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Bear and Rat by Christopher Cheng celebrates a friendship that is deep and true and filled with love.

Bear and Rat are best friends who do everything together, but one day Rat wonders

"Will we always hold hands like this, even when we are old and wrinkly..."

Bear reassures Rat that he will be there for her no matter what happens. He will hold her hand if she is scared of spooky stories or stubs her toe, if they cross a river or if she is sick in bed for weeks and he will even hold her hand if she does something really, really bad. 

Stephen Michael King’s water colour and ink illustrations tenderly bring Bear and Rat to life as they travel hand-in-hand through the seasons with their trusty umbrellas, sharing adventures and cups of tea and being there for each other through life's ups and downs. Until one day Bear has to let go of Rat’s hand and hold her close in a different way.

Christopher was lucky to marry his best friend Bini. When Bini was sick he wrote Bear and Rat for her using their favourite animals. Christopher Cheng and Stephen Michael King's seamlessly woven words and images create a very special picture book that will gently squeeze your heart.

It is always a treat to hear an author read their book. Enjoy Christopher Cheng reading Bear and Rat...

Happy reading!

Teacher notes


Somewhere far away, there's a sea that ripples with magic. And if you were a bird flying high over the sea one fine day, you'd be able to look down at the tiny green-and-gold dot that's Monty's Island...

Monty never knows what he might find when he takes his Pick-Up sled along the beach with his friend Tawny, looking for Special Finds. One morning, they receive some worrying news from their friend the Laughing Traveller that Scary Mary and her pirate crew are looking for a new island to call home. The pirates have burnt down the trees on their old base and turned it into a dump. Monty and Tawny certainly don't want Scary Mary, a cruel and greedy pirate with sharp gold teeth taking over their island home! 

What can Monty and his friends do? When Bunchy accidentally turns the whole island stripey with her new magic wand, they have nowhere to hide. Monty will need to come with up one of his best ideas to save them!

Listen to Emily Rodda read the beginning of Scary Mary and the Striped Spell...

Emily Rodda has created some unusual creatures that live on Monty's Island. Argue Birds that begin each day arguing loudly, Jinglebees that sound like a million bells ringing as they prepare to fly and will chew anything in sight and the Hairy Horrible that only hunts at night and doesn't like to get sand between its hairy toes.

At the end of the video, Emily invites you to invent your own creature. Draw your creature first. Is your creature scary or friendly? What makes it unique?

Lucinda Gifford is the talented illustrator whose fun and lively illustrations have brought Emily Rodda's characters and story to life.

Learn about Lucinda's drawing process for illustrating Scary Mary and the Stripe Spell...

Have fun drawing Clink the Shipwrecked Pirate with Lucinda...

There are more drawing videos with Lucinda Gifford and activities to download on the Allen & Unwin website HERE.

If you're looking for a fun new fantasy adventure to read then the Monty's Island series is perfect for you!

Happy reading!

There is SO much to explore in our home planet Earth!

You don't need a plane ticket, just pack your sense of adventure and let I Heart the World take you on a journey across our seven continents. Explore the globe and celebrate the people, cultures, natural and man-made wonders, and the breathtaking flora and fauna found in our land, sea and sky.

I Heart the World is a book that is big in size, content and heart. It is filled with fascinating facts and Tania McCartney’s illustrations will have you poring over pages for hours.

How do you say 'Hello' in Portuguese?
Where is the rainiest city?
What is a Capybara and what does it eat every morning?
Where will you find a Whistling Thorn tree and how does it whistle?
Can you eat a Pfeffernusse?

I love the illustrated double page headings that capture elements of each continent and include a snapshot of facts. I Heart the World begins with a section celebrating our world and each continent has its own chapter filled with bite-sized facts. The information throughout the book is organised clearly and creatively and brought to life by Tania’s detailed illustrations.

Click HERE to see the hundreds of illustration roughs Tania drew for her book.

If you enjoy travelling, love facts and care about our world then I Heart the World needs to go to the very top of your To Be Read pile!

Happy reading and travelling!



If you like animals, adventures and solving mysteries then the Eco Rangers series is for you.

Ebony and Jay are best friends and Eco Rangers who love helping others and looking after the environment. In Wildfire Rescue Ebony and Jay go out to look for injured animals in the bushland after a devastating wildfire. They find a little ringtail possum covered in ash with burnt paws from the hot ground. With help from Dr Bat and Dr Tan at the wildlife hospital, they become carers for the cheeky possum they name Mira (short for miracle) until she can be returned to her home. Ebony and Jay also have a mystery to solve when they discover some people have been camping in the burnt out bush. Who are they and what are they doing there? 

Did you know that possums must be returned to their original homes? They don't like to be relocated to a different place.

Photo credit: David Cook

Candice Lemon-Scott is an author who loves animals and nature and is also a wildlife carer. Candice has carefully woven scientific facts into her stories and if you're interested in learning more about how to help wildlife you can download Handy Tips for Eco Rangers

This summer in Australia we have had dangerous bushfires that have had a devastating effect on our precious wildlife. Wildlife Victoria,  Wires, and the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital  and many others having been doing amazing work caring for the animals like Mira that have been injured and orphaned by the bushfires.

Look out for these books in the Eco Rangers series...

Happy reading!



The big day is almost here...

Hip Hip Hooray! by Tania McCartney captures the excitement and fun of the birthday traditions we follow to celebrate our special day with family and friends.

Reading this delightful book is like unwrapping a 'pass-the-parcel' as each page of Jess Racklyeft's playful water colour illustrations reveals a peek at animals around the world celebrating birthday traditions...orangutans in Borneo, chameleons in Madagascar, sloths in Costa Rico, zebras in Africa and echidnas in Australia.

Excitement builds from birthday eve when nobody can sleep a wink until the party begins. Guests arrive dressed in their shiny best, bearing gift-wrapped surprises and donning party hats. Fun-filled games and party food to nibble until it's time to blow out the candles on the birthday cake and make a wish...Hip Hip Hooray!

How do you like to celebrate your birthday? 

What are some of the birthday traditions in your family?

profivideos / Pixabay

What do you notice about the endpapers? Take a close look at the names and addresses - they're very clever!  See if you can match the animals in the story to their address. 

Click HERE and scroll down to see a fun augmented reality view of the front cover of Hip Hip Hooray! 

Happy reading...Hip Hip Hooray! 

Lamont Teacher notes

Publisher Notes

Pig was full of hope.
When the school race came around,
he was sure in his heart that this year
his luck would change.

Pig has never been a winner. He was last to finish tests, the last picked for games and even the last to have his birthday. This year he hopes it will be his lucky year and he will win the school's Annual Running Race across the forest.

Pig's classmates race off and leave him behind, but Pig calmly keeps making his way to the finish line. Jess Racklyeft's playful water colour illustrations show each of his classmates getting side-tracked along the way through the forest. When Pig arrives at the finish line he is surprised to find himself the first one there and just a few hoof-steps from winning! However, Pig is worried about his missing friends and decides it is more important to find them and help them to the finish line. Today Pig is a winner!

At the back of the book you will find the animals in this story are based on the Chinese Zodiac.  Find your year of birth and read about the qualities of your animal. Does the description sound like you? What would have happened to you as an animal in the story?

In the Chinese calendar, 2019 is the Year of the Pig. Read the Chinese Zodiac description for a Pig. How does Pig demonstrate these qualities during the story? How is he a winner?

In this this gentle and heartwarming story, Pig reminds us to be hopeful, be true to ourselves, be a good friend and to keep a look out for others.

Happy reading!

Teacher Notes

Lemonade Jones has the BEST name! She is a six year old who bubbles with sass and enthusiasm. Lemonade Jones is full of questions, tells the truth (a bit too honestly at times) and finds it hard to stick to rules because she likes things to be loud and exciting.

Lemonade Jones’ feisty and funny character has been delightfully created by Davina Bell and brought to life with Karen Blair’s water colour and pencil illustrations that perfectly capture Lemonade’s world at home and school.

In The First Day Back, Lemonade Jones' old school has closed and she is starting at a new school. The day doesn’t begin well when Lemonade Jones discovers she isn’t in the same Year One class as her best friend Clark Dark. How can they get married if they’re in different classrooms? There are also rules to remember and students to deal with like Leela Blue who likes to be the best. Adjusting to a new teacher and class is hard and Lemonade Jones even has to spend time in the Quiet Corner after a rather unfortunate incident with Marcus Crackle. At the end of a long first day, Miss Wisby reminds Lemonade Jones that each day is a new chance to learn and she can start afresh tomorrow.

Lemonade Jones is celebrating her sixth birthday and has invited the whole class to her first party in The Zoo That Comes To You. In Show and Grow she delights in telling everyone about all of the zoo animals that will be at her party. On the day however, the zoo keeper and zoo animals are not at all what Lemonade Jones had been expecting, but imagination, creativity and a fire engine save the day! "That was the best birthday party ever” said Clark Dark.

I'm really looking forward to following more of Lemonade Jones' adventures in her very own series.

Happy Reading!

Teacher notes


This is a guest book review by Mrs Brooks, a teacher librarian in Brisbane for I’ve Got Eyes! written by Julie Murphy and illustrated by Hannah TolsonThe children at her school library love reading this book!

The Eyes Have It!

I’ve Got Eyes! written by Julie Murphy, a trained zoologist and zookeeper, is a highly engaging non-fiction book about some of the exceptional eyes found in the animal kingdom.

Using double pages to combine easy to read and highly informative facts and colourful close-up illustrations, Julie and Hannah enable readers to discover fascinating clues about familiar (and not so familiar animals) and how their eyes have adapted to their unique environments. Can you guess which animal has HANDLEBAR eyes or why oblong eyes are VERY useful for a goat?

This book will amaze and intrigue readers as they pore over the pages, delighting in discovering why animal eyes are so different, whilst pondering the question – What can our eyes do?

Happy reading!

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