the house at night. Luke will discover that all is not as it seems and his brother Ben really does mean it when he says "Trust me."

Peter Carnavas captures the beauty of nature with lyrical descriptions that immerse you in the sights, sounds and life of Cabbage Patch Creek.

The cool water swallowed me and I sank until my toes dipped in the mud at the bottom. Then I rose up, floated on my back and watched the paperbark leaves dance against the sky. Ben did the same. We were two sea stars spinning slowly on the surface.

Scattered throughout the book are sketches of birds from Luke’s sketchbook. My favourites are the sketches of Luke’s magpie, Maggie in the chapter headings that remind me of the magpie family who have called my backyard their home for many years.

“When you open your eyes to birds, the world opens itself in return.” (Aunty Gem)


My magpies enjoying sunset
Here is Peter talking about his book My Brother Ben...

My Brother Ben is one of my favourite reads this year.

Thank you for the copy of this book to review UQP.

Happy reading!

Teacher notes
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